Surrounded on every side (Lk 19:43-19:43)

“Indeed,

The days

Will come upon you,

When your enemies

Will set up ramparts

Around you.

They will hem you in

On every side.”

 

ὅτι ἥξουσιν ἡμέραι ἐπὶ σὲ καὶ παρεμβαλοῦσιν οἱ ἐχθροί σου χάρακά σοι καὶ περικυκλώσουσίν σε καὶ συνέξουσίν σε πάντοθεν,

 

Luke indicated that Jesus remarked that bad days were coming to Jerusalem (ὅτι ἥξουσιν ἡμέραι ἐπὶ σὲ).  Jesus said that it would come to them when their enemies would put up a barricade against them (καὶ παρεμβαλοῦσιν οἱ ἐχθροί σου χάρακά σοι).  They would surround them (καὶ περικυκλώσουσίν σε) so that they would be hemmed in on every side (καὶ συνέξουσίν σε πάντοθεν).  This is the only Greek biblical use of the word περικυκλώσουσίν that means to hem them in on every side, encircle, surround, or encompass.  Jesus was using the words and images of the ancient Israelite prophets against Jerusalem.  Isaiah, chapter 29:1-3, called Jerusalem Ariel, a symbolic name for Jerusalem and its altar.  Isaiah, warned Jerusalem about what was going to happen to it.  Yahweh was going to encamp against it and set up siege works against it.  They would be able to speak only from below the earth and the dust.  Their voices would be reduced to a whisper, like a ghost in the middle of this dust pile.  Jeremiah, chapter 6:6-8, warned Jerusalem that its enemies were going to cut down trees in order to make a ramp siege against Jerusalem, because this city needed to be punished.  There was nothing but oppression and wickedness within her.  Jerusalem was a place of violence and destruction with sickness and wounded people all around.  Yahweh was going to turn away in disgust against Jerusalem. Thus, it would become a desolate uninhabited land, if it did not heed his warning.  Ezekiel, chapter 4:1-3, also condemned Jerusalem with Ezekiel’s symbolic action.  A voice told Ezekiel to be an expert model Lego builder of the siege of Jerusalem.  Ezekiel, the son of man, was to take a brick and portray the city of Jerusalem.  He was to put the siege works with a siege wall against this city.  He was to put a ramp and camps against this city with battering rams all around it.  Then he was to take an iron plate and make an iron wall between himself and the city, looking at it.  Thus, there was a state of siege, a sign for the house of Israel.  Ezekiel was part of the exiles from 598 BCE before the taking of Jerusalem and the second captivity in 587 BCE.  Of course, here this was allusion to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE by the Roman soldiers putting down a revolution in Judea.  Luke would have known about this at the time of his writing.  Have you ever seen a city destroyed?

The warning (Am 4:1-4:3)

“Hear this word!

You cows of Bashan!

You are on Mount Samaria!

You oppress the poor!

You crush the needy!

You say

To your husbands.

‘Bring something to drink!’

Yahweh God

Has sworn

By his holiness.

The time is surely coming

Upon you,

When they shall take you away

With hooks,

Even the last of you,

With fishhooks.

Through breaches

In the wall,

Shall your leave.

Each one will go

Straight ahead.

You shall be flung out

Into Harmon.’

Says Yahweh.”

Amos has another oracle of Yahweh against the rich women of the mountains of Samaria. Yahweh compared them to the rich lazy cows grazing on the wonderful pastures in Bashan, on the other side of the Jordan River, where the best cows were raised. These rich women had oppressed the poor and crushed the needy. They wanted their husbands to bring them something to drink. Yahweh said that the time was coming when they would be taken away with fish hooks. They would leave their city through the holes in the walls. They would all march out to be thrown into Harmon, some unknown place where they would have to live as exiles.

Ezekiel builds a model of Jerusalem unde siege (Ezek 4:1-4:3)

“You!

O son of man!

Take a brick!

Set it before you!

Portray a city on it,

Jerusalem!

Put the siege works

Against it!

Build a siege wall

Against it!

Cast up a ramp

Against it!

Set camps also

Against it!

Plant battering rams

Against it all around!

Then take an iron plate!

Place it

As an iron wall

Between you

And the city!

Set your face

Toward it!

Let it be

In a state of siege!

Press the siege

Against it!

This is a sign

For the house of Israel.”

Here we have the one of the many symbolic actions by Ezekiel. A voice, either Yahweh or his Spirit, told Ezekiel to be an expert model Lego builder of the siege of Jerusalem. Ezekiel, the son of man, was to take a brick and portray the city of Jerusalem. He was to put the siege works with a siege wall against this city. He was to put a ramp and camps against this city with battering rams all around it. Then he was to take an iron plate and make an iron wall between himself and the city, looking at it. Thus there was a state of siege, a sign for the house of Israel. Ezekiel was part of the exiles from 598 BCE before the taking of Jerusalem and the second captivity in 587 BCE.

The time and place of Ezekiel’s first vision (Ezek 1:1-1:3)

“In the thirtieth year,

In the fourth month,

On the fifth day

Of the month,

As I was among the exiles

By the river Chebar,

The heavens

Were opened.

I saw visions

Of God.

This was the fifth day

Of the month

Of the fifth year

Of the exile

Of King Jehoiachin.

The word of Yahweh

Came to

The priest Ezekiel,

The son of Buzi,

In the land

Of the Chaldeans

By the river Chebar.

The hand

Of Yahweh

Was on me there.”

The dating is very precise here. This is the 30th year, probably from his birth around 623 BCE during the reign of King Josiah. Ezekiel writes in the first person singular. He said that he was among the exiles at the Chebar River, a small canal near Erech that ran into the Euphrates River in northern Babylon. On the 5th day of the 4th month the heavens opened to provide visions of God to him.  Once again, there is precise information about the date, as this was the 5th year of the exile of King Jehoiachin that had occurred in 598 BCE. Thus this year would have been 593 BCE. Ezekiel’s father was Buzi, a Jerusalem priest, so that he was from a family of priests. The word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar. Yahweh put his hand on him. Thus the opening scene is set with this 30 year old exiled Jerusalem priest by a river bank with the rest of the exiles, when a heavenly vision appeared to him.

The shameful prayer (Bar 1:15-1:18)

“You shall say.

‘The Lord,

Our God,

Is in the right.

There is open shame

On us today,

On the people of Judah,

On the inhabitants of Jerusalem,

On our kings,

On our rulers,

On our priests,

On our prophets,

On our ancestors.

Because we have sinned

Before the Lord.

We have disobeyed him.

We have not heeded

The voice

Of the Lord,

Our God,

To walk

In the statutes

Of the Lord

That he set

Before us.”

Baruch told them how to pray. They were to say that they were ashamed because the Lord their God was right. However, it was just not the exiles, but the people in Judah and Jerusalem, along with their kings, rulers, priests, prophets, and their ancestors who had sinned. They had disobeyed and not heeded the voice of the Lord their God. They had not followed the laws that the Lord set before them.

The exact number of the second captivity (Jer 52:29-52:29)

“In the eighteenth year

Of King Nebuchadnezzar

He took into exile

From Jerusalem                                                                         

Eight hundred thirty-two persons.”

This appears to be around 587 BCE, about the time that King Zedekiah revolted. However, this seems like a very small number of only 832 people. Maybe this was earlier under King Jehoiachin. However, despite all the talk about exiles, this number would indicate that very few people went into exile.

The punishment for the people of Jerusalem (Jer 39:8-39:10)

“The Chaldeans burned

The king’s house

With the houses of the people.

They broke down

The walls of Jerusalem.

Then Nebuzaradan,

The captain of the guard,

Exiled to Babylon

The rest of the people

Who were left in the city.

This included

Those who had deserted to him,

As well as the people who remained.

Nebuzaradan,

The captain of the guard,

Left in the land of Judah

Some of the poor people

Who owned nothing.

He gave them vineyards.

He gave them fields

At the same time.”

Once again, this is similar to 2 Kings, chapter 25. However, here there is no mention of an exact date. The Chaldean fighters burned the palace of the king and other houses in Jerusalem. There is no mention about the burning of the Temple as in 2 Kings. They also broke down the walls of Jerusalem. The king of Babylon did not come himself, but he sent the captain of his bodyguard, Nebuzaradan, to take all the people as captives. This included those who had deserted to the Chaldeans as well as those left in the city. However, he gave the poor people the vineyards and fields. This might be a problem when the exiles return. Thus, the Judean kingdom lasted 134 years after the fall of the northern Israelite kingdom at Samaria.