Against the Philistine cities (Zeph 2:4-2:4)

“Gaza shall be deserted.

Ashkelon shall become

A desolation.

Ashdod’s people

Shall be driven out

At noon.

Ekron shall be uprooted.”

Like the other prophets, Zephaniah rallied against the neighboring countries of Israel.  He started with the Philistine cities along the Mediterranean coast.  Although there were 5 major cities, Zephaniah did not mention Gath that was probably destroyed in the 8th century BCE.  Here there is a mention of 4 Philistine cities from south to north, the coastal towns of Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Ekron, the farthest north and a little inland.  Gaza would be deserted, while Ashkelon would become desolate.  Ashdod had its people driven out at noon.  Nevertheless, all 3 cities still exist today.  Ekron was simply uprooted, something that actually took place around 604 BCE under the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II.

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Yahweh explains the allegory (Ezek 17:11-17:14)

“Then the word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Say now

To the rebellious house!

Do you not know

What these things mean?

Tell them!

The king of Babylon

Came to Jerusalem.

He took its king.

He took its officials.

He brought them

Back with him

To Babylon.

He took

One of the royal offspring.

He made a covenant

With him.

He put him

Under oath.

He had taken away

The chief men

Of the land.

Thus the kingdom

Might be humble.

The kingdom might not

Lift itself up.

By keeping

His covenant,

It might stand.’’’

Ezekiel had another oracle from Yahweh that explained the first eagle allegory or riddle. Obviously the rebellious house of Judah did not understand it. Thus Yahweh, via Ezekiel, was going to explain it to them. The first eagle was the king of Babylon who came to Jerusalem. He took its king and officials back with him to Babylon. Then he took one of the Judean royal offspring and made an agreement with him. This new king swore an oath of allegiance to the King of Babylon. The first king that was uprooted was King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE), while the new king was King Zedekiah (598-587). Thus the kingdom of Judah would be humbled and not be able to lift itself up. It would be allowed to exist, if it kept the agreement with the King of Babylon.

The rebuilding of Jerusalem (Jer 31:38-31:40)

“Says Yahweh.

‘The days are coming,

When the city

Shall be rebuilt

For Yahweh,

From the tower

Of Hananel

To the Corner Gate.

The measuring line

Shall go out farther,

Straight to the hill Gareb.

It shall then turn

To Goah.

The whole valley

Of the dead bodies

With the ashes,

As well as all the fields

As far as the Wadi Kidron,

To the corner

Of the Horse Gate

Toward the east,

Shall be sacred to Yahweh.

It shall never again

Be uprooted,

Be overthrown.”

Yahweh simply says that the city of Jerusalem will be rebuilt at some future time. It will be rebuilt from the northeastern Tower of Hananel to the northwestern side at the Corner Gate.   The southeast will be Gareb hill with Goah on the southwest. Both these places are only mentioned here and may have been where the lepers lived outside the walls of Jerusalem. The southeast corner would be the Horse Gate. Jerusalem will extend out to the valley of the unclean dead in Hinnom and eastward to the Wadi Kidron. Never again will it be uprooted or overthrown, that is until the Romans in 70 CE.