The fight over Palestine (Dan 11:15-11:17)

“Then the king of the north

Shall come.

He shall throw up

Siege works.

He shall take

A well-fortified city.

The forces of the south

Shall not stand.

Not even his picked troops

Shall stand.

There shall be

No strength to resist.

But he who comes

Against him

Shall take the actions

He pleases.

No one shall withstand him.

He shall take a position

In the beautiful land.

All of it shall be

In his power.

He shall set his mind

To come

With the strength

Of his whole kingdom.

He shall bring terms of peace.

He shall perform them.

In order to destroy the kingdom,

He shall give him

A woman in marriage.

But it shall not succeed.

It shall not be to his advantage.”

Then the king of the north, King Antiochus III (222-187 BCE), took possession of the beautiful land of Israel or Judah. He would set up a siege against the fortified city. The southern forces from Egypt would not be able to stand up against him, even their special troops were not good enough. No one had the strength to resist. He set his mind to it and he was able to do it. Then he arranged a peace treaty. King Antiochus gave his daughter Cleopatra to the young King Ptolemy V (204-181 BCE) in marriage in 194 BCE, but it did not work.

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The high priest Simon at the altar (Sir 50:11-50:15)

“When he put on

His glorious robe,

He clothed himself

In perfect splendor.

When he went up

To the holy altar,

He made the court

Of the sanctuary glorious.

When he received the portions

From the hands of the priests,

He stood by the hearth of the altar.

There was a garland

Of brothers around him.

He was

Like a young cedar on Lebanon.

They surrounded him

Like the trunks of palm trees.

All the sons of Aaron

In their splendor

Held the Lord’s offering

In their hands

Before the whole congregation of Israel.

Finishing the service at the altars,

They arranged

The offering to the Most High,

The Almighty.

He held out his hand for the cup.

He poured a drink offering

Of the blood of the grape.

He poured it out

At the foot of the altar.

It was a pleasing odor

To the Most High,

The King of all.”

Sirach explains that the high priest Simon put on his splendid glorious robe. Then he went to the holy altar in the sanctuary. He received the sacrificial gifts from the priests at the foot of the altar. He was like a Lebanon cedar tree among his brother priests who were like palm trees. All the sons of Aaron were there in their splendor as they held the Lord’s offering in their hands before the whole congregation. They arranged the offering to the Most High God, the Almighty one. Simon held out his hand and took the cup. He poured the blood of the grape drink at the foot of the altar, so that it was a pleasing odor to the King of all, the Most High God.

Qoheleth (Eccl 12:9-12:10)

“Besides being wise,

Qoheleth also taught the people knowledge.

He weighed many proverbs.

He studied many proverbs.

He arranged many proverbs.

Qoheleth sought to find pleasing words.

He wrote words of truth plainly.”

Now we have a description, eulogy, or explanation of Qoheleth by another author in this epilogue. Qoheleth was wise. He taught the people knowledge. He studied and arranged many of the proverbs in this book. He weighted their value. But as we have seen most were useless vanity. He wanted to find pleasing words as he had a good literary Hebrew style. He spoke plain truth. There was nothing fancy about his work.