Title (Mic 1:1-1:1)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to Micah

Of Moresheth,

In the days of Jotham,

Ahaz,

Hezekiah,

Kings of Judah.

He saw things

Concerning Samaria

As well as Jerusalem.”

In typical prophetic fashion, the word of Yahweh came to Micah.  Instead of listing his father, this work mentions where he was from, the town of Moresheth, a small town southwest of Jerusalem.  He prophesized during the reigns of the southern kings of Judah, King Jotham (740-736 BCE), King Ahaz (736-716 BCE), and King Hezekiah (716-687 BCE), after the time of Isaiah and right in the middle of the exile of the northern kingdom of Israel.  His prophecies were about Samaria and Jerusalem, the cities and their surrounding areas.  This was a pretty straight forward title with enough information about the prophet Micah.

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Jonah runs away to Tarshish (Jon 1:3-1:3)

“But Jonah set out

To flee

To Tarshish,

From the presence

Of Yahweh.

He went down

To Joppa.

There he found a ship

Going to Tarshish.

He paid the fare.

He went on board,

To go with them

To Tarshish.

He wanted to get away

From the presence

Of Yahweh.”

Unlike all the other prophets, Jonah refused his mission.  He decided to run away to Tarshish, probably in Spain, as far away as he could get from Yahweh and Israel at that time.  Most of the ancient people considered it to be the end of the world.  Tarshish was often mentioned in the biblical literature as a rich ship building area, as in Isaiah, chapter 23 and Ezekiel, chapter 27.  Jonah went to Joppa, a seacoast town on the Mediterranean Sea.  There, he had enough money to purchase a fare to board a ship headed for Tarshish.  He really wanted to get away from the presence of Yahweh, as far as he could go.

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.

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.

Take a prostituting wife (Hos 1:2-1:2)

“When Yahweh

First spoke

Through Hosea,

Yahweh said to Hosea.

‘Go!

Take for yourself

A wife of prostitution!

Have children

Of prostitution!

The land commits

Great prostitution

By forsaking Yahweh.’”

The command of Yahweh to Hosea is a little strange at first sight. Yahweh God wants Hosea to take a wife, which is not odd. However, she should be a prostitute or whore. He should have children with this prostitute. Thus, the life of Hosea the prophet became symbolic in itself. The reason for the emphasis on prostitution was that the land of Israel had prostituted itself by giving up on Yahweh. The great theme of the infidelity of the Israelites was lived out by Hosea in a real symbolic way. The later prophets of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel would mention this infidelity of Israel also.

The Babylonian god Bel (Dan 14:3-14:4)

“Now the Babylonians

Had an idol

Called Bel.

Every day,

They provided for it

Twelve bushels

Of choice flour,

Forty sheep,

Six measures

Of wine.

The king revered it.

He went every day

To worship it.

But Daniel worshiped

His own God.”

This god Bel was Bel Marduk, the great god of the Babylonians, mentioned by Jeremiah and Isaiah. Every day, the people provided this idol 12 bushels of choice flour, 40 sheep, and 6 measures or about 50 gallons of wine. The king Cyrus revered Bel, as he worshipped this god on a daily basis. Bel may have been popular in Persia also. However, Daniel worshipped his own God, but there is no indication where he did this.

The division of the land by tribes (Ezek 47:21-47:21)

“Thus,

You shall divide

This land

Among you,

According

To the tribes

Of Israel.”

Now that the boundaries of the country of Israel were established, it remained to distribute the land to the various tribes of Israel. Like the boundaries of the country, it sounded easier in theory than in reality. Much of this had been laid out in Numbers, chapter 34, and Joshua, chapters 13-19.