Those punished on the Day of Yahweh (Zeph 1:8-1:9)

“On the day

Of Yahweh’s sacrifice,

I will punish

The officials,

The king’s sons,

As well as

All those who dress themselves

In foreign attire.

On that day,

I will punish

Everyone

Who leaps over the threshold.

I will punish

All those who fill

Their master’s house

With violence,

With fraud.”

On the day of Yahweh’s punishing sacrifice, he was going to punish all the officials and the sons of the king.  He was going to punish anyone who was dressed in foreign attire, since they were not loyal.  He also was going to punish those who leapt over the threshold, because this was a religious practice among some idolatrous followers.  Of course, he would punish any house where there was violence and fraud in it.

Advertisements

The wicked people of the land (Ezek 22:29-22:30)

“The people of the land

Have practiced extortion.

They committed robbery.

They have oppressed

The poor.

They have oppressed

The needy.

They have extorted

From the aliens

Without redress.

I sought

For anyone

Among them

Who would repair

The wall.

I sought

For anyone

To stand

In the breach

Before me

On behalf

Of the land.

Thus I would not

Destroy it.

But I found no one.”

Not only were the officials, leaders, priests, and prophets wicked, but the people of the land themselves also practiced extortion and committed robberies. They oppressed both the poor and the needy. They extorted things from the aliens who had no judicial redress. Yahweh was looking for someone to repair the wall. He wanted someone to stand near the hole in the wall. He wanted to find someone to defend the land, so that he would not destroy it. However, he could not find anyone among the people of the land. He found no one willing to help him.

Bad things coming to those in Jerusalem (Jer 29:17-29:20)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

‘I am going to let loose on them

The sword,

Famine,

As well as pestilence.

I will make them

Like rotten figs

That are so bad

That they cannot be eaten.

I will pursue them

With the sword,

Famine,

As well as pestilence.

I will make them a horror

To all the kingdoms of the earth.

They will be an object of

Cursing,

Horror,

As well as hissing.

They will be a reproach

Among all the nations

Where I have driven them.

They did not heed my words.’

Says Yahweh.

‘When I persistently sent to you

My servants,

The prophets.

But they would not listen.’

Says Yahweh.

‘But now!

All you exiles!

Whom I sent away

From Jerusalem

To Babylon!

Hear the word of Yahweh!”

Yahweh was not going to let the people who had been left in Jerusalem off the hook. They were to suffer the fate of the sword, famine, or pestilence. They would become like rotten figs that could not be eaten, so that they would be a horror. This is almost word for word what was said in chapter 24, where Yahweh talked about the officials and people who stayed in Jerusalem and Judah, instead of going into exile. They would be cursed, horrible, and hissed wherever they went. They would suffer from the sword, famine, and pestilence because they had not listened to the words of Yahweh. Now Jeremiah warned the exiles themselves to listen to the word of Yahweh.

The deliberations about Jeremiah (Jer 26:10-26:11)

“When the officials of Judah

Heard these things,

They came up

From the king’s house

To the house of Yahweh.

They took their seat

In the entry of the New Gate

Of the house of Yahweh.

Then the priests,

With the prophets,

Said to the officials,

As wells as to all the people.

‘This man deserves

The sentence of death.

Because he has prophesied

Against this city,

As you have heard

With your own ears.’”

Next the officials of Judah heard what was going on, so they came from the king’s residence to the Temple. Then they took their seat at the entry to the New Gate, which was near the Temple or house of Yahweh. All official deliberations took place at the gate. The priests and the prophets made their presentation. They said that Jeremiah should be sentenced to death because he had prophesied against the city of Jerusalem. They had all heard it with their own ears.

The bones of the dead people (Jer 8:1-8:3)

“Says Yahweh.

‘At that time,

The bones of the kings of Judah,

The bones of its officials,

The bones of the priests,

The bones of the prophets,

The bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem

Shall be brought out of their tombs.

They shall be spread

Before the sun,

Before the moon,

Before all the host of heaven.

They have loved these heavenly bodies.

They have served them.

They have followed them.

They have inquired after them.

They have worshiped them.

Their bones shall not be gathered.

Their bones shall not be buried.

They shall be

Like dung

On the surface of the ground.

Death shall be preferred

To life

By all the remnant

That remains of this evil family

In all the places

Where I have driven them.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, speaks in ironic terms about the bones of the people of Judah and Jerusalem. The bones of all the people, whether they were the kings, the officials, the priests, the prophets, or the inhabitants of Jerusalem, would be brought out their tombs. These bones would be spread out before the sun, the moon, and the hosts of heavens. They had followed, loved, served, and worshiped these heavenly bodies. Thus their bones would not be buried, but rather scattered on the ground like dung. People would prefer death over life. This also refers to all the remaining people of this evil family, no matter where they have been driven to. Thus Yahweh has spoken about the disgrace of the people of Judah and Jerusalem.

Haman was happy (Esth 5:9-5:13)

“Haman went out that day from the king happy and in good spirits. But when he saw Mordecai the Jew in the courtyard, and observed that he neither rose nor trembled before him, he was infuriated with Mordecai. Nevertheless Haman restrained himself. He went home. Then he sent and called for his friends and his wife Zeresh. Haman recounted to them the splendor of his riches and the number of his sons. He told them about all the promotions with which the king had honored him. He explained how he had advanced above the officials and ministers of the king. Haman added.

‘Even Queen Esther let no one but me

Come with the king to the banquet that she prepared.

Tomorrow also I am invited by her,

Together with the king.

Yet all this does me no good,

As long as I see the Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate.’”

Haman was very happy as he left the king and Queen Esther. However, when he saw Mordecai in the courtyard, he was angry. Mordecai would not recognize his authority, but Haman remained calm and went home. Once at home, he called his friends and wife and told them how wonderful things were going. Haman was a rich man with many sons. He had been promoted and honored by the king. He was the second in command in the kingdom. In fact, he had been the only one invited to a dinner with the king and his wife that day and once again he was invited tomorrow. There was only one thing that really bothered him, the Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate.

The new covenant (Neh 9:38-9:38)

“Because of all this we make a firm agreement in writing. On that sealed document are inscribed the names of our officials, our Levites, and our priests.”

Apparently Nehemiah came up with the idea of a new written covenant, which is nothing more than a renewal of the old covenant, after this great prayer of Ezra. He wanted all the officials, Levites, and priests to sign it or put their seal on it. Actually King Josiah (640-609 BCE), before the Exile, had a renewal of the covenant but it was only an oral one, not written. We shall see how this written covenant works out.