Muratorian fragment

The Muratorian fragment is the earliest known example of a defined list of mostly New Testament books.  However, it is damaged and incomplete, but it is usually dated to the late 2nd century.  This Muratorian canon fragment has the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, along with 13 letters of Paul.  However, its condition makes it impossible to make any definitive statements.

Against Elam (Jer 49:34-49:35)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to the prophet Jeremiah

Concerning Elam,

At the beginning

Of the reign

Of King Zedekiah

Of Judah.

Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

‘I am going to break

The bow of Elam,

The mainstay of their might.’”

Elam was an ancient pre-Persian society, east of Babylon, in what is now present day Iran. There is very little mention of Elam in the biblical works. From the text, this oracle can be dated to the beginning of the reign of King Zedekiah (598-597 BCE) of Judah. Whether this was an attack of the king of Babylon or a hint at the later Persian attack is not clear. Yahweh was going to break the bow of Elam because the Elamites were famous for their strong use of the bow and arrow. Although most of the preceding parts of this chapter were translated as chapter 30 in the Greek Septuagint, this section on Elam was translated as chapter 25, not chapter 30 or chapter 49 as here.

The warning from Johanan (Jer 40:13-40:14)

“Now Johanan,

The son of Kareah,

With all the leaders

Of the forces

In the open country,

Came to Gedaliah

At Mizpah.

He said to him.

‘Are you at all aware

That King Baalis

Of the Ammonites

Has sent Ishmael,

The son of Nethaniah,

To take your life?’

But Gedaliah,

The son of Ahikam,

Would not believe them.”

Johanan, the son of Kareah, was one of the open field leaders against Babylon. He and the other rebel leaders came to Mizpah to see what was going on there. When he got there, he told Governor Gedaliah that the king of the Ammonites, King Baalis, had sent Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah, also another Judean country leader, to kill Gedaliah. They have actually found a seal from this King Baalis of Ammon dated around 600 BCE. However, Gedaliah did not believe him, since Ishmael was also a member of the Judean royal household.