Joseph goes to Galilee (Mt 2:22-2:22)

“But when Joseph heard

That Archelaus

Was ruling over Judea,

In place of his father,

King Herod,

He was afraid

To go there.

After being warned

In a dream,

He went away

To the district of Galilee.”

 

ἀκούσας δὲ ὅτι Ἀρχέλαος βασιλεύει τῆς Ἰουδαίας ἀντὶ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ Ἡρῴδου ἐφοβήθη ἐκεῖ ἀπελθεῖν· χρηματισθεὶς δὲ κατ’ ὄναρ ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὰ μέρη τῆς Γαλιλαίας

 

Once again, Joseph was warned in a dream (χρηματισθεὶς δὲ κατ’ ὄναρ), without the explicit mention of the angel of the Lord. Joseph found out that the son of King Herod (ἀντὶ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ Ἡρῴδου), Archelaus, (23 BCE-16 CE) was now in charge in Judea (ἀκούσας δὲ ὅτι Ἀρχέλαος βασιλεύει τῆς Ἰουδαίας). He was afraid to go back there (ἐφοβήθη ἐκεῖ ἀπελθεῖν) to Judea, since maybe King Herod’s son would be after his child just like his father. Actually, Herod Archelaus only lasted about 10 years before the Romans took the title away from him in 6 CE. Thus, Joseph decided to withdraw to the district of Galilee (ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὰ μέρη τῆς Γαλιλαίας), without explicitly being told to do so. Galilee was a rocky terrain region in northern Israel. Originally, it was part of the tribal regions of Naphtali, Dan, and Asher, but later it was part of the northern kingdom of Israel, with a Phoenician presence and influence. In the Roman times, Galilee was clearly separate from Judea. Many of the events in the life of Jesus would take place there, even though Herod Antipas, the other son of King Herod, ruled Galilee from 4 BCE-39 CE.

The second broken staff of union (Zech 11:14-11:14)

“Then I broke

My second staff,

Union.

This annulled

The family ties

Between Judah and Israel.”

Zechariah broke the 2nd staff named unity to indicate that the family ties between northern Israel and southern Judah were broken.  Perhaps, this was the final break between the northern Israelites or Samaritans and the southern Judeans of Judah.  Sometime in the 4th century BCE, the northern Samaritans built a temple at Mount Gerizim that opposed worship in southern Jerusalem.

Title (Nah 1:1-1:1)

“An oracle

Concerning Nineveh.

The book of the vision

of Nahum of Elkosh.”

The title of this work indicates that this is an oracle about Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrians, who had destroyed northern Israel, Samaria, in 723 BCE.  Nineveh, on the outskirts of modern day Mosul, Iraq, on the Tigris River, was itself destroyed around 612 BCE.  Nineveh was the same city that Jonah was sent to preach against.  He, however, was successful in that the leaders and inhabitants of Nineveh repented.  Thus, Yahweh did not destroy it then.  This oracle was once again the word of Yahweh.  This book also talked about a vision that Nahum had.  There is no mention of his father, but there is a mention of the place that he is from, Elkosh, a village in Galilee or southwest Judah.

The bad situation will come to ruin (Mic 3:9-3:12)

“Hear this!

You rulers

Of the house of Jacob!

You chiefs

Of the house of Israel!

You abhor justice!

You pervert all equity!

You build Zion

With blood!

You build Jerusalem

With wrong!

Its rulers give judgment

For a bribe!

Its priests teach

For a price!

Its prophets give oracles

For money!

Yet they lean

Upon Yahweh.

They say.

‘Surely Yahweh is

With us.

No harm shall come

Upon us.’

Therefore,

Because of you,

Zion shall be plowed

As a field.

Jerusalem shall become

A heap of ruins.

The mountain of the house

Shall become a wooded height.”

Yahweh, via Micah, called out the rulers in northern Israel and southern Judah.  These rulers and chiefs had abhorred justice and perverted equity in Jerusalem and on Mount Zion.  Everything was done for money.  The rulers wanted a bribe for their judgment.  The priests had a price for their teaching.  The prophets only gave an oracle when money was supplied to them.  However, they all felt that Yahweh was on their side, so that he would protect them from any harm.  However, the response was quite different.  Mount Zion was going to be plowed like a field, while Jerusalem would become a heap of ruins.  The Temple mountain would become a pile of wood.  This specific prophecy of Micah was explicitly cited in Jeremiah, chapter 26, at the trial of Jeremiah.

The new assembly (Mic 2:12-2:13)

“I will surely gather

All of you!

O Jacob!

I will gather

The survivors of Israel!

I will set them together

Like sheep in a fold,

Like a flock in its pasture.

It will resound

With people.

The one who breaks out

Will go up

Before them.

They will break through.

They will pass the gate,

Going out by it.

Their king will pass on

Before them,

Yahweh at their head.”

Micah seemed to talk about a restoration, when nothing has happened yet.  Perhaps, this is a later addition.  Nevertheless, Yahweh wanted to gather all the people of Jacob with the survivors from northern Israel.  They were going to be one flock of sheep.  They would break out of their holding area when someone would lead them out through the gate.  This would be their new king, Yahweh.

The destruction of Samaria (Hos 10:7-10:8)

“Samaria’s king

Shall perish,

Like a twig

On the face

Of the waters.

The high places of Aven,

The sin of Israel,

Shall be destroyed.

Thorn

With thistle

Shall grow up

On their altars.

They shall say

To the mountains.

‘Cover us!’

They shall say

To the hills.

‘Fall upon us!’”

The king of Samaria, the northern king of Israel, would perish like a twig floating on water. The idol high places at Beth-aven, near Bethel, would be destroyed. These idol worship places were the real sin of Israel. Thorns and thistles would grow on these false idol altars. The people and these altars would cry to have the mountains and the hills fall on them and cover them up. There would be great destruction in northern Israel, especially around the various idol worship altars and shrines.

No children for Ephraim (Hos 9:11-9:14)

“Ephraim’s glory

Shall fly away,

Like a bird.

There will be

No birth,

No pregnancy,

No conception!

Even if they bring up children,

I will bereave them

Until no one is left.

Woe to them indeed!

I will depart from them!

Once I saw Ephraim

As a young palm

Planted in a lovely meadow.

But now Ephraim

Must lead out

His children for slaughter.

Give them!

O Yahweh!

What will you give them?

Give them

A miscarrying womb,

With dry breasts.”

Ephraim was singled out, since it was where the capital of northern Israel was. Their glory would simply fly away like a bird. There would be no more births, pregnancies, or even conceptions in Ephraim. If they would bring up children, they would mourn for them, until no one was left. Yahweh was going to leave Ephraim. They would be cursed and on their own. Thus, this young palm tree in a lovely meadow would cease to grow. Ephraim would lead out its children for slaughter. What should you give the people of Ephraim? Yahweh, in very descriptive language, was going to give them miscarrying wombs and dry breasts. No more children for Ephraim.