Jonah goes to Nineveh (Jon 3:3-3:3)

“Thus,

Jonah set out for Nineveh.

He went to Nineveh,

According to

The word of Yahweh.

Now Nineveh was

An exceedingly large city.

It would take three days

To walk across it.”

This time the response of Jonah was quite different.  Instead of running away, Jonah went to Nineveh as the word of Yahweh had instructed him.  Next, we have a short description of this Nineveh, the capital city of the Assyrians, a very large city that would take 3 days to walk across it.  Actually, it was only about 3 miles wide and 1½ miles wide.  It was one of the largest cities in the ancient world until the civil war of 612 BCE, probably with a population of around 120,000 people.  Geographically, Nineveh was on the outskirts of modern day Mosul, Iraq, on the east bank of the Tigris River.

Seek Yahweh (Am 5:4-5:6)

“Thus says Yahweh

To the house of Israel.

‘Seek me!

Live!

But do not seek Bethel!

Do not enter into Gilgal!

Do not cross over to Beer-sheba!

Gilgal shall surely go into exile!

Bethel shall come to nothing!

Seek Yahweh!

Live!

Otherwise,

He will break out

Against the house of Joseph,

Like fire.

It will devour Bethel,

With no one to quench it.’”

Amos has Yahweh tell the house of Israel to seek him, so that they might live. However, they were not to seek Yahweh at the religious places of the idols at Bethel or Gilgal, since nothing would come of that. They were not to go to Beer-sheba either, which was south of Judah, like a resort place. Instead, they were to seek out Yahweh, so that they could live. Yahweh was going to break out against the house of Joseph, Ephraim, and devour Bethel, the capital city, with a fire that no one could put out.

Against Ammon (Am 1:13-1:15)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘For three transgressions,

Of the Ammonites,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

Because they ripped open

Pregnant women

In the Gilead.

They wanted to enlarge

Their territory.

So,

I will kindle a fire

Against the wall of Rabbah.

Fire shall devour

Its strongholds,

With shouting

On the day of battle.

There will be a storm

On the day of the whirlwind.

Their king

Shall go into exile,

He with his officials together.’

Says Yahweh.”

Ammon was east of the Jordan River, between the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee in the old Gad territory. According to Genesis, chapter 19, the Ammonites were the descendants of Lot through the incest he had with his daughter. Yahweh, via Amos, invoked the same language as he had used against Damascus, the Philistines, Tyre, and Edom. He used the same numeric formula of 3 and 4, as found in Proverbs, chapter 30. These Ammonites had killed pregnant women in the Gilead, the Israelite territory on the east side of the Jordan River, because they wanted to take over that territory. Thus, Yahweh was going to send fire down on Rabbah, the capital city that is today the capital of Jordan, Amman. This fire would destroy all their fortresses, like a storm or whirlwind. The king and all its officials would go into exile.

Against Edom (Am 1:11-1:12)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘For three transgressions

Of Edom,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

Because he pursued

His brother

With the sword.

He cast off all pity.

He maintained

His anger perpetually.

He kept his wrath forever.

So,

I will send a fire

On Teman.

It shall devour

The strongholds of Bozrah.’”

Edom was southeast of Judah and south of the Dead Sea. Yahweh, via Amos, invoked the same language as he had used against Damascus, the Philistines, and Tyre. He used the same numeric formula of 3 and 4, like in Proverbs, chapter 30. Edom was considered a brother of Israel, because its founder was Esau, the twin brother of Jacob. Edom had tried to kill the Israelites with a sword. They had no pity, since they were perpetually angry. Thus, Yahweh was going to send fire down on Teman, either a tribe or small village in Edom. He was also going to devour the fortress in Bozrah, the capital city of Edom, in present day Jordan.

The punishment for Samaria (Hos 13:15-13:16)

“Although he may flourish

Among the rushes of reed plants,

The east wind shall come,

A blast from Yahweh.

It will rise

From the wilderness.

His fountain

Shall dry up.

His spring

Shall be parched.

It shall strip

His treasury

Of every precious thing.

Samaria shall bear

Her guilt.

Because she has rebelled

Against her God.

They shall fall

By the sword.

Their little ones

Shall be dashed

In pieces.

Their pregnant women

Shall be ripped open.”

This is very strong criticism of Samaria, the capital city of the northern Israelite kingdom. It might flourish now, but the deadly east wind of Yahweh will come from the wilderness. Its fountains and springs will dry up and be parched. It will lose all the precious things of its treasury. Samaria will have to carry the guilt, because it rebelled against God. It will fall by the sword or die. Its little children will be broken into little pieces. Its pregnant women will have their pregnancies terminated by ripping open their wombs. This will be a bad time for Samaria.

Judgment on the cities of Moab (Jer 48:21-48:25)

“‘Judgment has come

Upon the tableland,

Upon

Holon,

Jahzah,

Mephaath,

Dibon,

Nebo,

Beth-diblathaim,

Kiriathaim,

Beth-gamul,

Beth-meon,

Kerioth,

Bozrah,

And all the towns

Of the land

Of Moab,

Far and near.

The horn of Moab

Is cut off.

His arm is broken.’

Says Yahweh.”

Now Yahweh, via Jeremiah, issues his judgment against the Moab cities and towns. Interesting enough, the only other time two of these cities are named was in the book of Joshua, chapter 21,when they were assigned to the Levites living in the Reuben territory. Out of the four Levite towns mentioned there, two are mentioned here, Jahaz and Mephaath. In chapter 13 of Joshua, other cities were mentioned, Dibon, the capital city, Kiriathaim, and Beth-meon. Nebo was a Babylonian god, but could also be a place in Moab. Bozrah was in the southern part of Moab, while Beth-gamul was in eastern Moab. It is difficult to pin point the exact locations of Holon, Beth-diblathaim, and Kerioth. Actually this oracle proclaims that all the towns of Moab have been destroyed, since the horn of Moab and his arm have been broken and cut off. The towns are named explicitly here.

The sword of Yahweh on Edom (Isa 34:5-34:7)

“When my sword has drunk

Its fill in the heavens,

It will descend upon Edom.

My sword will descend

Upon the people I have doomed.

Yahweh has a sword.

It is sated with blood,

With the blood of lambs,

With the blood of goats.

It is gorged with fat,

With the fat of the kidneys of rams.

Yahweh has a sacrifice in Bozrah.

There was a great slaughter

In the land of Edom.

Wild oxen shall fall with them.

Young steers shall fall with them.

Mighty bulls shall fall with them.

Their land shall be soaked with blood.

Their soil made rich with fat.”

Isaiah has Yahweh talk about his sword that was going to descend on the country of Edom, southeast of Judah, where the twin brother of Jacob, Esau, had settled as in Genesis, chapter 36. Yahweh’s heavenly sword would fall upon the doomed country of Edom. This sword would be full of blood from goats and rams as well as fat from their kidneys. There was going to be a great sacrificial slaughter in Bozrah, the capital city of Edom. There was going to be such a sacrifice of oxen, steers, and bulls that the land would be soaked with blood and fat so that the soil would become rich.