The fifth curse against the Chaldean idols (Hab 2:18-2:20)

“What use is an idol?

Once its maker

Has shaped it,

It is a cast image,

A teacher of lies.

Its maker trusts

In his own creation,

Even though the product

Is only an idol

That cannot speak.

Woe to you!

You say to the wood.

‘Wake up!’

You say to silent stone.

‘Rouse yourself!’

Can it teach?

See!

It is gold plated.

It is silver plated.

There is no breath

In it at all.

But Yahweh is

In his holy temple.

Let all the earth

Keep silence

Before him.”

This final and fifth curse of Habakkuk was against the Chaldean idols, a favorite theme of the prophets.  What good were these idols?  They were handmade human creations, full of lies.  They could not speak.  How foolish they were, when they asked wood and stone to wake up and rouse themselves.  These idols cannot teach anything, since they are gold and silver plated, without any breath in them.  Contrast that with Yahweh in his holy temple, where all the earth keeps silent before him.

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The defeat of the enemies of Zion (Mic 4:11-4:13)

“Now many nations

Are assembled against you.

Saying.

‘Let her be profaned!

Let our eyes gaze upon Zion!’

But they do not know

The thoughts of Yahweh.

They do not understand

His plan.

He has gathered them

As sheaves

To the threshing floor.

Arise!

Thresh!

O daughter Zion!

I will make your horn iron.

I will make your hoofs bronze.

You shall beat in pieces

Many people.

You shall devote their gain

To Yahweh.

You shall devote their wealth

To Yahweh,

The lord of the whole earth.”

Yahweh, via Micah, warned that many nations and people would attack Jerusalem, Mount Zion.  Perhaps this is allusion to the Assyrians around 700 BCE.  However, as they came to gaze at Jerusalem, Yahweh had other plans.  He was going to treat these enemies of Israel as if they were wheat to be grinded down on the threshing floor.  Yahweh wanted the people of Zion to wake up and get ready.  They were to get the threshing machines ready.  The horses would have bronze hoofs and strong iron to do this grinding.  They were to beat these enemies into pieces.  Then they were to take their wealth to devote and donate it to Yahweh, the lord of the whole world.

Jonah was sleeping (Jon 1:5-1:6)

“Jonah,

Meanwhile,

Had gone down

Into the hold

Of the ship.

He had lain down.

He was fast asleep.

The captain came.

He said to him.

‘What are you doing

Sound asleep?

Get up!

Call on your God!

Perhaps your God

Will spare us

A thought,

So that we do not perish.’”

However, Jonah was oblivious to all that was going on with the storm, since he was sleeping below the deck.  Then the captain of the ship came to Jonah.  He told him to wake up and pray to his god.  Maybe the god of Jonah would help them not to die at sea.

The attack of the locusts (Joel 1:5-1:7)

“Wake up!

You drunkards!

Weep!

Wail!

All you wine-drinkers!

The sweet wine

Is cut off

From your mouth.

A nation has invaded

My land.

It is powerful.

It is innumerable.

Its teeth are

Lions’ teeth.

It has the fangs

Of a lioness.

It has laid waste

My vines.

It has splintered

My fig trees.

It has stripped off

Their bark.

It has thrown it down.

Their branches

Have turned white.”

Joel noted that the attack of the locust grasshoppers was very severe, like the invasion of another country. He wanted the drunkards to wake up and weep. All those wine-drinkers should wail. They were going to have their sweet wine cut off from them. The powerful, innumerable invasion of the grasshoppers in his land was like the fangs of a lion’s teeth. This attack had laid waste the vines and the fig trees. This plague of locusts had splintered and stripped off the bark of the trees. They had thrown the trees to the ground, as the branches of the trees turned white.

The final destruction of Babylon (Jer 51:54-51:57)

“Listen!

A cry from Babylon!

A great crashing

From the land

Of the Chaldeans!

Yahweh is laying

Babylon waste!

Yahweh is stilling

Her loud clamor!

Their waves roar

Like many waters!

The sound of their clamor

Resounds!

A destroyer has come

Against her!

Against Babylon!

Her warriors are taken.

Their bows are broken.

Yahweh is

A God of recompense.

He will repay in full.

‘I will make drunk

Her officials,

Her sage wise men,

Her governors,

Her deputies,

Her warriors.

They shall sleep

A perpetual sleep.

They shall not wake.’

Says the King,

Whose name is

Yahweh of hosts.”

They will hear the cry of Babylon as its destruction takes place. Yahweh will destroy the land of the Chaldeans as he lays waste to Babylon. Loud noises like roaring waters will be heard in Babylon. A destroyer came against Babylon. The warriors were taken. Their bows were broken. Yahweh is a God of rewards. Thus, he will demand a payment in full. He will make all their officials, sages, governors, deputies, and warriors drunk. They will sleep an eternal sleep, so that they will never again wake up. Thus the God king, Yahweh of hosts has spoken. The final destruction of Babylon will take place as he wishes.

 

The defeat of Babylon (Jer 51:38-51:40)

“‘Like lions,

They shall roar together.

They shall growl

Like lions’ whelps.

While they are inflamed,

I will set out their drink.

I will make them drunk,

Until they become merry.

I will make them sleep

A perpetual sleep.

They will never wake.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will bring them down

Like lambs

To the slaughter,

Like rams,

Or like goats.’”

The mighty lion Babylon will no longer roar or growl. They will be reduced to young baby lions, whelps. They would get drunk and be merry until they fell into a perpetual sleep. Thus they will never wake up again. They will be like lambs, rams, and goats brought to the slaughter. They would not realize what hit them.

The vengeance on Babylon (Jer 51:34-51:37)

“‘Like lions,

They shall roar together.

They shall growl

Like lions’ whelps.

While they are inflamed,

I will set out their drink.

I will make them drunk,

Until they become merry.

I will make them sleep

A perpetual sleep.

They will never wake.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will bring them down

Like lambs

To the slaughter,

Like rams,

Or like goats.’”

The mighty lion Babylon will no longer roar or growl. They will be reduced to young baby lions, whelps. They would get drunk and be merry until they fell into a perpetual sleep. Thus they will never wake up again. They will be like lambs, rams, and goats brought to the slaughter. They would not realize what hit them.