The bad leaders (Zeph 3:3-3:4)

“The officials within her

Are roaring lions.

Her judges

Are evening wolves.

They leave nothing

Until the morning.

Her prophets

Are reckless persons.

They are faithless persons.

Her priests

Have profaned

What is sacred.

They have done violence

To the law.”

Zephaniah rebuked not only the city, but the leaders in the city of Jerusalem.  Their officials were like roaring lions.  Their judges were like evening wolves preying on people at night.  Their prophets were reckless faithless people.  Their priests profaned the sacred things, by doing violence to the law of Yahweh.

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The sacrifices at Bethel (Am 4:4-4:5)

“‘Come to Bethel!

Transgress!

Go to Gilgal!

Multiply transgressions!

Bring your sacrifices

Every morning!

Bring your tithes

Every three days!

Bring a thank offering

Of leavened bread!

Proclaim freewill offerings!

Publish them!

You love to do this!

O people of Israel!’

Says Yahweh God.”

Amos has another oracle of Yahweh that was an ironic description of the sacrifices at Bethel and Gilgal. Yahweh wanted them to come to either Bethel or Gilgal, so that they could transgress the law of Yahweh many times. Ironically, he wanted them to bring the daily morning sacrifices and pay their tithes every 3 days. They were to bring thanksgiving offerings and proclaim freewill offerings. The people of Israel loved to do this.

Against Judah (Am 2:4-2:5)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘For three transgressions

Of Judah,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

Because they have rejected

The law of Yahweh.

They have not kept

His statutes.

But they have been

Led astray

By the same lies

After which their ancestors

Walked.

So,

I will send a fire

On Judah.

It shall devour

The strongholds

Of Jerusalem.’”

Next, Yahweh turned to Judah, his most favorite territory. Yahweh, via Amos, invoked the same language as he had used against Damascus, the Philistines, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, and Moab. He also used the same non-forgiving numeric formula of 3 and 4, as in Proverbs, chapter 30. Judah had rejected the law of Yahweh, as they had failed to keep its statutes. They had been led astray by the same lies that their ancestors had followed. Thus, Yahweh was going to send fire on Judah. In particular, he would devour their fortresses in Jerusalem.

Yahweh explains why he is doing this (Jer 9:13-9:14)

“Yahweh says.

‘They have forsaken my law

That I set before them.

They have not obeyed my voice.

They have not walked in accordance with it.

But they have stubbornly followed

Their own hearts.

They have gone after the Baals,

As their ancestors taught them.”

Yahweh explains why this punishment was about to take place. They simply have forsaken the law of Yahweh that he set before them. They have not obeyed his voice. They have not walked according to his ways. They have stubbornly followed their own hearts. They went to the pagan idol gods of Baal, like their ancestors. Yahweh clearly explained his reasoning.

The law and the scribes (Jer 8:8-8:9)

“How can you say?

‘We are wise.

The law of Yahweh is with us.’

When,

In fact,

The false pen of the scribes

Has made it into a lie.

The wise

Shall be put to shame.

They shall be dismayed.

They shall be taken.

They have rejected

The word of Yahweh.

What wisdom is in them?”

Jeremiah complaints against the false written interpretations of the law by the scribes. They proclaim that they are the wise ones because they understand the law of Yahweh. However, they have turned it into a lie with their false writings. They will be dismayed and put to shame. They cannot be wise if they have rejected the word of Yahweh.