Against Moab and Ammon (Zeph 2:8-2:10)

“I have heard

The taunts of Moab.

I have heard

The reviling of the Ammonites.

They have taunted

My people.

They have made boasts

Against their territory.

Says Yahweh of hosts,

The God of Israel.

‘Therefore,

As I live,

Moab shall become

Like Sodom.

The Ammonites shall become

Like Gomorrah.

They will become

A land possessed

By nettles,

By salt pits,

A waste forever.

The remnant of my people

Shall plunder them.

The survivors of my nation

Shall possess them.

This shall be their lot

In return for their pride.

Because they scoffed.

They boasted

Against the people

of Yahweh of hosts.’”

Next Yahweh, via Zephaniah, rebuked Ammon and Moab, the east bank trans Jordan countries that were the descendants of Lot, via the incest with his two daughters.  Thus, they were to become like Sodom and Gomorrah as in Genesis, chapter 19.  These countries were taunting and berating Judah and Israel.  However, Yahweh himself decreed that they would become a wasteland with thorny plants and salt pits.  Those surviving and remaining from Yahweh’s people would plunder them and take their possessions.  The Ammonites and Moabites were too proud.  They had scoffed and boasted against the people of Yahweh.  Now it was their turn to be devastated.

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The explanation of Yahweh about this killing (Ezek 9:8-9:10)

“While they were killing,

I was left alone.

I fell prostrate

On my face.

I cried.

‘Ah Yahweh God!

Will you destroy

All who remain

Of Israel

As you pour out

Your wrath

Upon Jerusalem?’

Then he said to me.

‘The guilt

Of the house of Israel

As well as

The house of Judah

Is exceedingly great.

The land is full

Of bloodshed.

The city is full

Of perversity.’

They say.

‘Yahweh has forsaken

The land.

Yahweh does not see.’

As for me,

My eye will not spare.

I will not have pity.

But I will bring down

Their deeds

Upon their heads.’”

Ezekiel was all shook up with all this killing going on. He was alone, so he prostrated his face. He cried to God. He wanted to know if everyone of the remaining Israelites would be destroyed. Would anybody remain in Jerusalem? Then Yahweh explained to him that the guilt of the house of Israel as well as the guilt of the house of Judah was exceedingly great. The land was full of bloodshed. The city was full of perversity. Those remaining had said that Yahweh had forsaken the land. He would not see what they were doing. However, Yahweh was clear. He was not going to spare them or have pity on them. Their own deeds brought this on their heads. Thus the annihilation of the inhabitants of Jerusalem continued.

They will obey Yahweh (Jer 42:5-42:6)

“They in turn said to Jeremiah.

‘May Yahweh be a true witness!

May Yahweh be a faithful witness

Against us,

If we do not act

According to everything

That Yahweh

Your God

Sends us through you.

Whether it is good or bad,

We will obey

The voice of Yahweh

Our God,

To whom we are sending you,

So that it may go well

With us

When we do obey

The voice of Yahweh

Our God.’”

The leaders and the group of those remaining from the land of Judah proclaimed to Jeremiah that Yahweh would be a true and faithful witness against them, if they did not act according to everything that Yahweh would say to Jeremiah. It did not matter whether it was good or bad, they would obey the voice of Yahweh as interpreted by Jeremiah. They wanted things to go well with them, so that they were willing to listen to the voice of Yahweh, their God. Yahweh was no longer Jeremiah’s God, but their God also.

The end of the fortified city (Isa 27:10-27:11)

“The fortified city is solitary.

Its habitation is deserted.

It is forsaken,

Like the wilderness.

There the calves graze.

There they lie down.

They strip its branches.

When its boughs are dry,

They are broken.

Women come.

They make a fire of them.

This is a people

Without understanding.

Therefore he who made them

Will not have compassion on them.

He that formed them

Will show them no favor.”

According to Isaiah, the fortified city is deserted. Nobody lives there, since it is like a wilderness, where cows graze and lie down. This city is like a tree that has had its branches stripped. The remaining dry branches are broken so that women can come along to make firewood out of them. They are a people, but we not sure who they are, who have no understanding. What is for sure is that Yahweh, their creator, has no compassion for them. He will not show them any favors.

The aftershock of the attack on Moab (Isa 15:7-15:9)

“Therefore the abundance

They have gained,

What they have laid up,

They carry away

Over the Brook of the Willows.

A cry has gone

Around the land of Moab.

The wailing reaches to Eglaim,

The wailing reaches to Beer-elim.

The waters of Dibon

Are full of blood.

Yet I will bring upon Dibon

Even more.

There will be a lion

For those of Moab

Who escape,

For the remnant of the land.”

The Moab people took whatever they had saved up and carried it over the Brook of Willows. However, there is no indication of where this was Brook was, since Isaiah was the only biblical source to use this phrase. I am also not able to say where Eglaim and Beer-elim are, since Isaiah is also the only one who ever used the names of these 2 towns. It is clear, however, that the capital city of Dibon was full of blood. However, Isaiah warns that there will be more. A lion would go after those remaining in Moab.

Yahweh’s oracles against Babylon (Isa 14:22-14:23)

“‘I will rise up against them.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘I will cut off from Babylon

Its name,

Its remnant,

Its offspring,

Its posterity.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will make it a possession

Of the hedgehog,

With pools of water.

I will sweep it

With the broom of destruction.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.”

Isaiah has Yahweh give a dire outlook for Babylon with 2 oracles. Yahweh was going to cut off the name of Babylon, including the remaining people, its offspring, and its posterity. In addition to that, Yahweh was going to make Babylon the possession of the hedgehog with pools of water. Finally, Yahweh was going to take out the broom of destruction against Babylon. This large city of Babylon became the symbol of evil. These were clear oracles of Yahweh against Babylon, not just its king.

The survivors at Jerusalem (Isa 4:2-4:3)

“In that day,

The branch of Yahweh

Shall be beautiful.

The branch of Yahweh

Shall be glorious.

The fruit of the land

Shall be the pride

Of the survivors of Israel.

The fruit of the land

Shall be the glory

Of the survivors of Israel.

Whoever is left in Zion,

Whoever remains in Jerusalem,

Will be called holy.

They will be recorded

For life in Jerusalem.”

Despite all, Isaiah says that some branches of Yahweh will continue as beautiful and as glorious as ever. The fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors of Israel. There are good things to come for the remnant or those remaining in Israel. These faithful few who remain in Zion and Jerusalem will be called the holy ones, the righteous remnant of Israel.