Against the commercial traders (Zeph 1:10-1:11)

“Says Yahweh.

‘On that day,

A cry will be heard

From the Fish Gate.

A wail will be heard

From the Second Quarter.

A loud crash will be heard

From the hills.

The inhabitants

Of the Mortar

Wail.

All the traders

Have perished.

All who weigh out

Silver

Are cut off.’”

Yahweh was clear about the consequences on the Day of Yahweh.  A cry would come from the north Fish Gate and the Second Quarter of Jerusalem, probably the entrance and the market place of business near this gate.  The Jerusalem traders may have sold fish there.  The northern hills around Jerusalem would also cry out, as would the wailing people of Mortal, those in the valley.  They would all wail and cry because of the lack of commerce.  All the traders would die.  Anyone involved with the weighing of silver would be wiped out.

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Praise for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Dan 3:27-3:28)

“The satraps,

The prefects,

The governors,

The king’s counselors,

Gathered together.

They saw

That the fire

Had not had any power

Over the bodies

Of these men.

The hair

Of their heads

Was not singed.

Their tunics were

Not harmed.

Not even the smell of fire

Came from them.

King Nebuchadnezzar said.

‘Blessed be the God

Of Shadrach,

Of Meshach,

Of Abednego,

Who has sent

His angel!

He has delivered

His servants,

Who trusted in him.

They disobeyed

The king’s command.

They yielded up

Their bodies

Rather than serve,

Rather than worship,

Any god

Except their own God.’”

All the important people of the Babylonian kingdom were gathered together, including the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors. They all marveled that the 3 men had survived the fire unscathed. Their hair was not even singed and their clothes were not harmed. They did not even smell like smoke from the fire. King Nebuchadnezzar then praised them and their God. He blessed God, just as they had done in the fiery furnace. The king noted that an angel of God had saved the 3 of them. They had trusted in their God by disobeying the king’s command. Then they suffering the consequences. They gave up their bodies, rather than serve and worship another god. They were truly blessed by their God.

The appointed Levitical ministerial tasks (Ezek 44:13-44:14)

“They shall not

Come near to me.

They shall not

Serve me

As a priest.

They shall not

Come near to

Any of my sacred offerings,

The things

That are most sacred.

But they shall

Bear their shame.

They shall

Bear the consequences

Of the abominations

That they have committed.

Yet I will appoint them

To keep charge

Of the temple,

To do all its chores.

They shall do

All that is to be done

In it.”

The idol worshiping Levites would be appointed to various menial tasks, so that they would be like Temple servants, rather than ministers. Yahweh, via Ezekiel, listed all the things that they could not do. They could not come near to Yahweh to serve him as a priest. They would not be allowed near any of the sacred holy offerings. They had to bear their shame. They had to suffer the consequences of their abominable actions. However, Yahweh was not going to destroy them. They were to be in charge of all the Temple chores, everything that had to be done around the Temple. They were to become second-class Levite priests or Temple servants.

The end for buyers and sellers (Ezek 7:12-7:13)

“The time has come!

The day draws near!

Let not the buyer rejoice!

Let not the seller mourn!

The wrath is upon

All their multitude.

The seller

Shall not return

To what has been sold,

As long as they remain alive.

The vision concerns

All their multitude.

It shall not be revoked.

Because of their iniquity,

They cannot maintain

Their lives.”

As in Jeremiah, chapter 32, buying and selling land and other things assumed a stable society. The time was coming as the day drew near when buyers and sellers would not rejoice or mourn because of the chaotic conditions. The wrath of God was to be upon both of them. The seller could not return his goods as long as he was alive. Everybody was going to suffer the consequences of those who had committed iniquities. No one would be able to maintain their lives.

The failure to serve the king of Babylon (Bar 2:21-2:23)

“Thus says the Lord.

‘Bend your shoulders!

Serve

The king of Babylon!

You will then

Remain in the land

That I gave

To your ancestors.

But if you will not obey

The voice of the Lord,

If you will not serve

The king of Babylon,

I will cease

The voice of mirth,

The voice of gladness,

The voice of the bridegroom,

The voice of the bride,

From the towns of Judah,

As well as from the region

Around Jerusalem.

The whole land

Will be a desolation

Without inhabitants.’”

The Lord via the prophets had told the Judeans to bend their shoulders and serve the king of Babylon. If they did that, they would remain in the land that the Lord had given to their ancestors. However, if they did not obey the voice of God, and not serve the king of Babylon, then God would cease to have any sounds of mirth or gladness from the brides or the bridegrooms from the towns of Judah as well as the region around Jerusalem. The whole land would become a desolation without inhabitants. They had a clear choice, obey the Lord and the king of Babylon, or suffer the consequences. They were already in exile, because they had not obeyed the king of Babylon. As usual, Jeremiah and Baruch were pro-Babylonian.

The downtrodden (Sir 7:32-7:36)

“Stretch out your hand to the poor.

Thus your blessing may be complete.

Give graciously to all the living.

Do not withhold kindness

Even from the dead.

Do not avoid

Those who weep.

But mourn with those who mourn.

Do not hesitate to visit the sick.

Because for such deeds

You will be loved.

In all you do,

Remember the end of your life.

Then you will never sin.”

Sirach has some recommendations for how to deal with the downtrodden and what the consequences are. First, stretch out your hand to the poor and your blessings will be complete. Be kind and gracious to all the living as well. Secondly, you should be kind to the dead, but it is not clear what is meant here. Thirdly, you should comfort and mourn with those who are weeping and mourning. Fourthly, you should visit the sick because you will be loved for that. Finally, you should remember the end of your life to help you avoid sin. Once again, this is not a clear indication of an afterlife, but a hint at it.