The land of Abraham (Ezek 33:23-33:24)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

The inhabitants

Of these waste places

In the land of Israel

Keep saying.

‘Abraham was

Only one man.

Yet he got possession

Of the land.

But we are many.

The land is

Surely given to us

To possess.’”

As usual, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. Yahweh told Ezekiel that the inhabitants of the now wasteland of Israel kept talking about Abraham. He was only one person, but he was promised this land. He actually lived in it. What was Yahweh going to do about the many people today that were exiled? Would they get their possessions back?

The need for a sentinel (Ezek 33:1-33:2)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Speak!

To your people!

Say to them!

‘If I bring

The sword

Upon a land,

The people of the land

Shall take

One of their number

As their sentinel.’”

As usual, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. Yahweh wanted him to speak to his people. He wanted to tell them that they needed to have a sentinel or watch person taken from their ranks. This would be especially important if Yahweh was going to bring his sword against them.

The two daughters (Ezek 23:1-23:3)

“The word of Yahweh
Came to me.
‘Son of man!
There were two women.
They were
The daughters
Of one mother.
They played the whore
In Egypt.
They played the whore
In their youth.
Their breasts
Were caressed there.
Their virgin bosoms
Were fondled.’”
Once again, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. This oracle was about two women, the daughters of the same mother. Both of them played the whore in Egypt when they were young. In particular, their young virgin breasts or bosoms were fondled and caressed. Ezekiel and Yahweh loved the theme of the whoring woman to get a point across. Here there was a particular emphasis on the breasts of these two young women.

Ezekiel’s actions were a sign of captivity (Ezek 12:8-12:11)

“In the morning

The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Has not the house of Israel,

The rebellious house,

Said to you?

‘What are you doing?’

Say to them.

‘Thus says Yahweh God!

This oracle concerns

The prince in Jerusalem

With all the house of Israel

In it.’

Say!

‘I am a sign for you.

As I have done,

So shall it be done

To them.

They shall go

Into exile.

They shall go

Into captivity.’”

The next morning, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. Yahweh wanted to know if the rebellious house of Israel had asked him what he was doing. When they did ask, he was to tell them that this oracle concerned the prince in Jerusalem with all the house of Israel. Ezekiel was to tell them that his actions were a sign of things to come. What he had done, all of them would do the same. They were going to go into exile and captivity.

The return of the exiles (Bar 4:36-4:37)

“Look toward the east!

O Jerusalem!

See the joy

That is coming

To you

From God!

Look!

Your children

Are coming!

Those you sent away

Are coming.

They are gathered

From the east,

From the west,

At the word

Of the Holy One,

Rejoicing

In the glory

Of God.”

Jerusalem was to look to the east to see the joy of those coming back to Jerusalem. The children, who were sent away, are now returning to this holy city. They are being gathered from the east and the west at the word of the Holy One, not Yahweh. They are rejoicing in the glory of God.

Jeremiah summons the people (Jer 42:7-42:8)

“At the end of ten days,

The word of Yahweh

Came to Jeremiah.

Then he summoned

Johanan,

The son of Kareah,

All the commanders

Of the forces

Who were with him,

As well as all the people

From the least

To the greatest.”

After 10 days, the word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah. Thus Jeremiah summoned Johanan and all his commanders with him. He called all the people who were in this remnant of Judean people together, from the least to the greatest.   He wanted everyone to know what Yahweh had said.

Yahweh’s six year slavery commandment (Jer 34:12-34:14)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to Jeremiah

From Yahweh.

‘Thus says Yahweh!

The God of Israel!

I myself

Made a covenant

With your ancestors

When I brought them

Out of the land of Egypt,

Out of the house of slavery,

Saying.

‘Every seventh year,

Each of you

Must set free

Any Hebrews

Who has been sold to you.

If they served you six years,

You must set them free

From your service.’

But your ancestors

Did not listen to me.

They did not incline

Their ears to me.’”

Once again the word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah, but this time it was to present Yahweh’s views on slavery. Yahweh had already made a covenant with their ancestors on this subject when he brought them out of slavery in Egypt. Yahweh’s commandment was to have only 6 years of slavery. Any purchased Hebrew slave should be let go on the 7th year. Like much else, their ancestors did not listen to Yahweh and his commands. Instead, they did what they wanted to do.

The battle with King Nebuchadnezzar (Jer 34:1-34:1)

“The word

That came to Jeremiah

From Yahweh,

When King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon,

With all his army,

As well as all

The kingdoms of the earth,

All the people

Under his dominion,

Were fighting

Against Jerusalem

With all of its cities.”

Once again, the word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah, but there is a different setting, the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem in 588 BCE. King Nebuchadnezzar was going to fight against Jerusalem, as well as the towns and cities around it. At this point, the Babylonian king had a lot of people under him with a huge army. Besides his own army, other kingdoms under his control were also fighting with him against Jerusalem. Like the preceding chapter, this is a different numbered chapter in the Greek translation of the Septuagint, chapter 41, not chapter 34 as here.

The word of God (Jer 11:1-11:3)

“The word came

To Jeremiah

From Yahweh.

‘Hear the words of this covenant!

Speak to the people of Judah!

Speak to the inhabitants of Jerusalem!

You shall say to them!

Thus says Yahweh!

The God of Israel.’”

Yahweh is very clear when he was speaking to Jeremiah as the word came directly from him. Yahweh wanted Jeremiah to speak to the people of Judah and Jerusalem about the words of the covenant. Jeremiah was to proclaim that he was speaking in the name of Yahweh, the God of Israel.

A reproach against bribery (Isa 5:23-5:24)

“Woe to you

Who acquit the guilty

For a bribe!

Woe to you

Who deprive the innocent

Of their rights!

Therefore,

As the tongue of fire

Devours the stubble,

So their roots will become rotten.

As dry grass sinks down

In the flame,

So their blossoms will go up

Like dust.

They have rejected

The instruction of Yahweh of hosts.

They have despised

The word of the Holy One of Israel.”

However, the real scolding comes when judges acquit a guilty person because of a bribe. They thus deprive the innocent ones of their rights. They are going to end up like stubble and dry grass devoured by a fire. Their roots will become rotten. Their blossoms will be blown off like dust. They have rejected Yahweh. They have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. Injustice is a real big deal.