Go into exile (Ezek 12:1-12:3)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

You are living

In the midst

Of a rebellious house!

They have eyes to see,

But they do not see!

They have ears to hear,

But they do not hear!

They are

A rebellious house!

Therefore,

Son of man!

Prepare for yourself

An exile’s baggage!

Go into exile

By day

In their sight!

You shall go

Like an exile

From your place

To another place

In their sight.

Perhaps

They will understand,

Though they are

A rebellious house.’”

Here is another oracle of Yahweh to Ezekiel, the son of man, filled with symbolism about the exile. Yahweh told Ezekiel that he was living in the middle of a rebellious house. These people had eyes to see, but they did not see. They had ears to hear, but they did not hear. Thus Ezekiel was going to prepare himself to go into exile with the baggage of an exile. He was to leave in plain sight during the day. He was to go from one place to another, so that everyone could see it. Perhaps the people of this rebellious house might understand what was going on.

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 end of preeminence (Ezek 7:10-7:11)

“See!

The day!

See!

It comes!

Your doom

Has gone out.

The rod

Has blossomed.

Pride

Has budded.

Violence

Has grown

Into a rod

Of wickedness.

None of them

Shall remain.

Their abundance

Shall not remain.

Their wealth

Shall not remain.

There will be

No preeminence

Among them.”

As usual in Ezekiel, there is repetition. Yahweh talked about the coming doom as the day was at hand. Pride had budded and blossomed as violence grew into more wickedness. No one would keep their abundance or wealth. No one would be greater than another. There would be no more prominent people.

The happy enemies (Lam 1:21-1:21)

Shin

“They heard

How I was groaning.

There is no one

To comfort me.

All my enemies

Heard of my trouble.

They are glad

That you have done it.

Bring on the day

You have announced!

Let them be as I am!”

Once again, we are back to a personal lament from Jerusalem as she complained about her groaning, since no one comforted her. Her enemies knew all about the troubles in Jerusalem, but they were glad that Yahweh had done this to her. However, Jerusalem was not going to take this sitting down. She wanted the day to come when her enemies would suffer as she was suffering now. This verse starts with the Hebrew letter Shin. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

The fault of the Israelites (Jer 32:30-32:33)

“‘The people of Israel!

The people of Judah!

They have done nothing

But evil

In my sight

From their youth.

The people of Israel

Have done nothing

But provoke me to anger

By the work of their hands.’

Says Yahweh.

‘This city has aroused

My anger,

My wrath,

From the day it was built

Until this day.

Thus I will remove it

From my sight.

Because of all the evil

Of the people of Israel,

Of the people of Judah.

They provoked me to anger.

This includes

Their kings,

Their officials,

Their priests,

Their prophets,

The citizens of Judah,

The inhabitants of Jerusalem.

They have turned

Their back to me.

They have not turned

Their face to me.

Even though

I have taught them persistently,

They would not listen.

They would not accept correction.’”

Yahweh includes both Israel and Judah in this diatribe against all the Israelites, since they have done nothing but evil since their youth. By the work of their hands, they have provoked Yahweh to anger. The city of Jerusalem also aroused his anger, since the day that it was built. Yahweh was going to remove it because of all the evil that they had done. No one would be exempt, since their kings, officials, priests, prophets, citizens, and inhabitants of both Judah and Jerusalem had turned their backs on Yahweh, not their faces to Yahweh.  He had tried to teach them persistently, but they would not listen and accept correction.

No more pity for Jerusalem (Jer 15:6-15:9)

“Says Yahweh.

‘You have rejected me!

You are going backward.

I have stretched out my hand

Against you.

I destroyed you.

I am weary of relenting.

I have winnowed them

With a winnowing fork

In the gates of the land.

I have bereaved them.

I have destroyed my people.

They did not turn from their ways.

I have made their widows

More numerous than the sand of the seas.

I have brought

Against the mothers of young men

A destroyer at noonday.

I have made anguish fall on her suddenly.

I have made terror fall on her suddenly.

She who bore seven has languished.

She has swooned away.

Her sun went down

While it was yet day.

She has been shamed.

She has been disgraced.

The rest of them

I will give to the sword

Before their enemies.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, says that they have rejected and turned against him. Thus Yahweh stretched out his hand and destroyed them. He was tired of forgiving them. He tried to winnow them out to find the good ones. He made them sad by destroying them. They would not turn away from their evil ways. Thus they may have more widows than all the sand in the seas. That is quite a big hyperbolic number. The destroyer came at noon against young mothers. Even strong women who had 7 children were fainting. The sun was setting before the day was done since they were ashamed and disgraced. Anyone left over would suffer the hardship of the deadly sword.

The disobedience of their ancestors (Jer 7:24-7:26)

“However their ancestors

Did not obey.

They did not

Incline their ears.

But in the stubbornness

Of their evil will,

They walked

In their own counsels.

They looked backward

Rather than forward.

From the day

That your ancestors came out

Of the land of Egypt

To this day,

I have persistently sent

All my servants,

The prophets,

To them,

Day after day.

Yet they did not listen to me.

They did not pay attention.

But stiffened their necks.

They did worse

Than their ancestors.”

Yahweh points out to Jeremiah that their ancestors did not obey God’s commands. They did not listen because they were stubborn in their evil ways. They relied on their own counsels, looking backward rather than forward. Yet since the day that they left Egypt, Yahweh has sent his prophet servants to them on a daily basis. However, they still have not listened or paid attention. Instead they stiffened their necks and were more disobedient than their ancestors.

Prepare for war (Jer 6:4-6:5)

“Prepare war against her!

Sanctify yourselves!

Get up!

Let us attack at noon!

Woe to us!

The day declines!

The shadows of evening lengthen!

Get up!

Let us attack by night!

Let us destroy her palaces!”

Jeremiah wanted people to prepare for war. They were to sanctify themselves because war was a sacred action. At first, the enemy wanted to get up and attack at noon. However, the day was declining as the evening shadows came along. Finally, they wanted to attack at night and destroy their palaces.

The everlasting light of Yahweh (Isa 60:19-60:20)

“The sun shall no longer be

Your light by day.

The moon shall give

Light to you by night,

But not for brightness.

Yahweh will be

Your everlasting light.

Your God will be your glory.

Your sun shall no more go down.

Your moon will not withdraw itself.

Yahweh will be your everlasting light.

Your days of mourning shall be ended.”

You will not need the sun or the moon because the everlasting light of Yahweh will be bright enough. There still will be a sun during the day and a moon at night, but the brightness would come from Yahweh. He will be your everlasting light and your glory. This sun of Yahweh will never set. The moon of Yahweh will never hide itself. The days of mourning are over, because Yahweh is the new everlasting light.

The sentinel announces the attack (Isa 21: 6-21:10)

“Thus Yahweh said to me.

‘Go!

Post a lookout!

Let him announce

What he sees!

When he sees riders,

Horsemen in pairs,

Riders on donkeys,

Riders on camels,

Let him listen diligently,

Very diligently!’

Then the watcher cried out.

‘Upon a watchtower

I stand!

O Lord!

Continually by day!

At my post

I am stationed

Throughout the night.

Look!

There they come

Riders,

Horsemen in pairs!’

Then he responded.

‘Fallen!

Fallen is Babylon!

He has shattered on the ground

All the images of her gods!’

O my threshed one!

O my winnowed one!

What I have heard

From Yahweh of hosts,

The God of Israel,

I announce to you.”

Isaiah continues with what Yahweh had said to him. Yahweh wanted a lookout posted so that he could announce what he saw coming. This lookout person was to watch for riders on horses, camels, and donkeys as well as listen very carefully. He was to stand there during the day and the night. Then he saw the riders coming, as Babylon had fallen with all its gods shattered on the ground. This is what Isaiah had heard from Yahweh in his vision, as he announced this to all. The sentinel watchtower man was a main theme of the later 20th century Jehovah’s Witnesses with their Watchtower magazine.