The destruction of Israel (Am 7:8-7:9)

“Yahweh said to me.

‘Amos!

What do you see?’

I said.

‘A plumb line.’

Then Yahweh said.

‘See!

I am setting

A plumb line

In the midst

Of my people Israel.

I will never again

Pass by them.

The high places

Of Isaac

Shall be made desolate.

The sanctuaries of Israel

Shall be laid waste.

I will rise against

The house of Jeroboam

With the sword.’”

This time, Amos had no response to this vision about the plumb line. Yahweh asked Amos what he saw. Amos responded that it was a plumb line. Then Yahweh told him that he was going to place it in the middle of the people of Israel. He was not going to pass by them again. The high places and the sanctuaries of Israel would be laid waste and become desolate. Yahweh was going to rise up against the house of King Jeroboam II (783-743 BCE), meaning his son, King Zachariah, who did not last a year in 743 BCE.

The failure of the gardens (Am 4:9-4:9)

“‘I struck you

With blight.

I struck you

With mildew.

I laid waste

Your gardens.

I laid waste

Your vineyards.

The locusts devoured

Your fig trees.

The locusts devoured

Your olive trees.

Yet you did not

Return to me.’

Says Yahweh.”

Amos has this oracle of Yahweh repeat the same theme, that despite the failure of their gardens and vineyards, they did not return to Yahweh. He had struck them with blight and mildew. Yahweh had laid waste their gardens and vineyards. Locusts devoured their fig trees and olive trees. Despite all this devastation, the Israelites of the northern kingdom did not return to Yahweh.

The fire in Egypt (Ezek 30:7-30:8)

“Egypt shall be desolated

Among other

Desolated countries.

Their cities

Shall be

Among cities

Laid waste.

Then they shall know

That I am Yahweh,

When I have set fire

To Egypt.

All who help it

Are broken.”

As in the preceding chapter, Egypt will be desolate among other desolate countries. Its cities would be laid waste. Yahweh was going to set Egypt on fire. All the Egyptian helpers or mercenaries would also be broken.

Forty years of problems for Egypt (Ezek 29:11-29:12)

“No human foot

Shall pass through Egypt.

No animal foot

Shall pass through it.

It shall be uninhabited

Forty years.

I will make

The land of Egypt

A desolation

Among desolated countries.

Her cities shall be

A desolation

Forty years

Among cities

That are laid waste.

I will scatter

The Egyptians

Among the nations.

I will disperse them

Among the countries.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that no humans or animals would set foot in Egypt, because it was going to be uninhabited for 40 years. Thus the 40 years was similar to the 40 years in the wilderness for the Israelites. Egypt was going to be a land of desolation among desolated countries since her cities would be laid waste for 40 years. The Egyptians would also be scattered and dispersed among the various nations and countries. Actually the Persians took over Egypt in 525 BCE.

The end of Tyre (Ezek 26:19-26:21)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I will make you

A city laid waste,

Like the cities

That are not inhabited.

I will bring up

The deep over you.

I will bring up

The great waters

To cover you.

Then I will thrust you

Down with those

Who descend

Into the pit,

To the people

Of long ago.

I will make you

Live in the world below,

Among primeval ruins,

With those who go down

To the pit.

You will not be inhabited.

You will not have a place

In the land

Of the living.

I will bring you

To a dreadful end.

You shall be no more.

Though sought for,

You will never be found again.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh God was going to put an end to Tyre. It would be laid waste, like an uninhabited city. Yahweh was going to cover it over with great waters from the deep sea. He was going to send Tyre and its inhabitants into the pit with the people who had lived a long time ago. They would live in this underworld pit among the ruins. They would no longer have a place in the land of the living, but rather enter the land of the dead. Yahweh was going to bring them to a dreadful end. They would be no more. People would look for them, but they would never be found again.

Moab is destroyed (Jer 48:18-48:20)

“Come down from glory!

Sit on the parched ground!

Enthroned daughter Dibon!

The destroyer of Moab

Has come up

Against you!

He has destroyed

Your strongholds.

Stand by the road!

Watch!

You inhabitants of Aroer!

Ask the man fleeing!

Ask the woman escaping!

Say!

‘What has happened?’

Moab is put to shame.

Moab is broken down.

Wail!

Cry!

Tell it by the Arnon,

That Moab is laid waste.”

Moab was going to come down from its glory days to the parched land. They had their Dibon River with its capital city of Dibon. However their strong fortresses were destroyed. Jeremiah wanted them to stand by the road at Aroer, on the banks of the Arnon River. There they were to ask the simple question to both the men and women who were escaping and fleeing. What was going on? What was happening? The response was simple and direct. Moab was put to shame and broken down, as it was laid waste. All they could do now by the banks of the Arnon River was to wail and cry for their lost country of Moab.

 

The defeat of Moab (Jer 48:1-48:2)

“Concerning Moab.

Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

‘Woe for Nebo!

It is laid waste!

Kiriathaim is put

To shame!

It is taken!

The fortress is put

To shame!

It is broken down.

The renown of Moab

Is no more.

In Heshbon,

They planned evil

Against her.

‘Come!

Let us cut her off

From being a nation!’

You also!

O Madmen!

Shall be brought

To silence.

The sword shall

Pursue you.”

Strangely enough, this is a very long chapter on Moab, the country directly east of the Dead Sea on the other side of the Jordan River. Isaiah also had 2 chapters on Moab, chapters 15 and 16. The Moabites and Israelites had been involved in many quarrels and battles, 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 the country of Jordan. The Moabites were the descendants of Lot’s incest with his oldest daughter in Genesis, chapter 19. Thus the Moabites had an on again, off again, relationship with the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. 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. Mount Nebo, the place where Moses died, had been laid waste. The powerful fortress and famous Kiriathaim was put to shame. It is not clear whether this is the same city as Kir, mentioned in Isaiah, chapter 15. Heshbon was a city in Ammon, north of Moab, where the madmen were looking to plan evil against the Moabites. In the Septuagint Greek translation, this is chapter 31, not chapter 48 as here.