The humble poor of Israel (Zeph 3:11-3:13)

“On that day,

You shall not

Be put to shame,

Because of the deeds

By which you have rebelled

Against me.

Then I will remove

From your midst

Your proudly exultant ones.

You shall no longer

Be haughty

On my holy mountain.

I will leave

In the midst of you

A humble people,

A lowly people.

They shall seek refuge

In the name of Yahweh.

The remnant of Israel

Shall do no wrong.

They shall utter no lies.

A deceitful tongue

Shall not be found

In their mouth.

They shall pasture.

They shall lie down.

No one shall make them

Afraid.”

Yahweh, via Zephaniah, said that the Israelites would not be put to shame.  The reason was fairly simple.  Yahweh was going to remove all those rebellious ones that proudly exulted themselves.  Thus, there would be no more haughty ones in their midst.  Instead, all the people left would be humble and lowly people, who took refuge in Yahweh.  These were the remnant of Israel, who would not do anything wrong or utter any lies with a deceitful tongue.  They would be able to lie down in their pastures, since no one was going to make them afraid.

Yahweh protects even in floods (Nah 1:7-1:8)

Yod

“Yahweh protects those

Who take refuge in him,

Even in a rushing flood.”

According to the Hebrew letter Yod, Yahweh would protect anyone who took refuge in him, even those in a raging flood.  Is this perhaps an allusion to the great flood in Genesis?

Against other small towns in Judah (Mic 1:14-1:15)

“Therefore,

You shall give

Parting gifts

To Moresheth-gath.

The houses of Achzib

Shall be a deception

To the kings of Israel.

I will again bring

As a conqueror

Upon you,

Inhabitants of Mareshah.

The glory of Israel

Shall come to Adullam.”

Micah finished up with 4 other small towns including his own town of Moresheth-gath.  They were to give parting gifts to his home town because they might not see her again.  Moresheth was close to the Hebrew word for inheritance.  The houses of Achzib were a deception to the kings of Israel, since that name meant disappointment or deception.  Yahweh, via Micah, was going to bring a conqueror to the people of Mareshah, a place near Moresheth, the home of Micah.  Finally, the glory of Israel would come to Adullam, the place were David and his men took refuge.

Yahweh speaks (Am 1:2-1:2)

“Amos said.

‘Yahweh roars

From Zion.

Yahweh utters his voice

From Jerusalem.

The pastures

Of the shepherds wither.

The top of Carmel

Dries up.’”

Amos used the same phraseology as the prophet Joel, in chapter 3 of his work, that Yahweh would roar and speak from Zion and Jerusalem. However, instead of being a refuge, here Yahweh had a warning about the pastures of the shepherds withering away, while the mountain top of Mount Carmel would dry up.

Yahweh is a refuge for his people (Joel 3:16-3:16)

“Yahweh roars

From Zion.

Yahweh utters his voice

From Jerusalem.

The heavens

With the earth

Shake.

But Yahweh is a refuge

For his people.

Yahweh is a stronghold

For the people of Israel.”

Yahweh will roar and speak from Zion and Jerusalem. Both heaven and earth would shake. However, Yahweh would be a refuge and stronghold for his people, the people of Israel.

Why the Rechabites moved to Jerusalem (Jer 35:11-35:11)

“But when King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon

Came up against the land,

We said.

‘Come!

Let us go to Jerusalem!

They feared

The army of the Chaldeans.

They feared

The army of the Arameans.’

This is why

We are living in Jerusalem.”

How then did they end up in the city of Jerusalem? Their explanation was simple. With the coming of King Nebuchadnezzar (605-562 BCE) of Babylon, they moved to safety in or around Jerusalem. They feared for their lives because of the Babylonian invasion with their Chaldean and Aramean troops. Thus they took refuge in Jerusalem. Obviously, they were a little out of place there with their strange life style ways.

Against idolaters (Isa 57:11-57:13)

“Whom did you dread?

Whom did you fear?

Thus you lied.

You did not remember me.

You did not give me a thought.

Have I not kept silent?

Have I not closed by eyes?

Thus you do not fear me.

I will concede your righteousness.

I will concede your works.

But they will not help you.

When you cry out,

Let your collection of idols

Deliver you!

The wind will carry them off.

A breath will take them away.

Whoever takes refuge in me

Shall possess the land.

They shall inherit

My holy mountain.”

Third Isaiah warns in the first person singular what Yahweh has done with these idolaters. They no longer dreaded or feared Yahweh. They had lied to him. They did not remember or give him any thought. Yahweh had been silent and closed his eyes, so that they no longer feared him. Even though they might have been righteous and done some good things, these actions would no longer help them. If they had a problem, let them call their collection of idols to help them. The wind will carry away their useless idols. On the other hand, anyone who takes refuge in Yahweh will possess the land. They will inherit his holy mountain.

The righteous ones (Isa 33:15-33:16)

“If you walk righteously,

If you speak uprightly,

If you despise the gain of oppression,

If you wave away a bribe

Instead of accepting it,

If you stop your ears

From hearing of bloodshed,

If you shut your eyes

From looking on evil,

You will live on the heights.

Your refuge will be

The fortresses of rocks.

Your food will be supplied.

Your water will be assured.”

This is somewhat like Psalm 15 with its description about the righteous ones who can be admitted to the Temple. The righteous ones walk righteously, speak upright, and despise the gains from oppression. They do not accept bribes nor hear of bloodshed. They close their eyes to evil. These are the people who will live on the heights of Zion. They will not have to worry about refuge, food, or water, since Yahweh will take care of them.

Against the messengers sent to Egypt (Isa 30:1-30:5)

“‘Woe to you!

Rebellious children!’

Says Yahweh.

‘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.

Zion will remain strong (Isa 14:32-14:32)

“What will one answer

The messengers of the nation?

‘Yahweh has founded Zion.

The needy among his people

Will find refuge in her.’”

How do you answer the various people of the world? Isaiah’s response is to tell all the nations that Yahweh has founded Zion. Thus the needy will find refuge there. Yahweh will remain at Zion, period.