The future exile (Mic 4:9-4:10)

“Now why do you cry aloud?

Is there no king in you?

Has your counselor perished?

Have pangs seized you

Like a woman in labor?

O daughter Zion!

Writhe!

Groan!

Like a woman in labor!

Now you shall go forth

From the city.

You shall camp

In the open country.

You shall go to Babylon.

There you shall be rescued.

There Yahweh will redeem you

From the hand of your enemies.”

Yahweh, via Micah, wanted to know why the people were crying.  They had a king and a counselor.  However, they were having labor pains, as if they were pregnant.  Yahweh told them to cry, groan, and contort like a pregnant woman because something bad was going to happen to them.  They were going to have to leave their city to camp in the open country.  They were going to go to Babylon.  There Yahweh would rescue and redeem them from their enemies.

The true judgment was delivered (Dan 3:8-3:9)

“Thus,

All that you brought

Upon us,

All that you have done

To us,

You have done

By a true judgment.

You have handed us over

To our enemies,

Lawless,

Hateful rebels.

You have handed us over

To an unjust king,

The most wicked

In all the world.”

Azariah continued his prayer. Due to their sinfulness, God executed a proper and true judgment. He has handed over the Judeans to their enemies, the lawless and hateful rebels of Babylon. They were turned over to an unjust king, the most wicked king in the whole world. Remember, up until this incident of the golden statue, Azariah and his 2 friends were serving this king in his royal court. I could see how this furnace punishment might change their minds.

The returning Israelites (Ezek 39:26-39:27)

“They shall forget

Their shame.

They shall forget

All the treachery

That they have practiced

Against me.

They shall live securely

In their land

With no one

To make them afraid.

I have brought

Them back

From the various people.

I have gathered them

From their enemies’ lands.

I have vindicated

My holiness

Through them

In the sight

Of many nations.”

The Israelites were to forget their shame when they returned to Israel. They would forget their former treachery against Yahweh. They would live securely in their land, since there was no one to make them afraid. Yahweh would have brought them back from the various countries that they were in. He was going to gather them from the lands of their enemies. Yahweh would vindicate his holiness through them in the sight of many nations.

The desolate mountains of Israel (Ezek 36:2-36:3)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

The enemy

Has said of you.

‘Aha!

The ancient heights

Have become

Our possession.’

Therefore,

Prophesy!

Say!

‘Thus says Yahweh God!

They made you desolate!

Indeed,

They crushed you

From all sides.

Thus,

You became

The possession

Of the rest

Of the nations.

You became

An object

Of gossip.

You became

An object

Of slander

Among the people.’”

Yahweh God, via Ezekiel, reminded the Israelites that their enemies had laughed at them because their ancient high mountains had become their own possessions. Thus, Ezekiel was to prophesy about these mountains, since they were truly desolate and crushed from all sides. They had become the possession of various countries. They had become an object of gossip and slander to all the people.

The Philistines were ashamed (Ezek 16:27-16:27)

“Therefore,

I stretched out

My hand

Against you.

I reduced your rations.

I gave you up

To the will

Of your enemies,

The daughters

Of the Philistines.

They were ashamed

Of your lewd behavior.”

Yahweh stretched out his hand against Jerusalem. He reduced their food rations with a famine. He was going to give them up to their enemies. This time it is the daughters of the Philistines, who were living in the Mediterranean coastal cities. Here, instead of prostitution, their ancient enemy was ashamed of their lewd behavior.

Patience (Bar 4:23-4:26)

“I sent you out

With sorrow,

With weeping.

But God will give you

Back to me

With joy,

With gladness forever.

As the neighbors of Zion

Have now seen

Your capture,

So they soon will see

Your salvation

By God.

This will come

To you

With great glory,

With the splendor

Of the Everlasting One.

My children,

Endure with patience

The wrath

That has come upon you

From God.

Your enemy

Has overtaken you.

But you will soon see

Their destruction.

You will tread

Upon their necks.

My pampered children

Have traveled rough roads.

They were taken away

Like a flock

Carried off

By the enemy.”

The personification of Jerusalem continued as this city advised her exiles to have patience. She had sent them out of town with sorrow and weeping. However, God was going to bring them back to Jerusalem with eternal joy and gladness. Zion’s neighbors had seen them captured. They would soon see these Israelites safely coming back with the glorious splendor of the Everlasting One, not Yahweh. Jerusalem wanted her pampered children to endure patiently the wrath of God that had come via their enemies. They would soon tread on the necks of their enemies since they would be destroyed. Even though they had traveled rough roads and were taken away like a flock of sheep, they needed patience.

Jerusalem is in sack cloth (Bar 4:17-4:20)

“But I!

How can I help you?

He who brought

These calamities

Upon you

Will deliver you

From the hand

Of your enemies.

Go!

My children!

Go!

I have been left desolate.

I have taken off

The robe of peace.

I put on

Sackcloth

For my supplication.

I will cry

To the Everlasting One

All my days.”

The personification of Jerusalem continued with the first person singular, I. Jerusalem wanted to know how she could help. God, who brought their calamities, was also going to deliver them from the hand of their enemies. Jerusalem told her children to go and leave her. She would be left desolate. She was going to take off her robe of peace and prosperity to put on sackcloth for crying to the Everlasting One, not Yahweh, all her remaining days.