The flight from Jerusalem (Zech 14:5-14:5)

“You shall flee

By the valley

Of Yahweh’s mountain.

The valley between the mountains

Shall reach to Azal.

You shall flee,

As you fled

From the earthquake

In the days of King Uzziah

Of Judah.

Then Yahweh,

Your God,

Will come.

All the holy ones

Will be with him.”

The citizens of Jerusalem would flee their town via this valley in the Mount of Olives.  They would reach Azal, probably a small town beside the Mount of Olives.  Apparently, this was the same place where people fled during the reign of King Uzziah of Judah (781-740 BCE).  The Book of Amos in its first chapter mentioned an earthquake that took place at that time sometime around 760-750 BCE.  This must had made a big impact on people, because Zechariah mentioned it some 250 years later.  In the end, Yahweh, their God would come with his holy ones.  Thus, all the fugitives would be with Yahweh.

Against the small towns in Judah (Mic 1:10-1:12)

“Tell it not in Gath!

Weep not at all

In Beth-leaphrah!

Roll yourselves in the dust!

Inhabitants of Shaphir!

Pass on your way

In nakedness and shame!

The inhabitants of Zaanan

Do not come forth

From their town.

Beth-ezel is wailing.

They shall remove its support

From you.

The inhabitants of Maroth

Wait anxiously

For good.

Yet disaster has come down

From Yahweh

To the gates of Jerusalem.”

In a play on words, Micah wailed against 10 small Judean towns near where he lived.  One of the largest towns mentioned was the old Philistine town of Gath that King Uzziah (781-740 BCE) had conquered.  Micah used the same terminology as in 2 Samuel, chapter 1, about Gath, since there should be no weeping for that town.  Then Micah turned to 5 small towns that are difficult to determine where they were.  Beth-leaphrah literally means rolling around in dust.  Shaphir literally means the fair one.  Thus, the good-looking people of this town of Shaphir should keep going in their naked shame.  On the other hand, the people of Zaanan did not come out to fight from their town.  Beth-ezel was mourning and not supporting Yahweh.  The people of Maroth were waiting anxiously for something good to happen.  Yet Yahweh sent a disaster that went as far as the gates of Jerusalem.

Title of this book (Am 1:1-1:1)

“The words of Amos,

Who was among

The shepherds of Tekoa.

This is what he saw

Concerning Israel,

In the days of King Uzziah

Of Judah.

This was

In the days of King Jeroboam,

The son of King Joash,

Of Israel,

Two years

Before the earthquake.”

This book was written by the prophet Amos. Apparently, he was a shepherd from Tekoa, a small village in Judah. However, he seemed to be talking about the powerful northern kingdom of Israel when King Jeroboam II (783-743 BCE), the son of King Joash (798-783 BCE), was the king of Israel. At that same time, the king of Judah was King Uzziah (781-740 BCE). This all took place 2 years before the earthquake. However, it is difficult to precisely date this earthquake, but it could probably be around 760-750 BC.

The title of Hosea (Hos 1:1-1:1)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to Hosea,

The son of Beeri.

This was in the days

Of King Uzziah,

Of King Jotham,

Of King Ahaz,

Of King Hezekiah,

Kings of Judah.

This was in the days

Of King Jeroboam.

The son of Joash,

The king of Israel.”

Hosea was a prophet during the last days of the kingdom of Israel in the 8th century BCE. He also was the earliest Israelite written prophet that we know of. This work of Hosea is considered the first of the 12 minor prophets. In a classic prophetic phrase, the word of Yahweh came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, who may have been a prophet himself. At that time, the kings of Judah were King Uzziah (781-740 BCE), King Jotham (740-736 BCE), King Ahaz (736-716 BCE), and King Hezekiah (716-687 BCE), spanning nearly 100 years. Meanwhile, the king of Israel mentioned here was only King Jeroboam II (783-743 BCE), the son of King Joash (798-783 BCE). That would eliminate all the Judean kings after King Uzziah. The last 4 kings of Israel were King Menahem, (743-738 BCE), King Pekahiah (738-737 BCE), King Pekah (737-732 BCE), and King Hoshea (732-724 BCE), but they were not mentioned here.

King Ahaz (Isa 7:1-7:1)

“In the days of King Ahaz,

Son of King Jotham,

Son of King Uzziah,

King of Judah,

King Rezin of Aram Syria

And King Pekah,

Son of Remaliah of Israel

Went up to attack Jerusalem.

But they could not mount

An attack against it.”

King Ahaz (736-716 BCE) was the grandson of King Uzziah, mentioned above, and the son of King Jotham (740-736 BCE) who ruled Judah. At the same time, King Rezin was the Syrian king of Aram from 792-732 BCE. He joined with the northern Israelite King Pekah (743-732 BCE) to attack Jerusalem. However, they were unable to mount an attack against Jerusalem. The story of King Ahaz can be found in 2 Kings, chapter 16 and 2 Chronicles, chapter 28.

The call of Isaiah in 742 BCE (Isa 6:1-6:1)

“In the year

That King Uzziah died,

I saw Yahweh

Sitting on a throne,

High and lofty.”

Now we have the call of Isaiah. Should this not have been at the beginning of this book? Here it is found with a series of oracles about the war with the Assyrians. King Uzziah, also known as King Azariah, had been King of Judah from around 792-742 BCE, about 50 years. He ruled first with his father King Joash and then with his son King Jotham, when he was struck with leprosy, as noted in 2 Kings, chapter 15, and 2 Chronicles, chapter 26. In this vision, Isaiah saw Yahweh sitting on his high lofty throne in the Temple in the year aht King Uzziah had died, 742 BCE.

Title (Isa 1:1-1:1)

“The vision of Isaiah

Son of Amoz.

He saw these visions

Concerning Judah

And Jerusalem.

This was in the days

Of King Uzziah,

King Jotham,

King Ahaz,

And King Hezekiah,

All were kings of Judah.”

This Book of Isaiah purports to be the visions of a man named Isaiah the son of Amoz. He came to Judah and Jerusalem during the time that King Uzziah (781-740 BCE) was king. He also was there when King Jotham (740-736 BCE), the son of Uzziah was king. His son King Ahaz (736-716 BCE) was also the king of Judah. Finally, he was around when King Hezekiah (716-687 BCE) was the king of Judah. Thus the prophetic life of Isaiah extended from at least 742-701 BCE if not further, during the time there were 4 kings in Judah, spanning almost 100 years. The name Isaiah means that “Yahweh gives salvation.” We do not know much about his early life, probably born around 765 BCE. The so-called Minor Prophets of Amos, Hosea, and Micah lived around the same time in the 8th century BCE. The northern kingdom of Israel in Samaria came to an end around 724 BCE. There were indications of Isaiah’s activity in 2 Kings, chapters 18-20, and 2 Chronicles, chapter 32 in a more summary fashion. However, the influence of Isaiah the prophet was profound.