“I opened to my beloved.
But my beloved had turned away.
He was gone.
My soul failed me
When he spoke.
I sought him.
But I did not find him.
I called him.
But he gave no answer.
Making their rounds in the city,
The sentinels found me.
They beat me.
They wounded me.
They took away my mantle.
These were the sentinels of the walls.”
This is a lot like chapter 3, where this female lover went searching in the streets to find her lover. Instead of her lover being at the door, he had left. Her soul was faint. Once again, like in chapter 3, she called for him, but her lover gave no answer. However, when she searched the city, the result here was more brutal. The sentinels or watchmen guards of the town, instead of helping her, beat her up, wounded her, and took her coat or mantle.
“The lazy person says.
‘There is a lion in the road!
There is a lion in the streets!’
As a door turns on its hinges,
So does a lazy person in bed.
The lazy person buries a hand in the dish.
He is too tired to bring it back to the mouth.
The lazy person is wiser in self-esteem
Than seven who can answer discreetly.”
In this short section about the lazy people, there is almost a direct repeat of what appeared in chapters 19 and 22 about the lazy man with the lion in the street and the lazy man with his hand in the dish. Both are striking examples of laziness. Afraid to go outside because of some supposed lion and being too tired to put his hand to his mouth to feed himself. This lazy person is only able to turn like hinge on a door, as he turns in his bed. Finally the lazy person is full of self esteem because he thinks that he is better than 7 other discreet people.
“A certain Razis, one of the elders of Jerusalem, was denounced to Nicanor as a man who loved his compatriots. He was very well thought of. For his good will, he was called father of the Jews. In former times, when there was no mingling with the gentiles, he had been accused of Judaism. He had most zealously risked body and life for Judaism. Nicanor, wishing to exhibit the enmity which he had for the Jews, sent more than five hundred soldiers to arrest him. He thought that by arresting him, he would do them an injury. When the troops were about to capture the tower, they forced the door of the courtyard. They ordered that fire be brought and the doors burned. Being surrounded, Razis fell upon his own sword. He preferred to die nobly rather than to fall into the hands of sinners and suffer outrages unworthy of his noble birth. But in the heat of the struggle he did not hit exactly. The crowd was now rushing in through the doors. He courageously ran up on the wall. He bravely threw himself down into the crowd. But as they quickly drew back, a space opened and he fell in the middle of the empty space. Still alive and aflame with anger, he rose up. Although his blood gushed forth and his wounds were severe, he ran through the crowd. Standing upon a steep rock, with his blood now completely drained from him, he tore out his entrails. He took them with both hands and hurled them at the crowd, calling upon the Lord of life and spirit to give them back to him again. This was the manner of his death.”
Wow, what a gruesome description of the death of Razis! Razis was a well respected Jewish elder, sometimes referred to as the father of the Jews. He was accused of Judaism because he would not mingle with the gentiles. Nicanor wanted to make an example of him so he sent 500 troops to arrest him. So far this does not sound outlandish. Then when they got to his house, they decided to set fire to his door to get in. Then Razis was surrounded and decided to kill himself with a sword, a common Roman practice, rather than die in disgrace. However, in the heat of the excitement with the 500 troops running at him, he somehow missed killing himself but merely cut himself. So Razis ran to the top of the wall. He wanted to hurl himself into the crowd, but they stepped back and he fell into an empty space. Now as he was angry and still alive, he ran through the crowd of troops until he got to a sharp rock. The blood was gushing out all over the place. Somehow he tore out his own intestines and threw them at the crowd. This was some weird scene. Here then is the main point. He cried to the Lord of life to give them back to him. Of course, he died. Somehow this father of Judaism believed that his intestines would be restored in some kind of afterlife, a resurrection. This is one of the few times that we have a Jewish attempted suicide.