Judah should watch out also (Hos 4:15-4:15)

“Though you play the prostitute,

O Israel!

Do not let Judah

Become guilty!

Do not enter

Into Gilgal!

Do not go up

To Beth-aven!

Do not swear!

‘As Yahweh lives.’”

Yahweh, via Hosea, told northern Israel that she had become a prostitute. Now he warned that the southern Judah kingdom should not become guilty. They should not go to Gilgal, that was just east of Jericho. Neither should they go to Beth-aven or Bethel, the place of worship of the northern Israelites. They should not swear by Yahweh.

 

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The judgment on the neighbors (Jer 12:14-12:17)

“Thus says Yahweh

Concerning all my evil neighbors

Who touch the heritage

That I have given

My people Israel to inherit.

‘I am about to pluck them up

From their land.

I will pluck up

The house of Judah

from among them.

After I have plucked them up,

I will again have compassion on them.

I will bring them again

To their heritage,

To their land.

Then if they will diligently learn

The ways of my people,

To swear by my name,

‘As Yahweh lives!’

As they taught my people

To swear by Baal,

Then they shall be built up

In the midst of my people.

But if any nation will not listen,

Then I will completely uproot it.

I will destroy it.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh gave a warning to the evil neighbors of Judah. They were not to touch the inherited land of the Israelite people, despite his anger at them. He was going to pluck up the people of Judah from their land. However, he was going to later have compassion on them, since he was going to bring all of them back to their land and their heritage. This would happen after they had learned the ways of Yahweh, just as they learned the evil ways of Baal. They had to swear by the living God, Yahweh. They would be built up among his people. However, if any nation did not listen, then Yahweh would then uproot and destroy them also. This clearly was an oracle of Yahweh, via Jeremiah, that showed his compassion for Judah, despite everything.

The return to Yahweh (Jer 4:1-4:2)

“‘If you return!

O Israel!’

Says Yahweh.

‘If you return to me!

If you remove your abominations

From my presence!

If you do not waver!

If you swear!

‘As Yahweh lives!’

In truth,

In justice,

In uprightness,

Then nations shall be blessed

By him.

They shall boast

By him.’”

Would Israel return to Yahweh? Yahweh sets down some conditions. They would have to remove their abomination idol statues from his presence. They would have to not waver. They had to swear that Yahweh lives. If this was done in truth, justice, and uprightness, then the nations would be blessed by him. Then they could boast in Yahweh.

Yahweh and Judah (Isa 48:1-48:2)

“Hear this!

O house of Jacob!

You are called

By the name of Israel.

You came forth

From the loins of Judah.

You swear by the name of Yahweh.

You confess the God of Israel.

But not in truth or right.

They call themselves

After the holy city.

They lean on the God of Israel.

Yahweh of hosts is his name.”

This chapter concludes the first section or first chant of Second Isaiah. Second Isaiah has this continual call to listen. This is directed at the house of Jacob, the Israelites, who come from Judah, a clear distinction about the house of Judah compared to all the other tribes. They swear by the name of Yahweh. They confess him as the God of Israel, but not truly or rightly in good faith. They seem to call themselves after their holy city. They lean on the God of Israel, Yahweh, and his army.

Turn to Yahweh (Isa 45:22-45:23)

“Turn to me!

Be saved!

All the ends of the earth!

I am God!

There is no other!

By myself I have sworn.

From my mouth has gone forth

In righteousness.

A word that shall not return.

‘To me

Every knee shall bow.

Every tongue shall swear.’”

Second Isaiah has Yahweh ask that everybody from the ends of the earth should turn to him to be saved. Yahweh proclaimed that he is God and that there is no other besides him. He speaks in righteousness and truth. Thus every knee should bow to him. Every tongue should swear to him. This is somewhat the same language that the Paul in his epistles to the Romans and the Philippians will use about Jesus Christ.

The oath to put away foreign wives (Ezra 10:5-10:6)

“Then Ezra stood up. He made the leading priests, the Levites, and all swear that they would do as had been said. So they swore. Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God. He went to the chamber of Jehohanan son of Eliashib, where he spent the night. He did not eat bread or drink water. He was mourning over the faithlessness of the exiles.”

Taking the advice of Shecaniah, Ezra made the leading priests, Levites, and all the Israelites swear to put away their foreign wives. This is no longer a 1st person account of Ezra, but a 3rd person account about him that continues throughout this chapter. It was not clear what the fate of these foreign wives was to be. Where would they go? How were they and their children to be taken care of? Ezra left the Temple and went to the house of Jehohanan where he stayed overnight fasting because of the faithlessness of his fellow returning exiles. In fact, this Jehohanan may have been a grandson of the high priest Eliashib. He may also have been one of those men who had a foreign wife.