Once again there was an oracle of Yahweh, via Haggai. This time there were suggestions on what to do. They were to go up into the hills or mountains around Jerusalem. There, they would get some wood to build the house that Yahweh wanted. Then, Yahweh would take pleasure in it by being honored and glorified.
Daniel then turned to King Belshazzar himself, because he had not humbled his heart, even though he knew all about his father or grandfather. He too exalted himself against the Lord of heaven. He even took the vessels from his holy temple for his feast or party to drink wine with his lords, wives, and concubines. He even praised the false idol gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone who could not see, hear, or know anything. He did not honor the true God, who controls his life and his actions.
So, the feast or party rolled on. The servants brought in these silver and gold vessels from the Temple of God in Jerusalem. Then the king, his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank wine from them. They praised the various idols or pagan gods of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone that were common in Babylon.
Next Ezekiel explained the wooden altar. There were square doorposts in the nave in front of the holy place. Ezekiel seemed vague as he said that he saw something resembling an altar of wood that was 3 cubits high or 5 feet high. However, the top was a small square, 2 cubits long and wide, about 3 feet square. All its corners, base, and walls were made of wood. Then the bronze man explicitly told Ezekiel that this was the table that stood before Yahweh.
Yahweh God, via Ezekiel, said that the Israelites in the various towns would gather all the weapons from the army of Gog. They would use weapons in place of wood to keep their fires going for 7 years. They were going to burn all the equipment that they found, whether it was shields, hand bucklers, bows, arrows, pikes, or spears. Thus, they would not have to go out and collect wood for their fires. They would not have to cut down trees in the forest for their house fires. This was a form or recycling by saving the trees, since they used war weapons as fuel for your home. They would get the spoils and plunder of those who had tried to do the same to them.
What happens when war or calamity comes to these priests and their idol gods? The priests consult together on where they can hide themselves with their gods. All can see that these are not gods. They cannot save themselves from either war or calamity, since they are made of wood, overlaid with gold or silver. Afterwards, everyone will know that these were false gods. It is will be clear to all the nations and all the kings that they are not gods. As they were the work of human hands, there is no work of God in them. This author asked the question, who would not recognize that these idols are not gods?
This diatribe against false gods continued with an attempt to show how impotent these gods are, since they cannot save anyone from death. They cannot rescue the weak from the strong. They cannot restore sight to the blind. They cannot rescue anyone in distress. They cannot take pity on a widow nor do any good for an orphan. They are made of wood, covered with gold or silver, like stones from a mountain. They cannot help those who worship them. They will be put to shame. How can anyone think that they are gods or call them gods? They are useless.
This author points out his anti-feminism by saying that these cannot be true gods if women are involved with them. The sacrifices to these gods were being touched by women, even those in their period or childbirth, which was considered to be unclean from the Hebrew perspective. After all, only men were able to be priests at the Temple in Jerusalem of the true God. These are not true gods because women would serve meals for these gods of silver, gold, and wood. How can you call them gods? Do not be afraid of them!
These colorful gods have carpenters who smooth out their tongues. These gods are overlaid with gold or silver, but they are still false since they cannot speak. They even have golden crowns on their heads. These gods are like young girls who love pretty ornaments. Sometimes, their priests secretly take the gold or silver from their gods to spend it on themselves. They may even give some of it to the local street or temple prostitutes. They dress up their gods with various garments to make them look more human. Thus they have gods made of silver, gold, or wood that are colorful but useless.
The author of this letter has a warning for the exiles while they are in Babylon. They will see gods made of silver, gold, and wood that will be carried on people’s shoulders to inspire fear. They should be careful to not become like these foreigners. They should not fear these gods. Even when they see the multitudes before and behind these gods in possessions or parades, they should not be intimidated. They were to remember in their hearts that they were to only worship the Lord. To help them out, an angel would be watching over their lives.