Surrounded on every side (Lk 19:43-19:43)

“Indeed,

The days

Will come upon you,

When your enemies

Will set up ramparts

Around you.

They will hem you in

On every side.”

 

ὅτι ἥξουσιν ἡμέραι ἐπὶ σὲ καὶ παρεμβαλοῦσιν οἱ ἐχθροί σου χάρακά σοι καὶ περικυκλώσουσίν σε καὶ συνέξουσίν σε πάντοθεν,

 

Luke indicated that Jesus remarked that bad days were coming to Jerusalem (ὅτι ἥξουσιν ἡμέραι ἐπὶ σὲ).  Jesus said that it would come to them when their enemies would put up a barricade against them (καὶ παρεμβαλοῦσιν οἱ ἐχθροί σου χάρακά σοι).  They would surround them (καὶ περικυκλώσουσίν σε) so that they would be hemmed in on every side (καὶ συνέξουσίν σε πάντοθεν).  This is the only Greek biblical use of the word περικυκλώσουσίν that means to hem them in on every side, encircle, surround, or encompass.  Jesus was using the words and images of the ancient Israelite prophets against Jerusalem.  Isaiah, chapter 29:1-3, called Jerusalem Ariel, a symbolic name for Jerusalem and its altar.  Isaiah, warned Jerusalem about what was going to happen to it.  Yahweh was going to encamp against it and set up siege works against it.  They would be able to speak only from below the earth and the dust.  Their voices would be reduced to a whisper, like a ghost in the middle of this dust pile.  Jeremiah, chapter 6:6-8, warned Jerusalem that its enemies were going to cut down trees in order to make a ramp siege against Jerusalem, because this city needed to be punished.  There was nothing but oppression and wickedness within her.  Jerusalem was a place of violence and destruction with sickness and wounded people all around.  Yahweh was going to turn away in disgust against Jerusalem. Thus, it would become a desolate uninhabited land, if it did not heed his warning.  Ezekiel, chapter 4:1-3, also condemned Jerusalem with Ezekiel’s symbolic action.  A voice told Ezekiel to be an expert model Lego builder of the siege of Jerusalem.  Ezekiel, the son of man, was to take a brick and portray the city of Jerusalem.  He was to put the siege works with a siege wall against this city.  He was to put a ramp and camps against this city with battering rams all around it.  Then he was to take an iron plate and make an iron wall between himself and the city, looking at it.  Thus, there was a state of siege, a sign for the house of Israel.  Ezekiel was part of the exiles from 598 BCE before the taking of Jerusalem and the second captivity in 587 BCE.  Of course, here this was allusion to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE by the Roman soldiers putting down a revolution in Judea.  Luke would have known about this at the time of his writing.  Have you ever seen a city destroyed?

A lesson from the other countries (Zeph 3:6-3:7)

“I have cut off nations.

Their battlements

Are in ruins.

I have laid waste

Their streets,

So that no one walks

In them.

Their cities have been made

Desolate,

Without people,

Without inhabitants.

I said.

‘Surely

This city

Will fear me.

She will accept correction.

She will not lose sight

Of all that I have brought

Upon her.

But they were more eager

To make all their deeds

Corrupt.’”

Yahweh, via Zephaniah, warned Jerusalem about what Yahweh had done to other countries.  He had ruined their fortresses and battlement stations.  He had destroyed their streets, so that people could not walk on them.  He had reduced their cities to rubble, so that nobody lived there anymore.  Why didn’t Jerusalem fear him?  Yahweh thought that Jerusalem would take corrections, since she had seen all the things that he had done for them.  However, they were more eager to continue with their corrupt activities, rather than follow Yahweh.

The tribe of Benjamin (Ezek 48:23-48:23)

“The rest of the tribes

Includes Benjamin.

From the east side

To the west side,

Benjamin shall have

one portion.”

Unlike in Joshua, chapter 18, the territory of Benjamin does not have any details of where it would be. Obviously, the old Benjamin was north of Judah and south of Ephraim. Here it simply is one portion from the east to the west side, without any further explanation. Somehow, it had been reduced in value.

The Philistines were ashamed (Ezek 16:27-16:27)

“Therefore,

I stretched out

My hand

Against you.

I reduced your rations.

I gave you up

To the will

Of your enemies,

The daughters

Of the Philistines.

They were ashamed

Of your lewd behavior.”

Yahweh stretched out his hand against Jerusalem. He reduced their food rations with a famine. He was going to give them up to their enemies. This time it is the daughters of the Philistines, who were living in the Mediterranean coastal cities. Here, instead of prostitution, their ancient enemy was ashamed of their lewd behavior.

The defeat of Babylon (Jer 51:38-51:40)

“‘Like lions,

They shall roar together.

They shall growl

Like lions’ whelps.

While they are inflamed,

I will set out their drink.

I will make them drunk,

Until they become merry.

I will make them sleep

A perpetual sleep.

They will never wake.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will bring them down

Like lambs

To the slaughter,

Like rams,

Or like goats.’”

The mighty lion Babylon will no longer roar or growl. They will be reduced to young baby lions, whelps. They would get drunk and be merry until they fell into a perpetual sleep. Thus they will never wake up again. They will be like lambs, rams, and goats brought to the slaughter. They would not realize what hit them.

The vengeance on Babylon (Jer 51:34-51:37)

“‘Like lions,

They shall roar together.

They shall growl

Like lions’ whelps.

While they are inflamed,

I will set out their drink.

I will make them drunk,

Until they become merry.

I will make them sleep

A perpetual sleep.

They will never wake.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will bring them down

Like lambs

To the slaughter,

Like rams,

Or like goats.’”

The mighty lion Babylon will no longer roar or growl. They will be reduced to young baby lions, whelps. They would get drunk and be merry until they fell into a perpetual sleep. Thus they will never wake up again. They will be like lambs, rams, and goats brought to the slaughter. They would not realize what hit them.

 

The prayer of Jeremiah (Jer 10:23-10:24)

“I know!

O Yahweh!

That the way of human beings

Is not in their control.

The mortals,

As they walk,

Cannot direct their steps.

Correct me!

O Yahweh!

But in your just measure!

Not in your anger!

Otherwise

You will bring me to nothing.”

Jeremiah prays directly to Yahweh. He knows that humans cannot control their ways, since they are out of control. Someone needs to direct their steps as they walk. Thus Jeremiah wants Yahweh to correct him in a just way, but not in anger. Otherwise, Jeremiah would be reduced to nothing.