The obliteration of the name of the king of Nineveh (Nah 1:14-1:14)

To the king of Nineveh

“Yahweh has commanded

Concerning you.

‘Your name shall not be

Perpetuated no longer.

From the house

Of your gods

I will cut off

The craved image

With the cast image.

I will make your grave.

You are worthless.’”

Nahum announced that Yahweh had commanded that the name of the king of Assyria, probably King Sennacherib of Assyria (705-681), would not be perpetuated any longer.  The various carved images and cast mold idols would be cut off from the house of their gods.  Yahweh was going to make a grave for the king and all his idols, because they were all worthless.

They have become worthless dross metals (Ezek 22:17-22:18)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

The house of Israel

Has become

Worthless dross

To me.

All of them,

Silver,

Bronze,

Tin,

Iron,

Lead,

Are worthless dross.

In the smelter,

They have become

Worthless dross.’”

Yahweh once again came to Ezekiel, the son of man. This time he proclaimed that the house of Israel had become worthless dross, the left over elements after smelting in a furnace. Thus silver, bronze, tine, iron, and lead were all worthless, as if they were the remains of a refining process in a smelting furnace.

These gods have no feeling (Bar 6:24-6:26)

“As for the gold

That these idol gods wear

For beauty,

It will not shine

Unless someone

Wipes off the tarnish.

Even when

They were being cast,

They had no feeling.

They are bought

Without regard to cost.

But there is no breath

In them.

Having no feet,

They are carried

On the shoulders of others.

They reveal

To all humans

Their worthlessness.”

This author’s diatribe against the false idols continues with an accusation that these idols have no feelings. They wear gold for beauty, but it will not shine unless someone else wipes off its tarnish. As these idols were cast in an iron furnace, they had no feelings while this was going on. However, money is not a problem with creating these idols. Even so, these expensive idol images have no breath and no feet. They have to be carried on the shoulders of others. Thus they reveal to everyone that they are worthless.

The lack of food (Lam 1:11-1:11)

Kaph

“All her people groan.

They search for bread.

They trade

Their treasures

For food

To revive

Their strength.

‘Look!

Yahweh!

See!

How worthless

I have become!’”

Once again, we have the shift from a third person description about Jerusalem to a first person singular Jerusalem itself praying directly to Yahweh, the God of Israel. All the people were groaning due to the lack of bread or nourishment. They were trading their treasures for food, which makes sense. They wanted to revive their strength. This verse ends with the first person singular plea to Yahweh. Jerusalem laments how worthless she has become. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Kaph. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

Oracle on the desert animals (Isa 30:6-30:7)

“An oracle concerning

The animals of the Negeb.

Through a land

Of trouble,

Of distress,

Of the lioness.

Of the roaring lion,

Of the viper,

Of the flying serpent,

They carry their riches

On the backs of donkeys.

They carry their treasures

On the humps of camels,

To a people

That cannot profit them.

Egypt’s help is worthless.

Their help is empty.

Therefore I have called her

‘Rahab who sits still.’”

This seems to be an oracle by Yahweh about the animals in the Negeb desert, south of Israel. The messengers of the King of Judah were going to pass by these animals as they went with their riches on the backs of donkeys and treasures on the camel humps on their way to Egypt. Along the way, they would suffer trouble and distress. They would see many animals, like lioness, lions, vipers, and flying serpents. However, Isaiah says that their mission was worthless and empty. It was a waste of time since the Egyptians could not help them. In fact, Isaiah calls Egypt a useless sitting still ‘Rahab,’ a mythological sea monster like the Leviathan monster.

Multiple bad kids (Sir 16:1-16:3)

“Do not desire

A multitude of worthless children!

Do not rejoice in ungodly offspring!

If they multiply,

Do not rejoice in them,

Unless the fear of the Lord is in them!

Do not trust in their survival!

Do not rely on their numbers!

One can be better than a thousand.

To die childless

Is better

Than to have ungodly children.”

You should not desire many children, if they are worthless. Therefore you should not rejoice just because you have many children. They will not survive if they do not fear the Lord. Do not think because they are so many, it does not matter. It is better to have one good child than 1,000 useless children. It is even better to die without children than to have many ungodly children. Having more children does not mean they are better children.

The will of God (Wis 9:13-9:18)

“Who can learn the counsel of God?

Who can discern what the Lord wills?

The reasoning of mortals is worthless.

Our designs are likely to fail.

A perishable body weighs down the soul.

This earthy tent burdens the thoughtful mind.

We can hardly guess at what is on earth.

What is at hand

We find with labor.

But who has traced out

What is in the heavens?

Who has learned your counsel,

Unless you have given wisdom?

You sent your Holy Spirit from on high.

Thus the paths of those on earth

Were set right.

People were taught

What pleases you.

They were saved by wisdom.”

What is the will of the Lord (θέλει ὁ Κύριος)? How can you have counsel with God (βουλὴν Θεοῦ)? What man is able to know (ἄνθρωπος γνώσετα) these things because human reasoning is worthless? By our own designs we are likely to fail. Then we have the Platonic thought about how our perishable body (σῶμα) weighs down our souls (ψυχήν) as our earthly tent holds back our minds. We can only guess what is going on even when we work hard here on earth (γῆς). We have no idea what is going on in heaven (οὐρανοῖς). The only way that we know anything is with the counsel and the wisdom (σοφίαν) that your Holy Spirit (τὸ ἅγιόν σου πνεῦμα) gives to us. Here is a clear rare explicit mention of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament books. This is the only way that we can stay on the right path. We are saved by wisdom (τῇ σοφίᾳ).