Against the Assyrians (Zeph 2:13-2:14)

“Yahweh will stretch out

His hand

Against the north.

He will destroy

Assyria.

He will make

Nineveh

A desolation,

A dry waste,

Like the desert.

Herds shall lie down in it.

Every wild animal

Shall lie down in it.

The desert owl,

The screech owl

Shall lodge

On its capitals

The owl shall hoot

At the window.

The raven shall croak

On the threshold.

Its cedar works

Will be laid bare.”

Yahweh was going to stretch out his hand to destroy the enemy of Israel to the north, the Assyrians.  He had just punished the people on the west, the Philistines, the people on the east, the Moabites and the Ammonites, and the people to the south, the Ethiopians.  Yahweh was going to make northern Nineveh a desolate wasteland desert.   Every kind of wild animal and various herds would live there.  A variety of owls would nest in their ornate towers.  Owls would hoot at their windows, while ravens would croak at their doorsteps.  All their cedar wood work would be open to the weather.

Wonderful Moab (Jer 48:11-48:11)

“Moab is at ease

From his youth.

He has settled

Like wine,

On its dregs.

He has not been emptied

From vessel to vessel.

He has not gone

Into exile.

Therefore his flavor

Has remained.

His aroma is unspoiled.”

Moab is masculine instead of feminine as in the preceding verses. He has been at ease since his youth. He has settled like good wine. However, there are dregs that have not been emptied or moved from barrel to barrel. Moab has never gone into exile. Thus his flavor and aroma have remained unspoiled. In other words, things have been pretty good for the Moabites up until now.

The curses (Jer 48:10-48:10)

“Cursed be

The one

Who is slack

In doing

The work of Yahweh!

Cursed be

The one

Who keeps back

The sword

From bloodshed.”

Jeremiah seems to indicate here that you should not be slack in doing the work of Yahweh. Since the work of Yahweh here is killing the Moabites, holding back your sword from bringing bloodshed would mean that you would be cursed also.

Flee Moab (Jer 48:6-48:9)

“Flee!

Save yourselves!

Be like a wild ass

In the desert!

Because you trusted

In your strongholds,

With your treasures,

You also shall be taken.

Chemosh shall

Go out into exile,

With his priests,

With his attendants.

The destroyer shall come

Upon every town.

No town shall escape.

The valley shall perish.

The plain shall be destroyed.

As Yahweh has spoken.

Set aside salt for Moab.

She will surely fall.

Her towns shall become

A desolation,

With no inhabitants in them.”

Jeremiah warns the Moabites to flee and save themselves. They should take off like a wild donkey in the desert. They had trusted in their treasures and fortresses, but to no avail. The local god of Moab, Chemosh, was going to be exiled along with his priests and attendants. Every town would be destroyed, since none would escape. Both the valleys and the plains would be destroyed. All the towns of Moab would fall and become a desolation with nobody living in them. Prepare some salt for Moab to help with her wounds.

The Judeans return (Jer 40:11:40:12)

“Likewise,

All the Judeans,

Who were in Moab,

Or among the Ammonites,

Or in Edom,

As well as in other lands,

Heard that

The king of Babylon

Had left a remnant

In Judah.

They heard

That he had appointed

Gedaliah,

The son of Ahikam,

The son of Shaphan,

As governor over them.

Then all the Judeans returned

From all the places

To which they had been scattered.

They came

To the land of Judah,

To Gedaliah,

At Mizpah.

They gathered wine

They gathered summer fruits

In great abundance.”

Jeremiah presents a mini-post exilic time. This was particularly true of those Judeans who had migrated to the southeastern neighboring countries on the other side of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea, living among the Moabites, the Edomites, and the Ammonites. They heard the news that the war with Babylon was over. They then decided to return, when they heard that Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, was the new governor appointed by the king of Babylon. Thus they returned to Judah, more precisely to the Benjamin area that had not been destroyed. Mizpah became the new capital city of this remnant left In Judah. They were going to have wine and summer fruits in abundance. This seems like a happy time with a lot of returning Judeans from the devastated Judah area and the area east of the Jordan River in Moab, Edom, and Ammon.

Jeremiah was to send messages to neighboring countries (Jer 27:3-27:3)

“Send word to

The king of Edom,

The king of Moab,

The king of the Ammonites,

The king of Tyre,

The king of Sidon

By the hand of the envoys

Who have come

To King Zedekiah of Judah.”

Yahweh wanted Jeremiah to send messages to the neighboring countries of Judah, not just Judah itself. There apparently may have been an attempted rebellion against King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (605-562 BCE) around 595-594 BCE by these Israelite neighbors that included the southeastern countries of the Edomites, the Moabites, and the Ammonites, as well as the northwestern cities of Tyre and Sidon on the Mediterranean seacoast. They were to get this message when they sent envoys to King Zedekiah (598-587 BCE) in Jerusalem.

The false circumcision (Jer 9:25-9:26)

“Says Yahweh.

‘The days are surely coming

When I will attend to

All those who are circumcised

Only in the foreskin.

This includes

Egypt,

Judah,

Edom,

The Ammonites,

Moab,

As well as all those with shaven temples

Who live in the desert.

All these nations are uncircumcised.

All the house of Israel

Is uncircumcised in heart.’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, criticizes those who are uncircumcised in their hearts. He seems to indicate that that Egyptians, the Edomites, the Moabites are also circumcised, as it must have been a common custom. He also indicates that Judah is also circumcised along with the Arabs in the desert with their shaven temples. However, the harshest treatment is for the house of Israel that is uncircumcised in the heart.