The first curse against their greed (Hab 2:6-2:8)

“Shall not everyone

Taunt such people,

With mocking riddles?

Let them say about them!

‘Woe to you!

You heap up

What is not your own!’

How long will you

Load yourselves

With goods

Taken in pledge?

Will not your own creditors

Suddenly rise up?

Those who make you tremble

Will wake up.

Then you will be booty

For them.

Because you have plundered

Many nations,

All that survive of the peoples

Shall plunder you.

Human bloodshed,

With the violence

To the earth,

Is in the cities,

As well as to all

Who live in them.”

Habakkuk has a series of taunts against the Chaldeans because of their behavior.  These 5 woes or curses were delivered in mocking riddles.  First of all, they have stored up things that were not their own.  How long would they continue to take things as pledges for the future?  Those creditors would rise up against them, and make them tremble and shake.  Then, they would become the booty of the people whom they plundered.  They have plundered so many countries, that the surviving countries would plunder them.  There was so much violence and bloodshed in the cities where people lived.  Does that sound familiar?

Advertisements

Your sister Sodom (Ezek 16:48-16:50)

“As I live,

Says Yahweh God.

‘Your sister Sodom,

With her daughters,

Has not done

As you

With your daughters

Have done.

This was the guilt

Of your sister Sodom.

She,

With her daughters,

Had pride,

Excess of food,

A prosperous ease.

But they did not

Aid the poor.

They did not

Aid the needy.

They were haughty.

They did abominable things

Before me.

Therefore I removed them,

When I saw it.”

The story of Sodom was based on Genesis, chapter 19.   Sodom was a city in the plains, south of Jerusalem, near the Dead Sea. Jerusalem was like the city of Sodom because Jerusalem had done the same things as they had done. Sodom with her daughters was guilty of pride, too much food, and too easy of a life style. Sodom did not aid the poor and the needy. There was no explanation here of all the abominable things mentioned in Genesis. However, Yahweh had removed them. He had destroyed them, when he found out about their behavior.

The temple prostitutes (Bar 6:42-6:44)

“The women,

With cords around them,

Sit along the passageways.

The burn bran

For incense.

When one of them

Is led off

By one of the passers-by,

They are taken to bed

By him.

She then derides

The woman next to her,

Because she was not

As attractive

As herself.

Her cord

Was not broken.

Whatever is done

For these idols

Is false.

Why then must anyone think

That they are gods?

Why call them gods?”

Here there is a description of the temple prostitutes and their behavior. These women, with cords around them, would sit in the passageways at the temple, burning bran for incense. Then a passer-by would invite them or take them off to sleep with them. Strangely enough, when the woman would return, she would make fun of the other women who were not chosen to have sex with these passer-bys, because they were not as attractive as she was. These other women had no one to break their cords. Thus these false idols bring about all kinds of strange behaviors. That is why people might doubt that these were true gods. How could you call them gods?

The return from exile (Jer 32:37-32:39)

“See!

I am going to gather them

From all the lands

To which I drove them

In my anger,

In my wrath,

With great indignation.

I will bring them back

To this place.

I will settle them

In safety.

They shall be my people.

I will be their God.

I will give them one heart

With one way.

Thus they may fear me

For all time,

For their own good,

As well as the good

Of their children after them.”

Yahweh was going to restore the Israelites back in their land. He was going to gather them from all the countries that they had been scattered to, when he was angry, wrathful, and indignant over their behavior. They would be settled in the Promised Land to live safely. They would be his people. He would be their God. This phrase shows the strong love of God for his people. They would have one heart and one way of doing things. They would fear him all the time, for their own good as well as the good of their children to come. Happy days were ahead.

The numerous useless false idol gods (Jer 11:12-11:13)

“Then the cities of Judah,

The inhabitants of Jerusalem,

Both will go out.

They will cry out to the gods

To whom they make offerings.

But these gods will never save them

In the time of their troubles.

Your gods have become

As many as your towns.

O Judah!

Your gods have become

As many as the streets of Jerusalem.

These altars

That you have set up

Shame you.

These altars make offerings to Baal.”

Then Yahweh continues to call our Jerusalem and Judah for their behavior. They have cried out to their gods and made offerings to them. However, Yahweh reminds them that these gods will never save them in their times of trouble. They appear to have as many gods as there are towns in Judah. Each town seems to have its own god. The same is true of Jerusalem, where practically every street has its own god. These are the altars that shame them, since they made offerings to Baal, the Canaanite god, on these altars.