After the long Septuagint prayer of Azariah, we are back at the Hebrew or Aramaic text of the Book of Daniel. Now King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and upset. He thought that he had put 3 men, tied up, into the furnace. Instead, he saw 4 men, not tied up, walking around in the middle of the furnace. He even remarked that one of them looked like a god, which was the angel.
After this dream interpretation by Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, as he worshipped Daniel. He even commanded that a grain offering with incense be offered to him, since Daniel had become like a god.
Yahweh wanted to know if the prince of Tyre would still say that he was a god in the presence of those trying to kill him. The prince of Tyre was a mere human mortal and not a god. Those trying to wound him did not see him as a god. He was going to die the death of the uncircumcised ones at the hand of foreigners. Yahweh God had clearly spoken via Ezekiel. Some Christians have interpreted this as the fall of Lucifer or the fallen angel, the devil.
Yahweh, via Ezekiel, was upset because the prince of Tyre had compared his mind to that of a god. Thus Yahweh was going to bring strangers, the most terrible of all the nations, against him. They would draw their swords against his beautiful wisdom. They would defile his splendor. They would throw him into the pit with a violent death, right in the middle of the high seas. He would sink and drown.
A usual, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. He was to tell the prince of Tyre what Yahweh had said. This Tyre prince had a proud heart. He thought that he was a god. He claimed to sit among the gods in the heart of the sea. However, he was just a mere mortal human. He was no god, even though he compared his own mind to that of a god. Was this King Ittobaal II (760-740 BCE), but that would precede the time frame of Ezekiel by over a 100 years.
Each creature had the face of a human being in front. Then there was a face of a lion on the right side with a face of an ox on the left side. In the back was the face of an eagle. Interesting enough this is similar to the idea of cherubim in Assyrian and Babylonian times. They had a statue of a god who had the head of a human, the body of a lion, the paws of an ox, with wings. This same symbolism was later taken up as the symbols of the four Christian evangelists, as well as the 4 creatures of the apocalypse in the Book of Revelation. There is also the interpretation that these animal heads symbolize mobility, intelligence, and strength. Their wings were spread out above each of these creatures, so that they touched each other. Thus these wings covered the bodies of these creatures.
Second Isaiah has this carpenter carve a god out of his wood and then worship it. He takes this carved image and bows down to it. With the left over wood he starts a fire, so that he was able to cook a piece of meat that he ate with great satisfaction. This fire also kept him warm. However, the rest of this wood was used to make his idol god. After he had completed his carving, he bowed down to it, worshipped it, and prayed to it. He said that his carved idol was his god, so that he wanted this own carved idol to save him. In other words, he made a god to save him.
Sirach continues with his eulogy to Elijah with this second person singular prayer to him. In fact, Sirach almost treats Elijah like a god when he is talking about his great deeds. However, he carefully points out that Elijah raised the dead son of the widow by the word of the Most High, and not by himself as in 1 Kings, chapter 17. At the same time, he brought kings to destruction and saved people from their sick beds. Then Elijah went to where Moses got the 10 commandments, Horeb or Mount Sinai. Thus he is like a second Moses, certainly not in the Levitical line of Aaron, when he speaks with Yahweh as in 1 Kings, chapter 19. Yahweh told him whom he was to anoint as kings and prophets. Thus Elijah tried to follow out the orders of Yahweh.
“Then Holofernes went down to the seacoast with his army. He stationed garrisons in the fortified towns. He took picked men from them as his auxiliaries. These people and all in the countryside welcomed him with garlands, dances, and tambourines. Yet he demolished all their shrines. He cut down their sacred groves. He had been commanded to destroy all the gods of the land. All the nations should worship King Nebuchadnezzar alone. All their dialects and tribes should call upon him as a god. Then he came toward Esdraelon, near Dothan, fronting the great ridge of Judea. He camped between Geba and Scythopolis. He remained for a whole month in order to collect all the supplies for his army.”
General Holofernes went down along the seacoast and set up garrisons of his troops in the fortified cities. He even picked some men from the local area to serve in his auxiliary army. They all welcomed him with garlands, dances, and tambourines as a conquering hero. Everything seemed great until he decided to tear down their shrines and sacred groves. He wanted all the local gods destroyed. The only god would be King Nebuchadnezzar. However, this is a misplaced historical event since the idea of king or ruler as a god only came with the Greeks and the Romans, not the Assyrians or Persians who were very tolerant of various religions. Besides, the unity of religious beliefs was not part of the original assignment of Holofernes. Finally, he rested a month at Esdraelon, on the border of Judah, to get more supplies for his troops. Esdraelon was on the plains of Jezreel between the coast and the Jordan River in the old Ephraim territory. Geba was actually in the Benjamin territory. So Holofernes was already in Israel, when he camped with his troops for a month.