Question about uncleanness (Hag 2:13-2:13)

“Then Haggai said.

‘If one who is unclean,

By contact with a dead body,

Touches any of these,

Does it become unclean?’

The priests answered.

‘Yes,

It becomes unclean.’”

Now Haggai asked the opposite question.  How does anyone become unclean, the opposite of holy?  Normally, people became unclean by touching a dead body.  What would happen if this unclean person, who had touched the dead body, touched the bread, the stew, the wine, the oil, or any other kind of food.  Would these food products become unclean?  The answer of the priests was the opposite of the question about holiness, yes.  Instead of no impact, the uncleanness would spread, so that all these things would be unclean, like a contagion.

Advertisements

Bad behavior (Am 5:10-5:13)

“They hate him

Who reproves

At the gate.

They abhor him

Who speaks the truth.

Therefore,

You trample

On the poor.

You take from them,

Levies of grain.

You have built houses

Of hewn stone.

But you shall not live

In them.

You have planted

Pleasant vineyards.

But you shall not drink

Their wine.

I know how many are

Your transgressions.

I know how great are

Your sins.

You afflict the righteous.

You take a bribe.

You turn aside

The needy

At the gate.

Therefore,

The prudent will keep silent

In such a time.

It is an evil time.”

Next, Amos listed all the bad behavior that the northern Israelites were involved with. They did not like any reprimanding at the city judgment gate. They did not like anyone who told the truth. They trampled the poor people, as they took away their grain. They had built beautiful stone houses, but they were not going to live in them. They had planted wonderful vineyards, but they would not drink the wine from them. Amos and Yahweh knew all about their various transgressions and how great their sins were. They took bribes, mistreated the righteous, and turned away the needy at the gate. The prudent people kept silent during this evil time.

Crying for Moab and its vineyard (Jer 48:31-48:33)

“Therefore I wail for Moab!

I cry out for all Moab!

I mourn for

The people of Kir-heres.

More than for Jazer,

I weep for you!

O vine of Sibmah!

Your branches

Crossed over the sea,

Reached as far as Jazer.

The destroyed has fallen

Upon your summer fruits,

Upon your vintage.

Gladness has been taken away.

Joy has been taken away,

From the fruitful land

Of Moab.

I have stopped the wine

From the wine presses.

No one treads them

With shouts of joy.

The shouting is

Not the shout of joy.”

Yahweh seems to have great pity for Moab, like in Isaiah, chapter 16. He seemed very concerned about the summer fruits and the wine in Moab. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah mention the town of Kir-heres that is on the main road about 10 miles from the Dead Sea. Of particular interest to both of them was the vineyard of Sibmah, since their descriptions are almost the same. The vines of Sibmah were about 5 miles east of Heshbon, also part of Moab and Reuben. The wonderful vine shoots that had strayed into the desert and even across waters were now languishing. Jeremiah, like Isaiah, has Yahweh crying, because there would no longer be any shouting in the fields at the grape harvest time, because there were no more summer fruits. There would be no joy, gladness, shouting, or singing since there was no one to tread the wine presses. There were no more grapes. Yahweh had stopped the wine presses. The shouts that you now heard were not shouts of joy.

No foreigners would eat or drink in Jerusalem (Isa 62:8-62:9)

“Yahweh has sworn

By his right hand,

By his mighty arm.

‘I will not again give your grain

To be food for your enemies.

Foreigners shall not drink the wine

For which you have labored.

But those who garner it

Shall eat it.

They shall praise Yahweh.

Those who garner it

Shall drink it

In my holy courts.’”

Yahweh now contends that no foreigners will eat or drink from the labor of those in Jerusalem. Yahweh has sworn by his mighty right hand that the grain harvested there will stay there, not be given to enemies. These foreign enemies will not drink the wine that was developed in Jerusalem. Instead the locals will gather the grapes and drink the wine in the holy courts at Jerusalem.

The keepers of the temple items return (1 Chr 9:28-9:32)

“Some of these priests had charge of the utensils of service. They were required to count them when they were brought in and taken out. Others of them were appointed over the furniture, and over all the holy utensils. Others were also over the choice flour, the wine, the oil, the incense, and the spices. Others, of the sons of the priests, prepared the mixing of the spices. Mattithiah, one of the Levites, the first-born of Shallum the Korahite, was in charge of making the flat cakes. Also some of their kindred of the Kohathites had charge of the rows of bread, to prepare it for each Sabbath.”

It is not clear where these instructions come from since they were not part of Leviticus. In fact, the temple was not even present yet. Nevertheless, someone was in charge of making sure what went out of the temple also came back. Some of these were in charge of the furniture. I am not sure why furniture would leave the temple. I understand someone in charge of the holy utensils, the various amounts of flour, wine, incense and spices. Obviously, someone had to mix the spices. Someone also had to make the bread. Apparently the Levite Mattithiah was in charge of making the flat cakes, which were mentioned in Leviticus, chapter 2. The Kohathites Levites were also in charge here.