Sunday, November 6, 2011

Haggai & Zechariah

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

Haggai 1 - No mention of any women.

Haggai 2 - No mention of any women.

Zechariah 1 - No mention of any women.

Zechariah 2:7 - "Up! Escape to Zion, you that live with daughter Babylon!"
2:10-11 - "Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! For lo, I will come and dwell in your midst, says the Lord. Many nations shall join themselves to the Lord on that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in your midst. And you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me [an angel of the Lord] to you."

Zechariah 3 - No mention of any women.

Zechariah 4 - No mention of any women.

Zechariah 5:5-11 - Seventh Vision: The Woman in a Basket

"Then the angel who talked with me came forward and said to me, 'Look up and see what this is coming out.' I said, 'What is it?' He said, 'This is a basket coming out.' And he said, 'This is their iniquity in all the land.' Then a leaden cover was lifted, and there was a woman sitting in the basket! And he said, 'This is Wickedness.' So he thrust her back into the basket, and pressed the leaden weight down on its mouth. Then I looked up and saw two women coming forward. The winds was in their wings; they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between earth and sky. Then I said to the angel who talked with me, 'Where are they taking the basket?' He said to me, 'To the land of Shinar, to build a house for it; and when this is prepared, they will set the basket down there on its base.'"

Zechariah 6 - No mention of any women.

Zechariah 7:10 - "Do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another."

Zechariah 8:1-2 - "The word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I am jealous for Zion with the great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath."
8:4-5 - "Thus says the Lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of their great age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets."

Zechariah 9:9 - "Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."
9:11-13 - "As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Return to your stronghold, I prisoners of hope; today I will declare that I will restore to you double. For I have bent Judah as my bow; I have made Ephraim its arrow. I will arouse your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and wield you like a warrior's sword."
9:17 - "For what goodness and beauty are his! Grain shall make the young men flourish, and new wine for the women."

Zechariah 10 - No mention of any women.

Zechariah 11 - No mention of any women.

Zechariah 12:12-13 - "The land shall mourn, each family be itself; the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the Shimeites by itself, and their wives by themselves; and all the families that are left, each by itself, and their wives by themselves."

Zechariah 13:3 - "And if any prophets appear again, their fathers and mothers who bore them will say to them, 'You shall not live, for you speak lies in the name of the Lord'; and their fathers and their mothers who bore them shall pierce them through when they prophesy."

Zechariah 14:2 - "For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses looted and the women raped; half the city shall go into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city."

My Comments

These books are taking a turn to talking about how God will rebuild and fix his people after his punishment instead of just waxing poetic about how horrible their punishments will be. I can't help but think back to Job, where God spent so long destroying Job's life (and Job was actually extremely faithful to God, unlike God's people) and then in the end God replacing everything with new stuff (not giving him back his old stuff like his dead kids are estranged wife) as if this magically fixes Job. Simply replacing something doesn't make it all better. It doesn't fix the emotional and mental harm that is caused by such destruction because there would definitely be some mental and emotional damage caused here. All of those women in these cities don't suddenly become unraped and all the men and children don't suddenly become undead and their families unsad. Shiny, new stuff and a promise that all that bad stuff will never happen again really doesn't solve half the problems such prolonged suffering causes.

I'll use an example from my own life when our house got robbed about a year or so ago, if that has ever happened to anyone reading this. It was a very hard experience to go through and it definitely has nothing to do with the physical items that are taken. In the beginning, that was part of it, but, at least for me, that was only a flashing moment in the whole experience. The stuff was replace, but our whole family spent that first night awake and on edge, and even after we had an alarm installed the next day it was difficult to feel completely safe in the house. I worried for months about people coming in and this time harming our dogs or, heaven forbid, taking something like my gun and using it to hurt someone else. If the robbers had come back the next day with all our stuff and given it back and, on top of that, added a few thousand dollars that wouldn't fix anything. And could you imagine if they had come back with our stuff and then some and then had the AUDACITY to demand that we praise them for bringing it all back lest they do it again?

This same issue when it comes to emotional and mental damage also shows up in many, many other crimes and situations, I only use the robbery example because it's been fresh on my mind for a while (we recently moved and no longer have an alarm system to provide any sense of security and I often worry about someone breaking in when we're not home, my biggest concern being the safety of my dogs). Having all the physical stuff in your life back and in order may fix some of it, but rarely does it fix everything. There is still so much healing needed which takes time, and that is made especially difficult when other parties are convinced that you should be all a-ok now, like how God expects his people to just continue on grinning from ear to ear and worshiping him simply because he raised the cities back up and defeated their attackers.

I also want to address Zechariah 5 concerning the woman in the basket. A lot of Zechariah deals with these visions he is getting and having an angel help him interpret these visions. Of these visions he sees: horsemen, the horns and the blacksmiths, the man and the measuring line, Joshua and Satan, the lampstand and the olive trees, the flying scroll, the woman in the basket, and the four chariots.

Notice, many of these visions involve men. Only one involves a woman. The horsemen patrol the earth for God and bring news to the angel that the earth is at peace. The blacksmiths (I'm kind of mostly guessing here because for whatever reason that section is ridiculously hard to figure out what is going on) are there to stop the horns which scattered Judah. The man with the measuring line is simply there to measure Jerusalem. Joshua is raised high and shall rule God's(?) house and keep charge of his courts. The chariots represent the four winds and they also patrol the earth.

Meanwhile, the woman in the basket represents the iniquity in all the land. She is Wickedness.

One of these things is not like the other.

Also like to note that the women who take Wickedness away are not called angels. They are simply women with stork like wings. Off the top of my head I do not recall a single female angel in the Bible thus far. Please correct me if I am mistake on this point, but if an angel had been female I would have definitely written about it, and I do not recall ever talking about female angels. Considering how angels are never female it's amazing that so many of our modern day depictions of angels have them in female form. What a simple way to erase some of the misogyny of the Bible by making it seem like women are actually a large part of the Bible and of God's angelic court.

So men are male symbols are protectors and God's workers. They go out and patrol the land and report back to God and take measurements and protect Judah from the forces keeping it apart.

But women are the embodiment of Wickedness. Nothing redeeming, nothing good. Pure evil that is meant to be locked away so it cannot meddle in the world of men and turn men astray and away from God's path.

Up next: Malachi

1 comment:

  1. Also, and this is probably beating an old drum, I took exception to Zechariah 12:12-13 wherein each family mourns by itself, and their wives by themselves. Over and over. Nice "othering" there for the women that are not covered by the umbrella of "family".


Anyone posting anonymously is very likely to not have their comment published. If you do not have a Google/Blogger account you can use the Name/URL option to attach a name to your comment. And remember to try and stay on topic. :)