Yahweh’s punishment (Mic 6:13-6:15)

“Therefore,

I have begun

To strike you down.

I will make you desolate,

Because of your sins.

You shall eat,

But not be satisfied.

There shall be

A gnawing hunger

Within you.

You shall put away,

But not save.

What you save,

I will hand over to the sword.

You shall sow,

But not reap.

You shall tread olives,

But not anoint yourselves

With oil.

You shall tread grapes,

But not drink wine.”

With great irony, Yahweh, via Micah, pointed out that his punishment for these wicked people in the city would be unrewarded labor.  In other words, Yahweh was going to strike them down and make them desolate because of their sins.  They would eat, but not be satisfied because of a continual gnawing hunger.  They would try to save money, but none would be put away, because what little they had saved would be turned over to the robbers with swords.  They would sow seeds, but not be around for the harvest reaping.  They would tread grapes and olives, but they would not be able to anoint themselves with oil or drink any wine.  They were just wasting their time.

Jonah’s proclamation (Jon 3:4-3:4)

“Jonah began

To go into the city,

Going a day’s walk.

He cried out.

‘Forty days more,

Then Nineveh

Shall be overthrown!’”

The text does not say how long it took Jonah to get there, but he was certainly in the city.  He walked one day into the center of the city and began to cry out that Nineveh would be overthrown in 40 days.  Forty days was a common biblical number, since Noah’s trip during the flood was 40 days, while the Israelites spent 40 years in the desert.

The prophecy against Amaziah (Am 7:16-7:17)

“Therefore,

Hear the word of Yahweh!

You say.

‘Do not prophesy

Against Israel!

Do not preach

Against the house of Isaac!

Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh.

‘Your wife shall become

A prostitute in the city.

Your sons,

Your daughters,

Shall fall by the sword.

Your land

Shall be parceled out

By line.

You yourself shall die

In an unclean land.

Israel shall surely

Go into exile

Away from its land.’”

Amos wanted Amaziah to hear the word of Yahweh that he had heard. While Amaziah had said not to prophesize in Israel or against the house of Israel, Yahweh, via Amos, responded by telling him that his wife would become a prostitute in the city. Both his sons and daughters would die by the sword. His land would be parceled out by the line. Finally, Amaziah would die in a foreign unclean land, because Israel was going to be sent into exile into a land far from there. This was a very strong rebuke of Amaziah.

The locusts are everywhere (Joel 2:6-2:9)

“Before them,

People are in anguish.

All faces grow pale.

Like warriors,

They charge.

Like soldiers,

They scale the wall.

Each keeps

To his own course.

They do not swerve

From their paths.

They do not jostle

One another.

Each keeps

To his own track.

They burst

Through the weapons

They are not halted.

They leap upon the city.

They run upon the walls.

They climb up

Into the houses.

They enter

Through the windows,

Like a thief.”

Joel continued his description of the swarm of locusts as they attacked the city and the people in it. The people there were in aguish, as their faces turned pale. These grasshoppers charged like warriors. They scaled the walls like soldiers. These locusts stayed in formation, not wandering around. They did not try to push each other around. They were able to go straight through any barriers or weapons. They leapt into the city on its walls and in its houses. These locusts came through the windows, like a thief in the night. This plague of grasshoppers was really strong and powerful in their destruction.

The anointed prince (Dan 9:25-9:27)

“Know therefore!

Understand!

From the time

That the word

Went out

To restore,

To rebuild

Jerusalem,

Until the time

To the coming

Of an anointed prince,

There shall be seven weeks.

For sixty-two weeks,

It shall be built again

With streets,

With a moat,

But in a troubled time.”

Once again, there is the problem of weeks and years. Clearly the text says weeks. Many have interpreted as years, 7 weeks as 7 times 7 or 49 years, and 62 weeks as 7 times 62 or 434 years. It would take a period of time to rebuild Jerusalem. That was clear and everyone knew and understood that. Who then is this new anointed prince? Is this a messianic expectation? From the time of the announcement of the rebuilding of Jerusalem, it would take 7 weeks (or 49 years) before this new anointed prince would take over. Was this a reference to the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the captivity or the 2nd century BCE Greek takeover of the Temple? Finally, it would take 62 weeks (434 years) to rebuild the city with streets and a moat. However, even this time would be troubled. There are more questions than answers here.

Do not delay (Dan 9:17-9:19)

“Now therefore!

O our God!

Listen to the prayer

Of your servant!

Listen to his supplications!

For your own sake!

O Lord!

Let your face

Shine upon

Your desolated sanctuary!

O my God!

Incline your ear!

Hear!

Open your eyes!

Look at our desolation!

Look at the city

That bears your name!

We do not present

Our supplications

Before you

On the ground

Of our righteousness,

But on the ground

Of your great mercies.

O Lord!

Hear!

O Lord!

Forgive!

O Lord!

Listen!

Act!

Do not delay!

For your own sake,

O my God,

Because your city,

Your people,

Bear your name.”

Daniel finished up this prayer with a demand that the Lord God act right away and not delay. He wanted God to see and listen to his prayers and supplications, not because of their righteousness, but for the sake of his name and his great mercy. He wanted God to see their desolated sanctuary. He wanted God to see what was happening to the city that bore his name. He wanted God to see, hear, listen, forgive, act, and not delay.

Jerusalem has fallen (Ezek 33:21-33:21)

“In the twelfth year

Of our exile,

In the tenth month,

On the fifth day

Of the month,

Someone

Who had escaped

From Jerusalem

Came to me.

He said.

‘The city has fallen.’”

Once again, there is an exact date, the 5th day of the 10th month in the 12th year of his captivity, probably January, 586 BCE. On that day, a man who had escaped from Jerusalem came to him, perhaps a month or two after the fall of Jerusalem. This time it was not Yahweh who came to Ezekiel, but this straggler. However, the news was not good, since he said that the city of Jerusalem had fallen.

The mercenary army at Tyre (Ezek 27:10-27:11)

“Persia,

Lud,

Put,

Were all in your army.

They were

Your mighty warriors.

They hung their shield

With you.

They hung their helmet

With you.

They gave you splendor.

The men of Arvad,

The men of Helech,

Were on your walls

All around.

The men of Gamad

Were at your towers.

They hung their quivers

All around

Your walls.

They made perfect

Your beauty.”

Tyre had a mercenary army with people from Persia, Lydia (Lud), and Libya (Put). These were the mighty warriors of Tyre who hung their shields and helmets in Tyre to give the town more splendor. Within the town, guarding the walls, were the men from the Arvad island and Cilicia (Helech), a coastal town in Asia Minor. Meanwhile, the men of Cappadocia (Gamad) guarded the towers of Tyre. They kept their bow and arrows in the town. Thus the city of Tyre had an international army protecting it, inside and outside, to make it a thing of beauty.

The wicked princes (Ezek 22:25-22:25)

“The Jerusalem princes

Are within it

Like a roaring lion

Tearing its prey.

They have devoured

Human lives.

They have taken

Treasures.

They have taken

Precious things.

They have made

Many widows

Within it.”

The princes within the city of Jerusalem were like roaring lions tearing into their prey. They devoured human lives. They stole treasure and precious things. They killed people, so that there many more widows in Jerusalem.

 

The glory of Yahweh leaves Jerusalem (Ezek 11:22-11:23)

“Then the cherubim

Lifted up

Their wings,

With the wheels

Beside them.

The glory

Of the God of Israel

Was above them.

The glory of Yahweh

Ascended

From the middle of the city.

The glory of Yahweh

Stopped on the mountain

East of the city.”

Now we return to Ezekiel, the cherubim, and the glory of Yahweh. The cherubim have their wings and wheels as before. However, the glory of God or his presence left Jerusalem. The glory of the God of Israel stopped on a mountain east of the city, probably the Mount of Olives. Yahweh was no longer in his beloved city of Jerusalem.