The town of Byblos

Byblos was the Greek name for an important ancient Phoenician city sometimes called Gebal.  Today the town of Byblos is 25 miles north of Beirut, Lebanon, in the Mount Lebanon area on the Mediterranean seacoast.  There have been inhabitants in this town continuously for over 5,000 years.  Byblos had a major papyrus trade between Greece and Egypt.  Thus, the Greek name of Byblos came to dominate.  In fact, some Byblos written inscriptions that were discovered in the 20th century, date from around 1,700 to 1,400 BCE.

Jeremiah was to send messages to neighboring countries (Jer 27:3-27:3)

“Send word to

The king of Edom,

The king of Moab,

The king of the Ammonites,

The king of Tyre,

The king of Sidon

By the hand of the envoys

Who have come

To King Zedekiah of Judah.”

Yahweh wanted Jeremiah to send messages to the neighboring countries of Judah, not just Judah itself. There apparently may have been an attempted rebellion against King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (605-562 BCE) around 595-594 BCE by these Israelite neighbors that included the southeastern countries of the Edomites, the Moabites, and the Ammonites, as well as the northwestern cities of Tyre and Sidon on the Mediterranean seacoast. They were to get this message when they sent envoys to King Zedekiah (598-587 BCE) in Jerusalem.

Announcement of the taking of Ashdod (Isa 20:1-20:1)

“In the year

That the commander in chief,

Who was sent

By King Sargon of Assyria,

Came to Ashdod,

He fought

Against it.

He took it.”

Isaiah attempts to put this episode into a specific historical event, perhaps 711 BCE. The Assyrian King Sargon II (722-705 BCE) sent his commander in chief on a successful attack to take the city of Ashdod, a Philistine city along the Mediterranean seacoast that had sought the protection of Egypt. This city had revolted against the Assyrian rulers at the instigation of the Egyptians.