The sign of Ezekiel (Ezek 24:22-24:24)

“You shall do

As I have done!

You shall not cover

Your upper lip!

You shall not eat

The bread

Of mourners!

Your turbans shall be

On your heads!

Your sandals shall be

On your feet!

You shall not mourn!

You shall not weep!

But you shall pine away

In your iniquities.

You shall groan

To one another.

‘Thus Ezekiel

Shall be a sign

To you.

You shall do

Just as he has done.

When this comes,

Then you will know

That I am Yahweh God.’”

When this catastrophe would hit them, they should do as Ezekiel had done. They were not to cover up their upper lip. They were not to eat the mourner’s bread. However, they should continue to wear their turban hats and their foot sandals. They were not to mourn or weep. They could pine away privately, because of their iniquities. They could also groan to one another privately. Thus Yahweh had placed Ezekiel and his behavior as a sign for them. They were to do just as Ezekiel had done when his wife died. Then they would all know that Yahweh, their God, was in charge. In other words, the death of their loved ones would be a numbing experience, without any outward grief.

The sins of the ancestors (Lam 5:7-5:8)

“Our ancestors sinned.

They are no more.

We bear

Their iniquities.

Slaves rule

Over us.

There is no one

To deliver us

From their hand.”

Once again in the first person plural, they complain. There is no question that their ancestors had sinned, but they are dead. Thus the present living must bear their iniquities. The Chaldean slaves rule over them. There is no one anywhere who can help them to escape.

The stern response of Yahweh (Jer 14:10-14:10)

“Thus says Yahweh

Concerning this people.

‘Truly they have loved to wander.

They have not restrained their feet.

Therefore Yahweh does not accept them.

Now he will remember their iniquity.

He will punish their sins.’”

Yahweh gave an unambiguous response to this sinful confession of the people. He said that they loved to wander. They had not restrained their feet. Therefore, Yahweh was not going to accept them because he was going to remember their iniquities. He was going to punish them for their sins.

The stubborn rebellious heart (Jer 5:22-5:25)

“‘Do you not fear me?’

Says Yahweh.

‘Do you not tremble before me?

I placed the sand

As a boundary for the sea.

This is a perpetual barrier

That it cannot pass.

Though the waves toss,

They cannot prevail.

Though they roar,

They cannot pass over it.

But these people have a stubborn heart.

They have a rebellious heart.

They have turned aside.

They have gone away.

They do not say in their hearts.

‘Let us fear Yahweh our God.

He gives the rain in its season.

He gives the autumn rain.

He gives the spring rain.

He keeps for us

The weeks appointed for the harvest.’

Your iniquities have turned these away.

Your sins have deprived you of good.”

Why don’t they fear Yahweh? Why don’t they tremble before him? Yahweh has placed sand as a perpetual barrier against the sea so that the sea cannot pass over it. Even though the waves toss and roar, they still were not able to prevail and pass over the sand. They have a stubborn and rebellious heart. They have turned away and gone astray. They do not fear Yahweh their God. Yahweh gives the perfect rain for every season with autumn and spring rains. Yet they have sunshine for the harvest time. Yahweh, via Jeremiah reminds them that their iniquities have turned them away from him. Their sins have deprived them of the good things in life.

We are sinners (Isa 64:5-64:7)

“But you were angry.

We sinned!

Because you hid yourself,

We transgressed.

We have all become

Like one who is unclean.

All our righteous deeds are

Like a filthy cloth.

We all fade

Like a leaf.

Our iniquities are

Like the wind.

They take us away.

There is no one

Who calls on your name.

No one attempts

To take hold of you.

You have hidden your face

From us.

You have delivered us

Into the hand of our iniquities.”

Then the prophet proclaimed that he and his people were sinners. Once again, he tried to mitigate this sinfulness by saying that God was angry at them and hid his face. This made it easier to be a transgressor. They all became unclean, so that even their good deeds were like filthy cloths. They faded like a leaf into their iniquities. They were like the wind, blown away. No one called the name of Yahweh or tried to contact him, because Yahweh had hidden his face from them. Once again, in an attempt to avoid responsibility, the prophet said that he was delivered into the hands of iniquity, as if he could not refrain from it.

The suffering servant and the will of Yahweh (Isa 53:10-53:12)

“Yet it was the will of Yahweh

To crush him with pain.

When you make his life

An offering for sin,

He shall see his offspring.

He shall prolong his days.

Through him

The will of Yahweh shall prosper.

Out of his anguish,

He shall see light.

He shall find satisfaction

Through his knowledge.

The righteous one,

My servant,

Shall make many righteous.

He shall bear their iniquities.

Therefore I will allot him

A portion with the great.

He shall divide the spoil

With the strong.

Because he poured out himself

To death.

He was numbered with the transgressors.

Yet he bore the sin of many.

He made intercession for the transgressors.”

Yahweh willed to crush his servant with pain. His life was an offering for sin, so that he would see his offspring and prolong his life. The will of Yahweh would see that he prospered. He would see the light and gain satisfaction from his knowledge. The ending for the suffering servant is that his life is prolonged with offspring, which seems different than the death with the wicked and the rich above. This righteous one would make others righteous people because he bears their iniquities. Thus he will be considered with the great ones. He will get the spoil because he gave of himself even to death. Although he was considered a transgressor, he bore the sins of many. He made intercession for the transgressors. The suffering servant seems to have a happy ending.

A prayer to Yahweh (Ps 85:1-85:2)

To the choirmaster leader, a psalm of the Sons of Korah

“Yahweh!

You were favorable to your land!

You restored the fortunes of Jacob.

You forgave the iniquity of your people.

You pardoned all their sin.”

Selah

Psalm 85 is another in the choral psalms of the Korahites, the Temple singers. This prayer to Yahweh thanks him for being favorable to the land of Jacob. Yahweh had restored the fortunes of Jacob, thus indicating a return from captivity. Yahweh has forgotten their iniquities. He has pardoned their sins. This section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause of Selah.