The repentance in the exile (Bar 2:32-2:35)

“‘The Israelites

Will praise me

In the land

Of their exile.

They will remember

My name.

They will turn

From their stubbornness.

They will turn

From their wicked deeds.

They will remember

The ways of their ancestors,

Who sinned

Before the Lord.

I will bring them again

Into the land

That I swore

To give to their ancestors,

To Abraham,

To Isaac,

To Jacob.

They will rule

Over it.

I will increase them.

They will not be diminished.

I will make

An everlasting covenant

With them

To be their God.

They shall be my people.

I will never again

Remove

My people Israel

From the land

That I have given them.’”

Baruch recounts what Yahweh via Moses said to the people about their repentance during the exile. The Israelites would praise him in their exile country as they would remember the name of Yahweh. They would turn from their stubbornness and wicked deeds. They would remember how their ancestors had sinned. Yahweh was going to again bring them into the land that he promised to their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. There they would rule in this land as they increased, not diminished, with an everlasting covenant. He would be their God. They would be his people.  He would never again remove them from the land that he had given them. We will see how that works out.

Reunion of Israel and Judah (Jer 50:4-50:5)

“Says Yahweh.

‘In those days,

At that time,

The people of Israel

Shall come together

With the people of Judah.

They shall come

Weeping.

They shall seek

Yahweh,

Their God.

They shall ask

The way to Zion,

With faces turned

Toward it.

They shall join themselves

To Yahweh

By an everlasting covenant

That will never be forgotten.’”

Clearly this is a future time, when both the Israelites and Judeans would return to Zion together, not separately. They would come weeping as they sought Yahweh, their God. They would want to know the way to Jerusalem while facing towards Zion. At the same time, they would join themselves to Yahweh with an everlasting covenant that would never be forgotten. There was always a lot of talk of an unforgettable covenant, and then a little forgetfulness would happen.

Oracle about the alliance with Yahweh (Isa 59:21-59:21)

“‘As for me,

This is my covenant with them.’

Says Yahweh.

‘My spirit is upon you.

My words

That I have put in your mouth,

Shall not depart out of your mouth.

They shall not depart

Out of the mouth of your children.

They shall not depart

Out of the mouths of your children’s children,

From now on and forever.’

Says Yahweh.”

Third Isaiah brings this chapter to a close with another oracle from Yahweh. He was going to renew his alliance with his holy people. The covenant continues down to their children and their children’s children now and forever, since his Spirit is upon them. He has put his words into their mouths and it will not leave them because of this everlasting covenant.

The sacrifices of the anointed Levitical Aaron (Sir 45:14-45:17)

“Aaron’s sacrifices

Shall be wholly burned.

This will be done

Twice every day continually.

Moses ordained him.

He anointed Aaron

With holy oil.

It was an everlasting covenant for him.

It was for his descendants

As long as the heavens continue.

They were to minister to the Lord.

They were to serve as priests.

They were to bless his people

In his name.

He chose him out of all the living

To offer sacrifice to the Lord.

He was to offer incense

With a pleasing odor

As a memorial portion,

To make atonement for your people.

In his commandments,

He gave him authority.

He gave him statutes.

He gave him judgments.

He was to teach Jacob the testimonies.

He was to enlighten Israel with his law.”

Sirach says that the sacrifices of Aaron should be completely burned, twice a day, continually. Moses had ordained Aaron and anointed him with oil, as it was indicated in Exodus, chapter 29. The Lord had an everlasting covenant with Aaron and his descendants as long as the heavens existed. They were to be the priests that ministered to the Lord. They were chosen out of all the living in the world to offer this memorial sacrifice with sweet smelling incense in order to make atonement for their people. In fact, Aaron was the brother of Moses. In the Mosaic commandments, the Lord gave Aaron and his descendants’ authority, statutes, and judgments so that they could teach and enlighten Jacob about the Israelite law.

The priesthood of the Levitical Aaron (Sir 45:6-45:7)

“The Lord exalted Aaron,

The brother of Moses.

He was a holy man

Like Moses.

He was of the tribe of Levi.

The Lord made

An everlasting covenant

With him.

He gave him

The priesthood of the people.”

It is interesting to note that this section on Aaron is much longer than the section about Moses, due to Sirach’s emphasis on the Levitical priests and their role. The Levitical priests were considered the direct descendants of Aaron, who was the brother of Moses. He, also like Moses, was a holy man that God exalted. However, there is a greater emphasis on the fact that Aaron belonged to the tribe of Levi. Although both Moses and Aaron were brothers, there was very little mention about Moses being of the tribe of Levi. Aaron was considered a priest, but Moses was not. The Lord then made an everlasting covenant with Aaron as he received the priesthood of the people, which Moses did not receive.