“Therefore thus says Yahweh.
‘I going to send you
Off the face of the earth.
Within this year
You will be dead.
Because you have spoken
Yahweh was clear. He told Hananiah that he was going to remove him from the face of the earth during the next year. Hananiah was going to die, because he had spoken about rebelling against Yahweh, a very serious crime.
“‘Woe to you!
‘You carry out a plan,
But it is not mine.
You make an alliance,
But it is against my will.
You are adding sin to sin!
You set out to go down to Egypt,
Without asking for my counsel!
You want to take refuge
In the protection of Pharaoh!
You want to seek shelter
In the shadow of Egypt!
Therefore the protection of Pharaoh
Shall become your shame.
The shelter in the shadow of Egypt
Shall become your humiliation.
Even though his officials are at Zoan,
Even though his envoys reach Hanes,
Everyone will come to shame.
They are a people
That cannot profit them.
They can bring
Neither help nor profit.
They can only bring shame and disgrace.’”
This is an oracle of Yahweh, via Isaiah, against sending messengers to Egypt to ask for help against Assyria around 703-701 BCE. These messengers were not from Yahweh. They were in fact rebelling against the will of Yahweh, so that they were only adding sin to sin. They went to Egypt without seeking the guidance of Yahweh, since they wanted to take refuge under the shadow and protection of the Egyptian Pharaoh. However, this protections will become their shame and humiliation. Even though these messengers are in the 2 Egyptian delta cities of Zoan in the north and Hanes in the south, everyone will be shamed. They will not get help, profit, or protection, but only shame and disgrace for this action.
“Then the anger of Yahweh was kindled against his people.
He abhorred his heritage.
He gave them into the hand of the nations.
Thus those who hated them ruled over them.
Their enemies oppressed them.
They were brought into subjection under their power.
Many times he delivered them.
But they were rebellious in their purposes.
They were brought low through their iniquity.”
Yahweh was angry with his people. He abhorred his heritage. Thus he gave them over to other nations. They were ruled by people who hated them. They were oppressed by their enemies. They were subject to the power of other people. Yahweh had saved them a number of times. However, they were always rebelling against Yahweh. Then once again they would be brought low because of their iniquity and evil ways.
“When Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they mocked and ridiculed us. They said. ‘What is this thing that you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?’ Then I replied to them. ‘The God of heaven is the one who give us success. We his servants are going to start building. You have no share. claim or historic rights in Jerusalem.”
The local officials of the Province Beyond the River, with one of its major cities in Samaria, were lead by Sanballat and Tobiah. This time they were joined by Geshem, the Arab, which might mean that he was an official from Edom or the other side of the Jordan River. They wanted to know what Nehemiah was doing. He seemed to be rebelling against the king, but that is unclear. Nehemiah was clear that he had official approval since he came directly from the court of the king of Persia. Once again he referred to the “God of heaven” in his response. God would give them success. They were going to start building. In fact, he seemed to say that these officials had no rights in Jerusalem, which is not exactly correct. Jerusalem was in the Province Beyond the River, and these were the officials of that territory.