Against Moab (Ezek 25:8-25:8)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Moab said.

‘The house of Judah is

Like all the other nations.’”

Instead of a very long diatribe against Moab, as in Jeremiah, chapter 48, and Isaiah, chapters 15 and 16, Ezekiel has only a few short comments. Moab was the country directly east of the Dead Sea on the other side of the Jordan River. The Moabites, like the Ammonites, had been involved in many quarrels and battles with the Israelites, since they had a strange biblical relationship. The Moabite kingdom lasted from around the 13th century BCE to around the 4th century BCE, where today it is also the country of Jordan, like Ammon. The Moabites were the descendants of Lot’s incest with his oldest daughter as in Genesis, chapter 19. In the Book of Ruth, chapter 4, the Moabites were friendly, as Ruth, a Moabite, had a son named Obed, who turned out to be the grandfather of King David via his son Jesse.   For a while, Moab was part of the Kingdom of Israel, until they revolted. Here the complaint against Moab was that they said that Judah was like the other countries and not unique.

Rabbah (Ezek 25:5-25:5)

“I will make Rabbah

A pasture for camels.

Ammon shall be

A fold for flocks.

Then you will know

That I am Yahweh.”

Rabbah was the capital of Ammon. Thus the capital city would become a pasture for camels. The current capital of Jordan is Amman where Rabbah once was. Ammon would just become a place for animals to graze. They would learn that Yahweh was in charge.

 

The destruction of Bozrah (Jer 49:13-49:13)

“Says Yahweh.

‘I have sworn

By myself

That Bozrah

Shall become

An object

Of horror,

Of ridicule,

Of a waste,

Of cursing.

All her towns

Shall be

Perpetual wastes.’”

Bozrah was the capital city of Edom in northern Edom, modern day Jordan.   Yahweh swore to himself that this capital of the Edomites would become an object of horror, a place of ridicule and a waste, as well as a cursed place. All its surrounding towns would become perpetual waste sites.

Against the Ammonites (Jer 49:1-49:2)

“Concerning the Ammonites!

Thus says Yahweh!

‘Has Israel no sons?

Has he no heir?

Why then has Milcom

Dispossessed Gad?

Why has he dispossessed

His people?

Why has he settled

In its cities?’”

The Ammonites, like the Moabites, were considered the descendants of the incest of Lot with his second daughter from the story in Genesis, chapter 19. The country of Ammon was north of Moab, but south of Aram and Damascus.  The country of Ammon existed from about the 10th century to the 4th century BCE in what would have been the Gad territory as outlined in Joshua chapter 13. Today it is part of the country of Jordan. Yahweh seems upset at Ammon. Did not Israel have sons and heirs to live in this Gad territory? Milcom, the god of the Ammonites, was a lot like Molech, the god of the Moabites. Some believe it was the same god with slightly different spellings for each country. This god Milcom had dispossessed the people of Yahweh and settled in their cities. In the Septuagint Greek translation, this is chapter 30, not chapter 49 as here.

Ishmael captured the people of Mizpah (Jer 41:10-41:10)

“Then Ishmael

Took captive

All the rest of the people

Who were in Mizpah.

This included

The king’s daughters

With all the people

Who were left at Mizpah.

Nebuzaradan,

The captain of the guard,

Had committed them

To Governor Gedaliah,

The son of Ahikam.

Ishmael,

The son of Nethaniah,

Took them captive.

He set out to cross over

To the Ammonites.”

As Ishmael had killed so many people already, there were not too many people left in Mizpah. Thus Ishmael took the remaining people captive. Of special mention were the daughters of King Zedekiah. The Babylonians had killed the king’s sons, but the captain of the troops, Nebuzaradan, committed the daughters of the king to the care of the new governor, Gedaliah. Thus the remaining people and these young women set out as captives to go to Ammon, on the other side of the Jordan. Ishmael must have had some kind of deal with the king of the Ammonites, since King Baalis of Ammon was mentioned in the last chapter.

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.

The accusations (Jer 2:9-2:12)

“‘Therefore once more

I accuse you.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I accuse

Your children’s children.

Cross to the coasts of Cyprus!

See!

Send to Kedar!

Examine with care!

See if there has ever been

Such a thing!

Has a nation changed its gods?

Even though

They are no gods.

But my people have changed their glory.

They prefer something that does not profit.

Be appalled!

O heavens!

At this!

Be shocked!

Be utterly desolate!’

Says Yahweh.”

Jeremiah has Yahweh accuse his people and their children of changing from Yahweh God to go after false gods. Yahweh wanted them to go to the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea or the desert tribe of Kedar on the eastern side of the Jordan. Did those people change their deities? Why did his own people change from the glory of Yahweh to these false useless gods. The heavens are appalled, shocked, and desolate at this turn of events. Yahweh was upset.