Jerusalem as an object of reproach (Ezek 16:56-16:58)

“‘Was not

Your sister Sodom

A byword

In your mouth

In the day

Of your pride?

This was before

Your wickedness

Was uncovered.

Now you are

A mockery

To the daughters

Of Edom

With all her neighbors.

The daughters

Of the Philistines,

Those all around you,

Despise you.

You must bear

The penalty

Of your lewdness

With your abominations.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh said that Jerusalem had become an object of reproach. Her sister Sodom had been a byword for evil in her day of pride. Then the wickedness of Jerusalem was uncovered. Now Jerusalem was a mockery to those around her, especially the daughters of Edom and the daughters of the Philistines, as they despised her. Jerusalem was going to bear the penalty for all her lewdness and abominations.

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The land in mourning (Jer 12:4-12:4)

“How long will

The land mourn?

How long will

The grass of every field wither?

Due to the wickedness of those

Who live in it,

The animals

Are swept away.

The birds

Are swept away.

Because people said.

‘He is blind to our ways.’”

Jeremiah wanted to know how long the land would mourn. How long would the grass wither in the fields? Due to the wickedness of these people, the animals and the birds of this land were to be swept away. These people thought that Yahweh was blind to their evil ways.

Shiloh (Jer 7:12-7:15)

“‘Go now to my place

That was in Shiloh.

There I made

My name dwell at first.

See what I did to it,

Due to the wickedness

Of my people Israel.

Now,

Because you have done

All these things

Watch out!’

Says Yahweh.

‘When I spoke to you persistently,

You did not listen.

When I called you,

You did not answer.

Therefore I will do

To the house

That is called by my name,

In which you trust,

What I did to Shiloh.

This is the place

That I gave to you

As well as your ancestors.

I will do

Just what I did to Shiloh.

I will cast you out of my sight.

I will do

Just as I cast out all your kinsmen,

All the offspring of Ephraim.’”

Shiloh had been an ancient Canaanite shrine and then an Israelite shrine until it was destroyed by the Philistines around 1050 BCE. Shiloh was in the Ephraim territory, north of Bethel and Jericho, about 20 miles north of Jerusalem. It had been an Israelite shrine where the Ark of the Covenant was until Jerusalem was built by King David and King Solomon. Here Yahweh reminds Jeremiah that his name had lived at Shiloh. However, due to the wickedness of those people, he changed his living place to Jerusalem. Like them, these people in Jerusalem were not listening when Yahweh called. They did not answer him. Thus he was going to do to Jerusalem what he had done to Shiloh. He was going to cast them all out of his sight, as he had done to Ephraim and all its descendants.

Samuel (Sir 46:13-46:20)

“Samuel was beloved by his Lord.

He was a prophet of the Lord.

He established the kingdom.

He anointed rulers over his people.

By the law of the Lord

He judged the congregation.

The Lord watched over Jacob.

By his faithfulness,

He proved to be a prophet.

By his words,

He became known as a trustworthy seer.

He called upon the Lord,

The Mighty One,

When his enemies

Pressed him on every side.

He offered in sacrifice

A sucking lamb.

Then the Lord thundered from heaven.

He made his voice heard

With a mighty sound.

He subdued the leaders of the enemy

In Tyre.

He subdued all the rulers of the Philistines.

Before the time of his eternal sleep,

Samuel bore witness before the Lord.

Samuel bore witness before his anointed.

‘No property,

Not so much as a pair of shoes,

Have I taken from anyone!’

No one accused him.

Even after he had fallen asleep,

He prophesied.

He made known to the king his death.

He lifted up his voice from the ground.

In prophecy,

He wanted to blot out

The wickedness of the people.”

Next Sirach praises Samuel, the prophet who was a judge and founder of the monarchy. There is a Hebrew biblical book called Samuel that was later divided into 2 parts. He was a beloved trustworthy faithful prophet. He called upon the Lord when the enemies surrounded him. He offered a sacrifice of a lamb. He defeated the enemies at Tyre and the Philistines. Samuel anointed 2 kings, Saul and David. He never took any property from anyone, not even a pair of shoes. Even after his death, prophecies from the grave came to the king. He continually wanted to blot out the wickedness of his people.

The wickedness (Eccl 3:16-3:17)

“Moreover I saw

Under the sun

That in the place of justice,

Wickedness was there.

In the place of righteousness,

Wickedness was there as well.

I said in my heart.

‘God will judge the righteous.

God will judge the wicked.

He has appointed a time for every matter.

He has appointed a time for every work.’”

Qoheleth saw the place of justice under the sun. Wickedness had taken the place of both justice and righteousness here on earth. God will judge both the righteous and the wicked. He has an appointed time for every matter and every work.

Yahweh helped the land to produce (Ps 107:33-107:38)

“He turns rivers into a desert.

He turns springs of water into thirsty ground.

He turns fruitful land into a salty waste.

He did this because of the wickedness of its inhabitants.

He turns the desert into pools of water.

He turns parched land into springs of water.

There he lets the hungry live.

They establish a town to live in.

They sow fields.

They plant vineyards.

They get a fruitful yield.

By his blessing

They multiply greatly.

He does not let their cattle decrease.”

Yahweh could make rivers into deserts and dry up the land. In fact, he turned fruitful land into a salty waste because of the wickedness of its people. On the other hand, he could turn bad land into good land. He could turn a desert into water and parched land into springs of water. See how important water was. He could let the hungry live and establish their own towns. There they could sow fields and plant vineyards so that they would have a fruitful yield. When Yahweh blesses them they multiply greatly, even their cattle.