Against Samaria (Mic 1:5-1:7)

“All this is for

The transgression

Of Jacob.

This is for

The sins

Of the house of Israel.

What is the transgression

Of Jacob?

Is it not Samaria?

What is the high place

Of Judah?

Is it not Jerusalem?

Therefore,

I will make Samaria

A heap in the open country.

I will make it

A place for planting vineyards.

I will pour down

Her stones

Into the valley.

I will uncover

Her foundations.

All her images

Shall be beaten to pieces.

All her wages

Shall be burned with fire.

I will lay waste

To all her idols.

She gathered them

As the wages of a prostitute.

They shall again be used

As the wages of a prostitute.”

Yahweh was coming because of the transgressions of Jacob, the sins of the house of northern Israel at the very place of Samaria.  The high place of Judah was Jerusalem.  Thus, Yahweh, was going to make Samaria like a heap in an open field or a place for vineyards.  He was going to take all their stones and throw them in the valley, as he would uncover their foundations.  All the idol images would be smashed to pieces, so that all their idols gods would be destroyed.  The wages of the temple prostitutes would be burned.  Whatever wages they had gained would be used against them.

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Jonah was not happy (Jon 4:1-4:1)

But this was

Very displeasing

To Jonah.

He became angry.”

Not only did Jonah refuse to take on this mission originally, now he was mad that God had not followed through on his original proclamation.  He looked like a fool, since he went around screaming about the 40 days until Nineveh would be destroyed.  Now, there was to be no destruction.  Jonah was not a happy man.  He was angry.

Mourn for your lost fields (Joel 1:8-1:10)

“Lament!

Like a virgin

Dressed in sackcloth

For the husband

Of her youth!

The grain offering,

The drink offering,

Are cut off

From the house

Of Yahweh.

The priests mourn.

The ministers of Yahweh

Mourn.

The fields are devastated.

The ground mourns.

The grain is destroyed.

The wine dries up.

The oil fails.”

The people should go into mourning. They should lament like a virgin who had lost the husband of her youth, dressed in sackcloth. There was not going to be any grain or drink offerings in the house of Yahweh. The priests and the ministers should mourn because the fields were devastated. The ground itself mourned because the grain was destroyed. The wine had dried up. The oil had failed. There was good reason to go into mourning.

Yahweh has second thoughts (Hos 11:8-11:9)

“How can I give you up?

O Ephraim!

How can I hand you over?

O Israel!

How can I make you

Like Admah?

How can I treat you

Like Zeboiim?

My heart recoils

Within me.

My compassion

Grows warm.

My compassion

Grows tender.

I will not execute

My fierce anger.

I will not again

Destroy Ephraim.

I am God!

I am not a mortal!

I am the Holy One

In your midst.

I will not come

In wrath.”

Yahweh, via Hosea, had second thoughts about the destruction of Israel. How could he give Ephraim up? How could he hand over Israel? He could not make them like Admah and Zeboiim, two of the five cities destroyed with Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis, chapter 19. His heart was compassionate with warm tenderness. He decided not to execute his fierce anger against Ephraim. Yahweh was God, not a mere mortal. He was the Holy One in their midst. He was not going to come in anger.

The punishment is coming (Hos 11:5-11:7)

“They shall return

To the land of Egypt.

Assyria

Shall be their king.

They have refused

To return to me.

The sword rages

In their cities.

It consumes

Their oracle priests.

It devours them

Because of their schemes.

My people

Are bent

On turning away

From me.

They call to

The Most High,

But he does not

Raise them up at all.”

Yahweh, via Hosea, warned them that their punishment was coming. They would be exiled to Egypt. Assyria would be their new king. They had refused to return to Yahweh. Thus, the killing sword would rage in their cities. The oracle priests at their various idol worship sites would be destroyed. They would all die because of their schemes. They were bent on turning away from Yahweh. Thus, when they called out for help, they would not get an answer.

War will come to Israel (Hos 10:13-10:15)

“You have plowed wickedness.

You have reaped injustice,

You have eaten

The fruit of lies.

Because you have trusted

In your power,

You have trusted

In the multitude

Of your warriors.

Therefore,

The tumult of war

Shall arise

Against your people.

All your fortresses

Shall be destroyed.

As Shalman destroyed

Beth-arbel

On the day of battle.

Mothers were dashed

In pieces,

With their children.

Thus,

It shall be done to you!

O Bethel!

O house of Israel!

Because of your great wickedness.

At dawn,

The king of Israel

Shall be utterly cut off.”

Israel had plowed in wickedness, so that now they were going to reap injustice. They had eaten the fruit of their lies. They had trusted in their own power and their many warriors. Thus, the fury of war was going to come upon them and their people. All their fortresses would be destroyed, like Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel. Although it is difficult to find the exact battle, there is conjecture that this was the 8th century Moabite Shalman who invaded Beth-arbel or Irbid, that was west of the Sea of Galilee. In that battle, mothers with children were destroyed. Thus, the same was going to happen to Israel and Bethel because of their wickedness.  The king of Israel would be wiped out also.