The sixth beatitude on pure of heart (Mt 5:8-5:8)

“Blessed are

The pure in heart!

They will see God.”

 

μακάριοι οἱ καθαροὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ, ὅτι αὐτοὶ τὸν Θεὸν ὄψονται.

 

The happy, blessed, and fortunate ones (μακάριοι) would be those who have a pure heart (οἱ καθαροὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ).  Their reward would be that they would see or behold God (ὅτι αὐτοὶ τὸν Θεὸν ὄψονται).  The heart was considered the center of thought and will.  Thus, we often hear people today who say that a person has a good heart.  They are good hearted.  The heart represents the whole person, so if the heart is pure, the whole person was pure.  Only the pure in heart would see God, which was a special reward.  In Psalm 24:3-4, they wanted to know who could ascend the hill to enter the holy place of Yahweh’s Temple.  Only those who had clean hands and a pure heart could enter the holy place, since they could not have a false or deceptive heart.  Then, they would receive the blessing from Yahweh.  They were the ones who would see the face of the God of Jacob.

The prophets in general

Some prophets wrote things, while others had people write things about them.  Thus, there is a mixed bag about the Hebrew prophets.  Generally speaking, a prophet was someone who believed that a higher power had contacted them.  Thus, they became the intermediary between Yahweh, their God, and their fellow human beings.  Almost like angels, these humans delivered a divine message.  Quite often, the message itself that the prophet conveyed was called a prophecy.  The Hebrew prophets were moral teachers.  Some prophets may have had a role with the institutional Temple priests.  Many religious groups have had what are called prophetic priests.  The Hebrew word navi, meaning spokesperson, has been traditionally translated as prophet.  These navi was considered to be the mouth of Yahweh or God, since they were open to receive and transmit his divine wisdom.  Besides writing and speaking messages from God, these Israelite Nevi’im often acted out prophetic parables in their life.  They were not always praised, since some prophets were even considered bad or false prophets.  Thus, they were sometimes the target of persecution and opposition.

The caretakers of the idol gods (Bar 6:26-6:28)

“Those who serve

These idol gods

Are ashamed.

If any of these gods

Fall to the ground,

They themselves

Must pick them up.

If anyone sets them upright,

These gods

Cannot move themselves.

If they are tipped over,

They cannot straighten themselves.

Gifts are placed

Before them

Just as before the dead.

The priests sell

The sacrifices

That are offered

To these gods.

They use the money themselves.

Their wives likewise

Preserve some of the meat

With salt.

But they give none of it

To the poor

Or the helpless.”

Next this author attacks those who take care of these idol gods. These caretakers were themselves ashamed. If any of these gods fell to the ground, they must pick them up. They have to set these gods upright since they cannot move themselves. If these idols are tipped over, they cannot up right themselves. In other words, there has to be someone around these false idol gods, because if anything happens to them, these caretakers have to straighten things out. Gifts are placed before these images, just like gifts for the dead. However, these caretaker priests often sell the sacrifices that were offered to these gods. Then they would use the money for themselves. Their wives likewise would preserve some of the meat with salt. However, they gave none of it to the poor or the helpless.

The colorful gods (Bar 6:8-6:11)

“The god’s tongues

Are smoothed

By the carpenter.

They themselves

Are overlaid

With gold

Or silver.

But they are false.

They cannot speak.

People take gold.

They make crowns

For the heads

Of their gods,

As they would

For a girl

Who loves ornaments.

Sometimes the priests

Secretly take gold

Or silver

From their gods.

They spend it

On themselves.

They even give

Some of it

To the prostitutes

On the terrace.

They deck

Their gods out

With garments

Like human beings.

These are gods of silver.

These are gods of gold.

These are gods of wood.”

These colorful gods have carpenters who smooth out their tongues. These gods are overlaid with gold or silver, but they are still false since they cannot speak. They even have golden crowns on their heads. These gods are like young girls who love pretty ornaments. Sometimes, their priests secretly take the gold or silver from their gods to spend it on themselves. They may even give some of it to the local street or temple prostitutes. They dress up their gods with various garments to make them look more human. Thus they have gods made of silver, gold, or wood that are colorful but useless.

The foolish idol makers (Jer 51:17-51:19)

“Everyone is stupid.

Everyone is

Without knowledge.

Goldsmiths

Are put to shame

By their idols.

Their images

Are false.

There is no breath

In them.

They are worthless,

A work of delusion.

At the time

Of their punishment,

They shall perish.

Not like these,

Is Yahweh,

The portion of Jacob.

He is the one

Who formed all things.

Israel is

The tribe

Of his inheritance.

Yahweh of hosts

Is his name.”

Once again, Yahweh, via Jeremiah, chides the foolish idol makers. These image makers are stupid without any knowledge. These goldsmiths are put to shame because their images are false, a worthless work of delusion without any breathe. They will all perish on the day of punishment. Yahweh, on the other hand, is not like these idols or idol makers. He is the portion of Jacob with his tribe of Israel as his inheritance. Yahweh of hosts is the name of the one who has formed all things.

Jeremiah calls out Hananiah (Jer 28:15-28:15)

“The prophet Jeremiah said

To the prophet Hananiah.

‘Listen!

Hananiah!

Yahweh has not sent you.

You have made

This people trust in a lie.’”

Jeremiah went to Hananiah to call him out. He clearly stated that Yahweh had not sent Hananiah, despite his presentations. Hananiah had made his people trust in a lie. The implications were clear. Jeremiah was the true prophet of Yahweh and Hananiah was a false prophet.

Israel forgot Yahweh (Jer 18:13-18:17)

“Therefore thus says Yahweh.

‘Ask among the nations?

Who has heard the like of this?

The virgin Israel has done

A very horrible thing.

Does the snow of Lebanon

Leave the crags of Sirion?

Do the mountain waters run dry?

Do the cold flowing streams stop?

But my people have forgotten me.

They burn incense to a delusion.

They have stumbled in their ways,

On the ancient roads.

They have gone into bypaths.

They have not gone on the highway.

They are making their land a horror.

This is a thing to be hissed at forever.

Everyone who passes by it

Is horrified.

They shake their heads.

Like the east wind,

I will scatter them

Before the enemy.

I will show them my back.

I will not show them my face,

In the day of their calamity.’”

Yahweh wants to know why the Israelites have forgotten him. This virgin Israel has done a horrible thing. He asks whether the snow leaves the mountains of Lebanon at Mount Hermon. Sirion is another name for Mount Hermon. Do the mountain waters dry up? Do the cold streams disappear? Do these sources for the Jordan River stop? Of course not, yet Yahweh’s people have forgotten him. They have turned to offering incense to false delusionary idol gods. They were stumbling along. They have gone off the main highways into the side roads. Their land has become horrible. People shake their heads and hiss as they pass by. Thus Yahweh was going to be like a wind from the east and scatter them to their enemies. When the day of troubles would begin, he would show them his back and not his face.