Suddenly: narrative! Okay, mostly a monologue from God, but also some narrative. After six chapters of vision, we snap back to earth, where Sharezer and Regemmelech and their companions bring a question to the priests and prophets. They want to know whether to continue weeping and fasting, but God’s response…well, let’s check it out for ourselves.
Hoo boy. No sooner had I hit verse two of Micah than I was saying, “I can’t handle any more of this.” It feels like the minor prophets are just judgment after judgment, a divine lament of Israel’s protracted moral degradation and a statement of the inevitable consequences. And they’re not even told as narrative: it’s like if an entire book took the form of the protagonist’s impassioned speech at the climax. The book of Micah isn’t the story of Micah and God and Israel. It’s what God had to say to Israel through Micah. And it doesn’t open on an especially rough note, but the constant truth and consequences of the prophets can wear on a guy.
If a punishment is going to be fair, whoever’s receiving the punishment needs to have committed a crime first, and the punishment needs to be commensurate with the crime. Thus, if a punishment is going to seem fair, it should be preceded by a statement of the charges of which it is claimed that the punished party is guilty. In other words, you’re going to look like a jerk if you punish someone without giving a reason. And that’s why, on the heels of Hosea 8’s big pile of Israel’s sins, we have Hosea 9’s prophecy of punishment.
I’m gonna ruin the magic today. I’ve been writing posts in advance lately and building up a buffer. But Hosea 5 stymied me. Some theodicy-related stuff was coming to a head, inside my head, and I’ve been sitting on it for two days without writing a post. I think I’m finally ready to tackle the chapter, though, so let’s return to the world to God chastening ancient Israel for their unfaithfulness.
At the time when Paul wrote this letter, the Corinthian church had problems. We’ve seen their issues with factionalism and inflated egos, but in chapter five we see their issues with sexual immorality. We also see Paul drop the hammer.
If yesterday was a knock on Babylon’s gods, today is a knock on their rulers.
The Bible has got some great names. I’ve always been partial to Arpachshad. But in today’s chapter from Isaiah, we get Isaiah’s son Maher-shalal-hash-baz. That’s an entire sentence in Hebrew. Can you imagine naming your kid an entire sentence, like “Raise high the roof beam, carpenters” or “All my best friends are metalheads?” Well, at God’s instruction, that’s exactly what Isaiah does.