The destruction of Edom (Jer 49:10-49:11)

“But as for me,

I have stripped

Esau bare.

I have uncovered

His hiding places.

He is not able

To conceal himself.

His offspring are destroyed.

His kinsfolk are no more.

His neighbors are no more.

He is no more.

Leave your orphans!

I will keep them alive.

Let your widows trust

In me.”

Yahweh clearly says that he has destroyed Edom, the home of Esau, Jacob’s brother. He has stripped them bare, since they no longer have any hiding places. The men, their offspring, their families, and their neighbors have all been wiped out. They are no longer living anymore. However, Yahweh has a word of consolation for the Edomites.   He was going to take care of their orphans and widows. Somehow, the orphans and widows were the privileged protected ones, whether in Israel or not.

The questions for Edom (Jer 49:7-49:9)

“Concerning Edom!

Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

‘Is there no longer wisdom

In Teman?

Has counsel perished

From the prudent?

Has their wisdom vanished?

Flee!

Turn back!

Get down low!

O inhabitants of Dedan!

I will bring

The calamity of Esau

Upon him,

Like the time

When I punished him.

If grape-gatherers

Came to you,

Would they not

Leave gleanings?

If thieves came

By night,

Would they not pillage

Only what they wanted?”

Edom was south of the Dead Sea, south of Moab and south of Judah. Its biblical origin was the place where Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, went to live in Genesis, chapter 36. Yahweh has a series of questions for Edom. What happened to their wisdom, especially at Teman, perhaps a tribal group in Edom, since Teman was the name of the grandson of Esau. One of Job’s friends Eliphaz was a Temanite. Obadiah, an almost unknown minor prophet, seemed to take some of this diatribe against Edom into most of his work. Something has happened to the counsel and prudence of Edom. Has all their wisdom vanished? Dedan was a tribe involved in commerce. Both grape gatherers and thieves would leave something behind. They would not take everything. Thus the grape pickers would leave some grapes for the later gleaners to come along and get some of these overlooked grapes. The same is true about nightly thieves who would only take what they needed.

The Judeans return (Jer 40:11:40:12)

“Likewise,

All the Judeans,

Who were in Moab,

Or among the Ammonites,

Or in Edom,

As well as in other lands,

Heard that

The king of Babylon

Had left a remnant

In Judah.

They heard

That he had appointed

Gedaliah,

The son of Ahikam,

The son of Shaphan,

As governor over them.

Then all the Judeans returned

From all the places

To which they had been scattered.

They came

To the land of Judah,

To Gedaliah,

At Mizpah.

They gathered wine

They gathered summer fruits

In great abundance.”

Jeremiah presents a mini-post exilic time. This was particularly true of those Judeans who had migrated to the southeastern neighboring countries on the other side of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea, living among the Moabites, the Edomites, and the Ammonites. They heard the news that the war with Babylon was over. They then decided to return, when they heard that Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, was the new governor appointed by the king of Babylon. Thus they returned to Judah, more precisely to the Benjamin area that had not been destroyed. Mizpah became the new capital city of this remnant left In Judah. They were going to have wine and summer fruits in abundance. This seems like a happy time with a lot of returning Judeans from the devastated Judah area and the area east of the Jordan River in Moab, Edom, and Ammon.

The southeast countries (Jer 25:21-25:21)

“I went to

Edom,

Moab,

The Ammonites.”

Next Jeremiah was off to the southeastern countries of Edom and Moab, east of the Jordan and the Dead Sea, present day Jordan. The Ammonites along with the Moabites were the descendants of Lot’s sexual incest with his two daughters in Genesis, chapter 19, who lived in this area also.

Uz (Jer 25:20-25:20)

“I went to

All the mixed people,

All the kings

Of the land of Uz.”

Next up on Jeremiah’s world tour was the land Uz, where Job lived. Exactly where Uz was seems difficult to ascertain. Uz was probably in Edom, south of Israel, in northern Arabia or southern Jordan. In Genesis, chapter 10, Uz was the first born son of Abram, whose father was Shem, who in turn had Noah as his father. Thus Uz was the great grandson of Noah. There also was a place in southern Syria with this name. Uz was the first born of Nahor and Milcah, the brother of Abraham in Genesis, chapter 22. Thus this country of Uz could have been named after any of these people so that it was a mixed people with some Israelites.

Menace to the king and his mother (Jer 13:18-13:19)

“Say to the king!

Say to the queen mother!

‘Take a lowly seat!

Your beautiful crown

Has come down

From your head.’

The cities of the Negeb are shut up.

There is no one to open them.

Judah is taken into exile.

They are wholly taken into exile.”

The good and just King Josiah (640-609 BCE) had died in 609 BCE. His wife lived after him and thus his 3 so-called evil sons ruled until the Exile, King Jehoahaz or Shallum, (609-609 BCE), King Jehoiakim or Eliakim (609-598 BCE), King Jehoiachin (598-598 BCE), son of Jehoiakim, and finally King Zedekiah or Mattanyahu (598-587 BCE), the 3rd son of King Josiah. This last king was only 21 when he took over from his nephew. His mother would have been Hamutal. It is not clear which of these kings and his mother are implied here. However, it could be King Zedekiah since he was the last king before the exile. Their crowns would be taken from their heads. Already the southern cities of the Negeb, close to Edom were shut down. Judah was on its way to captivity.

The confrontation (Isa 63:1-63:1)

“Who is this that comes from Edom?

Who comes from Bozrah

In garments stained in crimson?

Who is this so splendidly robed?

Who is marching in his great might?

‘It is I!

I announce vindication!

I am mighty to save!’”

The sentinel or the prophet is standing on the wall or guarding the city. Thus he wants to know who was coming from Edom and its capital city of Bozrah, that was south of Judah on the other side of the Jordan River. Here we have an unusual dialog. The people from Edom were wearing splendid stained crimson robes. They were marching with a great army. After these questions, there is a response. The response is in the first personal singular as if it is Yahweh himself announcing and seeking vindication, while trying to save his people.

Desolation (Isa 34:11-34:12)

“But the hawk shall possess it.

The porcupine shall possess it.

The owl shall live in it.

The raven shall live in it.

He shall stretch the line of confusion over it.

The plummet of chaos shall be over its nobles.

They shall name it ‘No Kingdom There.’

Its princes shall be nothing.”

Isaiah continues with his description of the desolation of Edom. A variety of the vulture like animals and birds will live there, the hawk, the porcupine, the owl, and the raven. There will be confusion and chaos among the nobles and people there. The name of the country would become ‘No Kingdom There,’ obviously a mocking name. Their princes, or whatever is left of them, would be like nothing.

Oracle about the sentinel watching from Mount Seir (Isa 21:11-21:12)

“The oracle concerning Dumah.

One is calling to me

From Seir.

‘Sentinel!

What of the night?

Sentinel!

What of the night?’

The sentinel says.

‘Morning comes!

Also the night!

If you will inquire,

Inquire!

Come back again.’”

Dumah means silence and may be a symbolic name for Edom. Apparently Isaiah or Yahweh presented an oracle about Edom that was south of Moab, in modern day southern Jordan. The Edomites had been part of the uprising against Assyria. Someone was calling from Seir, a mountainous region in Edom. Once again, it is the lookout, the watchman, or the sentinel who gives the cry. The question is what is happening. Apparently there will there will a night like destruction, not merely once, but twice, and then again. In between, there will be a nice morning.

 

The Moabites seek refuge in Judah (Isa 16:1-16:2)

“Send lambs

To the ruler of the land,

From Sela,

By way of the desert,

To the mount

Of the daughter of Zion.

Like fluttering birds,

Like scattered nestlings,

So are the daughters of Moab

At the fords of the Arnon.”

The Moabites were going to send lambs to the ruler of Judah at Mount Zion. They were going to send these lambs from Sela, the capital of Edom, another country south of Moab that was supposedly descended from Lot’s daughters. These lambs would go via the desert. Meanwhile, the daughters or women of Moab were at the banks of the Arnon River that was on the borders between Moab and the Reuben territory. There they were like fluttering birds or young nestling birds waiting for help or a place to land. The Moabites were appealing to Judah and Jerusalem.