The appearance and life style of the Zadok priests (Ezek 44:20-44:22)

“They shall not shave

Their heads.

They shall not

Let their locks

Grow long.

They shall only

Trim the hair

Of their heads.

No priest shall

Drink wine,

When he enters

The inner court.

They shall not marry

A widow,

Or a divorced woman.

They shall marry

Only a virgin

Of the stock

Of the house of Israel,

Or a widow

Who is the widow

Of a priest.”

These Zadok Levitical priests had a look and life style that set them apart. They were not to shave their heads, but they had to trim their hair. They were not allowed to drink wine when they were in the inner court. They could not marry a widow or a divorced woman. However, there was an exception for the widow of a priest. They could only marry a virgin in good standing from the house of Israel.

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The weakness of these false idol gods (Bar 6:36-6:40)

“These gods cannot

Save anyone

From death.

They cannot rescue

The weak

From the strong.

They cannot

Restore sight

To the blind.

They cannot

Rescue anyone

Who is in distress.

They cannot

Take pity

On a widow.

They cannot

Do good

To an orphan.

These things

Made of wood,

Overlaid with gold

Or silver,

Are like stones

From the mountain.

Those who serve them

Will be put to shame.

Why then must

Anyone think

That they are gods?

Why call them gods?”

This diatribe against false gods continued with an attempt to show how impotent these gods are, since they cannot save anyone from death. They cannot rescue the weak from the strong. They cannot restore sight to the blind. They cannot rescue anyone in distress. They cannot take pity on a widow nor do any good for an orphan. They are made of wood, covered with gold or silver, like stones from a mountain. They cannot help those who worship them. They will be put to shame. How can anyone think that they are gods or call them gods? They are useless.

The lonely city (Lam 1:1-Lam 1:1)

Aleph

“How lonely

Sits the city

That once was

Full of people!

How like a widow,

She has become!

She that was great

Among the nations!

She that was

A princess

Among the provinces!

She has become

A vassal.”

This first verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Aleph. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem. This author laments that this once inhabited city is now lonely like a widow. This city was great among the nations like a princess, but now it has become a vassal slave. Thus the tone for these lamentations has been set. Although not explicitly mentioned here, the obvious reference is to the lonely city Jerusalem.

The curses against David (Ps 109:8-109:15)

“May his days be few!

May another seize his position!

May his children be orphans!

May his wife be a widow!

May his children wander about!

May his children beg!

May they be driven out of the ruins they inhabit!

May the creditor seize all that he has!

May strangers plunder the fruits of his toil!

May there be no one to do him a kindness!

May there be no one to pity his orphaned children!

May his posterity be cut off!

May his name be blotted out in the second generation!

May the iniquity of his father be remembered before Yahweh!

May the sin of his mother not be blotted out!

May they be before Yahweh continually!

May his memory be cut off from the earth!”

The enemies of David issued a whole series of curses against him. They wanted his days to be few with an early death, so that his children would be orphans and his wife a widow. They wanted someone to take over his position or the crown. They wanted his children to wander about begging. They wanted them driven out of their ruined home. Creditors should seize all his things. Strangers should plunder his fields. No one should show him kindness. No one should worry about his orphaned children. His name should be wiped out in the 2nd generation. People should remember the iniquity and sin of his father and mother. There was to be no memory of him on earth. All of this should be brought to Yahweh so that he might punish David. Obviously, these curses did not come true for David.

The prayer of Judith against the Assyrians (Jdt 9:7-9:10)

“Here now are the Assyrians,

A greatly increased force.

They pride themselves in their horses and riders.

They boast in the strength of their foot soldiers.

They trust in shield and spear.

They trust in bow and sling.

They do not know that you are the Lord who crushes wars.

The Lord is your name!

Break their strength by your might!

Bring down their power in your anger!

They intend to defile your sanctuary!

They intend to pollute the tabernacle,

Where your glorious name resides.

They intend to break off the horns of your altar with the sword.

Look at their pride!

Send your wrath upon their heads!

Give to me, a widow,

The strong hands to do what I plan.

By the deceit of my lips,

Strike down the slave with the prince.

The prince with his servant.

Crush their arrogance by the hand of a woman!”

Now Judith turned to the Assyrians at hand. They are so proud with their army of cavalry, foot soldiers, shields, spears, bows, and slings. They do not recognize the God of the Israelites. They do not know that the Lord God will crush all. He can break their strength. They intend to defile the sanctuary in Jerusalem. They intend to pollute the tabernacle. They intend to break the horns on the altar. All of this is intended for the Temple in Jerusalem, where the holy name of Yahweh resides. Judith wants God to send his wrath upon the proud Assyrians. She, a widow wants God to give her the strength to be deceitful so that she can strike down the prince of power with her hands. Judith will become the deceitful female warrior.