The coming invasion (Jer 6:1-6:3)

“Flee for safety!

O children of Benjamin!

From the midst of Jerusalem!

Blow the trumpet in Tekoa!

Raise a signal on Beth-haccherem!

Evil looms out of the north!

Great destruction looms out of the north!

I have likened

My daughter Zion

To the loveliest pasture.

Shepherds with their flocks

Shall come against her.

They shall pitch their tents

Around her.

They shall pasture.

All in their places.”

Jeremiah warns the people of Benjamin, who were just north of Judah and Jerusalem. He wanted them to sound the trumpet at Tekoa, which was about 12 miles south of Jerusalem. Meanwhile at Beth-haccherem, about 2 miles south of Jerusalem, they were to raise a signal. There would be an attack on Jerusalem. The problem was that evil and great destruction was coming from the north. Zion and her lovely pastures would be threatened by shepherds who would surround them with pitched tents. This was an allusion to the armies and kings that were going to surround the towns and fields of Judah.

Advertisements

The refusal of the Israelites (Isa 30:15-30:17)

“Thus said Yahweh God,

The Holy One of Israel.

‘In returning

You shall be saved.

In rest,

You shall be saved.

Your strength is in quietness.

Your strength is in trust.

But you refused.

You said.

‘No!

We will flee upon horses.’

Therefore you shall flee!

‘We will ride upon swift steeds.’

Therefore your pursuers shall be swift!

A thousand shall flee

At the threat of one.

At the threat of five,

You shall flee,

Until you are left

Like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain,

Like a signal on a hill.”

This oracle of Isaiah has both titles, Yahweh God and the Holy One of Israel. Yahweh shows the Israelites how they can be saved. They have to be quiet in a trustful rest, which would then be their strength. However, they refused. They wanted to get on their fast horses and ride away. However, Yahweh reminded them that their pursuers had swift horses also. These combatants will chase them until they become like a flagpole on the top or a mountain or a signal on the top of the hill. They should have stayed quiet and relied on trusting Yahweh, not their fast horses.

Yahweh’s army (Isa 13:2-13:3)

“On a bare hill

Raise a signal.

Cry aloud to them.

Wave the hand

For them to enter

The gates of the nobles.

I myself have commanded

My consecrated ones.

I have summoned

My warriors,

My proudly exulting ones,

To execute my anger.”

Now Yahweh speaks to Isaiah in his vision. Yahweh was on a hill. He gave a signal to give a loud cry. He waved his hand for them to enter through the gates of the nobles. Interesting enough, the name of Babylon was derived from the term “gate of God.” Yahweh commanded his consecrated ones, his proud exulting warriors, to execute his anger. This appears to be a reference to the Persian soldiers in the 6th century BCE when they were to enter into Babylon through one of the gates. This was not an Israelite army, but a foreign army that Yahweh sent to attack Babylon.

The glorious day (Isa 11:10-11:10)

“On that day,

The root of Jesse,

Shall stand

As a signal

To the peoples.

The nations shall inquire of him.

His dwelling shall be glorious.”

This new ideal king who is from the Davidic root of Jesse will stand as a signal to all people. Every country will inquire of him. He will be somewhat like King Solomon with his glorious palaces. Let the good times roll!

The invasion of Assyria (Isa 5:26-5:30)

“Yahweh will raise a signal

For a nation far away.

He will whistle for a people

At the ends of the earth.

Here they come!

Swiftly!

Speedily!

None are weary.

None stumbles.

None slumbers.

None sleeps.

Not a loin cloth is loose.

Not a sandal-thong broken.

Their arrows are sharp.

All their bows bent.

Their horses’ hoofs seem like flint.

Their wheels seem like the whirlwind.

Their roaring is like a lion.

Like young lions,

They roar.

They growl.

They seize their prey.

They carry it off.

None can rescue it.

They will roar over it

On that day,

Like the roaring of the sea.

If one looks to the land,

There is only darkness.

There is only distress.

The light grows dark

With clouds.”

This oracle of Isaiah probably refers to one of the various Assyrian invasions of Judah and Jerusalem between 735-701 BCE. The nation from far away may be the Babylonians who will execute God’s judgment on them. These invaders are actually acting on Yahweh’s behalf since he gave them a signal and a whistle. They are going to come speedily, swiftly, not stumbling, sleeping, or growing weary. Their loin clothes and sandals are tight and ready to go. Their spears, bows and arrows, as well as horses are on the move. They roar like a lion about to eat its prey. They roar like a sea storm about to hit land. There will be darkness and distress, as everything will be cloudy.