Great crowds (Mt 4:25-4:25)

“Great crowds

Followed Jesus

From Galilee,

From the Decapolis,

From Jerusalem,

From Judea,

And from beyond the Jordan.”

 

καὶ ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ ὄχλοι πολλοὶ ἀπὸ τῆς Γαλιλαίας καὶ Δεκαπόλεως καὶ Ἱεροσολύμων καὶ Ἰουδαίας καὶ πέραν τοῦ Ἰορδάνου.

 

Matthew finished off this unique section by talking about the huge crowds that followed Jesus in Galilee (καὶ ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ ὄχλοι πολλοὶ ἀπὸ τῆς Γαλιλαίας).  However, he added something that had not been talked about.  Matthew said that the people from Decapolis (Δεκαπόλεως), Jerusalem (καὶ Ἱεροσολύμων), Judea (καὶ Ἰουδαίας), and from beyond on the east bank of the Jordan River (καὶ πέραν τοῦ Ἰορδάνου) were following Jesus.  So far, Jesus has not done anything there.  Decapolis was an area of 10 cities or towns east of Galilee, with 9 of these cities on the east side of the Jordan River that included Damascus.  So that the news about Jesus may have spread there, as well on the east side of the Jordan.  However, the mention of Jerusalem and Judea, which were way south, at least 100 miles away, seems like a stretch.

The four corners of the earth (Zech 6:4-6:6)

“Then I said to the angel

Who talked with me.

‘What are these?

My lord!’

The angel answered me.

‘These are the four winds

Of heaven going out,

After presenting themselves

Before Yahweh,

The Lord

Of all the earth.

The red horses

Advance to the east country.

The chariot with the black horses

Goes toward the north country.

The white horse chariots

Go toward the west country.

The dappled horse chariots

Go toward the south country.’”

Once again, as usual, Zechariah asked the angel who talked to him what was this vision all about.  This angel answered that these 4 chariots represented the 4 winds of heaven.  Each of these chariots with their colorful horses went in a different direction, after having presented themselves to Yahweh.  The red horses with their chariot went in an eastern direction.  The chariot with the black horses went north.  The while horses with their chariot went to the western area, while the dappled horses with their chariot went south.  Thus, all the different directions were covered.

Against the Assyrians (Zeph 2:13-2:14)

“Yahweh will stretch out

His hand

Against the north.

He will destroy

Assyria.

He will make

Nineveh

A desolation,

A dry waste,

Like the desert.

Herds shall lie down in it.

Every wild animal

Shall lie down in it.

The desert owl,

The screech owl

Shall lodge

On its capitals

The owl shall hoot

At the window.

The raven shall croak

On the threshold.

Its cedar works

Will be laid bare.”

Yahweh was going to stretch out his hand to destroy the enemy of Israel to the north, the Assyrians.  He had just punished the people on the west, the Philistines, the people on the east, the Moabites and the Ammonites, and the people to the south, the Ethiopians.  Yahweh was going to make northern Nineveh a desolate wasteland desert.   Every kind of wild animal and various herds would live there.  A variety of owls would nest in their ornate towers.  Owls would hoot at their windows, while ravens would croak at their doorsteps.  All their cedar wood work would be open to the weather.

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 southern campaign in Palestine (Dan 11:22-11:24)

“Armies

Shall be utterly swept away

Before him.

They shall be broken

Before him.

This includes

The prince of the covenant as well.

After an alliance is made

With him,

He shall act deceitfully.

He shall become strong

With a small party.

Without warning,

He shall come

Into the richest parts

Of the province.

He shall do

What none of his predecessors

Had ever done.

He shall lavish

Plunder,

Spoil,

Wealth,

On them.

He shall devise plans

Against strongholds,

But only for a time.”

This king of the north from Syria and Babylon, King Antiochus IV, would go south to Judea or Palestine. He would take his armies and go against the prince of the covenant, probably the Jerusalem high priest, Onias III. He was going to act deceitfully and become strong with a small party of his own. He even was going to attack the rich areas of Israel to plunder, spoil, and give wealth to his friends, something his predecessors had never done. He even would temporarily make plans against the various strongholds.

The little horn grew strong (Dan 8:9-8:10)

“Out of one of them

Came another horn,

A little one.

It grew exceedingly great,

Toward the south,

Toward the east,

Toward the beautiful land.

It grew as high,

As the host

Of heaven.

It threw down

To earth

Some of the host,

Some of the stars.

It cast them down

To the ground.

It trampled on them.”

Once again, the little horn is the big problem, as in the last vision. This little horn is a reference to a member of the Seleucids branch, Antiochus IV Epiphanes. This little horn grew great towards the south, the east, and into the beautiful land, the land of Israel. This little horn also grew tall to the heavens. It threw down some of the hosts of heaven and the stars of the sky. It cast them down to the ground and trampled on them.

The vision of the ram (Dan 8:3-8:4)

“I looked up.

I saw a ram

Standing

Beside the river.

It had two horns.

Both horns

Were long.

But one was longer

Than the other.

The longer one

Came up second.

I saw the ram

Charging

Westward,

Northward,

Southward.

All beasts were

Powerless

To withstand him.

No one could be rescued

From its power.

It did as it pleased.

It became strong.”

Daniel then saw a ram standing by the river. Obviously, it had 2 long horns, but one horn was longer than the other. Perhaps, this was an indication of the longer Persian was the shorter Medes horn. This ram charged west, north, and south, but not eastward. All the other animals were powerless before it. No one could escape from it, because it did what it pleased, as it seemed to get stronger.

The Brook of Egypt border (Ezek 48:28-48:28)

“Adjoining the territory

Of Gad,

To the south,

The boundary shall run

From Tamar

To the waters

Of Meribath-kadesh.

From there

It shall run

Along the Brook of Egypt

To the Great Sea.”

Somehow the territory of Gad was in the south. Now we have the southern borders of Israel just as it was described in the preceding chapter. This southern border in Numbers, chapter 34 was also vague. Here the border goes almost to Egypt, to the great sea, or the Mediterranean Sea. Tamar was the start of this southeast border. Meribath-kadesh was in the wilderness of Zin, south of the Dead Sea.

The tribe of Gad (Ezek 48:27-48:27)

“Adjoining the territory

Of Zebulun,

From the east side

To the west side,

Gad shall have

One portion.”

Gad was originally on the east side of the Jordan River in Joshua, chapter 13. They were originally surrounded by Manasseh on the north and west side, with Reuben to its south. It was never close to Zebulun. However, both might have been small tribes by this time.

The tribe of Simeon (Ezek 48:24-48:24)

“Adjoining the territory

Of Benjamin,

From the east side

To the west side,

Simeon shall have

One portion.”

Simeon had gotten very little land in Joshua, chapter 19, just some land south of Judah. Here, they are attached to Benjamin in some way that is not clear. They had one portion, just like Benjamin. Obviously, Simeon was decreasing in power and value.