The Israelites will use Gog’s weapons for their fires (Ezek 39:9-39:10)

“‘Then those who live

In the towns

Of Israel

Will go out.

They will make fires

Of the weapons.

They will burn them,

Shields

Bucklers,

Bows

Arrows,

Hand pikes,

Spears.

They will make fires

Of them

For seven years.

They will not need

To take wood

Out of the field

Or cut down

Any tree

In the forests.

They will make

Their fires

Of the weapons.

They will despoil

Those who despoiled them.

They will plunder

Those who plundered them.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh God, via Ezekiel, said that the Israelites in the various towns would gather all the weapons from the army of Gog. They would use weapons in place of wood to keep their fires going for 7 years. They were going to burn all the equipment that they found, whether it was shields, hand bucklers, bows, arrows, pikes, or spears. Thus, they would not have to go out and collect wood for their fires. They would not have to cut down trees in the forest for their house fires. This was a form or recycling by saving the trees, since they used war weapons as fuel for your home. They would get the spoils and plunder of those who had tried to do the same to them.

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The false pursuits (Bar 3:15-3:19)

“Who has found

Her place?

Who has entered

Her storehouses?

Where are the rulers

Of the nations?

Where are those

Who lorded it over

The animals on earth?

Where are those

Who have made sport

Of the birds of the air?

Where are those

Who hoarded up

Silver with gold

In which people trust ?

Where are those

With no end

To their getting?

Where are those

Who schemed

To get silver?

Where are those

Who are anxious?

There is no trace

Of their works.

They have vanished.

They have gone down

To Hades.

Others have arisen

In their place.”

Baruch talks about the vanity and uselessness of various life pursuits as in wisdom literature. What happens to people who store up treasures in a storehouse? Where are all the rulers of the various nations? Where are all the people who felt superior to animals. Where are the sportsmen who tried to shoot the birds in the air with their arrows? What happened to all those who hoarded up and put their trust in silver and gold? Where are all the people who never had enough? Where are those who schemed to get silver? Where are all the people who were so anxious? Baruch’s response is simple and clear. There is no trace of any of these people and their works. They have vanished and gone to hell, Hades, the Greek word for Sheol, the shadowy underworld that we often call hell. However, there are always others to take their place to do the same thing over and over again.

The archers against Babylon (Jer 50:29-50:29)

“Summon archers

Against Babylon!

All who bend the bow!

Encamp all around her!

Let no one escape!

Repay her

According to her deeds!

Just as she had done,

Do to her!

She has arrogantly

Defied Yahweh,

The Holy One of Israel!”

Like earlier in this chapter, the main fighters against Babylon were the archers with their bows and arrows. They were to surround Babylon, and not let anyone get away. They were to repay her for the deeds that that she had done. They should do unto her, what she had done to them. Babylon had been arrogant in defying Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel, so that she deserved what she got.

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 planned attack on Babylon (Jer 50:9-50:10)

“‘I am going to stir up

Those against Babylon.

I am bringing

A company of great nations,

Against Babylon,

From the north country.

They shall array themselves

Against her.

From there

She shall be taken.

Their arrows are

Like the arrows                                

Of a skilled warrior

Who does not return

Empty-handed.

Chaldea shall be

Plundered.

All who plunder her

Shall be sated.’

Says Yahweh.”

Here the attack on Babylon is not from one country, but a series of countries, all from the north, as usual. Yahweh was going to stir up these attackers. Their arrows would be like those of skilled archers. Chaldea would be plundered so that everyone would have their fill.

The day of confusion (Isa 22:5-22:8)

Yahweh,

The God of hosts,

Has a day Of tumult,

Of trampling,

Of confusion

In the valley of Hinnom.

There is

A battering down of walls.

There is

A cry for help in the mountains.

Elam bore the quiver

With chariots,

With cavalry.

Kir uncovered the shield.

Your choicest valleys

Were full of chariots.

The cavalry

Took their stand

At the gates.

He has taken away

The covering of Judah.”

A lot of the action took place in the valley of Hinnom, outside the walls of Jerusalem on this invasion day, where there was tumult, trampling, and confusion. The walls of Jerusalem came tumbling down. There was a cry for help that went out from the mountains, but it was not good enough. Elam, the Assyrians, used their bows and arrows. They had chariots and cavalry, while the Moabite mercenary men from Kir had shields. The beautiful valleys of Judah were full of these foreign chariots. Meanwhile, the Assyrian cavalry stood at the gates as Judah was no longer protecting Jerusalem.

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.