The siege of Nineveh (Nah 3:12-3:14)

“You also will be drunken.

You will go into hiding.

You will seek

A refuge

From the enemy.

All your fortresses are

Like fig trees

With first-ripe figs.

If shaken,

They fall

Into the mouth

Of the eater.

Look at your troops!

They are women

In your midst.

The gates

Of your land

Are wide open

To your foes.

Fire has devoured

The bars of your gates.

Draw water

For the siege!

Strengthen your forts!

Trample the clay!

Tread the mortar!

Take hold

Of the brick mold!”

So too, the people of Nineveh would be drunk and go into hiding, as they would seek to get away from their enemies.  All their strong fortresses would be like ripe fig trees.  If they would be touched or shaken, these strongholds would fall like ripe fruit right into the mouths of their enemies.  Women had become their troops.  The gates of the city were wide open to their enemies because fire had consumed the bars on their gates.  They had to get water during the siege.  They would have to strengthen their fortresses with clay, mortar, and bricks.

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Against Judah (Am 2:4-2:5)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘For three transgressions

Of Judah,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

Because they have rejected

The law of Yahweh.

They have not kept

His statutes.

But they have been

Led astray

By the same lies

After which their ancestors

Walked.

So,

I will send a fire

On Judah.

It shall devour

The strongholds

Of Jerusalem.’”

Next, Yahweh turned to Judah, his most favorite territory. Yahweh, via Amos, invoked the same language as he had used against Damascus, the Philistines, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, and Moab. He also used the same non-forgiving numeric formula of 3 and 4, as in Proverbs, chapter 30. Judah had rejected the law of Yahweh, as they had failed to keep its statutes. They had been led astray by the same lies that their ancestors had followed. Thus, Yahweh was going to send fire on Judah. In particular, he would devour their fortresses in Jerusalem.

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.

Against the Philistines (Am 1:6-1:8)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘For three transgressions

Of Gaza,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

Because they carried

Into exile

Entire communities,

To hand them over

To Edom.

So,

I will send a fire

On the wall of Gaza.

It shall devour

Its strongholds.

I will cut off

The inhabitants

From Ashdod.

I will cut off

The one who holds

The scepter

From Ashkelon.

I will turn my hand

Against Ekron.

The remnant

Of the Philistines

Shall perish.’

Says Yahweh

God.”

The Philistines had 5 major cities along the Mediterranean coast, west of Judah. The only city not mentioned here was Gath that had been wiped out by the Syrian King Hazael. Otherwise, Yahweh was going to punish the other 4 cities. Gaza was cited as the worst, since the numbering iniquities were about 3 and 4 things, just like the numerical Proverbs, chapter 30. Yahweh was not going to revoke his punishment against them. They were involved in the slave trade with Edom that sent whole communities into exile. Although fire would come to Gaza, Yahweh reminded them that Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Ekron would also suffer. All the remaining Philistines would perish or die. This was clearly an oracle of Yahweh.

The signs that the day of Yahweh was coming (Joel 2:30-2:32)

“I will show portents

In the heavens,

As well as on the earth.

There will be

Blood,

Fire,

Columns of smoke.

The sun shall be turned

To darkness.

The moon shall be turned

To blood.

This will happen

Before the great day

Of Yahweh comes.

Before the terrible day

of Yahweh comes.

Then everyone

Who calls

On the name of Yahweh

Shall be saved.

In Mount Zion,

In Jerusalem,

There shall be

Those who escape,

As Yahweh has said.

Among the survivors

Shall be those

Whom Yahweh calls.”

Yahweh, via Joel, talked about the signs that the day of Yahweh was coming. There would be signs in the heavens and on earth, with blood, fire, and columns of smoke. The sun would darken and the moon would turn to blood before the great and terrible day of Yahweh. Everyone who called on Yahweh would be saved at Mount Zion in Jerusalem. Some would escape. Others would survive, but they would be called by Yahweh.