The importance of Zerubbabel (Hag 2:21-2:23)

“‘Speak to Zerubbabel,

The governor of Judah,

Saying.

‘I am about

To shake the heavens.

I am about

To shake the earth.

I am about

To overthrow

The throne of kingdoms.

I am about

To destroy

The strength

Of the kingdoms

Of the nations.

I am about

To overthrow

The chariots,

With their riders.

The horses,

With their riders,

Shall also fall.

Everyone shall fall

By the sword of a comrade.’

‘On that day,’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘I will take you,

O Zerubbabel,

My servant,

The son of Shealtiel.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will make you

Like a signet ring.

I have chosen you!’

Says Yahweh of hosts.”

Yahweh said that Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, would have a special role in the new kingdom of Israel.  Yahweh was going to shake up heaven and earth.  He was going to overthrow all the kingdoms and countries on the earth.  All the chariots, with their riders, as well as the cavalry with their horses would all fall.  Zerubbabel, the servant of Yahweh, would have a signet ring because Yahweh had chosen him.  His grandfather would have been a king as part of the Davidic lineage

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The Chaldean cavalry (Hab 1:8-1:8)

“Their horses

Are swifter

Than leopards.

They are more menacing

Than evening wolves.

Their horsemen

Come from far away.

They fly

Like an eagle,

Swift to devour.”

The Chaldean horses and riders were extraordinary.  Their horses were quicker than leopards and more menacing than wild wolves at sunset.  The cavalry horsemen came from distant places.  They seemed to fly on their horses like fast eagles ready to devour their prey.

Against Lachish (Mic 1:13-1:13)

“Harness the steeds

To the chariots!

Inhabitants of Lachish!

It was here that

The beginning of sin came

To the daughter of Zion.

The transgressions

Of Israel

Were found in you.”

Lachish was the most famous and well know city of the Shephelah low land area of Israel.  Lachish was the 2nd most important city in Judah, but not a holy city like Jerusalem.  This might indicate that these other towns were close to Lachish in the same area.  The people of Lachish were to get their horses and chariots ready, because they were the cause of the sin and the beginning of the transgressions for Zion and Israel.  The Assyrians had captured this city in 701 BCE.

The pestilence (Am 4:10-4:10)

“‘I sent among you

A pestilence,

After the manner

Of Egypt.

I killed

Your young men

With the sword.

I carried away

Your horses.

I made the stench

Of your camp go up

Into your nostrils.

Yet you did not

Return to me,’

Says Yahweh.”

Amos has another oracle of Yahweh that picked up on the same theme of devastation, but still with no return to Yahweh. He sent a pestilence, like the Egyptian plagues in Exodus, chapters 7-11. Yahweh killed their young men with the sword. He took away their horses. He made them smell the stink of their own camp. Despite all this, the northern kingdom Israelites refused to return to Yahweh.

The invaders from the north (Jer 6:22-6:23)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘See!

A people is coming

From the north country.

A great nation is stirring

From the farthest parts of the earth.

They grasp the bow.

They grasp the javelin spear.

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 Zion!’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, tells them of the invasion coming from the north country. This invader was a great nation coming from far away that had bows and arrows along with spears. They were a cruel merciless group that made the sounds of a roaring sea. These well equipped warriors would be riding on their horses in battle against Zion.