The two women and the wicked basket (Zech 5:9-5:11)

“Then I looked up.

I saw two women

Coming forward.

The wind

Was in their wings.

They had wings

Like the wings

Of a stork.

They lifted up the basket

Between the earth

And the heavens.

Then I said to the angel

Who talked with me.

‘Where are they taking

The basket?’

He said to me.

‘To the land of Shinar,

To build a house for it.

When this is prepared,

They will set the basket

Down there on its base.’”

Next two-winged women came forward, with wings like a stork.  They took the basket into the sky with the wicked woman in it.  Zechariah wanted to know where they were taking the basket.  The angel who had been talking with Zechariah said that they were taking the basket to the land of Shinar, another name for Babylon.  There they were going to build a house or a temple and put this basket of wickedness in the middle of the temple on a base set up there.  In other words, this wicked basket was going to become a Babylonian idol.

Advertisements

The spiritual worship (Dan 3:16-3:17)

“Yet with a contrite heart,

With a humble spirit,

May we be accepted,

As though it were

With burnt offerings

Of rams,

Of bulls,

With tens of thousands

Of fat lambs!

Such may our sacrifice be

In your sight,

Today!

May we unreservedly

Follow you!

No shame

Will come

To those

Who trust in you!”

Thus, Azariah pointed out that their religion must become more spiritual than cultic, without a Temple to offer sacrifices. With a contrite heart and humble spirit, Azariah asked that his attitude might take the place of the cultic burnt offerings of rams, bulls, and lambs. He wanted his attitude to be the equivalent of ritual sacrifices. He did not want shame to come to those who trusted in God and followed his commandments. This is a clear movement away from the ritual temple worship.

The powerless idols (Bar 6:53-5:56)

“These false idols cannot

Set up a king

Over a country.

They cannot

Give rain

To people.

They cannot

Judge

Their own cause.

They cannot

Deliver anyone

Who is wronged.

They have no power.

They are like crows

Between heaven and earth.

When fire breaks out

In a temple

Of wooden gods,

Overlaid with gold

Or silver,

Their priests will flee.

They will escape.

But the gods

Will be burned up

Like timbers.

Besides,

They can offer

No resistance

To a king

Or any enemies.

Why then must

Anyone admit

Or think

That they are gods?”

This author maintains that these false idols cannot set up a king over a country. They cannot give rain to anybody. They cannot judge their own cause. They cannot deliver anyone that has been wronged, since they have no power. They are like crows in the sky. If a fire breaks out in a temple of wooden gods with gold and silver, their priests will flee and escape. However, these idol gods will be burned up like timbers. These weak false idols cannot offer any resistance to a king or any enemies. How then can you think or admit that they are gods?

Praise of King Solomon (Sir 47:12-47:18)

“After David,

A wise son rose up.

Because of David,

He lived in security.

Solomon reigned

In an age of peace.

Because God

Made all his borders tranquil,

He was able

To build a house for his name.

He provided a sanctuary

To stand forever.

How wise you were

When you were young!

You overflowed

Like the Nile River

With understanding.

Your influence spread

Throughout the earth.

You filled it with proverbs

Having deep meaning.

Your fame reached

To far-off islands.

You were loved

For your peaceful reign.

Your songs,

Your proverbs,

Your parables,

With the answers you gave

Astonished the nations.

In the name of the Lord God,

Who is called the God of Israel,

You gathered gold like tin.

You amassed silver like lead.”

Sirach points out that King Solomon inherited a peaceful nation with secure borders because his father, King David had fought so many battles. Thus Solomon was able to build a Temple for the name of Yahweh and a sanctuary that would exist forever. King Solomon was wise from his youth with an understanding like that of the great Nile River. His proverbs had deep meanings, as his influence and fame spread throughout the whole world, even to far-off islands. Solomon’s songs, proverbs, and parables astonished everyone. When Solomon called upon the name of the Lord, he amassed a great fortune in gold and silver, as if they were like tin or lead.