The plague on Egypt (Zech 14:18-14:19)

“If the family of Egypt

Does not go up,

If they do not

Present themselves,

Then upon them

Shall come

The plague

That Yahweh inflicts

On the nations

That do not go up

To keep the festival of booths.

This shall be the punishment

Of Egypt.

This shall be the punishment

Of all the nations

That do not go up

To keep the festival of booths.”

Egypt would suffer a plague, if they did not present themselves for the festival of booths or tents.  However, this same punishment would be inflicted on other countries that did not show up of this festival of booths.  Suddenly, this festival has become an important universal religious festival for all countries, not just the Israelites.

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Yahweh on the Mount of Olives (Zech 14:3-14:4)

“Then Yahweh will go forth.

He will fight

Against those nations,

As when he fights

On a day of battle.

On that day,

His feet shall stand

On the Mount of Olives,

Which lies before Jerusalem

On the east.

The Mount of Olives

Shall be split

In two,

From east to west

By a very wide valley.

Thus,

One half of the Mount

Shall withdraw northward.

The other half

Shall withdraw southward.”

After starting the war, Yahweh was going to defend the Israelites, by fighting against the other countries.  Yahweh was going to stand on the Mount of Olives, just east of Jerusalem.  He would split this mountain in two, so that half the mountain would be on the north and the other half on the south with a valley in between these two half mountains.

The attack on Jerusalem (Zech 14:2-14:2)

“I will gather

All the nations

Against Jerusalem

To battle.

The city shall be taken.

The houses shall be looted.

The women shall be raped.

Half of the city

Shall go into exile.

But the rest of the people

Shall not be cut off

From the city.”

Yahweh was going to gather all the other countries to battle against Jerusalem.  Jerusalem would be defeated, as the city would be taken.  Their house would be robbed and their women raped.  Half of the city would go into exile, while the other half would be okay in the city.

The return of the prisoner captives (Zech 9:11-9:13)

“As for you also,

Because of the blood

Of my covenant

With you,

I will set your prisoners free

From the waterless pit.

Return to your stronghold!

O prisoners of hope!

Today I declare

That I will restore to you double.

I have bent Judah

As my bow.

I have made Ephraim

Its arrow.

I will arouse your sons!

O Zion!

Against your sons,

O Greece!

I will wield you

Like a warrior’s sword.”

In this oracle, Yahweh said that he was going to free the prisoners from their dungeons or waterless pits, because of the covenant or blood treaty that he had with Israel.  Perhaps, this is an allusion to the Temple sacrifices.  The former prisoners of hope or captives would return to their stronghold, since Yahweh was going to double what they had before.  He was going to use Judah in the south and Ephraim in the north as a bow and arrow against other countries, such as Greece.  Yahweh was going to wield them like a warrior’s sword.

The punishment (Zech 7:12-7:14)

“Therefore,

Great wrath

Came from Yahweh of hosts.

‘Just as when I called,

They would not hear,

So,

When they called,

I would not hear.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘I scattered them

With a whirlwind

Among all the nations

That they had not known.

Thus,

The land they left

Was desolate.

Thus,

No one went to and fro.

A pleasant land

Was made desolate.’”

Thus, Yahweh sent punishments to these stubborn Israelites.  Great wrath and anger came from Yahweh of hosts.  Since they would not listen to Yahweh, he was not going to listen to them.  He decided to scatter them to the winds among the various other countries.  Many of these countries, they knew nothing about them.  Thus, the great land of Israel was left desolate.  No one was moving about in this pleasant land that became a desolation.

Yahweh’s response (Hab 1:5-1:5)

“Look at the nations!

See!

Be astonished!

Be astonished!

A work

Is being done

In your days

That you would not believe

If you were told.”

Habakkuk had a dialog with Yahweh.  Yahweh was going to respond to him.  He told Habakkuk to look at all the other countries.  He would be astonished to see how much work Yahweh was doing among these other countries.  He would not believe it, even if Yahweh told him all about it.  Yahweh responded that he was just, but Habakkuk did not see or know it.  This is a text that would be later quoted in the Christian Acts of the Apostles, chapter 13.

The Israelites are not privileged (Am 9:7-9:8)

“‘Are you not

Like the Ethiopians

To me?

O people of Israel!’

Says Yahweh.

‘Did I not bring up

Israel

From the land of Egypt?

Did I not bring up

The Philistines

From Caphtor?

Did I not bring up

The Arameans

From Kir?

The eyes

Of Yahweh God

Are upon

The sinful kingdom.

I will destroy it

From the face

Of the earth.

However,

I will not utterly destroy

The house of Jacob.’

Says Yahweh.”

In this oracle of Yahweh, Amos pointed out that the Israelites were not privileged, since Yahweh had brought other countries from one place to another like Israel came from Egypt.  He had helped the Philistines come from Caphtor, also a part of Egypt.  Yahweh also helped the Arameans from Kir, an area in Mesopotamia.  The Israelites were no better than the Ethiopians.  They had become a sinful nation.  Thus, he was going to destroy them from the face of the earth.  However, Yahweh would not utterly destroy the house of Jacob.  He would leave a remnant.