Speak the truth (Zech 8:16-8:17)

“‘These are the things

That you shall do.

Speak the truth

To one another!

Render at your gates

Judgments that are true!

Make for peace!

Do not devise evil

In your hearts

Against one another!

Love no false oath!

All these are things

That I hate.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh laid out what they should do.  They were to speak the truth to one another.  When they rendered judgments at the gates, they were to be true decisions.  They were to make peace, and not discord.  They were not to devise evil in their hearts against each other.  They should not deliver any false oaths.  These were all the things that Yahweh hated, since truth was paramount.

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Wailing for the countryside of Judah (Mic 1:8-1:9)

“I will lament!

I will wail!

I will go barefoot!

I will go naked!

I will make lamentations

Like the jackals!

I will mourn

Like the ostriches!

Her wound is incurable.

It has come to Judah.

It has reached

To the gate

Of my people,

To Jerusalem.”

Next Micah lamented and wailed about the countryside around Jerusalem.  Micah was going to go barefooted and naked in his lamentation, just like the jackals or the ostriches that put their head in the sand.  This was an incurable wound to Judah that had reached the gates of Jerusalem, the holy people.

The terrible actions of Edom (Ob 1:10-1:11)

“The slaughter

With the violence

Done to your brother Jacob

Means that shame

Shall cover you!

You shall be cut off forever!

On the day

That you stood aside,

On the day

That strangers

Carried off his wealth,

On the day

That foreigners

Entered his gates,

On the day

That they cast lots

For Jerusalem,

You too were

Like one of them.”

For all the violence and slaughter that was done to Edom’s brother Jacob, shame would come upon the Edomites.  They would be cut off forever.  In other words, these Edomites were as guilty as the strangers who attacked Jerusalem.  On that day of attack on the holy city, when the foreigners and strangers entered the gates of Jerusalem and took their wealth, the Edomites were like the attackers who were casting lots for Jerusalem.  They were just like these invaders in their complicity.  They did nothing to help the people of Jerusalem and Judah.

The correct linen holy vestments or garments (Ezek 44:17-44:19)

“When they enter

The gates

Of the inner court,

They shall wear

Linen vestments.

They shall have nothing

Of wool on them,

While they minister

At the gates

Of the inner court,

As well as within.

They shall have

Linen turbans

On their heads.

They shall have

Linen undergarments

On their loins.

They shall not

Bind themselves

With anything

That causes sweat.

When they go out

Into the outer court

To the people,

They shall remove

The vestments

In which

They have been ministering,

They shall lay them

In the holy chambers.

They shall put on

Other garments,

So that they may not

Communicate holiness

To the people

With their vestments.”

When these Zadok Levitical priests entered the gates of the inner court, they had to wear certain garments or vestments made of linen when they ministered to Yahweh. They could not have anything made of wool on them, when they were in the inner court. They would have to wear linen turbans on their heads. They also would have to wear linen underwear. They could not wear any binding clothes, anything that would make them sweat. When they went out to the outer court, they had to change clothes. They were not allowed to communicate holiness to the people in the outer court with their holy vestments. Thus, the holy linen garments were kept in the holy chambers or rooms.

The punishment for the idol loving Levite ministers (Ezek 44:10-44:12)

“‘But the Levites,

Who went far from me,

Going astray

From me

After their idols,

When Israel went astray,

Shall bear

Their punishment.

They shall be ministers

In my sanctuary,

Having oversight

At the gates

Of the temple.

They shall serve

In the temple.

They shall slaughter

The burnt offerings.

They shall slaughter

The sacrifices

For the people.

They shall attend

On them.

They shall serve them.

Because they ministered

To them

Before their idols,

They made

The house of Israel

Stumble into iniquity.

Therefore,

I have sworn concerning them.

They shall bear their punishment.’

Says Yahweh God!”

In a diatribe against the Levitical priests who had served idols in the high places, Yahweh was upset. However, his punishment was merely lowly menial tasks in the Temple, not a drastic death sentence. These Levites had sinned because they had led Israel astray with their idol worshipping. They made Israel stumble into iniquity. Thus, they were to be punished. They would only have oversight at the gates to the Temple, not in the sanctuary. They also would slaughter the burnt offerings and other sacrifices. They would continue to minister to Yahweh and his people, but only in the more pedestrian roles. This seems like a mild form of punishment for idol worship and leading the Israelites astray.

The outer court (Ezek 40:17-40:19

“Then he brought me

To the outer court.

There were chambers there.

There was a pavement,

All around the court.

Thirty chambers

Fronted on the pavement.

The pavement

Ran along

The side of the gates.

They corresponded

To the length

Of the gates.

This was the lower pavement.

Then he measured

The distance

From the inner front

Of the lower gate

To the outer front

Of the inner court,

One hundred cubits.”

Then the bronze man brought Ezekiel to the outer court, where there were 30 chambers with a pavement all around the court. These chambers looked out on the pavement that ran along the side of the gates. The length of this lower pavement was the same as the gates themselves. The bronze man measured the distance from the inner front of the lower gate to the outer front of the inner court, 100 cubits or over 165 feet, the largest measurement so far.

Against Tyre (Ezek 26:1-26:2)

“In the eleventh year,

On the first day

Of the month,

The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Tyre said

Concerning Jerusalem.

‘Aha!

Broken is

The gateway

Of the people.

It has swung open

To me.

I shall be replenished,

Now that is wasted.’”

The time for this oracle to Ezekiel, the son of man, was the 11th year of King Zedekiah, which would have been 587 BCE. The Greek translation has a mention of a month that would put it into 586 BCE. Tyre was a Phoenician costal island city that still exists in southern Lebanon, well known for its maritime trade. Actually, it would have been part of the old Israelite territory of Asher. Here, the people of Tyre seemed to have laughed at Jerusalem when the gates of that city fell. Instead of being an ally of Jerusalem, they turned against them. They took advantage of the bad situation in Jerusalem. Isaiah, also, had a long diatribe against both Tyre and Sidon in chapter 23.