The devastation of the land of Ephraim (Isa 17:4-17:6)

“‘On that day,

The glory of Jacob

Will be brought low.

The fat of his flesh

Will grow lean.

It shall be

As when reapers

Gather standing grain.

Their arms harvest the ears.

It shall be

As when one gleans

The ears of grain

In the Valley of Rephaim.

Gleanings will be left in it,

As when an olive tree is beaten.

Two or three berries

On the top of the highest bough

Will be left.

Four or five on the branches

Of a fruit tree

Will be left.’

Says Yahweh

God of Israel.”

Here is another oracle of Yahweh, via Isaiah, but about Ephraim of northern Israel. This rebuke is against Jacob, not Damascus. There is a reference to the Valley of Rephaim, which is northwest of Jerusalem in the Ephraim territory. Thus this land of Ephraim will be devastated. The fat animals will grow lean. All that will be left are the gleanings of left over grain that the pickers left behind. The olive trees will only have a few berries that were too difficult to pick, since all the others would have been shaken out of the trees. There will only be a few branches on any trees. There will not be much left after this day of destruction in northern Israel.

The coming destruction of Babylon (Isa 13:17-13:22)

“See!

I am stirring up the Medes

Against them.

They have no regard for silver.

They do not delight in gold.

Their bows

Will slaughter the young men.

They will have no mercy

On the fruit of the womb.

Their eyes will not pity children.

Babylon,

The glory of kingdoms,

The splendor of the Chaldeans,

The pride of the Chaldeans,

Will be like Sodom and Gomorrah

When God overthrew them.

It will never be inhabited.

No one will live in for all generations.

Arabs wills not pitch their tents there.

Shepherds will not make their flocks

Lie down there.

But wild animals will

Lie down there.

Its houses

Will be full of howling creatures.

Ostriches will live there.

Goat demons will dance there.

Hyenas will cry in its towers.

Jackals will be in the pleasant palaces.

Its time is close at hand.

Its days will not be prolonged.”

Very clearly, this is all about the destruction of the city of Babylon. Yahweh will get the people of Medes, an area northwest of Persia, who don’t care about gold and silver, to come and slaughter the young men and the children of Babylon. The glorious Babylon, the pride of the Chaldeans, who were the southern Babylonians, would become like the people in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis, chapters 18-19. There seems to be a fascination with these 2 biblical towns. After this defeat, the city of Babylon would never be inhabited again. Neither wandering Arabs nor shepherds would go there. Only wild animals and howling creatures, like goats, ostriches, hyenas, and jackals would live there in those great buildings. The time of their destruction was at hand. You would not have to wait a long time.