Be ready! (Lk 12:35-12:35)

“Be dressed

For action!

Have your lamps

Lit!”

 

Ἔστωσαν ὑμῶν αἱ ὀσφύες περιεζωσμέναι καὶ οἱ λύχνοι καιόμενοι·

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to them that they should have their clothes dressed for action (Ἔστωσαν ὑμῶν αἱ ὀσφύες περιεζωσμέναι).  They should have their lamps burning with light (καὶ οἱ λύχνοι καιόμενοι).  There was something similar in Matthew chapter 25:1, about having lamps lit.  There Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven would be like 10 bridesmaids, having lamps with them, waiting to meet the bridegroom.  They were to be an escort in a procession to the bride’s house and then to the wedding banquet with their lit candles.  However, there was nothing in Matthew about being dressed for action.  Are you always dressed and ready for action?

The proposition (Dan 13:19-13:21)

“When the maids

Had gone out,

The two elders

Got up.

They ran to her.

They said.

Look!

The garden doors

Are shut!

No one can see us!

We are burning

With desire

For you!

Give your consent!

Lie with us!

If you refuse,

We will testify

Against you

That a young man

Was with you.

This was why

You sent your maids away.’”

The two elder judges seized the moment, once the maids were gone. They jumped up from their hiding place and ran over to the bathing Susanna. They made their proposition. They told Susanna that they were burning with desire for her, as if that was a good pitch. They wanted her to consent to have sex with them. They wanted consensual sex rather than rape her. However, they told her that if see did not agree, then they would testify against her. They were going to say that she sent her maids away, so that she could have sex with a non-existent young man. That was the deal, sex with them or be judged by them as committing adultery with someone else. What a strange choice.

The angel of the Lord and the useless fire (Dan 3:26-3:27)

“But the angel

Of the Lord

Came down

Into the furnace

To be with Azariah,

As well as his companions.

He drove the fiery flame

Out of the furnace.

He made the inside

Of the furnace

Like a moist wind,

That went whistling

Through it.

The fire did not touch

Them at all.

It caused them

No pain,

No distress.”

The angel of the Lord came down into the furnace to be with Azariah and his 2 companions. This angel made the inside of the furnace like a moist wind whistling through the center of the furnace. This drove the flames out of the furnace, so that the fire did not touch any of them. Thus, they were in no pain or distress. Everything was fine with them, since they were not burning.

 

Historical Introduction (Bar 1:1-1:2)

“These are the words

Of the book

That Baruch,

The son of Neriah,

The son of Mahseiah,

The son of Zedekiah,

The son of Hasadiah,

The son of Hilkiah,

Wrote in Babylon.

This was

In the fifth year,

On the seventh day

Of the month,

At the time

When the Chaldeans

Took Jerusalem.

They burned it

With fire.”

This is a historical introduction to this book that gives a name and specific date with a reference to a book, not merely a scroll. The author is Baruch, the same Baruch that was mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah, chapters 32, 36, 43, and 45. This Baruch was a scribe, friend, and follower of Jeremiah. He was clearly identified with a long genealogy. His father was Neriah. His brother Seraiah worked with King Zedekiah. He traced his family back to Hilkiah. Mahseiah, his grandfather was mentioned in Jeremiah also. There were many people with the name of Zedekiah, including the king so that it is hard to pinpoint one. Hasadiah was another common name, while over 30 biblical people have the name Hilkiah. Baruch was in Babylon. However, the last time he was mentioned in Jeremiah, he was with Jeremiah in Egypt. Perhaps, he may have left Jeremiah there. This book is placed 5 years after the fall of Jerusalem and the burning of Jerusalem, around 582 BCE on the 7th day of the month that Jerusalem was destroyed.

The great fire (Lam 2:3-2:3)

Gimel

“He has cut down,

In fierce anger,

All the might

Of Israel.

He has withdrawn

His right hand

From them

In the face

Of the enemy.

He has burned

Like a flaming fire

In Jacob,

Consuming all around.”

Yahweh was so angry that he cut down the might of Israel. He withdrew his supporting hand so that the enemy was able to succeed. He destroyed everything that belonged to Jacob by burning it up. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Gimel. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

 

False worship (Jer 19:3-19:4)

“You shall say!

‘Hear the word of Yahweh!

O kings of Judah!

O Inhabitants of Jerusalem!

Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

I am going to bring such disaster

Upon this place

That the ears of everyone

Who hears of it

Will tingle.

Because the people have forsaken me.

They have profaned this place

By burning incense in it

To other gods

Whom neither they,

Nor their ancestors,

Nor the kings of Judah

Have known.

They have filled

This place

With the blood of the innocent ones.’”

The message from Yahweh to Jeremiah was clear. He was to tell the kings of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem that Yahweh was going to being disaster upon this place. When they would hear about this impending disaster, their ears would tingle. They had given up on Yahweh. Instead they had turned to burning incense to other gods, thus defiling and profaning this sacred place. Neither they, nor their ancestors, nor the kings of Judah had known these strange false gods before. They had filled this place with innocent blood.

Topheth (Jer 7:31-7:34)

“‘They go on building

The high place of Topheth.

That is in the valley of the son of Hinnom.

They burn their sons in the fire.

They burn their daughters in the fire.

I did not command this.

It did not come into my mind.

Thus the days are surely coming.’

Says Yahweh.

‘It will no more be called Topheth.

It will no more be called

The valley of the son of Hinnom.

But it will be called

The valley of Slaughter.

They will bury in Topheth,

Until there is no room.

The corpses of this people

Will be food

For the birds of the air,

For the animals of the earth.

No one will frighten them away.

I will bring to an end

The sound of mirth with gladness.

I will bring to an end

The voice of the bridegroom

From the cities of Judah.

I will bring to an end

The voice of the bride

From the streets of Jerusalem.

The land shall become a waste.’”

Topheth was a place in Jerusalem where the ancient Canaanites worshipped. Human sacrifices and children were offered to the god Moloch or Baal by burning them alive. It was in the Gehinnom area that later became Gehenna or even a symbol for hell itself. It may have been a place for the burning of rubbish, although there is no archeological evidence of this. King Josiah (640-609 BCE) in his religious reform may have ended the practice of sacrificing and burning children. However, Yahweh says that he never commanded or thought about this sacrificing of children. Thus this Topheth would not exist any longer, because it will become known for dead bodies after slaughters, where the birds and animals would feed on them. There will be no more mirth or gladness for the bride or bridegroom in the cities of Judah or on the streets of Jerusalem.