The role of the remnant of Jacob (Mic 5:7-5:9)

“Then the remnant of Jacob,

Surrounded by many people,

Shall be

Like dew from Yahweh,

Like showers on the grass.

They do not depend

Upon people,

Nor wait for any mortal.

The remnant of Jacob,

Among the nations,

Surrounded by many people,

Shall be

Like a lion

Among the beasts of the forest,

Like a young lion

Among the flocks of sheep.

When it goes through,

It treads down.

It tears in pieces.

No one would deliver them.

Your hand shall be lifted up

Over your adversaries.

All your enemies

Shall be cut off.”

The remnant of Jacob, those in captivity, would be both a blessing and a curse to those around them.  They would be surrounded by many people from different countries.  However, they would be independent of other people, since they would be like the gentle dew from Yahweh or quiet rain showers on the grass.  However, they could also be like a lion among the beasts of the forest or a lion attacking a flock of sheep.  If they were attacking sheep, they would tread on them and tear them to pieces.  They would surely act like lions against their enemies.  Thus, the remnant of Jacob could be a force for goodness or an attacking lion.

Ephraim continues in falsehood (Hos 12:1-12:1)

“Ephraim herds the wind.

Ephraim pursues the east wind

All day long.

They multiply falsehoods.

They multiply violence.

They make a treaty

With Assyria.

Their oil is carried

To Egypt.”

Ephraim followed and gathered the wind to itself. They were all day long pursuing the east wind, the destructive wind. They were full of lies and violence. They made a treaty with Assyria that led to their ruin. They gave gifts of oil to Egypt to keep them from attacking.

The hired mercenary fighters fled (Jer 46:20-46:21)

“A beautiful heifer is Egypt.

A gadfly from the north

Lights upon her.

Even her mercenaries,

In her midst,

Are like fatted calves.

They too have turned.

They have fled together.

They did not stand.

The day of their calamity

Has come upon them.

It is

The time of their punishment.”

Although Egypt was a beautiful heifer, this Babylonian gadfly from the north was attacking her. Even the Egyptian hired soldiers, the mercenaries, the fatted cows, the real warriors, had fled together. They did not stand strong in the day of calamity. The day of their punishment came upon them.

The fight in the fortified cities of Judah (Jer 34:6-34:7)

“Then the prophet Jeremiah

Spoke all these words

To King Zedekiah

Of Judah,

In Jerusalem.

Meanwhile the army

Of the king of Babylon

Was fighting

Against Jerusalem.

They were also fighting

Against all the cities

Of Judah

That were left.

Lachish,

With Azekah

Were the only fortified cities

Of Judah

That remained.”

As usual, Jeremiah had done what Yahweh wanted him to do. He repeated all the words that Yahweh had told him to say to King Zedekiah. At the same time, that the Babylonian army was attacking Jerusalem, they were also fighting against the only two other remaining fortified cities in Judah, Lachish, about 23 miles southwest of Jerusalem, and Azekah, about 11 miles north of Lachish. Everything else had already been conquered by the Babylonians except for these two cities and Jerusalem.

The boast of the king of Assyria (Isa 10:8-10:11)

“The King of Assyria says.

‘Are not my commanders all kings?

Is not Calno

Like Carchemish?

Is not Hamath

Like Arpad?

Is not Samaria

Like Damascus?

As my hand has reached

To the kingdoms of the idols

Whose images

Were greater than those of Jerusalem.

They were greater than those of Samaria.

Shall I not do to Jerusalem

As I have done to Samaria?

Shall I not do to her idols

As I have done to the Samarian images?’”

King Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727 BCE), the king of Assyria said that he had commanders in his army that could become kings. He cited the examples of his capture of various towns or cities like Calno in 742 BCE and Carchemish, which is now on the border between Turkey and Syria, but was part of the Syrian empire that was lost in 738 BCE. There also was the capture of other western Syrian town of Hama or Hamath and Arpad that were in this same area that Tiglath-Pileser III captured in 741 BCE. Finally there was Damascus, also in Syria, that was captured in 732 BCE. King Menahem of Samaria was the king of northern Israel from 743-738 BCE, who paid tribute to the King of Assyria, as mentioned in 2 Chronicles, chapter 26, and 2 Kings, chapter 15. Now King Tiglath-Pileser III was thinking of attacking Jerusalem. What he had done to Samaria, he would the same to Judah by destroying their images, since he thought that Yahweh was just another idol god.

Desolate country (Isa 1:7-1:7)

“Your country lies desolate.

Your cities are burned

With fire.

In your very presence

Aliens devour your land.

It is desolate.

It is overthrown by foreigners.”

Now we have the question as to what country is Yahweh, via Isaiah talking about. Is it Jerusalem and Judah, or the northern kingdom of Israel? In 721 BCE, the Assyrians took over the Kingdom of Israel at Samaria, as outlined in 2 Kings, chapter 17. However, Isaiah was considered a prophet of Judah. Was he implying that the Assyrians were attacking Judah about 10 years later, as in 2 Kings, chapter 18? In chapter 19, King Hezekiah consulted with this prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. That would put his oracle sometime between 721 BCE and 710 BCE. There was no doubt that the country was desolate. The cities had been burned down. Aliens were in this desolate land because these foreigners had taken over. This certainly sounds like the defeated northern kingdom of Israel that had been at Samaria.

Watch out for evil passions (Sir 6:2-6:4)

“Do not fall

Into the grip of passion.

You may be torn apart

As by a bull.

Your leaves will be devoured.

Your fruit destroyed.

You will be left

Like a withered tree.

Evil passion destroys

Those who have it.

It makes them the laughingstock of their enemies.”

You should not fall into the grip of evil passions. You will be torn apart as if a bull were attacking you. You life will be like a tree with its leaves and fruits destroyed. You will be like a withered tree. Evil passion destroys the ones who have it. It also makes them the laughingstock of their enemies.