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.

Advertisements

The fight in the fortified cities of Judah (Jer 34:6-34:7)

“Then the prophet Jeremiah

Spoke all these words

To King Zedekiah

Of Judah,

In Jerusalem.

Meanwhile the army

Of the king of Babylon

Was fighting

Against Jerusalem.

They were also fighting

Against all the cities

Of Judah

That were left.

Lachish,

With Azekah

Were the only fortified cities

Of Judah

That remained.”

As usual, Jeremiah had done what Yahweh wanted him to do. He repeated all the words that Yahweh had told him to say to King Zedekiah. At the same time, that the Babylonian army was attacking Jerusalem, they were also fighting against the only two other remaining fortified cities in Judah, Lachish, about 23 miles southwest of Jerusalem, and Azekah, about 11 miles north of Lachish. Everything else had already been conquered by the Babylonians except for these two cities and Jerusalem.

The response of Yahweh (Isa 37:26-37:27)

“Have you not heard

That I determined it long ago?

I planned from days of old,

What now I bring to pass.

You should make fortified cities.

You should crash into heaps of ruins,

While their inhabitants,

Shorn of strength,

Are dismayed as well as confounded.

They have become

Like plants of the field,

Like tender grass,

Like grass on the housetops,

Blighted before it is grown.”

Once again, this is almost word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 19. Yahweh reminded King Sennacherib that he had allowed him to capture fortified cities, create ruins, and confuse and confound people. These people have become like plants in the field, tender grass or grass thatched houses.

The invasion of Assyrian King Sennacherib (Isa 36:1-36:1)

“In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah,

King Sennacherib of Assyria

Came up against

All the fortified cities of Judah.

He took them.”

This is exactly word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 18. In fact, this whole appendix is closely related to the stories about King Hezekiah of Judah and the Assyrian invasion in 2 Kings, chapters 18-20. Despite all the goodness of King Hezekiah of Judah (716-687 BCE), he suffered a defeat, since King Sennacherib of Assyria (706-681 BCE) took over Judah and its fortified cities. According to an account of King Sennacherib, he had taken 46 towns, but not Jerusalem.

The call to God for help (Ps 108:10-108:13)

“Who will bring me to the fortified city?

Who will lead me to Edom?

Have you not rejected us?

O God!

You do not go out

With our armies.

O God!

O grant us help

Against the foe!

Human help is worthless.

With God

We shall do valiantly.

It is he who will tread down our foes.”

This psalm ends with an almost word for word repeat of Psalm 60. There is a call to God to continue to help them in their battles. David realized that he could not succeed without God’s help, especially against fortified cities and Edom. If God did not go out with their armies, they would not win because human help was worthless. With God, they would fight valiantly so that they could smash their foes.

Ezra explains the landing in the Promised Land (Neh 9:22-9:25)

“You gave them kingdoms and peoples.

You allotted to them every corner.

They took possession of the land of King Sihon of Heshbon.

They took possession of the land of King Og of Bashan.

You multiplied their descendants like the stars of heaven.

You brought them into the land

That you had told their ancestors to enter and possess.

The descendants went in and possessed the land.

You subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites.

You gave them into their hands,

With their kings and the peoples of the land.

Thus they might do with them as they pleased.

They captured fortified cities and a rich land.

They took possession of houses filled with all sorts of goods.

They took possession of hewn cisterns, vineyards, olive orchards

And fruit trees in abundance.

They ate.

They were filled.

They became fat.

They delighted themselves in your great goodness.”

Our ancestors got to the Promised Land. They took possession of the kingdoms of Heshbon and Bashan on the east side of the Jordan. Their descendents became as numerous as the stars. They took over the land and the people inhabited by the Canaanites. They captured the fortified cities and the rich land. They took possession of the cisterns, the vineyards, and the olive trees already there. They ate and became fat. They delighted themselves with the great goodness that they had received.

 

The building of the cities (2 Chr 8:4-8:6)

“King Solomon built Tadmor in the wilderness and all the storage towns which he built in Hamath. He also built Upper Beth-horon and Lower Beth-horon, fortified cities with walls, gates, and bars, and Baalath, as well as all his storage towns, and all the towns for his chariots, and the towns for his cavalry. Whatever King Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion it was done.”

Based on 1 Kings, chapter 9, King Solomon rebuilt towns. This seems to be the continuation of the beginning of this chapter. He built separate towns just for his horses, his chariots, his cavalry, and his own storage facilities. There in 1 Kings, he had the help of the Egyptian Pharaoh, but there is no mention of him here. King Solomon rebuilt the wilderness town of Tadmor in the south as well as Hamath in the north near Syria. He also rebuilt the fortified cities of Upper and Lower Beth-horon in the northwest area of Benjamin. Baalath was a storage city in Dan. In other words, King Solomon built towns and cities all over the place, wherever he wanted or needed a storage town.