The plunder of the city of Tyre (Ezek 26:12-26:14)

“They will plunder

Your riches.

They will loot

Your merchandise.

They will break down

Your walls.

They will destroy

Your fine houses.

They will cast

Into the water

Your stones,

Your timber,

Your soil.

I will silence

The music

Of your songs.

The sound

Of your lyres

Will be heard

No more.

I will make you

A bare rock.

You shall be a place

For spreading nets.

You shall never

Be rebuilt.

I!

Yahweh!

Have spoken!’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that he was going to have the Babylonians plunder their riches and loot the merchandise of the city of Tyre. These Babylonian invaders were going to break down their walls and destroy the fine houses of Tyre. These invaders were going to throw the local stones, timber, and soil of Tyre into the water. There would be no more music or songs. Yahweh would silence the sounds of the lyres or harps. Tyre would become a bare rock or a place for spreading fishing nets. It would never be rebuilt again. Yahweh, God, had spoken.  Actually, the siege of Tyre lasted 12 years and then they settled things. Alexander the Great in 332 BCE also captured Tyre. This ancient Phoenician island city still exists in southern Lebanon today with about 100,000 people.

The captivity of the Ammonites (Ezek 25:3-25:4)

“Say to the Ammonites!

Hear

The word of Yahweh God!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘You said.

‘Aha!’

Over my sanctuary

When it was profaned.

You said.

‘Aha!’

Over the land of Israel

When it was made desolate.

You said.

‘Aha!’

Over the house of Judah

When it went into exile.

Therefore

I am handing you over

To the people of the East

For a possession.

They shall set

Their encampments

Among you.

They shall pitch

Their tents

In your midst.

They shall eat

Your fruit.

They shall drink

Your milk.’”

Yahweh wanted Ezekiel to tell the Ammonites to listen to the word of Yahweh, their God. However, they had their own gods. Apparently the Ammonites had profaned the sanctuary in Jerusalem. They had laughed when the northern kingdom of Israel was destroyed. They had even laughed at the exile of the people from Judah. Their punishment would be that they would be handed over to the people of the East, who would set up encampments and tents in their territory. These invaders would even eat their fruit and drink their milk. This probably was an allusion to the Assyrians, whom the Ammonites were dependent upon.

The defeat of Babylon (Jer 51:3-51:4)

“Let not the archer

Bend his bow!

Let him not array himself

In his coat of mail!

Do not spare

Her young men!

Utterly destroy

Her entire army!

They shall fall down slain

In the land

Of the Chaldeans,

Wounded

In her streets.”

In this battle with Babylon, the Babylonian archers with their bows and arrows would be useless. Those who put on armored coats of mail would also find little protection. The invaders were to utterly destroy the young men and the army of the Babylonians. They were to defeat the Chaldeans in their own streets, even letting the wounded ones lay there.

The freeing of the Hebrew Judean slaves (Jer 34:9-34:10)

“All should set free

Their Hebrew slaves,

Both male and female.

Thus no one should hold

Another Judean

In slavery.

All the officials,

With all the people

Obeyed this.

They had entered

Into the covenant

That all would

Set their slaves free,

Both male and female.

Thus they would not be

Enslaved again.

They obeyed.

They set them free.”

The proclamation of liberty said that everyone should set free both their male and female Hebrew slaves in Jerusalem. Thus there should not be any Judeans who were in slavery. All the officials and the people agreed to this and obeyed it. Thus all the Hebrew or Judean slaves were set free. This was probably done to help with the defense efforts of the city against the Babylonians. Why would you fight against invaders if you were already a slave?

The destruction of the royal palace (Jer 22:6-22:7)

“Thus says Yahweh

Concerning

The house

Of the king of Judah.

‘You are

Like Gilead to me.

You are

Like the summit of Lebanon.

But I swear

That I will make you a desert,

An uninhabited city.

I will prepare destroyers

Against you.

All will have weapons.

They shall cut down

Your choicest cedars.

They will cast them

Into the fire.”

Just like in the preceding chapter, Yahweh promises to burn down the royal palace. The royal palace had become like Gilead to Yahweh, a pleasant mountainous area was on the eastern side of the Jordan River that originally belonged to Reuben, Gad and Manasseh, present day Jordan. The summits of Lebanon refer to the high mountains with their wonderful trees in present day Lebanon. However, Yahweh was going to make the beautiful royal palace become a desert or an uninhabited city. The destroyers or invaders were going to come and cut down their choicest wood cedar building. They would all be set on fire as this beauty would be destroyed.

Preparations for the invasion (Isa 22:8-22:11)

“On that day,

You looked

To the weapons

Of the House of the Forest.

You saw

That there were so many breaches

In the city of David.

You then collected

The waters of the lower pool.

You counted

The houses of Jerusalem.

You broke down the houses

To fortify the wall.

You made a reservoir

Between the two walls

To hold the water of the old pool.

But you did not look

To him who did it.

You did not have regard

For him who planned it long ago.”

Isaiah now reprimands the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the second person plural. They made preparations to protect Jerusalem from invaders. The weapons were in the House of the Forest, which was the royal palace, since it had so much wood in it. The city of David was the older southeastern part of Jerusalem. They tried to fix the holes in the wall around Jerusalem by tearing down houses in the city to fill the holes. They also tried to make a reservoir for the water within the city from the old pool. Isaiah points out that there was a fatal flaw to their preparations. They forgot to consider who had made the city for them, God. They did not regard Yahweh who had planned this city with King David and King Solomon. They had forgotten the Lord.

The approach of the Assyrians (Isa 10:27-10:32)

“He has gone up from Rimmon.

He has come to Aiath.

He has passed through Migron.

At Michmash he stores his baggage.

They have crossed over the pass.

They lodge for the night at Geba.

Ramah trembles.

Gibeah of Saul has fled.

Cry aloud!

O daughter of Gallim!

Listen!

O Laishah!

Answer her!

O Anathoth!

Madmenah is in flight.

The inhabitants of Gebim flee for safety.

This very day,

He will halt at Nob.

He will shake his fist

At the mount of daughter Zion,

The hill of Jerusalem.”

The invaders of Assyria come from the north, as these are all northern towns in the territory of Benjamin, which is just north of Judah. Nob was near the Mount of Olives, so that it was the closest town to Jerusalem. Apparently there he was going to shake his fist at Mount Zion. This seems like a movement of troops knocking off small towns along the way to Jerusalem. This is probably a reference to the unsuccessful attack of King Sennacherib (705-681 BCE), of Assyria, around 701 BCE on Jerusalem.  Indications about this story can be found in 2 Kings, chapters 18-19, and 2 Chronicles, chapter 32, as well as an Assyrian cuneiform prism dating from the 7th century BCE.