Prayer to Yahweh (Hab 1:12-1:13)

“Are you not from of old?

O Yahweh!

My God!

My Holy One!

You shall not die!

O Yahweh!

You have marked them

For judgment.

You!

O Rock!

Have you established them

For punishment?

Your eyes are too pure

To behold evil!

You cannot look

On wrongdoing!

Why do you look

On the treacherous ones?

Why are you silent

When the wicked swallow

Those more righteous

Than they?”

Habakkuk has a prayer to Yahweh that seems to question some of his behavior.  Yahweh, the holy one, his God, who would not die, has marked all these violent men for judgment.  Yahweh, his rock, has set them up for punishment.  Yahweh’s eyes were too pure to see evil, so that he could not look at any wrongdoing.  Then Habakkuk wanted to know why Yahweh was so silent about these treacherous ones, when these wicked ones seem to be swallowing up the righteous ones?  Habakkuk wanted Yahweh to act against these wicked people now, not tolerate them for a later punishment.

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The wickedness of the city (Mic 6:9-6:12)

“The voice of Yahweh

Cries to the city.

It is sound wisdom

To fear your name.

‘Hear!

O tribe!

Hear!

Assembly of the city!

Can I forget

The treasures of wickedness

In the house of the wicked?

Can I forget

The scant measure

That is accursed?

Can I tolerate

Wicked scales?

Can I tolerate

A bag of dishonest weights?

Your wealthy

Are full of violence!

Your inhabitants

Speak lies!

They have tongues of deceit

In their mouths!”

The voice of Yahweh would cry out to the city.  The wisdom of the city assembly should be to fear his name.  These city folks should listen to Yahweh.  How could Yahweh forget the treasures of wickedness of these wicked people?  How could he forget the accursed ones?  How could Yahweh tolerate wicked scales with dishonest weights?  The rich wealthy people were full of violence, while the common folk inhabitants of the city spoke nothing but lies, since they had deceitful tongues.

The questioning of the second elder (Dan 13:56-13:57)

“Then,

Putting the first elder

To one side,

He ordered them

To bring in the other elder.

Daniel said to him.

‘You!

Offspring of Canaan!

Not offspring of Judah!

Beauty has beguiled you!

Lust has perverted

Your heart!

This is how

You both

Have been treating

The daughters of Israel.

They were intimate

With you

Through fear.

But a daughter of Judah

Would not tolerate

Your wickedness.’”

When he was finished with the first elder, he asked that the second elder be brought in to him. Daniel once again berated this second old judge. This time, he claimed that this elder was not from Judah, but from the pagan Canaanite area. Daniel maintained that this judge, along with his other elder judge had a perverted lust in their hearts, since beauty beguiled them. They had been both mistreating the daughters of Israel, forcing them to be sexually intimate with them out of fear. However, this daughter of Judah, Susanna, would not tolerate their wickedness.

The difference between the rich and the humble (Sir 13:21-13:24)

“When the rich person totters,

He is supported by friends.

But when a humble person falls,

He is pushed away

Even by friends.

If the rich person slips,

Many come to his rescue.

If he speaks unseemly words,

They justify him.

If the humble person slips,

They even criticize him.

If he talks sense,

He is not given a hearing.

When the rich person speaks,

All are silent.

They extol to the clouds

What he says.

When the poor person speaks,

They say.

‘Who is this fellow?’

Should he stumble,

They even push him down.

Riches are good

If they are free from sin.

Poverty is evil

Only in the opinion of the ungodly.”

Sirach points out the different attitudes that we have toward the rich and the poor. We tolerate and encourage bad behavior by rich people, but we put down the good behavior of poor people. If a rich person totters a little bit, everyone will come to help him. If a humble poor person slips, his friends push him away. Everyone tries to justify the unseemly words of the rich. However, they will criticize the words of the poor, even if they make a lot of good sense. No one will listen to the poor, but everyone is silent when the rich speak. They will say how wonderful he is. On the other hand, when the poor person speaks, they will ask, who is this guy anyway. If a poor person stumbles, they will push him down further. The only way that rich can be good, is if they are free from sin. In fact, the ungodly think that poverty is evil. It is a tough life if you are poor, but everyone will cover your mistakes if you are rich, because you have “affluenza”.

Evildoers (Ps 101:5-101:5)

“One who secretly slanders his neighbor,

I will destroy.

A haughty look,

I will not endure.

An arrogant heart

I will not endure.”

David would destroy those who secretly slander his neighbor. How would he know about this if it was a secret? He would not tolerate haughty looks or arrogant hearts.

Haman proposes his plan to the king (Esth 3:8-3:9)

“Then Haman said to King Artaxerxes.

‘There is a certain people scattered,

Among the other people in the provinces of your kingdom.

Their laws are different from those of every other people.

They do not keep the king’s laws.

It is not expedient for the king to tolerate them.

If it pleases the king,

Let it be decreed that they are to be destroyed.

I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the king’s treasure.’”

Haman went to the king with his plan. He never mentions the Jews by name here. Obviously, picking on a minority group is always a safe bet. Haman said these people were different from every other people, so let us get rid of them. Have you ever heard that before? Their laws are different so that they do not follow the king’s laws. He did not think that the king should tolerate them. However, the kings of Persia were in fact, very tolerant. They were not seeking a uniform standard for the 127 provinces. Now the kicker comes. If it pleased the king, send out a decree to have them destroyed. Haman, who apparently was rich, offered to pay 10,000 talents of silver, worth approximately $60,000,000.00 USA, to the king’s treasury. Was this a bribe or a gift? That is always difficult to determine.