The restored majesty (Nah 2:2-2:2)

“Yahweh is restoring

The majesty of Jacob.

He is restoring

The majesty of Israel,

Even though ravagers

Have ravaged them.

They have ruined

Their branches.”

Yahweh was going to restore the majesty of Jacob and Israel, both the north and the south.  Even though they had been ravaged, even though some of their branches had been ruined, they would be restored.

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Yahweh saves his flock (Ezek 34:21-34:22)

“You pushed

With your flank.

You pushed

With your shoulder.

You butted

At all the weak animals

With your horns.

You have scattered them

Far and wide.

I will save my flock.

They shall no longer

Be ravaged.

I will judge

Between sheep

With sheep.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, complained about the bad sheep. They were pushing the other sheep around with their sides or flanks and their shoulders. They were butting all the weak sheep with their horns. Thus, they were scattering Yahweh’s flock of sheep. Yahweh said that his sheep would no longer be ravaged, because he was going to judge between the good and the bad sheep.

The second young lion was captured (Ezek 19:7-19:9)

“The second young lion

Ravaged

Their strongholds.

He laid waste

To their towns.

The land

Was appalled.

All who were in it

Were appalled

At the sound

Of his roaring.

The nations

Set upon him

From the provinces

All around.

They spread

Their net

Over him.

He was caught

In their pit.

With hooks,

They put him

In a cage.

They brought him

To the king of Babylon.

They brought him

Into custody.

Thus his voice

Would be heard

No more

On the mountains

Of Israel.”

This second young lion ravaged the strongholds and towns around there. The land and everybody in it were appalled at the sound of his roaring. Thus various countries from around the area set upon him. They spread out their nets over him. They caught him in a pit. They hooked him and put him into a cage. They brought him to the king of Babylon. He was now in custody so that his voice would no longer be heard on the mountains of Israel. This sounds a lot like a reference to King Zedekiah (598-587).

Death in Jerusalem (Isa 3:25-3:26)

“Your men shall fall

By the sword.

Your warriors shall fall

In battle.

Her gates shall lament.

Her gates shall mourn.

Ravaged,

She shall sit

Upon the ground.”

Isaiah warns that death will come to the men of Jerusalem by the sword or in battle. Thus the women who remain will lament and mourn. They will be ravaged, sitting on the ground lamenting their situation.

Yahweh gave us the holy land (Ps 80:8-80:13)

“You brought a vine out of Egypt.

You drove out the nations.

You planted it.

You cleared the ground for it.

It took deep root.

It filled the land.

The mountains were covered with its shade.

The mighty cedars were covered with its branches.

It sent out its branches to the sea.

It sent out its shoots to the River.

Why then have you broken down its walls?

Thus all who pass along the way pluck its fruit.

The boar from the forest ravages it.

All that move in the field feed on it.”

This is a great parable about the vine and Israel that was so familiar to all. The vine was taken from Egypt. Then the ground was prepared for it and planted. Thus nations were cleared out to let the vine grow as it took deep root. This vine spread all over the land as it covered the mountains and the trees. Its branches went from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River. However, then its walls were broken down. Now anyone can come along and pluck its fruit. All the wild animals and any animals come to feed on it. Israel was being ravaged by all sets of animals and people.

The exploits of Holofernes (Jdt 2:21-2:28)

“They marched for three days from Nineveh to the plain of Bectileth. There they camped opposite Bectileth, near the mountain that is to the north of Upper Cilicia. From there Holofernes took his whole army, his infantry, cavalry, and chariots, and went up into the hill country. He ravaged Put and Lud. He plundered all the Rassisites and the Ishmaelites on the border of the desert, south of the country of the Chelleans. Then he followed the Euphrates River and passed through Mesopotamia. He destroyed all the hilltop cities along the brook Abron, as far as the sea. He also seized the territory of Cilicia. He killed every one who resisted him. Then he came to the southern borders of Japheth, fronting toward Arabia. He surrounded all the Midianites. He burned their tents and plundered their sheepfolds. Then he went down into the plain of Damascus during the wheat harvest. He burned all their fields. He destroyed their flocks and herds. He sacked their towns. He ravaged their lands. He put to death all their young men with the edge of the sword. Fear and dread of him fell upon all the people who lived along the seacoast. This included those at Sidon and Tyre, as well as those who lived in Sur, Ocina, and all who lived in Jamnia. Those who lived in Azotus and Ascalon feared him greatly.”

The geography here is a little muddled. It is about 600 miles from Nineveh to Damascus, but here it seems like just a few days. No one seems to know where this Bectileth was. Cilicia was on the Mediterranean Sea in Asia Minor, part of modern day Turkey. It, too, was about 500-600 miles from Nineveh, a difficult trip in 3 days, even in our modern times. Lud maybe the Syrian Lydia, but it is difficult to find Put. It is also difficult to know much about the Rassisites, the Ishmaelites, or the Chelleans. Generally, Ishmaelites usually referred to Arabs.   It is also difficult to pinpoint the Abron brook. Obviously, he traveled south along the Euphrates River, which is about 300 miles east of the seacoast. Japheth was near Arabia, which would be south of where he was. He also attacked the Midianites, on his way to Damascus. Holofernes burned down the wheat fields, destroyed the flocks and herds, sacked and ravaged the land. He killed their young men. He then turned further south towards the coast. Thus there was great fear in Sidon and Tyre, as well as all along the coastal towns of   Sur, Ocina, Jamnia, Azotus, and Ascalon near Tyre, in the Asher tribe territory.