Like Sodom and Gomorrah

“I overthrew some of you,

As when God overthrew

Sodom and Gomorrah.

You were

Like a brand

Snatched

From the fire.

Yet you did not

Return to me,’

Says Yahweh.”

Amos has yet another oracle of Yahweh with the same theme about the failure to return to Yahweh. This time, Yahweh overthrew some of them like in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis, chapter 19. These Israelites were like a brand taken from a fire. Despite all these problems, the northern kingdom Israelites still refused Yahweh.

The last of the ten kingdoms (Dan 7:24-7:26)

“As for the ten horns,

Out of this kingdom,

Ten kings shall arise.

Another shall arise after them.

This one shall

Be different

From the former ones.

He shall put down

Three kings.

He shall speak words

Against the Most High.

He shall wear out

The holy ones

Of the Most High.

He shall attempt

To change

The sacred seasons.

He shall attempt

To change the law.

They shall be given

Into his power

For a time,

Two times,

Half a time.

Then the court shall sit

In judgment.

His dominion shall be

Taken away,

To be consumed,

To be totally destroyed

To the end.”

Next, he explained that the 10 horns on the beast were the 10 Greek kings that succeeded Alexander the Great in his kingdom. However, there was a vehemence against the little horn king that overthrew the 3 kings. This was, of course, a reference to the Greek King Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-163 BCE), who was different from the other Greek rulers. He spoke openly against the Most High God. He wore out God’s holy ones. He attempted to change the holy seasons and do away with the religious festivals. He also tried to change the Jewish law. He had power for a little while, before the final kingdom would come. Then his dominion would be taken away. He would be consumed and destroyed. 1 Maccabees, chapter 1, went into great detail about this king.

The watchful eye of Yahweh (Jer 31:28-31:28)

“‘Just as I have watched

Over them

To pluck up,

To break down,

To overthrow,

To destroy,

To bring evil,

So I will watch

Over them

To build

And to plant.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh in this oracle says that he watches over the Israelites. Just as he plucked them up, broke them down, overthrew them, destroyed them, and brought evil to them, so too he would watch over them as he builds them up and plants them again. There is a glimpse of hope here.

The campaign against King Arphaxad (Jdt 1:13-1:16)

“In the seventeenth year, King Nebuchadnezzar led his forces against King Arphaxad. He defeated him in battle. He overthrew the whole army of King Arphaxad, all his cavalry, and all his chariots. Thus he took possession of his towns. He came to Ecbatana. He captured its towers, plundered its markets, and turned its glory into disgrace. He captured King Arphaxad in the mountains of Ragau. He struck him down with his spears. He destroyed him, once and for all. Then he and all his combined forces, a vast body of troops, returned to Nineveh. There he and his forces rested and feasted for one hundred twenty days.”

5 years later, around 588 BCE, King Nebuchadnezzar led his troops against King Arphaxad as he defeated him. He took all their possessions, and destroyed the town of Ecbatana. He captured King Arphaxad in the mountains of Ragau, and killed him. Then he returned to Nineveh and rested for 4 months.