The lost crop (Hos 8:7-8:7)

“They sow the wind.

But they shall reap

The whirlwind.

The standing grain

Has no heads.

It shall yield

No meal.

If it were to yield

Anything,

Foreigners

Would devour it.”

The northern Israelites were in a unique position. They would sow with the wind, but it suddenly would become a whirlwind. The planted grain would never mature in the field, since there would be no heads of grain. Therefore, there would be no harvesting of the grain for meals. Even if it yielded any grain, foreigners, and not them, would devour it, because of the invasion of the Assyrians.

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Darius the Mede takes over (Dan 5:31-5:31)

“Darius,

The Mede,

Received

The kingdom.

He was about

Sixty-two years old.”

There is a lot of conjecture about this Darius, the Mede. The Medes joined with the Babylonians to overthrow the Assyrians. They came under Persian power around 550 BCE. Cyrus of Persia was the real power that conquered Babylon in 539 BCE. This Darius appears to be based on Darius I (522-486 BCE), the third Persian Emperor, not a contemporary of Cyrus or Daniel. Nevertheless, this was the end of the great Babylonian empire. Thus, ends the story of the great dinner party that finished in a disaster for the king, because he had dared to drink wine from the sacred vessels of the Jerusalem Temple.

The scattered sheep (Ezek 34:5-34:6)

“The sheep

Were scattered,

Because there was

No shepherd.

Thus,

They became food

For all the wild animals.

My sheep

Were scattered.

They wandered

Over all the mountains.

They wandered

On every high hill.

My sheep

Were scattered

Over all the face

Of the earth.

There was no one

To search

For them.

There was no one

To seek

For them.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that his sheep were scattered, because there was no shepherd to lead them. Thus, these sheep became food for all the wild animals, perhaps an allusion to the attacks of the Assyrians and the Babylonians. The sheep of Israel and Judah were scattered, so that they wandered into the mountains and the high hills, perhaps an allusion to the high places of idol worship. His sheep were scattered all over all the face of the earth, perhaps an allusion to the captivity. Finally, there was no leader or shepherd to go out to search and look for them. They were the lost sheep of Israel.

The captivity of the Ammonites (Ezek 25:3-25:4)

“Say to the Ammonites!

Hear

The word of Yahweh God!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘You said.

‘Aha!’

Over my sanctuary

When it was profaned.

You said.

‘Aha!’

Over the land of Israel

When it was made desolate.

You said.

‘Aha!’

Over the house of Judah

When it went into exile.

Therefore

I am handing you over

To the people of the East

For a possession.

They shall set

Their encampments

Among you.

They shall pitch

Their tents

In your midst.

They shall eat

Your fruit.

They shall drink

Your milk.’”

Yahweh wanted Ezekiel to tell the Ammonites to listen to the word of Yahweh, their God. However, they had their own gods. Apparently the Ammonites had profaned the sanctuary in Jerusalem. They had laughed when the northern kingdom of Israel was destroyed. They had even laughed at the exile of the people from Judah. Their punishment would be that they would be handed over to the people of the East, who would set up encampments and tents in their territory. These invaders would even eat their fruit and drink their milk. This probably was an allusion to the Assyrians, whom the Ammonites were dependent upon.

The attackers of Jerusalem (Ezek 23:23-23:24)

“The Babylonians,

All the Chaldeans,

With Pekod,

Shoa,

Koa,

Will come.

All the Assyrians

Will be with them.

The handsome young men,

The governors,

The commanders

All of them,

Officers,

Warriors,

All of them

Riding on horses

Will come.

They shall come

Against you

From the north

With chariots,

With wagons,

With a host of people.

They shall set themselves

Against you

On every side

With buckler,

With shield,

With helmet.

I will commit

The judgment

To them.

They shall judge you

According to their ordinances.”

The Babylonians, all the Chaldeans, including their mercenaries from Pekod, Shoa, and Koa would come against Jerusalem. All the Assyrians would be with them, including those handsome young men, the governors, and the commanders. All the officers, warriors, and those riding on horses would come against Jerusalem from the north with their chariots, wagons, and a whole army of people. They would be on every side of Jerusalem with their hand shields or bucklers, large shields, and helmets. Yahweh was going to leave the judgment of Jerusalem up to them. They would judge Jerusalem according to their own laws.

Against Damascus (Jer 49:23-49:27)

“Concerning Damascus.

‘Hamath is confounded.

Arpad is confounded.

They have heard bad news.

They melt in fear.

They are troubled

Like the sea

That cannot be quiet.

Damascus has become feeble.

She turned to flee.

Panic seized her.

Anguish has taken hold of her.

Sorrows have taken hold of her,

As a woman in labor.

How the famous city is forsaken!

The joyful town!

Therefore her young men

Shall fall

In her squares.

All her soldiers

Shall be destroyed,

On that day.’

Says Yahweh of hosts!

‘I will kindle a fire

At the wall of Damascus.

It shall devour

The strongholds of Ben-hadad.’”

Damascus had been under the control of the Assyrians since around 740 BCE, before the fall of the northern Israelites to Assyria in 724 BCE. Now the Babylonians were taking over for the Assyrians. The two other cities mentioned with Damascus, were Hamath and Arpad. Hamath was in upper Syria with Arpad nearly a 100 miles further north. These northern towns were upset and troubled over the news about southern Damascus. They felt like they were on troubled waters and could not be quiet. Damascus itself was weak and in panic. This former joyful town saw people fleeing with panic. Once again they had become weak like women in labor. Their young men were dying in the squares since the soldiers had been killed. The soldiers also died. There was a huge fire that destroyed the walls and royal buildings of Ben-hadad. King Ben-hadad was a 9th century BCE king of Damascus who had some battles with King Asa of Judah and King Omri of Israel, in 1 Kings, chapter 20. However, there were 2 other kings with the same name, so that it clearly referred to the royal palaces or fortresses in Damascus. Once again there is no mention of a restoration for Damascus.

King Shallum (Jer 22:11-22:12)

“Thus says Yahweh

Concerning King Shallum

The son of King Josiah

Of Judah.

He succeeded his father,

King Josiah.

He went away from this place.

He shall never return here.

But in the place

Where they have carried him captive,

There he shall die.

He shall never

See this land again.”

King Shallum or King Jehoahaz (609-609 BCE) was the son of King Josiah (640-609 BCE). At the age of 23 he succeeded his father who had died in battle. As you can see, he lasted less than a year, only 3 months, before he was banished to Egypt by King Necho II of Egypt (610-595 BCE), where he died in prison. His brother King Eliakim or King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE) succeeded him with the blessings of King Necho II of Egypt. Jeremiah recounts that Yahweh had him succeed his father. Then he was sent away to Egypt from which he never returned. He never saw his homeland again. There is a good deal of historical artifacts about this time, showing the problems of the Egyptians, the Assyrians, and the Babylonians with the king of Judah in the middle.