God explains the analogy of the sour grapes. Only problem is, this bit of wisdom isn’t from the Book of Proverbs, it’s from Jeremiah 31:29. This is the second time we have run across a proverb that isn’t actually a Proverb. (God doesn’t have a very good editor.) But this time the explanation goes on for the whole chapter, and there are a few interesting points to be made.
First, overall it’s an improvement over the standard of morality in most of the bible. Perhaps Yahweh learned something over the years – he used to be pretty big on punishing children for the sins of their ancestors (Exodus 34:7; Num 14:8; Deut 5:9). Or more likely, the societies in which these books were written had advanced somewhat since the Pentateuch. However, the punishment for the transgressions discussed here – death – still seems a little harsh for most of them.
Secondly, v 24-26 are a little disturbing, implying that if a ‘righteous’ person turns toward ‘sinful’ behavior, all their previous good deeds will be forgotten and they will die just like all the other sinners.
Third, both v 25 and 29 mention people complaining that Yahweh’s laws are not just. So even way back then, at least some people recognized that. Human nature hasn’t changed much – they knew unfairness when they saw it.
Lastly, the emphasis on good behavior in this chapter (much of it unrelated to worship practices and more aptly referred to as common decency or even humanism), contradicts what much of the NT claims (Mark 16:16; Acts 16:30-31; Romans 10:9) and many Christians today still believe – that salvation is by faith alone. (That’s how serial killers can supposedly get to heaven if they repent in their final moments.)
OK, I’ve said this before – poetry wasn’t my strong suit in high school and I have no patience for it. This chapter is some kind of funeral poem for Israel’s kings, utilizing metaphors (lions, and vines). I get it, but it doesn’t appeal to or interest me.
Back in Jeremiah there were so many chapters with similar rants that I used the shortcut *…* to represent “This is just another rant about how the Israelites are stubborn, disloyal, wicked, evil, lecherous, etc, and god will punish them in all sorts of creative and sadistic ways.” Well, we’re back to that. Ezekiel is recapping the usual rant – like we haven’t hear it a gazillion times by now. So I have nothing else to say about this chapter – except that the last line is kind of funny. Ezekiel says, as a sort of aside, “O Lord, they are saying of me, ‘He only talks in riddles!’”. Which the SAB roughly translates as “Is he fucking crazy?” Yes!