Immoral lepers (Lam 4:15-4:15)

Samek

“‘Away!

Unclean!’

People shouted

At them.

‘Away!

Away!

Do not touch!’

So they became

Fugitives.

So they became

Wanderers.

It was said

Among the nations.

‘They shall

Stay here

No longer.’”

These leaders had become immoral lepers. People shouted at them to get away from them. No one was to touch these unclean people. They became like fugitives and wanderers since nobody would take them in. Everyone said not to stay there any longer since they had become moral pariahs. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Samek in this acrostic poem.

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Desolate Moab towns (Jer 48:34-48:34)

“Heshbon cries out.

Elealeh cries out.

As far as Jahaz,

They utter their voice,

From Zoar

To Horonaim,

To Eglath-shelishiyah.

Even the waters of Nimrim

Have become desolate.”

This continues with the same ideas as in Isaiah, chapter 15. Everybody was crying out from the towns of Heshbon and Elealeh, in the Israelite Reuben territory, upper Moab. This crying could be heard 25 miles away north in Jahaz, a Levitical city near Gilead that was given to Gad in Joshua, chapter 21. These Moabite fugitives fled south to the tip of the Dead Sea near Zoar, which is on the southeast end of the Dead Sea. They also fled to the surrounding towns of Eglath-shelishiyah and Horonaim, near the ascent of the Luhith hills, in southern Moab near Zoar. The cries of the Moabites could be heard everywhere. The waters of Nimrim were desolate with nothing growing beside it. Only Jeremiah and Isaiah make any reference to these waters of Nimrim.

The punishment in Egypt (Jer 44:13-44:14)

“I will punish

Those who live

In the land of Egypt,

As I have punished Jerusalem,

With the sword,

With famine,

With pestilence.

Thus none

Of the remnant of Judah

Who have come

To settle

In the land of Egypt

Shall escape,

Or survive,

Or return

To the land of Judah.

Although they long

To go back

To live there,

They shall not go back,

Except some fugitives.”

In a twist of irony, Yahweh was going to punish the Judeans who had left Judah to settle in Egypt. Just as he had punished the Egyptians centuries earlier so that the Israelites could leave Egypt, he now will punish the Judeans who came to live in Egypt. Thus this great symbiotic relationship of the Israelites and the Egyptians continues, even until the present day. Yahweh was determined to punish this remnant from Judah, as he had punished Jerusalem, with his often repeated 3 weapons, the sword, famine, and pestilence. None of these Judean remnants would escape or survive to return to their beloved Judah. The only exception would be those who

In a twist of irony, Yahweh was going to punish the Judeans who had left Judah to settle in Egypt. Just as he had punished the Egyptians centuries earlier so that the Israelites could leave Egypt, he now will punish the Judeans who came to live in Egypt. Thus this great symbiotic relationship of the Israelites and the Egyptians continues, even until the present day. Yahweh was determined to punish this remnant from Judah, as he had punished Jerusalem, with his often repeated 3 weapons, the sword, famine, and pestilence. None of these Judean remnants would escape or survive to return to their beloved Judah. The only exception would be those who turned out to be fugitives.

turned out to be fugitives.

The results of the attack on Moab (Isa 15:4-15:6)

“Heshbon cries out.

Elealeh cries out.

Their voices are heard

As far as Jahaz.

Therefore the loins of Moab quiver.

His soul trembles.

My heart cries out for Moab.

His fugitives flee to Zoar,

To Eglath-shelishiyah.

At the ascent of Luhith,

They go up weeping.

On the road to Horonaim,

They raise a cry of destruction.

The waters of Nimrim

Are a desolation.

The grass is withered.

The new growth fails.

The verdure is no more.”

As far as we can tell, everybody was crying out from the towns of Heshbon (mentioned 37 times in the biblical literature) and Elealeh (mentioned 10 times in the biblical literature). They were towns in the Israelite Reuben territory, but Isaiah seems to indicate here that they were part of upper Moab. This crying could be heard 25 miles away north in Jahaz (mentioned 8 times in the biblical literature) which was in the Israelite Gad territory. The Moab people were frightened. They were trembling. In fact, Isaiah says that even his heart cried out for them. These Moabites fugitives fled south to the tip of the Dead Sea near Zoar, which is on southeast end of the Dead Sea. There was a story about Lot in Genesis about this city (chapters 13-19). They also fled to the surrounding towns of Eglath-shelishiyah and Horonaim, near the ascent of the Luhith hills. Isaiah is the only one to mention any of these towns, but they seem to be in southern Moab near Zoar. The waters of Nimrim were desolate with grass withering and nothing growing. Only Jeremiah and Isaiah make any reference to these waters of Nimrim. Anyway, everybody was crying and upset.

The escape from Egypt (Wis 19:1-19:5)

“The ungodly were assailed to the end

By pitiless anger.

God knew in advance

Even their future actions.

Even though they themselves had permitted

Your people to depart,

As they hastily sent them forth.

They would change their minds.

They would pursue them.

While they were still busy in mourning,

As they were lamenting

At the graves of their dead,

They reached another foolish decision.

They pursued as fugitives

Those whom they had begged to depart.

They had compelled them to depart.

The fate that they deserved

Drew them on to this end.

Fate made them forget

What had happened.

Thus they might fill up the punishment

That their torments still lacked.

Thus your people might experience an incredible journey.

However they themselves might meet a strange death.”

Once again, without any specific mention of the Red Sea incident in Exodus, chapter 13, there is an explanation of that event that is unmistakable. These ungodly (ἀσεβέσι) Egyptians had let God’s chosen ones go. However, they changed their minds. They were still in mourning, lamenting at the graves of their dead (νεκρῶν) children. Then they made another foolish decision, even thought God knew in advance that they would. Although they had begged and compelled the Israelites to leave, they now decided to pursue them as fugitives. For this, they deserved the fate that awaited them. While the people of God (λαός σου) experienced an incredible journey, these ungodly people met a strange death (θάνατον) at the Red Sea.

 

The organization and activity around Mattathias (1 Macc 2:42-2:48)

“Then there united with them a company of Hasideans, the mighty warriors of Israel. All offered themselves willingly for the law. All who became fugitives to escape their troubles joined them and reinforced them.   They organized an army. They struck down sinners in their anger. They struck down renegades in their wrath. The survivors fled to the gentiles for safety. Mattathias and his friends went around and tore down the altars. They forcibly circumcised all the uncircumcised boys that they found within the borders of Israel. They hunted down the arrogant men. This work prospered in their hands. They rescued the law out of the hands of the gentiles and the kings. They never let the sinner gain the upper hand.”

Mattathias was joined by the Hasideans. These were “the pious ones,” the saints, the holy ones, the religious ascetics. They were strict followers of the Mosaic Law. They may have come out of the Nazarene movement of earlier times. These Hasideans may have merged into the Essences of the first century CE. Perhaps the Pharisees with their emphasis on the letter of the law may have developed from these Hasideans also. They were the mighty warriors of Israel, clearly against the creeping Hellenism of the 2nd century BCE. Anyone who had trouble with the law also joined Mattathias just as David had gathered around him those who had trouble with King Saul in 1 Samuel, chapter 22. This rugged group attacked Jewish sinners and renegades, those mentioned in chapter 1 of this book, who did not follow the Mosaic Law. They went around tearing down the pagan gentile altars. They forcibly circumcised any boy they found in Israel. They were like a righteous terrorist bully group that punished those who disagreed with them. However, they seem to have been succeeding.