The new slaves (Joel 3:7-3:8)

“‘But now,

I will rouse them up

To leave the places

To which you have

Sold them.

I will turn your deeds

Upon your own heads.

I will sell your sons,

With your daughters,

Into the hands

Of the people of Judah.

They will sell them

To the Sabeans,

To a nation far away.’

Yahweh has spoken.”

Yahweh was going to arouse the sold Judean slaves in faraway places to return home. Then Yahweh was going to turn this around. The new slaves would be the sons and daughters of these coastal people. They would be given to the Judeans, who in turn would sell them to the faraway southern Arabian Sabeans. This matter was settled because Yahweh had spoken.

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The day of destruction for the Philistines (Jer 47:3-47:4)

“At the noise

Of the stamping

Of the hoofs

Of his stallions,

At the clatter

Of his chariots,

At the rumbling

Of their wheels,

The parents do not

Look back

For children.

Their hands are so feeble.

The day is coming

To destroy

All the Philistines.

They will be cut off

From Tyre and Sidon,

From every helper

That remains.

Yahweh is destroying

The Philistines,

The remnant

Of the coastland

Of Caphtor.”

The Philistines were going to hear the hoofs of the stallions of these invaders. They would hear the noise of the rumbling chariot wheels. Parents would not turn back to save their children, because their own hands would be too weak. The Philistines would be destroyed, since they were cut off from any help from the Phoenician cities of Tyre and Sidon. Yahweh was going to destroy the remnant of the coastal people, who may have come from the island of Caphtor or Crete.

They discuss the idea of seizing the spring water (Jdt 7:8-7:15)

“Then all the chieftains of the Edomites and all the leaders of the Moabites along with the commanders of the coastland came to General Holofernes and said.

‘Listen to what we have to say, my lord.

Your army will suffer no losses.

This people, the Israelites,

Do not rely on their spears

But on the height of the mountains where they live.

It is not easy to reach the tops of their mountains.

Therefore, my lord,

Do not fight against them in regular formation.

Not a man of your army will fall.

Remain in your camp!

Keep all the men in your forces with you.

Let your servants take possession of the spring of water

That flows from the foot of the mountain,

Which is where all the people of Bethulia get their water.

So thirst will destroy them.

They will surrender their town.

Meanwhile, we and our people

Will go up to the tops of the nearby mountains.

We will camp there to keep watch to see

That no one gets out of the town.

They and their wives and children will waste away with famine.

Before the sword reaches them

They will be strewn about in the streets where they live.

Thus you will pay them back with evil,

Because they rebelled and did not receive you peaceably.’”

The local groups of Edomites, Moabites, and coastal people had a proposal for General Holofernes. They came up with the idea where the Assyrians would lose no men in battle because the mountains were hard to climb. This is the only occasion where mountains seem to favor the Israelites. In all other cases the battles seemed to be around towns and in valleys. They proposed that the water supply be shut down. Somehow the water springs were at the bottom of the mountain. It seems like there might be water at the top of the mountain. The Israelites would suffer from a great thirst. Eventually, they would surrender their towns as they would waste away with famine. This is somewhat similar to the idea of trying to cause a famine in Samaria under the Israelite King Jehoram (852-841 BCE) in 2 Kings, chapter 6, when he was attacked by the king of the Arameans. This would be an easy way to conquer these rebellious men of Judah and Benjamin, since theoretically Israel had already been conquered the previous century.

The request for peace (Jdt 3:1-3:5)

“The coastal people therefore sent messengers to sue for peace. They said.

‘We, the servants of Nebuchadnezzar, the Great King,

We lie prostrate before you.

Do with us whatever you will.

See! Our buildings,

All our land,

All our wheat fields,

Our flocks and herds,

And all our encampments lie before you.

Do with them as you please.

Our towns and their inhabitants are also your slaves.

Come and deal with them as you see fit.’

The men came to Holofernes and told him all this.”

The coastal people sent messengers to Holofernes to avoid any further devastation. They said that they were willing to be the servants of the king. They would prostrate before him. He could do whatever he wanted with their land, their fields, their herds, and their towns. They were willing to be his slaves. Holofernes then heard about this. Obviously the coastal people did not want to fight and just wanted to be left alone.