Against Edom (Mal 1:3-1:5)

“‘But I have hated Esau.

I have made

His hill country

A desolation.

I have made

His heritage

A desert for jackals.’

If Edom says.

‘We are shattered,

But we will rebuild the ruins.’

Yahweh of hosts says.

‘They may build,

But I will tear down,

Until they are called

The wicked country.

Yahweh is angry forever

With those people.’

Your own eyes shall see this.

You shall say.

‘Great is Yahweh,

Beyond the border of Israel!’”

Edom was considered the land where Esau had settled.  Thus, Yahweh hated Edom.  He had made their hill country a desolation.  Their heritage was like a desert of wild jackals.  Even if they wanted to rebuild their ruins, Yahweh would tear it down, because they were a wicked country.  Yahweh was angry with them forever.  Their own eyes had seen that Yahweh was great, even beyond the borders of Israel.

The new slaves (Joel 3:7-3:8)

“‘But now,

I will rouse them up

To leave the places

To which you have

Sold them.

I will turn your deeds

Upon your own heads.

I will sell your sons,

With your daughters,

Into the hands

Of the people of Judah.

They will sell them

To the Sabeans,

To a nation far away.’

Yahweh has spoken.”

Yahweh was going to arouse the sold Judean slaves in faraway places to return home. Then Yahweh was going to turn this around. The new slaves would be the sons and daughters of these coastal people. They would be given to the Judeans, who in turn would sell them to the faraway southern Arabian Sabeans. This matter was settled because Yahweh had spoken.

Meshech and Tubal in the grave (Ezek 32:26-32:26)

“Meshech

With Tubal

Are there.

All their multitude

Is there.

Their graves are

All around them.

All of them were

Uncircumcised.

They had been killed

By the sword.

They had spread terror

In the land

Of the living.”

Ezekiel had mentioned both these obscure kingdoms in chapter 27 when he was talking about the trading partners of Tyre. Meshech were the Assyrians in the mountain country of present day Turkey. Tubal seemed to be some Assyrians who had settled in today’s southern Turkey. Like those preceding, these two groups of people were uncircumcised. They, too, had spread terror in the land of the living, but also died by the sword.

Trading humans (Ezek 27:13-27:13)

“Javan,

Tubal,

Meshech

Traded with you.

They exchanged

Human beings,

As well as vessels of bronze

For your merchandise.”

Ezekiel mentioned 3 other trading partners of Tyre. Javan, the Ionians or the Greeks was one partner. Tubal seems to be the Assyrians who had settled in today’s southern Turkey. Meshech were the Assyrians in the mountain country of present day Turkey. They all traded with Tyre. Interesting enough there must have been a slave trade, since there was a mention of exchanging human beings. They also traded bronze vessels for all the great things that Tyre had.

The plunder of the city of Tyre (Ezek 26:12-26:14)

“They will plunder

Your riches.

They will loot

Your merchandise.

They will break down

Your walls.

They will destroy

Your fine houses.

They will cast

Into the water

Your stones,

Your timber,

Your soil.

I will silence

The music

Of your songs.

The sound

Of your lyres

Will be heard

No more.

I will make you

A bare rock.

You shall be a place

For spreading nets.

You shall never

Be rebuilt.

I!

Yahweh!

Have spoken!’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that he was going to have the Babylonians plunder their riches and loot the merchandise of the city of Tyre. These Babylonian invaders were going to break down their walls and destroy the fine houses of Tyre. These invaders were going to throw the local stones, timber, and soil of Tyre into the water. There would be no more music or songs. Yahweh would silence the sounds of the lyres or harps. Tyre would become a bare rock or a place for spreading fishing nets. It would never be rebuilt again. Yahweh, God, had spoken.  Actually, the siege of Tyre lasted 12 years and then they settled things. Alexander the Great in 332 BCE also captured Tyre. This ancient Phoenician island city still exists in southern Lebanon today with about 100,000 people.

Against the Ammonites (Jer 49:1-49:2)

“Concerning the Ammonites!

Thus says Yahweh!

‘Has Israel no sons?

Has he no heir?

Why then has Milcom

Dispossessed Gad?

Why has he dispossessed

His people?

Why has he settled

In its cities?’”

The Ammonites, like the Moabites, were considered the descendants of the incest of Lot with his second daughter from the story in Genesis, chapter 19. The country of Ammon was north of Moab, but south of Aram and Damascus.  The country of Ammon existed from about the 10th century to the 4th century BCE in what would have been the Gad territory as outlined in Joshua chapter 13. Today it is part of the country of Jordan. Yahweh seems upset at Ammon. Did not Israel have sons and heirs to live in this Gad territory? Milcom, the god of the Ammonites, was a lot like Molech, the god of the Moabites. Some believe it was the same god with slightly different spellings for each country. This god Milcom had dispossessed the people of Yahweh and settled in their cities. In the Septuagint Greek translation, this is chapter 30, not chapter 49 as here.

Wonderful Moab (Jer 48:11-48:11)

“Moab is at ease

From his youth.

He has settled

Like wine,

On its dregs.

He has not been emptied

From vessel to vessel.

He has not gone

Into exile.

Therefore his flavor

Has remained.

His aroma is unspoiled.”

Moab is masculine instead of feminine as in the preceding verses. He has been at ease since his youth. He has settled like good wine. However, there are dregs that have not been emptied or moved from barrel to barrel. Moab has never gone into exile. Thus his flavor and aroma have remained unspoiled. In other words, things have been pretty good for the Moabites up until now.

The return from exile (Jer 32:37-32:39)

“See!

I am going to gather them

From all the lands

To which I drove them

In my anger,

In my wrath,

With great indignation.

I will bring them back

To this place.

I will settle them

In safety.

They shall be my people.

I will be their God.

I will give them one heart

With one way.

Thus they may fear me

For all time,

For their own good,

As well as the good

Of their children after them.”

Yahweh was going to restore the Israelites back in their land. He was going to gather them from all the countries that they had been scattered to, when he was angry, wrathful, and indignant over their behavior. They would be settled in the Promised Land to live safely. They would be his people. He would be their God. This phrase shows the strong love of God for his people. They would have one heart and one way of doing things. They would fear him all the time, for their own good as well as the good of their children to come. Happy days were ahead.

Yahweh blesses the happy ones (Isa 56:1-56:2)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘Maintain justice!

Do what is right!

Soon my salvation will come!

My deliverance will be revealed.

Happy is the mortal

Who does this!

He holds this fast.

He keeps the Sabbath.

He does not profane it.

He refrains from doing any evil.’”

This is the beginning of what is often called Third Isaiah, after the Israelites had returned from the Exile and settled in Israel. Here we have a brief description of the happy blessed ones. Yahweh set out the rules they were to follow. They had to maintain justice and do what is right. Salvation and deliverance were soon to come. These happy ones would have to keep the Sabbath, by not profaning it. They also had to refrain from doing any evil. This seems simple enough.

The sword of Yahweh on Edom (Isa 34:5-34:7)

“When my sword has drunk

Its fill in the heavens,

It will descend upon Edom.

My sword will descend

Upon the people I have doomed.

Yahweh has a sword.

It is sated with blood,

With the blood of lambs,

With the blood of goats.

It is gorged with fat,

With the fat of the kidneys of rams.

Yahweh has a sacrifice in Bozrah.

There was a great slaughter

In the land of Edom.

Wild oxen shall fall with them.

Young steers shall fall with them.

Mighty bulls shall fall with them.

Their land shall be soaked with blood.

Their soil made rich with fat.”

Isaiah has Yahweh talk about his sword that was going to descend on the country of Edom, southeast of Judah, where the twin brother of Jacob, Esau, had settled as in Genesis, chapter 36. Yahweh’s heavenly sword would fall upon the doomed country of Edom. This sword would be full of blood from goats and rams as well as fat from their kidneys. There was going to be a great sacrificial slaughter in Bozrah, the capital city of Edom. There was going to be such a sacrifice of oxen, steers, and bulls that the land would be soaked with blood and fat so that the soil would become rich.