The prophet Anna (Lk 2:36-2:36)

“There was a prophet,

Anna,

The daughter of Phanuel,

Of the tribe of Asher.

She was of a great age.

She had lived

With her husband

Seven years

After her marriage.”

 

Καὶ ἦν Ἄννα προφῆτις, θυγάτηρ Φανουήλ, ἐκ φυλῆς Ἀσήρ· αὕτη προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ἡμέραις πολλαῖς, ζήσασα μετὰ ἀνδρὸς ἔτη ἑπτὰ ἀπὸ τῆς παρθενίας αὐτῆς,

 

Next Luke introduced a female prophet, Anna.  There were some female prophets in the biblical literature like Miriam in Exodus, chapter 15:20, the sister of Aaron and Moses, who was called a prophet like her brother Aaron, the first instance of women worshiping God.  Deborah, in Judges, chapter 4:4, was a married woman prophet from the northern tribe of Ephraim who led troops into battle.  Finally, Huddah in 2 Kings, chapter 22:14-20, was one of the few mentioned female prophets.  The elders in Jerusalem consulted her about what to do with a holy book.  Her response led to the religious revival under King Josiah (640-609 BCE).  Like the other Israelite male and female prophets, Anna interpreted God’s will for his people.  Luke said that there was a prophet Anna (Καὶ ἦν Ἄννα προφῆτις), the daughter of Phanuel (θυγάτηρ Φανουήλ), of the northern tribe of Asher (ἐκ φυλῆς Ἀσήρ).  Her father’s name Phanuel was considered to be the fourth of the great archangels with Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel, according to the 3rd century BCE work, the Book of Enoch, but there is no implication here that she was angelic.  Thus, she was not a local Judean, but a northern Galilean Jewish person from Asher.  She was greatly advanced in years (τη προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ἡμέραις πολλαῖς), since she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage (ζήσασα μετὰ ἀνδρὸς ἔτη ἑπτὰ ἀπὸ τῆς παρθενίας αὐτῆς).  She had become a widow.

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The defilement of the people (Ezek 20:30-20:31)

“Therefore say

To the house of Israel!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Will you defile yourselves

After the manner

Of your ancestors?

Will you go astray

After their detestable things?

When you offer

Your gifts,

You defile yourselves.

When you make

Your children

Pass through the fire,

You defile yourselves

With all your idols

To this day.

Shall I be consulted

By you?

O house of Israel!

As I live,

I will not be consulted

By you.’ Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh wanted Ezekiel to say to the house of Israel that they should not defile themselves like their ancestors. They should not go astray after their detestable idols. When they offered gifts to these idols, they defiled themselves. When they made their children pass through fire, they also defiled themselves with all their idols. They had been doing this even until the time of Ezekiel. Yahweh wanted to know if he should be consulted by those from the wicked house of Israel. Yahweh was clear. He did not want to be consulted by those who had defiled themselves.

Desolate country (Isa 1:7-1:7)

“Your country lies desolate.

Your cities are burned

With fire.

In your very presence

Aliens devour your land.

It is desolate.

It is overthrown by foreigners.”

Now we have the question as to what country is Yahweh, via Isaiah talking about. Is it Jerusalem and Judah, or the northern kingdom of Israel? In 721 BCE, the Assyrians took over the Kingdom of Israel at Samaria, as outlined in 2 Kings, chapter 17. However, Isaiah was considered a prophet of Judah. Was he implying that the Assyrians were attacking Judah about 10 years later, as in 2 Kings, chapter 18? In chapter 19, King Hezekiah consulted with this prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. That would put his oracle sometime between 721 BCE and 710 BCE. There was no doubt that the country was desolate. The cities had been burned down. Aliens were in this desolate land because these foreigners had taken over. This certainly sounds like the defeated northern kingdom of Israel that had been at Samaria.

Isaiah (Sir 48:22-48:25)

“King Hezekiah followed

What the prophet Isaiah

Had commanded.

Isaiah was great.

Isaiah was trustworthy

In his visions.

In Isaiah’s days,

The sun went backward.

He prolonged

The life of the king.

By his dauntless spirit

He saw the future.

He comforted the mourners

In Zion.

He revealed

What was to occur

To the end of time.

He revealed the hidden things

Before they happened.”

Sirach may have had 2 sources for his information about the prophet Isaiah (approximately 772-698 BCE). Besides, the mention of Isaiah in 2 Kings, chapters 17-20, there is a whole biblical Book of Isaiah with 66 chapters about and supposedly from this prophet Isaiah. He consulted with a number of kings, but especially King Hezekiah. He is generally considered one of the most important of the Israelite prophets both for age and time, because he was faithful to Yahweh. He made the sun turn around when he cured King Hezekiah, by lengthening his life. He also was a seer or predicator of things to come, but some of these visions may have been written after the events had already happened. He revealed many hidden things. Suffice it to say, his impact on Judaism and early Christianity was enormous.

The plan to attack Jonathan (1 Macc 9:58-9:61)

“Then all the renegade lawless people plotted and said.

‘See!

Jonathan and his men are living in quiet and confidence.

Now let us bring Bacchides back.

He will capture them all in one night.’

They went and consulted with him. Bacchides started to come with a large force. He secretly sent letters to all his allies in Judea. He told them to seize Jonathan and his men. However, they were unable to do it, because their plan became known. Jonathan’s men seized about fifty of the men of the country who were leaders in this treachery, and killed them.”

Once again, we see the lawless Hellenistic renegade Jews plotting against Jonathan. Jonathan seemed to have been left alone. They wanted to bring back General Bacchides and capture him in one night. This once again emphasizes the civil war aspect of his uprising. After they consulted with General Bacchides, he started out with a large force. He sent letters to his allies to tell them to seize Jonathan. However, the opposite happened. Jonathan seized about 50 men who were against him and killed them.