Against Judah (Nah 1:9-1:10)

To Judah

“Why do you plot

Against Yahweh?

He will make a full end.

No adversary

Will rise up twice.

Like thorns,

They are entangled.

Like drunkards,

They are drunk.

They are consumed,

Like dry stubble.”

Next there were a series of prophecies addressed to different countries.  The first was addressed to Judah.  Nahum wanted to know why they were plotting against Yahweh, because Yahweh would always win out in the end.  No adversary or enemy of Yahweh would be able to rise up twice.  They would be like entangled thorns or drunken drunkards.  They would be wiped out or consumed like dry stubble.

Yahweh’s controversy (Mic 6:1-6:2)

“Hear what Yahweh says!

‘Rise!

Plead your case

Before the mountains!

Let the hills hear

Your voice.

Hear

The controversy of Yahweh!

You mountains!

You enduring foundations

Of the earth!

Yahweh has a controversy

With his people.

He will contend with Israel.”

Yahweh wanted them to rise up and plead their case.  He wanted them to do this before the mountains.  All the great communications between Yahweh and his people took place on the mountains or the hills, the closest that humans could get to heaven.  Yahweh then spoke directly to the mountains, called them ‘you’.  Yahweh had a controversy with his people, the Israelites.  This controversy was that they had forgotten how to walk with Yahweh.  They had forgotten the sayings and actions of their ancestors.  He was going to contend with them.

Oracle of Yahweh (Ob 1:1-1:1)

“Thus says Yahweh

Concerning Edom.

We have heard a report

From Yahweh.

A messenger has been sent

Among my nations.

‘Rise up!

Let us rise against it

For battle.’”

The Israelites had a long history with Edom because they believed that Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, had founded this country.  The Book of Genesis listed the kings of Edom in chapter 36.  The country of Edom was south of the Dead Sea, south of Moab and south of Judah.  It eventually stopped being a country with most of the people drifting into southern Judah.  Many of the prophets had spoken against the Edomites, including Jeremiah, chapter 49, Isaiah, chapter 34, Ezekiel, chapter 25, Amos, chapter 1, and Joel, chapter 3.  This was a report from Yahweh, since he had sent his messengers to the various countries.  They were to rise up and get ready for the battle.

The destruction of Israel (Am 7:8-7:9)

“Yahweh said to me.

‘Amos!

What do you see?’

I said.

‘A plumb line.’

Then Yahweh said.

‘See!

I am setting

A plumb line

In the midst

Of my people Israel.

I will never again

Pass by them.

The high places

Of Isaac

Shall be made desolate.

The sanctuaries of Israel

Shall be laid waste.

I will rise against

The house of Jeroboam

With the sword.’”

This time, Amos had no response to this vision about the plumb line. Yahweh asked Amos what he saw. Amos responded that it was a plumb line. Then Yahweh told him that he was going to place it in the middle of the people of Israel. He was not going to pass by them again. The high places and the sanctuaries of Israel would be laid waste and become desolate. Yahweh was going to rise up against the house of King Jeroboam II (783-743 BCE), meaning his son, King Zachariah, who did not last a year in 743 BCE.

The rumbling sound (Ezek 3:12-3:13)

“Then the Spirit

Lifted me up.

The glory of Yahweh

Rose from its place.

I heard behind me

The sound

Of loud rumbling.

It was the sound

Of the wings

Of the living creatures

Brushing

Against one another.

It was the sound

Of the wheels beside them.

They sounded

Like a loud rumbling.”

The Spirit of Yahweh or the Holy Spirit lifted up Ezekiel. He saw the glory of Yahweh rise up from its place. This glory of Yahweh was the presence of Yahweh outside of the Jerusalem Temple. Then Ezekiel heard a loud rumbling sound, the sound of the living creatures brushing their wings against each other. Then there was the also the loud rumbling sound of the wheels beside them.  This vision of Ezekiel had not only a visual element, but an auditory element also.

Wake up Zion (Isa 52:1-52:2)

“Awake!

Awake!

Put on your strength!

O Zion!

Put on your beautiful garments!

O Jerusalem!

The holy city!

The uncircumcised

Shall enter you no more!

The unclean

Shall enter you no more!

Shake yourself from the dust!

Rise up!

O captive Jerusalem!

Loose the bonds from your neck!

O captive daughter of Zion!”

Second Isaiah has a stirring call from Yahweh for Mount Zion, Jerusalem, to wake up. They had to put their strength on. They had to put on their beautiful garments. No longer would those foreign unclean and the uncircumcised people enter into Jerusalem. They had to shake off their dust and remove the chains around their necks. They were to rise up because they were no longer captives.

Yahweh against all nations (Isa 34:1-34:4)

“Draw near!

O nations!

Hear!

O people!

Give heed!

Let the earth hear

With all that fills it!

Let the world hear

With all that comes from it!

Yahweh is enraged

Against all the nations.

He is furious

Against all their hoards.

He has doomed them.

He has given them over for slaughter.

Their slain shall be cast out.

The stench of their corpses shall rise.

The mountains shall flow with their blood.

All the host of heaven shall rot away.

The skies shall roll up like a scroll.

All their host shall wither

Like a leaf withering on a vine,

Like fruit withering on a fig tree.”

Once again Isaiah has this important call to listen. This time it is not merely to the people of Israel who should listen, but this is a more universal call to all the nations, all the people, the whole world, and the earth itself. Yahweh is mad at the whole world, everybody, all the countries. He has destined and doomed them for slaughter. There will be so many killed that the stench of their dead bodies will rise up, while the mountains will flow with blood. This is quite a gruesome scene. On top of that, all the hosts of heaven or the false gods will dry up and wither away like a leaf on a vine or a fruit on a tree.

Yahweh is upset (Isa 33:10-33:12)

“‘Now I will arise.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Now I will lift myself up.

Now I will be exalted.

You conceive chaff!

You bring forth stubble!

Your breath is a fire

That will consume you.

The people will be

As if burned to lime,

Like thorns cut down,

That are burned in the fire.’”

Isaiah has Yahweh speak directly to everyone. Yahweh was going to rise up. He was going to lift himself up. He wanted to be exalted and acknowledged. He did not like what they were bringing to him, since he considered it only chaff and stubble, like useless left over things. Their breath was like a fire that would consume them. It would burn them as if they were lime. They would be like cut down like thorn bushes burning in a fire.

The human weakness of the Egyptians (Isa 31:2-31:3)

“Yet Yahweh too is wise.

He brings disaster.

He does not call back his words.

But he will rise

Against the house of the evildoers.

He will rise

Against the helpers of those

Who work iniquity.

The Egyptians are human.

They are not God.

Their horses are flesh.

Their horses are not spirit.

When Yahweh stretches out his hand,

The helper will stumble.

The one helped will fall.

They will all perish together.”

Isaiah says that Yahweh is also wise. He will bring disaster since he does not change his mind. He will rise up against the house of the evildoers and those who help others commit iniquity. Those Egyptians are mere humans and not God. Their fleshy horses have no spirit. When Yahweh stretches out his hand, both the helped and the helper will stumble, fall, and perish together.

The vision of the attack against Babylon (Isa 21:2-21:5)

“A stern vision

Is told to me.

The betrayer betrays.

The destroyer destroys.

Go up!

O Elam!

Lay siege!

O Media!

All the sighing

She has caused

I bring to an end.

Therefore my loins are

Filled with anguish.

Pangs have seized me,

Like the pangs of a woman in labor.

I am bowed down,

So that I cannot hear.

I am dismayed

So that I cannot see.

My mind reels.

Horror has appalled me.

The twilight I longed for

Has been turned for me

Into trembling.

They prepare the table.

They spread the rugs.

They eat.

They drink.

Rise up!

Commanders!

Oil the shield!”

Isaiah has this stern vision from Yahweh. The betrayer and the destroyer act out together. Elam and Medes, the Persians and the Medes were about to attack Babylon. Since the Israelites were in Babylon, they were afraid but hopeful, like a woman experiencing labor before the birth of a child. Isaiah, in the first person singular, was not quite able to hear or see what was going on. He knew that horror was about to happen. Instead of a happy twilight there was trembling. However, they continued as normal, eating and drinking at tables with rugs. Nevertheless, the cry came to the commanders to rise up and get ready. They had to oil the straps on their shields as they prepared to do battle.