Isaiah 17:2-3 Treaties with Enemies

Isaiah 17:2 “The cities of Aroer are forsaken; they will be for flocks to lie down in, and there will be no one to frighten them.

Three cities are known by this name in the Old Testament. The first Aroer is located near the Arnon River. The Arnon River flows into the Dead Sea from the east. The river is approximately the midway point of the Dead Sea from north to south. The city is located on the north bank of the Arnon River 13 miles east of the Dead Sea (New Unger’s Bible Dictionary).

The second Aroer is located in Ammon or modern day Jordan.

The third Aroer is in the south of Judah. This city is located 12 miles southeast of Beersheba in modern day southern Israel. Beersheba is due west of the southern tip of the Dead Sea.

There are cities, plural. It is difficult to assess which cities are being discussed.  Regardless of the location, the cities have been destroyed and they are now pasture land for livestock. It will be a place of rest and peace for the animals. The meaning, according to Unger’s Bible Dictionary, of the name “Aroer” is nudity. So literally, the cities of nudity will be stripped.

Isaiah 17:3 “The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim, and sovereignty from Damascus and the remnant of Aram; they will be like the glory of the sons of Israel,” declares the LORD of hosts. 

Ephraim is the northern kingdom of Israel. They had a peace treaty with Damascus. Aram is the region where Damascus was located. Israel’s history was to sign peace treaties with countries or regions they viewed as military powers. Instead of sticking together with their kin, Judah, the northern kingdom had a treaty with Damascus. This treaty was against their family in the southern kingdom of Judah. Israel was divided. They did not trust or have faith in God to protect them.

Some have suggested this prophecy was fulfilled in 732 BC when Tiglath-pileser of Assyria leveled Damascus and surrounding cities. If this prophecy was proclaimed in the Isaiah 14:28 time marker, it was proclaimed in the year of King Ahaz’s death. The king’s death was in the year 715 BC as confirmed by multiple sources. That would mean the oracle would not be prophecy but history. It would be hard for this prophecy to be fulfilled when it had not been written. Damascus and neighboring cities have since rebuilt and are prominent in today’s world. I take it, these events are yet future.

The Lord Himself spoke on this matter.  Simply put, they will cease.

2 Responses to “Isaiah 17:2-3 Treaties with Enemies”

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