Jerusalem under siege
When gold and jewels become worthless1Oh no! Our gold is worthless now,
The shine is gone.
Sacred stones that were part of our Temple
Lie broken on streets all around it.
2Jerusalem’s precious children,
Worth their weight in gold to us,
Aren’t worth their weight in clay to the enemy.
They treat our children like clay pots,
Made by human hands instead of God.
3Even jackals feed their young.
But our people have become calloused and cruel,
Mean as an ostrich in the wild.
4A baby gets so thirsty
That her tongue sticks to the roof of her mouth.
Children beg for food.
But there’s no food for them.
5Elite leaders in our land,
Who once feasted on delicacies,
Drop in the streets and die.
Those who once dressed in rich purple fabric
Now hunt for supplies in the trash.
6My people were guilty as sin,
Worse than Sodom—
A city destroyed in a moment,
Without anyone lifting a finger.
7Our princes shined brighter than snow,
lighter than milk.
Their bodies were red as dark rubies—
Chiseled and stately as sapphire.
8Today, they’re covered in soot.
Who would know them to see them now?
Their skin looks glued to their meatless bones,
And it’s as dry as a wedge of wood.
Hungry enough to cook babies9People die happier stabbed by the sword,
Than those stabbed by pangs of hunger.
The hungry die slowly,
Wasting away as they starve.
10Tenderhearted women boil their children—
Fresh meat for the starving
In a war that ended my nation.
11The LORD emptied his wrath—
Every last spark, with all of his anger—
Poured on Jerusalem,
Burned to the ground.
12No king on earth or anyone else
Thought invaders could storm Jerusalem,
Breaking through the gates and into the town.
13But sure enough, it happened.
Blame her prophets and priests
For the blood on their hands,
And for what they did
To their good people.
14Covered in blood,
They wandered the streets,
Where no one wanted to touch them.
15“Get away!” people yelled at them.
“Get out of here! Don’t touch me!”
So, they scattered abroad
To faraway nations that told them,
“Get out of here. You can’t stay.”
16The LORD himself shooed them away—
Outsiders, no longer his people.
He gave the priests no special attention,
The elders and leaders no honor.
The calvary didn’t come17On lookout duty, we strained our eyes
As we searched for anyone coming,
Anyone willing to rescue us.
But no nation on earth could have saved us.
18Our enemies constantly targeted us.
We weren’t safe in the streets.
Or anywhere else.
Our time had come.
And that was it. The end.
19Our enemies were faster than eagles.
They chased us into the mountains.
They ran us across the plains.
They caught us where they found us.
20Our king was thrown into a cistern pit.
This was the LORD’s anointed one,
The very spirit of our nation.
We thought we lived in God-given safety,
Under the shadow of the king’s protection.
21Take a moment to celebrate, people of Edom.
Be glad you live in the land of Uz.
But the day is coming
When you’ll drink this cup of God’s anger, too.
You’ll drink it till you’re drunk and naked.
22Your sins, Jerusalem, are expunged,
They’re gone for good.
Your time in exile is over.
But your sins, Edom, are piling up.
The LORD will put them on display.
Purple was an expensive color because purple die came from the murex snail in the Mediterranean Sea. Jews weren’t seafaring people. They were dryland “sea-fearing” herders and farmers. It’s likely they had to import the dye from others who worked in the shallow coastal waters of the Mediterranean Sea, such as Phoenicians in what is now Lebanon.
Cannibalizing children was also reported in the earlier siege of Samaria, when Assyrians defeated the northern Jewish nation of Israel (2 Kings 6:28-29).
Jews taught that touching blood or a bleeding person rendered a person ritually unclean and unfit to worship God until they were cleansed. This condition was contagious. A person ritually unclean was not supposed to touch another person or go to the worship center because they ritually defiled whatever or whoever they touched. Israelites were able to get ritually clean again by following a set of procedures that included bathing, washing their clothes, getting sprinkled with “water of purification” (Numbers 19), and waiting for a stretch of time, often seven days.
Each king was anointed with oil to signify that God had chosen him. The king became known as God’s “anointed,” or “the anointed one.” In the original language of Hebrew, the word is “messiah.” Many Christians often see this word in the Old Testament as a foreshadowing of Jesus the Messiah a thousand years before he came to earth. But to the readers in Bible times, the word simply meant their king. Israel’s kings were presented to the nation as God’s chosen leader, literally God’s anointed one. The ritual of crowning someone king involved an anointing—pouring olive oil over the ruler’s head. Samuel anointed young David as Israel’s king (1 Samuel 16:12-13). The ritual sounds messy, but the olive oil would have felt refreshing poured onto someone living without air-conditioning in the ancient Middle Eastern heat.
Edom’s people were related to the Jews. Hard to tell, based on charges leveled against them by Obadiah and other prophets: “Those people are tagged for destruction” (Isaiah 34:5). God, apparently through a vision to Obadiah, accused the people of Edom with:
- Collaborating with invaders who decimated Jerusalem
- Gloating over the fall of the Israelite nation
- Arresting people of Judah as they tried to escape
- Turning them over to the enemy
- Pillaging Jerusalem’s ruins for leftover valuables
Obadiah said their doomsday was now on God’s calendar: “You killed the people of your brother, Jacob. For that, I’m shutting you down forever” (1:10).
Uz was the homeland of Job, starring character in the Book of Job. It’s unknown where this land was. Edom was just south of the Dead Sea, mostly to the east, in what is now the nation of Jordan. That suggests Uz was somewhere in that territory. Some place it in the far south of Edom, near the Gulf of Aqaba.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.