Gog’s plan of attack (Ezek 38:11-38:12)

“‘You will say!

‘I will go up

Against the land

Of unwalled villages.

I will fall upon

The quiet people

Who live in safety.

All of them live

Without walls.

They have no bars.

They have no gates.’

You want

To seize spoil.

You want

To carry off plunder.

You want to assail

The waste places

That are now inhabited.

You want to assail

The people

Who were gathered

From the nations.

You want to assail,

Those who are acquiring cattle.

You want to assail

Those with goods,

Who live

At the center

Of the earth.’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel said that Gog would say to himself that he would go up against this land of unwalled villages. He was going to attack these quiet safe people. They lived without walls with no bars or gates. Gog wanted to seize the spoils and plunder this former wasted land that was now inhabited. These people had been gathered from the various nations. Now they were acquiring cattle with other goods as well. They lived at the center of the earth. Where was the center of earth? Of course, it was Jerusalem. Everyone thinks that where they live is the center of the world.

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Security in the foreign temples (Bar 6:18-6:19)

“Just as the gates

Are shut

On every side

Against anyone

Who has offended a king,

As though under sentence

Of death,

So the priests make

Their temples secure

With doors,

With locks,

With bars,

So that they may not be

Plundered

By robbers.

They light more lamps

For them

Than they light for themselves,

Even though their gods

Can see none of them.”

In an interesting bit of irony, this author points out that the foreign temples have a lot of security, as if the temples were in prison. These temples are like someone who has offended a king. They have gates on all sides of them, as if they are awaiting a death sentence. Their temple priests have secured their temples with doors, locks, and bars because they are afraid that robbers will come into the temple and steal things from it. They have so much light in the temple for themselves, rather than for their gods who cannot see anything anyway, with or without light.

The soldiers of Babylon stop fighting (Jer 51:30-51:33)

“The warriors of Babylon

Have given up fighting.

They remain

In their strongholds.

Their strength has failed.

They have become women.

Her buildings are on fire.

Her bars are broken.

One runner runs

To meet another.

One messenger runs

To meet another.

They tell

The king of Babylon

That his city is taken

From end to end.

The fords have been seized.

The marshes have been burned

With fire.

The soldiers are in panic.

Thus says Yahweh of hosts,

The God of Israel.

‘Daughter Babylon is

Like a threshing floor

At the time

When it is trodden.

Yet a little while

The time of her harvest

Will come.’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, notes that the Babylonian warriors have stopped fighting. They stay in their fortresses. Their strength has left them so that they are like women. Their buildings are on fire. The bars to their gates are broken. Messengers are running to meet other messengers on their way to tell the king that the city is lost from end to end. The fords or the shallow parts of the river areas have been seized, while the wet marshes have been set on fire. All the soldiers are in a state of panic. Thus the God of Israel compares Babylon to a barren threshing floor that is waiting for a harvest that will never come.

Against Hazor (Jer 49:30-49:33)

“‘Flee!

Wander far away!

Hide in deep places!

O inhabitants of Hazor!’

Says Yahweh.

‘King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon

Has made a plan

Against you.

He has formed a purpose

Against you.

‘Rise up!

Advance

Against a nation at ease,

That dwells securely.’

Says Yahweh.

‘They have no gates.

They have no bars.

They live alone.

Their camels

Shall become booty.

Their herds of cattle

Shall become a spoil.

I will scatter to every wind

Those who have shaven temples.

I will bring calamity

Against them

From every side.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Hazor shall become

A liar of jackals,

An everlasting waste.

No one shall live there.

No one shall settle in it.’”

The kingdom of Hazor was the more sedentary northwestern Arab tribes in the Arabian Desert, east of the Jordan River, in present day Saudi Arabia, not the Israelite town of Hazor. Yahweh warned them to flee and get out of there, because King Nebuchadnezzar had a plan against them. Even though they were at ease and secure, they had no gates, bars or fortresses, since they lived alone. The king of Babylon was going to take their flocks of cattle and their camels as the spoils of war. These shaven temple Hazor people would be scattered all over the place with all kinds of trouble on every side. These oasis tent towns would become a wasteland, as if they were not already. No one would want to live and settle there. This is like the previous warnings to other places, earlier in this chapter.

 

 

 

Casting Lots (Prov 18:18-18:21)

“Casting the lot puts an end to disputes.

Casting lots decides between powerful contenders.

An ally offended is stronger than a city.

Such quarreling is like the bars of a castle.

From the fruit of the mouth,

One’s stomach is satisfied.

The yield of the lips

Brings satisfaction.

Death and life

Are in the power of the tongue.

Those who love it

Will eat its fruits.”

Casting lots was a way of finding out God’s will. This is how you put an end to disputes and arguments between powerful people. If you offend your ally he will become stronger than a city. This kind of quarreling is like the bars on a castle that cannot be torn down or bring about reconciliation. You satisfy your stomach through your mouth. So too the words of your lips will bring satisfaction. Life and death are in power of the tongue. When you love something, you will eat its fruits or enjoy the results.

Praise Yahweh for all he does for you (Ps 147:12-147:20)

“Praise Yahweh!

O Jerusalem!

Praise your God!

O Zion!

He strengthens the bars of your gates.

He blesses your sons within you.

He grants peace in your borders.

He fills you with the finest of wheat.

He sends out his command to the earth.

His word runs swiftly.

He gives snow like wool.

He scatters frost like ashes.

He hurls down hail like crumbs.

Who can stand before his cold?

He sends out his word.

He melts them.

He makes his wind blow.

He makes the waters flow.

He declares his word to Jacob.

He declares his statutes and ordinances to Israel.

He has not dealt thus with any other nation.

They do not know his ordinances.

Praise Yahweh!”

The end of this alleluia psalm naturally has the phrase “praise Yahweh,” another way of saying the Hebrew “Hallelujah.” This section begins and ends with that phrase. This is a long description of what Yahweh is doing in the current time to help Israel with the use of the present tense. He keeps the bars strong on the gates into the town. He blesses them with children. He grants them peace at home. He fills them with a good harvest of wheat. Yahweh commands the whole earth. His word controls the climate as snow, frost, and hail follow his command. He sends out his wind to make the snow melt and the waters flow in the various rivers. He has given his word, his statutes, and his ordinances to Jacob or Israel. No other nation is like Israel. Notice that this is not the Mosaic code but the ordinances of Jacob.

The fortifications of Bacchides (1 Macc 9:50-9:53)

“Then Bacchides returned to Jerusalem. He built strong cities in Judea. He built the fortress in Jericho, Emmaus, Beth-horon, Bethel, Timnath, Pharathon, and Tephon, with high walls, gates, and bars. He placed garrisons in them to harass Israel. He also fortified the city of Beth-zur, Gazara, and the citadel. He put troops and stores of food in them. He took the sons of the leading men of the land as hostages. He put them under guard in the citadel at Jerusalem.”

General Bacchides returned to Jerusalem. Then he built strong cities around Jerusalem with high walls and gates in Jericho, Emmaus, Beth-horon, Bethel, Timnath, Pharathon, and Tephon. He also put garrisons in them to harass and keep the Jewish guerrillas from attacking. He put troops and food storage in Beth-zur, Gazara, and the Jerusalem citadel. Then he took the sons of the leading men as hostages as he guarded them in Jerusalem.