The conversion of other people (Zeph 3:9-3:10)

“At that time,

I will change

The speech of the people

To a pure speech.

All of them

May call

On the name of Yahweh.

They will serve him

With one accord.

From beyond the rivers

Of Ethiopia,

My suppliants,

My scattered ones,

Shall bring my offering.”

Yahweh, via Zephaniah, seems to indicate that there will be a universal conversion to Yahweh.  He was going to change the varieties of speech into one pure language, so that all would call upon the name of Yahweh and serve him together.  This was a very utopian ideal.  All his scattered people would come from beyond the Ethiopian rivers to bring offerings to him.

The new ruler of Israel (Mic 5:3-5:4)

“Therefore,

He shall give them up

Until the time

When she who is in labor

Has brought forth.

Then the rest

Of his brethren

Shall return

To the people of Israel.

He shall stand.

He shall feed his flock

In the strength of Yahweh,

In the majesty

Of the name of Yahweh,

His God.

They shall live secure.

Now he shall be great

To the ends of the earth.

He shall be the one of peace.”

Next Micah gave a description of this new Israelite ruler.  Apparently, this would take place after a long process of pregnancy labor.  Then the new ruler would be born when the rest of the people of Israel returned.  This new ruler would stand with them and feed them like his own flock.  He would stand in the majesty and strength of the name of Yahweh, his God.  They then would live secure.  This new ruler would be great, since he would be a man of peace, known to the ends of the earth.  It is easy to see why many of the early Christians applied this passage to Jesus of Nazareth, born in Bethlehem.

No one left in the house (Am 6:9-6:10)

“If ten people remain

In one house,

They shall die.

If a relative,

One who burns

The dead,

Shall take up the body

To bring it

Out of the house,

Shall say to someone

In the innermost parts

Of the house,

‘Is there still anyone else

With you?’

The answer will come.

‘No!’

Then the relative will say.

‘Hush!

We must not mention

The name of Yahweh.’”

Amos pointed out that the destruction would be complete. If there were 10 people in any house, they would all die. If a relative came along to burn the bodies of the dead, he would call out to see if there was anyone left in the house. If the answer was no, then this relative would say to anyone around that they should not mention the name of Yahweh, in case they might be struck down also.

Remember your evil ways (Ezek 20:43-20:44)

“‘There you shall remember

Your ways.

There you shall remember

All the deeds

By which

You have polluted yourselves.

You shall loathe yourselves

For all the evils

That you have committed.

You shall know

That I am Yahweh,

When I deal

With you

For my name’s sake.

I will deal with you

Not according

To your evil ways,

Not according

To your corrupt doings.

O house of Israel!’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh told the house of Israel that they should remember their evil ways and wicked deeds. They had polluted themselves. Now they should loathe themselves for all the evils that they had committed. They should know that it was Yahweh that they were dealing with. Because of the name of Yahweh, Yahweh was going to deal with them, but not according to their evil ways or their corrupt activities.

The prophet Uriah (Jer 26:20-26:20)

“There was another man

Prophesying

In the name of Yahweh.

This was Uriah,

The son of Shemaiah,

From Kiriath-jearim.

He prophesied

Against this city,

Also against this land,

In words exactly

Like those of Jeremiah.”

Uriah the prophet was from Kiriath-jearim, about 10 miles from Jerusalem. He had prophesied in the name of Yahweh against Jerusalem and Judah in almost the same words as Jeremiah had done, since he was almost a contemporary of Jeremiah. This Uriah is not the same as Uriah, the Hittite husband of Bathsheba in 2 Samuel, chapters 11-12, that David had killed. We know very little about this prophet Uriah, except what is here in Jeremiah. What happened to him is a little different than the fate of Jeremiah.

The confrontation with Jeremiah (Jer 26:8-26:9)

“When Jeremiah had finished

Speaking everything

That Yahweh had commanded him

To speak

To all the people,

Then the priests,

The prophets,

With all the people

Laid hold of him.

Saying.

‘You shall die!

Why have you prophesied

In the name of Yahweh?

Saying.

‘This house shall be

Like Shiloh.

This city shall be desolate,

Without inhabitants.’

All the people gathered

Around Jeremiah

In the house of Yahweh.”

When Jeremiah had finished speaking what Yahweh had asked him to say to the people of Judah, the priests and the prophets were upset. They said that Jeremiah should die. Why had he prophesied in the name of Yahweh? Why did he compare Jerusalem to Shiloh? Why did he say that Jerusalem would be an abandoned city? Thus all the people gathered around Jeremiah in the Temple to confront him.

 

The personal plea of Jeremiah (Jer 15:15-15:18)

“Yahweh!

You know me!

Remember me!

Visit me!

Bring down retribution for me

On my persecutors!

In your forbearance,

Do not take me away!

Know that on your account

I suffer insult!

Your words were found.

I ate them.

Your words became to me a joy.

Your words became the delight of my heart.

I am called by your name.

O Yahweh!

God of hosts!

I did not sit in the company of merrymakers.

But I did rejoice

Under the weight of your hand.

I sat alone.

You had filled me with indignation.

Why is my pain unceasing?

Why is my wound incurable?

Why has my wound refused to be healed?

Truly you are to me

Like a deceitful brook,

Like waters that fail.”

Jeremiah pleaded with Yahweh to remember and visit him. Jeremiah wanted his persecutors to get retribution. He wanted to be saved. He indicated that he had suffered insults because of the name of Yahweh. Jeremiah had eaten the words of Yahweh that were a joyful delight to him. He had called on the name of Yahweh. He has never sat in the company of merrymakers. Rather he often sat alone, because of his indignation. However, Jeremiah continued to suffer continuing pain that was not healing. He thought that Yahweh was like a deceitful stream where the waters had stopped running. Jeremiah was a little upset at Yahweh.

The people of Anathoth (Jer 11:21-11:23)

“Therefore thus says Yahweh

Concerning the people of Anathoth.

‘They seek your life.

They say.

‘You shall not prophesy

In the name of Yahweh!

Otherwise you will die by our hand.’

Therefore thus says Yahweh of hosts.

‘I am going to punish them!

The young men shall die

By the sword!

Their sons shall die

By famine!

Their daughters shall die

By famine!

Not even a remnant shall be left of them.

I will bring disaster

Upon the people of Anathoth,

In the year of their punishment.’”

Yahweh responded to Jeremiah about his problems with the people of Anathoth, a Levitical city in the territory of Benjamin, about 3 miles north of Jerusalem, where Jeremiah was originally from. Thus the idea that a prophet is not accepted in his own home town. Apparently Jeremiah must have had some run in with the people there, since they told Jeremiah to stop prophesying in the name of Yahweh or else he would die. Yahweh responded that he was going to punish them. The young men would die by the sword, while their children, sons and daughters, would die of a famine. No one would be left at Anathoth because Yahweh was going to bring a disaster upon them in the unspecified year of their punishment.

The word of God (Jer 11:1-11:3)

“The word came

To Jeremiah

From Yahweh.

‘Hear the words of this covenant!

Speak to the people of Judah!

Speak to the inhabitants of Jerusalem!

You shall say to them!

Thus says Yahweh!

The God of Israel.’”

Yahweh is very clear when he was speaking to Jeremiah as the word came directly from him. Yahweh wanted Jeremiah to speak to the people of Judah and Jerusalem about the words of the covenant. Jeremiah was to proclaim that he was speaking in the name of Yahweh, the God of Israel.