The blessings of the heavenly bodies (Dan 3:40-3:41)

“Bless the Lord!

Sun!

Moon!

Sing praise to him!

Highly exalt him forever!   

Bless the Lord!

Stars of heaven!

Sing praise to him!

Highly exalt him forever!”

Just like the heavenly beings with God, so too the sun, the moon, and the stars of heaven were to sing praise to God and highly exalt him forever.

The darkening of the skies (Ezek 32:7-32:8)

“‘When I blot you out,

I will cover

The heavens.

I will make

Their stars dark.

I will cover

The sun

With a cloud.

The moon shall

Not give its light.

I will darken

Above you

All the bright lights

Of the heavens.

I will put darkness

On your land.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh God, via Ezekiel, said that he was going to blot out the Pharaoh. He was going to close off the heavens also. He was going to make the stars dark and cover the sun with a cloud. Meanwhile, the moon would not give any light. All the bright lights of the heavens would go dark over the land of Egypt.

The weak idols compared to the heavenly bodies (Bar 6:66-6:67)

“These weak idols

Can neither curse

Nor bless kings.

They cannot show signs

In the heavens

For the nations.

They cannot shine

Like the sun.

They cannot give light

Like the moon.”

Once again, this shows the weakness of these false idols, since they can neither curse nor bless kings. They cannot show signs in the heavens for the various nations. They cannot shine like the sun. They cannot give light like the moon. Instead of berating the nature gods of the sun or the moon, this author praises them. His emphasis was on those weak wooden man made false idols. Notice that this author believes that the moon gives light. In fact, we often still speak of moonlight. When in fact, the light from the moon is really a reflection of the sun.

The bad living conditions

“We get our bread

At the peril

Of our lives,

Because of the sword

In the wilderness.

Our skin is black

As an oven

From the scorching heat

Of famine.”

Once again in the first person plural, they complain about their living conditions. They have trouble getting bread. They are afraid of the wilderness, because they could die there. Their skin is turning black from the sun with famine all around them. Black skin was considered bad.

The moaning and mourning in Moab (Jer 48:36-48:37)

“Therefore my heart

Moans for Moab,

Like a flute.

My heart moans

Like a flute

For the people

Of Kir-heres.

The riches

That they had gained,

Has perished.

Every head

Is shaved.

Every beard

Is cut off.

On all the hands,

There are gashes.

On the loins,

There are sack cloths.”

Yahweh’s heart moans for Moab like a flute. The same is true of the people of Kir-heres, a major city in Moab, dedicated to the sun. All the richness that Moab had attained has now perished. Their heads are shaven and their beards are cut off. Their hands are all gashed, as they are also wearing sackcloth. These were all the signs of someone in mourning.

Listen to God (Jer 10:1-10:2)

“Hear the word

That Yahweh speaks to you!

O house of Israel!

Thus says Yahweh.

‘Do not learn

The ways of the nations!

Do not be dismayed

At the signs of the heavens!

The nations

Are dismayed at them.’”

Jeremiah and the house of Israel were told to listen to the word of Yahweh, God. They were not to learn the ways of other nations that followed the heavenly signs, a reference to the worship of stars, the moon, the sun, and comets. Many nations are dismayed by them, and thus worship them.

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.