The false gods (Am 5:26-5:26)

“You shall take up

Sakkuth,

As your king.

You shall take up

Kaiwan,

As your star-god.

These are your images,

That you made

For yourselves.”

Sakkuth and Kaiwan were Assyrian or Babylonian gods. The Israelites had made these images for themselves. They were made by humans, not like Yahweh, their true God.

The cherubim and the living creatures of the River Chebar (Ezek 10:14-10:15)

“Each one had four faces.

The first face was

That of the cherub.

The second face was

That a human being.

The third face was

That of a lion.

The fourth face was

That of an eagle.           

The cherubim rose up.

These were

The living creatures

That I saw

By the river Chebar.”

Each one of the cherubim had 4 faces like the living creatures at the River Chebar as in chapter 1.   There was no mention of sides or fronts here. Three of the faces were exactly the same, a human face, a face of a lion, and the face of an eagle. However, the fourth face was that of a cherub here, while in chapter 1, it was an ox. Here the comparison to the cherubim in Assyrian and Babylonian times is more explicit. Thus the connection between this section and chapter 1 is very specific, since Ezekiel mentions the River Chebar.

The faces of the four living creatures (Ezek 1:10-1:11)

“As for the appearance

Of their faces,

Each had

The face

Of a human being

In front.

Each had

The face

Of a lion

On the right side.

Each had

The face

Of an ox

On the left side.

Each had

The face

Of an eagle

At the back.

Such were their faces.

Their wings

Were spread out above.

Each creature

Had two wings.

Each wing

Touched the wing

Of another.

The two wings

Covered their bodies.”

Each creature had the face of a human being in front. Then there was a face of a lion on the right side with a face of an ox on the left side. In the back was the face of an eagle. Interesting enough this is similar to the idea of cherubim in Assyrian and Babylonian times. They had a statue of a god who had the head of a human, the body of a lion, the paws of an ox, with wings. This same symbolism was later taken up as the symbols of the four Christian evangelists, as well as the 4 creatures of the apocalypse in the Book of Revelation. There is also the interpretation that these animal heads symbolize mobility, intelligence, and strength. Their wings were spread out above each of these creatures, so that they touched each other. Thus these wings covered the bodies of these creatures.

Oracle about Damascus (Isa 17:1-17:1)

“An oracle

Concerning Damascus.”

Damascus was the Syrian capital city about 130 miles northeast of Jerusalem, fairly close to the older northeastern territory of Manasseh. Damascus still exists today as the capital of Syria. It was under Aramean rule from 950-732 BCE so that is often referred to in the Bible as Aram instead of Syria. However, the Assyrian people conquered them in 732 BCE. Damascus was an important city with over 100,000 people during the biblical times, about half the size of Babylon. Thus it is often mentioned in the Bible as the northern neighbor of Israel.