The lying prophets (Jer 23:25-23:27)

“I have heard

What the prophets have said.

They prophesy lies

In my name.

They say.

‘I have dreamed!

I have dreamed!’

How long

Will this last?

Will the hearts of the prophets

Ever turn back?

They prophesy lies!

They prophesy

The deceit of their own heart.

They plan to make my people

Forget my name,

By their dreams

That they tell one another.

They are just

Like their ancestors

Who forgot my name

For Baal.”

Yahweh complains about these lying prophets, since they prophesy and lie in his name. They claim that they have had dreams. Will these prophets ever return? They continue to lie and present the deceit for their own hearts. They want the people to forget the name of Yahweh with their dreams that they tell to one another. They are just like their ancestors who forgot the name of Yahweh and went to the Baal gods.

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Defiled Israel (Jer 2:23-2:25)

“How can you say.

‘I am not defiled.

I have not gone after the Baals.’

Look at your way in the valley!

Know what you have done!

There is a restive young camel

Interlacing her tracks.

There is a wild ass

At home in the wilderness.

In her heat,

It is sniffing the wind!

Who can restrain her lust?

None who seek her

Need weary themselves.

In her month,

They will find her.

Keep your feet from going unshod!

Keep your throat from thirst!

But you said.

‘It is hopeless.

I have loved strangers.

After them.

I will go.’”

Jeremiah condemns the Israelites for defiling themselves, even though they deny it. They claim that they have not gone after the Baal pagan gods. However, Jeremiah points out that they know what they have done in the valley. They were like restless camels or a wild ass in the wilderness. They were sniffing at the wind. No one could restrain their lust. It would not be difficult to find them. They should, on the other hand, wear shoes and not be thirsty. Their response was disappointing, since they said that this was hopeless. They loved strangers and ran after them.

Cyrus does not know that Yahweh is helping him (Isa 45:4-45:6)

“For the sake

Of my servant Jacob,

For the sake

Of Israel my chosen one,

I call you by your name.

I surname you,

Even though you do not know me.

I am Yahweh.

There is no other.

Besides me

There is no god.

I arm you,

Even though you do not know me.

Thus they might know,

From the rising of the sun,

As well as from the west,

That there is none besides me.

I am Yahweh.

There is no other.”

Second Isaiah explains how Yahweh, who is all powerful, was helping Cyrus. Yahweh was doing this for the sake of Jacob and Israel. Even though Cyrus is not aware that Yahweh was helping and arming him, Yahweh has named him in particular. Yahweh was doing this, so that all people would know that there was no god besides him. Thus from the east to the west, they would know that Yahweh, and he alone, was responsible for the exploits of Cyrus. This is a rather large claim, much like the 20th century anonymous Christians, who did not know they were Christians.

A reproach against mocking God (Isa 5:18-5:19)

“Woe to you

Who drag iniquity along

With cords of falsehood.

Woe to you

Who draw sin along

With cart ropes.

Woe to you

Who say.

‘Let him make haste.

Let him speed his work.

Thus we may see it.

Let the plan of the Holy One of Israel

Hasten to fulfillment.

Thus we may know it!’”

Isaiah then takes on those who mock God with false allegations. They operate with cords of falsehood and sins like cart ropes. They pretend to want to see the work of Yahweh, the Most High God of Israel as soon as possible. They claim they want to know and see it soon. In fact, all they want to do is to continue in their sinful ways.

Public conduct (Sir 7:4-7:7)

“Do not seek from the Lord a high office!

Do not seek the seat of honor from the king!

Do not assert your righteousness before the Lord!

Do not display your wisdom before the king!

Do not seek to become a judge!

You may be unable to root out injustice.

You may be partial to the powerful.

You may mar your integrity.

Commit no offense against the public!

Do not disgrace yourself among the people!”

Sirach then gave some instructions on how to conduct yourself in public places. First, you should not seek a high office or a seat of honor from the king. Second, do not claim to be righteous before the Lord. Third, do not display your wisdom before the king. Fourth, you should not seek to become a judge because you may not be able to get rid of evil injustice. You might be partial to the powerful people and mar your own integrity. Finally, do not commit any offense against the people so that you do not end up in disgrace.

The false worship of natural forces (Wis 13:1-13:2)

“All people who were ignorant of God

Were foolish by nature.

They were unable

From the good things that are seen

To know the one who exists.

They did not recognize the artisan

While paying heed to his works.

They supposed that either

Fire,

Or wind,

Or swift air,

Or the circle of the stars,

Or turbulent water,

Or the luminaries of heaven

Were the gods that rule the world.”

All these vain foolish men (πάντες ἄνθρωποι) are ignorant of God (Θεοῦ ἀγνωσία). They see the good things of this earth, but they do not recognize the creative artisan who made them. Instead they worship the very works that he has made such as fire, wind, air, stars, water, or other heavenly bodies. They claim that these are the gods that rule the world (κόσμου θεοὺς ἐνόμισαν).

Raphael makes a plan for Tobias and Sarah (Tob 6:10-6:13)

“When they entered Media, they were already approaching Ecbatana. Raphael said to the young man. ‘Brother Tobias!’ He answered. ‘Here I am!’ Raphael said to him.

‘We must stay this night in the home of Raguel.

He is your relative.

He has a daughter named Sarah.

He has no male heir.

He has no daughter except Sarah only.

You are as next of kin to her.

You have before all other men a hereditary claim on her.

Also it is right for you to inherit her father’s possessions.

Moreover, the girl is sensible, brave, and very beautiful.

Her father is a good man.

You have every right to take her in marriage.

So listen to me, brother.

Tonight, I will speak to her father about the girl,

Thus you may take her to be your bride.

When we return from Rages,

We will celebrate her marriage.

For I know that Raguel can by no means keep her from you

Or promise her to another man

Without incurring the penalty of death,

According to the decree of the Book of Moses.

Indeed, he knows that you, rather than any other man,

Are entitled to marry his daughter.

So now listen to me, brother!

Tonight we shall speak concerning the girl.

We will arrange her engagement to you.

When we return from Rages,

We will take her and bring her back with us to your house.’”

They do not mention the time frame, but it would have taken a few days to get to Media. Raphael told Tobias that they were going to spend the night at the house of Raguel, since he was a relative of Tobias. Raphael explained that Raguel had a beautiful only daughter. Since Tobias was the next of kin, he was entitled to marry her. No one else had such a good claim on her as he did. This is based on the Book of Moses, without indicating which book, perhaps Numbers, chapter 36, about the family with no sons. However, there was nothing about a death penalty in the biblical books. Somehow there was the levirate law that the next of kin had first rights on a woman as was laid out in Deuteronomy, chapter 25, with the brother’s right to marry the widow of his brother. This was prevalent in the book of Ruth. They would be engaged now. Then they would get married after they came back from Rages. Raphael was going to make all the arrangements with her father.