Against Moab (Am 2:1-2:3)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘For three transgressions

Of Moab,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

Because he burned to lime

The bones

Of the king of Edom.

So,

I will send a fire

On Moab.

It shall devour

The strongholds

Of Kerioth.

Moab shall die

Amid uproar,

Amid shouting,

Amid the sound

Of the trumpet.

I will cut off

The ruler

From its midst.

I will kill

All its officials with him.’

Says Yahweh.”

Moab was the ancient enemy of Israel on the southeast side of the Jordan River. According to Genesis, chapter 19, the Moabites were the descendants of Lot through the incest he had with his daughter. Yahweh, via Amos, invoked the same language as he had used against Damascus, the Philistines, Tyre, Edom, and Ammon. He also used the same non-forgiving numeric formula of 3 and 4, as in Proverbs, chapter 30. The Moabites apparently burned the bones of the king of Edom in lime. Edom was their southern neighbors, so that this was a terrible insulting crime. Thus, Yahweh was going to punish the people of Moab by devouring their fortresses at Kerioth. Moab was going to die in a great tumult, with uproars, shouts, and trumpets. Yahweh would kill their ruler and all their officials. This clearly was an oracle of Yahweh, via Amos.

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The evil in Gilgal (Hos 9:15-9:15)

“Every evil

Of theirs

Began at Gilgal.

There I began

To hate them.

Because of the wickedness

Of their deeds,

I will drive them

Out of my house.

I will love them

No more.

All their officials

Are rebels.”

Gilgal was the original west bank camping grounds, east of Jericho, in Joshua, chapters 4-5. There Saul was also anointed king in 1 Samuel, chapter 11, despite the fact that Samuel was opposed to him. Gilgal was, nevertheless, the home of the prophets Elijah and Elisha in 2 Kings, chapter 2. Yahweh, via Hosea, said that all the evil things began here at Gilgal, as they entered the promised land. Yahweh began to hate the Israelites there, because of their wicked deeds. Yahweh was going to drive them out of his house, because he was not going to love them anymore. All their officials were rebels against Yahweh.

The open shame of the people (Dan 9:7-9:8)

“O Lord!

Righteousness

Is on your side.

But at this day,

Open shame

Falls on us,

The people

Of Judah,

The inhabitants

Of Jerusalem,

All Israel.

This includes

Those who are near,

As well as those

Who are far away,

In all the lands

To which

You have driven them,

Because of the treachery

That they have committed

Against you.

O Lord!

Open shame

Falls on us,

Our kings,

Our officials,

Our ancestors,

Because we have sinned

Against you.”

Daniel spoke for everybody about their open shame. Righteousness was on the side of the Lord. However, open shame fell on the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and all Israel, since it did not matter whether they were near or far away. Some were in the lands that the Lord had driven them because of their treachery. Thus, this open shame falls on their kings, their officials, and ancestors, because they had all sinned against God.

The final destruction of Babylon (Jer 51:54-51:57)

“Listen!

A cry from Babylon!

A great crashing

From the land

Of the Chaldeans!

Yahweh is laying

Babylon waste!

Yahweh is stilling

Her loud clamor!

Their waves roar

Like many waters!

The sound of their clamor

Resounds!

A destroyer has come

Against her!

Against Babylon!

Her warriors are taken.

Their bows are broken.

Yahweh is

A God of recompense.

He will repay in full.

‘I will make drunk

Her officials,

Her sage wise men,

Her governors,

Her deputies,

Her warriors.

They shall sleep

A perpetual sleep.

They shall not wake.’

Says the King,

Whose name is

Yahweh of hosts.”

They will hear the cry of Babylon as its destruction takes place. Yahweh will destroy the land of the Chaldeans as he lays waste to Babylon. Loud noises like roaring waters will be heard in Babylon. A destroyer came against Babylon. The warriors were taken. Their bows were broken. Yahweh is a God of rewards. Thus, he will demand a payment in full. He will make all their officials, sages, governors, deputies, and warriors drunk. They will sleep an eternal sleep, so that they will never again wake up. Thus the God king, Yahweh of hosts has spoken. The final destruction of Babylon will take place as he wishes.

 

The nations prepare for war against Babylon (Jer 51:27-51:28)

“Raise a standard

In the land!

Blow the trumpet

Among the nations!

Prepare the nations

For war

Against her!

Summon

Against her

The kingdoms,

Of Ararat,

Of Minni,

Of Ashkenaz!

Appoint a marshal

Against her!

Bring up horses

Like bristling locusts!

Prepare the nations

For war

Against her!

The kings

Of the Medes,

With their governors,

Their deputies,

With every land

Under their dominion

Shall come!”

Yahweh via Jeremiah wants to call various nations to fight against Babylon. The standard and the trumpet of war should sound to prepare nations to attack her. In particular 3 countries are named. Ararat was considered the place where Noah’s ark landed in Genesis, chapter 8. The assumption is that this mountain was in southern Turkey, what today is in Kurdish land, near the Russian and Iranian borders. Minni may be a reference to the Mannaeans who lived in what is now northwestern Iran or Armenia. Ashkenaz was a son of Noah and a land around Asia Minor near Armenia. Jewish people from the Rhineland area were called Ashkenazi, and this term was later adapted for all eastern European Jews. These countries would have joined with the Persians to attack Babylon. They would have so many horses that they would seem like swarms of locusts. Joining them would be the kings of Medes with all their officials and deputies, plus all the people from the land that they dominated. These were the ancient Persian people in what is now northwestern Iran. There was no specific mention of the Persians here.

The sword of the Israelite redeemer (Jer 50:34-50:37)

“Their Redeemer is strong.

Yahweh of hosts

Is his name.

He will surely plead

Their cause.

He may give rest

To the earth.

But he will give unrest

To the inhabitants

Of Babylon.

Says Yahweh.

‘A sword against

The Chaldeans!

The inhabitants of Babylon!

Her officials!

Her sages!

The diviners!

Thus they may

Become fools!

A sword against

Her warriors!

Thus they may be destroyed!

A sword against

Her horses!

Her chariots!

All the foreign troops

In her midst!

Thus they may

Become women!

A sword against

All her treasures!

Thus they may be plundered!’”

Yahweh was the strong redeemer of Israel and Judah. He was going to bring the sword or death to the Babylonians. He was going to give the Israelites and Judeans a rest since he pleaded their case. However, the Babylonians were not going to be as lucky, since he was going to bring them unrest. The destroying sword would come up against the Chaldeans and all the people who lived in Babylon. All their officials and wise men would suffer death by the sword also. The foolish diviners and the warriors would be destroyed. Their horses, their chariots, and the foreign troops there would be wiped out by the sword. These strong fighters would become like women. The Babylonian treasures would be plundered. Watch out for the sword of this redeemer!

Yahweh remembers the failures in Judah and Jerusalem (Jer 44:21-44:23)

“As for the offerings

That you made

In the towns of Judah,

In the streets of Jerusalem,

Did not Yahweh remember them?

That is you with

Your ancestors,

Your kings,

Your officials,

The people of the land,

Did it not come into his mind?

Yahweh could no longer

Bear the sight

Of your evil doings,

The abominations

That you committed.

Therefore your land

Became a desolation,

A waste,

A curse,

Without inhabitants,

As it is to this day.

It is

Because you burned offerings,

Because you sinned

Against Yahweh.

You did not obey

The voice of Yahweh.

You did not

Walk in his law,

Walk in his statutes,

Walk in his decrees.

Thus this disaster

Has befallen you,

As is still evident today.”

Jeremiah justifies the punishment that they have today, based on their idolatrous sacrifices that they, their ancestors, their kings, their officials, and all the people had made earlier in Judah and Jerusalem. Did they think that Yahweh, their God, would forget this? Yahweh could no longer bear the sight of these evil abominations, so that he made their land desolate, a waste, and cursed, without inhabitants until the present time. They had sinned by offering these burnt sacrifices. They did not obey Yahweh. They would not follow his laws, statutes, or decrees. Thus this disaster has come upon them until the present day. Jeremiah thought that these refugees were too defiant against Yahweh.