The call to conversion (Zeph 2:1-2:3)

“Gather together!

Gather!

O shameless nation!

Before you are driven away

Like the drifting chaff,

Before there comes

Upon you

The fierce anger of Yahweh,

Before there comes

Upon you

The day

Of Yahweh’s wrath.

Seek Yahweh!

All you humble

Of the land!

You do his commands.

You seek righteousness.

You seek humility.

Perhaps,

You may be hidden

On the day

Of Yahweh’s wrath.”

Yahweh gave them one last chance to convert to him.  He wanted this shameless country to gather together to seek him.  If they did not, they would be driven away like useless chaff.  If they did not, the anger of Yahweh would come upon them on the day of his wrath.  The humble or the poor of the land should seek Yahweh.  All they had to do was to follow his commandments.  They had to seek righteousness and humility.  Then perhaps, on the day of Yahweh’s wrath, they would be hidden or stored away from his anger.  There still was a chance for these righteous humble poor people.

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The gathering of the lame people (Mic 4:6-4:7)

“Yahweh says.

‘In that day,

I will assemble the lame.

I will gather

Those who have been driven away.

I will gather

Those whom I have afflicted.

The lame,

I will make the remnant.

Those who were cast off,

I will make a strong nation.

Yahweh will reign over them

In Mount Zion,

Now and forever.”

In some future day, Yahweh, via Micah, was going to assemble the lame and the afflicted.  This also included those who had been driven away.  He was going to make the lame a remnant of the good people.  He was going to make them all a strong nation, where Yahweh would rule over them from Mount Zion, both now and forever.

The near-death experience of Jonah (Jon 2:4-2:6)

“Then I said.

‘I am driven away

From your sight.

How shall I look again

Upon your holy Temple?

The waters closed in

Over me.

The deep surrounded me.

Weeds were wrapped

Around my head.

At the roots

Of the mountains,

I went down

To the land.

The bars closed

Upon me forever.

Yet you brought up

My life

From the Pit.

O Yahweh!

My God!’”

The experience of drowning or nearly drowning is like a near-death experience. Jonah had been driven away from the sight of Yahweh because he had decided to run away from the task that Yahweh had asked him to do. He would never again look at the holy Temple in Jerusalem. As the sea waters closed in on him on every side, sea weeds were wrapped around his head. He actually felt like he was buried at the bottom of a mountain with the bars closed in on forever. He had gone down to the sea. like in Davy Jones locker. However, Yahweh, his God, brought him to life. He saved him from the Pit, the shadow like afterlife.

The king will lose his kingdom (Dan 4:24-4:25)

“‘This is the interpretation!

O king!

It is a decree

Of the Most High,

That has come upon

My lord!

The king!

You shall be driven away

From human society!

Your dwelling

Shall be with

The wild animals!

You shall be made

To eat grass

Like oxen!

You shall be bathed

With the dew

Of heaven!

Seven times

It shall pass

Over you,

Until you have learned

That the Most High

Has sovereignty

Over the kingdoms

Of mortals!

He gives it

To whom he will.’”

Daniel then gave his shocking interpretation of the watcher’s cry to the king. He said that this was a decree that came from the Most High God. The king, Daniel’s lord, would be driven away from human society. He was going to live with the wild animals. He was going to eat grass like oxen do. He would be washed in heavenly dew for 7 years, until he would come to recognize that the Most High God ruled over all the mortal kingdoms. God was able to give his kingdoms to whomever he wanted.

The attacks on Israel (Jer 50:17-50:17)

“Israel is

A hunted sheep.

It was driven away

By lions.

First,

The king of Assyria

Devoured it.

Now at the end,

King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon

Has gnawed its bones.”

The Israelite hunted sheep were driven away by lions. The king of Assyria attacked the northern kingdom of Israel, as it came to an end in 724 BCE. Then the king of Babylon in 587 gnawed at their bones, since the kingdom was not in existence at that time. Thus both the lions of Assyria and Babylon have scattered the sheep of Israel within a couple hundred years.