Rabbah (Ezek 25:5-25:5)

“I will make Rabbah

A pasture for camels.

Ammon shall be

A fold for flocks.

Then you will know

That I am Yahweh.”

Rabbah was the capital of Ammon. Thus the capital city would become a pasture for camels. The current capital of Jordan is Amman where Rabbah once was. Ammon would just become a place for animals to graze. They would learn that Yahweh was in charge.

 

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The sentinel announces the attack (Isa 21: 6-21:10)

“Thus Yahweh said to me.

‘Go!

Post a lookout!

Let him announce

What he sees!

When he sees riders,

Horsemen in pairs,

Riders on donkeys,

Riders on camels,

Let him listen diligently,

Very diligently!’

Then the watcher cried out.

‘Upon a watchtower

I stand!

O Lord!

Continually by day!

At my post

I am stationed

Throughout the night.

Look!

There they come

Riders,

Horsemen in pairs!’

Then he responded.

‘Fallen!

Fallen is Babylon!

He has shattered on the ground

All the images of her gods!’

O my threshed one!

O my winnowed one!

What I have heard

From Yahweh of hosts,

The God of Israel,

I announce to you.”

Isaiah continues with what Yahweh had said to him. Yahweh wanted a lookout posted so that he could announce what he saw coming. This lookout person was to watch for riders on horses, camels, and donkeys as well as listen very carefully. He was to stand there during the day and the night. Then he saw the riders coming, as Babylon had fallen with all its gods shattered on the ground. This is what Isaiah had heard from Yahweh in his vision, as he announced this to all. The sentinel watchtower man was a main theme of the later 20th century Jehovah’s Witnesses with their Watchtower magazine.

Yahweh restores the fortune of Job (Job 42:10-42:15)

“Yahweh restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. Yahweh gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then there came to him all his brothers and sisters as well as all who had known him before. They ate bread with him in his house. They showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that Yahweh had brought upon him. Each of them gave him some money and a ring of gold. Yahweh blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginnings. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. He named the first Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. In all the land there were no women as beautiful as Job’s daughters. Their father gave them an inheritance along with their brothers.”

Yahweh restored Job to good health and fortune because he had prayed for his 3 friends. In fact, he got twice as much as he had before. His brothers and sisters, who were not involved in what happened to Job, came and ate with him. There is no indication of how long this anguishing trial went on for Job. I wonder where they were during the troubles of Job. However, they were generous with money and gold rings. There is no exact number of brothers and sisters mentioned. Now, however, he had 14,000 sheep instead of 7,000, 6,000 camels instead of 3,000, 1,000 oxen instead of 500, and 1,000 donkeys instead of 500. However, his family did not double. He once again had 7 sons and 3 daughters, who somehow replaced the 10 children who had died. The daughters were the most beautiful of all the women in the land. The 3 girls were named, Jemimah, or dove, Keziah or cinnamon, and Keren-happuch or eye cosmetic. He gave all 10 of his children an inheritance. Thus the story has a happy ending, despite all the trials and tribulations during this ancient mythic tale.

The problems of Job (Job 1:13-1:19)

“One day Job’s sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the eldest brother’s house. A messenger came to Job and said.

‘The oxen were plowing.

The donkeys were feeding beside them.

The Sabeans fell upon them.

They carried them off.

They killed the servants with the edge of the sword.

I alone have escaped to tell you.’

While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said.

‘The fire of God fell from heaven.

It burned up the sheep and the servants.

It consumed them.

I alone have escaped to tell you.’

While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said.

‘The Chaldeans formed three columns.

They made a raid upon the camels.

They carried them off.

They killed the servants with the edge of the sword.

I alone have escaped to tell you.’

While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said.

‘Your sons and daughters were eating

And drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house.

Suddenly a great wind came across the desert.

It struck the four corners of the house.

It fell on the young people.

They are dead.

I alone have escaped to tell you.’”

Once again, we begin with the once upon a time concept of “one day” back here on earth. The 10 children of Job were eating and drinking wine together. In a very oral stylistic format, 4 messengers, one after another come to tell him the bad news about his estate and his family. The repetition of lines for each group indicates an oral tradition that made it easy to remember. First, the Sabeans, a southern Arab tribe or traders where present day Yemen is, stole his 500 oxen and 500 donkeys. They also killed all the servants except one. The queen of Sheba may have been from Sheba and part of the Semitic Sabeans, somehow a descendent of Shem, the son of Noah. Secondly, lightning from heaven, the fire of God, destroyed and burned the 7,000 sheep as well as the servants watching them, except for one. Thirdly, the Chaldeans, a predominant Semitic tribe near the Persian Gulf that was taken over by the Babylonians around 600 BCE, stole all his 3,000 camels. They killed all his servants watching them except one. Finally, all his 10 children died when their house fell on them during a great wind storm. The servants all died, except one. Disaster has hit Job on many fronts. Foreigners stole his livestock. Lightning and windstorms destroyed his family and sheep.

The introduction to Job (Job 1:1-1:5)

“That man was blameless and upright. Job feared God. He had turned away from evil. There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. He had seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred donkeys, and very many servants. This man was the greatest of all the people of the east. His sons used to go and hold feasts in one another’s houses in turn. They would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When the feast days had run their course, Job would send and sanctify them. He would rise early in the morning. He would offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. Job said.

‘It may be that my children have sinned.

It may be that they cursed God in their hearts.’

This is what Job always did.”

Who is Job? This is not about getting a job. Job was blameless, an upright man. He was a pious man with a strong faith. He feared God and shunned evil. He was not an Israelite since there was no attempt to put him into a genealogy that would connect him with Abraham. He had 10 children, 7 sons and 3 daughters. He had a huge prosperous estate since he had 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 oxen, 500 donkeys, and many servants. He was a rich guy, the greatest man in the east, or east of the Jordan River, or at least in Edom. All the 10 children would gather for a feast every day at a different person’s house. This included the symbolic numbers of 3 sisters with 7 brothers. When the festival days were over, Job would always offer a burnt offering for each one of them, just in case any of them may have sinned and cursed God in their hearts. In other words, he had a sense of sin and a sense of a spiritual relationship to God. So Job was a righteous rich man with 10 children who offered his own burnt offerings for the possible sins of his children.   Thus we have a snapshot picture of a happy prosperous God fearing Job.

Holofernes organizes his army (Jdt 2:14-2:18)

“Holofernes left the presence of his lord. He summoned all the commanders, generals, and officers of the Assyrian army. He mustered the picked troops by divisions as his lord had ordered him to do, one hundred twenty thousand of them, together with twelve thousand archers on horseback. He organized them as a great army is marshaled for a campaign. He took along a vast number of camels, donkeys, and mules for transport. He had innumerable sheep, oxen, and goats for food. He had ample rations for everyone. He had a huge amount of gold and silver from the royal palace.”

Holofernes did as King Nebuchadnezzar had commanded. He got all his Assyrian officers together. He picked the 120,000 special troops and arranged for the 12,000 archers on horseback, his cavalry. He truly had a great vast army. He also had a lot of provisions. He had camels, donkeys, and mules for transportation purposes. He had livestock of sheep, oxen, and goats for food. He had plenty of rations, gold, and silver. He was good to go.

Tobias sends Raphael to get the money (Tob 9:1-9:6)

“Then Tobias called Raphael and said to him.

‘Brother Azariah,

Take four servants and two camels with you!

Travel to Rages!

Go to the home of Gabael!

Give him the bond!

Get the money!

Then bring him with you to the wedding celebration.

You know that my father must be counting the days.

If I delay even one day I upset him.

You are a witness to the oath that Raguel has sworn.

I cannot violate his oath.’  

So Raphael with the four servants and two camels went to Rages in Media. He stayed with Gabael. Raphael gave him the bond. He informed him that Tobit’s son Tobias had married, so that he was inviting him to the marriage celebration. So Gabael got up and counted out to him the money bags, with their seals intact. They loaded them on the camels. In the morning they both got up early and came to the wedding celebration. When they came into Raguel’s house, they found Tobias reclining at table. He sprang up and greeted Gabael, who wept and blessed them.”

The time between Ecbatana and Reges was about 11 days one way. It would have been difficult to get him back for the wedding celebration. I do not understand why Tobias did not send Raphael back to Nineveh to get his parents to come to the wedding celebration. Where did Raphael get the 4 servants since he and Tobias were alone? Probably Raguel gave them to him with the camels. Anyway, the trip was very quick. Raphael stayed overnight and then set out the next day. Gabael gave the money to Raphael after counting it out. He accepted the invitation to the wedding. Gabael wept when he saw and greeted Tobias.