Restoration of the people of Israel (Am 9:13-9:15)

“Says Yahweh.

‘The time is surely coming

When the one who plows

Shall overtake

The one who reaps.

When the one who treads grapes

Shall overtake

The one who sows the seed.

The mountains shall drip

Sweet wine.

All the hills

Shall flow with it.

I will restore

The fortunes

Of my people Israel.

They shall rebuild

The ruined cities.

They shall

Inhabit them.

They shall

Plant vineyards.

They shall

Drink their wine.

They shall

Make gardens.

They shall

Eat their fruit.

I will plant them

Upon their land.

They shall never again

Be plucked up

Out of the land

That I have given them.’

Says Yahweh

Your God.”

This later oracle of Yahweh assumed that the Israelites had been taken from their land in captivity.  However, in this restoration, those plowing would be greater than those reaping.  Those who treaded the grapes would be more than those sowing the seeds.  There would be abundance and hope all around.  The mountains and hills would drip and flow with abundant sweet wine.  The Israelites would have their fortunes restored, so that they would rebuild their cities and inhabit them.  They would plant vineyards and drink wine.  They would plant gardens with lots of fruit.  These Israelites would be planted on their own land, never to be plucked away again.

Lamentation for Israel (Am 5:1-5:2)

“Hear this word

That I take up

Over you,

In lamentation!

O house of Israel!

She has fallen.

She will rise no more.

This is the maiden Israel.

She is forsaken

On her land.

There is none

To raise her up.”

Now Amos set out a lamentation for the house of Israel. He wanted them to hear his crying words. The virgin maiden Israel had fallen, but she was not going to get up anymore. She had been forsaken in her own land. There was no one to help her get back on her feet.

The safe reinstatement in Israel (Ezek 28:26-28:26)

“The Israelites

Shall live

In safety

In the land.

They shall

Build houses.

They shall

Plant vineyards.

They shall live

In safety.

I will execute

Judgments

Upon all their neighbors

Who have treated them

With contempt.

Then they shall know

That I am Yahweh,

Their God.”

These Israelites would live in safety in their own land. They would build houses and plant vineyards. They would be safe, because Yahweh was going to execute his judgments on all their neighbors who have treated them contemptuously. They would all know that Yahweh was their God.

The Egyptian retreat (Jer 37:6-37:7)

“Then the word of Yahweh

Came to the prophet Jeremiah.

‘Thus says Yahweh!

God of Israel!

This is what

The two of you

Shall say

To the king of Judah,

Who sent you to me,

To inquire of me.

‘Pharaoh’s army,

That set out

To help you,

Is going to return

To its own land,            

Egypt.’”

Now Yahweh has Jeremiah speak to Jehucal and Zephaniah directly. Jeremiah reminded them that this was an oracle from the God of Israel. They were to tell the king who had sent them that Pharaoh’s army was not going to help them, since the Egyptians were returning to their own land. The Egyptian aid was not going to materialize.

The sinful confession of the people (Jer 14:7-14:9)

“Although our iniquities testify

Against us,

Act!

Yahweh!

For your name’s sake!

Our apostasies are many.

We have sinned against you.

O hope of Israel!

Its savior in time of trouble!

Why should you be

Like a stranger in the land?

Why should you be

Like a traveler turning aside for the night?

Why should you be

Like someone confused?

Why should you be

Like a mighty warrior who cannot give help?

Yet you!

O Yahweh!

Are in the midst of us!

We are called by your name.

Do not forsake us!”

Here Jeremiah has the people of Judah confessing their sins to Yahweh. They were asking for help in no uncertain terms. Their iniquities and back sliding apostasies were many. They knew that they did not have clean hands. They admitted that they had sinned against Yahweh. However, they were placing their hope in Yahweh during this time of trouble. They wanted to know why God was like a stranger in this own land. Why was he like a traveler who was just looking for a night’s sleep? Why was he, a mighty warrior, not able to help out? Yahweh was there with them, since they are called by his name. They did not want Yahweh to give up on them.

The response of Isaiah (Isa 37:5-37:6)

“When the servants of King Hezekiah

Came to Isaiah,

Isaiah said to them.

‘Say to your master.

Thus says Yahweh.

Do not be afraid

Because of the words

That you have heard,

With which the servants

Of the king of Assyria

Have reviled me.

I myself will put a spirit in him,

So that he shall hear a rumor.

He will then return to his own land.

I will cause him to fall

By the sword in his own land.’”

Once again, this is almost word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 19. Here we have the first royal intervention of the great prophet Isaiah, whose influence had a great impact on future Israelite life. The response of Isaiah is quite remarkable. Because the servants of the king of Assyria had reviled Yahweh, he was going to retaliate against the Assyrian king. This oracle of Yahweh, via Isaiah, said that Yahweh would spread a rumor that would make the Assyrian army return to its own land, where the king would be killed at home in Assyria. The fact is that King Sennacherib of Assyria did return home without capturing Jerusalem. He was then killed by his sons in Assyria.

The return from the Exile (Isa 14:1-14:2)

“Yahweh will have compassion

On Jacob.

He will again choose Israel.

He will set them

In their own land.

Aliens will join them.

They will attach themselves

To the house of Jacob.

The nations will take them.

They will bring them

To their place.

The house of Israel

Will possess these nations,

As male and female slaves,

In Yahweh’s land.

They will take captive

Those who were their captors.

They will rule over

Those who oppressed them.”

Obviously this oracle assumes that the Israelites were in Exile, which did not happen during the life of Isaiah. Yahweh was going to have compassion on Jacob, the Israelites. He was going to set them in their own land with the help of other nations. Other non-Israelites would join them, the so called aliens or strangers. Then the house of Israel would have its own male and female slaves from the other countries. In fact, their former captors would become their captives. Thus they would rule over those who oppressed them. I am not so sure whether this last part ever happened. They were allowed to have slaves and other countries helped them. Those aliens in Israel would have to follow the Israelite law if they wanted to stay in Israel.