“Jesus said to them.
Like a flash
εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς Ἐθεώρουν τὸν Σατανᾶν ὡς ἀστραπὴν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ πεσόντα
Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus told his 70 returning disciples (εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς) that he had watched Satan (Ἐθεώρουν τὸν Σατανᾶν) fall (πεσόντα) from heaven (ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ) like a flash of lightning (ὡς ἀστραπὴν). If Jesus and his disciples were making progress that meant that the prince of evil, Satan, was not doing well. Thus, Jesus said that Satan was falling or failing. He would no longer be in the higher heavens. This image of a lightning flash as a falling Satan was very vivid. Would you consider lightning in the sky the falling of Satan?
Her gates languish.
Her people lie in gloom
On the ground.
The cry of Jerusalem goes up.
Her nobles send their servants
They come to the cisterns.
They find no water.
With their vessels empty.
They are ashamed.
They are dismayed.
They cover their heads.
Because the ground is cracked.
Because there has been no rain
On the land.
The farmers are dismayed.
They cover their heads.
Even the doe in the field
Forsakes her newborn fawn.
Because there is no grass.
The wild asses stand
On the bare heights.
They pant for air
Their eyes fail.
Because there is no herbage.”
This drought had Judah in mourning. Gloom was all around. The nobles sent their servants for water, but the well cisterns had no water. Thus they returned empty handed, being ashamed and dismayed. They too went into mourning by covering their heads. The dry ground was cracking because there had been no rain in the land. The farmers were dismayed and went into mourning by covering their heads. Even the deer were giving up their young fawns since they could not find any grass. The wild asses on the bare heights had breathing difficulties. Their eyes were failing because they could not find any wild green plants to eat. Everyone was having difficulty in this drought.
“Answer me quickly!
My spirit fails!
Do not hide your face from me.
Otherwise I shall be
Like those who go down to the Pit.
Let me hear of your steadfast love
In the morning.
I put my trust.
Teach me the way I should go.
I lift up my soul.”
David wanted a quick answer to his prayer. His spirit was failing. He did not want Yahweh to hide his face because then he would go down into the Pit. He wanted to hear the steadfast love of Yahweh in the morning. David put all his trust in Yahweh so that Yahweh might teach him the way to go. He had lifted up his soul to Yahweh.
“My soul languishes for your salvation.
I hope in your word.
My eyes fail with watching for your promise.
‘When will you comfort me?’
I have become like a wineskin in the smoke.
Yet I have not forgotten your statutes.
How long must your servant endure?
When will you judge those who persecute me?
Arrogant men have dug pitfalls for me.
They flout your law.
All your commandments are enduring.
I am persecuted without cause.
They have almost made an end of me on earth.
But I have not forsaken your precepts.
In your steadfast love,
Spare my life!
Thus I may keep the decrees of your mouth.”
This psalmist was in a bad situation. He longed for salvation because he hoped in the word of God. His eyes were failing. He wanted to know when Yahweh would comfort him. Even though he was like a smoking wineskin, he still had not forgotten the statutes of Yahweh. He wanted to know how long he had to wait before God would judge and persecute the arrogant men who were setting pitfalls for him. They were flouting the law so that he was persecuted without any real reason. He cried to God for help. They had almost killed him. Despite all this, the psalmist still had not forsaken the precepts of Yahweh. Yahweh’s steadfast love had spared his life. He had the decrees of Yahweh in his mouth. So ends this section on the eleventh consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Kaph.
Do no withhold your mercy from me!
Let your steadfast love,
Let your faithfulness,
Keep me safe forever!
Evils have encompassed me
My iniquities have overtaken me,
Until I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head.
My heart fails me.
Make haste to help me!”
David is asking for Yahweh’s mercy. He wanted Yahweh’s steadfast love and faithfulness to keep him safe forever. The problem was that innumerable evils had surrounded him. His iniquities had overtaken him so that he could not see anymore. There were more problems than hairs on his head. His heart was failing him. He wanted to be rescued as soon as possible.
“Be gracious to me!
I am in distress!
My eye wastes away from grief!
My soul wastes away from grief!
My body also wastes away from grief!
My life is spent with sorrow!
My years pass with sighing!
My strength fails.
Because of my misery,
My bones waste away.”
David wanted Yahweh to be gracious to him because he was in great distress. His eyes, soul, and body were wasting away in grief. He was living a sorrowful life as each year passed with sightings all the time. His strength was failing him because of his misery. His bones were wasting away. He was a “woe is me” kind of guy. He sounded a lot like Job.
“He has made me a byword of the peoples.
I am one before whom men spit.
My eye has grown dim from grief,
All my members are like a shadow.
Upright men are appalled at this.
The innocent men stir themselves up against the godless.
Yet the righteous men hold to their way.
They that have clean hands grow stronger and stronger.
Come back now.
All of you,
I shall not find a sensible person among you.”
Job has become a byword, a fable, or a symbol for the people. People spit at him. His eyes are failing. His body is a shadow of what it once was. Upright people are appalled at him. The innocent and righteous people hold their own, as their clean hands grow stronger each day. However, among the friends of Job, he could not find a sensible man.
“But Judah said. ‘The strength of the burden-bearers is failing. There is too much rubbish. We are unable to work on the wall.’ Our enemies said. ‘They will not know or see anything before we come upon them. We will kill them and thus stop the work.’ When the Jews who lived near them came, they said to us ten times. ‘From all the places where they live, they will come up against us.’ So in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in open places, I stationed the people according to their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. After I looked these things over, I stood up. I said to the nobles and the officials, as well as the rest of the people. ‘Do not be afraid of them. Remember Yahweh, who is great and awesome. Fight for your kin, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.’”
“Judah said” refers to the people of Judah who said these things. They said that they were losing their strength. There was just too much trash so that they were unable to work on the wall. They also were afraid of their enemies. They were afraid of getting killed. This was especially so in the lower parts of the wall. Nehemiah came up with a plan to station various families with sword, spears, and bows at these low places. Then he stood up to all of them. He told them not to be afraid. Yahweh was on their side because he was great and awesome. He wanted everyone to fight for their family, their children, their wives, and their homes.