A hunted sheep.
It was driven away
The king of Assyria
Now at the end,
Has gnawed its bones.”
The Israelite hunted sheep were driven away by lions. The king of Assyria attacked the northern kingdom of Israel, as it came to an end in 724 BCE. Then the king of Babylon in 587 gnawed at their bones, since the kingdom was not in existence at that time. Thus both the lions of Assyria and Babylon have scattered the sheep of Israel within a couple hundred years.
“Those who are generous are blessed.
They share their bread with the poor.
Drive out a scoffer!
Then strife also goes out.
Quarreling and abuse will cease.
Whoever loves a pure heart,
Will have the king as a friend.
Whoever is gracious in speech,
Will have the king as his friend.
The eyes of Yahweh keep watch over knowledge.
But he overthrows the words of the faithless.
The lazy person says.
‘There is a lion outside!
I shall be killed in the streets!’”
The generous people are blessed because they share their bread with the poor. Get rid of the scoffers, the mockers, and strife will go away. Arguments and abuse will cease if the mockers are gone. If you have a pure heart and gracious speech you will have the king as a friend. Yahweh watches over knowledge, but he overthrows the words of the faithless. The lazy person is afraid to go outside because he says that he is scared of being killed by a lion.
“When they first settled there, they did not worship Yahweh. Therefore Yahweh sent lions among them, which killed some of them. So the king of Assyria was told. ‘The nations which you have carried away and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the law of the god of the land. Therefore he has sent lions among them. They are killing them, because they do not know the law of the god of the land.’ Then the king of Assyria commanded. ‘Send there one of the priests whom you carried away from there. Let him go and live there. Teach them the law of the god of the land.’ So one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and lived in Bethel. He taught them how they should worship Yahweh.”
The new settlers were not Yahweh worshipers. Once again, we see the strange appearance of lions that devour people. This apparently was the way that Yahweh showed his disdain for what was going on in his land. Clearly the land belonged to Yahweh, even when his people have been sent away. The king of Assyria was not stupid. He did not want the people there afraid of the lions. He wanted to send a Yahweh priest to teach them how to worship Yahweh. This was a good idea. However, one might not be enough. Interesting enough, this one priest lived in Bethel, the one place that Yahweh was upset about because of the golden calf high place there. The idea of sending priests to help immigrants was followed in the late 19th and early 20th century as the different European Catholic ethnic churches developed in the major USA cities.