The curse for the worthless shepherd (Zech 11:17-10:17)

“Cursed be my worthless shepherd!

They desert the flock!

May the sword

Strike his arm!

May the sword

Strike his right eye!

Let his arm

Be completely withered!

Let his right eye be

Utterly blinded!’”

Yahweh had a curse for the worthless shepherds, who had deserted their flocks.  Yahweh wanted the sword to strike their arms and right eyes.  Yahweh wanted their arms withered and their eyes blinded.

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Exile to Babylon (Ezek 12:12-12:13)

“The prince

Who is among them

Shall lift

His baggage

On his shoulder

In the dark.

He shall go out.

He shall dig

Through the wall.

He will carry his baggage

Through the hole.

He shall cover

His face.

Thus he may not see

The land

With his eyes.

I will spread

My net over him.

He shall be caught

In my snare.

I will bring him

To Babylon,

The land of the Chaldeans.

Yet he shall not see it.

He shall die there.”

This appears to be a description of what happened to King Zedekiah in 2 Kings, chapter 25, and Jeremiah, chapter 39. The prince or King Zedekiah of Judah left Jerusalem through the hole in the wall. He was captured, blinded, and then taken to Babylon, where he eventually died. This prince was going to take his baggage on his shoulder in the dark, as he dug through the hole in the wall. He covered his face so that he could not see the land. However, he was caught by the Babylonians who blinded him and sent him to Babylon where he died.

The punishment for King Zedekiah (Jer 52:10-52:11)

“The king of Babylon

Killed

The sons

Of King Zedekiah

Before his eyes.

He also killed

All the officials

Of Judah,

At Riblah.

He put out

The eyes of

King Zedekiah.

He bound him

In fetters.

The king of Babylon

Took him

To Babylon.

He was put in prison

Until the day

Of his death.”

Once again, this is very similar, but more detailed than 2 Kings, chapter 25 and the earlier Jeremiah story in chapter 39. King Nebuchadnezzar ordered that the sons of King Zedekiah be killed right in front of him. The king of Babylon then killed all the nobles or officials of Judah. Finally he blinded King Zedekiah, bound him up in chains, and took him to Babylon. He now lived as the captured blind ex-king in a Babylonian prison until he died. This last detail about the prison is only mentioned here.

The punishment for King Zedekiah (Jer 39:6-39:7)

“The king of Babylon

Slaughtered

The sons of King Zedekiah

At Riblah

Before his eyes.

Also the king of Babylon

Slaughtered

All the nobles of Judah.

He put out

The eyes of Zedekiah.

He bound him

In fetters.

He took him to Babylon.”

Once again, this is very similar to 2 Kings, chapter 25. King Nebuchadnezzar ordered that the sons of King Zedekiah be killed right in front of him. The king of Babylon then killed all the nobles or officials of Judah. Finally he blinded King Zedekiah, bound him up in chains, and took him to Babylon. He now lived as the captured blind ex-king in Babylon.

The wise ones (Sir 20:27-20:31)

“The wise person

Advances himself

By his words.

Whoever is sensible

Will please the great men.

Whoever cultivates the soil

Will heap up their harvest.

Whoever pleases the great men

Will atone for injustice.

Favors blind the eyes of the wise.

Gifts blind the eyes of the wise.

Like a muzzle on the mouth,

They stop reproofs.

What is the value

Of hidden wisdom?

What is the value

Of an unseen treasure?

What value is either of them?

Better are those

Who hide their folly

Than those

Who hide their wisdom.”

Sirach gives us some indications about the wise people. They advance themselves by their words. They are sensible and thus please great men. They know how to cultivate the soil to get a great harvest. They atone for injustice. However, there is a down side. They should not be blinded by gifts and favors. Thus they might end up putting a muzzle on so that they stop criticizing the people who are giving these presents and favors. There is no value to hidden wisdom or unseen treasure. The foolish should hide their foolishness rather than the wise hide their wisdom.

The heavenly horsemen (2 Macc 10:29-10:31)

“When the battle became fierce, there appeared to the enemy from heaven five resplendent men on horses with golden bridles, leading the Jews. Two of them took Judas Maccabeus between them. They shielded him with their own armor and weapons. They kept him from being wounded. They showered arrows and thunderbolts on the enemy. Confused and blinded, they were thrown into disorder and cut to pieces. Twenty thousand five hundred were slaughtered, besides six hundred cavalry.”

Suddenly, 5 men on horses with golden bridles appeared leading the Jews. This is somewhat reminiscent of the battle with King Antiochus IV in chapter 5 of this book with the divine intervention. 2 of these heavenly horsemen protected Judas Maccabeus from being wounded with their armor and weapons. They threw arrows and thunderbolts at the enemy so that they were confused and blinded. They killed 25,500 men and 600 cavalry that day. This was a total victory thanks to the 5 heavenly horsemen.