An ode to miners (Job 28:1-28:12)

“Surely there is a mine for silver.

There is a place for gold to be refined.

Iron is taken out of the earth.

Copper is smelted from ore.

Miners put an end to darkness.

They search out to the farthest bound.

They search for the ore in gloom and deep darkness.

They open shafts in a valley away from human habitation.

They are forgotten by travelers.

They sway suspended.

They are remote from people.

As for the earth,

Out of it comes bread.

But underneath it is turned up as by fire.

Its stones are the place of sapphires.

Its dust contains gold.”

Here is a hymn to wisdom. There is no indication of any kind of dialogue or assignment to any person. This is then an insertion of the biblical author or the thought of Job as interpreted by the biblical author. You can explain away many things by showing where they come from. This is like a miner’s prayer. The author points out that you can mine for gold and silver. You can take the iron and copper ore and smelt it. These miners open up shafts in the valley. They dig holes where humans do not live. They are forgotten by travelers, as they go beneath the earth to find sapphires and gold dust. It really is an ode to miners and the work they do. Obviously mining was important over 2500 years ago, although we have sometimes forgotten that.

The Jewish defeat at the battle of Beth-zechariah (1 Macc 6:40-6:47)

“Now a part of the king’s army was spread out on the high hills. Some troops were on the plain. They advanced steadily and in good order. All heard the noise made by their multitude. All heard the marching of the multitude and the clanking of their arms. Everyone trembled for the army was very large and strong. But Judas and his army advanced to the battle. Six hundred of the king’s army fell. Eleazar, called Avaran, saw that one of the beasts was equipped with royal armor. It was taller than all the others. He supposed that the king was on it. So he gave his life to save his people and win for himself an everlasting name. He courageously ran into the midst of the phalanx to reach it. He killed men right and left. They parted before him on both sides. He got under the elephant. He stabbed it from beneath and killed it. However, it fell to the ground upon him and he died. When the Jews saw the royal might and the fierce attack of the forces, they turned away in flight.”

The king’s army was in the hills and on the plains. They marched in a steady good order. They made a great noise by marching with their clanking arms. Everyone was afraid of this large and strong army. However, Judas and his men attacked the king’s men and killed 600 of them. Then Eleazar, the brothr of Judas, decided to attack the elephant who he thought was carrying the king because of the royal armor. He set out to kill people as they got out of his way. He went under the elephant and then stabbed it. However, the elephant fell on him as it died and crushed him to death. Now when the Jews saw this and the fierce attack of the king’s men, they fled.