Against Moab and Ammon (Zeph 2:8-2:10)

“I have heard

The taunts of Moab.

I have heard

The reviling of the Ammonites.

They have taunted

My people.

They have made boasts

Against their territory.

Says Yahweh of hosts,

The God of Israel.

‘Therefore,

As I live,

Moab shall become

Like Sodom.

The Ammonites shall become

Like Gomorrah.

They will become

A land possessed

By nettles,

By salt pits,

A waste forever.

The remnant of my people

Shall plunder them.

The survivors of my nation

Shall possess them.

This shall be their lot

In return for their pride.

Because they scoffed.

They boasted

Against the people

of Yahweh of hosts.’”

Next Yahweh, via Zephaniah, rebuked Ammon and Moab, the east bank trans Jordan countries that were the descendants of Lot, via the incest with his two daughters.  Thus, they were to become like Sodom and Gomorrah as in Genesis, chapter 19.  These countries were taunting and berating Judah and Israel.  However, Yahweh himself decreed that they would become a wasteland with thorny plants and salt pits.  Those surviving and remaining from Yahweh’s people would plunder them and take their possessions.  The Ammonites and Moabites were too proud.  They had scoffed and boasted against the people of Yahweh.  Now it was their turn to be devastated.

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Oracle of Yahweh (Ob 1:1-1:1)

“Thus says Yahweh

Concerning Edom.

We have heard a report

From Yahweh.

A messenger has been sent

Among my nations.

‘Rise up!

Let us rise against it

For battle.’”

The Israelites had a long history with Edom because they believed that Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, had founded this country.  The Book of Genesis listed the kings of Edom in chapter 36.  The country of Edom was south of the Dead Sea, south of Moab and south of Judah.  It eventually stopped being a country with most of the people drifting into southern Judah.  Many of the prophets had spoken against the Edomites, including Jeremiah, chapter 49, Isaiah, chapter 34, Ezekiel, chapter 25, Amos, chapter 1, and Joel, chapter 3.  This was a report from Yahweh, since he had sent his messengers to the various countries.  They were to rise up and get ready for the battle.

Like Sodom and Gomorrah

“I overthrew some of you,

As when God overthrew

Sodom and Gomorrah.

You were

Like a brand

Snatched

From the fire.

Yet you did not

Return to me,’

Says Yahweh.”

Amos has yet another oracle of Yahweh with the same theme about the failure to return to Yahweh. This time, Yahweh overthrew some of them like in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis, chapter 19. These Israelites were like a brand taken from a fire. Despite all these problems, the northern kingdom Israelites still refused Yahweh.

Against Moab (Am 2:1-2:3)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘For three transgressions

Of Moab,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

Because he burned to lime

The bones

Of the king of Edom.

So,

I will send a fire

On Moab.

It shall devour

The strongholds

Of Kerioth.

Moab shall die

Amid uproar,

Amid shouting,

Amid the sound

Of the trumpet.

I will cut off

The ruler

From its midst.

I will kill

All its officials with him.’

Says Yahweh.”

Moab was the ancient enemy of Israel on the southeast side of the Jordan River. According to Genesis, chapter 19, the Moabites were the descendants of Lot through the incest he had with his daughter. Yahweh, via Amos, invoked the same language as he had used against Damascus, the Philistines, Tyre, Edom, and Ammon. He also used the same non-forgiving numeric formula of 3 and 4, as in Proverbs, chapter 30. The Moabites apparently burned the bones of the king of Edom in lime. Edom was their southern neighbors, so that this was a terrible insulting crime. Thus, Yahweh was going to punish the people of Moab by devouring their fortresses at Kerioth. Moab was going to die in a great tumult, with uproars, shouts, and trumpets. Yahweh would kill their ruler and all their officials. This clearly was an oracle of Yahweh, via Amos.

Against Ammon (Am 1:13-1:15)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘For three transgressions,

Of the Ammonites,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

Because they ripped open

Pregnant women

In the Gilead.

They wanted to enlarge

Their territory.

So,

I will kindle a fire

Against the wall of Rabbah.

Fire shall devour

Its strongholds,

With shouting

On the day of battle.

There will be a storm

On the day of the whirlwind.

Their king

Shall go into exile,

He with his officials together.’

Says Yahweh.”

Ammon was east of the Jordan River, between the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee in the old Gad territory. According to Genesis, chapter 19, the Ammonites were the descendants of Lot through the incest he had with his daughter. Yahweh, via Amos, invoked the same language as he had used against Damascus, the Philistines, Tyre, and Edom. He used the same numeric formula of 3 and 4, as found in Proverbs, chapter 30. These Ammonites had killed pregnant women in the Gilead, the Israelite territory on the east side of the Jordan River, because they wanted to take over that territory. Thus, Yahweh was going to send fire down on Rabbah, the capital city that is today the capital of Jordan, Amman. This fire would destroy all their fortresses, like a storm or whirlwind. The king and all its officials would go into exile.

Jacob in Aram (Hos 12:12-12:12)

“Jacob fled

To the land of Aram.

There Israel served

For a wife.

He guarded sheep

For a wife.”

This incident about Jacob or Israel can be found in Genesis, chapter 29. Jacob went east and found his cousin Rachel, whom he wanted to marry. He was tricked into marring her sister Leah. However, he stayed on to take care of the sheep of his uncle Laban, so that he would have Rachel as his wife also.