Stay away from the adulterous women (Prov 6:24-6:35)

“Preserve yourself from the wife of another!

Preserve yourself from the smooth tongue of the adulteress!

Do not desire her beauty in your heart!

Do not let her capture you with her eyelashes!

A prostitute’s fee is only a loaf of bread.

But the wife of another stalks a man’s very life.

Can fire be carried in one’s bosom

Without burning one’s clothes?

Can one walk upon hot coals

Without scorching one’s feet?

So is he who sleeps

With his neighbor’s wife.

No one who touches her will go unpunished.

Thieves who steal

Only to satisfy their appetite,

When they are hungry,

Are not despised.

Yet if they are caught,

They will pay sevenfold.

They will forfeit all the goods of their house.

But he who commits adultery has no sense.

He destroys himself.

He will get wounds and dishonor.

His disgrace will not be wiped away.

Jealousy arouses a husband’s fury.

He shows no restraint when he takes revenge.

He will accept no compensation.

He refuses a bribe

No matter how great.”

This is a very long presentation on the evils of adultery. In fact, it almost seems to condone prostitution and thievery as lesser evils than adultery. Very clearly, you should stay away from the wife of another person. Watch out for her smooth tongue and eyelashes. I did not know that eyelashes were signs of beauty 2,500 years ago. The prostitute’s fee was just that of a loaf of bread. They were a lot cheaper back then. However, being involved with another man’s wife can ruin your entire life. If you play with fire, you will get burned. If you walk on hot coals, you will burn your feet. If you sleep with your neighbor’s wife, it will not go unpunished. If you stole something because you were hungry, you would have to pay for it 7 times over from the goods of your house. However, you would continue to live. However, with adultery you destroy yourself. You will be wounded, dishonored, and disgraced in a way that it will not go away. In fact, the jealous husband will not be restrained when attacking you. No compensation or bribe will make him forget. You put your life on the line. So be careful with your neighbor’s wife.

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The prayer against slanderers (Ps 140:9-140:11)

“Those who surround me lift up their heads.

Let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!

Let burning coals fall upon them!

Let them be flung into the pits!

Let them rise no more!

Let not the slanderer be established in the land!

Let evil speedily hunt down the violent!”

Now David outlines his requests against those attacking him. He wanted Yahweh to act against them. He wanted the mischief of their lips to overwhelm them. He wanted burning coals to fall on them. He wanted them flung into the deadly pits so that they could not rise again. He did not want any slanderers in the land at all. He wanted the violent hunted down quickly. David certainly did not like his enemies, these slanderers.

Praise of Zion (Ps 76:1-76:3)

“In Judah

God is known.

His name is great

In Israel.

His abode has been established

In Salem,

His dwelling place is

In Zion.

There he broke

The flashing arrows,

The shield,

The sword,

And the weapons of war.”

Selah

Psalm 76 is another in the string of Asaph choral psalms. This one is a song with stringed instruments about the ultimate victory of God in Judah and Jerusalem. God was known in Judah, the southern stronghold. His name was great in northern Israel. His home was in Jerusalem or Salem, the ancient name of Jerusalem. He dwelt in Zion, the Temple on Mount Zion. There he broke all the instruments of war of the people who were attacking Jerusalem. He broke the arrows, shields, and swords. This section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause of Selah.

David asks Yahweh to hear his lament (Ps 7:1-7:2)

“A Shiggaion of David, which he sang to Yahweh concerning Cush, a Benjaminite.

Yahweh my God!

In you,

I take refuge.

Save me!

From all my pursuers,

Deliver me!

Like a lion,

They will tear me apart.

They will drag me away.

No one will rescue me.”

Once again this Psalm 7 is a lament or shiggaion of David. A shiggaion is an emotional mourning psalm. This psalm has a specific indicent found in 2 Samuel, chapter 18, when the Cushite brought him the bad news that David’s rebellious son Absalom had been killed in battle. However, the addition of a Benjaminite might refer to Saul at an earlier time, since Saul was from the territory of Benjamin. There is very little mention of the death of David’s son. This is more about the enemies of David who were attacking him, like Saul. David wanted to take refuge in Yahweh. He wanted to be saved from all his pursuers. He felt that they were like lions, who would tear him apart and drag him away. He asked to be rescued by Yahweh because no one else would.

The war with the Idumeans (2 Macc 10:15-10:17)

“Besides Gorgias, the Idumeans, who had control of important strongholds, were harassing the Jews. They received those who were banished from Jerusalem. They endeavored to keep up the war. But Judas Maccabeus and his men, after making solemn supplication and beseeching God to fight on their side, rushed to the strongholds of the Idumeans. Attacking them vigorously, they gained possession of the places. They beat off all who fought upon the wall. They slaughtered those whom they encountered. They killed no fewer than twenty thousand.”

Once again, this conflict can be found in 1 Maccabees, chapter 5, where there was some burning, but without the number of people who died. The Idumeans were the people from Edom who continuously harassed the Jews. The supporters of the banished high priest Menelaus had fled here. Here, Judas Maccabeus and his men prayed to God that he might be on their side as they rushed the strongholds of the Idumeans. Then they attacked and took the strongholds, as they killed 20,000 Idumeans, quite a slaughter.

Gorgias succeeds Ptolemy (2 Macc 10:14-10:14)

“When Gorgias became governor of the region, he maintained a force of mercenaries. At every turn he kept attacking the Jews.”

There definitely is a change in tone when Gorgias became governor of Coele-syria after the death of Ptolemy. Gorgias attacked the Jews on every occasion. In 1 Maccabees, chapters 3 and 4, he played a major role in the battles with the Jews.

Haman is hung on his own gallows (Esth 7:8-7:10)

“When the king returned from the palace garden to the banquet hall, Haman had thrown himself on the couch where Esther was reclining. The king said.

‘Will he even assault the queen in my presence, in my own house?’

As the words left the mouth of the king, they covered Haman’s face. Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs in attendance on the king, said.

‘Look!

The very gallows that Haman has prepared for Mordecai,

Whose word saved the king,

This is standing in Haman’s house, fifty cubits high.’

The king said.

‘Hang him on that.’

So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the anger of the king abated.”

When the king returned from the garden, Haman was still pleading with Queen Esther. In fact, it looked like he was attacking her. The king became angrier since he thought that Haman was assaulting his wife in his own house. One of the eunuchs popped in with the remark that Haman had a gallows built at his house in order to hang Mordecai. Then the king said that Haman should be hung on his own gallows. They did that so that the king was less angry. He may have been disappointed also since he had made Mordecai the second in command in his kingdom.