Yahweh was going to use the Chaldeans (Hab 1:6-1:7)

“I am rousing the Chaldeans.

They are

A fierce impetuous nation.

They march through

The breadth of the earth.

They seize dwellings,

Not their own.

They are terribly dreadful.

Their justice

Proceeds from themselves.

Their dignity

Proceeds from themselves.”

Who are these Chaldeans?  For nearly a hundred years (612-539 BCE), they ruled the ancient near eastern territory of Mesopotamia as the neo-Babylonian empire.  They basically took over from the Assyrians in 612 BCE, but were eventually defeated by the Persians in 539 BCE.  The Chaldeans were originally from southern Babylon, but were integrated into the Babylonian society.  These Chaldeans were a Semitic people who probably spoke Aramaic.  Yahweh was going to use them, even though they were a fierce impetuous country.  They went all over the place seizing homes and territories.  Thus, they were terrible dreadful people.  They even had their own kind of justice and dignity that they declared for themselves.

Daniel was the companion of King Cyrus (Dan 14:2-14:2)

“Daniel was

A companion

Of the king.

He was the most honored

Of all his friends.”

Daniel was certainly in Babylon. How he was involved with the Persian Cyrus before he took over Babylon is not clear. Thus, this might be after the Persians had taken over Babylon. Certainly, Daniel was considered a companion and an honored friend of the king. Daniel was once again like Joseph in Egypt.

Enforce the edict against Daniel (Dan 6:11-6:13)

“The conspirators came.

They found Daniel praying,

Seeking mercy

Before his God.

Then they approached the king.

They said

Concerning the interdict.

‘O king!

Did you not sign

An interdict,

That anyone

Who prays to anyone,

Divine or human,

Within thirty days,

Except to you,

O king!

Shall be thrown

Into a den of lions?’

The king answered.

‘The thing stands fast,

According to the law

Of the Medes,

Of the Persians,

That cannot be revoked.’

Then they responded

To the king.

‘Daniel,

One of the exiles

From Judah,

Pays no attention

To you!

O king!

Or the interdict

You have signed.

But he is saying his prayers

Three times a day.’”

These conspirators, once they had the decree signed, found Daniel praying and seeking mercy from his God. They went to the king to remind him that he had signed this interdiction about no one being allowed to pray to any human or divine person for 30 days, except to the king. The punishment was to be thrown into a den of lions. The king said that he understood that this was the law according to the Medes and the Persians. Then they said that Daniel, one of the Judean exiles, was not paying attention to him and his decree, since he was praying 3 times a day to his God in his house.

Forty years of problems for Egypt (Ezek 29:11-29:12)

“No human foot

Shall pass through Egypt.

No animal foot

Shall pass through it.

It shall be uninhabited

Forty years.

I will make

The land of Egypt

A desolation

Among desolated countries.

Her cities shall be

A desolation

Forty years

Among cities

That are laid waste.

I will scatter

The Egyptians

Among the nations.

I will disperse them

Among the countries.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that no humans or animals would set foot in Egypt, because it was going to be uninhabited for 40 years. Thus the 40 years was similar to the 40 years in the wilderness for the Israelites. Egypt was going to be a land of desolation among desolated countries since her cities would be laid waste for 40 years. The Egyptians would also be scattered and dispersed among the various nations and countries. Actually the Persians took over Egypt in 525 BCE.

Yahweh and the battle in Babylon (Jer 51:11-51:14)

“Sharpen the arrows!

Fill the quivers!

Yahweh has stirred up

The spirit of the kings

Of the Medes.

His purpose concerning Babylon

Is to destroy it.

That is the vengeance of Yahweh,

That is the vengeance

For his temple.

Raise a standard

Against the walls of Babylon!

Make the watch strong!

Post sentinels!

Prepare the ambushes!

Yahweh has both planned

As well as done

What he spoke

Concerning the inhabitants

Of Babylon.

You who live

By mighty waters,

Rich in treasures,

Your end has come.

The thread of your life

Is cut.

Yahweh of hosts

Has sworn by himself.

Surely I will fill you

With troops,

Like a swarm of locusts.

They shall raise

A shout of victory

Over you.”

Here there is a serious of commands from Yahweh, via Jeremiah. The warriors were to have their quivers ready full of arrows. Yahweh has stirred up the Medes, the people to the north of Babylon with the Persians. They were going to destroy Babylon because of Yahweh’s vengeance for what the Babylonians had done to his temple in Jerusalem. There was going to be an invasion of Babylon with wise watchmen and sentinels as well as strong ambushes. Yahweh had planned and carried out his word against Babylon, the land of mighty waters such as the Euphrates and the Tigris, with all their treasures. Their end has come. The thread of their life has been cut. There will be troops in Babylon, like swarms of locusts, shouting about victory.

The vision of the attack against Babylon (Isa 21:2-21:5)

“A stern vision

Is told to me.

The betrayer betrays.

The destroyer destroys.

Go up!

O Elam!

Lay siege!

O Media!

All the sighing

She has caused

I bring to an end.

Therefore my loins are

Filled with anguish.

Pangs have seized me,

Like the pangs of a woman in labor.

I am bowed down,

So that I cannot hear.

I am dismayed

So that I cannot see.

My mind reels.

Horror has appalled me.

The twilight I longed for

Has been turned for me

Into trembling.

They prepare the table.

They spread the rugs.

They eat.

They drink.

Rise up!

Commanders!

Oil the shield!”

Isaiah has this stern vision from Yahweh. The betrayer and the destroyer act out together. Elam and Medes, the Persians and the Medes were about to attack Babylon. Since the Israelites were in Babylon, they were afraid but hopeful, like a woman experiencing labor before the birth of a child. Isaiah, in the first person singular, was not quite able to hear or see what was going on. He knew that horror was about to happen. Instead of a happy twilight there was trembling. However, they continued as normal, eating and drinking at tables with rugs. Nevertheless, the cry came to the commanders to rise up and get ready. They had to oil the straps on their shields as they prepared to do battle.

Oracle about Babylon (Isa 21:1-21:1)

“The oracle

Concerning the wilderness of the sea.

As whirlwinds

In the Negeb sweep on,

It comes from the desert,

From a terrible land.”

This is an oracle about the wilderness of the sea. Although obscure, many believe this to be Babylon since the Euphrates River could be the wild sea indicated here. The whirlwinds of the Negeb are from the desert area south of Israel, formerly part of the Simeon territory that was considered a terrible land. These would be winds of change for the captured Israelites. In fact, it was the Persians who did defeat Babylon, not the Israelites. The Assyrians controlled Babylon at the time of Isaiah in the 8th century BCE.