They refused to listen (Zech 7:11-7:12)

“But they refused

To listen.

They turned

A stubborn shoulder.

They stopped their ears,

In order not to hear.

They made their hearts adamant

In order not to hear the law,

In order not to hear the words

That Yahweh of hosts

Had sent

By his Spirit

Through the former prophets.”

Unfortunately, the Israelites failed to listen to Yahweh.  They turned a stubborn shoulder to him.  They stopped up their ears, so that they could not hear Yahweh.  They hardened their hearts, so that they were not able to hear the law of Yahweh or his words.  Yahweh of hosts had sent his Holy Spirit via the early prophets, but to no avail.  They never listened.

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No one listens to Jeremiah (Jer 25:3-25:4)

“For twenty-three years,

From the thirteenth year

Of King Josiah,

The son of King Amon,

Of Judah,

To this day,

The word of Yahweh

Has come to me.

I have spoken persistently to you.

But you have not listened.

Although Yahweh

Persistently sent to you

All his servants

The prophets,

You have neither listened

Nor inclined your ears

To hear.”

Once again, Jeremiah is precise in his dating of this oracle. Jeremiah had been prophesying for 23 years before 605 BCE, which meant that he would have started in 628 BCE. He said that this was when King Josiah was 30 so that Josiah would have been born in 658 BCE. Thus King Josiah was 18 when he took over from his father King Amon who died in 640 BCE. For over 23 years, Jeremiah had persistently spoken to them about the word of Yahweh. However, they had not listened to him or the other servant prophets of Yahweh. They would not let their ears hear. Now we know why everyone was to hear Jeremiah because they had not been listening to him.

False worship (Jer 19:3-19:4)

“You shall say!

‘Hear the word of Yahweh!

O kings of Judah!

O Inhabitants of Jerusalem!

Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

I am going to bring such disaster

Upon this place

That the ears of everyone

Who hears of it

Will tingle.

Because the people have forsaken me.

They have profaned this place

By burning incense in it

To other gods

Whom neither they,

Nor their ancestors,

Nor the kings of Judah

Have known.

They have filled

This place

With the blood of the innocent ones.’”

The message from Yahweh to Jeremiah was clear. He was to tell the kings of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem that Yahweh was going to being disaster upon this place. When they would hear about this impending disaster, their ears would tingle. They had given up on Yahweh. Instead they had turned to burning incense to other gods, thus defiling and profaning this sacred place. Neither they, nor their ancestors, nor the kings of Judah had known these strange false gods before. They had filled this place with innocent blood.

The responsibility of humans (Sir 17:8-17:14)

“The Lord put the fear of him

Into human hearts.

He showed them

The majesty of his works.

They will praise

His holy name.

They will proclaim

The grandeur of his works.

He bestowed knowledge

Upon them.

He allotted to them

The law of life.

He established with them

An eternal covenant.

He revealed to them

His decrees.

Their eyes saw

His glorious majesty.

Their ears heard

The glory of his voice.

He said to them.

‘Beware of all evil.’

He gave commandments

To each of them

Concerning their neighbor.”

Sirach believed that the Lord put the fear of hin into human hearts. He showed humans the majesty of his works. However, they had to praise his holy name and proclaim the grandeur of his works because they had knowledge about it. The Lord gave these humans the law of life by an eternal covenant with them. He revealed his decrees to them. Their human eyes saw his glorious majesty. Their ears heard the glory of his voice. They were able to see and hear God. He told them to watch out for evil. He gave them commandments on how they were to treat their neighbors.

God’s help in the past (Ps 44:1-44:3)

To the choirmaster leader, a Maskil of the Korahites

“We have heard with our ears!

O God!

Our ancestors have told us.

What deeds you performed in their days,

In the days of old,

You with your own hand

Drove out the nations.

But then you planted them.

You afflicted the peoples,

But you set them free.

Not by their own sword

Did they win the land.

Their own arm did not give them victory.

But your right hand,

Your arm led them.

The light of your countenance shone

Because you delighted in them.”

Just like Psalm 42, Psalm 44, is one of the 11 Korahite Maskil psalms, that reference the sons of Korah, who were first mentioned in 1 Chronicles, chapter 9. These present psalmists had heard with their ears the stories of their ancestors about the good old days. God had been good to their ancestors. With his own hand he drove out the various nations and planted his favorite afflicted people. They did not accomplish this with their own swords. They did not capture the land with their own hands. God gave them victory with his right hand, his arm and the light of his face because he delighted in them.

The godless ones (Job 36:13-36:16)

“The godless in heart cherish anger.

They do not cry for help when he binds them.

They die in their youth.                                                          

Their life ends in shame.

He delivers the afflicted by their affliction.

He opens their ear by adversity.

You also he allured out of distress.

Into a broad place,

Where there was no constraint.

What was set on your table was full of fatness.”

The godless ones love anger. They never cry for help. However, they die in their youth as their lives end in shame. God delivers their affliction by adding more afflictions. God opens their ears to more adversity. Job too was allured into a place with no constraints. It seemed like everything was on the table with all the fat food that Job could want. Elihu seems to imply that the godless ones suffer here on earth with an early death.