The devastation of the land of Ephraim (Isa 17:4-17:6)

“‘On that day,

The glory of Jacob

Will be brought low.

The fat of his flesh

Will grow lean.

It shall be

As when reapers

Gather standing grain.

Their arms harvest the ears.

It shall be

As when one gleans

The ears of grain

In the Valley of Rephaim.

Gleanings will be left in it,

As when an olive tree is beaten.

Two or three berries

On the top of the highest bough

Will be left.

Four or five on the branches

Of a fruit tree

Will be left.’

Says Yahweh

God of Israel.”

Here is another oracle of Yahweh, via Isaiah, but about Ephraim of northern Israel. This rebuke is against Jacob, not Damascus. There is a reference to the Valley of Rephaim, which is northwest of Jerusalem in the Ephraim territory. Thus this land of Ephraim will be devastated. The fat animals will grow lean. All that will be left are the gleanings of left over grain that the pickers left behind. The olive trees will only have a few berries that were too difficult to pick, since all the others would have been shaken out of the trees. There will only be a few branches on any trees. There will not be much left after this day of destruction in northern Israel.

A victory over the Philistines (1 Chr 14:8-14:12)

“When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, all the Philistines went up in search of King David. But King David heard about it and went out against them. Now the Philistines had come and made a raid in the valley of Rephaim. King David inquired of Yahweh. ‘Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you give them into my hand?’ Yahweh said to King David. ‘Go up. I will give the Philistines into your hand.’ King David went up to Baal-perazim. He defeated the Philistines there. He said. ‘Yahweh has burst out against my enemies by my hand, like a bursting flood.’ Therefore the name of that place is called Baal-perazim. The Philistines abandoned their idol gods there. At King David’s command, they were burned.”

Once again, we have an almost word for word the account from 2 Samuel, chapter 5. However, this probably should have preceded the event of moving the Ark of the Covenant. When the Philistines heard that David was now king of all Israel, they set out against him. In this passage King David went out to do battle with them, when in the 2 Samuel passage King David went to his stronghold to prepare. There was a battle at Baal-perazim which is between Hebron and Jerusalem. Before King David went to battle, he directly consulted with Yahweh. Yahweh told him to go forward and attack, because Yahweh was with him. The battle seemed easy since the Philistines were like a flood of water bursting out before them. The Philistines left their idols that were burned by King David and his men. In 2 Samuel, chapter 5, he merely gathered them up, but here he also burns them. Remember that once King David had been good friends with the Philistine king of Gath, Asher.