To preach or not to preach (Mic 2:6-2:7)

“‘Do not preach!’

This is what they preach.

‘One should not preach

Of such things.

Disgrace will not

Overtake us.’

Should this be said?

O house of Jacob!

Is Yahweh’s patience

Exhausted?

Are these his doings?

Do not my words

Do good

To him

Who walks uprightly?’”

Micah indicated the difference between false preaching and true preaching.  Was Micah to preach or not?  Did he only have to say good things in order to preach?  Should he be careful about what he said?  Is it disgraceful to speak about bad things?  Has Yahweh exhausted all his patience?  However, Micah believed that his harsh words from Yahweh would help those who were upright.  The evil ones would not like to hear about their evil ways.

Advertisements

Jerusalem is worse than her sister Samaria (Ezek 16:51-16:52)

“Samaria has not

Committed

Half your sins.

You have committed

More abominations

Than they.

You have made

Your sisters

Appear righteous

By all the abominations

That you have

Committed.

Bear your disgrace!

You also!

You have brought about

For your sisters

A more favorable judgment,

Because of your sins

In which you acted

More abominably

Than they.

They are more

In the right

Than you.

So be ashamed!

You also!

Bear your disgrace!

You have made

Your sisters

Appear righteous.”

Yahweh said that Samaria was not half as bad as Jerusalem, who had committed more sins and abominations than her sister Samaria. In fact, Jerusalem made her sisters look righteous, because she was so disgraceful. Her sisters would get a more favorable judgment because of her sins. She had acted more abominably than they had. Jerusalem should be ashamed of herself. She was so disgraceful that her sisters seemed righteous.

The good and bad wife (Sir 26:22-26:27)

“A prostitute is regarded as spittle.

A married woman

Is a tower of death to her lovers.

A godless wife is given as a portion

To a lawless man.

But a pious wife is given

To a man who fears the Lord.

A shameless woman constantly

Acts disgracefully.

A modest daughter will even

Be embarrassed before her husband.

A headstrong wife is regarded as a dog.

But one who has a sense of shame

Will fear the Lord.

A wife honoring her husband

Will seem wise to all.

But if she dishonors him

In her pride,

She will be known to all

As ungodly.

Happy is the husband

Of a good wife.

The number of his years

Will be doubled.

A loud voiced wife is

Like a trumpet sound.

A garrulous wife is

Like a trumpet sounding the charge.

Every person like this,

Lives in the anarchy of war.”

This section, like the preceding, does not appear in some editions. Sirach once again distinguishes between the good and the bad wife. Of course, prostitutes are like spit. A married wife who has lovers is like the tower of death to them. These godless wives belong with lawless husbands. On the other hand, a pious wife is a gift to a husband who fears the Lord. The shameless wife consistently acts disgraceful, so that even her daughter is embarrassed when her husband is around. A headstrong wife is a like a dog. She needs to be brought under control. The wife who has a sense of shame fears the Lord. Wives who honor their husbands are seen as wise. However, the ungodly wives dishonor their husbands. If a man has a good wife, as above, his life span will be doubled. A loud and talky wife is like a trumpet sound in battle. They deserve to live in a war of anarchy. Thus the humble wife is the ideal.

The divine intervention at Beth-zur (2 Macc 11:5-11:12)

“Invading Judea, Lysias approached Beth-zur, which was a fortified place about five stadia from Jerusalem. He pressed it hard. When Judas Maccabeus and his men got word that Lysias was besieging the strongholds, they and all the people, with lamentations and tears, prayed the Lord to send a good angel to save Israel. Judas Maccabeus himself was the first to take up arms. He urged the others to risk their lives with him to aid their kindred. Then they eagerly rushed off together. There, while they were still near Jerusalem, a horseman appeared at their head, clothed in white and brandishing weapons of gold. Together they all praised the merciful God. They were strengthened in heart, ready to assail not only humans, but the wildest animals or walls of iron. They advanced in battle order, having their heavenly ally, for the Lord had mercy on them. They hurled themselves like lions against the enemy. They laid low eleven thousand of them and sixteen hundred cavalry. They forced all the rest to flee. Most of them got away stripped and wounded. Lysias himself escaped by disgraceful flight.”

Beth-zur was about 20 miles south of Jerusalem, on the way to Hebron. Here, like 1 Maccabees, chapter 4, Judas Maccabeus prayed for a heavenly angel to help him. Although he had prayed in 1 Maccabees, there was no divine intervention. Here a heavenly horseman with a gold weapon led them to victory as they were lions in battle. Here they killed 11,000 infantry instead of 5,000 as in 1 Maccabees. In both versions of the story, Lysias escaped, either as here in “disgraceful flight” or simply withdrawing to Antioch as in 1 Maccabees.