The new victorious king (Zech 9:9-9:10)

“Rejoice greatly!

O daughter Zion!

Shout aloud!

O daughter Jerusalem!

Look!

Your king comes to you!

He is triumphant!

He is victorious!

He is humble!

He is riding on a donkey.

He is riding on a colt,

The foal of a donkey.

I will cut off the chariot

From Ephraim.

I will cut off the war horse

From Jerusalem.

The battle bows

Shall be cut off.

He shall command peace

To the nations.

His dominion shall be

From sea to sea,

From the River

To the ends of the earth.”

This is a text that both the gospels of John, chapter 12, and Matthew, chapter 21, used to show how Jesus was the expected Israelite king.  He was to be the prince of peace.  Yahweh wanted Zion or Jerusalem to shout and rejoice, because a new king was coming who would be triumphant, victorious, and humble at the same time.  Thus, he would ride on a donkey colt.  The mention of cutting off Ephraim was an indication of the old northern kingdom of Israel, while the mention of Jerusalem is a reference to the kingdom of Judah.  They would be reunited in a new kingdom.  This new king would command that peace be among all the nations of the whole world.  How was he to do this?  This new kingdom would be from sea to shining sea, the famous River, the Euphrates River, to the ends of the earth west of Israel.

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The book of Jeremiah in the Euphrates River (Jer 51:63-51:64)

“When you finish

Reading this scroll,

Tie a stone to it.

Throw it into

The middle

Of the Euphrates River.

Say.

‘Thus shall Babylon sink.

It will rise no more,

because of the disasters

That I am bringing on her.’”

When Seraiah had finished reading the scroll, he was to tie a stone to it and throw it into the middle of the Euphrates River. This symbolic act was to show that just as the words in this scroll sank with the stone, so would Babylon sink also. It would never rise again, because of all the disasters that Yahweh was going to bring to Babylon. Thus we have another example of biblical writings and how they were used.

Drought and wild animals in Babylon (Jer 50:38-50:40)

“‘A drought

Against her waters!

Thus they may be dried up!

It is a land of images.

They go mad

Over idols.

Therefore,

Wild animals

Shall live

With hyenas

In Babylon.

Ostriches

Shall inhabit her.

She shall never again

Be inhabited

For all generations.

As when God overthrew

Sodom and

Gomorrah,

With their neighbors,

So no one

Shall live there.

No one

Shall settle there.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh was clear. He was going to make Babylon an abandoned desert. The waters of the land would dry up and leave a drought. It is hard to believe that he meant the Tigris River and the Euphrates River. He wanted their images and idols destroyed.   Thus wild animals, hyenas, and ostriches would live in Babylon. No humans would live or settle in Babylon. It would become like the ancient destroyed cites of Sodom and Gomorrah as in Genesis, chapter 19, a desolation.

The defeat (Jer 46:5-46:6)

“‘Why do I see them terrified?

They have fallen back.

Their warriors are beaten down.

They have fled in haste.

They do look not back.

Terror is all around!’

Says Yahweh.

The swift cannot flee away.

The warrior cannot escape.

In the north,

By the Euphrates River,

They have stumbled.

They have fallen.”

How quickly things turn. Jeremiah explains what happens when defeat occurs. These strong warriors were terrified and fell back. They were beaten down and fled in haste, without looking back. Terror was all around them. Yahweh has issued this oracle for Jeremiah. The swift cannot go fast enough to escape. Finally, in the north, by the Euphrates River, they stumbled and fell.

Israel brought it on themselves (Jer 2:17-2:19)

“Have you not brought this upon yourself?

You have forsaken Yahweh your God.

He tried to lead you in the way.

What did you gain by going to Egypt?

Why did you try to drink

The waters of the Nile?

What did you gain by going to Assyria?

Why did you try to drink

The waters of the Euphrates?

Your wickedness will punish you.

Your apostates will convict you.

Know!

See!

It is evil!

It is bitter for you

To forsake Yahweh

Your God.

The fear of me is not in you.’

Says Yahweh

God of hosts.”

Jeremiah reminds Israel that they brought all this destruction on themselves by giving up on Yahweh and going their own way. They gained nothing by going to Egypt to drink from the Nile River or from Assyria to drink from the Euphrates River. They will be punished for their wickedness by their own people. They will know and see that it is evil and bitter to forsake Yahweh.  They did not fear Yahweh, the God of hosts.

The return to Jerusalem (Isa 27:12-27:13)

“On that day,                                                        

Yahweh will thresh out the grain.

O people of Israel!

You will be gathered

One by one,

From the channel of the Euphrates River

To the brooks of Egypt.

On that day,

A great trumpet will be blown.

Those who were lost

In the land of Assyria,

Those who were driven out

To the land of Egypt,

Will come.

They will worship Yahweh

On the holy mountain at Jerusalem.”

Isaiah has a return to Jerusalem after the exile. Yahweh will be the harvester. The people of Israel will be gathered one at a time from Babylon on the Euphrates River to the brooks of Egypt. On that day, the holy trumpet to call for a solemn convocation will sound. The lost in Assyria and Egypt will come home to worship Yahweh on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.

The oracle against Babylon (Isa 13:1-13:1)

“The oracle

Concerning Babylon

That Isaiah

Son of Amoz

Saw.”

Now begins a series of divine oracles against foreign countries. Obviously despite the title indicating that Isaiah, the son of Amoz, saw this, the Babylonian captivity did not happen in the 8th century BCE, but in the 6th and 7th century BCE. Babylon was the largest city in the world with over 200,000 people, probably the first city to have this many people living in one place during the 18th century BCE (Hammurabi, 1792–1750 BCE), and 6th-7th century BCE (Nebuchadnezzar II, 604–561 BC). This city was located about 50 miles south of present day Baghdad, in present day Hillah, Iraq, between the Tigris River and the Euphrates River, but mostly on the Euphrates River. Babylon was the capital city of the Assyrian Empire from around 911-609 BCE. In 539 BCE, the Persians put an end to the Assyrians after a century of disputes. In the 4th century BCE the Greeks under Alexander the Great took over Babylon. Babylon may have been the inspiration for the story about the Tower of Babel in Genesis, chapter 11.