Gabriel explains the vision (Dan 8:19-8:22)

“Gabriel said.

‘Listen!

I will tell you

What will take place later

In the period

Of wrath!

It refers

To the appointed time

Of the end.

As for the ram

That you saw

With the two horns,

These are the kings

Of Media and Persia.

The male goat is

The king of Greece.

The great horn

Between its eyes

Is the first king.

As for the horn

That was broken,

In place of which

Four others arose,

Four kingdoms

Shall arise

From his nation,

But not with his power.’”

Gabriel told Daniel to listen to what he was going to tell him. This all would take place at a later appointed end time, when the wrath of God would be displayed. Then he went into details about the vision. The ram with the two horns represented Media and Persia. The male goat was the king of Greece. His broken horn represented the 4 people who took over after the death of Alexander the Great, Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy, the successors of Alexander. However, these 4 kingdoms would not be as strong as the first kingdom of Greece under Alexander.

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The name of the city (Ezek 48:35-48:35)

“The circumference of the city

Shall be eighteen thousand cubits.

The name of the city

From that time on,

Shall be

Yahweh is there.”

Ezekiel ended his work by naming this new city, ‘Yahweh is there.’ This city was 18,000 cubits around. So, Ezekiel ended the way he began, with a vision that had a lot of details in it.

The tribe of Benjamin (Ezek 48:23-48:23)

“The rest of the tribes

Includes Benjamin.

From the east side

To the west side,

Benjamin shall have

one portion.”

Unlike in Joshua, chapter 18, the territory of Benjamin does not have any details of where it would be. Obviously, the old Benjamin was north of Judah and south of Ephraim. Here it simply is one portion from the east to the west side, without any further explanation. Somehow, it had been reduced in value.

The purchase of the field (Jer 32:9-32:11)

“I bought the field

At Anathoth

From my cousin Hanamel.

I weighed out

The money to him,

Seventeen shekels of silver.

I signed the deed.

I sealed it.

I got witnesses.

I weighed the money on scales.

Then I took

The sealed deed of purchase,

That contained the terms

With the conditions,

As well as the open copy.”

This is a very unusual section that contains explicit first person details of this property field sale. However, there is no indication of the exact size of this field. Nowhere else in the biblical works is there such a specific indication of how financial transactions took place. First, Jeremiah bought the land. Most times, there would be no more details other than that. However, here Jeremiah next weighs out the money, 17 silver shekels, which was not a lot of money, about a couple of hundred USA dollars. Where he got the money is not indicated here. Then he signed the deed, probably on papyrus, sealed it, and had witnesses also sign it. There must have been some kind of official seal used here, but we do not know what kind. Finally there seems to be 2 copies of this transaction. The sealed deed contained all the terms and conditions of the sale, while the open copy or city file copy might just have the statement that the sale was made, much like current open records in USA, which generally adds the dollar amount of the sale. Thus these transactions were stored or kept in jars of some kind.

Joseph (Ps 105:16-105:22)

“When he summoned a famine against the land,

He broke every staff of bread.

He had sent a man ahead of them,

Joseph.

He was sold as a slave.

His feet were hurt with fetters.

His neck was put in a collar of iron.

His oracle came to pass.

As the word of Yahweh tested him.

The king then sent for him.

The king released him.

The ruler of the peoples

Set him free.

He made him

Lord of his house.

The king made him

Ruler of all his possessions.

Jospeh was to instruct

His officials at his pleasure.

He was to teach his elders wisdom.”

Here we find the story of Joseph as told in Genesis, chapters 37-50, but without the details of how he was betrayed by his brothers. Yahweh brought the famine that led Jacob and his sons to go to Egypt. Joseph hd gone ahead, but not voluntarily. He was sold as a slave or more precisely turned over by his brothers into slavery. While in Egypt, he was in jail. His dreams came through so he was released when they were found to be true. He was tested by Yahweh. Finally the king or pharaoh released him and put him in charge of his household and all his possessions. Jospeh then instructed the other officials in Egypt as he taught them wisdom. He made the correct preparations for the famine to come.

The role of a historian (2 Macc 2:29-2:31)

“The master builder of a new house must be concerned with the whole construction. However, the one who undertakes its painting and decoration has to consider only what is suitable for its adornment. Such in my judgment is the case with us. It is the duty of the original historian to occupy the ground, to discuss matters from every side, and to take trouble with details. However, the one who recasts the narrative should be allowed to strive for brevity of expression and to forego exhaustive treatment.”

Do not look for details in this presentation. That was the work of the original historian. This is something to remember when reading many of the books of the Bible. The builder of the house must be concerned with the whole construction. However, the painter only has to worry about how it looks. The original historian had to discuss matters from every side and go into the details. The painter, like himself, only is concerned with the narrative. He will be brief and not exhaustive in his presentation. He is not a historian, neither are any of the other biblical writers.