The destruction of Samaria (Hos 10:7-10:8)

“Samaria’s king

Shall perish,

Like a twig

On the face

Of the waters.

The high places of Aven,

The sin of Israel,

Shall be destroyed.

Thorn

With thistle

Shall grow up

On their altars.

They shall say

To the mountains.

‘Cover us!’

They shall say

To the hills.

‘Fall upon us!’”

The king of Samaria, the northern king of Israel, would perish like a twig floating on water. The idol high places at Beth-aven, near Bethel, would be destroyed. These idol worship places were the real sin of Israel. Thorns and thistles would grow on these false idol altars. The people and these altars would cry to have the mountains and the hills fall on them and cover them up. There would be great destruction in northern Israel, especially around the various idol worship altars and shrines.

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Return to Yahweh (Hos 6:1-6:3)

“Come!

Let us return to Yahweh!

He has torn us.

He will heal us.

He has struck us down.

He will bind us up.

After two days,

He will revive us.

On the third day,

He will raise us up,

That we may live

Before him.

Let us know!

Let us press on

To know Yahweh!

His appearing is

As sure

As the dawn.

He will come to us

Like the showers,

Like the spring rains

That water the earth.”

Hosea asked his listeners to return to Yahweh. Although, Yahweh had torn them down, now he would heal them. He had struck them down. Now he would bind them up. After 2 days, he would revive them. On the 3rd day, he would raise them up, a theme of the early Christian writers. Thus, they might live in the sight of Yahweh. They would want to know Yahweh, since his appearance was as sure as the daily dawn of the sun. He would come to them, like a soft shower or spring rain that waters the earth and makes it grow. So, the same thing would happen to these Israelites.

Let the earth bless God (Dan 3:52-3:54)

“Let the earth

Bless the Lord!

Let it sing praise

To him!

Let it highly exalt him forever!      

Bless the Lord!

Mountains!

Hills!

Sing praise to him!

Highly exalt him forever!   

Bless the Lord!

All things that grow

On the earth!

Sing praise to him!

Highly exalt him forever!”

Now this hymn turns to the earthly situation. The earth, the mountains, the hills, and all things that grow on earth should bless the Lord. They should sing praises and exalt him, because they are under his control.

 

The good river (Ezek 47:10-47:12)

“People will stand fishing

Beside the sea,

From En-gedi

To En-eglaim.

It will be a place

For the spreading

Of nets.

Its fish will be

Of a great many kinds,

Like the fish

Of the Great Sea.

But its swamps,

With its marshes,

Will not become fresh.

They are to be left

For salt.

On the banks,

On both sides

Of the river,

There will grow

All kinds of trees

For food.

Their leaves

Will not wither.

Their fruit

Will not fail.

But they will bear

Fresh fruit

Every month,

Because the water

For them

Flows from the sanctuary.

Their fruit will be

For food.

Their leaves will be

For healing.”

This mysterious water from the Temple would mean that people could fish out on the northwestern side of the Dead Sea from En-gedi to En-eglaim. All one had to do was spread fishing nets, then all kinds of wonderful fish would be caught, just like in the great Mediterranean Sea. However, the swamps and marshes would not become fresh, but they would remain salty. On both sides of this river, all kinds of trees would grow with monthly fresh fruit and perennial leaves for healing. This river coming from the sanctuary of the Temple had all these wonderful powers because of the power of Yahweh, much like other Canaanite and Mesopotamian mythical rivers.

 

Abundance with no more famines (Ezek 36:29-36:30)

“I will save you

From all

Your unclean situations.

I will summon

The grain.

I will make it

Abundant.

I will lay

No famine

Upon you.

I will make

The fruit

Of the tree

Abundant.

I will make

The produce

Of the field

Abundant.

Thus,

You may never again

Suffer the disgrace

Of famine

Among the nations.”

To make life easier in the new old land, Yahweh, via Ezekiel said that he would save the Israelites from any unclean situations. He would make the grain grow abundantly, so that there would be no more famines. He was also going to make the fruits of the tree and produce of the field more abundant. Thus, they would never again suffer the disgrace of famine like other nations and countries.

 

The death of the cedar tree (Ezek 31:13-31:14)

“All the birds

Of the air

Settle

On its fallen trunk.

All the wild animals

Lodge

Among its boughs.

All this is

In order

That no trees

By the waters

May grow

To a lofty height

Or set their tops

Among the clouds.

No trees

That drink water

May reach up

To them

In height.

All of them

Are handed over

To death,

To the world below.

They will be

With all mortals,

Who go down

To the pit.”

The birds of the air will settle on the fallen trunk of this great cedar tree. Wild animals will be among its loose branches. This would be a warning that no other trees that were near water should grow to lofty heights. No other trees should have their tree tops in the clouds or reach up to those heights. All of them would be handed over to death, to go to the world below, the great pit, where all the other mortals go. This personification of the cedar tree was complete, since it would share the afterlife with other mortals in the underworld pit.

The mythical tall cedar in Lebanon (Ezek 31:3-31:5)

“Consider a cedar

Of Lebanon!

It has fair branches.

It has forest shade.

It has great height.

Its top is

Among the clouds.

The waters nourished it.

The deep made it

Grow tall.

Its rivers flow

Around the place

It was planted,

Sending forth

Its streams

To all the trees

of the forest.

So it towered high

Above all the trees

Of the forest.

Its boughs grew large.

Its branches were long

From abundant water

In its shoots.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, compared Egypt to a tall cedar tree in Lebanon. This majestic tree had fair branches in a forest shade. It was extremely tall so that its top reached into the clouds. Ezekiel seems to be referring to an ancient Babylonian myth about the deep abyss or a dragon from the watery chaos that made trees grow tall. Thus they would enter the heaven of the gods in the clouds. The nourishing water from this deep abyss made this cedar tree grow tall. Streams from this water abyss flowed all around the place where this tree was planted. Even the other trees in the forest were able to grow because of this water. Nevertheless, this high cedar tree towered over all the other trees in the forest, because it had large long branches, due to the abundance of water in its shoots.