The punishment for Samaria (Hos 13:15-13:16)

“Although he may flourish

Among the rushes of reed plants,

The east wind shall come,

A blast from Yahweh.

It will rise

From the wilderness.

His fountain

Shall dry up.

His spring

Shall be parched.

It shall strip

His treasury

Of every precious thing.

Samaria shall bear

Her guilt.

Because she has rebelled

Against her God.

They shall fall

By the sword.

Their little ones

Shall be dashed

In pieces.

Their pregnant women

Shall be ripped open.”

This is very strong criticism of Samaria, the capital city of the northern Israelite kingdom. It might flourish now, but the deadly east wind of Yahweh will come from the wilderness. Its fountains and springs will dry up and be parched. It will lose all the precious things of its treasury. Samaria will have to carry the guilt, because it rebelled against God. It will fall by the sword or die. Its little children will be broken into little pieces. Its pregnant women will have their pregnancies terminated by ripping open their wombs. This will be a bad time for Samaria.

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Against the false exterior cult (Hos 8:11-8:13)

“When Ephraim

Multiplied altars

To expiate sin,

They became to him

Altars for sinning.

Although I write

For him

The multitude

Of my instructions,

They are regarded

As a strange thing.

Although they offer

Choice sacrifices,

Yahweh does not accept them.

Although they eat

Sacrificed offerings,

Yahweh does not accept them.

Now he will remember

Their iniquity.

He will punish

Their sins.

They shall return

To Egypt.”

The territory of Ephraim, in the northern Israelite kingdom, multiplied the number of altars to ask for forgiveness of sins. In the eyes of Yahweh, they were actually altars of sinning. Yahweh had given them plenty of instructions, but they regarded them as strange sayings, ignoring them. They tried to offer choice sacrifice offerings and eat them. However, Yahweh would not accept them. Instead, he remembered their iniquity. He wanted to punish them for their sins. One of the punishments was to send them back to Egypt.

The assassinations of the Israelite kings (Hos 7:5-7:7)

“On the day of our king,

The officials

Became sick

With the heat of wine.

He stretched out his hand

With mockers.

They are kindled

Like an oven.

Their hearts

Burn with intrigue.

All night,

Their anger smolders.

In the morning,

It blazes

Like a flaming fire.

All of them are hot

As an oven.

They devour their rulers.

All their kings have fallen.

None of them calls upon me.”

Yahweh was upset about the northern Israelite kingdom. Even at the enthronement of the king, some conspirators, drunk with wine, were plotting an overthrow of the new king. This intrigue burned in their hearts. Finally, this smoldering anger would blaze into a flaming fire. They devoured their own rulers. Many kings had fallen. Thus, one of the wicked deeds of the northern kingdom of Israel was their various assassination plots that changed kings. At least 7 kings were murdered in this northern territory. King Pekah (737-732 BCE) had murdered King Pekahiah (7378-737 BCE), the son of King Menahem (743-738 BC). However, the worst crime of all was that no one called on Yahweh for help.

The alarming situation in Benjamin (Hos 5:8-5:8)

“Blow the horn

In Gibeah!

Blow the trumpet

In Ramah!

Sound the alarm

At Beth-aven!

Tremble!

O Benjamin!”

Yahweh, via Hosea, wanted them to blow the horn in Gibeah, a hill about 5 miles north of Jerusalem. They were to blow the horn at Ramah, a place near Mizpah. Then they were to sound the alarm at Beth-aven, Bethel, the capital of the northern Israelite kingdom. Benjamin should also tremble, because it was between Ephraim and Judah.

The punishment for the people of Jerusalem (Jer 39:8-39:10)

“The Chaldeans burned

The king’s house

With the houses of the people.

They broke down

The walls of Jerusalem.

Then Nebuzaradan,

The captain of the guard,

Exiled to Babylon

The rest of the people

Who were left in the city.

This included

Those who had deserted to him,

As well as the people who remained.

Nebuzaradan,

The captain of the guard,

Left in the land of Judah

Some of the poor people

Who owned nothing.

He gave them vineyards.

He gave them fields

At the same time.”

Once again, this is similar to 2 Kings, chapter 25. However, here there is no mention of an exact date. The Chaldean fighters burned the palace of the king and other houses in Jerusalem. There is no mention about the burning of the Temple as in 2 Kings. They also broke down the walls of Jerusalem. The king of Babylon did not come himself, but he sent the captain of his bodyguard, Nebuzaradan, to take all the people as captives. This included those who had deserted to the Chaldeans as well as those left in the city. However, he gave the poor people the vineyards and fields. This might be a problem when the exiles return. Thus, the Judean kingdom lasted 134 years after the fall of the northern Israelite kingdom at Samaria.

The restoration of good fields (Jer 32:43-32:44)

“‘Fields shall be bought

In this land

Of which you are saying.

‘It is a desolation!

It is without humans!

It is without animals!

It has been given

Into the hands

Of the Chaldeans.’

Fields shall be bought

For money.

Deeds shall be signed,

Sealed,

As well as witnessed

In the land of Benjamin,

In the places about Jerusalem,

In the towns of Judah,

In the towns of the hill country,

In the towns of the Shephelah,

In the towns of the Negeb.

I will restore their fortunes.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh said, via Jeremiah, that the time of the desolation of the land was over. Fields were going to be bought and sold. It is not clear who owned some of these fields, since they might have changed hands a few times, since the beginning of the exile. However, the land was desolate, since there were no humans or animals on them after the Chaldeans took over. Who was going to sell this land? However, there would be a legal process. Money would exchange hands with deeds signed, sealed, and witnessed. The example of Jeremiah buying a field in the preceding chapter may be an example of how things would operate. Now this restoration would take place in the Benjamin territory, around the city of Jerusalem, and the towns of Judah. However, there are places mentioned, like the towns in the hill country of Judah, the Shephelah, the old Dan territory next to Benjamin, as well as the Negeb, the semi arid land southeast of Jerusalem near the Dead Sea. There was no mention of the northern territory from the old northern Israelite kingdom and their tribal territory.

The future demise of Syria and Ephraim (Isa 7:7-7:9)

“Therefore thus says Yahweh God.

‘It shall not stand.

It shall not come to pass.

The head of Syria is Damascus.

The head of Damascus is King Rezin.

Within sixty-five years,

Ephraim will be shattered.

They will no longer be a people.

The head of Ephraim is Samaria.

The head of Samaria is

The son of Remaliah.

If you do not stand firm in faith,

You shall not stand at all.’”

Yahweh then proclaimed that the 2 invaders from the north would not be successful since they would be wiped out. The capital of Syria was in Damascus where King Rezin (792-732 BCE) ruled. The capital of the northern Israelite kingdom of Ephraim was at Samaria, where the son of Remaliah, King Pekah was in charge. Within 65 years, Ephraim would be wiped out. Syria was also going to fall. All that King Ahaz had to do was to remain strong in his faith. If he did not, he too would fall.