They will obey Yahweh (Jer 42:5-42:6)

“They in turn said to Jeremiah.

‘May Yahweh be a true witness!

May Yahweh be a faithful witness

Against us,

If we do not act

According to everything

That Yahweh

Your God

Sends us through you.

Whether it is good or bad,

We will obey

The voice of Yahweh

Our God,

To whom we are sending you,

So that it may go well

With us

When we do obey

The voice of Yahweh

Our God.’”

The leaders and the group of those remaining from the land of Judah proclaimed to Jeremiah that Yahweh would be a true and faithful witness against them, if they did not act according to everything that Yahweh would say to Jeremiah. It did not matter whether it was good or bad, they would obey the voice of Yahweh as interpreted by Jeremiah. They wanted things to go well with them, so that they were willing to listen to the voice of Yahweh, their God. Yahweh was no longer Jeremiah’s God, but their God also.

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The inability to enjoy a wealthy life (Eccl 6:1-6:6)

“There is an evil

That I have seen under the sun.

It lies heavy upon humans.

God gives wealth.

God gives possessions.

God gives honor to people.

Thus they lack nothing of all that they desire.

Yet God does not enable them

To enjoy these things.

But a stranger enjoys them.

This is vanity.

It is a grievous illness.

If a man beget a hundred children,

If a man lives many years,

However many are the days of his years,

But he does not enjoy life’s good things,

If he has no burial,

I say

That a stillborn child is

Better off than he.

‘It comes into vanity.

It goes into darkness.

In darkness

Its name is covered.

Moreover it has not seen the sun

It does not know anything.

Yet it finds rest rather than him.’

Even though he should

Live a thousand years twice over,

Yet enjoy no good,

Do not all go to the one place?”

Qoheleth finds another evil under the sun in his pessimistic mood. What happens to those who have everything that they desire? Somehow they are not able to enjoy all their wealth. Instead a stranger seems to enjoy them. This is another useless vain thing, another grievous illness among us. Even if someone had 100 children and a long life, but cannot enjoy them, what is the point of all this? If he does not even get a burial, this wealthy person with a large family and a long life is no better off than a stillborn child. This is an amazing comparison. He maintains that the stillborn is better off because it lives in darkness with no name, never seeing the sun, or knowing anything, but finds a better rest than this old rich guy with the large family. Even though this person might live 2,000 years, he would not enjoy any good things. After all, the stillborn and this old guy, as well as everyone else, will end up in the same place, dead.

Elihu explains that God is always just (Job 34:10-34:15)

“Therefore, hear me!

You men of understanding!

Far be it from God

That he should do wickedness.

Far be it from the Almighty Shaddai

That he should do wrong.

According to their deeds

He will repay them.

According to his ways

He will make it befall them.

Of a truth,

God will not do wickedly.

The Almighty Shaddai will not pervert justice.

Who gave him charge over the earth?

Who laid on him the whole world?

If he should take back his Spirit to himself,

If he should gather to himself his breath,

All flesh would perish together.

All mortals would return to dust.”

Once again, Elihu turned to the 3 wise men. They should listen to him. God cannot do wickedness. He does not do wrong things. Thus according to your deeds you will be repaid. You will get what you deserve. The almighty God will not pervert justice. He is in charge of the earth and the whole world. If he wanted to take his Spirit back, then all humans would perish and return to dust. The all powerful God had control of everything even human lives.

Only God has wisdom (Job 28:23-28:28)

“God understands the way to it.

He knows its place.

He looks to the ends of the earth.

He sees everything under the heavens.

He gave to the wind its weight.

He meted out the waters by measure.

He made a decree for the rain.

He made a way for the thunderbolt.

Then he saw it.

He declared it.

He established it.

He searched it out.

He said to humankind.

‘Truly

The fear of Yahweh,

That is wisdom.

To depart from evil is understanding.’”

Now we have the answer to this puzzle about wisdom. God is the answer. Fear of Yahweh is true wisdom, an Israelite description of God. Separating from evil is true wisdom. God understands where wisdom is and how to find it. He goes to the ends of the flat earth. He sees everything under the heavens. He knows all things. He knows the weight of the wind and the measure of water. He is in charge of the rain and the thunderbolts. Finally, he reveals it to all human mortals. Fear of the Lord Yahweh is true wisdom so that you depart from evil.

 

Eliphaz describes God (Job 22:12-22:20)

“Is not God high in the heavens?

See the highest stars!

How lofty they are!

Therefore you say.

‘What does God know?

Can he judge through the deep darkness?

Thick clouds enwrap him.

Thus he does not see.

He walks on the vault of heaven.’

Will you keep to the old way?

Will you tread the path of wicked men?

They were snatched away before their time.

Their foundation was washed away by a flood.

They said to God.

‘Leave us alone.

What can the Almighty Shaddai do to us?’

Yet he filled their houses with good things.

The plans of the wicked are repugnant to me.

The righteous see it.

The righteous are glad.

The innocent laugh them to scorn, saying.

‘Surely our adversaries are cut off.

What they have left,

The fire has consumed.’”

Eliphaz described God as a distant unknowable God. He was high in heaven above the stars. How then can this faraway God know and judge what is going on here on earth with all the dark clouds around him? Once again, he referred to the wicked as wanting to be left alone by God. Why would they want the almighty Shaddai since they had everything they wanted? However, the righteous see that the wicked fill their houses with good things. The righteous think that bad things will happen to the wicked. The distant God seemed unconcerned about what was happening here on earth.

Jonathan and Trypho meet (1 Macc 12:41-12:45)

“Jonathan went out to meet Trypho with forty thousand picked warriors. He came to Beth-shan. When Trypho saw that he had come with a large army, he was afraid to raise his hand against him. So he received him with honor and commended him to all his friends. He gave him gifts. He commanded his friends and his troops to obey him as they would himself. Then he said to Jonathan.

‘Why have you put all these people

To such trouble

When we are not at war?

Dismiss them now to their homes.

Choose for yourself a few men to stay with you.

Come with me to Ptolemais.

I will hand it over to you

As well as the other strongholds

And the remaining troops

And all the officials.

I will turn around and go home.

That is why I am here.’”

Jonathan now had a large force of 40,000 warriors. When he met Trypho at Beth-shan, Trypho was actually afraid. He did not want to fight such a large army. Instead, he said that he wanted to honor Jonathan as he gave him gifts. He told his whole army to listen and obey whatever Jonathan said. He wanted Jonathan to take a few troops to Ptolemais, where he would give him that city. He told Jonathan to dismiss most of his troops since they were not needed. They were not at war. He was going to hand everything over to Jonathan so that he could go home. He said that was the reason that he had come to this place. It is hard to tell whether Jonathan believed him or not, but we shall see.

The prayer of Mordecai to God the creator (Greek text only)

“Then Mordecai prayed to the Lord. He called on the Lord to remember all his works. He said.

‘O Lord, Lord,

You rule as King over all things.

The universe is in your power.

There is no one who can oppose you.

It is your will to save Israel.

You have made heaven and earth.

You have made every wonderful thing under heaven.

You are Lord of all.

There is no one who can resist you.

You are the Lord.’”

Once again, these next sections of Mordecai’s prayer are only in the Greek text and not in the Hebrew text at all. Mordecai proclaimed that the Lord was the ruler of all things. The universe was in his power. No one could oppose God. If he wanted to save Israel he could. He has made heaven and earth and everything that is wonderful. He is the lord of all things. No one can resist this Lord.