Yahweh on the Mount of Olives (Zech 14:3-14:4)

“Then Yahweh will go forth.

He will fight

Against those nations,

As when he fights

On a day of battle.

On that day,

His feet shall stand

On the Mount of Olives,

Which lies before Jerusalem

On the east.

The Mount of Olives

Shall be split

In two,

From east to west

By a very wide valley.

Thus,

One half of the Mount

Shall withdraw northward.

The other half

Shall withdraw southward.”

After starting the war, Yahweh was going to defend the Israelites, by fighting against the other countries.  Yahweh was going to stand on the Mount of Olives, just east of Jerusalem.  He would split this mountain in two, so that half the mountain would be on the north and the other half on the south with a valley in between these two half mountains.

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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.

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.

The attack of the king of the south (Dan 11:7-11:9)

“In those times,

A branch from her roots

Shall rise up

In his place.

He shall come

Against the army.

He shall enter the fortress

Of the king of the north.

He shall take action

Against them.

He shall prevail.

He shall carry off

To Egypt

Even their gods,

With their idols,

With their precious vessels

Of silver,

Of gold,

As spoils of war.

For some years,

He shall refrain

From attacking

The king of the north.

Then the latter

Shall invade

The realm

Of the king of the south.

But he shall return

To his own land.”

The southern King Ptolemy III (247-221 BCE) attacked the northern King Seleucus II (246-225 BCE). Ptolemy III would enter the fortress of the king of the north, as he would be successful. He would take their spoils and booty back to Egypt, including the idols of their gods, as well as their precious silver and gold vessels. There were a few years of peace, but then the northern King Seleucus II attacked the south unsuccessfully and returned home.

The tribe of Issachar (Ezek 48:25-48:25)

“Adjoining the territory

Of Simeon,

From the east side

To the west side,

Issachar shall have

One portion.”

Once again, Issachar is completely out of place considering where it was in Joshua, chapter 19, up north of Manasseh, between Zebulun and Naphtali. Nevertheless, this small tribe got one portion, next to the territory of Simeon, somewhere here in the south.

The two sticks (Ezek 37:15-37:17)

The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Take a stick!

Write on it!

‘For Judah,

With the Israelites

Associated with him.’

Then take another stick!

Write on it!

‘For Joseph,

The stick of Ephraim,

With all

The house of Israel

Associated with it.’

Join them together

Into one stick.

Thus,

They may become

One

In your hand.’”

As usual, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. Yahweh wanted Ezekiel to take two sticks and join them together. Ezekiel was to write on the first stick Judah and everyone associated with him. This was an obvious reference to Judah and the collapsed kingdom of the south. The second stick was a reference to the Israelite kingdom of the north that fell in 721 BCE, a couple of centuries earlier. However, the written title on the second stick was Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, one of Joseph’s sons. All those associated with the northern kingdom were included with the house of Israel. Ezekiel was then to take these two sticks and put them together in his hand, so that they would become one stick. This was an obvious reference that Yahweh wanted the people of both the old northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah to come together, just like what had happened in Ezekiel’s hand.