The selling of the sheep (Zech 11:4-11:5)

“Thus said Yahweh my God.

‘Be a shepherd

For the flock doomed to slaughter!

Those who buy them,

Kill them.

They go unpunished.’

Those who sell them say.

‘Blessed be Yahweh!

I have become rich!’

Their own shepherds

Have no pity on them.’”

Yahweh, via Zechariah, seems to say that this flock of sheep was doomed to slaughter.  The people who bought the sheep, killed them, but they would go unpunished.  Meanwhile, the sellers of the sheep were praising Yahweh, because they had become rich.  The original shepherds had no pity on the sheep.  Sheep by their very nature would be killed for eating, but not before their wool was sheared.  This may be an allusion to the Ptolemaic rule (305-275 BCE) with their Israelite appointees.

Drink the cup (Jer 49:12-49:12)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘If those who did not deserve

To drink the cup

Still have to drink it,

Shall you be the one

To go unpunished?

You shall not

Go unpunished.

You must drink it.’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, said that the Edomites still had to drink from the cup of Yahweh’s wrath. Even if they did not deserve it, they would not go unpunished. Here Yahweh seems to indicate that the Edomites did not deserve the punishment that they were getting. However, they could not go unpunished. Thus they had to drink from this cup of wrath.

Do not be afraid (Jer 46:27-46:28)

“‘As for you!

Have no fear!

My servant Jacob!

Do not be dismayed!

O Israel!

I am going to save you

From far away.

I will save your offspring

From the land

Of their captivity.

Jacob shall return.

They shall have quiet.

They shall have ease.

No one shall make them afraid.

As for you!

Have no fear!

My servant Jacob!

I am with you!

I will save you!’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will make an end

Of all the nations

Among whom

I have banished you.

But I will not make

An end of you.

I will chastise you

In just measure.

I will by no means

Leave you unpunished.’”

This passage is almost word for word like chapter 30: 11-12. Yahweh, via Jeremiah, said that Israel or Jacob did not have to fear or be dismayed. Yahweh was going to save them and their offspring from their captivity, even though he was far away. They would return and have peace and quiet. No one would make them afraid, because Yahweh was with them. He was going to bring an end to all the nations where the Israelites had been scattered. These countries would come to an end, but the Israelites would not come to an end. The Israelites were going to be chastised, but in a just measure, since they would not escape unpunished.

Do not be afraid (Jer 30:10-30:11)

“Yahweh says.

‘As for you!

Have no fear!

My servant Jacob!

Do not be dismayed!

O Israel!

I am going to save you

From far away.

I will save your offspring

From the land

Of their captivity.

Jacob shall return.

They shall have quiet.

They shall have ease.

No one shall make them afraid.

I am with you!

I will save you!’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will make an end

Of all the nations

Among whom

I have scattered you.

But of you,

I will not make an end.

I will chastise you

In just measure.

I will by no means

Leave you unpunished.’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, said that Israel or Jacob did not have to fear or be dismayed. Yahweh was going to save them and their offspring from their captivity, even though he was far away. They would return and have peace and quiet. No one would make them afraid, because Yahweh was with them. He was going to bring an end to all the nations where the Israelites had been scattered. These countries would come to an end, but the Israelites would not come to an end. The Israelites were going to be chastised, but in a just measure, since they would not escape unpunished.

Punishment for refusing to drink (Jer 25:28-25:29)

“If they refuse

To accept the cup

From your hand,

Then you shall say to them,

Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

‘You must drink!

See!

I am beginning

To bring disaster

On the city

That is called by my name.

How can you possibly

Avoid punishment?

You shall not go unpunished!

I am summoning a sword

Against all the inhabitants

Of the earth.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.”

Yahweh then tells Jeremiah what to say if they refuse to drink the cup of wrath from his hand. He told Jeremiah to say that they have to drink this cup. Yahweh was already preparing a disaster for the city that bore his name, Jerusalem. How could they possibly go unpunished? Yahweh was going to bring the sword to all the people living on earth. It would be a devastating end to the world.

Historical punishments for sin (Sir 16:6-16:14)

“In an assembly of sinners,

A fire is kindled.

In a disobedient nation,

Wrath blazes up.

The Lord did not forgive

The ancient giants

Who revolted in their might.

He did not spare the neighbors of Lot,

Whom he loathed

On account of their arrogance.

He showed no pity

On the doomed nation,

On those disposed because of their sins.

He showed no pity

On the six hundred thousand foot soldiers,

Who assembled in their stubbornness.

Even if there were only one stiff-necked person,

It would be a wonder

If he remained unpunished.

Mercy is with the Lord.

Wrath is with the Lord.

He is mighty to forgive,

But he also pours out wrath.

As great as his mercy,

So also is his chastisement.

He judges a person

According to his or her deeds.

The sinner will not escape with plunder.

The patience of the godly

Will not be frustrated.

He makes room for every act of mercy.

Everyone receives in accordance

With his or her deeds.”

Sirach mentions the people and the groups from the Torah that were punished for their sins. A destroying fire will rage where sinners or disobedient nations are gathered. The Lord did not forgive the ancient giant Nephilim people in Genesis, chapter 6, before the flood. The Lord did not forgive the evil arrogant Sodomite neighbors of Lot in Genesis, chapter 19. He did not have pity on the disposed Canaanites in Joshua. The 600,000 Israelites in the desert revolted against Moses in Numbers, chapter 16. Not one person gets away with being a stiff-necked proud person. They will not go unpunished. The Lord has both mercy and anger. He judges according to the deeds of the people. No sinner will escape. The patience of the godly will run thin. While there is room for mercy, everyone will receive punishment based on their deeds.

The Canaanites (Wis 12:8-12:11)

“But even these you spared,

Since they were but mortals.

You sent wasps

As forerunners of your army.

They were to destroy them

Little by little.

You were not unable

To give the ungodly

Into the hands of the righteous in battle.

You were able to destroy them

With one blow

By dread wild beasts.

You were also able to destroy them

With your stern word.

But judging them

Little by little

You gave them an opportunity to repent.

You were not unaware

That their origin was evil.

You were not unaware

That their wickedness was inborn.

You were not unaware

That their way of thinking

Would never change.

They were an accursed race

From the beginning.

It was not through fear of any one

That you left them unpunished

For their sins.”

This section on the Canaanites is loosely based on Exodus, chapter 23 and applied to all the inhabitants prior to the Israelite takeover, not just the Canaanites. The Israelites are called the righteous (δικαίοις), while the original inhabitants of this land are called the ungodly (ἀσεβεῖς). Some people were spared since they were fellow human beings. However, he had sent wasps, hornets, or pestilence before the Israelite army attacked in order to destroy them, little by little. Not all the ungodly were handed over to the Israelites in battle, even though God had the ability to destroy them with one blow or one word. Instead he gave them time to repent (μετανοίας) with this gradual takeover. These ungodly inhabitants were evil with inborn wickedness. They would never change or repent since they were an accursed seed or race. God did not let their sins go unpunished because of fear of anyone. There is a definite prejudice against the former inhabitants of the Promised Land, before the Israelites arrived. Yahweh wanted them all destroyed, but some persisted.