John the Baptist in prison (Mt 11:2-11:2)

“In prison,

John heard

About the works

Of the Christ.

He sent word

By his disciples.”

 

Ὁ δὲ Ἰωάνης ἀκούσας ἐν τῷ δεσμωτηρίῳ τὰ ἔργα τοῦ Χριστοῦ, πέμψας διὰ τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ

 

Now we are back to the question of John the Baptist.  Luke, chapter 7:18, has something similar.  John the Baptist heard (Ὁ δὲ Ἰωάνης ἀκούσας) about the works or deeds of Jesus the Christ, the anointed one, the Messiah (τὰ ἔργα τοῦ Χριστοῦ), while he was in a prison (ἐν τῷ δεσμωτηρίῳ).  Clearly John still had a number of disciples, despite his imprisonment.  Thus, he sent a few of his disciples (πέμψας διὰ τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ).  Luke said that there were two, but there is no number here.  John may have been in prison in Machaerus, about 5 miles east of the Dead Sea.  Notice that this is the first time that Jesus is called the Christ (τοῦ Χριστοῦ).

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Oracle of Yahweh (Ob 1:1-1:1)

“Thus says Yahweh

Concerning Edom.

We have heard a report

From Yahweh.

A messenger has been sent

Among my nations.

‘Rise up!

Let us rise against it

For battle.’”

The Israelites had a long history with Edom because they believed that Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, had founded this country.  The Book of Genesis listed the kings of Edom in chapter 36.  The country of Edom was south of the Dead Sea, south of Moab and south of Judah.  It eventually stopped being a country with most of the people drifting into southern Judah.  Many of the prophets had spoken against the Edomites, including Jeremiah, chapter 49, Isaiah, chapter 34, Ezekiel, chapter 25, Amos, chapter 1, and Joel, chapter 3.  This was a report from Yahweh, since he had sent his messengers to the various countries.  They were to rise up and get ready for the battle.

Against Ammon (Am 1:13-1:15)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘For three transgressions,

Of the Ammonites,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

Because they ripped open

Pregnant women

In the Gilead.

They wanted to enlarge

Their territory.

So,

I will kindle a fire

Against the wall of Rabbah.

Fire shall devour

Its strongholds,

With shouting

On the day of battle.

There will be a storm

On the day of the whirlwind.

Their king

Shall go into exile,

He with his officials together.’

Says Yahweh.”

Ammon was east of the Jordan River, between the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee in the old Gad territory. According to Genesis, chapter 19, the Ammonites were the descendants of Lot through the incest he had with his daughter. Yahweh, via Amos, invoked the same language as he had used against Damascus, the Philistines, Tyre, and Edom. He used the same numeric formula of 3 and 4, as found in Proverbs, chapter 30. These Ammonites had killed pregnant women in the Gilead, the Israelite territory on the east side of the Jordan River, because they wanted to take over that territory. Thus, Yahweh was going to send fire down on Rabbah, the capital city that is today the capital of Jordan, Amman. This fire would destroy all their fortresses, like a storm or whirlwind. The king and all its officials would go into exile.

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.

The Brook of Egypt border (Ezek 48:28-48:28)

“Adjoining the territory

Of Gad,

To the south,

The boundary shall run

From Tamar

To the waters

Of Meribath-kadesh.

From there

It shall run

Along the Brook of Egypt

To the Great Sea.”

Somehow the territory of Gad was in the south. Now we have the southern borders of Israel just as it was described in the preceding chapter. This southern border in Numbers, chapter 34 was also vague. Here the border goes almost to Egypt, to the great sea, or the Mediterranean Sea. Tamar was the start of this southeast border. Meribath-kadesh was in the wilderness of Zin, south of the Dead Sea.

The southern border (Ezek 47:19-47:19)

“On the south side,

It shall run

From Tamar

As far as

The waters

Of Meribath-kadesh.

From there

It shall run

Along the Brook of Egypt

To the Great Sea.

This shall be the south side.”

The southern border in Numbers, chapter 34 was also vague. However, there was a mention of the Dead Sea and the Wilderness of Zin. Here the border goes almost to Egypt, to the great sea, or the Mediterranean Sea. Tamar, just mentioned on the eastern border, is the start of this southeast border. Meribath-kadesh was in the wilderness of Zin, south of the Dead Sea.

The eastern border (Ezek 47:18-47:18)

“On the east side,

The boundary

Shall run

Between Hauran

And Damascus.

It shall run

Along the Jordan

Between Gilead

And the land of Israel,

To the eastern sea,

As far as Tamar.

This shall be the east side.”

There was no mention of the Sea of Galilee as in Numbers, chapter 34. Here the border started in the north by Hauran. Then it kind of followed the Jordan River down to the Dead Sea or the eastern sea. There was also a mention of Gilead, on the east side of the Jordan River. It goes as far south as Tamar, but it is not clear where this was.