Yahweh was going to use the Chaldeans (Hab 1:6-1:7)

“I am rousing the Chaldeans.

They are

A fierce impetuous nation.

They march through

The breadth of the earth.

They seize dwellings,

Not their own.

They are terribly dreadful.

Their justice

Proceeds from themselves.

Their dignity

Proceeds from themselves.”

Who are these Chaldeans?  For nearly a hundred years (612-539 BCE), they ruled the ancient near eastern territory of Mesopotamia as the neo-Babylonian empire.  They basically took over from the Assyrians in 612 BCE, but were eventually defeated by the Persians in 539 BCE.  The Chaldeans were originally from southern Babylon, but were integrated into the Babylonian society.  These Chaldeans were a Semitic people who probably spoke Aramaic.  Yahweh was going to use them, even though they were a fierce impetuous country.  They went all over the place seizing homes and territories.  Thus, they were terrible dreadful people.  They even had their own kind of justice and dignity that they declared for themselves.

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The example of Thebes (Nah 3:8-3:10)

“Are you better

Than Thebes?

They sat by the Nile,

With water around her.

Her rampart was a sea.

Water was her wall.

Ethiopia was her strength.

Egypt too was her strength,

Without any limit.

Put

With the Libyans

Were her helpers.

Yet Egypt became an exile.

She went into captivity.

Even her infants were

Dashed into pieces

At the head

Of every street.

Lots were cast

For her nobles.

All her dignitaries

Were bound in chains.”

The Assyrians had captured Thebes, the capital of Egypt in 663 BCE.  Thus, Nahum pointed out that the Assyrians were no better than the Egyptian capital town of Themes on the Nile River.  Even though they were on the Nile River and protected by water all around them, they still fell to these Assyrians.  All their neighbors, including the other people of Egypt, and the surrounding counties of Ethiopia and Libya, were not able to help her.  Thus, Nahum pointed out that Egypt went into exile and captivity.  Even their children and infants were dashed to pieces on the street corners.  They held a lottery for their noble men.  All the important dignitaries of the city of Thebes were bound in chains.  So too, it would be the same for Nineveh and Assyria.

Against Lachish (Mic 1:13-1:13)

“Harness the steeds

To the chariots!

Inhabitants of Lachish!

It was here that

The beginning of sin came

To the daughter of Zion.

The transgressions

Of Israel

Were found in you.”

Lachish was the most famous and well know city of the Shephelah low land area of Israel.  Lachish was the 2nd most important city in Judah, but not a holy city like Jerusalem.  This might indicate that these other towns were close to Lachish in the same area.  The people of Lachish were to get their horses and chariots ready, because they were the cause of the sin and the beginning of the transgressions for Zion and Israel.  The Assyrians had captured this city in 701 BCE.

The shame of Samaria (Hos 10:5-10:6)

“The inhabitants of Samaria

Tremble

Before the calf of Beth-aven.

Its people shall mourn

For it.

Its idolatrous priests

Shall wail over it.

Its glory

Has departed from it.

The thing itself

Shall be carried

To Assyria,

As tribute

To the great king.

Ephraim

Shall be put to shame.

Israel

Shall be ashamed

Of his idol.”

Hosea said that the people of Samaria would tremble before the idol calf at Beth-aven, the house of wickedness, that was close to Ai and Bethel. Maybe it was Bethel itself. However, the people and its priests would mourn for the soon to be departed glorious calf. What happened to it? Assyrians would take it as a tribute to their great king. Thus, Ephraim and Israel would be ashamed of this lost idol.

Meshech and Tubal in the grave (Ezek 32:26-32:26)

“Meshech

With Tubal

Are there.

All their multitude

Is there.

Their graves are

All around them.

All of them were

Uncircumcised.

They had been killed

By the sword.

They had spread terror

In the land

Of the living.”

Ezekiel had mentioned both these obscure kingdoms in chapter 27 when he was talking about the trading partners of Tyre. Meshech were the Assyrians in the mountain country of present day Turkey. Tubal seemed to be some Assyrians who had settled in today’s southern Turkey. Like those preceding, these two groups of people were uncircumcised. They, too, had spread terror in the land of the living, but also died by the sword.

Assyria in the pit (Ezek 32:22-32:23)

“Assyria is there.

All its company is there.

Their graves are

All around it.

All of them killed,

Fallen by the sword.

Their graves are set

In the uttermost parts

Of the pit.

Its company

Is all around

Its grave.

All of them

Have been killed,

Fallen by the sword.

They had spread

Terror

In the land

Of the living.”

There apparently was a special place for the Assyrians in this pit or Sheol, the shadowy underworld of the afterlife. Somehow their graves were all around them, since they were all killed by the sword. Thus, their graves were set off in the uttermost parts of this pit. The Assyrian company armies were all around in graves also, since all of them had died by the sword. While they were living, they had spread terror. Now they were in the worst part of Sheol.

Trading humans (Ezek 27:13-27:13)

“Javan,

Tubal,

Meshech

Traded with you.

They exchanged

Human beings,

As well as vessels of bronze

For your merchandise.”

Ezekiel mentioned 3 other trading partners of Tyre. Javan, the Ionians or the Greeks was one partner. Tubal seems to be the Assyrians who had settled in today’s southern Turkey. Meshech were the Assyrians in the mountain country of present day Turkey. They all traded with Tyre. Interesting enough there must have been a slave trade, since there was a mention of exchanging human beings. They also traded bronze vessels for all the great things that Tyre had.