The judgment on the neighbors (Jer 12:14-12:17)

“Thus says Yahweh

Concerning all my evil neighbors

Who touch the heritage

That I have given

My people Israel to inherit.

‘I am about to pluck them up

From their land.

I will pluck up

The house of Judah

from among them.

After I have plucked them up,

I will again have compassion on them.

I will bring them again

To their heritage,

To their land.

Then if they will diligently learn

The ways of my people,

To swear by my name,

‘As Yahweh lives!’

As they taught my people

To swear by Baal,

Then they shall be built up

In the midst of my people.

But if any nation will not listen,

Then I will completely uproot it.

I will destroy it.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh gave a warning to the evil neighbors of Judah. They were not to touch the inherited land of the Israelite people, despite his anger at them. He was going to pluck up the people of Judah from their land. However, he was going to later have compassion on them, since he was going to bring all of them back to their land and their heritage. This would happen after they had learned the ways of Yahweh, just as they learned the evil ways of Baal. They had to swear by the living God, Yahweh. They would be built up among his people. However, if any nation did not listen, then Yahweh would then uproot and destroy them also. This clearly was an oracle of Yahweh, via Jeremiah, that showed his compassion for Judah, despite everything.

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The new heaven and new earth (Isa 66:22-66:23)

“‘I will make the new heavens.

I will make the new earth.

They shall remain before me.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Your descendants will remain.

Your name shall remain.

From new moon to new moon,

From Sabbath to Sabbath,

All flesh shall come to worship

Before me.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh says that there will be a new heaven and new earth, where the Israelite name and their descendants will remain, month after month, week after week. All people will come to worship Yahweh.

The glorious priest Simon (Sir 50:5-50:10)

“How glorious he was!

He was surrounded

By the people.

He came out

Of the inner sanctuary.

He came out

Of house of the curtain.

He was

Like the morning star

Among the clouds,

Like the full moon

At the festal season,

Like the sun shining

On the temple of the Most High,

Like the rainbow

Gleaming in splendid clouds,

Like roses

In the days of the first fruits,

Like lilies

By a spring of water,

Like a green shoot on Lebanon

On a summer day,

Like fire with incense

In the censer,

Like a vessel

Of hammered gold

Studded with all kinds

Of precious stones,

Like an olive tree

Laden with fruit,

Like a cypress

Towering in the clouds.”

Sirach has a description of how glorious the high priest Simon looked as he was surrounded by the Israelite people when he came out of the sanctuary. He was like the morning star in the clouds, like a full moon at the festivals, like the sun shining on the Lord’s Temple, like the rainbow in the clouds, like early roses, like lilies by a water stream, like green branches of Lebanon on a summer day, like fire and incense in a Temple censer, like hammered gold with precious stones, like a blossoming olive tree, and like a cypress tree reaching to the clouds. Sirach used a lot of metaphors to explain the good looks of this high priest.

Defeat our current enemies (Ps 83:13-83:18)

“O my God!

Make them like whirling dust!

Make them like chaff before the wind.

As fire consumes the forest,

As the flame sets the mountains ablaze,

So pursue them with your tempest!

Terrify them with your hurricane!

Fill their faces with shame!

Thus they may seek your name.

Yahweh!

Let them be put to shame!

Let them be dismayed forever!

Let them perish in disgrace!

Let them know that you alone,

Whose name is Yahweh,

Are the Most High over all the earth.”

This psalm ends with a call for Yahweh to do as he had done in the past. Very specifically this psalmist wants Yahweh to make all the Israelite enemies like whirling dust or chaff before the wind. He wanted them burned like a forest or mountain fire. He wanted them pursued and terrified like in a hurricane. They were to be filled with shame. They were to die in disgrace. They were to know that there was only one God, Yahweh, who ruled the earth. In a certain sense, this prayer was a curse to the present and traditional enemies of Israel.