The curse (Mal 2:2-2:3)

“Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘If you will not listen,

If you will not lay it to heart

To give glory

To my name,

Then I will send

The curse

On you.

I will curse your blessings.

Indeed,

I have already cursed them.

Because you do not lay it to heart.

I will rebuke your offspring.

I will spread dung

On your faces,

The dung of your offerings.

I will put you

Out of my presence.’”

Yahweh, via Malachi, said that if they did not listen and take to heart his words by giving glory to Yahweh’s name, he was going to send a curse on them.  In fact, he had already cursed their blessings.  They had not taken their worship of Yahweh to heart.  Thus, they would have the dung of their offerings spread out over their faces.  He was going to put them and their offspring out of his presence.

The locusts are everywhere (Joel 2:6-2:9)

“Before them,

People are in anguish.

All faces grow pale.

Like warriors,

They charge.

Like soldiers,

They scale the wall.

Each keeps

To his own course.

They do not swerve

From their paths.

They do not jostle

One another.

Each keeps

To his own track.

They burst

Through the weapons

They are not halted.

They leap upon the city.

They run upon the walls.

They climb up

Into the houses.

They enter

Through the windows,

Like a thief.”

Joel continued his description of the swarm of locusts as they attacked the city and the people in it. The people there were in aguish, as their faces turned pale. These grasshoppers charged like warriors. They scaled the walls like soldiers. These locusts stayed in formation, not wandering around. They did not try to push each other around. They were able to go straight through any barriers or weapons. They leapt into the city on its walls and in its houses. These locusts came through the windows, like a thief in the night. This plague of grasshoppers was really strong and powerful in their destruction.

Repent and turn away from idols (Ezek 14:6-14:6)

“Therefore say

To the house of Israel!

‘Thus says Yahweh God!

Repent!

Turn away

From your idols!

Turn away

Your faces

From all

Your abominations!’”

Yahweh was clear. He wanted Ezekiel to tell the house of Israel that they were to repent. They were to turn away from their idols. They were to turn their faces away from their abominable idols.

The survivors (Ezek 7:16-7:18)

“If any survivors escape,

They will be found

On the mountains,

Like doves

Of the valleys.

All of them

Will be moaning

Over their iniquity.

All hands

Shall grow feeble.

All knees

Shall turn to water.

They shall put on

Sackcloth.

Horror

Shall cover them.

Shame shall be

On all faces.

Baldness shall be

On all their heads.”

Instead of being taken captive, these survivors escaped and headed to the hills. They could be found in the mountains, like droves of valley doves. They would all be moaning over their iniquity. However, their hands would grow feeble, while their knees would turn to jelly or water. They would put on sackcloth, as if in mourning. Horror would cover them. Shame would be all over their faces. They would have shaved bald heads. These survivors would not be a happy lot, even if they were alive.

The useless gods (Bar 6:12-6:18)

“These gods

Cannot save themselves

From rust.

They cannot save themselves

From corrosion.

When they have been dressed

In purple robes,

Their faces are wiped

Because the dust

From the temple

Is thick upon them.

One of them

Holds a scepter

Like a district judge.

But he is unable

To destroy

Anyone who offends him.

Another has a dagger

In his right hand.

Another has an axe.

But these gods cannot

Defend themselves

From war

Or robbers.

From this,

It is evident

That they are not gods.

So do not fear them!

Just as someone’s dish

Is useless

When it is broken,

So are their gods

When they have been

Set up in the temples.

Their eyes are full

Of the dust

Raised by the feet

Of those who enter.”

This author says that these gods cannot save themselves from rust or corrosion. Even when they have been dressed in purple robes, someone has to wipe their faces because of the thick dust from the temple. If they have a scepter like a district judge, they are unable to destroy anyone who offends them. If they have a dagger or an axe, they cannot defend themselves from war or robbers. It is quite evident that these useless colorful idols are not gods at all. So there is nothing to fear from them. They are like useless broken dishes.

The dishonor of Jerusalem (Jer 51:50-51:51)

“You survivors

Of the sword!

Go!

Do not linger!

Remember Yahweh

In a distant land!

Let Jerusalem

Come into your mind!

We are put to shame!

We have heard insults!

Dishonor has covered

Our face!

Aliens have come

Into the holy places

Of Yahweh’s house.”

Those who have survived the sword should not linger. They should remember Yahweh in Jerusalem. They should not be put to shame, even though they hear insults. Their dishonor has covered their faces, since aliens now have come into their holy places, especially the house of Yahweh, the Temple in Jerusalem.

The fault of the Israelites (Jer 32:30-32:33)

“‘The people of Israel!

The people of Judah!

They have done nothing

But evil

In my sight

From their youth.

The people of Israel

Have done nothing

But provoke me to anger

By the work of their hands.’

Says Yahweh.

‘This city has aroused

My anger,

My wrath,

From the day it was built

Until this day.

Thus I will remove it

From my sight.

Because of all the evil

Of the people of Israel,

Of the people of Judah.

They provoked me to anger.

This includes

Their kings,

Their officials,

Their priests,

Their prophets,

The citizens of Judah,

The inhabitants of Jerusalem.

They have turned

Their back to me.

They have not turned

Their face to me.

Even though

I have taught them persistently,

They would not listen.

They would not accept correction.’”

Yahweh includes both Israel and Judah in this diatribe against all the Israelites, since they have done nothing but evil since their youth. By the work of their hands, they have provoked Yahweh to anger. The city of Jerusalem also aroused his anger, since the day that it was built. Yahweh was going to remove it because of all the evil that they had done. No one would be exempt, since their kings, officials, priests, prophets, citizens, and inhabitants of both Judah and Jerusalem had turned their backs on Yahweh, not their faces to Yahweh.  He had tried to teach them persistently, but they would not listen and accept correction.