Against Edom (Am 1:11-1:12)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘For three transgressions

Of Edom,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

Because he pursued

His brother

With the sword.

He cast off all pity.

He maintained

His anger perpetually.

He kept his wrath forever.

So,

I will send a fire

On Teman.

It shall devour

The strongholds of Bozrah.’”

Edom was southeast of Judah and south of the Dead Sea. Yahweh, via Amos, invoked the same language as he had used against Damascus, the Philistines, and Tyre. He used the same numeric formula of 3 and 4, like in Proverbs, chapter 30. Edom was considered a brother of Israel, because its founder was Esau, the twin brother of Jacob. Edom had tried to kill the Israelites with a sword. They had no pity, since they were perpetually angry. Thus, Yahweh was going to send fire down on Teman, either a tribe or small village in Edom. He was also going to devour the fortress in Bozrah, the capital city of Edom, in present day Jordan.

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The fall of Edom (Jer 49:21-49:22)

“At the sound of their fall,

The earth shall tremble.

The sound of their cry

Shall be heard

At the Red Sea.

Look!

He shall mount up.

He shall swoop down

Like an eagle.

He shall spread his wings

Against Bozrah.

The heart of the warriors

Of Edom,

On that day,

Shall be

Like the heart

Of a woman in labor.”

The fall of the Edomites would be so loud that the earth would tremble like an earthquake. The sounds of the cries from Edom could be heard as far away as the Red Sea in Egypt. As in the preceding chapter about Moab, the king of Babylon would swoop down like a spread eagle upon the major capital city of Bozrah. Then, just like in the preceding chapter again, the Edomite warriors, like the Moabite warriors, would become like women in labor. However, there is no mention of a restoration of Edom, like earlier for Moab and Ammon.

The destruction of Bozrah (Jer 49:13-49:13)

“Says Yahweh.

‘I have sworn

By myself

That Bozrah

Shall become

An object

Of horror,

Of ridicule,

Of a waste,

Of cursing.

All her towns

Shall be

Perpetual wastes.’”

Bozrah was the capital city of Edom in northern Edom, modern day Jordan.   Yahweh swore to himself that this capital of the Edomites would become an object of horror, a place of ridicule and a waste, as well as a cursed place. All its surrounding towns would become perpetual waste sites.

Judgment on the cities of Moab (Jer 48:21-48:25)

“‘Judgment has come

Upon the tableland,

Upon

Holon,

Jahzah,

Mephaath,

Dibon,

Nebo,

Beth-diblathaim,

Kiriathaim,

Beth-gamul,

Beth-meon,

Kerioth,

Bozrah,

And all the towns

Of the land

Of Moab,

Far and near.

The horn of Moab

Is cut off.

His arm is broken.’

Says Yahweh.”

Now Yahweh, via Jeremiah, issues his judgment against the Moab cities and towns. Interesting enough, the only other time two of these cities are named was in the book of Joshua, chapter 21,when they were assigned to the Levites living in the Reuben territory. Out of the four Levite towns mentioned there, two are mentioned here, Jahaz and Mephaath. In chapter 13 of Joshua, other cities were mentioned, Dibon, the capital city, Kiriathaim, and Beth-meon. Nebo was a Babylonian god, but could also be a place in Moab. Bozrah was in the southern part of Moab, while Beth-gamul was in eastern Moab. It is difficult to pin point the exact locations of Holon, Beth-diblathaim, and Kerioth. Actually this oracle proclaims that all the towns of Moab have been destroyed, since the horn of Moab and his arm have been broken and cut off. The towns are named explicitly here.

The confrontation (Isa 63:1-63:1)

“Who is this that comes from Edom?

Who comes from Bozrah

In garments stained in crimson?

Who is this so splendidly robed?

Who is marching in his great might?

‘It is I!

I announce vindication!

I am mighty to save!’”

The sentinel or the prophet is standing on the wall or guarding the city. Thus he wants to know who was coming from Edom and its capital city of Bozrah, that was south of Judah on the other side of the Jordan River. Here we have an unusual dialog. The people from Edom were wearing splendid stained crimson robes. They were marching with a great army. After these questions, there is a response. The response is in the first personal singular as if it is Yahweh himself announcing and seeking vindication, while trying to save his people.

The sword of Yahweh on Edom (Isa 34:5-34:7)

“When my sword has drunk

Its fill in the heavens,

It will descend upon Edom.

My sword will descend

Upon the people I have doomed.

Yahweh has a sword.

It is sated with blood,

With the blood of lambs,

With the blood of goats.

It is gorged with fat,

With the fat of the kidneys of rams.

Yahweh has a sacrifice in Bozrah.

There was a great slaughter

In the land of Edom.

Wild oxen shall fall with them.

Young steers shall fall with them.

Mighty bulls shall fall with them.

Their land shall be soaked with blood.

Their soil made rich with fat.”

Isaiah has Yahweh talk about his sword that was going to descend on the country of Edom, southeast of Judah, where the twin brother of Jacob, Esau, had settled as in Genesis, chapter 36. Yahweh’s heavenly sword would fall upon the doomed country of Edom. This sword would be full of blood from goats and rams as well as fat from their kidneys. There was going to be a great sacrificial slaughter in Bozrah, the capital city of Edom. There was going to be such a sacrifice of oxen, steers, and bulls that the land would be soaked with blood and fat so that the soil would become rich.

The meeting with the Nabateans (1 Macc 5:24-5:27)

“Judas Maccabeus and his brother Jonathan crossed the Jordan River. They made a three days journey into the wilderness. They encountered the Nabateans, who met them peaceably. They told them all that had happened to their kindred in Gilead.

‘Many of them have been shut up in Bozrah and Bosor,

In Alema and Chaspho, Maked and Carnaim,

All these cities were strong and large.

Some have been shut up in the other cities of Gilead.

The enemy is getting ready to attack the strongholds tomorrow.

They want to take and destroy all these men in one day.’”

Judas Maccabeus and his brother Jonathan with 5,000 troops crossed the Jordan River and went 3 days into the wilderness before they met the Nabateans, a peaceful group. These Nabateans were an Arab Semitic group that may have its roots in an Ishmaelite tribe. They will become stronger as time goes on. However, here they seem to be with the Jewish people talking about how the Jewish people have held in the major cities of Bozrah, Bosor, Alema, Chaspho, Maked, and Carnaim. Bozrah was a city in Edom, while Bosor, Alema, Chaspho, Maked, and Carnaim are only mentioned here and difficult to identify. The Nabateans said that some unidentified enemy was going to destroy them tomorrow, that is right away.