Chant of thanksgiving (Zeph 3:14-3:15)

“Sing aloud!

O daughter of Zion!

Shout!

O Israel!

Rejoice!

Exult

With all your heart!

O daughter of Jerusalem!

Yahweh

Has taken away

The judgments

Against you.

He has turned away

Your enemies.

The king of Israel,

Yahweh,

Is in your midst.

You shall fear disaster

No more.”

Zephaniah has this chant of thanksgiving.  The daughters of Zion were to sing out loud.  The daughters of Jerusalem were to rejoice and exult with their whole hearts.  Yahweh had taken away his judgments against them, since he had forgiven them.  On top of that, Yahweh had turned away all their enemies.  Yahweh was now the new king of Israel in their midst.  Thus, they had no reason to fear any disasters anymore.

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Seek and you shall find (Jer 29:12-29:14)

“Then when you call

Upon me,

I will listen.

When you come,

I will see you.

When you pray to me,

I will hear you.

When you search for me,

You will find me.

When you seek me

With all your heart,

I will let you find me.’

Says Yahweh.”

In somewhat beautiful poetic terms, Yahweh, via Jeremiah’s letter, says that if they called on him, he would hear them. If they prayed to him, he would listen to them. If they searched for him, they would find him. If they sought him with their whole hearts, he would let himself be found. Yahweh was ready and willing to help them. They just had to reach out to him with calls, prayers, and sincere searching.

The basket of good figs (Jer 24:4-24:7)

“Then the word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Thus says Yahweh!

The God of Israel!

Like these good figs,

So I will regard as good

The exiles from Judah.

I have sent them away

From this place

To the land of the Chaldeans.

I will set my eyes

Upon them for good.

I will bring them back

To this land.

I will build them up.

I will not tear them down.

I will plant them.

I will not pluck them up.

I will give them a heart

To know

That I am Yahweh.

They shall be my people.

I will be their God.

They shall return to me

With their whole heart.’”

Yahweh, the God of Israel, explained to Jeremiah that the basket of good figs referred to those who had gone into exile in 598 BCE, not those who had remained in Judah. The Babylonians or the Chaldeans had taken them. Yahweh was going to bring these good people back from their exile. He was again going to plant them in this land, since he was not going to tear them down. Their hearts would know Yahweh. Thus they would be his people and he would be their God. They would return to Yahweh with their whole hearts.

The happy ones follow the law (Ps 119:1-119:8)

Aleph

“Happy are those whose way is blameless!

They walk in the law of Yahweh.

Happy are those who keep his decrees!

They seek him with their whole heart.

They also do no wrong.

They walk in his ways!

You have commanded your precept.

You have commanded it to be kept diligently.

O that my ways may be steadfast!

That I may keep your statutes!

Then I shall not be put to shame.

I have my eyes fixed on all your commandments.

I will praise you with an upright heart.

I will learn your righteous ordinances.

I will observe your statutes.

Do not utterly forsake me!”

Psalm 119 is one of the longest psalms. However, there are not any titles to this acrostic alphabet psalm about the importance of the law. There are 8 verses to every consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet instead of just a line or two as in some of the other acrostic psalms. In this eulogy to the law, the happy ones are the blameless ones because they walk in the law of Yahweh. They are happy because they keep his decrees. They seek Yahweh with their whole hearts. They do not do anything wrong because they keep Yahweh’s commandments diligently. They are steadfast in their determination to follow the law. The psalmist will try not to be ashamed as he tries to follow the law. He gets personal since he has an upright heart. Using the first person singular, he wanted to learn all the right ordinances and statutes. He wanted to observe them. He asked Yahweh not to forsake him. This section on the first consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Aleph, comes to an end.