A gracious God (Joel 2:13-2:14)

“Return to Yahweh!

Your God!

He is gracious!

He is merciful!

He is slow to anger!

He is abounding

In steadfast love!

He relents

From punishing.

Who knows

Whether he will not turn?

Who knows

Whether he will not relent?

Leave a blessing

Behind him!

Leave a grain offering!

Leave a drink offering

For Yahweh!

Your God!”

Joel continued with the same theme. They should return to Yahweh. Joel used the ancient words about God as gracious and merciful, since Yahweh was slow to get angry. He was abounding in steadfast love. He did not punish easily. Will he return? Will he relent? Your best shot was to leave a blessing, like a grain or drink offering for Yahweh, their God. Clearly, Joel was tied to the Temple, since he considered the grain and drink offering as a blessing.

Ephraim is the bad child (Hos 13:12-13:13)

“Ephraim’s iniquity

Is bound up.

His sin is kept in store.

The pangs of childbirth

Come for him.

But he is an unwise son.

At the proper time,

He does not present himself

At the mouth of the womb.”

The iniquity of the territory of Ephraim, in the northern kingdom of Israel, has bound and tied them up. They have kept their own sins stored up. When the pangs of childbirth came for him, he was an unwise son. He failed to present himself at the mouth of the womb for childbirth. In other words, Ephraim refused to come out of the womb, a strange concept for us today.

The punishment of Moab (Ezek 25:9-25:11)

“Therefore,

I will lay open

The flank of Moab.

I will lay it open

From the towns

On its frontier,

The glory of the country,

Beth-jeshimoth,

Baal-meon,

Kiriathaim.

I will give it,

Along with the Ammonites,

To the people of the East

As a possession.

Thus Ammon

Shall be remembered

No more

Among the nations.

I will execute

Judgments

Upon Moab.

Then they will know

That I am Yahweh.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that the future of Moab was closely tied to Ammon. They would both suffer the same result, being captured by the people from the East. The flanks or boundaries of Moab would be laid open. Their border towns, their glorious cities would be captured, especially Beth-jeshimoth on the north, Baal-meon on the east, and Kiriathaim on the south. The western border was the Jordan River and the Dead Sea. No one would remember them, just like the Ammonites would not be remembered either. They would be wiped out, since Yahweh was going to execute his judgments on Moab. Thus, they too would finally realize that Yahweh was God.

Origin of the worship of idols (Wis 14:12-14:14)

“The idea of making idols

Was the beginning of fornication.

The invention of them

Was the corruption of life.

They did not exist from the beginning.

Nor will they last forever.

Through human vanity

They entered the world.

Therefore their speedy end

Has been planned.”

According to this author, fornication or prostitution (πορνείας) began when they started making idols (εἰδώλων). Their invention led to the corruption of life (ζωῆς) since they did not exist at the beginning (ἀρχῆς) of time. However, they will not last forever. They entered the world (εἰς κόσμον) through human vanity so that they will have a speedy end. Clearly sexual activity was tied to these idols, but they had an uncertain future.

The ode to wisdom (Wis 7:24-7:26)

“Wisdom is more mobile

Than any motion.

Because of her pureness

She pervades all things.

She penetrates all things.

She is a breath

Of the power of God.

She is a pure emanation

Of the glory of the Almighty.

Therefore nothing defiled

Gains entrance into her.

She is a reflection of eternal light.

She is a spotless mirror

Of the working of God.

She is an image

Of his goodness.”

Wisdom (σοφία) is clearly tied to God, so that the obvious comparison to the Christian Holy Spirit continues. This female wisdom is more mobile than any motion. She is pure so that she pervades and penetrates all things. She is a breath of the power of God (τοῦ Θεοῦ δυνάμεως), a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty (τοῦ Παντοκράτορος δόξης). Nothing defiled gains entrance into her. She is the reflection of an eternal light (φωτὸς ἀϊδίου) like a spotless mirror of a working God (τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐνεργείας). She is the image of his goodness. Many of these same things have said about the Holy Spirit.