The key to the house of David (Isa 22:22-22:24)

“I will place on his shoulder

The key of the house of David.

He shall open.

No one shall shut.

He shall shut.

No one shall open.

I will fasten him

Like a peg in a secure place.

He will become a throne of honor

To his ancestral house.

They will hang on him

The whole weight

Of his ancestral house,

The offspring,

The issue,

Every small vessel,

From the cups to all the flagons.”

Somehow, Eliakim had a special key to the house of David. This almost seems like a royal power. He was then able to open and shut things. When he opened or shut something, no one else could do the opposite. So that as the master of the royal house, he had the keys to the house that no one else could use. Eliakim himself was to be pegged in a secure place since he had some kind of throne of honor from his ancestral house. He would carry the whole weight of his family and their offspring. He was in charge of everything from small cups to large bottles or flagons.

Accept the discipline (Sir 6:23-6:31)

“Listen!

My child!

Accept my judgment!

Do not reject my counsel!

Put your feet into her fetters!

Put your neck into her collar!

Bend your shoulder!

Carry her!

Do not fret under her bonds!

Come to her with all your soul!

Keep her ways with all your might!

Search out!

Seek her!

She will become known to you.

When you get hold of her,

Do not let her go.

For at last,

You will find the rest she gives.

She will be changed into joy for you.

Then her fetters will become for you a strong defense.

Her collar will be a golden ornament.

Her bonds will be a purple cord.

You will wear her like a glorious robe.

You will put her on like a splendid crown.”

Sirach wants the children to listen to him and accept his judgment. They should receive the chains of wisdom around their necks and on their feet in order to accept wisdom. They should carry her, this feminine wisdom, and let her come into their souls. They should seek and search her out. She will become known to them. They should never let her go. Their lives will be changed into joy as the chains will be a defense. They will have golden ornaments around their necks, purple cords, and a splendid crown. Just listen to what he and wisdom are telling them. This almost sounds like a masochistic love for this female wisdom.

Be careful about what you say (Eccl 10:18-10:20)

“Through negligent sloth

The roof sinks in.

Through negligent indolence

The house leaks.

Feasts are made for laughter.

Wine gladdens life.

Money meets every need.

Do not curse the king,

Even in your thoughts.

Do not curse the rich,

Even in your bedchamber.

A bird of the air

May carry your voice.

Some winged creature tells the matter.”

Qoheleth reminds us that if we negligent and lazy, the roof will sink in and our house will leak. In an interesting comment on life, he says that feasts were made for laughter. Wine adds gladness to our lives, just as money meets every need, or more or less solves all problems. Then he reminded people to be careful about their words and thoughts. Do not even think about cursing the king. Don’t say anything about the rich even in your bedroom. The reason is that a little bird may carry you voice to someone who might not like what you are thinking or saying. The same is true for some winged creature who might reveal what you were saying and thinking.

Yahweh helps the people (Ps 28:8-28:9)

“Yahweh is the strength of his people.

He is the saving refuge of his anointed.

O save your people!

Bless your heritage!

Be their shepherd!

Carry them forever!”

Yahweh was the strength for his people. He was the refuge for the anointed one, David, so that he wanted Yahweh to continue to save his people. He wanted him to bless his descendants. This psalm ends with David wanting Yahweh to be their shepherd and carry them, his sheep, forever.

The plight of the poor (Job 24:9-24:12)

“There are those who snatch

The orphan child from the breast.

They take as a pledge the infant of the poor.

They go about naked,

Without clothing.

Though hungry, they carry the sheaves.

Between their terraces they press out oil.

They tread the wine presses,

But suffer thirst.

From the city,

The dying groan.

The throat of the wounded cries for help.

Yet God pays no attention to their prayer.”

Job maintained that God did not pay attention to the prayers of the poor. They have their children snatched from their breast as collateral. They have no clothing. Although hungry and thirsty, they carry the wheat and press the olive oil and the grapes for wine. They groan from the city, but no one hears them. Their prayers go unanswered.

The victory celebration (2 Macc 15:29-15:35)

“Then there was shouting and tumult. They blessed the Sovereign Lord in the language of their ancestors. Then the man, who was in body and soul the defender of his people, the man who maintained his youthful goodwill toward his compatriots, ordered them to cut off Nicanor’s head and his arm. They were to carry them to Jerusalem. When he arrived there, he called his compatriots together. He stationed the priests before the altar. He sent for those who were in the citadel. He showed them the vile Nicanor’s head and that profane man’s arm. This was the arm that had been boastfully stretched out against the holy house of the all powerful one. He cut out the tongue of the ungodly Nicanor. He said that he would give it piecemeal to the birds. He would hang up these rewards of his folly opposite the sanctuary. They all, looking to heaven, blessed the Lord who had manifested himself, saying.

‘Blessed is he who has kept his own place undefiled.’

Judas Maccabeus hung Nicanor’s head from the citadel, a clear and conspicuous sign to every one of the help of the Lord.”

Once again, this is similar to 1 Maccabees, chapter 7. In both 1 and 2 Maccabees, they cut off the head and the arm of Nicanor. Here they also cut out his tongue in the presence of the men from the citadel. As in 1 Maccabees, they hung the head of Nicanor, but here it is more specific from the hated citadel. Here there is more praise for Judas Maccabeus as the defender with good will towards his people. Here they pray in the language of their ancestors that may have been Hebrew, instead of the common language of Aramaic. As usual they were happy that the Temple had remained undefiled.

The cruel painful illness of King Antiochus IV (2 Macc 9:5-9:10)

“But the all-seeing Lord, the God of Israel, struck him an incurable and unseen blow. As soon as he stopped speaking he was seized with a pain in his bowels with sharp internal tortures, for which there was no relief. That was very just, for he had tortured the bowels of others with many and strange inflictions. Yet he did not in any way stop his insolence. He was even more filled with arrogance, breathing fire in his rage against the Jews. He gave orders to drive even faster. So it came about that he fell out of his chariot as it was rushing along. The fall was so hard as to torture every limb of his body. Thus only a little while before, he had thought in his super human arrogance that he could command the waves of the sea. He imagined that he could weigh the high mountains in a balance. Finally, he was brought down to earth. He was carried in a litter, making the power of God manifest to all. Worms swarmed all over the ungodly man’s body. While he was still living in anguish and pain, his flesh rotted away. Because of the stench, the whole army felt revulsion at his decay. Because of his intolerable stench, no one was able to carry the man who a little while before had thought that he could touch the stars of heaven.”

Here the cause of the illness of King Antiochus IV was not depression but the God of Israel who struck him down. Notice that it is the God of Israel not the almighty Shaddai God who struck him down. This biblical author went into great detail about his illness. The king had a bowel problem because he had tortured others with infliction of various stomach disorders. He still wanted to get to Jerusalem so he asked his chariot to go faster. However, then he fell out of the chariot causing him even more pain. King Antiochus IV had been arrogant so that he thought that he could command the sea waves, measure the height of mountains, and touch the stars. However, his body swarmed with worms as it rotted away. There was a terrible smell about him that kept people away from him. The great king was reduced to a smelly sick pain filled old man.

The Olympics at Tyre (2 Macc 4:18-4:20)

When the quadrennial games were being held at Tyre, the king was present. The vile Jason sent envoys, chosen as being citizens of Antioch from Jerusalem. They were to carry three hundred silver drachmas for the sacrifice to Hercules. Those who carried the money, however, thought best not to use it for sacrifice, because that was inappropriate. They spent if for another purpose. So this money that was intended by the sender for the sacrifice to Hercules, but by the decision of its carriers it was applied to the construction of triremes.”

Now we have the Olympics in the biblical tradition. The quadrennial Olympics were held in Tyre. The Greek Olympics began in 776 BCE. However, they were eliminated by the Christian Emperor Theodosius in 393 CE as a pagan cult. Although the Olympics were only held in Olympia in Greece, there were other gatherings of athletes in what might be called Pan-Hellenic Games that were held throughout the ancient world in various cities at different times what were also called Olympics. Tyre was an important sea port town north of Palestine. Hercules was the name of god of Tyre. Instead of offering the sacrifice to Hercules, these so-called Antiochian envoys to these games made triremes, war vessels with rowers on each side.