When will the destruction come? (Mk 13:4-13:4)

“Tell us!

When will this be?

What will be

The sign

That all these things

Are about

To be accomplished?”

 

Εἰπὸν ἡμῖν, πότε ταῦτα ἔσται, καὶ τί τὸ σημεῖον ὅταν μέλλῃ ταῦτα συντελεῖσθαι πάντα;

 

There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 24:4, and in Luke, chapter 21:7.  Either some unnamed disciples or the 4 main apostles, as indicated here in Mark, were speaking with Jesus privately.  Mark did not combine the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, the Second coming of Jesus, and the end of the world together, since he concentrated on the destruction of the Temple.  Mark said that the big four apostles wanted to be told (Εἰπὸν ἡμῖν) when would these things take place (πότε ταῦτα ἔσται)?  What would be the sign (καὶ τί τὸ σημεῖον) that all these things were going to finally happen (ὅταν μέλλῃ ταῦτα συντελεῖσθαι πάντα)?  They wanted the inside scoop about what was coming up.  After all, they were the important leaders among the followers of Jesus.

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No one left in the house (Am 6:9-6:10)

“If ten people remain

In one house,

They shall die.

If a relative,

One who burns

The dead,

Shall take up the body

To bring it

Out of the house,

Shall say to someone

In the innermost parts

Of the house,

‘Is there still anyone else

With you?’

The answer will come.

‘No!’

Then the relative will say.

‘Hush!

We must not mention

The name of Yahweh.’”

Amos pointed out that the destruction would be complete. If there were 10 people in any house, they would all die. If a relative came along to burn the bodies of the dead, he would call out to see if there was anyone left in the house. If the answer was no, then this relative would say to anyone around that they should not mention the name of Yahweh, in case they might be struck down also.

Daniel is safe (Dan 14:40-14:42)

“On the seventh day,

The king came

To mourn

For Daniel.

When he came

To the den,

He looked in.

There sat Daniel.

The king shouted

With a loud voice.

‘You are great!

O Lord!

God of Daniel!

There is no other

Besides you!’

Then he pulled

Daniel out.

He threw into the den

Those who had attempted

His destruction.

They were instantly eaten

Before his eyes.”

Thus, ends the great story of Daniel. On the 7th day, the king came to mourn the death of Daniel. Instead, he was surprised to see Daniel sitting in the den of lions. Then the king shouted out his praise for the God of Daniel, the Lord. There were no other gods like him. Next, he pulled Daniel out of the den. Finally, he threw those who had attempted the destruction of Daniel into the lion’s den. The lions immediately ate these men right before the eyes of the king.

The ruined walls of Jerusalem (Lam 2:8-2:8)

Heth

“Yahweh determined

To lay in ruins

The wall

Of daughter Zion.

He stretched

The line.

He did not withhold

His hand

From destroying it.

He caused ramparts

To lament.

He caused the wall

To lament.

They languish together.”

Yahweh himself determined that the walls of Zion should be made a ruin. He stretched out the measuring line, like a surveyor, to determine how to do this. He did not restrain his hand from this work. He has caused the walls and ramparts of Jerusalem to lament and languish together. It seems that Yahweh is portrayed as personally overseeing the destruction of the Jerusalem walls because of his anger at them. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Heth. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

The fierce successful attack on Babylon (Jer 50:14-50:16)

“Take up your positions

Around Babylon!

All you that bend the bow!

Shoot at her!

Spare no arrows!

She has sinned

Against Yahweh.

Raise a shout

Against her

From all sides!

She has surrendered!

Her bulwarks have fallen!

Her walls are thrown down!

This is the vengeance

Of Yahweh.

Take vengeance on her!

Do to her

As she has done!

Cut off from Babylon

The sower with

The wielder of the sickle

In the time of harvest.

Because of the destroying sword,

All of them shall return

To their own people.

All of them shall flee

To their own land.”

The attack on Babylon would be successful. The archers with their great arrows would take their positions and shoot at the Babylonians. They would raise great shouts of joy from all sides. Babylon had sinned against Yahweh. Finally, Babylon would surrender. The fortresses and the walls would come tumbling down, because this was the vengeance of Yahweh at work. Babylon was done. There would be nobody to plant. No one would be there to cut down the harvest, since there would be no harvest. Everyone would return and flee to their own lands. Thus the destruction of Babylon in 539 BCE was described here some 60 years previous to the event. Is that an indication of a later composition?

The anger of Yahweh (Isa 30:27-30:28)

“See!

The name of Yahweh

Comes from far away.

It burns with his anger,

In thick rising smoke.

His lips are

Full of indignation.

His tongue is

Like a devouring fire.

His breath is

Like an overflowing stream

That reaches up to the neck.

He sifts the nations

With the sieve of destruction.

He places on the jaws of the people

A bridle that leads them astray.”

Is this an allusion to the Assyrians as they attack Jerusalem? The name of Yahweh comes from a distance. Could this be an indication of the far off Assyrians? Or was this Yahweh himself angry? He burns with anger so that smoke is rising up. His lips and tongue were full of indignation and fire. His breath was like an overflowing stream that reached to your neck. He used a sieve to sift out the destruction of the various nations. He placed a bridle on the jaws of the people to lead them in the wrong direction. This is either a description of an anthropomorphic mad Yahweh or how Yahweh made the Assyrians mad.

Yahweh destroys the harbor at Tyre (Isa 23:5-23:11)

“When the report comes to Egypt,

They will be in anguish

Over the report about Tyre.

Cross over to Tarshish!

Wail!

O inhabitants of the coast!

Is this your exultant city?

Its origin is from days of old.

Its feet carried her to settle far away.

Who has planned this against Tyre?

They were the bestower of crowns.

Their merchants were princes.

Their traders were the honored of the earth.

Yahweh of hosts has planned it.

He wanted to defile

The pride of all glory.

He wanted to shame

All the honored of the earth.

Cross over to your own land!

O ships of Tarshish!

This is a harbor no more!

He has stretched out his hand

Over the sea.

He has shaken the kingdoms.

Yahweh has given command

Concerning Canaan

To destroy its fortresses.”

Isaiah then proclaims the effects of the destruction of the ports at Sidon and Tyre. Their commercial trading partners, especially Egypt, were upset. So too were the people of Tarshish, the precious metal producing people, and all the shipping ports along the Mediterranean coast line. Tyre was a great ancient city with many merchant princes who had bestowed crowns on others. Their important people were renowned and honored everywhere. Who planned this destruction? Why it was Yahweh of hosts who wanted to bring down these proud inhabitants of this seaport. He has stretched out his angry hand over the sea. He has shaken these kingdoms. He has given his command to the Canaanites to destroy the various fortresses. The harbor is no more so that there is no sense in coming here.