The return of the prisoner captives (Zech 9:11-9:13)

“As for you also,

Because of the blood

Of my covenant

With you,

I will set your prisoners free

From the waterless pit.

Return to your stronghold!

O prisoners of hope!

Today I declare

That I will restore to you double.

I have bent Judah

As my bow.

I have made Ephraim

Its arrow.

I will arouse your sons!

O Zion!

Against your sons,

O Greece!

I will wield you

Like a warrior’s sword.”

In this oracle, Yahweh said that he was going to free the prisoners from their dungeons or waterless pits, because of the covenant or blood treaty that he had with Israel.  Perhaps, this is an allusion to the Temple sacrifices.  The former prisoners of hope or captives would return to their stronghold, since Yahweh was going to double what they had before.  He was going to use Judah in the south and Ephraim in the north as a bow and arrow against other countries, such as Greece.  Yahweh was going to wield them like a warrior’s sword.

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The vicious animals (Lam 3:10-3:12)

Daleth

“Yahweh is

Like a bear

Lying in wait.

Yahweh is

Like a lion

In hiding.

He led me

Off my way.

He tore me to pieces.

He has made me

Desolate.

He bent his bow.

He set me

As a mark

For his arrow.”

Yahweh was like a bear or a lion waiting to attack this author. He was afraid to be torn into pieces since he had become desolate. Meanwhile, Yahweh has aimed his bow and arrow at him. This is a man in a lot of trouble. These three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Daleth in this acrostic poem.

Against Elam (Jer 49:34-49:35)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to the prophet Jeremiah

Concerning Elam,

At the beginning

Of the reign

Of King Zedekiah

Of Judah.

Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

‘I am going to break

The bow of Elam,

The mainstay of their might.’”

Elam was an ancient pre-Persian society, east of Babylon, in what is now present day Iran. There is very little mention of Elam in the biblical works. From the text, this oracle can be dated to the beginning of the reign of King Zedekiah (598-597 BCE) of Judah. Whether this was an attack of the king of Babylon or a hint at the later Persian attack is not clear. Yahweh was going to break the bow of Elam because the Elamites were famous for their strong use of the bow and arrow. Although most of the preceding parts of this chapter were translated as chapter 30 in the Greek Septuagint, this section on Elam was translated as chapter 25, not chapter 30 or chapter 49 as here.

The death of King Ahab (2 Chr 18:33-18:34)

But a certain man drew his bow and unknowingly struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate. So King Ahab said to the driver of his chariot. ‘Turn around. Carry me out of the battle, for I am wounded.’ The battle grew hot that day. The king of Israel propped himself up in his chariot facing the Arameans, until evening. Then at sunset he died.”

Once again, this is almost word for word from 1 Kings, chapter 22. King Ahab was struck by a stray arrow that caused him to bleed in his chariot. He stayed in his chariot as he tried to leave the battle field. He died at sunset that day. Here there is no mention of his blood dripping to the bottom of his chariot, nor is there any indication that the troops scattered. However, the prophecy of Micaiah was happening as he said it would.