The polluted food (Mal 1:7-1:8)

“Yahweh said.

‘By offering polluted food

Upon my altar.

You say.

‘How have we polluted it?’

‘By thinking

That Yahweh’s table

May be despised.

When you offer blind animals

In sacrifice,

Is that not wrong?

When you offer those

That are lame

Or sick,

Is that not wrong?

Try presenting that

To your governor!

Will he be pleased

With you?

Will he show you favor?’

Says Yahweh of hosts.”

Yahweh was upset at these priests.  They had offered up polluted food on the altar of Yahweh.  These priests wanted to know how they had polluted the food.  Yahweh responded that they had despised him by offering up blind, lame, and sick animals instead of healthy and sound animals.  They had done Yahweh wrong.  Would they present these kinds of wounded animals to their governor?  Would he be pleased with them?  Would he show them favors?  Thus, they have despised Yahweh by offering these kinds of wounded, unfit, or unclean animals.

The humble poor of Israel (Zeph 3:11-3:13)

“On that day,

You shall not

Be put to shame,

Because of the deeds

By which you have rebelled

Against me.

Then I will remove

From your midst

Your proudly exultant ones.

You shall no longer

Be haughty

On my holy mountain.

I will leave

In the midst of you

A humble people,

A lowly people.

They shall seek refuge

In the name of Yahweh.

The remnant of Israel

Shall do no wrong.

They shall utter no lies.

A deceitful tongue

Shall not be found

In their mouth.

They shall pasture.

They shall lie down.

No one shall make them

Afraid.”

Yahweh, via Zephaniah, said that the Israelites would not be put to shame.  The reason was fairly simple.  Yahweh was going to remove all those rebellious ones that proudly exulted themselves.  Thus, there would be no more haughty ones in their midst.  Instead, all the people left would be humble and lowly people, who took refuge in Yahweh.  These were the remnant of Israel, who would not do anything wrong or utter any lies with a deceitful tongue.  They would be able to lie down in their pastures, since no one was going to make them afraid.

Yahweh alone was righteous (Zeph 3:5-3:5)

“Yahweh within her

Is righteous.

He does no wrong.

Every morning,

He renders

His judgment,

Each dawn

Without fail.

But the unjust ones

Know no shame.”

Yahweh alone in the city of Jerusalem was righteous.  He did not do anything wrong.  Every morning, at dawn without fail, He rendered his judgment.  However, the unjust ones did not know any shame, even when they were called out.

Ephraim has become a rich trader (Hos 12:7-12:8)

“Ephraim was a trader.

His hands

Have false balances.

He loves to oppress people.

Ephraim has said.

‘O!

I am rich.

I have gained wealth

For myself.

In all of my gain,

No offense

Has been found

In me

That would be a sin.’”

Ephraim was a trader, which is the same word as Canaanite. In other words, Ephraim had become like a common Canaanite trader with false balances in his trades. He loved to oppress the people. However, he justified his wealth and gain by saying that that in becoming wealthy, he had not sinned. No one could find anything wrong with him.

The confession of sins (Dan 9:4-9:6)

“I prayed

To the Lord!

My God!

I made a confession.

I said.

‘O Lord!

Great God!

Awesome God!

You keep the covenant!

You have a steadfast love

With those

Who love you,

With those

Who keep your commandments!

We have sinned!

We have done wrong!

We have acted wickedly!

We have rebelled!

We have turned away

From your commandments,

From your ordinances!

We have not listened

To your servants,

The prophets,

Who spoke

In your name,

To our kings,

To our princes,

To our ancestors,

To all the people

Of the land.’”

Daniel personally prayed to God with this first-person singular confession of sins. However, he quickly reverted to the first-person plural “we” from the singular “I.” God was great and awesome. He had kept his covenant with a steadfast love to those who loved him and kept his commandments. However, they had sinned and done wrong. They had acted wickedly. They had rebelled and turned away from his commandments and ordinances. They had not listened to their prophets, kings, princes, ancestors, or even the people of the land.

Daniel responds to the king (Dan 6:21-6:22)

“Then Daniel said

To the king.

‘O king!

Live forever!

My God

Sent his angel.

He shut

The lions’ mouths.

Thus,

They would not hurt me,

Because I was found blameless

Before him.

Also,

I was found blameless

Before you,

O king!

I have done no wrong.’”

Daniel responded to the king with the familiar salutation that the king was to live forever. He explained to the king that God’s angel had come to him and shut the mouths of these lions. Thus, they were unable to hurt him. He was found blameless before God, just as he was blameless before the king. He wanted the king to know that he had not done anything wrong.

The good son of the unrighteous man (Ezek 18:14-18:17)

“But if this man

Has a son

Who sees all the sins

That his father

Has done,

Then considers it,

But does not do likewise,

Should he live?

This son does not

Eat upon the mountains

Or lift up his eyes

To the idols

Of the house of Israel.

He does not

Defile his neighbor’s wife

Or wrong any one.

He does not

Exact pledges

Or commit robbery.

But he gives his bread

To the hungry.

He covers the naked

With a garment.

He withholds his hand

From iniquity.

He takes no advance

Or accrues interest.

He observes

My ordinances.

He follows

My statutes.

He shall not die

For his father’s iniquity.

He shall surely live.”

What happens to the son of an unrighteous person? What if the son sees all the sins that his father has done, but decides to not follow in his father’s footsteps? This son does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel. He does not defile his neighbor’s wife or wrong any one. He does not exact pledges for loans or commit any robberies. However, he gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment. He stays away from iniquity. He does not take any advances or accrue interest. He observes Yahweh’s ordinances and statutes. He is not going to die because of his father’s iniquity. Rather he will live.

The sinners pray (Bar 2:12-2:15)

“We have sinned!

We have been ungodly!

We have done wrong!

O Lord!

Our God!

Against all your ordinances!

Let your anger

Turn away

From us!

We are left,

Few in number,

Among the nations

Where you have

Scattered us.

Hear!

O Lord!

Our prayer!

Hear

Our supplication!

For your own sake

Deliver us!

Grant us favor

In the sight of those

Who have carried us

Into exile!

Thus all the earth

May know

That you are

The Lord our God!

For Israel

With his descendants,

You are

Called by your name.”

These sinners admit that they have been ungodly, doing wrong since they had disobeyed the ordinances of their Lord and God. They wanted him to turn his anger away from them, because they were only a few of them left. They had been scattered among the various nations, not just in one country. They wanted the Lord to hear their prayers and grant them favors among the people who carried them away into exile. Then the whole world would know what the God of Israel had done for his people and their descendants. They will call out his name to all.

 

King Zedekiah questioned Jeremiah secretly (Jer 37:17-37:19)

“Then King Zedekiah sent

For Jeremiah.

He received him.

The king questioned him

Secretly

In his house.

He said.

‘Is there any word

From Yahweh?’

Jeremiah said.

‘There is.’

Then he said.

‘You shall be handed over

To the king of Babylon.’

Jeremiah also said

To King Zedekiah.

‘What wrong have

I done to you,

Or your servants,

Or this people,

That you have put me

In prison?

Where are your prophets

Who prophesied to you?

Saying.

‘The king of Babylon

Will not come

Against you,

Against this land.’”

King Zedekiah wanted to meet secretly with Jeremiah. So he sent for him and received him in his house, but not openly. He wanted to know if he had heard anything from Yahweh. Jeremiah responded that Yahweh had said something about him. He said that the king of Judah was going to be handed over to the Babylonian king. Then Jeremiah wanted to know why he was arrested. What had he done wrong? Jeremiah wanted to know where were the prophets now who had prophesied to him that the king of Babylon would not attack him. Thus this was a very frank discussion.

The fixed order and Israel (Jer 31:35-31:37)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘Who gives the sun

For light by day?

Who has the fixed order

Of the moon

With the stars

For light by night?

Who stirs up the sea

So that its waves roar?

Yahweh of hosts

Is his name.

If this fixed order

Were ever to cease

From my presence,

Then also the descendants

Of Israel

Would cease

To be a nation

Before me forever.’

Says Yahweh.

Thus says Yahweh.

‘If the heavens above

Can be measured,

If the foundations

Of the earth below

Can be explored,

Then I will reject

All the offspring of Israel

Because of all

That they have done.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh says that he makes sure that there is a sun for daylight with the moon and the stars for light at night. Yahweh stirs up the seas so that they roar. It is Yahweh who keeps all this in a fixed order. If these things ceased to exist, then the descendants of Israel would cease to be a nation forever before him. In other words, as long as there is a sun, a moon, stars, and a roaring sea, Israel will be a nation, according to Yahweh.  Yahweh then said that if they could measure the heights of the heavens or the depths of the earth’s foundations, then he would reject the offspring of Israel, because they must have done something wrong.