Compassion for Jerusalem (Zech 1:15-1:17)

“‘I am extremely angry

With the nations

That are at ease.

While only a little angry,

They made the disaster worse.’

Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh.

‘I have returned to Jerusalem

With compassion.

My house shall be built in it.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘The measuring lines

Shall be stretched out

Over Jerusalem.

Proclaim further!

Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

My cities

Shall again overflow

With prosperity.

Yahweh will again comfort Zion.

He will again choose Jerusalem.’”

While Yahweh was angry at the various easy-going nations, he was going to be compassionate to Jerusalem.  The other countries had made matters worse.  Now Yahweh was going to return to Jerusalem with compassion for its people.  Yahweh of hosts was going to spread out his measuring lines over Jerusalem.  He wanted them to proclaim that the cities of Yahweh would again overflow with prosperity.  Yahweh has chosen Jerusalem and Zion as his home.

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The first curse against their greed (Hab 2:6-2:8)

“Shall not everyone

Taunt such people,

With mocking riddles?

Let them say about them!

‘Woe to you!

You heap up

What is not your own!’

How long will you

Load yourselves

With goods

Taken in pledge?

Will not your own creditors

Suddenly rise up?

Those who make you tremble

Will wake up.

Then you will be booty

For them.

Because you have plundered

Many nations,

All that survive of the peoples

Shall plunder you.

Human bloodshed,

With the violence

To the earth,

Is in the cities,

As well as to all

Who live in them.”

Habakkuk has a series of taunts against the Chaldeans because of their behavior.  These 5 woes or curses were delivered in mocking riddles.  First of all, they have stored up things that were not their own.  How long would they continue to take things as pledges for the future?  Those creditors would rise up against them, and make them tremble and shake.  Then, they would become the booty of the people whom they plundered.  They have plundered so many countries, that the surviving countries would plunder them.  There was so much violence and bloodshed in the cities where people lived.  Does that sound familiar?

Title (Mic 1:1-1:1)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to Micah

Of Moresheth,

In the days of Jotham,

Ahaz,

Hezekiah,

Kings of Judah.

He saw things

Concerning Samaria

As well as Jerusalem.”

In typical prophetic fashion, the word of Yahweh came to Micah.  Instead of listing his father, this work mentions where he was from, the town of Moresheth, a small town southwest of Jerusalem.  He prophesized during the reigns of the southern kings of Judah, King Jotham (740-736 BCE), King Ahaz (736-716 BCE), and King Hezekiah (716-687 BCE), after the time of Isaiah and right in the middle of the exile of the northern kingdom of Israel.  His prophecies were about Samaria and Jerusalem, the cities and their surrounding areas.  This was a pretty straight forward title with enough information about the prophet Micah.

Eat and drink with trembling (Ezek 12:17-12:20)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Eat your bread

With quaking!

Drink your water

With trembling!

Be fearful!

Say to the people

Of the land!

Thus says Yahweh God

Concerning the inhabitants

Of Jerusalem

In the land of Israel.

They shall eat

Their bread

With fearfulness.

They shall drink

Their water

In dismay.

Because their land

Shall be stripped

Of all it contains,

On account of the violence

Of all those who live in it.

The inhabited cities

Shall be laid waste.

The land

Shall become a desolation.

You shall know

That I am Yahweh.”

The word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. He was told to eat his bread with quivering. He was to drink his water while trembling. He was to be fearful. He was to tell the people of the land what Yahweh, their God, had said about the people of Jerusalem in Israel. All of the people there would eat their bread with fearfulness. They would drink their water in confusion. Their land would be stripped of everything because of the violence of the people who lived in the cities there. The land would be all laid waste. Then they would know that Yahweh was the God of Israel.

The destroying waters from the north (Jer 47:2-47:2)

“Thus says Yahweh!

‘See!

The waters are rising out

Of the north.

They shall become

An overflowing torrent.

They shall overflow

The land

With all that fills it.

They shall overflow

The city

With those who live in it.

Men shall cry out.

All the inhabitants

Of the land

Shall wail.”

Much like the preceding chapter with the rising waters from the Nile River, here the rising waters are from the north. Their overflowing torrent will destroy the land and everything in it. This roaring water will destroy the cities and all who live in them. Everyone shall cry out and wail since King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was coming.

The desolate land of Jeremiah’s vision (Jer 4:23-4:26)

“I looked on the earth.

O!

It was waste and void.

I looked to the heavens.

They had no light.

I looked on the mountains.

O!

They were quaking.

All the hills moved to and fro.

I looked!

O!

There was no one at all.

All the birds of the air had fled.

I looked!

O!

The fruitful land was a desert.

All its cities were laid in ruins.

Before Yahweh!

Before his fierce anger!”

This lamenting vision or view of Jeremiah points out a ruined land that was wasted and empty. He looked to the heavens and there was no light. He saw that the mountains and hills were shaking back and forth. There was no one on earth. Even the birds were fleeing. The beautiful fruitful land was now a desert with the cities in ruin. All this happened because of the fierce anger of Yahweh.

Tracing the coming enemy (Jer 4:15-4:17)

“A voice declares

From Dan.

It proclaims disaster

From Mount Ephraim.

Tell the nations!

‘Here they are!’

Announce to Jerusalem.

‘Besiegers come from a distant land!

They shout against the cities of Judah!

They have closed in around her

Like watchers of a field.”

Jeremiah has a little play by play of how the invading destroyers were coming to Jerusalem. First, they were in the far northern territory of Dan near the Syrian border. Then the second disaster warning comes from Mount Ephraim, just north of Benjamin, in the central area. Finally, they are besieging and surrounding the cities of Judah, the heartland, where Jerusalem is on the border with Benjamin. They were in fields watching as the attack was imminent.