Against the Philistine cities (Zeph 2:4-2:4)

“Gaza shall be deserted.

Ashkelon shall become

A desolation.

Ashdod’s people

Shall be driven out

At noon.

Ekron shall be uprooted.”

Like the other prophets, Zephaniah rallied against the neighboring countries of Israel.  He started with the Philistine cities along the Mediterranean coast.  Although there were 5 major cities, Zephaniah did not mention Gath that was probably destroyed in the 8th century BCE.  Here there is a mention of 4 Philistine cities from south to north, the coastal towns of Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Ekron, the farthest north and a little inland.  Gaza would be deserted, while Ashkelon would become desolate.  Ashdod had its people driven out at noon.  Nevertheless, all 3 cities still exist today.  Ekron was simply uprooted, something that actually took place around 604 BCE under the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II.

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The other countries (Ezek 30:4-30:5)

“A sword shall come

Upon Egypt.

Anguish shall be

In Ethiopia.

When the slain

Fall

In Egypt,

Its wealth

Will be carried away.

Its foundations

Will be torn down.

Ethiopia,

Put,

Lud,

All Arabia,

Libya,

The people

Of the allied lands

Shall fall

With them

By the sword.”

When the sword or battle would come to Egypt, the anguish would also come to Ethiopia, which is south of Egypt. The wealth of the dead people in Egypt would be carried away. The foundations of Egypt would be shaken and torn down. However, the neighboring countries and those allied with Egypt would also suffer. Besides Ethiopia, there were the people from Put and Lud, who had also served in the army of Tyre, as mentioned earlier in chapter 27. However, those affected by this invasion were also the people from Libya, west of Egypt, as well as all the Arabian tribes and those people allied with Egypt. They would all fall by the sword.

Yahweh gives up (Jer 12:7-12:9)

“I have forsaken my house.

I have abandoned my heritage.

I have given the beloved of my heart

Into the hands of her enemies.

My heritage has become to me

Like a lion in the forest.

She has lifted up her voice

Against me.

Therefore I hate her.

Is the hyena greedy

For my heritage?

Are the birds of prey

All around her?

Go!

Assemble all the wild animals!

Bring them to devour her!”

Yahweh has given up on his house and abandoned his heritage. He has handed over his most beloved people into the hands of their enemies. His heritage had become like a lion in the forest that had lifted up its voice against him. Now Yahweh hates her. The greedy hyena is waiting for Yahweh’s heritage. The birds of prey are all around her. Yahweh wanted all the wild animals to gather and devour his people. This is an allusion to the neighboring countries and of course the Babylonians, who will come and devour Judah. It seems like Yahweh has given up on his people.