The day is coming,
Like an oven.
All the arrogant
Will be stubble.
Will be stubble.
The day that comes
Shall burn them up.’
Says Yahweh of hosts.
It will leave them
The day of Yahweh would be a fiery hot day. The wicked ones would burn up as if they were in an oven. All the arrogant and evildoers would be like stubble for the fire that would burn all of them up. Yahweh of hosts was going to leave these wicked people without roots or branches. Thus, the idea that God will come with fire has its biblical origins here.
“I will punish the world
For its evil.
I will punish the wicked
For their iniquity.
I will put an end
To the pride of the arrogant.
I will lay low
The insolence of tyrants.
I will make mortals
More rare than fine gold.
I will make humans
More rare than the gold of Ophir.
Therefore I will make the heavens tremble.
The earth will be shaken out of its place.
The wrath of Yahweh of hosts
Will show his fierce anger
On that day.”
Isaiah turns to the first person singular of Yahweh to punish the whole world, in particular the evil ones. The evil, the wicked, the iniquitous, the prideful, the arrogant, the tyrants, and the insolent will all be punished. Thus human mortals will become as rare as fine gold, especially the expensive gold from Ophir. The heavens will tremble and the earth will shake like an earthquake. The wrath and anger of Yahweh will show itself on that day against human sinners. There is no doubt that this is an end time scenario.
Listen to instruction
Concerning the mouth!
Whoever observes it
Will never be caught.
Sinners are overtaken
Through their lips.
The reviler is tripped up.
The arrogant are tripped up.”
Sirach wanted his readers to listen to his instructions about their mouths. Do not get caught up by saying something you might regret. It is usually the words that you utter from your mouth that causes problems for sinners, revilers, and the arrogant.
“All the arrogant are an abomination to Yahweh.
They will not go unpunished.
By loyalty and faithfulness
Iniquity is atoned for.
By the fear of Yahweh
One avoids evil.
When the ways of people please Yahweh,
He causes even their enemies
To be at peace with them.
Better is a little with righteousness
Than large income with injustice.
The human mind plans the way.
But Yahweh directs the steps.”
What does God do to the arrogant? They are an abomination to Yahweh. Don’t worry since they will not go unpunished. You can atone for their iniquity by being loyal and faithful. If you fear Yahweh, you will avoid evil. To those people who please Yahweh, he will make their enemies be at peace with them. It is better to be righteous than have a large income, but be unjust. The human mind makes plans, but Yahweh directs their steps. In other words, man proposes but God disposes.
“My soul languishes for your salvation.
I hope in your word.
My eyes fail with watching for your promise.
‘When will you comfort me?’
I have become like a wineskin in the smoke.
Yet I have not forgotten your statutes.
How long must your servant endure?
When will you judge those who persecute me?
Arrogant men have dug pitfalls for me.
They flout your law.
All your commandments are enduring.
I am persecuted without cause.
They have almost made an end of me on earth.
But I have not forsaken your precepts.
In your steadfast love,
Spare my life!
Thus I may keep the decrees of your mouth.”
This psalmist was in a bad situation. He longed for salvation because he hoped in the word of God. His eyes were failing. He wanted to know when Yahweh would comfort him. Even though he was like a smoking wineskin, he still had not forgotten the statutes of Yahweh. He wanted to know how long he had to wait before God would judge and persecute the arrogant men who were setting pitfalls for him. They were flouting the law so that he was persecuted without any real reason. He cried to God for help. They had almost killed him. Despite all this, the psalmist still had not forsaken the precepts of Yahweh. Yahweh’s steadfast love had spared his life. He had the decrees of Yahweh in his mouth. So ends this section on the eleventh consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Kaph.
“O continue your steadfast love
To those who know you!
Let your salvation come to the upright of heart!
Do not let the foot of the arrogant thread on me!
Do not let the hand of the wicked drive me away!
Let these evildoers lie prostrate!
Let them be thrust down!
Let them be unable to rise!”
This short psalm ends with David wanting the continual steadfast love of Yahweh to come on those who knew and loved Yahweh. He wanted salvation for the upright of heart. He did not want the hands and feet of the arrogant and the wicked to thread on him or drive him away. However, he wanted the evildoers to lie prostrate, to be thrust down so that they would not be able to rise up again. Thus this psalm ends with a vindictive message.
“Then there united with them a company of Hasideans, the mighty warriors of Israel. All offered themselves willingly for the law. All who became fugitives to escape their troubles joined them and reinforced them. They organized an army. They struck down sinners in their anger. They struck down renegades in their wrath. The survivors fled to the gentiles for safety. Mattathias and his friends went around and tore down the altars. They forcibly circumcised all the uncircumcised boys that they found within the borders of Israel. They hunted down the arrogant men. This work prospered in their hands. They rescued the law out of the hands of the gentiles and the kings. They never let the sinner gain the upper hand.”
Mattathias was joined by the Hasideans. These were “the pious ones,” the saints, the holy ones, the religious ascetics. They were strict followers of the Mosaic Law. They may have come out of the Nazarene movement of earlier times. These Hasideans may have merged into the Essences of the first century CE. Perhaps the Pharisees with their emphasis on the letter of the law may have developed from these Hasideans also. They were the mighty warriors of Israel, clearly against the creeping Hellenism of the 2nd century BCE. Anyone who had trouble with the law also joined Mattathias just as David had gathered around him those who had trouble with King Saul in 1 Samuel, chapter 22. This rugged group attacked Jewish sinners and renegades, those mentioned in chapter 1 of this book, who did not follow the Mosaic Law. They went around tearing down the pagan gentile altars. They forcibly circumcised any boy they found in Israel. They were like a righteous terrorist bully group that punished those who disagreed with them. However, they seem to have been succeeding.