The righteous shall prevail (Mal 4:2-4:3)

“‘But you who revere

My name,

The sun of righteousness,

Shall rise,

With healing in its wings.

You shall go out leaping

Like calves

From the stall.

You shall tread down

The wicked.

They will be ashes

Under the soles

Of your feet,

On the day

When I act.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.”

Yahweh of hosts said that the righteous, on the other hand, who revered the name of Yahweh, would be like a rising sun with healing wings.  They would be like leaping calves coming out of their stalls.  They would walk all over the wicked, so that the wicked ones would become like ashes under their feet.  All of these things were going to take place on the day when Yahweh was going to act.

The good Levite priest (Mal 2:6-2:7)

“True instruction was

In his mouth.

No wrong was

Found on his lips.

He walked with me

In integrity,

In uprightness.

He turned many

From iniquity.

The lips of a priest

Should guard knowledge.

People should seek instruction

From his mouth.

He is the messenger

Of Yahweh of hosts.”

Yahweh, via Malachi, explained what a good Levite priest should be.  The good Levite priests would have true instruction on their lips.  They would walk with Yahweh in integrity and uprightness.  They would turn many people away from iniquity.  Their lips would guard knowledge.  The people would seek instruction from them.  Their mouths were the messengers of Yahweh.

A lesson from the other countries (Zeph 3:6-3:7)

“I have cut off nations.

Their battlements

Are in ruins.

I have laid waste

Their streets,

So that no one walks

In them.

Their cities have been made

Desolate,

Without people,

Without inhabitants.

I said.

‘Surely

This city

Will fear me.

She will accept correction.

She will not lose sight

Of all that I have brought

Upon her.

But they were more eager

To make all their deeds

Corrupt.’”

Yahweh, via Zephaniah, warned Jerusalem about what Yahweh had done to other countries.  He had ruined their fortresses and battlement stations.  He had destroyed their streets, so that people could not walk on them.  He had reduced their cities to rubble, so that nobody lived there anymore.  Why didn’t Jerusalem fear him?  Yahweh thought that Jerusalem would take corrections, since she had seen all the things that he had done for them.  However, they were more eager to continue with their corrupt activities, rather than follow Yahweh.

Yahweh’s controversy (Mic 6:1-6:2)

“Hear what Yahweh says!

‘Rise!

Plead your case

Before the mountains!

Let the hills hear

Your voice.

Hear

The controversy of Yahweh!

You mountains!

You enduring foundations

Of the earth!

Yahweh has a controversy

With his people.

He will contend with Israel.”

Yahweh wanted them to rise up and plead their case.  He wanted them to do this before the mountains.  All the great communications between Yahweh and his people took place on the mountains or the hills, the closest that humans could get to heaven.  Yahweh then spoke directly to the mountains, called them ‘you’.  Yahweh had a controversy with his people, the Israelites.  This controversy was that they had forgotten how to walk with Yahweh.  They had forgotten the sayings and actions of their ancestors.  He was going to contend with them.

Jonah goes to Nineveh (Jon 3:3-3:3)

“Thus,

Jonah set out for Nineveh.

He went to Nineveh,

According to

The word of Yahweh.

Now Nineveh was

An exceedingly large city.

It would take three days

To walk across it.”

This time the response of Jonah was quite different.  Instead of running away, Jonah went to Nineveh as the word of Yahweh had instructed him.  Next, we have a short description of this Nineveh, the capital city of the Assyrians, a very large city that would take 3 days to walk across it.  Actually, it was only about 3 miles wide and 1½ miles wide.  It was one of the largest cities in the ancient world until the civil war of 612 BCE, probably with a population of around 120,000 people.  Geographically, Nineveh was on the outskirts of modern day Mosul, Iraq, on the east bank of the Tigris River.

Israel as an ungrateful child (Hos 11:1-11:4)

“When Israel was a child,

I loved him.

I called my son

Out of Egypt.

The more I called them,

The more they went from me.

They kept sacrificing

To the Baals.

They kept offering incense

To idols.

Yet it was I

Who taught Ephraim

To walk.

I took them up

In my arms.

But they did not know

That I healed them.

I led them

With cords

Of human kindness.

I led them

With the bands of love.

I was to them

Like those who lift infants

To their cheeks.

I bent down to them.

I fed them.”

When Israel was a child, Yahweh loved him. He had called his son out of Egypt. However, the more that he called them, the more that they went from him. They kept sacrificing to the Baals, offering incense to these idols. Yahweh was the one who taught Ephraim how to walk. He took him up in his arms. They did not know that he had healed them. He led them around with cords of human kindness and bands of love. He lifted them up to his cheeks. He bent down to fed them. Now instead of Israel or Ephraim as an unfaithful lover as earlier in this work, Israel and Ephraim have become ungrateful children.

The final praise of God (Dan 4:37-4:37)

“Now I,

King Nebuchadnezzar,

Praise

The king of heaven!

I extol

The king of heaven!

I honor

The king of heaven!

All his works

Are true!

His ways

Are justice!

He is able to

Bring low

Those who walk

In pride.”

The king continued, in the first-person singular, to praise, extol, and honor the king of heaven. All God’s works are true. All his ways are just. God is able to bring low those who walk in pride. The king was referring to himself and his new-found God.

The words of Yahweh in the Temple (Ezek 43:7-43:7)

“He said to me.

‘Son of man!

This is the place

Of my throne.

This is the place

Of the soles

Of my feet.

I will reside

Among the people

Of Israel

Forever!

The house of Israel

Shall no more

Defile

My holy name.

Neither they,

Nor their kings,

By their prostitution,

By the corpses

Of their kings,

At their death,

Defile

My holy name.’”

Yahweh spoke directly to Ezekiel using his normal appellation, son of man. However, rather than an amorphous glorified God, he refers to himself in anthropomorphic terms. Yahweh was going to sit on a throne, like a king. The soles of his feet would walk in this place. He was going to live among his people, not just for a short time but forever. However, there was a caveat. They were not to defile his holy name. Neither the people or their kings should tarnish his sacred name with their prostitution and dead bodies of kings in his Temple.

The burial of Gog and his troops (Ezek 39:11-39:11)

“On that day,

I will give to Gog

A place for burial

In Israel,

The Valley

Of the Travelers,

East of the sea.

It shall block

The path

Of travelers.

There,

Gog

With all his troops

Will be buried.

It will be called

The Valley of Hamon-gog.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, explained that Gog would be buried on the east side of the Jordan River in the Valley of the Travelers, which apparently was near Dibon, in Moab. This area had been part of the old Gad territory, apparently a well-traveled route. Many people would see it and have to walk around it. Gog was to be buried there with all his troops and people, so that it would become known as the Valley of Hamon-gog, that literally means Gog and his multitude.

The valley of the dry bones (Ezek 37:1-37:2)

“The hand of Yahweh

Came upon me.

He brought me out

By the Spirit of Yahweh.

He set me down

In the middle

Of a valley

That was full of bones.

He led me

All around them.

There were very many

Lying in the valley.

They were very dry.”

This time, like in the earlier chapters, Yahweh transported Ezekiel to a different place. Yahweh came upon Ezekiel. Then the Spirit or Yahweh brought him to a large valley full of bones. Ezekiel was able to walk around them, since there were so many of these very dry bones lying around in this valley. Perhaps this is allusion to the Israelite exiles who were like dead bones.