With the kingdoms of Hazor
That King Nebuchadnezzar
Thus says Yahweh.
Advance against Kedar!
Destroy the people of the east!
Take their tents!
Take their flocks!
Take their curtains!
Take all their goods!
Carry off their camels
A cry shall go up.
‘Terror is all around!’”
Kedar was the second son of Ishmael, the step brother of Isaac. However, this biblical term was applied to a group of nomadic tribes in the northwest Arabian desert, east of the Jordan River and Ammon, in what is today Saudi Arabia. They were considered to be the people of the east, the Arabs. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was going to defeat them. He was going to take their possessions since they had no buildings to burn. They were going to lose their tents, flocks, curtains, and most importantly their camels. They would cry out that terror was all around them. They had no fortresses to defend themselves. Both Kedar and Hazor were not restored, but left as wastelands.
‘The days are surely coming
When I will attend to
All those who are circumcised
Only in the foreskin.
As well as all those with shaven temples
Who live in the desert.
All these nations are uncircumcised.
All the house of Israel
Is uncircumcised in heart.’”
Yahweh, via Jeremiah, criticizes those who are uncircumcised in their hearts. He seems to indicate that that Egyptians, the Edomites, the Moabites are also circumcised, as it must have been a common custom. He also indicates that Judah is also circumcised along with the Arabs in the desert with their shaven temples. However, the harshest treatment is for the house of Israel that is uncircumcised in the heart.
“Jonathan heard that the commanders of Demetrius had returned with a larger force than before, to wage war against him. So he marched away from Jerusalem. He met them in the region of Hamath, so that he gave them no opportunity to invade his own country. He sent spies to their camp. They returned and reported to him that the enemy was being drawn up in formation to fall upon the Jews by night. So when the sun set, Jonathan commanded his troops to be alert. He commanded them to keep their arms at hand so as to be ready all night for battle. He stationed outposts around the camp. When the enemy heard that Jonathan and his men were prepared for battle, they were afraid. They were terrified at heart. So they kindled fires in their camp and withdrew. But Jonathan and his troops did not know it until morning, for they saw the fires burning. Then Jonathan pursued them, but he did not overtake them. They had crossed the Eleutherus River. So Jonathan turned aside against the Arabs who are called Zabadeans. He crushed them and plundered them. Then he broke camp and went to Damascus. He marched throughout that region.”
The old commanders of the deposed King Demetrius II returned with a larger force to wage war against Jonathan. However, Jonathan wanted to fight them not in his own country so he went out to Hamath, a city in Syria. Then he sent spies, who returned to tell him that they were going to attack him at night. Jonathan had all his men ready that night. When the commanders of the deposed King Demetrius II saw that Jonathan was waiting for them, they were afraid and left. When morning came, Jonathan realized that they were gone. He tried to overtake them, but it was impossible. Instead, he decided to fight against the Zabadean Arabs. He crushed them and took their spoils. Then he headed out of the region towards Damascus.
“When Sanballat and Tobiah as well as the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward, they were very angry. The gaps were beginning to be closed. They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem. They wanted to cause confusion there. So we prayed to our God. We set a guard as a protection against them day and night.”
Sanballat and Tobiah seemed to have gotten a number of different people to help them. They had the Arabs, the wandering people of the east, the Ammonites, from nearby, as well as the people from Ashdod. They were all angry about the fortifications around Jerusalem. They were all going to fight against Jerusalem. Somehow they wanted to cause confusion among the people of Jerusalem. Nehemiah said that they prayed to their God. However, they also set up a day and night guard to protect against potential invaders.