The great return (Zech 10:8-10:11)

“I will signal for them.

I will gather them in.

I have redeemed them.

They shall be

As numerous

As they were before.

Though I scattered them

Among the nations,

Yet in far countries

They shall remember me.

They shall rear their children.

They shall return.

I will bring them home

From the land of Egypt.

I will gather them

From Assyria.

I will bring them

To the land of Gilead.

I will bring them

To Lebanon,

Until there is no room for them.

They shall pass through

The sea of distress.

The waves of the sea

Shall be struck down.

The depths of the Nile

Shall dry up.

The pride of Assyria

Shall be laid low.

The scepter of Egypt

Shall depart.”

Yahweh was going to give a signal for the Israelites to gather, since he had redeemed them from their captivity.  They would be as numerous as they were before.  Even though they were scattered among many distant countries, they raised their children there before they returned.  Yahweh was going to bring them home from Egypt and Assyria.  He was going to put them in Gilead, the east side of the Jordan River, or in Lebanon, on the seacoast, until there was no more room for them there.  They would have no problems, since Yahweh was going to lead them through distressed seas, mild waves, and the deep dry Nile River.  The pride of Assyria would be brought down, while the control of the Egyptian rule or scepter would leave.

Like the grasshopper locusts (Nah 3:15-3:17)

“There the fire

Will devour you.

The sword

Will cut you off.

It will devour you

Like the locusts.

Multiply yourselves

Like the locusts!

Multiply yourselves

Like the grasshoppers!

You increased

Your merchants

More than the stars

Of the heavens.

The locust sheds its skin.

Then it flies away.

Your guards are

Like grasshoppers.

Your scribes are

Like swarms of locusts,

Settling on the fences,

On a day of cold,

When the sun rises,

They fly away.

No one knows

Where they have gone.”

A fire would destroy Nineveh, while the sword would chase people away.  The city would be decimated, as if a swarm of locusts had come through there.  They would have to multiply themselves like grasshoppers or locusts, as their merchants had done in the past.  These commercial envoys of Nineveh were as numerous as the stars.  Just as the locust sheds its skin, so that it can fly away, the guards at Nineveh would be like grasshoppers, hip hopping away.  Their scribes were like swarms of locusts sitting on a fence on a cold day.  However, when the sun came up the next day, these scribes would fly off, where no one would know where they went.  As this was going to happen to Nineveh, no one would know where in the world they went.

The bloody city of Nineveh (Nah 3:1-3:3)

“O!

City of bloodshed!

Utterly deceitful!

Full of booty!

There is

No end to their plunder.

There are

The cracks of the whip,

The rumble of the wheel,

The galloping horse,

The bounding chariots,

The horsemen charging,

The flashing swords,

The glittering spears,

The piles of dead people,

The heaps of corpses,

The dead bodies without end.

They stumble over the bodies!”

Nahum continued with his vivid descriptions of the chaos in Nineveh, truly a city of bloodshed.  They had become very deceitful with lots of stolen booty, since they had plundered everywhere.  However, now there were whips cracking, wheels rumbling, horses galloping, chariots bouncing, and charging cavalry with flashing swords and glittering spears.  Of course, there were a lot of dead people all over the place also.  There were piles and heaps of dead corpses without end.  These dead bodies were so numerous that people stumbled over them in the streets.

The future of Israel and Judah (Hos 1:10-1:11)

“Yet the number

Of the people of Israel

Shall be

Like the sand of the sea,

Which can be neither measured

Nor numbered.

In the place

Where it was said

To them.

‘You are not my people.’

It shall be said to them.

‘Children of the living God.’

The people of Judah

With the people of Israel

Shall be gathered together.

They shall appoint

For themselves

One head.

They shall take possession

Of the land.

Great shall be

The day of Jezreel.”

For some reason, these two verses are not in the Bible of Jerusalem. However, they are in the Oxford Bible, so I will comment on them. There seems to be an abrupt change of tone. Instead of not being his people, suddenly Israel would be as numerous as the sands of the sea, a common theme. They would once again be known as the children of the living God. On top of that, they would once again join with Judah, having one leader, a theme that was prevalent during the captivity. Further, the idea that they should take possession of the land was a strong captivity idea. Once again, there will be a great day at Jezreel, after the doom and gloom that had preceded this comment.

The attack on Egypt (Jer 46:22-46:24)

“‘She makes a sound

Like a snake gliding away.

Her enemies march in force.

They come against her

With axes,

Like those who fell trees.

They shall cut down

Her forest.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Even though it is

Impenetrable,

Because they are

More numerous

Than locusts.

They are without number.

Daughter Egypt

Shall be put to shame.

She shall be handed over

To a people from the north.’”

The Egyptians will slitter away like a snake as her enemies shall attack her in full force. They are coming with axes to kill her, as if they were clearing a forest. This enemy is like a large swarm of locusts that is so numerous that cannot be measured. Good daughter Egypt will be put to shame, as she will be handed over to the people from the north.

The restoration of fortunes (Jer 30:18-30:21)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘I going to restore the fortunes

Of the tents of Jacob.

I have compassion

On their dwellings.

The city shall be rebuilt

Upon its mound.

The citadel shall set on

Its rightful site.

Out of them shall come

Songs of thanksgiving,

With the sound of merrymakers.

I will multiply them.

They shall not be few.

I will make them honored.

They shall not be disdained.

Their children shall be as of old.

Their congregation

Shall be established before me.

I will punish all

Who oppress them.

Their prince

Shall be one of their own.

Their ruler

Shall come from their own midst.

I will make him draw near.

They shall approach me.

Who would otherwise dare

To approach me?’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, says that he will restore the fortunes of the Israelites, the tents of Jacob. He was going to have compassion on their buildings and their cities. Thus, they would rebuild over the original rubble, which was the custom at that time. Then they would be able to come with songs of thanksgiving and voices of merrymakers. The Israelites would flourish. They would become numerous and honored, not disdained. Their children would be like in the good old days. Their congregation would hold Yahweh as special. Thus, anyone who oppressed them, Yahweh would punish. They would have their own princes and rulers from their own groups, not outsiders or foreigners telling them what to do. They would be near and approach Yahweh. Let the good times roll!

The great pain and hurt (Jer 30:12-30:15)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘Your hurt is incurable!

Your wound is grievous!

There is no one

To uphold your cause!

There is no medicine

For your wound!

There is no healing for you.

All your lovers

Have forgotten you.

They care nothing for you.

I have dealt you

The blow of an enemy,

The punishment

Of a merciless foe,

Because your guilt is great,

Because your sins

Are so numerous.

Why do you cry out

Over your hurt?

Your pain is incurable.

Because your guilt is great,

Because your sins

Are so numerous.

I have done these things to you.’”

Yahweh says that the Israelites are in great pain. They have a serious incurable wound that will not heal. There is no medicine available to help them. There is no one who will defend them in court. All their lovers have forgotten about them. Yahweh has helped their enemies deliver a severe blow. Yahweh repeats himself twice saying that the guilt of the Israelites is very great and numerous.   They should stop crying about their terrible pains. Yahweh has done all to this to them. Just cry out to Yahweh and forget all the other stuff.