The cry of Ezekiel at the death of Pelatiah (Ezek 11:13-11:13)

“Now

While I was prophesying,

Pelatiah,

The son of Benaiah,

Died.

Then I fell down

On my face.

I cried

With a loud voice.

I said.

‘O Lord God!

Will you make

A full end

Of the remnant of Israel?’”

There is a strange cry of Ezekiel about the death of Pelatiah, the son of Benaiah, who was one of the wicked ones mentioned earlier in this chapter. He died while Ezekiel was prophesying. It is not clear why Ezekiel was so upset. Nevertheless, Ezekiel fell down with his face to the ground and cried out loudly. He wanted to know if this was the end of the remnant of Israel. Would no one be left in Israel?

The wicked ones (Ezek 3:18-3:19)

“‘If I say

To the wicked ones,

‘You shall surely die.’

Then they shall die.

If you give them

No warning,

If you did not speak

To warn

The wicked ones

From their wicked way,

In order

To save their lives,

Those wicked people

Shall die

For their iniquity.

But I will require

Their blood

At your hand.

However,

If you did warn

The wicked ones,

But they did not turn

From their wickedness,

Or from

Their wicked ways,

They shall die

For their iniquity.

But you will have saved

Your life.’”

Yahweh told Ezekiel what would happen to him and the wicked people. If Yahweh said that a wicked person would die, they would die. However, if Ezekiel had not warned them to avoid their wicked ways to make them safe, then not only would the wicked ones die, because they deserved to die due to their iniquity, then Ezekiel would also have their blood on his hands. On the other hand, if Ezekiel warned the wicked ones, but they did not turn from their wickedness, they would die, but Ezekiel would save his life.

The wicked ones (Isa 57:3-57:4)

“But as for you!

Come here!

You children of a sorceress!

You offspring of an adulterer!

You offspring of a whore!

Whom are you mocking?

Against whom

Do you open your mouth wide?

Against whom

Do you stick out your tongue?

Are you not

The children of transgression?

Are you not

The offspring of deceit?”

Now Third Isaiah has a tirade against the wicked Israelites. They are the children of sorceress, adulterers, and whores. What can you expect from them? They mock others. They open their mouths wide. They stick out their tongues. They are the children of transgressions and deceit. These are the illegitimate children of Israel, the apostates, those who do not follow the law, the wicked ones.

Oracle against the valley of Hinnom (Isa 22:1-22:4)

“The oracle concerning the valley of Hinnom.

What do you mean

That you have gone up,

All of you,

To the housetops?

You who are full of shouting!

You are a tumultuous city!

You are an exultant town!

Your slain are not slain

By the sword!

Nor are they dead in battle!

Your rulers have fled together.

They were captured

Without the use of a bow.

All of you who were found

Were captured,

Though they had fled far away.

Therefore I said.

‘Look away from me!

Let me weep bitter tears!

Do not try to comfort me!

There is the destruction

Of my beloved people.’”

The valley of Hinnom, just south of the walls of Jerusalem, appears 11 times in the biblical writings. In the Christian biblical writings of the first century CE it is usually referred to as Gehenna with its almost eternal fire for the wicked ones. However, the context here is the terrible situation inside of Jerusalem. People were on the housetops shouting. They were dying, but not from the sword or in battles. The rulers had fled to escape, since they were captured by the Assyrians, either in 711 or 705 BCE. Then the oracle of Yahweh, via Isaiah, told the people to look away. He wanted to weep bitter tears over the destruction of his beloved people in Jerusalem.

Yahweh will defeat the wicked (Ps 139:19-139:24)

“O that you would kill the wicked!

O God!

Then the bloodthirsty

Would depart from me!

Those who speak of you maliciously

Would depart from me!

Those who lift themselves up against you for evil

Would depart from me!

Do I not hate those who hate you?

Yahweh!

Do I not loathe those who rise up against you?

I hate them with perfect hatred.

I count them my enemies.

Search me!

O God!

Know my heart!

Test me!

Know my thoughts!

See if there is any wicked way in me!

Lead me in the way everlasting!”

This psalm ends on a bitter note. David asked Yahweh to kill the wicked ones. They are the bloodthirsty, malicious, and evil ones who should depart from David. They were his enemies. He hated those who hated Yahweh. He loathed those who were against Yahweh. In fact, David had perfect hatred for his enemies. Finally, David recognized that he might have a fault. He wanted God to search and test him, know his heart and his thoughts. If there was anything wicked in him, he wanted to be led into the eternal everlasting way. So while he recognized the evil in others, he was also aware of his own shortcomings.

The wicked ones (Ps 58:3-58:5)

“The wicked go astray from the womb.

They err from their birth.

They speak lies.

They have venom

Like the venom of a serpent.

They have venom

Like the deaf adder that stops its ear.

Thus it does not hear

The voice of charmers.

It does not hear

The voice of the cunning enchanter.”

David then went into a diatribe description of the wicked ones. He maintained that the wicked peopple were so from their time in the womb, from their birth. This was the nature of the wicked, since there was no question of nurture. They were snakes with their deadly venom whether it be a serpent or an adder group of snakes. This adder venomous snake seems to be smarter or more cunning since it covers its ears so that the snake charmer cannot influence it. This is odd, but not out of line with the thinking that the snake, the adder, or serpent was evil.

Confidence in Yahweh (Ps 11:1-11:3)

To the choirmaster leader, of David.

‘In Yahweh I take refuge.

How can you say to me?

‘Flee like a bird to the mountains!

Look!

The wicked bend the bow!

They have fitted their arrows to the string,

They shoot in the dark at the upright in heart.

If the foundations are destroyed,

What can the righteous do?’”

Once again in Psalm 11, the theme of confidence dominates. The opening remarks are only to the choirmaster leader as this is a generic psalm of David. David or the psalmist takes refuge in Yahweh. Are you really safe if you fly to a mountain like a bird? The faithful ones are often compared to birds. Mountains were considered a safe place. However, the problem was more immediate as the wicked ones had their bow and arrows ready to shoot at them. They could shoot in the dark. What can the righteous ones do?