Against the Assyrians (Zeph 2:13-2:14)

“Yahweh will stretch out

His hand

Against the north.

He will destroy

Assyria.

He will make

Nineveh

A desolation,

A dry waste,

Like the desert.

Herds shall lie down in it.

Every wild animal

Shall lie down in it.

The desert owl,

The screech owl

Shall lodge

On its capitals

The owl shall hoot

At the window.

The raven shall croak

On the threshold.

Its cedar works

Will be laid bare.”

Yahweh was going to stretch out his hand to destroy the enemy of Israel to the north, the Assyrians.  He had just punished the people on the west, the Philistines, the people on the east, the Moabites and the Ammonites, and the people to the south, the Ethiopians.  Yahweh was going to make northern Nineveh a desolate wasteland desert.   Every kind of wild animal and various herds would live there.  A variety of owls would nest in their ornate towers.  Owls would hoot at their windows, while ravens would croak at their doorsteps.  All their cedar wood work would be open to the weather.

The sentinel who fails to sound the trumpet (Ezek 33:6-33:6)

“But if the sentinel

Sees

The sword coming,

But he does not blow

The trumpet,

So that the people

Are not warned,

The sword comes.

The sword takes

Any one of them.

They are taken away

In their iniquity.

However,

I will require

Their blood

At the sentinel’s hand.”

Now we see the reverse. What if the sentinel or watchman failed to sound the trumpet when the enemy with the sword was coming upon them? This time, the people were not warned. The enemy sword came and took them away. The blood of these people was on the sentinel, not on the people avoiding the warning. There was no warning. Thus, it was the fault of the sentinel, so that their blood was on his hands.

The response to the trumpet blast (Ezek 33:4-33:5)

“Then if anyone

Who hears the sound

Of the trumpet

Does not take the warning,

The sword comes.

The sword takes them away.

Their blood shall be

Upon their own heads.

They heard

The sound

Of the trumpet,

But they did not

Take the warning.

Their blood shall be

Upon themselves.

But if they had taken warning,

They would have saved

Their lives.”

What were you to do when the trumpet sounded? If anyone heard the sound of the trumpet about the impending coming of the enemy with the sword, and did pay attention to this warning, it was his own fault. When the sword came, and took them away, their blood would be on their own heads, since they had not heeded the warning of the trumpet blast. If they had taken the warning from the sentinel’s trumpet, they could have saved their own lives.

The sentinel sounds the trumpet (Ezek 33:3-33:3)

“If the sentinel

Sees

The sword coming

Upon the land,

He blows the trumpet.

He warns the people.”

This was pretty simple. The role of the sentinel or the watch person was to sound the trumpet if he saw the enemy coming with a sword into the land. He then warned the people about the impending danger. The Jehovah Witness Christian group have a magazine that they distribute called the “Watch Tower.”

The great fire (Lam 2:3-2:3)

Gimel

“He has cut down,

In fierce anger,

All the might

Of Israel.

He has withdrawn

His right hand

From them

In the face

Of the enemy.

He has burned

Like a flaming fire

In Jacob,

Consuming all around.”

Yahweh was so angry that he cut down the might of Israel. He withdrew his supporting hand so that the enemy was able to succeed. He destroyed everything that belonged to Jacob by burning it up. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Gimel. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

 

The weeping Jerusalem (Lam 1:16-1:16)

Ayin

“I weep

For these things.

My eyes

Flow with tears.

A comforter is

Far from me.

There is no one

To revive

My courage.

My children are

Desolate.

The enemy has

Prevailed.”

Once again, we have Jerusalem speaking in the first person singular, weeping and crying with eyes filled with tears. There is no one to comfort or revive her courage. They all seem so far away. Her children are desolate because the enemy has won. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Ayin. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

The unclean Jerusalem (Lam 1:9-1:9)

Tet

“Her uncleanness was

In her skirts.

She took no thought

Of her future.

Her downfall was

Appalling.

She had no one

To comfort her.

‘O Yahweh!

Look

At my affliction!

The enemy

Has triumphed!’”

Jerusalem’s skirts were unclean. She never thought about her future. Her downfall was appalling. No one was there to comfort her. Then suddenly, Jerusalem begins to speak or address Yahweh. Jerusalem wanted Yahweh to look at her affliction and what the enemy had done to her. Instead of lamenting about Jerusalem, Jerusalem now lamented about itself. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Tet. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.