The return of the prisoner captives (Zech 9:11-9:13)

“As for you also,

Because of the blood

Of my covenant

With you,

I will set your prisoners free

From the waterless pit.

Return to your stronghold!

O prisoners of hope!

Today I declare

That I will restore to you double.

I have bent Judah

As my bow.

I have made Ephraim

Its arrow.

I will arouse your sons!

O Zion!

Against your sons,

O Greece!

I will wield you

Like a warrior’s sword.”

In this oracle, Yahweh said that he was going to free the prisoners from their dungeons or waterless pits, because of the covenant or blood treaty that he had with Israel.  Perhaps, this is an allusion to the Temple sacrifices.  The former prisoners of hope or captives would return to their stronghold, since Yahweh was going to double what they had before.  He was going to use Judah in the south and Ephraim in the north as a bow and arrow against other countries, such as Greece.  Yahweh was going to wield them like a warrior’s sword.

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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.

The restored majesty (Nah 2:2-2:2)

“Yahweh is restoring

The majesty of Jacob.

He is restoring

The majesty of Israel,

Even though ravagers

Have ravaged them.

They have ruined

Their branches.”

Yahweh was going to restore the majesty of Jacob and Israel, both the north and the south.  Even though they had been ravaged, even though some of their branches had been ruined, they would be restored.

Future wars (Dan 11:40-11:40)

“At the time of the end,

The king of the south

Shall attack him.

But the king of the north

Shall rush upon him

Like a whirlwind,

With chariots,

With horsemen,

With many ships.

He shall advance

Against countries.

He shall pass through

Like a flood.”

Gabriel then made another prediction about King Antiochus IV. He said that the king of the south, King Ptolemy V, would invade the north, but be defeated because of the great military of King Antiochus with his chariots, horsemen, and ships. In fact, this northern king would advance through countries like a moving flood storm. This apparently never happened, as opposed to the preceding that actually took place.

The eastern border (Ezek 47:18-47:18)

“On the east side,

The boundary

Shall run

Between Hauran

And Damascus.

It shall run

Along the Jordan

Between Gilead

And the land of Israel,

To the eastern sea,

As far as Tamar.

This shall be the east side.”

There was no mention of the Sea of Galilee as in Numbers, chapter 34. Here the border started in the north by Hauran. Then it kind of followed the Jordan River down to the Dead Sea or the eastern sea. There was also a mention of Gilead, on the east side of the Jordan River. It goes as far south as Tamar, but it is not clear where this was.

Using the north and south gates (Ezek 46:9-46:10)

“When the people

Of the land

Come before Yahweh,

At the appointed festivals,

Whoever enters

By the north gate

To worship

Shall go out

By the south gate.

Whoever enters

By the south gate

Shall go out

By the north gate.

They shall not return

By way of the gate

By which they entered.

But they shall go out

Straight ahead.

When they go in,

The prince shall

Come in with them.

When they go out,

He shall go out.”

Interesting enough, Yahweh, via Ezekiel, had a sense of crowd control for these religious festivals. Although you could enter from either the north or south side gates, you could not turn around. You had to go straight ahead. If you came in on the north side, you went out the south side, and vice versa. Here the prince came in with the people, while just earlier he had a special entrance.

Measuring all four sides of the square wall (Ezek 42:16-42:20)

“He measured the east side

With the measuring reed.

It was five hundred cubits

By the measuring reed.

Then he turned.

He measured the north side.

It was five hundred cubits

By the measuring reed.

Then he turned.

He measured the south side.

It was five hundred cubits

By the measuring reed.

Then he turned to the west side.

He measured it.

It was five hundred cubits

By the measuring reed.

He measured it

On the four sides.

It had a wall around it.

It was

Five hundred cubits long,

Five hundred cubits wide.

This made a separation

Between the holy

With the common.”

The bronze man then measured the outer Temple wall. Guess what? It was a square of 500 cubits or about 800 feet square all around, a fairly large enclosed square area. He measured first the east side, then the north, south, and west side with his measuring stick or reed. Each time the result was the same. Thus, there was a separation between the interior holy place and the common area outside the wall.