The siege of Nineveh (Nah 3:12-3:14)

“You also will be drunken.

You will go into hiding.

You will seek

A refuge

From the enemy.

All your fortresses are

Like fig trees

With first-ripe figs.

If shaken,

They fall

Into the mouth

Of the eater.

Look at your troops!

They are women

In your midst.

The gates

Of your land

Are wide open

To your foes.

Fire has devoured

The bars of your gates.

Draw water

For the siege!

Strengthen your forts!

Trample the clay!

Tread the mortar!

Take hold

Of the brick mold!”

So too, the people of Nineveh would be drunk and go into hiding, as they would seek to get away from their enemies.  All their strong fortresses would be like ripe fig trees.  If they would be touched or shaken, these strongholds would fall like ripe fruit right into the mouths of their enemies.  Women had become their troops.  The gates of the city were wide open to their enemies because fire had consumed the bars on their gates.  They had to get water during the siege.  They would have to strengthen their fortresses with clay, mortar, and bricks.

Advertisements

The breach in the wall (Jer 39:2-39:2)

“In the eleventh year

Of King Zedekiah,

In the fourth month,

On the ninth day

Of the month,

A breach was made

In the city.”

After a little over a year and a half of the siege of Jerusalem, we have an exact date, the 4th month on the 9th day, in the 11th year of the reign of King Zedekiah, when there was a breach in the wall around Jerusalem. This would be in 587 BCE. You have to know what calendar they were using to know the exact date. In 2 Kings, chapter 25, there was a severe famine but there is no mention of that here. However, the date is the same.

The battle with King Nebuchadnezzar (Jer 34:1-34:1)

“The word

That came to Jeremiah

From Yahweh,

When King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon,

With all his army,

As well as all

The kingdoms of the earth,

All the people

Under his dominion,

Were fighting

Against Jerusalem

With all of its cities.”

Once again, the word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah, but there is a different setting, the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem in 588 BCE. King Nebuchadnezzar was going to fight against Jerusalem, as well as the towns and cities around it. At this point, the Babylonian king had a lot of people under him with a huge army. Besides his own army, other kingdoms under his control were also fighting with him against Jerusalem. Like the preceding chapter, this is a different numbered chapter in the Greek translation of the Septuagint, chapter 41, not chapter 34 as here.

Ariel (Isa 29:1-29:4)

“Woe to you!

Ariel!

Ariel!

This is the city

Where David encamped!

Add year to year!

Let the festivals run their round!

Yet I will distress Ariel!

There shall be moaning!

There shall be lamentation!

Jerusalem shall be to me

Like an altar hearth.

Like David,

I will encamp against you.

I will besiege you with towers.

I will raise siege works against you.

Then deep from the earth,

You shall speak.

From low in the dust,

Your words shall come.

Your voice shall come from the ground

Like the voice of a ghost.

Your speech shall whisper

Out of the dust.”

Ariel is a symbolic name for Jerusalem and its altar. Yahweh, via Isaiah, warns Jerusalem about what is going to happen to it. Perhaps this is before the siege of Jerusalem in 701 BCE. Jerusalem was where King David had lived and where festivals continued on an annual basis. However, Yahweh was going to encamp against it and set up siege works against it. They would be able to speak only from below the earth and the dust. Their voices would be reduced to a whisper, like a ghost in the middle of this dust pile.

The meeting of Jonathan and King Demetrius II (1 Macc 11:23-11:28)

“When Jonathan heard this, he gave orders to continue the siege. He chose some of the elders of Israel and some of the priests. He put himself in danger as he went to the king at Ptolemais. However, he took silver, gold, clothing, and numerous other gifts. He won his favor. Although certain renegades of his nation kept making complaints against him, the king treated him as his predecessors had treated him. He exalted him in the presence of all his friends. He confirmed him in the high priesthood. He gave him as many other honors as he had formerly had. He caused him to be reckoned among his chief friends. Then Jonathan asked the king to free Judea and the three districts of Samaria from tribute. He promised him three hundred talents. The king consented.”

Although Jonathan was skeptical about this meeting since he was not bringing an army, only the elders and the priests, it turned out okay. He brought some gifts of gold, silver, and clothing. Thus he won the favor of King Demetrius II, despite the bothersome renegades trying to talk bad about him. The king praised Jonathan in the presence of all. He gave him all the honors that he previously had. He continued to be a friend of the king. Jonathan, however, wanted one thing, to have a free Judea. In order to do this, he was willing to give the king 300 talents, about $300,000.00 USA dollars. King Demetrius II thought that this was a good deal.