The lamentation for Assyria (Nah 3:18-3:19)

“Your shepherds

Are asleep!

O king of Assyria!

Your nobles slumber!

Your people are scattered

On the mountains!

There is no one

To gather them!

There is no assuaging

Your hurt!

Your wound is mortal!

All who hear

The news of you,

Clap their hands

Over you.

Who has ever escaped

Your endless cruelty?”

It almost seems like Yahweh, via Nahum, was sorry about the situation in Assyria.  Nahum has a lament for their situation.  Nahum said that all their leaders or shepherds were asleep, while their nobles also slumbered.  The people had been scattered to the mountains, with no one to gather them back.  They had suffered a mortal wound.  Unfortunately, everyone who heard the news about them were clapping their hands in joy.  Assyria would never escape from its cruel position.  Ding dong, Assyria was dead.

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The future sign of Ezekiel (Ezek 24:25-24:27)

“You!

Son of man!

On the day

When I take

From them

Their stronghold,

Their joy,

Their glory,

The delight of their eyes,

Their heart’s affection,

Someone will come

To you.

I will take their sons.

I will take their daughters.

On that day,

One who has escaped

Will come

To you

To report

To you

The news.

On that day,

Your mouth

Shall be opened

To the one

Who has escaped.

You shall speak.

You will no longer

Be silent.

So you shall be a sign

To them.

They shall know

That I am Yahweh.”

Yahweh spoke directly to Ezekiel, the son of man. On a future day, Yahweh was going to bring down Jerusalem. The Israelites would lose their stronghold, their joy, their glory, the delight of their eyes, and their heart’s affection. They would also lose their sons and daughters. Someone, who had escaped from Jerusalem, would come to Ezekiel on that day with the report of the news about the fall of Jerusalem. On that day, Ezekiel would open his mouth to speak. He would not be silent anymore. Thus the actions of Ezekiel would a sign, so that everyone would know that Yahweh was in charge.

Moaning (Ezek 21:6-21:7)

“Moan therefore!

Son of man!

Moan!

With a breaking heart!

Moan

With a bitter grief

Before their eyes!

When they say to you,

‘Why do you moan?’

You shall say.

‘Because of the news

That has come.

Every heart

Will melt.

All hands

Will be feeble.

Every spirit

Will faint.

All knees

Will turn to water.

See!

It comes!

It will be fulfilled,’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh told Ezekiel that he should moan or sigh with a broken heart and bitter grief before the other people. When they would then ask him why he was moaning, he should tell about the news that he had received. If they had heard the same news, they too would be moaning and sighing. Every heart would melt. All their hands would be feeble. Every spirit would be faint. Everyone’s knees would turn to water. Yahweh clearly said that this was going to happen.

The weakened king of Babylon (Jer 50:41-50:43)

“Look!

A people

Is coming

From the north.

A mighty nation

With many kings

Is stirring

From the farthest parts

Of the earth.

They lay hold of bow.

They have spears.

They are cruel.

They have no mercy.

Their sound is

Like the roaring sea.

They ride on horses.

They are equipped

Like a warrior for battle,

Against you.

O daughter!

Babylon!

The king of Babylon

Heard news of them.

His hands fall helpless.

Anguish seized him.

He had pain

Like a woman in labor.’”

This section is almost word for word from chapter 6 of this work about the coming invasion of Israel. Yahweh here tells the Babylonians that an invasion is coming from the northern country, but it was actually the eastern Persians. This invader was a great nation coming from far away, but it actually was right next to them. They had bows and arrows along with spears. They were a cruel merciless well equipped group whose horses made the sounds of a roaring sea. When the king of the Babylonians heard the news of this invasion, he felt helpless and anguished. He had pains like a woman in labor. Yahweh called Babylon “daughter,” a name that he had called Israel earlier in this work.

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.

The reaction to this report (Jer 6:24-6:26)

“We have heard news of them.

Our hands fall helpless.

Anguish has taken hold of us.

We have pain

Like a woman in labor.

Do not go into the field!

Do not walk on the road!

The enemy has a sword.

Terror is on every side.

O daughter of my people!

Put on sackcloth!

Roll in ashes!

Make mourning

Like for an only child!

Make mourning

Like most bitter lamentations.

Suddenly the destroyer

Will come upon us.”

When the Israelites heard the news of this invasion, they felt helpless and anguished. They were pained like a woman in labor. They were told not to go into the fields or on the roads because terror or fear was everywhere. The sword was raised against them. Against all this, Jeremiah wanted these Israelites to put on sackcloth, roll in ashes, and go into mourning, as if they had lost their only child. They should lament because the destroyer would suddenly come upon them.