The rewards for Daniel and his friends (Dan 2:48-2:49)

“Then the king

Promoted Daniel.

He gave him

Many great gifts.

He made him ruler

Over the whole province

Of Babylon.

He became

The chief prefect

Over all the wise men

Of Babylon.

Daniel made a request

Of the king.

He appointed

Shadrach,

Meshach,

With Abednego,

Over the affairs

Of the province

Of Babylon.

But Daniel remained

At the king’s court.”

Much like Joseph in Egypt in Genesis, chapters 40-41, Daniel received a reward in the government of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar made him the ruler over the whole province of Babylon, as well as the chief prefect in charge of all the wise men in Babylon. In other words, Daniel was running Babylon. He then had his 3 companions, named to the various Babylonian provinces. This was a complete takeover of the Babylonian government by these 4 Judeans. However, they may have lost some of their beliefs, since they now had the 3 Babylonian names of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that were given to them, not their Judean names. Notice that Daniel stayed at the king’s court.

Worthless money (Isa 1:22-1:23)

“Your silver has become dross.

Your wine is mixed with water.

Your princes are rebels.

They are the companions of thieves.

Everyone loves a bribe.

They run after gifts.

They do not defend the orphans.

The widow’s cause does not

Come before them.”

Isaiah reminds the Israelites that their silver money in Jerusalem has become worthless scum dross. Their wine is not pure, since it is mixed with water, or watered down. The princes of Jerusalem have become rebels and companions of thieves. They love bribes and run after gifts. There is no one left to defend and help the orphans and the widows, which is so important for Israelite life.

False friends (Sir 37:1-37:6)

“Every friend says.

‘I too am a friend.’

But some friends

Are friends only in name.

Is it not a sorrow

Like death itself?

A dear friend

Turns into an enmity.

O inclination to evil!

Why were you formed?

Why do you cover the land

With deceit?

Some companions rejoice

In the happiness of a friend.

But in times of trouble,

They are against him.

Some companions help a friend

For their stomach’s sake.

Yet in battle

They will carry his shield.

Do not forget a friend

In your heart

During the battle.

Do not be unmindful of him

When you distribute your spoils.”

Sirach reminds us about false friends. Some friends are such in name only. Sometimes a friend turns into an enemy. Sirach wondered why there was this inclination to evil. Why was the land covered with deceit? Some companions are happy when you are happy. However, in troubled times, they may be against you. Some people help for the sake of a good meal, while others will go to battle with you. You should not forget the friends who went out to battle with you, especially when you distribute the rewards or spoils of victory.

The final garden meeting (Song 8:13-8:14)

Female lover

“O you!

Who dwell in the gardens!

My companions are listening

For your voice.

Let me hear it!

Make haste!

My beloved!

Be like a gazelle!

Be like a young stag

Upon the mountains of spices!”

This female lover wanted to hear her lover’s voice. Her companions were listening for his voice with her, as she wanted to hear it. She wanted her lover to make haste. She wanted him to be like a young gazelle or stag in a mountain of spices.   So ends this great romantic love story.

The shepherd (Song 1:7-1:7)

Female lover

“Tell me!

You whom my soul loves!

Where do you pasture your flock?

Where do you make it lie down at noon?

Why should I be like a veiled woman?

Why cannot I be beside

The flocks of your companions?”

This female lover now talks about a shepherd who was guarding his flock. Once again, this may be an allegory for Yahweh the good shepherd. She wanted to know where he was pasturing his flock. She was going around as a veiled woman while he was with his companions, the other shepherds. Thus there was a change from a king to a shepherd.

The anointed one (Ps 45:6-45:9)

“Your throne!

O God!

Endures forever and ever.

Your royal scepter is a scepter of equity.

You love righteousness.

You hate wickedness.

Therefore God,

Your God!

Has anointed you

With the oil of gladness.

Thus you are beyond your companions.

Your robes are all fragrant

With myrrh, aloes, and cassia.

From ivory palaces

Stringed instruments make you glad.

Daughters of kings are

Among your ladies of honor.

At your right hand

Stands the queen in gold of Ophir.”

Is this throne the throne of God or the king that endures forever? Once again, the scribe psalmist treats the king like a mini-god. The royal crown helps insure equality. Then we have the famous saying about being anointed with the oil of gladness that had such a resonance with Christian prayers about anointing. This is a royal anointing of the new king. This new king was beyond his companions. His robes were fragrant or smelly. They were filled with myrrh, aloes, and cassia. Myrrh was an aromatic perfume from the Asian bushes. Aloes was a bitter tasting leaf that was used in perfumes. Cassia is an Asian evergreen tree with an aromatic bark that also was used in perfumes. Ivory and stringed instruments were also there. All this adds to the concept of wealth. Of course stringed instruments and beautiful ladies of honor were also added to the scene. Then there was queen in her gold from the mysterious unknown but often mentioned Ophir.

The plea to God (Ps 38:9-38:11)

“Lord!

All my longing is known to you.

My sighing is not hidden from you.

My heart throbs.

My strength fails me.

The light of my eyes has gone from me.

My friends and companions

Stand aloof from my affliction.

My neighbors stand far off.”

David made a plea to the Lord, God, who knew his situation. He was aware of his longing and sighing that was not hidden from him. His heart throbbed. His strength failed. His eyesight was growing dim. His friends, companions, and neighbors were standing aloof from him and his afflictions. Only God could help him.

The prayer of Judas Maccabeus and his men (2 Macc 8:1-8:4)

“Meanwhile Judas, who was also called Maccabeus, and his companions secretly entered the villages. They summoned their kindred. They enlisted those who had continued in the Jewish faith. They gathered about six thousand men. They implored the Lord to look upon the people who were oppressed by all. They wanted the Lord to have pity on the temple which had been profaned by ungodly men. They wanted him to have mercy on the city that was being destroyed, and about to be leveled to the ground. They wanted the Lord to hearken to the blood that cried out to him. They wanted him to remember also the lawless destruction of the innocent babies. They wanted him to remember the blasphemies committed against his name. They wanted him to show his hatred of evil.”

Judas Maccabeus and his companions, and not just his brothers, entered the villages. There is no mention of Mattathias, the father of Judas, as if nothing happened until Judas came on the scene. This is the first mention of Judas in chapter 8, outside of the author’s preface in chapter 2 of this book. In 1 Maccabees, Judas came on the scene in chapter 3, after the death of his father, who had started the uprising. Judas gathered about 6,000 men. The first thing they did was pray to the Lord. They wanted God to look on their oppression and have pity on the Temple and its profanation. They wanted mercy for their city Jerusalem that was being leveled to the ground. They wanted God to listen to the innocent blood crying out to him from innocent babies. They wanted him to remember the blasphemies against his name and all the other evils that was going on.

The escape of Judas Maccabeus (2 Macc 5:27-5:27)

“However, Judas Maccabeus, with about nine others, got away to the wilderness. He kept himself and his companions alive in the mountains as wild animals do. They continued to live on what grew wild, so that they might not share in the defilement.”

Here is the first mention in this book about Judas Maccabeus, without any indication about his father Mattathias or his brothers as in 1 Maccabeus, chapter 2. He and 9 others lived in the mountains like wild animals, eating what was available in the wilderness, not eating defiled food or meat.

Return of the ambassadors of Rome to Judea (1 Macc 15:15-15:15)

“Then Numenius and his companions arrived from Rome. They had letters to the kings and the countries.”

Obviously this fits in better in the preceding chapter, where there was all this talk about going to Rome and Sparta. Now Numenius came back from Rome with a letter. The insertion of the invasion of King Antiochus VII seemed out of place just before this. However, it is what it is.