The two staffs (Zech 11:7-11:7)

“So,

On behalf of the sheep merchants,

I became

The shepherd

Of the flock doomed to slaughter.

I took two staffs.

One, I named Favor.

The other, I named Unity.

I tended the sheep.”

Zechariah was going to be the good shepherd.  He was going to take over the flock of doomed sheep.  He had two staffs.  One was called favor or grace, while the other was called unity or unifier.  Thus, he would tend these sheep with his two staffs of grace and unity, instead of the ordinary single stick.

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Prostitution with the Chaldeans (Ezek 16:29-16:29)

“You multiplied

Your prostitute ways

With Chaldea,

The land or merchants.

Even with this

You were not satisfied.”

Yahweh said that they multiplied their prostituting ways with the Chaldeans, the Babylonians, who would later take them over. However, they were originally attracted to them by their merchandise, since the Chaldeans were good merchants. Even this mercantile arrangement was not enough. Jerusalem was never satisfied.

The rising waters of the Nile River (Jer 46:7-46:9)

“Who is this?

Who is rising like the Nile?

Who is like rivers

Whose waters surge?

Egypt rises

Like the Nile.

They are

Like rivers

Whose waters surge.

It said.

Let me rise!

Let me cover the earth!

Let me destroy cities!

Let me destroy their inhabitants!

Advance!

O horses!

Dash madly!

O chariots!

Let the warriors go forth!

Men of Ethiopia!

Men of Put

Who carry the shield!

Men of Lud,

Who draw the bow!”

The Egyptians had originally thought that they would have the waters of the Nile River, or their power, take over the Babylonians, but the reverse was true. They wanted to be like rivers surging forth. They wanted to destroy other cities and their inhabitants. They had horses and chariots to carry out their mission as they advanced. They had the people from Ethiopia and Somalia. They had the people of Put, the Libyans, and Lud, the Lydians, who had shields and were good at bows and arrows. However, all this great might was turned back by the Babylonians.

The oracle about the stones for King Nebuchadnezzar (Jer 43:8-43:10)

“Then the word of Yahweh

Came to Jeremiah

In Tahpanhes.

‘Take some large stones

In your hands!

Bury them

In the clay pavement

At the entrance

To Pharaoh’s palace

In Tahpanhes!

Let the Judeans

See you do it!

Then say to them.

‘Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

I am going to send

King Nebuchadnezzar.

I am going to take

King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon,

My servant.

He will set his throne

Above these stones

That I have buried.

He will spread

His royal canopy

Over them.’”

Yahweh utters an oracle to Jeremiah, even though he is in the Egyptian northeastern border town of Tahpanhes, where the Suez Canal is today. Once again Yahweh wants Jeremiah to do some symbolic action to get a point across. Jeremiah was to take large stones and then bury them in the pavement at the entrance to the palace of the Egyptian Pharaoh. He was to do this in front of all his fellow Judean expatriates. Then he uttered God’s prophetic oracle that King Nebuchadnezzar, his servant like his own servant prophets, would put his throne on top of these stones. He would then spread out his royal canopy over them. In other words, the Babylonian king was going to take over Egypt. It actually happened in 568 BCE, about 20 years after this action.

Reckless drunkards (Sir 19:1-19:3)

“A worker who is a drunkard

Will not become rich.

One who despises small things

Will fail little by little.

Wine leads intelligent men astray.

Women lead intelligent men astray.

The man who consorts

With prostitutes is reckless.

Decay will take possession of him

Worms will inherit him.

The reckless person

Will be snatched away.”

Sirach warns us that a drunkard will not become rich. If you despise small things, you will fail little by little. Both wine and women have led intelligent men astray. You are reckless, if you hang around with prostitutes. Always blame your downfall on someone or something other than yourself. Your body will decay and worms will take over. The reckless person will have his life snatched away.