No more disasters (Zeph 3:18-3:19)

“I will remove disaster

From you,

So that you will not bear

Reproach for it.

I will deal

With all your oppressors

At that time.

I will save the lame.

I will gather the outcast.

I will change their shame

Into praise.

I will make them

Renown in all the earth.”

Yahweh, via Zephaniah, would remove all the disasters from the Israelites.  They would not have to bear any reproach.  Yahweh was going to deal with all their oppressors.  He was going to save the lame and gather the outcasts, so that their shame would be turned to praise.  The Israelites would be known throughout the whole world.

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The appointed Levitical ministerial tasks (Ezek 44:13-44:14)

“They shall not

Come near to me.

They shall not

Serve me

As a priest.

They shall not

Come near to

Any of my sacred offerings,

The things

That are most sacred.

But they shall

Bear their shame.

They shall

Bear the consequences

Of the abominations

That they have committed.

Yet I will appoint them

To keep charge

Of the temple,

To do all its chores.

They shall do

All that is to be done

In it.”

The idol worshiping Levites would be appointed to various menial tasks, so that they would be like Temple servants, rather than ministers. Yahweh, via Ezekiel, listed all the things that they could not do. They could not come near to Yahweh to serve him as a priest. They would not be allowed near any of the sacred holy offerings. They had to bear their shame. They had to suffer the consequences of their abominable actions. However, Yahweh was not going to destroy them. They were to be in charge of all the Temple chores, everything that had to be done around the Temple. They were to become second-class Levite priests or Temple servants.

The law of the new Temple (Ezek 43:11-43:12)

“When they are ashamed

Of all that they had done,

Make known to them

The plan of the temple.

Let them know

Its arrangement,

Its exits,

Its entrances,

Its whole form!

Make known

To them

All its ordinances,

Its entire plan,

All its laws!

Write it down

In their sight!

Thus,

They may observe,

They may follow,

The entire plan

With all its ordinances.

This is the law

Of the temple.

The whole territory

On the top

Of the mountain,

All around,

Shall be most holy!

This is the law

Of the temple.”

Yahweh was very explicit to Ezekiel. He was to lay down the basics for the new Temple, just like Moses with his Mosaic laws. This was to be the law of the new Temple for the post-exilic Israelites. Once the Israelites had accepted their shame for all that they had done, Ezekiel was to let them know about this divine plan for the new temple. He was to tell them about its arrangements, exits, entrances, with its whole form. They were to know its ordinances, as well as the entire plan, including its laws. Ezekiel was to write it down in the sight of these Israelites, since there should not be any ambiguity. They were to observe and follow the entire plan with all its ordinances. This was to be the law for the new Temple. The whole territory on the top of the mountain with the territory all around it would be most holy. They were not to forget that this was the law of the temple.

 

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 day of retribution for Yahweh (Jer 46:10-46:12)

“That day is

The day of Yahweh!

God of hosts!

A day of retribution

To gain vindication

From his foes!

The sword shall devour!

The sword shall be sated!

The sword shall drink

Its fill of their blood!

Yahweh,

God of hosts,

Holds a sacrifice

In the land of the north

By the Euphrates River.

Go up to Gilead!

Take balm!

O virgin daughter Egypt!

In vain,

You have used

Many medicines.

There is no healing for you.

The nations have heard

Of your shame.

The earth is full

Of your cry.

The warrior has stumbled

Against warrior.

They have both fallen together.”

The day of reckoning for Yahweh was the defeat of Egypt. Clearly Jeremiah and Yahweh are pro-Babylon and anti-Egypt. This will be a day of retribution and vindication against Yahweh’s foes. The sword will devour them and drink their blood, like a sacrifice in this land north of the Euphrates River. This virgin daughter Egypt would find it useless to seek any medicines to cure her. Not even the balms of Gilead would help Egypt. There will be no healing. Everyone would have heard of their shame and their cries. Their warriors have stumbled against each other as they fell.