Why things happen (Am 3:3-3:5)

“Do two people walk together,

Unless they have made

An appointment?

Does a lion roar

In the forest,

When it has no prey?

Does a young lion cry out

From its den,

If it has taken nothing?

Does a bird fall

Into a snare

On the earth,

When there is no trap

For it?

Does a snare spring up

From the ground,

When it has taken nothing?”

Amos asked a series of questions. Certain things happen because it is the normal thing for them to do. People who walk together have usually set up a time to do so. A lion roars in the forest when it has taken some prey. A young lion in a den has found something when it cries out. A bird does not fall into a snare if there was no trap set up. A snare does not spring up without being set. Thus, there is a natural reaction that takes place in all these cases.

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The Israelites will use Gog’s weapons for their fires (Ezek 39:9-39:10)

“‘Then those who live

In the towns

Of Israel

Will go out.

They will make fires

Of the weapons.

They will burn them,

Shields

Bucklers,

Bows

Arrows,

Hand pikes,

Spears.

They will make fires

Of them

For seven years.

They will not need

To take wood

Out of the field

Or cut down

Any tree

In the forests.

They will make

Their fires

Of the weapons.

They will despoil

Those who despoiled them.

They will plunder

Those who plundered them.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh God, via Ezekiel, said that the Israelites in the various towns would gather all the weapons from the army of Gog. They would use weapons in place of wood to keep their fires going for 7 years. They were going to burn all the equipment that they found, whether it was shields, hand bucklers, bows, arrows, pikes, or spears. Thus, they would not have to go out and collect wood for their fires. They would not have to cut down trees in the forest for their house fires. This was a form or recycling by saving the trees, since they used war weapons as fuel for your home. They would get the spoils and plunder of those who had tried to do the same to them.

The wood of the vine (Ezek 15:1-15:3)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

How does the wood

Of the vine

Surpass

All other wood?

Is the vine branch

Among the trees

Of the forest?

Is the wood

Taken from it

To make anything?

Does one take a peg

From it

To hang

Any object?’”

The word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man, about an allegory or parable of the wood of the vine. Yahweh wanted to know how the wood of the vine surpassed all other kinds of wood. These vines were not grown in the forest like the other trees, but they were usually cultivated. What could you do with the wood from the vine? There were many uses, but apparently one of the most important uses was to make pegs to hang things on.

False wooden idols (Jer 10:3-10:5)

“The customs of the people

Are false.

A tree from the forest

Is cut down.

It is worked with an ax

By the hands of an artisan.

People deck it with silver.

They deck it with gold.

They fasten it with a hammer.

They fasten it with nails.

Thus it cannot move.

Their idols are

Like scarecrows in a cucumber field.

They cannot speak.

They have to be carried.

They cannot walk.

Do not be afraid of them!

They cannot do evil.

It is not in them to do good.”

This section is a lot like that of Second Isaiah, especially chapters 40-44, against false human made idol gods. Thus this probably also comes from the later exilic times. Many people have this false custom of idol worship. He reminded them that these wooden idols come from a tree. Someone cut down the tree in the forest. Then an artisan or wood carver axed or created an image with a hammer and nails. Then they put silver and gold on it. Thus these false wooden idols cannot move. They are more like a scarecrow in a cucumber patch. They cannot talk or walk, since they have to be carried around. No one should be afraid of these scarecrow idols, since they cannot do any evil to you. However, they also cannot do any good for you either. Once again, this is an argument against the false wooden idol gods and their human makers.

The destroying animals (Jer 5:6-5:6)

“Therefore a lion from the forest

Shall kill them.

A wolf from the desert

Shall destroy them.

A leopard is watching

Against their cities.

Everyone who goes out of them

Shall be torn to pieces.

Because their transgressions are many.

Their apostasies are great.”

Due to their transgressions and the renunciation of their religious practices, the people of Jerusalem were in danger from wild animals. The lions from the forest would kill them. A wolf from the desert would destroy them. A leopard was watching them outside their cities. All of them would be torn to pieces because of their many sins and failure to worship Yahweh.

Wood as fuel (Isa 44:14-44:15)

“The carpenter cuts down cedars.

He may choose a holm tree.

He may choose an oak tree.

He lets it grow strong

Among the trees of the forest.

He plants a cedar.

The rain nourishes it.

Then it can be used as fuel.

He takes a part of it.

He warms himself.

He kindles a fire.

He bakes bread.”

Second Isaiah points out that tree wood has many uses. The most common form of Middle Eastern trees was the cedar or the oak tree, especially the holm oak. You have to let these trees grow strong among the many other trees in the forest. A cedar tree had to be nourished by rain. When it is chopped down, it could be used as fuel to warm oneself. You could also start a fire in order to bake bread.

Yahweh controls time (Ps 104:19-104:23)

“You have made the moon to mark the seasons.

The sun knows it’s time for setting.

You make darkness.

It is night.

Then all the animals of the forest come creeping out.

The young lions roar for their prey.

They seek their food from God.

When the sun rises,

They withdraw.

They lie down in their dens.

People go out to their work.

They labor until the evening.”

Everything has a purpose. God made the moon to mark the seasons and the sun to mark the days. Thus there is night and darkness. The sun rises and sets which is perfectly correct with a flat earth concept of the world. The earth does not move around the sun. God makes the darkness. During this darkness, the animals of the forest can creep around, while the young lions can seek their prey that is food that comes from God. It almost sounds like the lions recognize God. When the sun rises on the next day, the lions return to their dens. Then the people go out to work until the evening time.