The punishment of Israel (Am 2:13-2:16)

“‘So,

I will press you down

In your place.

Just as a cart

Presses down,

When it is full of sheaves.

Flight shall perish

From the swift.

The strong

Shall not

Retain their strength.

The mighty

Shall not

Save their lives.

Those who handle the bow

Shall not stand.

Those who are swift

Of foot

Shall not save themselves.

Those who ride horses

Shall not save their lives.

Those who are stout

Of heart,

Among the mighty,

Shall flee away naked,

In that day.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh, via Amos, issued his punishment. The Israelites were going to be pressed down like a bundle of hay or sheaves. The swift people would lose their quick agility. The strong people would lose their strength. The mighty people would lose their lives. The archers would not be able to stand. The fast people would not be able to save themselves. The horse riders would lose their lives also. The mighty strong people would run away naked. Yahweh said that all this would take place on the appointed day.

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The defeat of Babylon (Jer 51:3-51:4)

“Let not the archer

Bend his bow!

Let him not array himself

In his coat of mail!

Do not spare

Her young men!

Utterly destroy

Her entire army!

They shall fall down slain

In the land

Of the Chaldeans,

Wounded

In her streets.”

In this battle with Babylon, the Babylonian archers with their bows and arrows would be useless. Those who put on armored coats of mail would also find little protection. The invaders were to utterly destroy the young men and the army of the Babylonians. They were to defeat the Chaldeans in their own streets, even letting the wounded ones lay there.

The fierce successful attack on Babylon (Jer 50:14-50:16)

“Take up your positions

Around Babylon!

All you that bend the bow!

Shoot at her!

Spare no arrows!

She has sinned

Against Yahweh.

Raise a shout

Against her

From all sides!

She has surrendered!

Her bulwarks have fallen!

Her walls are thrown down!

This is the vengeance

Of Yahweh.

Take vengeance on her!

Do to her

As she has done!

Cut off from Babylon

The sower with

The wielder of the sickle

In the time of harvest.

Because of the destroying sword,

All of them shall return

To their own people.

All of them shall flee

To their own land.”

The attack on Babylon would be successful. The archers with their great arrows would take their positions and shoot at the Babylonians. They would raise great shouts of joy from all sides. Babylon had sinned against Yahweh. Finally, Babylon would surrender. The fortresses and the walls would come tumbling down, because this was the vengeance of Yahweh at work. Babylon was done. There would be nobody to plant. No one would be there to cut down the harvest, since there would be no harvest. Everyone would return and flee to their own lands. Thus the destruction of Babylon in 539 BCE was described here some 60 years previous to the event. Is that an indication of a later composition?

The battle begins (1 Macc 9:11-9:13)

“Then the army of Bacchides marched out from the camp. They took their stand for the encounter. The cavalry was divided into two companies. The slingers and the archers went ahead of the army, as well as all the chief warriors. Bacchides was on the right wing. Flanked by the two companies, the phalanx advanced to the sound of the trumpets. The men with Judas also blew their trumpets. The earth was shaken by the noise of the armies. The battle raged from morning until evening.”

The large army of Bacchides and the Syrians marched out from camp ready to engage the battle. There were 2 companies of cavalry. The slingers, the archers, and the chief warriors were ahead of the army.   Both sides sounded their trumpets as the earth shook from the noise of the armies. The battle raged from morning until evening.

David at Ziklag (1 Chr 12:1-12:2)

“The following are those men who came to David at Ziklag. He could not move about freely because of Saul son of Kish. They were among the mighty warriors who helped him in war. They were archers. They could shoot arrows and sling stones with either the right or the left hand.”

Now this biblical author shows David in distress. King Saul was after him. This author does not even call Saul king, but refers to him as the son of Kish. However, David was able to attract a number of mighty warriors, especially skilled archers and sling shot specialists who could use either hand. David was at Ziklag, which is a town that originally was part of both Judah and Simeon in southern Judah, southeast of Gaza. Actually, according to 1 Samuel, chapter 27, David got the town of Ziklag as a residence from the Philistines, who had control of it. When David went with the Philistines to fight King Saul, the Amalekites sacked Ziklag, but he routed them in 1 Samuel, chapter 30. It was there that he found out about the death of King Saul at Gilboa at the hand of the Philistines.