Against the Philistine cities (Zech 9:5-9:7)

“Ashkelon shall see it.

They shall be afraid.

Gaza too,

Shall writhe in anguish.

Ekron also,

Because its hopes are withered.

The king shall perish

From Gaza.

Ashkelon shall be uninhabited.

A mongrel people

Shall dwell in Ashdod.

I will make an end

Of the pride of Philistia.

I will take away

Its blood

From its mouth.

I will take away

Its abominations

From between its teeth.

It too shall be a remnant

For our God.

It shall be

Like a clan in Judah.

Ekron shall be

Like the Jebusites.”

Once again, there is a diatribe against the Philistine cities on the Mediterranean coast.  Only 3 of the 5 cities are mentioned here.  Ashkelon and Gaza would be afraid.  Ekron would have its hope crushed.  There would no longer be a king in Gaza.  No one would live in Ashkelon.  Only a mongrel or mixed race would live in Ashdod.  The pride of the Philistines would be crushed.  Yahweh was going to end their unclean practices of eating their meat with blood in their mouths, since they would follow the Israelite dietary laws.  These Philistines would become a small remnant just like Judah had become.  Ekron would become like the decimated Canaanite Jebusites, who had formerly inhabited Jerusalem, before the time of David.

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The soldiers and the chariots (Nah 2:3-2:5)

“The shields

Of his warriors

Are red.

His soldiers

Are clothed

In scarlet.

The metal

On the chariots

Flashes

On the day

When he musters them.

The chargers prance.

The chariots race madly

Through the streets.

They rush back and forth

Through the squares.

Their appearance is

Like torches.

They dart

Like lightning.

He calls his officers.

They stumble

As they come forward.

They hasten

To the wall.

The mantelet is set up.”

Nahum gave a vivid colorful description of the actions in Nineveh.  The shields of the warriors in Nineveh would be red with blood.  The clothes of their soldiers were scarlet from the blood.  The metal from the chariots flashed from the sunlight, as the men followed behind.  The chargers were prancing around, while the chariots raced madly through the streets, going back and forth from the squares.  They were like torches darting in and out, almost like lightning.  When they called their officers, they came out stumbling along.  They ran to the wall where the protective screens or mantelet was set up.  In other words, the soldiers and their officers with their chariots were in a state of chaos.

The signs that the day of Yahweh was coming (Joel 2:30-2:32)

“I will show portents

In the heavens,

As well as on the earth.

There will be

Blood,

Fire,

Columns of smoke.

The sun shall be turned

To darkness.

The moon shall be turned

To blood.

This will happen

Before the great day

Of Yahweh comes.

Before the terrible day

of Yahweh comes.

Then everyone

Who calls

On the name of Yahweh

Shall be saved.

In Mount Zion,

In Jerusalem,

There shall be

Those who escape,

As Yahweh has said.

Among the survivors

Shall be those

Whom Yahweh calls.”

Yahweh, via Joel, talked about the signs that the day of Yahweh was coming. There would be signs in the heavens and on earth, with blood, fire, and columns of smoke. The sun would darken and the moon would turn to blood before the great and terrible day of Yahweh. Everyone who called on Yahweh would be saved at Mount Zion in Jerusalem. Some would escape. Others would survive, but they would be called by Yahweh.

They did not protect the sanctuary (Ezek 44:6-44:8)

“Say to the rebellious house!

Say to the house of Israel!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘O house of Israel!

Let there be an end

To all your abominations!

You admitted

Foreigners,

The uncircumcised in heart,

The uncircumcised in flesh,

To be in my sanctuary.

You profaned

My temple

When you offer to me

My food,

The fat,

With the blood.

You have broken

My covenant,

With all your abominations.

You have not kept charge

Of my sacred offerings!

But you have appointed

Foreigners

To act for you

In keeping my charge

In my sanctuary.’”

Yahweh told Ezekiel about the past failures of the rebellious house of Israel. They had failed to protect his sanctuary. Yahweh wanted an end to all their abominations. They had been letting uncircumcised foreigners into his sanctuary. They had profaned Yahweh’s Temple, since they offered fat food with blood. They had broken his covenant with all their abominations. They even appointed foreigners to be in charge of the sacred offerings in his sanctuary.

The great feast (Ezek 39:17-39:17)

“As for you!

Son of man!

Thus says Yahweh God!

Speak to the birds

Of every sort!

Speak to all

The wild animals!

‘Assemble!

Come!

Gather from all around

To the sacrificial feast

That I am preparing

For you.

This will be

A great sacrificial feast

On the mountains

Of Israel.

You shall eat

Flesh.

You shall drink

Blood.’”

Once again, Yahweh called Ezekiel, the son of man, to speak to the various birds and the wild animals. They were all to gather at a sacrificial feast that Yahweh was preparing on the mountains of Israel, where they would eat flesh and drink blood. Yahweh seemed to imply that the birds and the animals would sacrifice themselves for Yahweh.

 

Warn the wicked (Ezek 33:8-33:9)

“If I say

To the wicked,

O wicked ones!

You shall surely die!’

If you do not speak

To warn

The wicked ones

To turn

From their ways,

The wicked ones

Shall die

In their iniquity.

But I will require

Their blood

At your hand.

However,

If you warn

The wicked ones

To turn

From their ways,

But they do not turn

From their ways,

The wicked ones

Shall die

In their iniquity.

But you will have saved

Your life.”

Yahweh explained to Ezekiel that if he said the wicked ones would die, and Ezekiel did not warn them, it was his fault. If Ezekiel did not warn these wicked ones to turn from their wicked ways of iniquity, their blood would be on his hands. On the other hand, if he warned them to turn from their wicked ways, and they did not, it was not his fault. The wicked ones would die, but Ezekiel’s life would be spared. He would not have any of their blood on his hands, since he had warned them.

The sentinel who fails to sound the trumpet (Ezek 33:6-33:6)

“But if the sentinel

Sees

The sword coming,

But he does not blow

The trumpet,

So that the people

Are not warned,

The sword comes.

The sword takes

Any one of them.

They are taken away

In their iniquity.

However,

I will require

Their blood

At the sentinel’s hand.”

Now we see the reverse. What if the sentinel or watchman failed to sound the trumpet when the enemy with the sword was coming upon them? This time, the people were not warned. The enemy sword came and took them away. The blood of these people was on the sentinel, not on the people avoiding the warning. There was no warning. Thus, it was the fault of the sentinel, so that their blood was on his hands.