Yahweh will punish the city (Am 6:8-6:8)

“Yahweh God

Has sworn by himself.

Says Yahweh!

The God of hosts!

‘I abhor the pride

Of Jacob!

I hate his strongholds!

I will deliver up

The city

With all that is in it.’”

Yahweh was going to punish the city of Samaria. Yahweh had sworn to himself in this oracle of Yahweh, the God of heavenly hosts. Yahweh said that he abhorred the pride of Jacob, that is Israel. He also hated their fortresses. He was going to deliver up the city of Samaria with everything in it.

The king of Babylon chooses the way to go (Ezek 21:21-21:23)

“The king of Babylon

Stands

At the parting of the way,

At the fork

In the two roads.

He uses divination.

He shakes the arrows.

He consults the teraphim.

He inspects the liver.

Into his right hand

Comes the lot

For Jerusalem,

To set battering rams,

To call out

For slaughter,

For raising

The battle cry,

To set battering rams

Against the gates,

To cast up ramps,

To build siege towers.

But to them

It will seem

Like a false divination.

They have sworn

Solemn oaths.

But he brings

Their guilt

To remembrance,

Bringing about

Their captive.”

The king of Babylon stood at the fork in the road. He decided to use his forecasting skills of divination by shaking arrows, consulting the ancient household teraphim gods, and looking at sheep livers. Finally the lot of Jerusalem came into his right hand as he chose the road to Jerusalem. There he would call out for slaughter, raise the battle cry, set the battering rams against the gates, cast up ramps, and build siege towers. It might have seemed like a false divination for the people of Jerusalem. They had sworn solemn oaths. They had brought their guilt remembrance. They were about to be captured.

The gathering around holiness (Ezek 20:41-20:42)

“‘As a pleasing odor,

I will accept you.

When I bring you out

From the people,

I will gather you

Out of the countries

Where you have been

Scattered.

I will manifest

My holiness

Among you

In the sight

Of the nations.

You shall know

That I am Yahweh,

When I bring you

Into the land of Israel,

The country

That I swore

To give

To your ancestors.”

Yahweh was going to accept the Israelites as a pleasing odor, when he was going to gather his people from the various scattered nations and countries. Yahweh was going to manifest his holiness among them in the sight of the other nations. They would all know that it was Yahweh that brought them into the land of Israel. This is the same country that he had sworn to give to their ancestors.

 

The promise of the glorious land (Ezek 20:6-20:7)

“On that day

I swore to them

That I would bring them

Out of the land

Of Egypt

Into a land

That I had searched out

For them.

This is a land flowing

With milk,

As well as honey.

This is the most glorious

Of all lands.

I said to them.

‘Cast away

The detestable things

Your eyes feast on!

Everyone of you!

Do not defile yourselves

With the idols of Egypt!

I am Yahweh

Your God!’”

Yahweh reminded Ezekiel that he had sworn to bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that he had searched out for them. This new most glorious of all lands would be flowing with milk and honey. Yahweh, however, told them to cast away the detestable things that their eyes had feasted upon. They were not to defile themselves with the various Egyptian idols. After all, he was Yahweh, their God.

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.

No foreigners would eat or drink in Jerusalem (Isa 62:8-62:9)

“Yahweh has sworn

By his right hand,

By his mighty arm.

‘I will not again give your grain

To be food for your enemies.

Foreigners shall not drink the wine

For which you have labored.

But those who garner it

Shall eat it.

They shall praise Yahweh.

Those who garner it

Shall drink it

In my holy courts.’”

Yahweh now contends that no foreigners will eat or drink from the labor of those in Jerusalem. Yahweh has sworn by his mighty right hand that the grain harvested there will stay there, not be given to enemies. These foreign enemies will not drink the wine that was developed in Jerusalem. Instead the locals will gather the grapes and drink the wine in the holy courts at Jerusalem.

There will be no more destruction (Isa 54:9-54:10)

“This is

Like the days of Noah to me.

Just as I swore

That the waters of Noah

Should never again

Go over the earth,

I have sworn

That I will not be angry with you.

I will not rebuke you.

The mountains may depart.

The hills me be removed.

But my steadfast love

Shall not depart from you.

My covenant of peace

Shall not be removed.

So says Yahweh,

Who has compassion on you.”

Second Isaiah explains that there would be no more destruction for Israel. Citing the days of Noah, Yahweh has sworn that he would not destroy the earth with water again. Thus he said that he would not be angry or rebuke the people of Israel again. Yahweh says that the mountains and hills could fall, but his steadfast love would remain. His covenant of peace would not be removed, because he had compassion on Israel.