Our days are numbered (Lam 4:18-4:18)

Cade

“They dogged

Our steps.

Thus we could

Not walk

In our streets.

Our end

Drew near.

Our days

Were numbered.

Our end

Had come.”

This verse speaks in the first person plural, referring to the people of Jerusalem. Their enemies persisted in watching them walking, so that they could not step out into the streets. Their end was near. Their days were numbered. Their end had come. They would be no more.   This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Cade in this acrostic poem.

Blindness (Lam 4:17-4:17)

Ayin

“Our eyes failed.

We were forever

Watching vainly

For help.

We were

Watching eagerly

For a nation

That could not save.”

Despite the fact that the people of Jerusalem were watching in vain, their eyes failed them. They were looking for help, but none came. They eagerly watched for country after country to help them, but no one could save them. Either they were blind or other countries were blind to them. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Ayin in this acrostic poem.

Jeremiah complains about his persecutors (Jer 20:10-20:11)

“I hear many whispering.

‘Terror is all around!

Denounce him!

Let us denounce him!’

All my close friends

Are watching for me

To stumble.

‘Perhaps he can be enticed.

Then we can prevail against him.

We can take our revenge on him.’

But Yahweh is with me

Like a dreaded warrior.

Therefore my persecutors

Will stumble.

They will not prevail.

They will be greatly shamed.

They will not succeed.

Their eternal dishonor

Will never be forgotten.”

Jeremiah has heard the whispers about terror all around. They want to denounce him. Even his close friends are watching to see if he stumbles. They think that they might be able to prevail over him. They want to take out revenge on him. However, Yahweh is near, like a dreaded warrior, to protect him. Instead, his persecutors will stumble, fall, not prevail, and be greatly shamed. They will not succeed. In fact, their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten.

What they should avoid (Jer 7:8-7:11)

“‘Here you are.

You trust in deceptive words to no avail.

Will you steal?

Will you murder?

Will you commit adultery?

Will you swear falsely?

Will you make offerings to Baal?                              

Will you go after other gods

That you have not known?

Then you will come.

You will stand before me

In this house,

That is called by my name.

You will say.

‘We are safe!’

Yet you only go on doing

All these abominations.

Has this house,

That is called by my name,

Become a den of robbers

In your sight?

You know,

I too am watching.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, asks the people if they will really give up their deceptive ways. Are they going to continue to steal, murder, commit adultery, and swear falsely? Were they going to continue to offer sacrifices to the Baal gods? Were they going to continue to run after other gods that they know nothing about? Then why would they come to Yahweh’s Temple and say that they were safe there? While they proclaim their love of Yahweh, they continue to commit all these abominations. They have made his Temple into a den of robbers. Yet Yahweh was watching what was going on.

The destroying animals (Jer 5:6-5:6)

“Therefore a lion from the forest

Shall kill them.

A wolf from the desert

Shall destroy them.

A leopard is watching

Against their cities.

Everyone who goes out of them

Shall be torn to pieces.

Because their transgressions are many.

Their apostasies are great.”

Due to their transgressions and the renunciation of their religious practices, the people of Jerusalem were in danger from wild animals. The lions from the forest would kill them. A wolf from the desert would destroy them. A leopard was watching them outside their cities. All of them would be torn to pieces because of their many sins and failure to worship Yahweh.

The vision of Jeremiah (Jer 1:11-1:13)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

Saying.

‘Jeremiah!

What do you see?’

I said.

‘I see a branch of an almond tree.’

Then Yahweh said to me.

‘You have seen well.

I am watching over my word

To perform it.’

The word of Yahweh

Came to me

A second time.

Saying.

‘What do you see?’

I said.

‘I see a boiling pot,

Tilted away from the north.’”

Jeremiah had a vision as the word of God came upon him. Yahweh asked him what he saw. Jeremiah responded that he saw the branch of an almond tree. Then Yahweh said that he had a good vision, since he was watching Jeremiah and how he reacted to his word. Then Yahweh asked him a second time, what he saw. This time he said that he saw a boiling pot titled away from the north towards the south.

Watch your companions (Prov 1:10-1:19)

“My child!

If sinners entice you,

Do not consent!

If they say.

‘Come with us!

Let us lie in wait for blood!

Let us wantonly ambush the innocent!

Like Sheol,

Let us swallow them alive and whole!

Like those who go down to the Pit,

We shall find all kinds of costly things.

We shall fill our houses with booty.

Throw in your lot among us!

We will all have one purse.’

My child!

Do not walk in their way!

Keep your foot from their paths!

Their feet run to evil.

They hurry to shed blood.

For in vain is a net baited,

While the bird is looking on.

Yet they lie in wait,

To kill themselves.

They set an ambush

For their own lives.

Such is the end

Of all who are greedy for gain.

It takes away the life of its possessors.”

The main parental advice of these proverbs is to stay away from evil people. Do not let sinners entice you! Stay away from those who want to ambush innocent people in order to spill their blood. They seem to think that they can swallow people up like Sheol or the pit, the grave, does. This part appears to not sound enticing, but the kicker enticement was filling up your house with spoils and booty. They would all share together with one purse. Parents should warn their children not to walk in their paths or let their feet walk in their ways. These wicked ones hurry to shed blood. However, they set a net while the birds are watching so that their own ambush will kill them. This is the end for those who are greedy and want to kill others so that they would have their goods.

Yahweh is in charge (Ps 59:8-59:10)

“Yahweh!

You laugh at them.

You hold all the nations in derision.

O my strength!

I will watch for you!

O God!

You are my fortress!

My God

In his steadfast love

Will meet me.

My God

Will let me look in triumph

On my enemies.”

Yahweh laughs at the world since he derides all nations. He is David’s strength and fortress. David was watching for him. After all, God loved him with a steadfast love. God was going to meet him so that he could look in triumph over his enemies.

Yahweh protects against the wicked (Ps 37:32-37:33)

Cade   

“The wicked watch for the righteous.

They seek to kill them.

Yahweh will not

Abandon them to their power.

Yahweh will not

Let them be condemned,

When they are brought to trial.”

The wicked ones are out to get the righteous ones. They are watching them so that they can kill them. However, Yahweh will not abandon the righteous to the wicked ones. He will not let them be condemned in trial. Yahweh will protect the just ones against the evildoers.

God enacts his justice (Job 34:21-34:26)

“His eyes are upon the ways of mortals.

He sees all their steps.

There is no gloom or deep darkness

Where evildoers may hide themselves.

He has not appointed a time for anyone

To go before God in judgment.

He shatters the mighty without investigation.

He sets others in their place.

Thus, knowing their works,

He overturns them in the night.

They are crushed.

He strikes them for their wickedness,

While others look on.”

Elihu continued that God was always watching humans as he saw every step that they take. The evil doer cannot hide in darkness. No one has an appointed time for their judgment. God strikes the mighty without an investigation. He puts others in their places. He overturns them in the night as he crushes them in the sight of others.