The siege of Nineveh (Nah 3:12-3:14)

“You also will be drunken.

You will go into hiding.

You will seek

A refuge

From the enemy.

All your fortresses are

Like fig trees

With first-ripe figs.

If shaken,

They fall

Into the mouth

Of the eater.

Look at your troops!

They are women

In your midst.

The gates

Of your land

Are wide open

To your foes.

Fire has devoured

The bars of your gates.

Draw water

For the siege!

Strengthen your forts!

Trample the clay!

Tread the mortar!

Take hold

Of the brick mold!”

So too, the people of Nineveh would be drunk and go into hiding, as they would seek to get away from their enemies.  All their strong fortresses would be like ripe fig trees.  If they would be touched or shaken, these strongholds would fall like ripe fruit right into the mouths of their enemies.  Women had become their troops.  The gates of the city were wide open to their enemies because fire had consumed the bars on their gates.  They had to get water during the siege.  They would have to strengthen their fortresses with clay, mortar, and bricks.

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What Yahweh was going to do (Mic 5:10-5:11)

“Yahweh says.

‘In that day,

I will cut off

Your horses

From among you.

I will destroy

Your chariots.

I will cut off

The cities of your land.

I will throw down

All your strongholds.’”

In the day to come, Yahweh was going to get rid of the horses and chariots of the Israelites.  He was going to cut off their cities from their land.  He was going to get rid of the military fortresses and strongholds that they had built.  There would be no need for war.

Against human fortresses (Hos 8:14-8:14)

“Israel has forgotten

His Maker.

They built palaces.

Judah has multiplied

Fortified cities.

But I will send

A fire

Upon his cities.

It shall devour

His strongholds.”

The final swipe in this chapter is against southern Judah also. Northern Israel had forgotten its creator maker. They had built palaces that they thought would survive. Meanwhile, southern Judah also built a number of fortified cities. Yahweh, via Hosea, reminded them that he could devour their cities and strongholds. They should have relied on Yahweh and not their own construction.

Israel will become a land of desolation (Ezek 33:27-33:29)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Say this to them!

As I live!

Surely those who are

In the waste places

Shall fall

By the sword.

Those who are

In the open fields,

I will give

To the wild animals

To be devoured.

Those who are

In the strongholds,

In the caves,

Shall die

By pestilence.

I will make the land

A desolation.

I will make it

A waste.

Its proud might

Shall come to an end.

The mountains of Israel

Shall be so desolate

That no one

Will pass through.

Then they shall know

That I am Yahweh,

When I have made

The land

A desolation,

A waste,

Because of all

The abominations

That they have committed.’”

Yahweh God told Ezekiel to tell the Israelites that the land of Israel was going to become a wasteland. People would die by the sword. Wild animals would devour people in the open fields. People in the strongholds and caves would die from pestilence. The land would become desolate. The proud ones would come to an end. The mountains of Israel would be so desolate that no one would pass through them. Finally, they would know that Yahweh had made the land a desolation and a waste, because of all the abominations that they had committed.

The menacing wild animals in Edom (Isa 34:13-34:15)

“Thorns shall grow over Edom’s strongholds.

Nettles shall be in its fortresses.

Thistles shall be in its fortresses.

It shall be the haunt of jackals.

It shall be an abode for ostriches.

Wildcats shall meet with hyenas.

Goat-demons shall cry to each other.

There too Lilith shall repose.

It shall find a place to rest.

There shall the owl nest.

The owl lays there.

The owl hatches its brood in its shadow.

There too the buzzards shall gather.

Each one shall have her mate.”

This terrible place of Edom will have thorn bushes growing in its strongholds, with nettles and thistles in these fortresses. A number of menacing odd animals will live there, the jackal wolf dogs, the ostriches, the wildcats, and the hyenas. On top of that there will be demon like goats and the ancient monster female demon Lilith. Strangely enough, the menacing owls are also there to rest and nest their young ones. Of course, there would be the ever threatening buzzards with their mates.

The war with the Idumeans (2 Macc 10:15-10:17)

“Besides Gorgias, the Idumeans, who had control of important strongholds, were harassing the Jews. They received those who were banished from Jerusalem. They endeavored to keep up the war. But Judas Maccabeus and his men, after making solemn supplication and beseeching God to fight on their side, rushed to the strongholds of the Idumeans. Attacking them vigorously, they gained possession of the places. They beat off all who fought upon the wall. They slaughtered those whom they encountered. They killed no fewer than twenty thousand.”

Once again, this conflict can be found in 1 Maccabees, chapter 5, where there was some burning, but without the number of people who died. The Idumeans were the people from Edom who continuously harassed the Jews. The supporters of the banished high priest Menelaus had fled here. Here, Judas Maccabeus and his men prayed to God that he might be on their side as they rushed the strongholds of the Idumeans. Then they attacked and took the strongholds, as they killed 20,000 Idumeans, quite a slaughter.

The letter of King Antiochus VII to Simon (1 Macc 15:2-15:9)

“The contents of the letter of King Antiochus were as follows.

‘King Antiochus

To Simon the high priest and the ethnarch

And to the nation of the Jews,

Greetings!

Whereas certain scoundrels

Have gained control of the kingdom of our fathers,

I intend to lay claim to the kingdom

So that I may restore it as it formerly was.

I have recruited a host of mercenary troops.

I have equipped warships.

I intend to make a landing in the country

So that I may proceed

Against those who have destroyed our country

Against those who have devastated many cities in my kingdom.

Now therefore I confirm to you

All the tax remissions that the kings before me have granted you.

I release you from all the other payments

From which they have released you.

I permit you to mint your own coinage as money for your country.

I grant freedom to Jerusalem and the sanctuary.

All the weapons which you have prepared

All the strongholds which you have built

All the strongholds that you now hold

Shall remain yours.

Every debt you owe to the royal treasury

Any such future debts shall be canceled for you

From henceforth and for all time.

When we gain control of our kingdom,

We will bestow great honor upon you,

Your nation and the temple,

So that your glory will become manifest in all the earth.’”

King Antiochus VII was about to take over for his brother because he was complaining about the scoundrels who had taken over his country, probably King Trypho. He sent his greetings to Simon and the whole Jewish nation. He talked about how he was going to land and take his country back, so that it is clear he is not there yet. However, he granted to Simon and Jews all the tax exemptions that his brother and father had granted them. He went one step further when he said that they could mint their own coins. This was a strong sign of an independent nation. He allowed them to keep all their weapons and strongholds. All future debts would be cancelled. That is unique and seems to be saying take my money, you do not have to pay it back. Once again, there is the hypothetical “when” he gained control then he was going to honor Simon. He wanted the Jewish glory manifested on the whole earth. He was offering a lot before he had anything.