Yahweh makes us happy (Ps 90:13-90:17)

“Return!

Yahweh!

How long will be?

Have compassion on your servants!

Satisfy us in the morning                                                   

With your steadfast love.

Thus we may rejoice.

We may be glad all our days.

Make us glad

As many days

As you have afflicted us.

Make us glad

As many years

As we have seen evil.

Let your work be manifest to your servants.

Let your glorious power be to their children.

Let the favor of Yahweh,

Our God,

Be upon us.

Let the favor of Yahweh

Prosper for us

The work of our hands.

O prosper the work of our hands.”

This psalm concludes with a cry for pity on us humans. They wanted to be happy. How long would they have to suffer? When would they have compassion? They wanted the morning steadfast love of God to endure. They wanted to be happy for as long as they had been afflicted and seen evil. They wanted to see the glorious work and the favor of Yahweh. They wanted the work of their hands to prosper.

God’s help in the past (Ps 44:1-44:3)

To the choirmaster leader, a Maskil of the Korahites

“We have heard with our ears!

O God!

Our ancestors have told us.

What deeds you performed in their days,

In the days of old,

You with your own hand

Drove out the nations.

But then you planted them.

You afflicted the peoples,

But you set them free.

Not by their own sword

Did they win the land.

Their own arm did not give them victory.

But your right hand,

Your arm led them.

The light of your countenance shone

Because you delighted in them.”

Just like Psalm 42, Psalm 44, is one of the 11 Korahite Maskil psalms, that reference the sons of Korah, who were first mentioned in 1 Chronicles, chapter 9. These present psalmists had heard with their ears the stories of their ancestors about the good old days. God had been good to their ancestors. With his own hand he drove out the various nations and planted his favorite afflicted people. They did not accomplish this with their own swords. They did not capture the land with their own hands. God gave them victory with his right hand, his arm and the light of his face because he delighted in them.

Distress and sin (Ps 25:15-25:18)

Ain     

“My eyes are ever toward Yahweh.

He will pluck my feet out of the net.

Phe     

Turn to me!

Be gracious to me!

I am lonely and afflicted.

Cade   

Relieve the troubles of my heart!

Bring me out of my distress!

Qoph  

Consider my affliction!

Consider my trouble!

Forgive all my sins!”

The psalmist or David puts this on a very personal note. His eyes are on Yahweh because he knew that Yahweh would get his feet out of any net. He wanted Yahweh to turn to him and be gracious. He was lonely and afflicted. He wanted the troubles of his heart brought to an end. He wanted to get out of his distress and afflictions. The only way was for Yahweh to forgive him his sins.

Yahweh hears the cry of the afflicted (Ps 9:11-9:12)

“Sing praises to Yahweh!

He dwells in Zion!

Declare his deeds among the peoples!

He who avenges blood,

He is mindful of them.

He does not forget

The cry of the afflicted.”

David wanted to sing praises to Yahweh, who lives at Mount Zion, where he has placed the Temple in Jerusalem. Everyone was to declare the deeds that he had done among his people. Yahweh avenged blood. He never forgets the afflicted ones. He is always mindful of them.

The role of the godless ones (Job 34:27-34:30)

“They turned aside from following him.

They had no regard for any of his ways.

They caused the cry of the poor to come to him.

He heard the cry of the afflicted.

When he is quiet,

Who can condemn?

When he hides his face,

Who can behold him?

Whether it is a nation or an individual,

The godless man should not reign.

Those who ensnare the people should not reign.”

Elihu wanted to point out that the godless wicked person should not be in charge. They have no regard for God’s ways. They do not care about the poor or the afflicted. How can you condemn someone when they are quiet and hiding their face, whether it be a nation or an individual? Clearly they should not rule others.

Achior explains the Israelite history in Egypt (Jdt 5:10-5:16)

“When a famine spread over the land of Canaan, they went down to Egypt. They lived there as long as they had food. They became so great a multitude that their race could not be counted. So the king of Egypt became hostile to them. He exploited them. He forced them to make bricks. They cried out to their God. Their God afflicted the whole land of Egypt with incurable plagues. So the Egyptians drove them out of their sight. Then God dried up the Red Sea before them. He led them by the way of Sinai and Kadesh-barnea. They drove out all the people of the wilderness. They took up residence in the land of the Amorites. By their might they destroyed all the inhabitants of Heshbon. Then they crossed over the Jordan and took possession of all the hill country. They drove out before them the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Shechemites, and all the Gergesites. They have lived there a long time.”

Achior tells the story of how these Israelites went to Egypt and came back.   Once again, there is no mention of a specific leader like Joseph, Moses, or Joshua. The Israelites were in a famine and went to Egypt, where they became a great race. However, the king of Egypt turned on them and forced them to make bricks. In their struggle, they cried out to their God, who then inflicted the Egyptians with plagues. Then the Egyptians drove them out as their God dried up the Red Sea. They even drove out the people in the wilderness. They took the land of the Amorites around Heshbon. Then they crossed the Jordan and defeated the traditional enemies, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Shechemites, and all the Gergesites. This is the Exodus story with an emphasis on how they got to Egypt and who they wiped out along the way. Apparently, they had lived in Canaan a long time.

 

The prayer of Tobit for Jerusalem (Tob 13:9-13:10)

“O Jerusalem,

The holy city,

He afflicted you with the deeds of your hands.

But he will again have mercy on the children of the righteous.

Acknowledge the Lord.

He is good.

Bless the King of the ages.

May his tent be rebuilt in you again with joy.

May he cheer all those within you who are captives.

May he love all those within you who are distressed,

To all generations forever.”

Tobit turned to Jerusalem, the holy city. God Had afflicted them. However, he would have mercy on the children of the righteous, as long as they acknowledged the Lord. God is good and the king of ages. He would rebuild his tent in Jerusalem. He would cheer the captives. He loved those who were distressed. Tobit prayed for the renewal of Jerusalem.

The canticle prayer of Tobit (Tob 13:1-13:2)

“Then Tobit said.

‘Blessed be God who lives forever!

His kingdom lasts throughout all ages.

He afflicts.

He shows mercy.

He leads down to Hades,

In the lowest regions of the earth.

He brings up from the great abyss.

There is nothing that can escape his hand.’

Some believe that chapters 13 and 14 were added since they apply directly to Tobit. Once again, Tobit blessed God forever. He both afflicted us and showed mercy. He leads us down and brings us up. Hades is described as the lowest regions of the earth. Nothing escapes God.


 

Tobit praises God for healing his eyes (Tob 11:14-11:15)

“Then Tobit said.

‘Blessed be God!

Blessed be his great name!

Blessed be all his holy angels!

Blessed be his holy name

Throughout all the ages.

Though he afflicted me,

He had had mercy upon me.

Now I see my son Tobias!’”

Tobit went rejoicing, and praising God at the top of his voice.

Tobit said that God and his name should be blessed. He also wanted to bless all his holy angels. His name should be blessed through all ages. God afflicted Tobit, but he had mercy on him so that now he can see his son Tobias. Thus like Job, he praised God despite all the personal problems he had. He went rejoicing and praising God at the top of his voice.

What to do with the fish gall, heart, and liver (Tob 6:6-6:9)

“The two continued on their way together until they were near Media. Then the young man questioned the angel.

‘Brother Azariah,

What medicinal value is there in the fish’s heart, liver and gall?’

He replied.

‘As for the fish’s heart and liver,

You must burn them to make smoke

In the presence of a man or woman afflicted by a demon or evil spirit. Every affliction will flee away

And never remain with that person any longer.

As for the gall,

Anoint a person’s eyes where white films have appeared on them. Blow upon them,

Upon the white films,

And the eyes will be healed.’”

As they approached Media, Tobias asked the angel what kind of medicinal value was the fish’s heart, liver, and gall. He always called him Azariah. The angel explained that the heart and liver had to be burned to make smoke in the presence of anyone who was afflicted with an evil spirit or demon. Done properly, all the evil spirit afflictions will flee and never return. The fish gall, on the other hand, should be put on the eyes of a man who has white film on his eyes. This fish gall anointing would heal the eyes after you blow on it. Thus the fish parts are a key to this story as it unfolds.