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.

Against Tyre (Am 1:9-1:10)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘For three transgressions

Of Tyre,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

Because they delivered

Entire communities

Over to Edom.

They did not remember

The covenant of brotherhood.

So,

I will send a fire

On the wall of Tyre.

This fire shall devour

Its strongholds.’”

Tyre was the northern port city in the old Israelite territory of Asher. Yahweh, via Amos, invoked the same language as against Damascus and the Philistines. He used the same numeric formula of 3 and 4, that was in Proverbs, chapter 30. He was not going to forgive. The city of Tyre, like the city of Gaza, was involved in the slave trade with Edom. They did not understand the universal covenant or treaty of all people who are really brothers or somehow related. They abused other humans as slaves. Thus, Yahweh was going to send a fire, just like that at Gaza, to devour their strongholds.

The burning garden of Eden (Joel 2:3-2:3)

“Fire devours

In front of them.

Behind them,

A flame burns.

Before them,

The land is

Like the garden of Eden.

But after them,

It is

Like a desolate wilderness.

Nothing escapes them.”

This fire or swarming grasshoppers was coming to devour everything. It was all around them. In front of them, it looked like the Garden of Eden, but after the locusts had hit them, it was like a desolate wilderness. Nothing escaped these swarming locusts.

Punishment for forgetting Yahweh (Hos 13:6-13:8)

“When I fed them,

They were satisfied.

They were satisfied,

So that

Their heart was proud.

Therefore,

They forgot me.

So,

I will become

Like a lion to them.

Like a leopard,

I will lurk

Beside the way.

I will fall upon them

Like a bear

Robbed of her cubs.

I will tear open

The covering

Of their heart.

I will devour them

Like a lion.

Just like a wild animal

Would mangle them.”

Yahweh, via Hosea, warned the Israelites that he had fed them. Once they were satisfied with food, they had become proud. They forgot all about Yahweh. Thus, he was going to become like a lion or leopard lurking along their paths. He would attack them, like a bear who had been robbed of cubs. He was going to tear open the covering around their hearts. He would devour them like a wild animal would mangle its prey. They had better watch out.

Against human fortresses (Hos 8:14-8:14)

“Israel has forgotten

His Maker.

They built palaces.

Judah has multiplied

Fortified cities.

But I will send

A fire

Upon his cities.

It shall devour

His strongholds.”

The final swipe in this chapter is against southern Judah also. Northern Israel had forgotten its creator maker. They had built palaces that they thought would survive. Meanwhile, southern Judah also built a number of fortified cities. Yahweh, via Hosea, reminded them that he could devour their cities and strongholds. They should have relied on Yahweh and not their own construction.

The lost crop (Hos 8:7-8:7)

“They sow the wind.

But they shall reap

The whirlwind.

The standing grain

Has no heads.

It shall yield

No meal.

If it were to yield

Anything,

Foreigners

Would devour it.”

The northern Israelites were in a unique position. They would sow with the wind, but it suddenly would become a whirlwind. The planted grain would never mature in the field, since there would be no heads of grain. Therefore, there would be no harvesting of the grain for meals. Even if it yielded any grain, foreigners, and not them, would devour it, because of the invasion of the Assyrians.

The failure of Ephraim (Hos 5:5-5:7)

“Israel’s pride

Testifies against him.

Ephraim stumbles

In his guilt.

Judah also shall stumble

With them.

With their flocks,

With their herds,

They shall go

To seek Yahweh.

But they will not find him,

He has withdrawn

From them.

They have dealt faithlessly

With Yahweh.

They have borne

Illegitimate children.

Now the new moon

Shall devour them

With their fields.”

Israel’s pride would testify against them. Ephraim would stumble with guilt. But Judah would also stumble with them. They would go with their flocks and herds seeking Yahweh, but they would not find him. Yahweh has withdrawn from them, because they did not treat Yahweh faithfully. They, thus, bore illegitimate children, so that the new moon festivals would devour them with their fields.

The destruction of Gomer’s life (Hos 2:10-2:12)

“Now I will uncover

Her shame

In the sight

Of her lovers.

No one shall rescue her

Out of my hand.

I will put an end

To all her mirth,

Her festivals,

Her new moons,

Her sabbaths,

All her appointed festivals.

I will lay waste

Her vines

With her fig trees.

She said.

‘These are my pay.

My lovers

Have given me

These vines,

These fig trees.’

I will make them

A forest.

The wild animals

Shall devour them.”

Hosea was going to shame Gomer. He was going to uncover her nakedness in the sight of her lovers. Nudity was considered shameful, not glorified. No one would be able to save her from his hands. He was going to put an end to all her merry ways. Strangely enough, this included the various Israelite religious holidays, such as the festivals, the new moon observance, the Sabbath observance, as well as the other religious appointed festival days. Hosea was also going to destroy the vines and the trees that her lovers had given her as payment for her various sexual activities. Hosea was going to make them like a overgrown forest, so that the wild animals would devour and destroy them. Gomer was then a symbol of what was going to happen to Israel.

The fourth kingdom (Dan 7:23-7:23)

“This is what

He said.

‘As for the fourth beast,

There shall be

A fourth kingdom

On earth.

It shall be different

From all the other kingdoms.

It shall devour

The whole earth.

It shall trample it down.

It shall break it

To pieces.’”

It is not clear who the “he” speaking here is. It could be the Ancient One or that attendant who was standing around, but it is not Daniel. The 4th beast would have a kingdom, unlike any other kingdom. This kingdom would devour the whole earth, trample it down, and finally break it into pieces. This could be a reference to Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE) and the large Greek kingdom that he established.

The safe and secure life (Ezek 34:28-34:29)

“They shall no more

Be plunder

For the nations.

The wild animals

Of the land

Shall not devour them.

They shall live

In safety.

No one

Shall make them

Afraid.

I will provide

For them

A splendid vegetation.

Thus,

They will no longer

Be consumed

With hunger

In the land.

They will no longer

Suffer the insults

Of the nations.”

Once they were back in their land, the Israelites would no longer become plunder for the various nations. The wild animals in the land would not devour them. They would live in safety, since no one would make them afraid. Yahweh was going to provide for them with splendid vegetation. They would never have to worry about hunger in their land. They would no longer suffer any insults from the various nations.