Against Ammon (Am 1:13-1:15)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘For three transgressions,

Of the Ammonites,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

Because they ripped open

Pregnant women

In the Gilead.

They wanted to enlarge

Their territory.

So,

I will kindle a fire

Against the wall of Rabbah.

Fire shall devour

Its strongholds,

With shouting

On the day of battle.

There will be a storm

On the day of the whirlwind.

Their king

Shall go into exile,

He with his officials together.’

Says Yahweh.”

Ammon was east of the Jordan River, between the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee in the old Gad territory. According to Genesis, chapter 19, the Ammonites 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, and Edom. He used the same numeric formula of 3 and 4, as found in Proverbs, chapter 30. These Ammonites had killed pregnant women in the Gilead, the Israelite territory on the east side of the Jordan River, because they wanted to take over that territory. Thus, Yahweh was going to send fire down on Rabbah, the capital city that is today the capital of Jordan, Amman. This fire would destroy all their fortresses, like a storm or whirlwind. The king and all its officials would go into exile.

Against Edom (Am 1:11-1:12)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘For three transgressions

Of Edom,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

Because he pursued

His brother

With the sword.

He cast off all pity.

He maintained

His anger perpetually.

He kept his wrath forever.

So,

I will send a fire

On Teman.

It shall devour

The strongholds of Bozrah.’”

Edom was southeast of Judah and south of the Dead Sea. Yahweh, via Amos, invoked the same language as he had used against Damascus, the Philistines, and Tyre. He used the same numeric formula of 3 and 4, like in Proverbs, chapter 30. Edom was considered a brother of Israel, because its founder was Esau, the twin brother of Jacob. Edom had tried to kill the Israelites with a sword. They had no pity, since they were perpetually angry. Thus, Yahweh was going to send fire down on Teman, either a tribe or small village in Edom. He was also going to devour the fortress in Bozrah, the capital city of Edom, in present day Jordan.

The coastal lands would be held responsible (Joel 3:4-3:4)

“What are you to me?

O Tyre!

O Sidon!

All the regions

Of Philistia!

Are you paying me back

For something?

If you are paying me back,

I will turn your deeds back

Upon your own heads,

Swiftly,

As well as speedily.”

It is obvious from this passage that Yahweh and Joel were referring to the neighbors of Jerusalem, the coast cities of Tyre and Sidon as well as the coastal Philistine cities, not the whole world. How could they pay back what they had done? Yahweh was going to turn their deeds back on them in a swift speedy way.

The spoils of plunder (Ezek 38:13-38:13)

“Sheba,

Dedan,

The merchants of Tarshish,

With all its young warriors,

Will say to you.

‘Have you come

To seize spoil?

Have you assembled

Your troops

To carry off plunder?

Do you want

To carry away

Silver,

Gold,

Cattle,

With other goods?

Do you want

To seize

Great spoil?’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, now suddenly has the trading partners of Tyre from Sheba, Dedan, and Tarshish, as found in chapter 27, show up in here. They realized that there would be a lot of things to plunder in Israel and Jerusalem. Tarshish had both merchants and warriors to gather up things. They wanted to know if Gog was there to plunder Israel? Would he take away its silver, gold, cattle, and other precious items? Would there be a great amount of stuff to take?

The allies of Gog (Ezek 38:5-38:6)

“Persia,

Cush,

Put,

Are with them.

All of them

Have shields

With helmets.

Gomer

With all its troops

Are with them.

Beth-togarmah,

From the remotest parts

Of the north,

Are with them,

With all its troops.

Many people

Are with you.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, listed the allies of Gog. Ezekiel seemed to remind Gog who was on his side. Persia was an ally. Cush or Ethiopia was also on his side. Put or Libya was also with him. Of course, they all had their shields and helmets. Also with Gog were the people of Gomer, who was the biblical son of Japheth, the son of Noah, with his army. Beth-togarmah, the horse traders with Tyre from chapter 27, from the remote north, was also with Gog. Once again, these northern countries had lots of people in their armies.

A comparison to the trees in the Garden of Eden (Ezek 31:8-31:9)

“The cedars

In the garden of God

Could not rival it.

The fir trees

Could not equal

Its boughs.

The plane trees were

As nothing

Compared

With its branches.

No tree

In the garden of God

Was like it

In beauty.

I made it beautiful

With its mass

Of its branches.

All the trees of Eden

Envied it.

All the trees envied it

That were

In the garden of God.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, compared this great cedar to the cedars in the Garden of Eden from Genesis, chapters 2-3. This is much like chapter 28 of this work with the comparison between the precious stones of Tyre and the Garden of Eden. Here the Garden of Eden is called the garden of God. The cedars from this garden of God could not rival this great cedar. The fir trees of the garden of God were not equal to this cedar either. All the branches of common trees were as nothing compared to this great cedar tree. In fact, no tree in the garden of God was like it in its beauty and branches. All the trees from the Garden of Eden, the garden of God, envied this great cedar. Yahweh had made this beautiful cedar tree.

The other countries (Ezek 30:4-30:5)

“A sword shall come

Upon Egypt.

Anguish shall be

In Ethiopia.

When the slain

Fall

In Egypt,

Its wealth

Will be carried away.

Its foundations

Will be torn down.

Ethiopia,

Put,

Lud,

All Arabia,

Libya,

The people

Of the allied lands

Shall fall

With them

By the sword.”

When the sword or battle would come to Egypt, the anguish would also come to Ethiopia, which is south of Egypt. The wealth of the dead people in Egypt would be carried away. The foundations of Egypt would be shaken and torn down. However, the neighboring countries and those allied with Egypt would also suffer. Besides Ethiopia, there were the people from Put and Lud, who had also served in the army of Tyre, as mentioned earlier in chapter 27. However, those affected by this invasion were also the people from Libya, west of Egypt, as well as all the Arabian tribes and those people allied with Egypt. They would all fall by the sword.

King Nebuchadnezzar and Tyre (Ezek 29:17-29:18)

“In the twenty-seventh year,

In the first month,

On the first day

Of the month,

The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon

Made his army

Labor hard

Against Tyre.

Every head

Was made bald.

Every shoulder

Was rubbed bare.

Yet neither he

Nor his army

Got anything

From Tyre

To pay

For the labor

That he had expended.”

This appears to be one of the last oracles of Ezekiel. Once again, there is an exact date, the 1st day of the 1st month of the 27th year of King Zedekiah, making it 571 BCE, well after the captivity of Jerusalem. As usual, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. Yahweh explained how King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had made his army work very hard against Tyre. They were baldheaded and wore out their shoulders. However, neither he nor his army got anything out of Tyre to pay for all the energy that they had spent against it.

Against Sidon (Ezek 28:20-28:23)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me!

‘Son of man!

Set your face

Toward Sidon!

Prophesy against it!

Say!

Thus says Yahweh God!

I am against you!

O Sidon!

I will gain glory

In your midst.

They shall know

That I am Yahweh,

When I execute

My judgments

In it.

I will manifest

My holiness

In it.

I will send

Pestilence

Into it.

I will send

Bloodshed

Into its streets.

The dead shall fall

In its midst,

By the sword

That is against it

On every side.

Then they will know

That I am Yahweh.’”

Yahweh once again came to Ezekiel, the son of man. Ezekiel was to turn towards Sidon, often mentioned together with Tyre, but less important than Tyre. Sidon itself, now part of Lebanon, was a seacoast town about 25 miles north of Tyre, supposedly named after the son of Canaan, the grandson of Noah. Ezekiel was to prophesy against Sidon. Yahweh was going to be glorified in Sidon. They would learn that Yahweh was able to execute judgments and manifest his holiness there. Yahweh was going to send pestilence and bloodshed to its streets. The dead would fall by the sword all around them. Finally, they would know that Yahweh was God.

The dismissal from the mountain of God (Ezek 28:14-28:16)

“I placed you

With an anointed cherub

As a guardian.

You were

On the holy mountain

Of God.

You walked among

The stones of fire.

You were blameless

In your ways

From the day

That you were created,

Until iniquity

Was found in you.

In the abundance

Of your trade

You were filled

With violence.

You sinned.

So I cast you

As a profane thing

From the mountain

Of God.

The guardian cherub

Drove you out

From among

The stones of fire.”

Ezekiel has a variation of the Garden of Eden story, in Genesis, chapters 2-3.  This time, Tyre is on a mountain of God or God’s mountain. Usually this referred to Jerusalem. This may have been a reference to the Canaanite myth about Mount Sapon, near the Turkish-Syrian border. This holy mountain had a guardian anointed cherub angel. There Tyre could walk on stones of fire. He, like Adam, was created blameless. Then iniquity came from the abundance of his trade. Tyre became violent and sinned. Then he was cast out from this mountain of God by this guardian cherub as something profane and not holy. Thus Tyre could no longer walk on the stones of fire.