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The Prophecy of Amos, Part 2 - Christogenea on Talkshoe 2-8-2013
The prophecy of Amos begins with oracles against both Israel and Judah, and also against the Edomites, Syrians, Moabites and Ammonites and certain of their cities. In the first segment of our presentation of the Book of Amos we began to discuss the fates of these places, and presented much of what can be seen of these things from ancient Assyrian inscriptions. This helps to demonstrate that the Biblical account of the history of this period certainly is true, and also to show that these prophecies indeed had the beginning of their fulfillment in the years subsequent to the time of the prophet. Here we shall repeat these oracles against Damascus and against Gaza, and continue with our theme from last week.
3 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron: 4 But I will send a fire into the house of Hazael, which shall devour the palaces of Benhadad. 5 I will break also the bar of Damascus, and cut off the inhabitant from the plain of Aven, and him that holdeth the sceptre from the house of Eden: and the people of Syria shall go into captivity unto Kir, saith the LORD.
In Part 1 of this presentation we spoke of Kir at length, but not about Aven or Eden. Aven is from a Hebrew word meaning vanity, and the “high places of Aven” is a term describing the centers of idolatry at Hosea 10:8. The “house of Eden”, or “Beth Eden”, seems only to mean “house of pleasure” and in some commentaries it is considered to be an allegory. However there is a place in ancient Syria of which I find one mention in the inscriptions which was called Bit Adini. It is mentioned in an inscription of Ashurnasirpal II, who ruled Assyria from 883 to 859 BC.
As we had explained in Part 1 of this presentation, it is recorded in the Assyrian inscriptions that many Syrians were indeed taken into captivity at the time of the Assyrian invasions of Palestine, and that the Assyrian inscriptions “describe many of the prisoners taken away by the Assyrians at this time, and says that '592 towns … of the 16 districts of Damascus'” were destroyed. This was from an inscription of Sargon II, but it only mentions the destruction of the outlying towns and not the city itself.
Jeremiah chapter 49 again prophecies against Damascus: “23 Concerning Damascus. Hamath is confounded, and Arpad: for they have heard evil tidings: they are fainthearted; there is sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet. 24 Damascus is waxed feeble, and turneth herself to flee, and fear hath seized on her: anguish and sorrows have taken her, as a woman in travail. 25 How is the city of praise not left, the city of my joy! 26 Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, and all the men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the LORD of hosts. 27 And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall consume the palaces of Benhadad.”
Note here in these words of Jeremiah, that Yahweh says in verse 25: “How is the city of praise not left, the city of my joy!” In the first part of this presentation we established that Damascus, a city of Aram, was a part of David's empire and was ruled over by David's sons. Elijah the prophet was sent to anoint Hazael as king in Damascus. Damascus figures prominently in the temple vision of Ezekiel, and is mentioned in Ezekiel chapters 47 and 48.
The people of Damascus were punished “because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron.” This seems to be a reference to the events described in 2 Kings chapter 13. When Hazael the future king of Syria was sent to meet Elisha the prophet, we see this at I Kings 8:12: “12 And Hazael said, Why weepeth my lord? And he answered, Because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel: their strong holds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child.” Later, when Syria made war with Israel in the days of Jehoahaz, we read this at 2 Kings 13:7: “7 Neither did he leave of the people to Jehoahaz but fifty horsemen, and ten chariots, and ten thousand footmen; for the king of Syria had destroyed them, and had made them like the dust by threshing.” This seems to describe a very cruel act on the part of the Syrians, and is surely the reason for the words of Amos. Before the time of of Sargon II, Jeroboam II had recovered Damascus for Israel, as it is described in 2 Kings chapter 14, during which time Amos was giving his prophecy.
6 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they carried away captive the whole captivity, to deliver them up to Edom: 7 But I will send a fire on the wall of Gaza, which shall devour the palaces thereof: 8 And I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod, and him that holdeth the sceptre from Ashkelon, and I will turn mine hand against Ekron: and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish, saith the Lord GOD.
In the first part of this presentation we also discussed Gaza where it appeared in the Assyrian inscriptions, and that it was a tributary to Assyria. Yet there is no record of the fulfillment of Amos' prophecy concerning Gaza before the time of Jeremiah, who in chapter 47 of his prophecy gives an oracle against Gaza: “1 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Philistines, before that Pharaoh smote Gaza. 2 Thus saith the LORD; Behold, waters rise up out of the north, and shall be an overflowing flood, and shall overflow the land, and all that is therein; the city, and them that dwell therein: then the men shall cry, and all the inhabitants of the land shall howl. 3 At the noise of the stamping of the hoofs of his strong horses, at the rushing of his chariots, and at the rumbling of his wheels, the fathers shall not look back to their children for feebleness of hands; 4 Because of the day that cometh to spoil all the Philistines, and to cut off from Tyrus and Zidon every helper that remaineth: for the LORD will spoil the Philistines, the remnant of the country of Caphtor. 5 Baldness is come upon Gaza; Ashkelon is cut off with the remnant of their valley: how long wilt thou cut thyself? 6 O thou sword of the LORD, how long will it be ere thou be quiet? put up thyself into thy scabbard, rest, and be still. 7 How can it be quiet, seeing the LORD hath given it a charge against Ashkelon, and against the sea shore? there hath he appointed it.”
Both Ashdod (whose kings of this period were named Iamani and Azuri) and Ashkelon were subject to Sargon II during this period (ANET, pp. 283-286). While Ekron is not mentioned in those of his inscriptions which survive, Ekron was subject to Sennacherib his successor.
Gaza would be punished “because they carried away captive the whole captivity, to deliver them up to Edom”. This may refer to one or more of several circumstances. In Joel 3:4 it is evident that Palestine would have been more properly rendered as Philistia. The word Palestine was a Greek word and had a much wider connotation than the Hebrew word which was used to describe the land of the Philistines did to the Israelites.
Yahweh God says at that passage, at Joel 3:4-6: “4 Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? will ye render me a recompence? and if ye recompense me, swiftly and speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head; 5 Because ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things: 6 The children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border.”
The word Grecians in that passage stands for Ionians, the Javan of Genesis chapter 10. Although the Bible distinguishes between the people of Tyre and Sidon and the Philistines, the Greeks did not, and many of the ancient Greek poets and historians relate how the Phoenicians were very actively engaged in the slave trade. Here we see the Philistines are admonished for that reason, and we shall also see as much of the Tyrians. It also must be noted, that it is quite plausible that the Assyrians under Sennacherib having put down a revolt by the Philistines immediately before invading and conquering Judah, armies raised in Philistia would have in turn been employed as allies against Judah.
9 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Tyrus, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they delivered up the whole captivity to Edom, and remembered not the brotherly covenant: 10 But I will send a fire on the wall of Tyrus, which shall devour the palaces thereof.
Tyre is a city, not a nation. In Amos, we are at a point where the empire of David had become fractured, which we had discussed at length in the first part of this presentation. The Tyrians are not Philistines, or they would have been included in the previous admonition to the Philistines. How could the Tyrians “remember not the brotherly covenant”, and also be distinguished from Edom and therefore they were not Edomites, unless they were of the children of Israel? It can be established from the historical portions of the Old Testament, from the histories of Josephus, and from the words of the prophets as they are found in the Septuagint that the Tyrians were indeed Israelites. In the paper at Christogenea entitled Classical & Biblical Records Identifying the Phoenicians we read: “Concerning the prophecies which forecast the destruction of Israel and the Assyrian deportations, we find two mentions of Tyre which are wanting in the A.V. At Amos 3:11 where the A.V. states 'An adversary there shall be even round about the land' the Septuagint has a less ambiguous 'O Tyre, thy land shall be made desolate round about thee', the rest of the verse agreeing except that the Septuagint has 'countries' where the A.V. has 'palaces'. Micah 7:12 in the Septuagint reads: 'And thy cities shall be leveled, and parted among the Assyrians; and thy strong cities shall be parted from Tyre to the river, and from sea to sea, and from mountain to mountain.'” It can be established that Tyre and the other Phoenician cities belonged to the tribe of Asher, but were also populated by others of the northern tribes of Israel. As Deborah sang, in Judges 5:17: "Gilead abode beyond Jordan: and why did Dan remain in ships? Asher continued on the sea shore, and abode in his breaches." That word rendered breaches in the King James Version refers to an inlet or a landing place for boats. The Septuagint has the passage thus: “Galaad is on the other side of Jordan where he pitched his tents; and why does Dan remain in ships? Aser sat down on the sea-coasts, and he will tabernacle at his ports.” The proper identification of the Phoenicians as Israel raises to question the identity of the Jews of today, who are definitely not Israel.
Tyre, along with the other Phoenician cities of Palestine such as Arvad, Sidon and Byblos, was under tribute to Assyria as early as the time of Ashurnasirpal II, who presumably ruled from 883 to 859 BC (ANET, p. 276). Shalmaneser III, who ruled from 858 to 824 BC, also put Tyre, Sidon and Byblos under tribute, and mentions it in multiple inscriptions (ANET, pp. 280-281). Adad-nirari III and Tiglath-pileser III also had Tyre and Sidon under tribute (ANET, pp. 281-282). Sennacherib, who ruled from 704 to 681 BC, also had Tyre (Ushu, the Assyrian name for the mainland part of Tyre) and Sidon under tribute.
Esar-Haddon, who ruled Assyria from 680 to 669 BC, was still moving alien peoples into the ancient land of Israel, and evidently also removing Israelites (cf. Isaiah 7:8 and Ezra 4:2). In the time of this king the king of Tyre made a treaty with him, and was also rewarded rule over Philistia (ANET, p. 533). This treaty was broken in the reign of his successor Ashurbanipal, who ruled Assyria from 668 to 633 BC. Here is part of the text from an inscription of that king: “In my third campaign I marched against Ba'il, king of Tyre, who lives (on an island) amidst the sea, because he did not heed my royal order, did not listen to my personal (literally: of my lips) commands. I surrounded him with redoubts, seized his communications (literally: roads) on sea and land. I (thus) intercepted (literally: strangled) and made scarce their food supply and forced them to submit to my yoke. He brought his own daughter and the daughters of his brothers before me to do menial services. At the same time, he brought his son Iahimilki who had not (yet) crossed the sea to greet me as (my) slave. I received him from his daughter and the daughters of his brothers with their great dowries. I had mercy upon him and returned to him the son, the offspring of his loins. Iakinlu, king of Arvad, living (also) on an island who had not submitted to (any of) the kings of my family, did (now) submit to my yoke and brought his daughter with a great dowry to Nineveh to do menial services, and he kissed my feet.” We see the name of Yahweh in the names Iahimilki and Iakinlu. These names are prefixed with the same syllable that is usually rendered in English transliterations of the Hebrew as can be seen in Jehoshaphat or Jehoram. It is also recorded that many of their sons and fathers had the names of Baal - which is originally only a word meaning lord - incorporated into their names as well. There was also a Iamani who was king in Ashdod in the time of Sargon II. The names of Yahweh and the Hebrew word for lord affixed to Phoenician kings of this period is not accidental, and none of them were Jews.
Here the Tyrians are promised punishment “because they delivered up the whole captivity to Edom, and remembered not the brotherly covenant”. The Philistines, while not a part of the “brotherly covenant”, would nevertheless be punished for the identical charge of carrying “away captive the whole captivity, to deliver them up to Edom”. If the Tyrians and the Philistines were subject to the Assyrians during the deportations of Israel and most of Judah by the Assyrians, then both the Tyrians and Philistines would have engaged in carrying the captivity of Israel and most of Judah away captive.
The Septuagint reading of Amos chapter 1 verses 6 and 9 are on the surface even more puzzling. In that version, the captivity is called “the captivity of Solomon” or “the prisoners of Solomon”:
LXX Amos 1:6: “Thus saith the Lord; For three sins of Gaza, and for four, I will not turn away from them; because they took prisoners the captivity of Solomon, to shut them up into Idumea.”
LXX Amos 1:9: “Thus saith the Lord; For three transgressions of Tyre, and for four, I will not turn away from it; because they shut up the prisoners of Solomon into Idumea, and remembered not the covenant of brethren.”
So where the King James Version, from the Masoretic text, simply has the word captivity in these passages, the Septuagint has “ captivity of Solomon” or “prisoners of Solomon”. The copy of Amos found among the Dead Sea Scrolls is so fragmented that it cannot improve our understanding of these passages, and neither does Josephus. Elsewhere where it differs from the Masoretic Text, the Septuagint has been found to be highly reliable in comparison to these other ancient records, and therefore it cannot merely be discounted. Yet it is evident that no event in the historical portions of the Bible which describe the rule of Solomon may fit such a description as Amos provides here. However there is one way that it can be imagined that the captives of the Assyrian captivity can be called the “prisoners of Solomon”. That is to understand a prayer which Solomon had made upon becoming king, which is recorded in 1 Kings chapter 8. It is a long prayer, so here we will read only the pertinent portion:
1 Kings 8:44-55: “44 If thy people go out to battle against their enemy, whithersoever thou shalt send them, and shall pray unto the LORD toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house that I have built for thy name: 45 Then hear thou in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause. 46 If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near; 47 Yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness; 48 And so return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name: 49 Then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause, 50 And forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and give them compassion before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them: 51 For they be thy people, and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest forth out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace of iron: 52 That thine eyes may be open unto the supplication of thy servant, and unto the supplication of thy people Israel, to hearken unto them in all that they call for unto thee. 53 For thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth, to be thine inheritance, as thou spakest by the hand of Moses thy servant, when thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord GOD. 54 And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven. 55 And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying, 56 Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.”
Amos indeed may have called the Assyrian captivity the “prisoners of Solomon” because they were being taken captive for the very reason which we see in Solomon's prayer, a somewhat prophetic prayer. However even earlier it was prophesied in Deuteronomy that these things would eventually happen, as a result of national sin. From Deuteronomy chapter 28, the curses of disobedience, verses 15 and 25: “15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee … 25 The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.” This removal began to transpire over 700 years before the diaspora of the so-called Jews. It is also evident that the prophet calling the captives the “prisoners of Solomon” is an assurance by Yahweh God that the prayer of Solomon would be answered in regard to the captives: that Yahweh would indeed not forget His people, but have compassion for them.
Why Amos tells us that the Tyrians and Philistines delivered the captivity to Edom is another matter.
In the inscriptions of Adad-nirari III who ruled from 810 to 783 BC, and Tiglath-pileser III who ruled from 744 to 727 BC, Edom is listed among the tributaries to Assyria (ANET, pp. 281-282). In the inscriptions of Sennacherib, 704 to 681 BC, and in those of Esarhaddon, 680 to 669 BC, and Ashurbanipal, 668 to 633 BC, Edom was depicted among those nations who were willing tributaries and subjects (ANET, pp. 287, 291, 294). During this period uprisings and revolts were recorded which the Assyrians always extinguished, in Damascus, Tyre and Sidon, Philistia and Egypt, and of course in Israel and Judah. Lengthy inscriptions were made describing some of these revolts and the actions which were taken. Lengthy inscriptions were made describing the campaigns of various Assyrian kings and which nations subjected themselves willingly to their power, and which nations were subjected by force after they had resisted. Evidently, Edom was always a willing subject of the Assyrians. Because of this, it is plausible that Edom was rewarded after the breaking of the rebellious kingdoms of Israel and Judah and deportations of much of the populations. In Ezekiel chapter 35 we find the following:
Ezekiel 35: “1 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, set thy face against mount Seir, and prophesy against it, 3 And say unto it, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O mount Seir, I am against thee, and I will stretch out mine hand against thee, and I will make thee most desolate. 4 I will lay thy cities waste, and thou shalt be desolate, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD. 5 Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end: 6 Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will prepare thee unto blood, and blood shall pursue thee: sith thou hast not hated blood, even blood shall pursue thee. 7 Thus will I make mount Seir most desolate, and cut off from it him that passeth out and him that returneth. 8 And I will fill his mountains with his slain men: in thy hills, and in thy valleys, and in all thy rivers, shall they fall that are slain with the sword. 9 I will make thee perpetual desolations, and thy cities shall not return: and ye shall know that I am the LORD. 10 Because thou hast said, These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it; whereas the LORD was there: 11 Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will even do according to thine anger, and according to thine envy which thou hast used out of thy hatred against them; and I will make myself known among them, when I have judged thee. 12 And thou shalt know that I am the LORD, and that I have heard all thy blasphemies which thou hast spoken against the mountains of Israel, saying, They are laid desolate, they are given us to consume. 13 Thus with your mouth ye have boasted against me, and have multiplied your words against me: I have heard them. 14 Thus saith the Lord GOD; When the whole earth rejoiceth, I will make thee desolate. 15 As thou didst rejoice at the inheritance of the house of Israel, because it was desolate, so will I do unto thee: thou shalt be desolate, O mount Seir, and all Idumea, even all of it: and they shall know that I am the LORD.”
In the ancient world, the armies of subject nations were always employed in maintaining the empire. It is evident that Edom supplied armies to their Assyrian overlords as well as tribute, and so did the Tyrians and the Philistines. Therefore the judgement against the Tyrians and Philistines was for assisting Edom, joined with Assyria, in their designs against Israel and Judah which are spelled out here by Ezekiel. While very many of the Israelites and people of Judah were taken captive and deported by the Assyrians, many were also left behind, and from what we see in Ezekiel chapter 35 these surely would have been a prey for Edom.
It also seems from Amos as though the Edomites were the driving force behind the slave trade in the ancient world. How fitting it is to see the Edomite Jews of today engaged in sex and chattel slavery wherever they are allowed to conduct such a business, and especially in their own private criminal enclave in modern Palestine. Canaanite-Edomite Jews and Arabs pillaged the coasts of Europe looking for slaves throughout the Middle Ages, bringing them back to the Levant and Africa to use as they wished. Edomite Jews were also the principals behind the slave trade of both negroes and Irishmen into the Caribbean and America in the 17th through the 19th centuries, in concert with Edomite Arabs.
10 But I will send a fire on the wall of Tyrus, which shall devour the palaces thereof.
Both Isaiah and Ezekiel also prophesy against Tyre, and in great length. Those prophecies are a subject which can consume several programs. Tyre and Sidon rebelled several times against the Assyrian yoke and were subdued, but they were never destroyed by the Assyrians. Ushu, which was the Assyrian name for the mainland portion of ancient Tyre, was later totally destroyed by the Babylonians. After the destruction of Ushu by the Babylonians, Ezekiel (29:18) wrote: “Son of man, Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon caused his army to serve a great service against Tyrus: every head was made bald, and every shoulder was peeled: yet had he no wages, nor his army, for Tyrus, for the service that he had served against it:” Evidently there was not much booty to be gained, Tyre being a great sea port protected by the walls of the city, ostensibly anything worth keeping was moved off of the mainland before the walls were breached.
In the Persian period, the island city of Tyre was subject to the Persians and fully cooperative in the Persian war against the Greeks. The Phoenicians were described by Herodotus as being the best among the sailors employed in this war. Tyre was finally destroyed by Alexander the Great circa 330 BC. Not submitting to his yoke, he used the ruins of Ushu, which were not rebuilt, and filled in a rampart to connect the island to the mainland, a distance of only a couple of hundred yards. In that manner he was able to undermine the city's defenses and destroyed it, leaving nothing in fulfillment of the words of Ezekiel 26:4-5 where Yahweh says : “4 And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and break down her towers: I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock. 5 It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD: and it shall become a spoil to the nations.”
11 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because he did pursue his brother with the sword, and did cast off all pity, and his anger did tear perpetually, and he kept his wrath for ever: 12 But I will send a fire upon Teman, which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah.
Just like Cain, although he was a bastard, was judged primarily for hating Abel his brother, the Edomites being Canaanite bastards are also judged first for doing evil, where Amos says “because he did pursue his brother with the sword, and did cast off all pity, and his anger did tear perpetually, and he kept his wrath for ever”.
Edom is found mentioned in inscriptions as early as the 19th Egyptian dynasty (ANET, p. 259). We are not told in the inscriptions how Edom became tributary to the Assyrians, except that the Edomites appear to have subjected themselves willingly. It is related that along with Israel (called at this time Bet Khumria, or the House of Omri), Tyre, Damascus and other surrounding cities and nations, it was indeed tributary to Adad-nirari III, who presumably ruled Assyria from 810 to 783 BC, and again in the time of Tiglath-pileser III, who ruled from 744 to 727 BC, during the time when the deportations of the Israelites had begun. Edom was also listed as a faithful tributary in the reign of Sennacherib, during which time Philistia and Judah revolted, when there was the taking of the 46 fenced cities of Judah mentioned in the inscriptions and in the Bible and, the failed siege of Jerusalem after that king had suppressed the revolt in Philistia. Edom remained a willing tributary to Assyria in the reigns of Esar-Haddon, 680 to 669 BC and Ashurbanipal, 668 to 633 BC (ANET pp. 281 through 301).
Because Edom was always a willing tributary in the time of the Assyrian hegemony, there was probably no reason to list the cities of Edom in the inscriptions, since they were never besieged. Chronologically speaking (ignoring the physical order of the books as they are found in the Bible), the last mentions of Teman and Bozrah in the Old Testament are in Jeremiah chapter 49. There it says of Teman, in verses 7 and 20: “7 Concerning Edom, thus saith the LORD of hosts; Is wisdom no more in Teman? is counsel perished from the prudent? is their wisdom vanished? ... 20 Therefore hear the counsel of the LORD, that he hath taken against Edom; and his purposes, that he hath purposed against the inhabitants of Teman: Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out: surely he shall make their habitations desolate with them.” It also says of Bozrah, in verses 13 and 22: “13 For I have sworn by myself, saith the LORD, that Bozrah shall become a desolation, a reproach, a waste, and a curse; and all the cities thereof shall be perpetual wastes. 22 Behold, he shall come up and fly as the eagle, and spread his wings over Bozrah: and at that day shall the heart of the mighty men of Edom be as the heart of a woman in her pangs.”
Teman was the name of a place in Edom, but it was also the name of one of the chief families of the Edomites (Genesis 36:11). Bozrah is modern Busaira, located in what is now southern Jordan. It was the capital city of ancient Edom (Genesis 36:31-33). Many fools take the text at Isaiah 63:1-6 to indicate that in the Second Advent of our Saviour, He shall come from Bozrah. That is an absolutely Jewish interpretation, and only a Jew could see salvation in Edom because the learned Jewish rabbis know damned well that to a great extent they are Edom.
Here are the words of Isaiah 63:1-6: “1 Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. 2 Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? 3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. 4 For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. 5 And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. 6 And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.”
Here it may be evident that in Isaiah Bozrah is used prophetically as Jerusalem is used prophetically, to represent the capitals of the Edomites wherever they may happen to be. At the Advent of Christ here as it is described by Isaiah, Christ is depicted as having come from Bozrah with garments stained red with blood because His garments are stained red with the blood of the Edomites whom He has destroyed! This passage in Isaiah describes vengeance upon Edom, and not Salvation originating from Edom! The Edomites, called “vessels of destruction” by Paul (Romans 9), are forever the people of Yahweh's wrath.
In the later Babylonian period, we again see the Edomites noted for contributing to the destruction of what was left of the Kingdom of the people of God, in Psalms and in 1 Esdras. Psalm 137:7-9 explains that those who would destroy Edom are really only taking vengeance for when the Edomites gloried in destroying the temple of God: “ 7 Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof. 8 O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. 9 Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.” How could the Edomite Jews be the “daughter of Babylon”, if not in the works and the religion found in their Babylonian Talmud? The assertion made in the Psalm corroborated in 1 Esdras, 4:45, words directed at Cyrus, the King of Persia: “Thou also hast vowed to build up the temple, which the Edomites burned when Judea was made desolate by the Chaldees.” So we see the Edomites happily in league with all of those whom Yahweh God would allow to be a scourge against the children of Israel.
13 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of the children of Ammon, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have ripped up the women with child of Gilead, that they might enlarge their border: 14 But I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah, and it shall devour the palaces thereof, with shouting in the day of battle, with a tempest in the day of the whirlwind: 15 And their king shall go into captivity, he and his princes together, saith the LORD.
Rabbah is listed among the vassal states of Egypt in the days of Thutmose III, one of the last Pharaohs before the Exodus. In a broken inscription from the reign of Shalmaneser III, who presumably ruled Assyria from 858 to 824 BC, at least a thousand Ammonite soldiers were a part of an opposition army allied with the Syrians against him, whom he defeated.
The Ammonites were admonished in Jeremiah for taking the land which once belonged to Gad (Gilead), at Jeremiah 49:1-3: “1 Concerning the Ammonites, thus saith the LORD; Hath Israel no sons? hath he no heir? why then doth their king inherit Gad, and his people dwell in his cities? 2 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will cause an alarm of war to be heard in Rabbah of the Ammonites; and it shall be a desolate heap, and her daughters shall be burned with fire: then shall Israel be heir unto them that were his heirs, saith the LORD. 3 Howl, O Heshbon, for Ai is spoiled: cry, ye daughters of Rabbah, gird you with sackcloth; lament, and run to and fro by the hedges; for their king shall go into captivity, and his priests and his princes together.”
This land was taken from Israel by the Assyrians during the rule of Tiglath-pileser IIII, who ruled from 744 to 727 BC, and it is to this period we may look for the cause of Yahweh's wrath against Ammon, “because they have ripped up the women with child of Gilead, that they might enlarge their border”, since Gad would “have no heirs” at this time, many of the people having been deported by the Assyrians. Ammon is listed as a tributary to Assyria at this very time, and as a subject and suppliant state to Sennacherib, who ruled from 704 to 681 BC, and also by later Assyrian kings. Like the Edomites, the Ammonites also evidently rejoiced and were glad to take part in the destruction of the children of Israel, which we see in Ezekiel 25: “1 The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, set thy face against the Ammonites, and prophesy against them; 3 And say unto the Ammonites, Hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou saidst, Aha, against my sanctuary, when it was profaned; and against the land of Israel, when it was desolate; and against the house of Judah, when they went into captivity; 4 Behold, therefore I will deliver thee to the men of the east for a possession, and they shall set their palaces in thee, and make their dwellings in thee: they shall eat thy fruit, and they shall drink thy milk. 5 And I will make Rabbah a stable for camels, and the Ammonites a couching-place for flocks: and ye shall know that I am the LORD. 6 For thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast clapped thine hands, and stamped with the feet, and rejoiced in heart with all thy despite against the land of Israel; 7 Behold, therefore I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and will deliver thee for a spoil to the heathen; and I will cut thee off from the people, and I will cause thee to perish out of the countries: I will destroy thee; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.”