Lack of food (Am 4:6-4:6)

“‘I gave you cleanness

Of teeth

In all your cities.

I gave you

Lack of bread

In all your places.

Yet you did not

Return to me.’

Says Yahweh.”

Amos has this little Yahweh oracle poem show that Yahweh gave the Israelites clean teeth, indicating a famine. The next line showed that he had produced a lack of food in various places. However, despite this famine or food deprivation, these Israelites still did not return to Yahweh.

The Philistines were ashamed (Ezek 16:27-16:27)

“Therefore,

I stretched out

My hand

Against you.

I reduced your rations.

I gave you up

To the will

Of your enemies,

The daughters

Of the Philistines.

They were ashamed

Of your lewd behavior.”

Yahweh stretched out his hand against Jerusalem. He reduced their food rations with a famine. He was going to give them up to their enemies. This time it is the daughters of the Philistines, who were living in the Mediterranean coastal cities. Here, instead of prostitution, their ancient enemy was ashamed of their lewd behavior.

The response of Jeremiah (Jer 14:13-14:13)

“Then I said.

‘O Yahweh God!

Here are what the prophets

Said to them.

‘You shall not see the sword.

You shall not have famine.

But I will give you

True peace

In this place.’”

Jeremiah pleaded with Yahweh, his God. He reminded him that the prophets had told the people that Judah would be a place of true peace. Thus no one would see the sword or suffer from a famine.

Warning for the Philistines (Isa 14:28-14:31)

“In the year that King Ahaz died

This oracle came.

‘Do not rejoice!

All you Philistines!

The rod that struck you is broken.

From the snake’s root

Will come forth an adder.

Its fruit will be a flying fiery serpent.

The firstborn of the poor will graze.

The needy will lie down in safety.

But I will make your root

Die of famine.

Your remnant,

I will kill.

Wail!

O gate!

Cry!

O city!

Melt in fear!

O Philistia!

All of you!

Smoke comes out of the north.

There is no straggler in his ranks.’”

Next Isaiah turned to the coastal Philistines. This oracle has a specific time frame, the year that King Ahaz died, which would have been about 716 BCE. The Philistines had been a common enemy of the Israelites, especially during the time of King Saul and King David in 1 Samuel and I Chronicles. The Philistine southwestern coastal 5 cities had been captured by the Assyrians. Thus with the destruction of Assyria, they should be free. However, another foe from the north would come to attack them. Yahweh reminded them that a small adder snake can come from the fallen snake like a fiery flying serpent. Although it will seem okay because there will be food to eat and the needy will be safe, Yahweh was going to send them a famine to kill those left over. The Philistines would cry and wail. They would melt with fear because a great army from the north was coming. The Philistines actually seemed to disappear after the Assyrian takeover.

Achior explains the Israelite history in Egypt (Jdt 5:10-5:16)

“When a famine spread over the land of Canaan, they went down to Egypt. They lived there as long as they had food. They became so great a multitude that their race could not be counted. So the king of Egypt became hostile to them. He exploited them. He forced them to make bricks. They cried out to their God. Their God afflicted the whole land of Egypt with incurable plagues. So the Egyptians drove them out of their sight. Then God dried up the Red Sea before them. He led them by the way of Sinai and Kadesh-barnea. They drove out all the people of the wilderness. They took up residence in the land of the Amorites. By their might they destroyed all the inhabitants of Heshbon. Then they crossed over the Jordan and took possession of all the hill country. They drove out before them the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Shechemites, and all the Gergesites. They have lived there a long time.”

Achior tells the story of how these Israelites went to Egypt and came back.   Once again, there is no mention of a specific leader like Joseph, Moses, or Joshua. The Israelites were in a famine and went to Egypt, where they became a great race. However, the king of Egypt turned on them and forced them to make bricks. In their struggle, they cried out to their God, who then inflicted the Egyptians with plagues. Then the Egyptians drove them out as their God dried up the Red Sea. They even drove out the people in the wilderness. They took the land of the Amorites around Heshbon. Then they crossed the Jordan and defeated the traditional enemies, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Shechemites, and all the Gergesites. This is the Exodus story with an emphasis on how they got to Egypt and who they wiped out along the way. Apparently, they had lived in Canaan a long time.