The new ruler of Israel (Mic 5:3-5:4)

“Therefore,

He shall give them up

Until the time

When she who is in labor

Has brought forth.

Then the rest

Of his brethren

Shall return

To the people of Israel.

He shall stand.

He shall feed his flock

In the strength of Yahweh,

In the majesty

Of the name of Yahweh,

His God.

They shall live secure.

Now he shall be great

To the ends of the earth.

He shall be the one of peace.”

Next Micah gave a description of this new Israelite ruler.  Apparently, this would take place after a long process of pregnancy labor.  Then the new ruler would be born when the rest of the people of Israel returned.  This new ruler would stand with them and feed them like his own flock.  He would stand in the majesty and strength of the name of Yahweh, his God.  They then would live secure.  This new ruler would be great, since he would be a man of peace, known to the ends of the earth.  It is easy to see why many of the early Christians applied this passage to Jesus of Nazareth, born in Bethlehem.

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Someone touches Daniel’s lips to let him speak (Dan 10:16-10:17)

“Then one in human form

Touched my lips.

I opened

My mouth

To speak.

I said to the one

Who stood

Before me.

‘My lord!

Because of the vision,

Such pains

Have come upon me,

That I retain no strength.

How can

My lord’s servant

Talk with my lord?

I am shaking.

No strength remains

In me.

No breath

Is left in me.’”

The human form, probably the angel Gabriel, touched his lips, so that Daniel was able to speak. Then, Daniel told him, his lord, that he was in pain with no strength because of the vision. He was shaking and out of breath.

The call for deliverance (Dan 3:20-3:22)

“Deliver us

In accordance

With your marvelous works!

Bring glory

To your name!

O Lord!

Let all who do harm

To your servants

Be put to shame!

Let them be disgraced!

Let them be deprived

Of all power!

Let their strength

Be broken!

Let them know

That you alone are

The Lord God!

Glorious!

Over the whole world!”       

Finally, Azariah got to the point. He wanted to be saved from this flaming furnace. He wanted God to show his marvelous works. He wanted him to bring glory to his name. On the other hand, anyone who was trying to bring harm to his servants should be shamed, disgraced, and lose all power and strength. They should all know that the glorious God alone is the lord over the whole world.

 

The faces of the four living creatures (Ezek 1:10-1:11)

“As for the appearance

Of their faces,

Each had

The face

Of a human being

In front.

Each had

The face

Of a lion

On the right side.

Each had

The face

Of an ox

On the left side.

Each had

The face

Of an eagle

At the back.

Such were their faces.

Their wings

Were spread out above.

Each creature

Had two wings.

Each wing

Touched the wing

Of another.

The two wings

Covered their bodies.”

Each creature had the face of a human being in front. Then there was a face of a lion on the right side with a face of an ox on the left side. In the back was the face of an eagle. Interesting enough this is similar to the idea of cherubim in Assyrian and Babylonian times. They had a statue of a god who had the head of a human, the body of a lion, the paws of an ox, with wings. This same symbolism was later taken up as the symbols of the four Christian evangelists, as well as the 4 creatures of the apocalypse in the Book of Revelation. There is also the interpretation that these animal heads symbolize mobility, intelligence, and strength. Their wings were spread out above each of these creatures, so that they touched each other. Thus these wings covered the bodies of these creatures.

Introduction to this wisdom poem (Bar 3:9-3:14)

“Hear the commandments of life!

O Israel!

Give ear!

Learn wisdom!

Why is it?

O Israel!

Why is it

That you are

In the land

Of your enemies?

Why are you growing old

In a foreign country?

Why are you defiled

With the dead?

Why are you counted

Among those in Hades?

You have forsaken

The fountain of wisdom.

If you had walked

In the way of God,

You would be living

In peace forever.

Learn

Where there is wisdom!

Learn

Where there is strength!

Learn

Where there is understanding!

Thus you may

At the same time

Discern!

Where is there length of days?

Where is there life?

Where is there light for the eyes?

Where is there peace?”

Now we have an introduction to a poem about wisdom. Israel was to hear about the commandments of life. They were to listen to learn about wisdom. Why were they growing old in the land of their enemies? Why were they defiled like dead people in Hades. Why were they forgotten, when they could have had wisdom if they had walked in the ways of God. They could be living in everlasting peace. They had to learn where wisdom, strength, and understanding were. Thus they could have a peaceful long life, with light for their eyes.

The princes have fled (Lam 1:6-1:6)

Vav

“All her majesty

Has departed

From daughter Zion!

Her princes

Have become

Like stags

That find no pasture.

They fled

Without strength

Before the pursuer.”

All the great majesty that was part of Zion has now departed. Her princes have become like wandering stag deer with no place to pasture. They even fled without any strength before the pursuing Babylonians. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Vav. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

The soldiers of Babylon stop fighting (Jer 51:30-51:33)

“The warriors of Babylon

Have given up fighting.

They remain

In their strongholds.

Their strength has failed.

They have become women.

Her buildings are on fire.

Her bars are broken.

One runner runs

To meet another.

One messenger runs

To meet another.

They tell

The king of Babylon

That his city is taken

From end to end.

The fords have been seized.

The marshes have been burned

With fire.

The soldiers are in panic.

Thus says Yahweh of hosts,

The God of Israel.

‘Daughter Babylon is

Like a threshing floor

At the time

When it is trodden.

Yet a little while

The time of her harvest

Will come.’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, notes that the Babylonian warriors have stopped fighting. They stay in their fortresses. Their strength has left them so that they are like women. Their buildings are on fire. The bars to their gates are broken. Messengers are running to meet other messengers on their way to tell the king that the city is lost from end to end. The fords or the shallow parts of the river areas have been seized, while the wet marshes have been set on fire. All the soldiers are in a state of panic. Thus the God of Israel compares Babylon to a barren threshing floor that is waiting for a harvest that will never come.