The meaning of the name is unknown; but some associate it with a word meaning “to embrace.” The name appears also in the apocryphal
book of Bel & Snake (vv. 33–39
The prophet complains that God has allowed lawlessness to prevail in Judah.
The Chaldaeans: the last dynasty of Babylon and often synonymous with it. They would punish Judah for its wickedness; yet they too were wicked.
This “solution” by God is able to astound and to arouse the agonized questions in the next section.
The first question (v. 12
) carries a subtle uncertainty. Is God in charge? Has God indeed appointed the Chaldeans for judgement, to punish? How can God countenance wrongdoing? How can the wicked be allowed to devour those who are more righteous? The images of fishing (vv. 14–16
) imply the insignificance of human beings before God and God's seeming unconcern at life's tragedies.
The prophet sees himself as the outpost of human consciousness to pick up God's faintest message to humanity and regards himself
as a responsible spokesman for humanity before God.
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