“Take up weeping!
Wail for the mountains!
Take up a lamentation
For the pastures of the wilderness!
Because they are laid waste,
Thus no one passes through.
The lowing of cattle is not heard.
The birds of the air
The animals are gone.
I will make Jerusalem
A heap of ruins.
I will make it
A lair of jackals.
I will make the towns of Judah
A desolation without inhabitants.”
Now Yahweh reveals his punishment but he laments doing it. He wants them to cry and weep for the mountains and the pastures because they were going to become a wasteland. They will not hear the cattle, the birds, or other animals because they will have gone and fled away. Jerusalem will be a ruined heap and a home for jackals, while the towns of Judah will become desolate towns without anyone living there.
“So all Israel was enrolled by genealogies. These are written in the Book of the Kings of Israel. Judah was taken into exile in Babylon because of their unfaithfulness. Now the first to live again in their possessions in their towns were Israelites, the priests, the Levites, and the temple servants. Some of the people of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh lived in Jerusalem.”
This biblical author seems to indicate that he got his information from the various genealogies that were written in the lost “Book of the Kings of Israel.” There also was a “Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah,” but he does not mention it like the biblical author of 1 and 2 Kings did. This may be because Judah had now taken on the name of Israel and referred to the old kingdom of Israel as Samaria. However, they both agree that the Babylonian Captivity was due to the unfaithfulness of the people in Judah and Israel. Now we have the return from the Exile. This biblical author was writing after the return from captivity, sometime after 538 BCE, either late 6th or early 5th century BCE. Remember that the poor people never left Judah or Israel. However, the first to return were the priests, the Levites, and those who took care of the temple, even though the temple was destroyed. It is interesting to note the people from 4 tribes will live in Jerusalem. As might be expected there are those of Judah and Benjamin, since it was originally on the border between these two clans. However, the mention of Ephraim and Manasseh seems to indicate that the clans from the sons of Joseph will have a strong say in the new return to Jerusalem. However, there is no explicit statement about who returned like there is about the Benjaminites and the sons of Judah. We might as well forget about the other 8 tribes or clans. Only the Levites will have a strong impact.