The problem of Judah (Zech 12:4-12:5)

“On that day,

Says Yahweh.

‘I will strike every horse

With panic.

I will strike its rider

With madness.

But upon the house of Judah,

I will keep a watchful eye,

When I strike every horse

Of the people

With blindness.

Then the clan leaders of Judah

Shall say to themselves.

‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem

Have strength

Through Yahweh of hosts,

Their God.’”

Once again, Yahweh declared, via Zechariah, that he was going to strike panic among the horses and their riders, who would be struck with madness.  However, the exception would be the house of Judah, because Yahweh kept a watchful eye on them.  When many of the people would be struck blind, then the various clan leaders of Judah would realize that the people of Jerusalem had great strength through Yahweh, their God.

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Saving both the north and the south (Zech 10:6-10:7)

“I will strengthen

The house of Judah.

I will save

The house of Joseph.

I will bring them back

Because I have compassion on them.

They shall be

As though I had not rejected them.

I am Yahweh,

Their God.

I will answer them.

Then the people of Ephraim

Shall become like warriors.

Their hearts shall be glad

As with wine.

Their children

Shall see it.

They shall rejoice.

Their hearts shall exult

In Yahweh.”

Yahweh, here in Zechariah, assumed the first person singular.  He was going to strengthen and save the house of Judah and Joseph, because he was going to bring them back in a compassionate way.  They were going to be, as if they had never been rejected.  Yahweh was clear.  He was their God.  Thus, he would answer them.  He would be particularly kind to the northern people in Ephraim.  They would become like warriors with wine filled glad hearts.  Their children would see what was going on and be happy as they exulted in Yahweh.

The explanation of Yahweh about this killing (Ezek 9:8-9:10)

“While they were killing,

I was left alone.

I fell prostrate

On my face.

I cried.

‘Ah Yahweh God!

Will you destroy

All who remain

Of Israel

As you pour out

Your wrath

Upon Jerusalem?’

Then he said to me.

‘The guilt

Of the house of Israel

As well as

The house of Judah

Is exceedingly great.

The land is full

Of bloodshed.

The city is full

Of perversity.’

They say.

‘Yahweh has forsaken

The land.

Yahweh does not see.’

As for me,

My eye will not spare.

I will not have pity.

But I will bring down

Their deeds

Upon their heads.’”

Ezekiel was all shook up with all this killing going on. He was alone, so he prostrated his face. He cried to God. He wanted to know if everyone of the remaining Israelites would be destroyed. Would anybody remain in Jerusalem? Then Yahweh explained to him that the guilt of the house of Israel as well as the guilt of the house of Judah was exceedingly great. The land was full of bloodshed. The city was full of perversity. Those remaining had said that Yahweh had forsaken the land. He would not see what they were doing. However, Yahweh was clear. He was not going to spare them or have pity on them. Their own deeds brought this on their heads. Thus the annihilation of the inhabitants of Jerusalem continued.

Ezekiel lies on his right side for Judah (Ezek 4:6-4:8)

“When you have

Completed these things,

You shall lie down

A second time,

But on your right side.

You shall bear

The punishment

Of the house of Judah.

I assign you

Forty days,

One day for each year.

You shall set your face

Toward the siege of Jerusalem.

With your arm bared,

You shall prophesy

Against the city.

See!

I am putting cords

On you.

Thus you cannot turn

From one side

To the other,

Until you have completed

The days of your siege.”

When Ezekiel had finished the 390 days laying on his left side for the punishment of Israel, he was ordered to lie down a second time, but this time on his right side. He was going to bear a punishment for the house of Judah. However, this was only for 40 days, representing the famous 40 years in the wilderness from Egypt to the Promise Land. However, during this time, he was to face toward the siege of Jerusalem. In fact, he was to bear his arm and prophesy against the city of Jerusalem. To make sure that Ezekiel would do this and not move, Ezekiel had cords put on him, so that he could not switch sides. I am not sure how this worked. He was to do this until he had completed the two assignments for a total of 430 days.

The fulfilled promise (Jer 33:14-33:14)

“Says Yahweh.

‘The days

Are surely coming,

When I will fulfill

The promise

I made to

The house of Israel

As well as the house of Judah.”

Yahweh was going to fulfill his promise to the house of Israel and the house of Judah in some future time. This section seems like a later addition.

The king’s choice (Jer 22:4-22:5)

“If you will indeed obey this word,

Then through the gates of this house

Shall enter kings

Who will sit

On the throne of David.

They will ride in chariots.

They will ride on horses.

They will do this

With their servants,

With their people.

But if you will not heed these words,

I swear by myself,

Says Yahweh,

That this house

Shall become a desolation.”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, gave the king a choice. He could obey the word of Yahweh, then there would be many kings sitting on the throne of David with chariots and horses for all the people of Judah. However, if he did not listen to the word of Yahweh, Yahweh himself would make the house of Judah a desolation.

The unfaithful ones (Jer 5:10-5:11)

“Go up through her vine-rows!

Destroy them!

But do not make a full end!

Strip away her branches!

They are not Yahweh’s.

The house of Israel

Has been utterly faithless to me.

The house of Judah

Has been utterly faithless to me,’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh told Jeremiah to go into their vineyards and destroy them, but not completely. Yahweh wanted him to strip away the branches that did not belong to Yahweh. Both the house of Israel to the north and the house of Judah, in the south, had been utterly faithless to him. Yahweh was clear.