Let the earth bless God (Dan 3:52-3:54)

“Let the earth

Bless the Lord!

Let it sing praise

To him!

Let it highly exalt him forever!      

Bless the Lord!

Mountains!

Hills!

Sing praise to him!

Highly exalt him forever!   

Bless the Lord!

All things that grow

On the earth!

Sing praise to him!

Highly exalt him forever!”

Now this hymn turns to the earthly situation. The earth, the mountains, the hills, and all things that grow on earth should bless the Lord. They should sing praises and exalt him, because they are under his control.

 

All of Israel should listen (Ezek 36:4-36:4)

“Therefore,

O mountains of Israel!

Hear the word

Of Yahweh God!

‘Thus says Yahweh God

To the mountains,

To the hills,

To the water streams,

To the valleys,

To the desolate wastes,

To the deserted towns.

They have become

A source of plunder,

An object of derision

To the rest

Of the nations

All around.’”

Although Yahweh God, via Ezekiel, was speaking to the mountains of Israel, this also included the hills, the water streams, the valleys, the desolate wastes, and the deserted towns. Thus, he was speaking to all the Israelites, no matter where they lived. All these places in Israel had become a source of plunder and an object of derision to all the other countries around them.

The survivors (Ezek 7:16-7:18)

“If any survivors escape,

They will be found

On the mountains,

Like doves

Of the valleys.

All of them

Will be moaning

Over their iniquity.

All hands

Shall grow feeble.

All knees

Shall turn to water.

They shall put on

Sackcloth.

Horror

Shall cover them.

Shame shall be

On all faces.

Baldness shall be

On all their heads.”

Instead of being taken captive, these survivors escaped and headed to the hills. They could be found in the mountains, like droves of valley doves. They would all be moaning over their iniquity. However, their hands would grow feeble, while their knees would turn to jelly or water. They would put on sackcloth, as if in mourning. Horror would cover them. Shame would be all over their faces. They would have shaved bald heads. These survivors would not be a happy lot, even if they were alive.

Against the Israelite mountain high places (Ezek 6:1-6:3)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Set your face

Toward the mountains

Of Israel!

Prophesy against them!

Say!

You mountains of Israel!

Hear the word of Yahweh God!

Thus says Yahweh God

To the mountains,

To the hills,

To the ravines,

To the valleys.

I!

I myself!

Will bring a sword

Upon you.

I will destroy

Your high places.’”

The oracles or words of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man, personally. He was to prophesy against the mountains of Israel. Yahweh gave him the words to say to the mountains. However, there was an extension from just the mountains to include the hills, the ravines, and even the valleys. Yahweh himself was going to bring a sword, in order to destroy all the high places, where the worship or cultic practices for the various false gods, particularly Baal, took place.

They will be ashamed (Jer 13:25-13:27)

“Says Yahweh.

‘This is your lot.

This is the portion

I have measured out to you.

Because you have forgotten me.

You trusted in lies.

I myself will lift up your skirts

Over your face.

Your shame will be seen.

I have seen your abominations.

I have seen your adulteries.

I have seen your neighing.

I have seen your shameless prostitution

On the hills of the countryside.

Woe to you!

O Jerusalem!

How long will it be

Before you are made clean?’”

Yahweh was really upset, as Jeremiah indicates. Yahweh has chosen their lot and measured the size of it. They had forgotten Yahweh, but trusted in lies. Thus Yahweh was going to violate them by lifting up their skirts over their face, so that everyone could see the shame of their nakedness. Yahweh had seen enough of their abominations that included adultery, complaining, and senseless prostitution on the hills in the countryside. Thus Yahweh issued his curse on them. He had no idea how long it would take to make them clean.

The repentance (Jer 3:21-3:23)

“A voice on the bare heights

Is heard.

The plaintive weeping of Israel’s children

Is heard.

Because they have perverted their ways.

They have forgotten Yahweh

Their God.

‘Return!

O faithless children!

I will heal your faithlessness.’

‘Here we come to you.

You are Yahweh

Our God.

Truly the hills

Are a delusion.

The orgies on the mountains

Are a delusion.

Truly in Yahweh our God

Is the salvation of Israel.’”

The weeping of the children of Israel can be heard on the mountains from the useless pagan sites. They admit that they had perverted their ways. They had forgotten Yahweh, their God. Jeremiah wants these faithless children to return to Yahweh, their God, since they would be healed. In a remarkable response, these Israelites cry out that the hills and the orgies on the mountains were a delusion. They wanted to return to Yahweh, the God of salvation for Israel.

Against fertility cults (Isa 57:5-57:6)

“You burn with lust

Among the oak trees,

Under every green tree.

You slaughter your children

In the valleys

Under the clefts of the rocks.

Among the smooth stones of the valley

Is your portion.

They are your lot.

You have poured out a drink offering

To them.

You have brought a cereal offering

To them.

Shall I be appeased for these things?”

Third Isaiah strongly speaks out against the persistent fertility cults among the Israelites. They lusted among the green oak trees that were considered fertility oak trees. They killed their children among the valley gods under the caves in the rocks. They brought drink offerings and cereal offerings to the altar of these gods of the hills and the valleys. What was Yahweh to do with them? How would he be appeased?