Assurances to Judah (Nah 1:12-1:13)

To Judah

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘Though they are

At full strength,

Although they are

Many,

They will be cut off.

They will pass away.

Even though I have afflicted you,

I will afflict you no more.

Now I will break off

His yoke

From you.

I will snap

The bonds

That bind you.’”

In a classical prophetic phrase, “thus says Yahweh,” Nahum issued this oracle of Yahweh to Judah to reassure them.  Although their enemies were strong and many, Yahweh was not going to cut the people of Judah off.  This affliction was going to pass, because Yahweh was not going to afflict them anymore.  Instead, he was going to break their yoke from around their necks.  He was going to snap the bonds that had bound them.

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Yahweh’s response (Mic 2:3-2:4)

“Therefore thus,

Says Yahweh.

‘Now!

I am devising

Against this family

An evil,

From which you cannot

Remove your necks.

You shall not walk haughtily!

It will be an evil time!

On that day,

They shall take up

A taunt song

Against you.

They will wail

With bitter lamentation.

They will say.

‘We are utterly ruined.

Yahweh alters

The inheritance

Of my people.

He removes it from me!

Among our captors,

He divides our fields.’”

Yahweh responded that he was devising some evil against these wicked people.  They would wear a yoke on their necks, so that they could not walk around in a haughty manner.  There would be an evil time for them on Yahweh’s appointed day.  People would sing a taunting song against them as they would be wailing in a lamentation.  They would admit that they would be ruined, because Yahweh had altered their inheritance.  He had sent them off as captives, so that their fields would be divided up among other people.  Yahweh’s response to these evil doers was an exile captivity with the loss of their land.

The final punishment (Ezek 21:29-21:32)

“They offer false visions

For you.

They divine lies

For you.

They place you

Over the necks

Of the vile wicked ones.

Their day has come.

The time of final punishment

Has come.

Return it to its sheath!

In the place

Where you were created,

In the land of your origin,

I will judge you.

I will pour out

My indignation

Upon you,

With the fire

Of my wrath.

I will blow

Upon you.

I will deliver you

Into brutish hands,

Those skilful to destroy.

You shall be fuel

For the fire.

Your blood

Shall enter the earth.

You shall be remembered

No more.

I,

Yahweh,

Have spoken.”

These unfaithful ones offer false visions and lies. The vile wicked ones will be over their necks. The day of final punishment has come. They have returned their swords to their sheaths. Yahweh was going to judge them in the place where they were created, the land of their origins. Yahweh was going to pour out his indignation upon them with the fire of his wrath. He was going to blow upon them. He was going to deliver them into skilful brutish hands that would destroy them, so that they would become fuel for the fire. Their blood would fall on the earth. No one would remember them. Yahweh has spoken clearly.

The hard life (Lam 5:5-5:6)

“With a yoke

On our necks,

We are hard driven.

We are weary.

We are given

No rest.

We have made a pact

With Egypt.

We have made a pact

With Assyria

To get bread enough.”

Once again in the first person plural, they complain about yoke on their necks as in Jeremiah, chapter 28. They are tired because they are forced into hard labor without much rest. They had to make a pact with Egypt and Assyria to get enough bread to eat. Actually, Assyria had already disappeared.

The end of Israelite slavery (Jer 30:8-30:8)

“On that day!

Says Yahweh of hosts!

I will break

The yoke

From off their neck.

I will burst their bonds.

Strangers shall no more

Make servants of them.”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, was clear. He was going to break the yoke from their necks on that coming day. He was also going to burst their chains. No longer would they be servants to strangers.

Jeremiah at the Temple court (Jer 19:14-19:15)

“Then Jeremiah came from Topheth,

Where Yahweh had sent him

To prophesy.

He stood

In the court of Yahweh’s house.

He said to all the people.

‘Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

I am now bringing upon this city,

Upon all its towns,

All the disaster

That I have pronounced against it.

Because they have stiffened their necks.

They refuse to hear my words.’”

After Jeremiah came from Topheth, where Yahweh had sent him to prophesize, he stood in the court of the Temple. He told everyone that Yahweh, the God of Israel, was going to bring disaster to the city of Jerusalem and all its towns. Yahweh pronounced this disaster because they had stiffened their necks and refused to hear his words.

The disobedience of their ancestors (Jer 7:24-7:26)

“However their ancestors

Did not obey.

They did not

Incline their ears.

But in the stubbornness

Of their evil will,

They walked

In their own counsels.

They looked backward

Rather than forward.

From the day

That your ancestors came out

Of the land of Egypt

To this day,

I have persistently sent

All my servants,

The prophets,

To them,

Day after day.

Yet they did not listen to me.

They did not pay attention.

But stiffened their necks.

They did worse

Than their ancestors.”

Yahweh points out to Jeremiah that their ancestors did not obey God’s commands. They did not listen because they were stubborn in their evil ways. They relied on their own counsels, looking backward rather than forward. Yet since the day that they left Egypt, Yahweh has sent his prophet servants to them on a daily basis. However, they still have not listened or paid attention. Instead they stiffened their necks and were more disobedient than their ancestors.