The fire (Ob 1:18-1:18)

“‘The house of Jacob

Shall be a fire.

The house of Joseph

Shall be a flame.

The house of Esau

Shall be stubble.

They shall burn them.

They shall consume them.

There shall be

No survivor

Of the house of Esau.’

Yahweh has spoken.”

The house of Jacob and the house of Joseph would be like a fire or a flame.  They were going to turn Esau into a stubble, since these fiery flames would burn and consume them.  Thus, there would be no survivors in the house of Esau or Edom.  Yahweh, according to Obadiah, had spoken very clearly.

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 fiery flames (Dan 3:23-3:25)

“Now the king’s servants,

Who threw them in,

Kept stoking

The furnace

With naphtha,

Pitch,

Tow,

Brushwood.

The flames

Poured out

Above the furnace,

Forty-nine cubits.

The flames

Spread out.

They burned

Those Chaldeans

Who were caught

Near the furnace.”

Originally, the king’s servants who threw the 3 men into the furnace had died because of the flames. Either they were still alive or there were other servants to keep the fire in the furnace going. Here those same servants or other servants were also burned because the flames were 49 cubits or over 75 feet high. They were adding naphtha, pitch, tow, and brushwood to the fire. Naphtha and pitch were like peat coal or a flammable tar base. Tow and brushwood were woods that easily burned.

The melting in the furnace of Jerusalem (Ezek 22:19-22:22)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Because you have all become

Worthless dross,

I will gather you

Into the midst of Jerusalem.

As one gathers

Silver,

Bronze,

Iron,

Lead,

Tin,

Into a smelter furnace,

To blow the fire

Upon them,

In order

To melt them.

So I will gather you

In my anger,

In my wrath.

I will put you in

The furnace of Jerusalem.

I will melt you.

I will gather you

I will blow upon you

With the fire

Of my wrath.

You shall be melted

Within it.

As silver is melted

In a smelter furnace,

So you shall be melted

In it.

You shall know

That I,

Yahweh,

Have poured out

My wrath

Upon you.’”

Yahweh said that they all had become worthless dross in Jerusalem. Just like one gathers silver, bronze, iron, lead, and tin to put into a smelter furnace, so too the anger and wrath of Yahweh would gather them together. He would put them into Jerusalem to melt them with the fire of his wrath. He was going to blow fire on them, just like fire on metals in a smelter furnace. Thus they would know that Yahweh had poured out his fiery wrath upon them.

The explanation of the allegory of the vine (Ezek 15:6-15:8)

“Therefore thus says Yahweh God.

‘Like the wood

Of the vine

Among the trees

Of the forest,

That I have given

To the fire

For fuel,

So I will give up

The inhabitants

Of Jerusalem.

I will set my face

Against them.

Although they escape

From the fire,

The fire shall still

Consume them.

You shall know

That I am Yahweh,

When I set

My face

Against them.

I will make

The land desolate,

Because they have acted

Faithlessly.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh then explained this allegory or parable. Just as Yahweh had given the wood of the vine as fuel to the fire, so he has done the same to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.   Even if they escaped from this fire, the fire would still consume them. They would know that he was Yahweh, their God. He was going to make the land desolate, because they have acted faithlessly. The people of Jerusalem were strong special wood, like the vine wood. However, they were useless before the fire, and they are now even more useless after the fire. They had lost faith in Yahweh. What good were they?

Yahweh’s rejection (Jer 6:27-6:30)

“I have made you a tester.

You are a refiner among my people.

Thus you may know their ways.

You may test their ways.

They are all stubbornly rebellious.

They go about with slanders.

They are bronze.

They are iron.

All of them act corruptly.

The bellows blow fiercely.

The lead is consumed by the fire.

In vain,

The refining goes on.

The wicked are not removed.

They are called

‘Rejected silver.’

Yahweh has rejected them.”

Jeremiah was to be the tester for Yahweh. He was going to test the faithfulness of the people. Thus there is a comparison with testing metals. Jeremiah found that they were all rebellious corrupt slanderous people. He was going to test them as if they were iron or bronze. The lead was consumed in the fire but no precious metals were to be found. The wicked were not removed, so that they came up as rejected silver. Thus Yahweh has rejected these wicked people.

Yahweh against Assyria (Isa 30:31-30:33)

“The Assyrians will be terror-stricken

At the voice of Yahweh,

When he strikes with his rod.

Every stroke of the staff of punishment

That Yahweh lays upon them

Will be to the sound of timbrels,

Will be to the sound of lyres.

Battling with brandished arm,

He will fight with them.

His burning place of Topheth

Has long been prepared.

Truly,

It is made ready

For the King Molech.

Its pyre is made deep.

It is made wide.

There is fire in abundance.

There is wood in abundance.

The breath of Yahweh,

Like a stream of sulfur,

Kindles it.”

Isaiah warns Assyria that Yahweh will come after them. The Assyrians would be afraid of the voice of Yahweh. However, it is the stick or rod in his strong arm that they really have to fear. While music played, the clanging timbrels and the sweet sounding lyres, Yahweh would punish them. He had long prepared to light the fire that would destroy them. The burning place would be like Topheth, the ancient burning sacrifice place outside Jerusalem, where there were sacrifices to the Canaanite god king Molech. The abundant wood pile was prepared. All it needed was the sulfur breath of Yahweh to kindle and start this fire.