The great return (Zech 10:8-10:11)

“I will signal for them.

I will gather them in.

I have redeemed them.

They shall be

As numerous

As they were before.

Though I scattered them

Among the nations,

Yet in far countries

They shall remember me.

They shall rear their children.

They shall return.

I will bring them home

From the land of Egypt.

I will gather them

From Assyria.

I will bring them

To the land of Gilead.

I will bring them

To Lebanon,

Until there is no room for them.

They shall pass through

The sea of distress.

The waves of the sea

Shall be struck down.

The depths of the Nile

Shall dry up.

The pride of Assyria

Shall be laid low.

The scepter of Egypt

Shall depart.”

Yahweh was going to give a signal for the Israelites to gather, since he had redeemed them from their captivity.  They would be as numerous as they were before.  Even though they were scattered among many distant countries, they raised their children there before they returned.  Yahweh was going to bring them home from Egypt and Assyria.  He was going to put them in Gilead, the east side of the Jordan River, or in Lebanon, on the seacoast, until there was no more room for them there.  They would have no problems, since Yahweh was going to lead them through distressed seas, mild waves, and the deep dry Nile River.  The pride of Assyria would be brought down, while the control of the Egyptian rule or scepter would leave.

Prayer for Yahweh’s protection (Mic 7:14-7:15)

“Shepherd your people

With your staff.

Shepherd the flock

That belongs to you.

They live alone

In a forest,

In the midst

Of a garden land.

Let them feed

In Bashan,

In Gilead,

As in the days of old.

As in the days

When you came out

Of the land of Egypt,

Show us

Marvelous things.”

Micah wanted Yahweh to use his shepherd’s staff to protect his people that belonged to him.  However, they were now living in a forest that was in the middle of some wonderful garden land.  They wanted to feed on the plains of Bashan and Gilead, like in the good old days, when they first came out of Egypt.  They wanted to see all these wonderful things, as they began their restoration after the exile.

Against Damascus (Am 1:3-1:5)

“Thus Says Yahweh.

For three transgressions

Of Damascus,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

They have threshed Gilead

With threshing sledges

Of iron.

So,

I will send a fire

On the house of Hazael.

It shall devour

The strongholds of Ben-hadad.

I will break the gate bars

Of Damascus.

I will cut off

The inhabitants

From the Valley of Aven.

I will cut of

The one who holds

The scepter from Beth-eden.

The people of Syria

Shall go into exile

To Kir.’

Says Yahweh.”

In typical prophetic language, Amos said that that Yahweh had spoken to him about Damascus, one of the neighbors of the northern kingdom of Israel, the Syrian capital city, about 130 miles northeast of Jerusalem, fairly close to the older northeastern territory of Manasseh. Damascus was under Aramean rule from 950-732 BCE, so that it is often referred to in the Bible as Aram instead of Syria. However, the Assyrian people conquered them in 732 BCE. The idea of numbering iniquities could be found later in the numerical Proverbs, chapter 30, talking about 3 and 4 things. The fact that Amos ranted against the neighbors of Israel was like Isaiah in chapter 17. These people of the north had defeated Gilead in 2 Kings, chapter 10. Hazel and Ben-hadad III were rulers in Damascus. The Valley of Aven or On was near Lebanon. They would be exiled to Kir, the place of their origins.

The worthless sacrifices (Hos 12:11-12:11)

“In Gilead,

There is iniquity.

They shall surely come to nothing.

In Gilgal,

They sacrifice bulls.

Thus,

Their altars shall be

Like stone heaps

On the furrows

Of the field.”

The various idol worship places in Gilead and Gilgal will become useless. Their iniquity will amount to nothing. The altars where they sacrificed bulls in Gilgal will become like heaps of stone in a furrowed field.

Past crimes (Hos 6:7-6:9)

“But like Adam,

They transgressed the covenant.

There they dealt faithlessly

With me.

Gilead is a city

Of evildoers,

Tracked with blood.

As robbers lie in wait

For someone,

So,

The priests

Are banded together.

They murder

On the way to Shechem.

They commit

A monstrous crime.”

Yahweh, via Hosea, compared the sin of Adam with the other later Israelites. They had broken the covenant. Perhaps the “there” mentioned here was the 40 years in the wilderness, when sometimes they were unfaithful to Yahweh. The city of Gilead, on the other side of the Jordan River, was a city of bloody evil people. Just as robbers wait for someone to come by to rob, so the priests have joined together to murder people on their way to the northern shrine at Shechem. They have committed all kinds of monstrous crimes. Perhaps, this northern Israelite Samaritan sanctuary was considered the great monstrosity. Notice the continual anti-clericalism of the prophets.

The eastern border (Ezek 47:18-47:18)

“On the east side,

The boundary

Shall run

Between Hauran

And Damascus.

It shall run

Along the Jordan

Between Gilead

And the land of Israel,

To the eastern sea,

As far as Tamar.

This shall be the east side.”

There was no mention of the Sea of Galilee as in Numbers, chapter 34. Here the border started in the north by Hauran. Then it kind of followed the Jordan River down to the Dead Sea or the eastern sea. There was also a mention of Gilead, on the east side of the Jordan River. It goes as far south as Tamar, but it is not clear where this was.

The restoration of Israel (Jer 50:19-50:20)

“‘I will restore Israel

To its pasture.

It shall feed on Carmel.

It shall feed in Bashan.

It shall feed on the hills of Ephraim.

It shall feed in Gilead.

Its hunger shall be satisfied.’

Says Yahweh.

‘In those days,

At that time,

The iniquity of Israel

Shall be sought.

None shall be found.

The sins in Judah,

Shall be sought.

None shall be found.

I will pardon

The remnant

That I have spared.’”

Both Israel and Judah would be restored. In the former northern Israelite kingdom, there would be plenty of satisfying food as four specific places are mentioned here, the Mediterranean costal Carmel area, the Bashan area on the east side of the Jordan River, the Ephraim territory north of the Benjamin territory, and the east bank area of the Gilead in the former Gad and Manasseh territory. No longer would there be any iniquity or sins found in Israel or Judah, even though people would look for them. Yahweh would forgive the sins of the remnant that was spared. All would be good again.