The failure of the prophets (Hos 4:5-4:5)

“The prophet

Shall also stumble

With you

By night.

I will destroy

Your mother.”

Yahweh, via Hosea, was not pleased with the prophets either. They too would stumble, but they would do so at night. In fact, there was a threat to destroy their mothers.

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The fainting children (Lam 2:12-2:12)

Lamed

“They cry

To their mothers.

‘Where is bread?

Where is wine?’

They faint

Like wounded people

In the streets

Of the city.

Their life

Is poured out

On their mothers’ bosom.”

Here again we have a very descriptive presentation about young children asking their mothers for food and drink. They want to know whether there is any bread or wine. They are fainting like wounded soldiers in the streets of the city. They are slowly dying beside their mothers. This is not a pretty picture. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Lamed. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

The taunt against Babylon (Jer 50:11-50:13)

“‘Though you rejoice,

Though you exult,

O plunderers of my heritage,

Though you frisk about

Like a heifer

On the grass,

Though you neigh

Like stallions,

Your mother

Shall be utterly shamed.

She who bore you

Shall be disgraced.

O!

She shall be

The last of the nations,

A wilderness,

A dry land,

A desert.

Because of the wrath

Of Yahweh,

She shall not be inhabited.

But she shall be

An utter desolation.

Everyone who passes

By Babylon

Shall be appalled.

They will hiss

Because of all her wounds.”

Then Yahweh via Jeremiah taunted Babylon, by indicating how they thought that they were superior with their plundering and rejoicing. They were like young heifers and stallions doing whatever they wanted to do. Now their mothers will be shamed and disgraced. They will become the last of the countries, as their land will become a wilderness, a dry land, like a desert. The wrath of Yahweh will not be held back. Babylon will be deserted and become an utter desolation. Everyone who passes by her will be appalled. They will hiss at all the wounds that they would see.

No permanent break with the Israelites (Isa 50:1-50:1)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘Where is your mother’s bill of divorce?

Have I put her away?

Which of my creditors has you?

Have I sold you? No!

Because of your sins,

You were not sold.

For your transgressions,

Your mother was not put away.’”

Second Isaiah has Yahweh tell his people he has not divorced their mothers or put them away. He has not sold them to creditors. They have sinned and committed transgressions, but they have not been put away or sold.

Your duty to your parents (Sir 3:1-3:9)

“Listen to me!

Your father!

O children!

Act accordingly!

Thus you may be kept in safety.

The Lord honors a father above his children.

The Lord confirms a mother’s right over her children.

Whoever honors their father

Atones for sins.

Whoever respects their mother is

Like one who lays up treasure.

Whoever honors their father

Will have joy in their own children.

When one prays

They will be heard.

Whoever respects their father

Will have a long life.

Whoever honors their mother

Obeys the Lord.

They will serve their parents as masters.

Honor your father by word.

Honor your father by deed.

Thus his blessing may come upon you.

A father’s blessing

Strengthens the houses of the children.

But a mother’s curse

Uproots their foundations.”

Now Sirach asks children to listen to their fathers. If they do so, they will be safe. The Lord has placed the father in charge of the children, so the children should respect their fathers. If they do, they will atone for their sins. They should respect their mothers because she is like an important treasure. If you honor your father, you will have joy in your own children. Their prayers will be heard. They will have a long life. If you honor your mother, you obey God. You should honor your parents by word and deed as if they were your masters. This is like the divine right of parents. Blessings will come upon you to strengthen the house of your children. However, watch out for the curse of your mother, which could uproot everything.

The wise child (Prov 15:20-15:23)

“A wise child makes a glad father.

But foolish children despise their mothers.

Folly is a joy

To one who has no sense.

But a person of understanding

Walks straight ahead.

Without counsel,

Plans go wrong.

But with many advisers,

Plans succeed.

To make an apt answer

Is a joy to anyone.

How good it is

To have a word in season!”

A wise child makes their father happy. However, the foolish children despise their mothers. Foolishness can be a joy to those who have no sense. The understanding person walks straight ahead and never deviates. Plans work out better if you take counsel with many advisers. The right answer is a joy to anyone. It is very agreeable to have the right word at the right time.

Yahweh questions Job about mountain goats (Job 39:1-39:4)

“Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?

Do you observe the calving of the deer?

Can you number the months that they fulfill?

Do you know the time when they give birth?

Do you know when they crouch to give birth to their offspring?

When are they delivered of their young?

Their young ones become strong.

They grow up in the open.

They go forth.

They do not return to them.”

The gestation period of mountain goats was not clear so that Yahweh asked Job if he knew about it. Did he know how many months it took before birth? Yahweh supplied some information about the crouching child birth. He also noted that the young ones are born in the open. Once they are strong enough, they leave their mothers and never return. Obviously, this biblical author shows that God was concerned about this.