The scattered sheep (Ezek 34:5-34:6)

“The sheep

Were scattered,

Because there was

No shepherd.

Thus,

They became food

For all the wild animals.

My sheep

Were scattered.

They wandered

Over all the mountains.

They wandered

On every high hill.

My sheep

Were scattered

Over all the face

Of the earth.

There was no one

To search

For them.

There was no one

To seek

For them.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that his sheep were scattered, because there was no shepherd to lead them. Thus, these sheep became food for all the wild animals, perhaps an allusion to the attacks of the Assyrians and the Babylonians. The sheep of Israel and Judah were scattered, so that they wandered into the mountains and the high hills, perhaps an allusion to the high places of idol worship. His sheep were scattered all over all the face of the earth, perhaps an allusion to the captivity. Finally, there was no leader or shepherd to go out to search and look for them. They were the lost sheep of Israel.

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The lack of knowledge (Bar 3:20-3:23)

“Later generations

Have seen

The light of day.

They have lived

Upon this earth.

But they have

Not learned

The way to knowledge.

They have not

Understood her paths.

They have not

Laid hold of her.

Their descendants

Have strayed far

From her way.

She has not been heard of

In Canaan.

She has not been seen

In Teman.

The descendants of Hagar

Seek for understanding

On the earth.

The merchants of Merran,

With the merchants of Teman

Have not learned

The way to wisdom.

The story-tellers,

The seekers for understanding

Have not given thought

To her paths.”

The people living today on this earth have not learned the way to knowledge. They have not understood the various paths to get there. They are unable to grab knowledge. Their descendants have wandered far off the beaten path towards knowledge. Thus they cannot hear or see of knowledge in Canaan or Teman. Canaan was the old name for the land of Israel, while Teman was a city in Edom, south of Israel that was well known for its wisdom. The descendants of Hagar, the concubine of Abraham, or the Ishmaelites, were also seeking understanding. However, the merchants of Midian or Merran with the merchants of Teman in Edom have not learned the various paths to wisdom. The story-tellers and even those seeking understanding have not learned the way or path to wisdom. In fact, they have given little thought to this question.

The devoured lost sheep (Jer 50:6-50:7)

“My people

Have been

Like lost sheep.

Their shepherds

Have led them astray.

They turned them away

On the mountains.

From mountain

To hill,

They have gone.

They have forgotten

Their fold.

All who found them

Have devoured them.

Their enemies have said.

‘We are not guilty!

Because they have sinned

Against Yahweh,

Their true pastor,

Their lord,

The hope of their ancestors.’”

The people of Israel and Judah were like lost sheep. Their shepherds or leaders had led them astray. They let these sheep loose in the mountains where they wandered around from hill to mountain, forgetting about the rest of the flock. Anyone who found them killed them and ate them. The response of these enemy snatchers was that they were not guilty, because these sheep and their shepherds had sinned against Yahweh, the true pastor and hope of their ancestors. Thus they justified their actions against them.

The trustworthy servant (Ps 119:17-119:24)

Gimel

“Deal bountifully with your servant.

Thus I may live and observe your word.

Open my eyes!

Thus I may behold

Wondrous things out of your law.

I am an alien in the land.

Do not hide your commandments from me!

My soul is consumed with longing

For your ordinances at all times.

You rebuke the insolent.

You rebuke the accursed ones,

You rebuke those who wander from your commandments.

Take away from me their scorn and contempt.

I have kept your decrees.

Even though princes sit plotting against me,

Your servant will meditate on your statutes.

Your decrees are my delight.

They are my counselors.”

This psalmist maintained that he was a trustworthy servant. He wanted to live and observe the word of God. He wanted his eyes opened so that he could see all the wondrous things of the law. He was like an alien in his own land. He did not want Yahweh to hide the commandments from him. He was consumed with following the laws of Yahweh. He knew that Yahweh rebuked those who wandered from keeping his commandments, the insolent and the accursed ones. Even if other princes were plotting against him, this psalmist would continue to meditate on Yahweh’s statutes. The psalmist delighted in Yahweh’s decrees since they were like his counselors. Thus this section on the third consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Gimel, came to an end.