“I am rousing the Chaldeans.
A fierce impetuous nation.
They march through
The breadth of the earth.
They seize dwellings,
Not their own.
They are terribly dreadful.
Proceeds from themselves.
Proceeds from themselves.”
Who are these Chaldeans? For nearly a hundred years (612-539 BCE), they ruled the ancient near eastern territory of Mesopotamia as the neo-Babylonian empire. They basically took over from the Assyrians in 612 BCE, but were eventually defeated by the Persians in 539 BCE. The Chaldeans were originally from southern Babylon, but were integrated into the Babylonian society. These Chaldeans were a Semitic people who probably spoke Aramaic. Yahweh was going to use them, even though they were a fierce impetuous country. They went all over the place seizing homes and territories. Thus, they were terrible dreadful people. They even had their own kind of justice and dignity that they declared for themselves.
“She makes linen garments.
She sells them.
She supplies the merchants with sashes.
Strength and dignity are her clothing.
She laughs at the time to come.”
Not only does this good wife make fine linen garments for herself, she also sells these sashes to the various merchants. Because she has such strength and dignity, she is not afraid of the future. She can laugh about things to come.
“Deck yourself with majesty and dignity!
Clothe yourself with glory and splendor!
Pour out the over flowing of your anger!
Look on all who are proud!
Look on all who are proud!
Bring him low!
Tread down the wicked where they stand!
Hide them all in the dust together!
Bind their faces in the world below!
Then will I also acknowledge to you.
Your own right hand can give you victory.”
This is a very favorable comment about Job. He was told to put on majesty and dignity. He was to cloth himself with glory and splendor. Yahweh told Job to look at the proud and the wicked people. Job was to humiliate the proud and bring them low. He was to tread on the wicked ones so that they return to dust. He wanted them sent to the underworld. Yahweh would acknowledge Job and give him a victory with his right hand.
“What Judas Maccabeus saw was this. Onias, who had been high priest, was a noble and good man of modest bearing and gentle manner. He spoke fittingly. He had been trained from childhood in all that belongs to excellence. He was praying with outstretched hands for the whole body of the Jews. Then in the same fashion another appeared, distinguished by his gray hair and dignity. He had a marvelous majesty and authority. Onias spoke, saying.
‘This is a man who loves the family of Israel.
He prays much for the people and the holy city.
He is Jeremiah, the prophet of God.’
Jeremiah stretched out his right hand. He gave to Judas Maccabeus a golden sword. As he gave it he addressed him thus.
‘Take this holy sword,
As a gift from God,
With which you will strike down your adversaries.’”
Judas Maccabeus revealed his dream about the noble and good Onias who had been the Jerusalem high priest in the 3rd century BCE. In fact, there were other high priests with the same name related to him. This high priest Onias was a modest and a gentle person, who had been trained since childhood in excellence. He prayed with outstretched hands for the Jews. However, right beside Onias was a distinguished dignified gray haired man. In fact, Onias introduced him as Jeremiah the great prophet of God who loved Israel and prayed for its people and its holy city. Then Jeremiah, this great prophet, extended his hand to Judas Maccabeus to give him a holy golden sword so that he could strike down his adversaries. This was taken as a sign that Judas would be successful.
“Those who were in charge of that unlawful sacrifice took the man aside because of their long acquaintance with him. They privately urged him to bring meat of his own providing, proper for him to use. Then he could pretend that he was eating the flesh of the sacrificial meal which had been commanded by the king. Thus, by doing this he might be saved from death. He was treated kindly on account of his old friendship with them. However, he made a high resolve. This was worthy of his years, the dignity of his old age, and the gray hairs that he had reached with distinction. Due to his excellent life even from childhood, and moreover according to the holy God-given law, he declared himself quickly. He told them to send him to Hades.”
His executioners liked Eleazar. They told him privately just to pretend to eat the meat as the king had commanded. That way, he would be able to save his life. He responded no. He had spent his entire life with dignity and excellence. He had followed the holy God given laws his entire life. He told his executioners to send him to Hades. Hades was the Greek god of the underworld that had become known as the place of the dead people. Many of the Jews often referred to this in Hebrew as Sheol.