The reversal of freedom (Jer 34:15-34:16)

“You yourselves recently repented.

You did what was right

In my sight

By proclaiming liberty,

To one another.

You made a covenant

Before me

In the house

That is called by my name.

But then you turned around.

You profaned my name.

Each of you took back

Your male slaves,

Your female slaves,

Whom you had set free

According to their desire.

You brought them again

Into subjection

To be your slaves.”

Yahweh seems upset that the people of Jerusalem have gone back on their agreement to free their Hebrew slaves. Originally, they had repented. They did what was right in the eyes of God. They had proclaimed by a covenant in the Temple of Yahweh that the Hebrew slaves in Jerusalem would be set free. However, then they changed their minds. They profaned the name of Yahweh and the Temple by breaking their commitment to free their slaves. They took back both their male and female slaves into subjection again. This is odd since the slaves had no place to go. There was never any mention of non-Hebrew slaves.

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Yahweh is in charge (Isa 42:6-42:9)

“‘I am Yahweh!

I have called you in righteousness!

I have taken you by the hand!

I have kept you!

I have designed you

As a covenant to the people.

I have designed you

As a light to the nations.

You are to open the eyes

That are blind.

You are to bring out the prisoners

From the dungeons.

You are to bring out from the prisons

Those who sit in darkness.

I am Yahweh!

That is my name!

My glory!

I give to no other!

I do not give my praise to idols!

See!

The former things have come to pass.

I now declare the new things.

Before they spring forth

I will tell you of them.’”

In this section of Second Isaiah, Yahweh apparently speaks directly to the people of Israel, rather than to an individual person. He is Yahweh. He has called his people in righteousness. He took them into his hand. He kept them with a covenant. They were to be the light to the nations in order to give sight to the blind as well as bring out prisoners from dungeons and dark prisons. He is Yahweh. That is his name and his glory. He has no other names, nor does he praise any other idols. He has told you about the past, but he will tell you about things to come before they happen.

Abraham (Sir 44:19-44:21)

“Abraham was the great father

Of a multitude of nations.

No one has been found

Like him in glory.

He kept the law

Of the Most High.

He entered into

A covenant with him.

He certified the covenant

In his flesh.

When he was tested,

He was found faithful.

Therefore the Lord assured him

With an oath.

The nations would be blessed

Through his offspring.

He would make them

As numerous as

The dust of the earth.

He would exalt his posterity

Like the stars.

He would give them

An inheritance

From sea to sea,

From the Euphrates River

To the ends of the earth.”

It is obvious why Abraham should show up as one of the famous holy men as indicated in the stories of Genesis, chapters 12-25. Abraham was considered to be the father of many nations, not just Israel. His glory was beyond anyone else. He kept the law of the Most High God, although it was not written anywhere. There is no mention of Yahweh. However Abraham entered into a covenant with the Most High God that was sealed with his flesh, the circumcision of the foreskin of his penis. Then there was his test about obeying God, when he was asked to kill his son. Abraham proved faithful to God. Thus the Lord, or Yahweh, assured him with an oath that he would have many blessed descendants as numerous as the dust on the earth. He also promised them an inheritance of the land from the Euphrates River to the Mediterranean Sea to the ends of the earth. Wow! This was a big chunk of land.

Yahweh and David (Ps 89:3-89:4)

“You said.

‘I have made a covenant with my chosen one.

I have sworn to my servant David.

‘I will establish your descendants forever.

I will build your throne for all generations.’”

Selah

This psalmist recalls the words of Yahweh. He had made a covenant with David. Notice that the covenant is not longer with Abraham or Moses. David was going to have descendants forever so that his throne could continue into the future. This section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause of Selah.

Land and covenant (Ps 25:11-25:14)

Lamed

“For your name’s sake!

Yahweh!

Pardon my guilt!

For it is great!

Mem   

Who are they that fear Yahweh?

He will teach them the way that they should choose.

Nun    

They will abide in prosperity.

Their children shall possess the land.

Samek

The friendship of Yahweh is

For those who fear him.

He makes his covenant known to them.”

The psalmist, David, wanted to be pardoned for his great guilt. Anyone that feared Yahweh could be taught the way to follow him. Those who follow Yahweh will be blessed with prosperity and land. Yahweh was friendly to those who feared him. He made a covenant with them.

King Ptolemy VI gives his daughter to King Demetrius II (1 Macc 11:8-11:12)

“King Ptolemy gained control of the coastal cities as far as Seleucia by the sea. He kept devising evil designs against Alexander. He sent envoys to King Demetrius, saying.

‘Come!

Let us make a covenant with each other.

I will give you in marriage my daughter

Who was Alexander’s wife.

You shall reign over your father’s kingdom.

I now regret that I gave him my daughter,

He has tried to kill me.’

He threw blame on King Alexander because he coveted his kingdom. He took his daughter away from him and gave her to Demetrius. He was estranged from Alexander. Their enmity became manifest.”

The Egyptian King Ptolemy VI had gained control of the coastal cities in Palestine. In fact, Seleucia was the main port for the city of Antioch. Then he sent messengers to King Demetrius II. He wanted to make a covenant with him. He was going to take his daughter, Cleopatra III, who was married to King Alexander, and give her to him. He regretted giving his daughter to King Alexander I because he had tried to kill him. There was a growing feud between King Ptolemy VI of Egypt and King Alexander I of Antioch, especially when he took his wife away. I wonder if Cleopatra had any say in these marriage arrangements.