The plundering nations shall be plundered (Zech 2:8-2:9)

“Thus said Yahweh of hosts,

After his glory sent me,

Regarding the nations

That plundered you.

‘Truly,

One who touches you

Touches the apple of my eye.

See now!

I am going to raise my hand

Against them.

They shall become plunder

For their own slaves.

Then you will know

That Yahweh of hosts

Has sent me.’”

Yahweh explained to Zechariah about the nations that had plundered Israel and Judah.  Anyone that touched them, touched the apple of his eye.  They were his favored ones, special to Yahweh.  Now, he was going to raise his hand against these plundering nations.  He was going to have their own slaves plunder them.  That way, they would know that Yahweh of hosts had acted and sent Zechariah.

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The first curse against their greed (Hab 2:6-2:8)

“Shall not everyone

Taunt such people,

With mocking riddles?

Let them say about them!

‘Woe to you!

You heap up

What is not your own!’

How long will you

Load yourselves

With goods

Taken in pledge?

Will not your own creditors

Suddenly rise up?

Those who make you tremble

Will wake up.

Then you will be booty

For them.

Because you have plundered

Many nations,

All that survive of the peoples

Shall plunder you.

Human bloodshed,

With the violence

To the earth,

Is in the cities,

As well as to all

Who live in them.”

Habakkuk has a series of taunts against the Chaldeans because of their behavior.  These 5 woes or curses were delivered in mocking riddles.  First of all, they have stored up things that were not their own.  How long would they continue to take things as pledges for the future?  Those creditors would rise up against them, and make them tremble and shake.  Then, they would become the booty of the people whom they plundered.  They have plundered so many countries, that the surviving countries would plunder them.  There was so much violence and bloodshed in the cities where people lived.  Does that sound familiar?

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 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.

The sword of the Israelite redeemer (Jer 50:34-50:37)

“Their Redeemer is strong.

Yahweh of hosts

Is his name.

He will surely plead

Their cause.

He may give rest

To the earth.

But he will give unrest

To the inhabitants

Of Babylon.

Says Yahweh.

‘A sword against

The Chaldeans!

The inhabitants of Babylon!

Her officials!

Her sages!

The diviners!

Thus they may

Become fools!

A sword against

Her warriors!

Thus they may be destroyed!

A sword against

Her horses!

Her chariots!

All the foreign troops

In her midst!

Thus they may

Become women!

A sword against

All her treasures!

Thus they may be plundered!’”

Yahweh was the strong redeemer of Israel and Judah. He was going to bring the sword or death to the Babylonians. He was going to give the Israelites and Judeans a rest since he pleaded their case. However, the Babylonians were not going to be as lucky, since he was going to bring them unrest. The destroying sword would come up against the Chaldeans and all the people who lived in Babylon. All their officials and wise men would suffer death by the sword also. The foolish diviners and the warriors would be destroyed. Their horses, their chariots, and the foreign troops there would be wiped out by the sword. These strong fighters would become like women. The Babylonian treasures would be plundered. Watch out for the sword of this redeemer!

The planned attack on Babylon (Jer 50:9-50:10)

“‘I am going to stir up

Those against Babylon.

I am bringing

A company of great nations,

Against Babylon,

From the north country.

They shall array themselves

Against her.

From there

She shall be taken.

Their arrows are

Like the arrows                                

Of a skilled warrior

Who does not return

Empty-handed.

Chaldea shall be

Plundered.

All who plunder her

Shall be sated.’

Says Yahweh.”

Here the attack on Babylon is not from one country, but a series of countries, all from the north, as usual. Yahweh was going to stir up these attackers. Their arrows would be like those of skilled archers. Chaldea would be plundered so that everyone would have their fill.

The healing reversal (Jer 30:16-30:17)

“Therefore all who devour you

Shall be devoured.

All your foes,

Every one of them,

Shall go into captivity.

Those who plundered you

Shall be plundered.

All who preyed on you,

I will make a prey.

I will restore health to you.

I will heal your wounds.

Says Yahweh!

Because they have called you

An outcast.

‘It is Zion.

No one cares for her!’”

Yahweh seems to reverse himself, saying that he will heal and cure the incurable wounds that Israel had. Instead, those who were devouring Israel will be devoured. All of their enemies will go into captivity. Those who plundered them will be plundered themselves. Yahweh was going to prey on anyone who preyed on them. He was going to heal all the wounds that Israel had. He was upset that others had called them, Zion, an outcast that no one cared about.