May 2, 2011

Minor Prophets LXXXI: Daughter of Zion

A number of times the phrase, "daughter of Zion," is found in the OT and I have listed  and quantified by book. Its usage in a myriad of places suggests a theological significance to this phrase. I will offer what I believe it might be. Readers, as always are free to disagree and offer their own idea(s).

(1) 2 Kings 19:21
(1) Psalm 9:14
(1) Song of Solomon 3:11
(6) Isaiah 1:8, 10:32, 16:1, 37:22, 52:2, 62:11
(3) Jeremiah 4:31, 6:2, 6:23
(8) Lamentations. 1:6, 2:1, 2:4, 2:8, 2:10, 2:13, 2:18, 4:22
(4) Micah 1:13, 4:8, 4:10, 4:13
(1) Zephaniah 3:14
(3) Zechariah 2:7, 2:10

It is obvious that there is an unusually high concentration of “daughter(s) of Zion” in Jeremiah’s books, eleven in all. This first impression leads me to believe there is an implication of doom, impending judgment of lamentation. There is perhaps even a funeral/destruction atmosphere occurring in this terminology of something associated to it. It is usually also a good idea to look at a terminologies first usage to glean its origin from the text. 2 King’s Virgin Daughter of Zion as a proper noun in the context of Sennacherib impending sack or siege of Jerusalem. It is clear the Daughter of Zion is Jerusalem. Isaiah 10:32 even refers to it as the “hill of Jerusalem”.

So why is there such a heavy concentration of this term in Jeremiah’s writing? Jeremiah was a the Prophet of Doom. Jerusalem was about to be leveled and then lamented over. The question we need to ask is why? Jerusalem was disobedient and unfaithful to their God, hence their eventual destruction and exile. It seems as if the writers of the Old Testament are giving anthropomorphic characteristics to the nation as a whole. Female characteristics. Regardless of what our culture says about women today, these writers more than likely were shaped by societies that viewed women as the weaker sex and in need of protection and support and based on biblical principles, this is not unusual. In a spiritual sense this is protection, support and sustinence both physically and spiritually that would’ve been provided some how by their champion and protector, God.

As could be expected, when this daughter was disobedient or errant, punishment of correction could be expected. So we see in the end, and unrepentant daughter being led off to slavery by a brutal and abusive slave owner (Babylonian Exile). Of course any father (in this case a King too) that watches his daughter raped and abused would want justice served on his daughter’s attacker/abuser. This is exactly what we see in the later history of Jerusalem’s oppressors. They are literally served justice and destroyed. This is my take on this…

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