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.

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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.

Do not be too confident (Am 6:1-6:3)

“Woe to those

Who are at ease

In Zion!

Woe to those

Who feel secure

On Mount Samaria!

Woe to

The notable men

Of the first

Of the nations,

To whom the house of Israel

Resorts!

Pass over to Calneh!

See!

Go to Hamath the great!

Go down to Gath

Of the Philistines!

Are they better

Than these kingdoms?

Or is your territory

Greater than their territory?

O you!

You put far away

The evil day!

Do you not bring near

A reign of violence?”

Yahweh, via Amos, warned the Israelites in Zion and Samaria not to be at ease, feeling secure, and over confident. They should be aware of the important people that they have had contact with in other countries. They should look at the great commercial centers in Calneh and Hamath in Syria. They should see the Philistine city of Gath. All these kingdoms have more territory and were better off than they were. The Israelites thought that they could put off the evil day, but the reign of violence was getting closer.

The sorrow of the exile (Hos 9:1-9:3)

“Do not rejoice!

O Israel!

Do not exult

As other nations do!

You have played

The prostitute!

You departed from

Your God!

You have loved

A prostitute’s pay

On all the threshing floors.

Threshing floor

With wine vat

Shall not feed them.

The new wine

Shall fail them.

They shall not remain

In the land of Yahweh.

But Ephraim shall return

To Egypt.

They shall eat

Unclean food

In Assyria.”

Hosea told the people of Israel, perhaps at a harvest festival, that they would no longer rejoice and exalt like other countries. They had prostituted themselves. They had departed from their God. They had accepted the prostitute’s pay on the threshing floor. No longer would grain and wine feed them, as the new wine would fail. They were not going to remain in the land of Yahweh. They would be sent to Egypt and Assyria, where they would eat unclean food.

The jealous God (Ezek 36:5-36:7)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I am speaking

In my hot jealousy

Against the rest

Of the nations.

I am speaking

Against all Edom.

They took my land

As their possession

With wholehearted joy,

With utter contempt.

They wanted

To plunder it

Because of its pasture.

Therefore,

Prophesy

Concerning the land

Of Israel.

Say to the mountains,

To the hills,

To the water streams,

To the valleys!’

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I am speaking

In my jealous wrath!

You have suffered

The insults

Of the nations.’

Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I swear

That the nations

That are all around you

Shall themselves

Suffer insults.’”

Yahweh God, via Ezekiel, was speaking in his hot jealousy against all the other countries. However, there was an explicit remark about all of Edom, since they had taken possession and plundered the land of Israel with great joy and utter contempt, because of its good pastures. Thus, Ezekiel was to prophesy about the land of Israel, including its mountains, hills, water streams, and valleys. Yahweh God was full of his jealous wrath. Israel had suffered the insults of these other countries. Now Yahweh said that all these other countries around Israel would suffer these insults themselves.