The hole in the wall (Ezek 8:7-8:9)

“God brought me

To the entrance

Of the court.

I looked.

There was a hole

In the wall.

Then he said to me.

‘Son of man!

Dig through the wall!’

When I dug

Through the wall,

There was an entrance.

He said to me.

‘Go in!

See the vile abominations

That they are committing here.’”

Next God in his glory brought Ezekiel to the entrance of the Temple court. There was a hole in the wall there. Then God told Ezekiel, the son of man, to dig through the wall where the hole was. When Ezekiel dug through the wall, there was another entrance. Then God told Ezekiel to go inside and see all the vile abominations that they were being committed here. This seemed like some sort of secret worship service that was behind this wall.

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The strong gates of Jerusalem (Lam 4:12-4:12)

Lamed

“The kings

Of the earth

Did not believe.

Nor did any

Of the inhabitants

Of the world

Believe

That any foe

Or any enemy

Could enter

The gates of Jerusalem.”

All the kings of the earth and all the inhabitants of the world did not believe that any foe or enemy would be able to enter the gates of Jerusalem. This is a little hyperbole. I am not sure that everyone thought this way. Nevertheless, it would be a big surprise for any foe to get through the very strong Jerusalem gates. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Lamed in this acrostic poem.

The good results if you observe the Sabbath (Jer 17:24-17:25)

“Yahweh says.

‘But if you listen to me,

If you bring in no burden

By the gates of this city

On the Sabbath day.

But rather keep the Sabbath day holy

By doing no work on it,

Then there shall enter

By the gates of this city

Kings who will sit

On the throne of David,

Riding in chariots,

Riding on horses.

They with their officials,

The men of Judah,

As well as the inhabitants of Jerusalem

Shall enter the gates.

This city shall be inhabited forever.”

Yahweh says that good things will happen if they observe the Sabbath. They had to bring no burdens through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath. They also were to keep the Sabbath holy by doing no work at all on that day. If they did these things, then kings would sit on the throne of David with chariots and horses. There would be officials along with the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem going through the gates. All would be able to enter the gates of Jerusalem. Thus the city would be inhabited forever.

The hope for Zion (Isa 62:10-62:12)

“Go through!

Go through the gates!

Prepare the way for the people!

Build up!

Build up the highway!

Clear it of stones!

Lift up an ensign

Over the people!

Yahweh has proclaimed

To the ends of the earth.

Say to daughter Zion!

‘See!

Your salvation comes!

His reward is with him!

His recompense is before him.’

They shall be called.

‘The holy people!

The redeemed of Yahweh!’

You shall be called.

‘Sought out!

A city not forsaken.’”

Here we have a summary of all that had proceeded. The Israelites were to go through the gates in order to prepare a way for the others to come. They were to build up the highway and clear it of stones so that it would be a level road to walk on. They were to lift up a symbolic sign over the people. Yahweh has proclaimed to the ends of the earth that his daughter Zion will be saved. Zion was to receive their rewards and compensation. They were to be called the holy people, the people redeemed by Yahweh. They would be a city sought out and not forsaken. Jerusalem would be restored as a shining city on a hill.

Yahweh and King Ahaz (Isa 7:10-7:12)

“Again Yahweh spoke

To King Ahaz.

‘Ask a sign of Yahweh!

Ask a sign of your God!

Let it be as deep

As Sheol

Let it be as high

As heaven.’

But King Ahaz said.

‘I will not ask.

I will not put Yahweh

To the test.’”

Now it seems like Yahweh is speaking directly to King Ahaz rather than through Isaiah. Yahweh wanted King Ahaz to ask for a sign from God. It could be as deep as Sheol, the vague underworld, or as high as the heavens. However, King Ahaz responded that he would not put Yahweh to a test. He was not going to ask for anything.

The marvelous Red Sea experience (Wis 19:6-19:9)

“The whole creation

In its nature

Was fashioned anew.

It complies with your commands.

Thus your children might be kept unharmed.

The cloud was seen overshadowing the camp.

Dry land emerged

Where water had stood before.

There was an unhindered way

Out of the Red Sea.

There was a grassy plain

Out of the raging waves.

Those protected by your hand

They passed through as one nation.

After gazing on marvelous wonders.

They ranged like horses.

They leaped like lambs.

They praised you.

O Lord!

You delivered them.”

Creation itself helped the righteous Israelites as they complied with the commands of God to help his children (σοὶ παῖδες). There was a cloud (παρεμβολὴν) over the camp. Dry land emerged from the Red Sea (ἐρυθρᾶς θαλάσσης) as in Exodus, chapter 13. Here there is an explicit mention of the Red Sea as they passed through a grassy plain in the middle of the raging waters. God’s hand (χειρί) protected them as they passed through the Red Sea together like horses and lambs. They praised the Lord (Κύριε) for their deliverance.

The holy prophet Moses (Wis 11:1-11:4)

“Wisdom prospered their works

By the hand of a holy prophet.

They journeyed through an uninhabited wilderness.

They pitched their tents

In untrodden places.

They withstood their enemies.

They fought off their foes.

When they thirsted,

They called upon you.

Water was given them

Out of flinty rock.

A remedy for their thirst

Was from hard stone.”

Based on the stories in Exodus, chapter 17, here we see that Moses is called a holy prophet (προφήτου ἁγίου), not just a servant. Wisdom will now work through the hands (ἐν χειρὶ) of Moses. The Israelites pitched their tents in the stark wilderness or desert (ἔρημον). They were able to fight off their enemies and foes. When they were thirsty they got water (ὕδωρ) from the hard stone rocks.