The new assembly (Mic 2:12-2:13)

“I will surely gather

All of you!

O Jacob!

I will gather

The survivors of Israel!

I will set them together

Like sheep in a fold,

Like a flock in its pasture.

It will resound

With people.

The one who breaks out

Will go up

Before them.

They will break through.

They will pass the gate,

Going out by it.

Their king will pass on

Before them,

Yahweh at their head.”

Micah seemed to talk about a restoration, when nothing has happened yet.  Perhaps, this is a later addition.  Nevertheless, Yahweh wanted to gather all the people of Jacob with the survivors from northern Israel.  They were going to be one flock of sheep.  They would break out of their holding area when someone would lead them out through the gate.  This would be their new king, Yahweh.

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The fire (Ob 1:18-1:18)

“‘The house of Jacob

Shall be a fire.

The house of Joseph

Shall be a flame.

The house of Esau

Shall be stubble.

They shall burn them.

They shall consume them.

There shall be

No survivor

Of the house of Esau.’

Yahweh has spoken.”

The house of Jacob and the house of Joseph would be like a fire or a flame.  They were going to turn Esau into a stubble, since these fiery flames would burn and consume them.  Thus, there would be no survivors in the house of Esau or Edom.  Yahweh, according to Obadiah, had spoken very clearly.

The king of Judah broke Yahweh’s oath (Ezek 17:19-17:21)

“Therefore thus says

Yahweh God!

‘As I live,

I will surely return

Upon his head

My oath

That he despised.

He broke

My covenant.

I will spread

My net

Over him.

He shall be caught

In my snare.

I will bring him

To Babylon.

I will enter

Into judgment

With him there

For the treason

That he has committed

Against me.

The entire pick

Of his troops

Shall fall

By the sword.

The survivors

Shall be scattered

To every wind.

You shall know

That I,

Yahweh,

Have spoken.’”

It is interesting to note that the covenant and oath that King Zedekiah had sworn to the King of Babylon was interpreted by Yahweh as an oath and alliance with Yahweh, himself. Yahweh was going to return the oath on the king’s head because he had despised this oath. He had broken Yahweh’s covenant when he broke his agreement with the king of Babylon. Yahweh was going to spread his net over him, so that he was going to be caught in his snare. Yahweh was going to bring the king to Babylon to enter judgment on him there for the treason that he had committed against Yahweh. All the king’s best troops would fall by the sword in battle. The survivors would be scattered to every wind. They would know that it was Yahweh who had delivered this judgment.

The punishment for going to Egypt (Jer 42:15-42:17)

“Then hear

The word of Yahweh!

O remnant of Judah!

Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

‘If you are determined

To enter Egypt,

Go settle there!

Then the sword

That you fear

Shall overtake you there,

In the land of Egypt.

The famine

That you dread

Shall follow close after you

Into Egypt.

There you shall die!

All the people

Who have determined

To go to Egypt

To settle there

Shall die

By the sword,

By famine,

By pestilence.

They shall have

No remnant,

No survivor

From the disaster

That I am bringing upon them.’”

Jeremiah repeats the words of Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel. If they are determined to go to Egypt and settle there, they will die there. The famine that they dread so much will overtake them in Egypt. They will die there by any of the 3 famous ways of sword, famine, or pestilence. They will be no survivors there, nobody to carry on their name. Yahweh would bring disaster on them in Egypt.

The situation at Jerusalem (Isa 1:8-1:9)

“The daughter of Zion is left

Like a booth in a vineyard,

Like a shelter in a cucumber field,

Like a besieged city.

If Yahweh of hosts

Had not left us

A few survivors.”

There is no doubt that this reference to the daughter of Zion is the besieged city of Jerusalem, as in 2 Kings, chapter 18. Jerusalem is like a tent in a vineyard or a shelter in a cucumber field, a safe haven. This is an obvious reference to the invasion of King Sennacherib of Assyria (705-681 BCE) on Jerusalem around 702 BCE, the 14th year of King Hezekiah (716-687 BCE) of Judah. Yahweh, however, left some survivors. In fact, there will be no attack on Jerusalem, as indicated in 2 Kings, chapter 19.

The organization and activity around Mattathias (1 Macc 2:42-2:48)

“Then there united with them a company of Hasideans, the mighty warriors of Israel. All offered themselves willingly for the law. All who became fugitives to escape their troubles joined them and reinforced them.   They organized an army. They struck down sinners in their anger. They struck down renegades in their wrath. The survivors fled to the gentiles for safety. Mattathias and his friends went around and tore down the altars. They forcibly circumcised all the uncircumcised boys that they found within the borders of Israel. They hunted down the arrogant men. This work prospered in their hands. They rescued the law out of the hands of the gentiles and the kings. They never let the sinner gain the upper hand.”

Mattathias was joined by the Hasideans. These were “the pious ones,” the saints, the holy ones, the religious ascetics. They were strict followers of the Mosaic Law. They may have come out of the Nazarene movement of earlier times. These Hasideans may have merged into the Essences of the first century CE. Perhaps the Pharisees with their emphasis on the letter of the law may have developed from these Hasideans also. They were the mighty warriors of Israel, clearly against the creeping Hellenism of the 2nd century BCE. Anyone who had trouble with the law also joined Mattathias just as David had gathered around him those who had trouble with King Saul in 1 Samuel, chapter 22. This rugged group attacked Jewish sinners and renegades, those mentioned in chapter 1 of this book, who did not follow the Mosaic Law. They went around tearing down the pagan gentile altars. They forcibly circumcised any boy they found in Israel. They were like a righteous terrorist bully group that punished those who disagreed with them. However, they seem to have been succeeding.