The response of Yahweh (Hab 2:2-2:3)

“Yahweh answered me.

He said.

‘Write the vision!

Make it plain

On tablets!

Thus,

A runner

May read it.

There is still a vision

For the appointed time.

It speaks of the end.

It does not lie.

If it seems slow,

Wait for it!

It will surely come.

It will not delay.’”

Yahweh did answer Habakkuk.  He told him to write down the vision on a plain tablet, so that a runner or messenger could read it.  This vision had a specific time for the end times that would not lie.  It might seem slow, but Habakkuk was to wait for it, because it would surely come without any great delay.

The two sticks (Ezek 37:15-37:17)

The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Take a stick!

Write on it!

‘For Judah,

With the Israelites

Associated with him.’

Then take another stick!

Write on it!

‘For Joseph,

The stick of Ephraim,

With all

The house of Israel

Associated with it.’

Join them together

Into one stick.

Thus,

They may become

One

In your hand.’”

As usual, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. Yahweh wanted Ezekiel to take two sticks and join them together. Ezekiel was to write on the first stick Judah and everyone associated with him. This was an obvious reference to Judah and the collapsed kingdom of the south. The second stick was a reference to the Israelite kingdom of the north that fell in 721 BCE, a couple of centuries earlier. However, the written title on the second stick was Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, one of Joseph’s sons. All those associated with the northern kingdom were included with the house of Israel. Ezekiel was then to take these two sticks and put them together in his hand, so that they would become one stick. This was an obvious reference that Yahweh wanted the people of both the old northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah to come together, just like what had happened in Ezekiel’s hand.

The exact day of the Babylonian siege (Ezek 24:1-24:2)

“In the ninth year,

In the tenth month,

On the tenth day

Of the month,

The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Write down

The name

Of this day!

This very day!

The king of Babylon

Has laid siege

To Jerusalem

This very day.’”

As usual, Ezekiel mentioned an exact date. This was the 10th day, of the 10th month, of the 9th year of the reign of King Zedekiah. This seems to be January 15, 588 BCE. Once again, Yahweh appeared to Ezekiel, the son of man, who was still probably in Babylon. Yahweh wanted him to write this exact date down because it was the day that Babylon began its siege of Jerusalem.

Baruch writes things down (Jer 36:4-36:4)

“Then Jeremiah

Called Baruch,

The son of Neriah.

Baruch wrote

On a scroll,

At Jeremiah’s dictation,

All the words

Of Yahweh

That he had spoken to him.”

Jeremiah then called his secretary Baruch to write things down on this scroll, although Yahweh had asked Jeremiah to do it himself. However, Jeremiah was going to dictate to Baruch all the words that Yahweh had spoken to him. This is the same Baruch from chapter 32, who took the deed from Jeremiah. Thus, he was a disciple, friend, and secretary of Jeremiah. He has been considered the writer of the Book of Baruch, one of the lesser prophets. He was also the son of Neriah, whose father was Mahseiah.

The book of Jeremiah (Jer 30:1-30:2)

“The word that came

To Jeremiah

From Yahweh.

‘Thus says Yahweh!

The God of Israel!

Write in a book

All the words

That I have spoken

To you!”

Yahweh told Jeremiah to write his oracles down in a book. Thus we have the book of Jeremiah, the prophet. These writings are a series of oracles addressed to those in captivity about a future return. Some of the early ones are even addressed to the Northern Israelites who were in Assyrian captivity from 721 BCE. This was to give consolation to the people in exile. Like the preceding chapter, this is a different numbered chapter in the Greek translation of the Septuagint, chapter 37, not chapter 30 as here.

Preserve the oracles of Isaiah (Isa 30:8-30:8)

“Go now!

Write it before them on a tablet!

Inscribe it in a book!

Thus it may be for the time to come.

Let this be a witness forever!”

Isaiah wanted them to preserve his oracles. He wanted them to write these oracles on a tablet. Then they were to keep them on a scroll in some kind of book. Thus they would become a lasting witness about things to come in the future. Apparently, this was done.

Future problems for the king of Assyria (Isa 10:16-10:19)

“Therefore the Sovereign,

Yahweh of hosts,

Will send

A wasting sickness

Among his stout warriors.

Under his glory

A burning will be kindled,

Like the burning of a fire.

The light of Israel

Will become a fire.

His Holy One

Will be a flame.

It will burn his thorns.

It will devour his briers in one day.

Yahweh will destroy

The glory of his forest.

Yahweh will destroy

The glory of his fruitful land,

Both soul and body.

It will be as

When an invalid wastes away.

The remnant of the trees

Of his forest

Will be so few

That a child

Can write them down.”

Isaiah predicts the devastation of the army and land of the king of Assyria. Yahweh was going to send a wasting sickness among his warriors. This maybe an allusion to 2 Kings, chapter 19, when 185,000 Assyrian troops died. The light of Israel will become a raging flame starting a great fire that will destroy and devour the thorns and briers of Assyria itself. Yahweh will destroy the forests and the fruitful land with a wild fire, so that both their bodies and souls will be destroyed. There will be so few trees left, so that a mere child can count and write the number down.

Birth of a son to Isaiah (Isa 8:1-8:4)

“Then Yahweh said to me.

‘Take a large tablet.

Write on it

In common characters,

‘Belonging to Maher-shalal-hash-baz.’

‘The spoil speeds.

The prey hastens.’

Have it attested for me

By reliable witnesses,

The priest Uriah,

And Zechariah

Son of Jeberechiah.’

I went to the prophetess.

She conceived.

She bore a son.

Then Yahweh said to me.

‘Name him

Maher-shalal-hash-baz.

Before the child knows how to cry

‘My father’ or

‘My mother,’

The wealth of Damascus

With the spoil of Samaria

Will be carried away

By the king of Assyria.’”

Once again, we have a conversation between Yahweh and Isaiah directly. Yahweh told him to write down on a large wooden tablet, the letters Maher-shalal-hash-bar, which means spoil spreads and prey hastens. Then Isaiah had to go to the priest Uriah, mentioned in 2 Kings, chapter 16, as well as Zechariah, probably the father of the wife of Ahaz, to have it attested. Next he went to the prophetess, probably his wife, who then conceived and bore a son that was to be named after the word on the large tablet. Before this boy would be able to utter the words father or mother, the wealth of Damascus in Syria and the spoils of Samaria in Ephraim would be carried away by the king of Assyria. This alliance of King Ahaz of Judah with the King of Assyria can also be found in 2 Kings, chapter 16. Thus the name of the child was really talking about what was about to happen to Syria and Ephraim.

Carefulness (Sir 22:27-22:27)

“Who will set a guard

Over my mouth?

Who will put an effective seal

Upon my lips?

Thus I may not fall

Because of them.

Thus my tongue may not

Destroy me.”

Sirach wants a guard on his mouth and a seal on his lips. He is afraid that he might fall because of what he says. He was afraid that his tongue would destroy him. After all, he did speak and write a lot.

Be loyal and faithful (Prov 3:3-3:4)

“Do not let loyalty forsake you!

Do not let faithfulness forsake you!

Bind them around your neck!

Write them on the tablet of your heart!

Thus you will find favor

In the sight of God and man.

You will find good repute

In the sight of God and man.”

You should be loyal and faithful. They are key ingredients of wisdom. You should bind these ideas around your neck. You should write them on your heart. If you are always loyal and faithful, you will find favor with God and have a good reputation among men.