Return to Yahweh (Hos 6:1-6:3)

“Come!

Let us return to Yahweh!

He has torn us.

He will heal us.

He has struck us down.

He will bind us up.

After two days,

He will revive us.

On the third day,

He will raise us up,

That we may live

Before him.

Let us know!

Let us press on

To know Yahweh!

His appearing is

As sure

As the dawn.

He will come to us

Like the showers,

Like the spring rains

That water the earth.”

Hosea asked his listeners to return to Yahweh. Although, Yahweh had torn them down, now he would heal them. He had struck them down. Now he would bind them up. After 2 days, he would revive them. On the 3rd day, he would raise them up, a theme of the early Christian writers. Thus, they might live in the sight of Yahweh. They would want to know Yahweh, since his appearance was as sure as the daily dawn of the sun. He would come to them, like a soft shower or spring rain that waters the earth and makes it grow. So, the same thing would happen to these Israelites.

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No more livestock (Ezek 32:13-32:14)

“‘I will destroy

All its livestock

From beside abundant waters.

No human foot

Shall trouble them anymore.

The hoofs of the cattle

Shall not trouble them.

Then I will make

Their waters clear.

I will cause

Their streams

To run

Like oil.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh was going to destroy the Egyptian livestock. No humans or animals would be around anymore. The waters would be clear of fish. Their streams would be like polluted with oil flowing in them. Yahweh had spoken via Ezekiel.

Drought and wild animals in Babylon (Jer 50:38-50:40)

“‘A drought

Against her waters!

Thus they may be dried up!

It is a land of images.

They go mad

Over idols.

Therefore,

Wild animals

Shall live

With hyenas

In Babylon.

Ostriches

Shall inhabit her.

She shall never again

Be inhabited

For all generations.

As when God overthrew

Sodom and

Gomorrah,

With their neighbors,

So no one

Shall live there.

No one

Shall settle there.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh was clear. He was going to make Babylon an abandoned desert. The waters of the land would dry up and leave a drought. It is hard to believe that he meant the Tigris River and the Euphrates River. He wanted their images and idols destroyed.   Thus wild animals, hyenas, and ostriches would live in Babylon. No humans would live or settle in Babylon. It would become like the ancient destroyed cites of Sodom and Gomorrah as in Genesis, chapter 19, a desolation.

Desolate Moab towns (Jer 48:34-48:34)

“Heshbon cries out.

Elealeh cries out.

As far as Jahaz,

They utter their voice,

From Zoar

To Horonaim,

To Eglath-shelishiyah.

Even the waters of Nimrim

Have become desolate.”

This continues with the same ideas as in Isaiah, chapter 15. Everybody was crying out from the towns of Heshbon and Elealeh, in the Israelite Reuben territory, upper Moab. This crying could be heard 25 miles away north in Jahaz, a Levitical city near Gilead that was given to Gad in Joshua, chapter 21. These Moabite fugitives fled south to the tip of the Dead Sea near Zoar, which is on the southeast end of the Dead Sea. They also fled to the surrounding towns of Eglath-shelishiyah and Horonaim, near the ascent of the Luhith hills, in southern Moab near Zoar. The cries of the Moabites could be heard everywhere. The waters of Nimrim were desolate with nothing growing beside it. Only Jeremiah and Isaiah make any reference to these waters of Nimrim.

Crying for Moab and its vineyard (Jer 48:31-48:33)

“Therefore I wail for Moab!

I cry out for all Moab!

I mourn for

The people of Kir-heres.

More than for Jazer,

I weep for you!

O vine of Sibmah!

Your branches

Crossed over the sea,

Reached as far as Jazer.

The destroyed has fallen

Upon your summer fruits,

Upon your vintage.

Gladness has been taken away.

Joy has been taken away,

From the fruitful land

Of Moab.

I have stopped the wine

From the wine presses.

No one treads them

With shouts of joy.

The shouting is

Not the shout of joy.”

Yahweh seems to have great pity for Moab, like in Isaiah, chapter 16. He seemed very concerned about the summer fruits and the wine in Moab. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah mention the town of Kir-heres that is on the main road about 10 miles from the Dead Sea. Of particular interest to both of them was the vineyard of Sibmah, since their descriptions are almost the same. The vines of Sibmah were about 5 miles east of Heshbon, also part of Moab and Reuben. The wonderful vine shoots that had strayed into the desert and even across waters were now languishing. Jeremiah, like Isaiah, has Yahweh crying, because there would no longer be any shouting in the fields at the grape harvest time, because there were no more summer fruits. There would be no joy, gladness, shouting, or singing since there was no one to tread the wine presses. There were no more grapes. Yahweh had stopped the wine presses. The shouts that you now heard were not shouts of joy.

Israel forgot Yahweh (Jer 18:13-18:17)

“Therefore thus says Yahweh.

‘Ask among the nations?

Who has heard the like of this?

The virgin Israel has done

A very horrible thing.

Does the snow of Lebanon

Leave the crags of Sirion?

Do the mountain waters run dry?

Do the cold flowing streams stop?

But my people have forgotten me.

They burn incense to a delusion.

They have stumbled in their ways,

On the ancient roads.

They have gone into bypaths.

They have not gone on the highway.

They are making their land a horror.

This is a thing to be hissed at forever.

Everyone who passes by it

Is horrified.

They shake their heads.

Like the east wind,

I will scatter them

Before the enemy.

I will show them my back.

I will not show them my face,

In the day of their calamity.’”

Yahweh wants to know why the Israelites have forgotten him. This virgin Israel has done a horrible thing. He asks whether the snow leaves the mountains of Lebanon at Mount Hermon. Sirion is another name for Mount Hermon. Do the mountain waters dry up? Do the cold streams disappear? Do these sources for the Jordan River stop? Of course not, yet Yahweh’s people have forgotten him. They have turned to offering incense to false delusionary idol gods. They were stumbling along. They have gone off the main highways into the side roads. Their land has become horrible. People shake their heads and hiss as they pass by. Thus Yahweh was going to be like a wind from the east and scatter them to their enemies. When the day of troubles would begin, he would show them his back and not his face.

Yahweh the savior (Isa 43:1-43:3)

“But now thus says Yahweh.

‘He who created you!

O Jacob!

He who formed you!

O Israel!

Do not fear!

I have redeemed you.

I have called you by name.

You are mine.

When you pass through the waters,

I will be with you.

When you pass through the rivers,

They shall not overwhelm you.

When you walk through fire,

You shall not be burned.

The flame shall not consume you.

For I am Yahweh!

Your God!

The Holy One of Israel!

Your Savior!’”

Here in Second Isaiah, Yahweh speaks directly to the Israelites. He has created and formed them. They are not to be afraid, because Yahweh has redeemed them also. He has also called them by name, Israel and Jacob. They are his. If they pass through waters, he will be with them. If they go through rivers, it will not overtake them. If they are in fire, they will not get burned with a consuming fire. They only have to remember that Yahweh is their God. He is the Holy One of Israel and their savior. Otherwise there is nothing to worry about.