“When they were tried,
Even though they were being disciplined in mercy,
They learned how the ungodly were tormented
When judged in wrath.
You tested them
As a parent does
But you examined the ungodly
As a stern king does
Whether absent or present,
They were equally distressed.
A twofold grief possessed them.
There was a groaning
At the memory of what had occurred.
That through their own punishments,
The righteous had received benefit.
It was the Lord’s doing.
Even though they had mockingly rejected him,
Who long before had been cast out and exposed,
At the end of the events
They marveled at him.
They felt thirst in a different way
From the righteous.”
The righteous began to understand that their trials and thirst for water in Deuteronomy, chapter 8, were nothing in comparison to the punishment that the ungodly (ἀσεβεῖς) had received. They were disciplined in mercy, while the ungodly were angrily tormented and judged. They were treated like children getting a paternal (ὡς πατὴρ) warning, while the ungodly were given a royal (βασιλεὺς) condemnation. The Lord (τοῦ Κυρίου) gave benefits to the Israelites because the Egyptians had mocked and rejected him. The thirst that the two of them had was completely different between the righteous (δικαίοις) and the ungodly. Finally, the ungodly marveled at the Lord.
A psalm of David
O my soul!
All that is within me,
Bless his holy name!
O my soul!
Do not forget all his benefits!
Who forgives all your iniquity?
Who heals all your diseases?
Who redeems your life from the Pit?
Who crowns you with steadfast love?
Who crowns you with mercy?
Who satisfies you with good
As long as you live?
Thus your youth is renewed like the eagles.”
Psalm 103 is simply a thanksgiving psalm of David. In the opening verses, he repeats the same phrases. Yahweh is to be blessed from his soul. Then David pointed out all the benefits of Yahweh with a series of questions. Yahweh forgives iniquities. He heals all diseases. He saves people from the pit or the grave. He crowns us with steadfast love, mercy, and goodness. He sustains our lives so that we remain young eagles.
“King Antiochus was elated in spirit. He did not perceive that the Lord was angered for a little while because of the sins of those who dwelt in the city. This was the reason that the Lord was disregarding the holy place. But if it had not happened that they were involved in many sins, this man would have been flogged and turned back from his rash act as soon as he came forward. Remember what happened to Heliodorus, whom King Seleucus sent to inspect the treasury. But the Lord did not choose the nation for the sake of the holy place, but the place for the sake of the nation. Therefore the place itself shared in the misfortunes that befell the nation and afterward participated in its benefits. What was forsaken in the wrath of the Almighty was restored again in all its glory when the great Lord became reconciled.”
The Lord let King Antiochus IV succeed because of the sins of the people of Jerusalem. He could have had the king flogged, but the people of Jerusalem were so involved in sin. This is an attempt to explain why this Seleucid king got away with his actions, when the Lord was so severe with Heliodorus unde King Seleucus IV in chapter 3 of this work. This author reminded the people that the people were not chosen because of the place, but the reverse is true. The place was chosen for the people. The place of Jerusalem suffered the wrath of God for the sins of the people, but it would enjoy the glory of the people at its restoration. Clearly this biblical author was not afraid to express his opinion and belief.