The Great Commotion Out of the North -- By: Larry V. Crutchfield

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 03:3 (Summer 1990)
Article: The Great Commotion Out of the North
Author: Larry V. Crutchfield


The Great Commotion Out of the North

Larry V. Crutchfielda

The sound of a report! Behold, it comes, a great commotion out of the land of the north — to make the cities of Judah a desolation, a haunt of jackals (Jer 10:22 NASB)

The City of David and later the enlarged city of Jerusalem were well protected by deep valleys on the west (City of David by the Tyropean Valley; enlarged Jerusalem by [west?] (Hinnom Valley), east (Kidron Valley), and south (Hinnom Valley). But the exposed northern flank required special fortification. Thus the spot eventually occupied by the Antonia was probably occupied earlier by the Millo. Tower ov Hananel, the birah and the baris.

[Biblical, historical, geographical and archaeological study of the conquests of Palestine by the great powers of the north, and the consequent efforts of Jerusalem to set up a defensive system to protect the exposed northern flank of the city against those invaders.]

In large measure the history of God’s chosen people in the land of promise is a history of invasion and conquest by foreign powers. The first to come were the Assyrians. Then one after the other, the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Syrians, and finally, the Romans, rose to power over God’s obstinate and rebellious people.

Almost always, the invader came from the north (Egypt was an exception, e.g., 1 Kgs 14:25–27; 2 Chr 12:2–12). Understandably, in Jewish thought the north came to be regarded as the abode of Ill fortune. The perception must have been substantially fostered by the many prophetic pronouncements of God’s impending Judgment upon His wayward people. These prophetic warnings often associated coming judgment with the land of the north.

The Invaders from the North

The first great power to invade Palestine was Assyria. The imminent conquest of the ten northern tribes of Israel — Samaria, capital of the northern kingdom, fell in 722 BC was prophesied by Isaiah (Is 9:8–10:4). And just a few years later, in 715 BC, an oracle predicting the fall of Philistia warned, “Wail, O gate; cry, O city; melt away, O Philistia, all of you; for smoke comes from the north, and there is no straggler in his ranks” (Is 14:31). The prophecy suggested that like an overpowering cloud of smoke, Assyria was coming against Philistia. The warning was intended for Judah as well.

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