The pestilence (Am 4:10-4:10)

“‘I sent among you

A pestilence,

After the manner

Of Egypt.

I killed

Your young men

With the sword.

I carried away

Your horses.

I made the stench

Of your camp go up

Into your nostrils.

Yet you did not

Return to me,’

Says Yahweh.”

Amos has another oracle of Yahweh that picked up on the same theme of devastation, but still with no return to Yahweh. He sent a pestilence, like the Egyptian plagues in Exodus, chapters 7-11. Yahweh killed their young men with the sword. He took away their horses. He made them smell the stink of their own camp. Despite all this, the northern kingdom Israelites refused to return to Yahweh.

The death of 185,000 Assyrians (Isa 37:36-37:36)

“Then the angel of Yahweh set out.

He struck down one hundred eighty-five thousand

In the camp of the Assyrians.

When morning dawned,

They were all dead bodies.”

Once again, this is almost word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 19, except that missing here is “that very day.” Wow! This is an amazing number, even greater than the Egyptian plagues. The angel of Yahweh, at the time of the Exodus, killed the first born children of Egypt. Here the angel of Yahweh killed Assyrian warriors. 185,000 is a lot of people to die in one night. Herodotus the Greek historian noted that the Assyrians were defeated at the Egyptian borders when mice ate their bowstrings. Mice could have brought a plague, but to kill everyone of the 185,000 in one night seems a bit much.