The final judgment for humans (Zeph 1:17-1:18)

“I will bring

Such distress

Upon the people

That they shall walk

Like the blind.

They have sinned

Against Yahweh.

Their blood

Shall be poured out

Like dust.

Their flesh

Shall be

Like dung.

Neither their silver,

Nor their gold,

Shall be able

To save them

On the day

Of Yahweh’s wrath.

In the fire

Of his passion,

The whole earth

Shall be consumed.

He will make

All the inhabitants

Of the earth

A full end,

A terrible end.”

Very clearly the end was coming.  There would be so much distress among humans that they would be walking around as if they were blind.  They had sinned against Yahweh, so that their blood would be poured out like dust, while their bodies would be like smelly dung.  Their silver and gold would not save them from Yahweh’s day of wrath, because Yahweh’s angry passion would consume the whole world, including all the people living on it.  The end times was near.

Advertisements

Praise for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Dan 3:27-3:28)

“The satraps,

The prefects,

The governors,

The king’s counselors,

Gathered together.

They saw

That the fire

Had not had any power

Over the bodies

Of these men.

The hair

Of their heads

Was not singed.

Their tunics were

Not harmed.

Not even the smell of fire

Came from them.

King Nebuchadnezzar said.

‘Blessed be the God

Of Shadrach,

Of Meshach,

Of Abednego,

Who has sent

His angel!

He has delivered

His servants,

Who trusted in him.

They disobeyed

The king’s command.

They yielded up

Their bodies

Rather than serve,

Rather than worship,

Any god

Except their own God.’”

All the important people of the Babylonian kingdom were gathered together, including the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors. They all marveled that the 3 men had survived the fire unscathed. Their hair was not even singed and their clothes were not harmed. They did not even smell like smoke from the fire. King Nebuchadnezzar then praised them and their God. He blessed God, just as they had done in the fiery furnace. The king noted that an angel of God had saved the 3 of them. They had trusted in their God by disobeying the king’s command. Then they suffering the consequences. They gave up their bodies, rather than serve and worship another god. They were truly blessed by their God.

The dome overhead (Ezek 1:22-1:23)

“Over the heads

Of the living creatures

There was something

Like a dome,

Shining

Like crystal,

Spread out

Above their heads.

Under the dome,

Their wings

Were stretched out straight,

One toward another.

Each of the creatures

Had two wings

Covering its body.”

There was a shining dome like a crystal chandelier over the heads of these creatures. This dome was reminiscent of the dome or firmament in the creation story of Genesis, chapter 1. Under this dome, the wings of these creatures were stretched out straight, facing each other. Each of these 4 creatures had 2 wings covering their bodies. Now, in some places there is a mention of each creature having 4 wings, as if 2 wings reached out to others.

Eighty pilgrim worshippers arrive at Mizpah (Jer 41:4-41:5)

“On the day after

The murder of Governor Gedaliah,

Before anyone knew of it,

Eighty men arrived

From Shechem,

From Shiloh,

From Samaria.

Their beards were shaved.

Their clothes were torn.

Their bodies were gashed.

They were bringing

Grain offerings

With incense

To present

At the temple of Yahweh.”

The day after the death of Judean governor, 80 pilgrims from the northern areas of Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria came by. As Mizpah was near Jerusalem, they would want to stop there. Obviously, they knew nothing about the death of Governor Gedaliah the day before, but they might have heard about the good times at Mizpah. These pilgrims had shaved beards, torn clothes, and gashes on their bodies, typical signs of mourning. They may have been on their way to mourn the passing of the Temple in Jerusalem with their grain offerings and incense. However, they might also be on the way to celebrate the feast of Tents.

The fatal undignified future of the people (Jer 16:3-16:4)

“Thus says Yahweh

Concerning the sons,

As well as the daughters,

Of those born in this place.

The same fate awaits the mothers

Who bore them

As well as the fathers

Who begot them in this land.

They shall die of deadly diseases.

They shall not be lamented.

They shall not be buried.

They shall become

Like dung on the surface of the ground.

They shall perish

By the sword,

Or by famine.

Their dead bodies

Shall become food

For the birds of the air.

Their dead bodies

Shall become food

For the wild animals of the earth.”

Yahweh was clear to Jeremiah. This saying was meant for the sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers of the people in this place. The same terrible fate awaited them all. They were going to die of deadly diseases, which would not have been that uncommon. However, there would be no one to lament them or bury them. Their bodies would lie in the fields like fertilizer dung on the ground. Thus they would not receive a proper burial. They would die either by sword or famine. Their dead bodies would lay in the streets and fields to become food for the birds and the wild animals. This would not be a pretty sight.

Prosperity (Isa 66:12-66:14)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘I will extend prosperity to her

Like a river.

The wealth of the nations shall be

Like an overflowing stream.

You shall nurse.

You shall be carried on her arm.

You shall be dandled on her knees.

As a mother comforts her child,

So I will comfort you.

You shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

You shall see.

Your heart shall rejoice.

Your bones shall flourish

Like the grass.

It shall be known

That the hand of Yahweh is

With his servants.

His indignation is

Against his enemies.’”

The prophet proclaims that Yahweh, in the first person singular, will bring prosperity to Jerusalem like an overflowing river. Yahweh will nurse and carry them in his arms. He will rock them on his knees, as Yahweh assumes the anthropomorphic feminine role of a nurturing mother. He will be like a comforting mother as he comforts Jerusalem. They will see and rejoice as their bodies flourish like wild grass. Yahweh’s hand is with his servants, but his indignation is against his enemies.

Future problems for the king of Assyria (Isa 10:16-10:19)

“Therefore the Sovereign,

Yahweh of hosts,

Will send

A wasting sickness

Among his stout warriors.

Under his glory

A burning will be kindled,

Like the burning of a fire.

The light of Israel

Will become a fire.

His Holy One

Will be a flame.

It will burn his thorns.

It will devour his briers in one day.

Yahweh will destroy

The glory of his forest.

Yahweh will destroy

The glory of his fruitful land,

Both soul and body.

It will be as

When an invalid wastes away.

The remnant of the trees

Of his forest

Will be so few

That a child

Can write them down.”

Isaiah predicts the devastation of the army and land of the king of Assyria. Yahweh was going to send a wasting sickness among his warriors. This maybe an allusion to 2 Kings, chapter 19, when 185,000 Assyrian troops died. The light of Israel will become a raging flame starting a great fire that will destroy and devour the thorns and briers of Assyria itself. Yahweh will destroy the forests and the fruitful land with a wild fire, so that both their bodies and souls will be destroyed. There will be so few trees left, so that a mere child can count and write the number down.