Susanna is brought forward (Dan 13:30-13:33)

“So,

They sent for her.

She came

With her parents,

With her children,

With all her relatives.

Now Susanna was

A woman

Of great refinement.

She was beautiful

In appearance.

As she was veiled,

The scoundrels ordered her

To be unveiled.

Thus,

They might feast

Their eyes

On her beauty.

Those who were with her,

All who saw her,

Were weeping.”

Thus, these old judges sent for Susanna to come to the assembly. She came with her parents, her children, and her relatives. There was no mention of her husband. Thus, she was more than a newlywed, since she had children. She was a woman of great refinement and beauty. These scoundrel judges ordered that she be unveiled, so that they could feast on her beauty. However, those who were with her began to weep and cry.

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The unhumble king (Dan 5:22-5:23)

“‘You!

His son!

King Belshazzar!

Have not humbled

Your heart,

Even though

You knew all this!

You have exalted yourself

Against the Lord of heaven!

The vessels

Of his temple

Have been brought in

Before you.

You,

Your lords,

Your wives,

Your concubines,

Have been drinking wine

From them.

You have praised

The gods

Of silver

Of gold,

Of bronze,

Of iron,

Of wood,

Of stone.

They do not

See,

Hear,

Or know.

You have not honored

The God

In whose power

Is your very breath,

To whom belong

All your ways.’”

Daniel then turned to King Belshazzar himself, because he had not humbled his heart, even though he knew all about his father or grandfather. He too exalted himself against the Lord of heaven. He even took the vessels from his holy temple for his feast or party to drink wine with his lords, wives, and concubines. He even praised the false idol gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone who could not see, hear, or know anything. He did not honor the true God, who controls his life and his actions.

They drank wine from the sacred vessels (Dan 5:3-5:4)

“So,

They brought in

The vessels

Of gold,

The vessels

Of silver,

That had been taken

Out of the temple,

The house of God,

In Jerusalem.

The king,

His lords,

His wives,

His concubines,

Drank from them.

They drank

The wine.

They praised

The gods

Of gold,

The gods

Of silver,

The gods

Of bronze,

The gods

Of iron,

The gods

Of wood,

The gods

Of stone.”

So, the feast or party rolled on. The servants brought in these silver and gold vessels from the Temple of God in Jerusalem. Then the king, his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank wine from them. They praised the various idols or pagan gods of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone that were common in Babylon.

The mountain festival (Isa 25:6-25:8)

“On this mountain,

Yahweh of hosts

Will make for all people

A feast of rich food.

There will be

A feast of well-aged wines,

There will be

A feast of rich food

Filled with marrow,

There will be

A feast of well aged wines

Strained clear.

He will destroy

On this mountain

The covering

That is cast over all people,

The sheet

That is spread over all nations.

He will swallow up death forever.

Then Yahweh God

Will wipe away tears

From all faces.

The disgrace of his people,

He will take away from all the earth.

Yahweh has spoken.”                                                                                  

Yahweh, via Isaiah, seems to indicate that there will be a great mountain festival for everybody. There will be a feast of rich marrow filled food and well-aged strained wines. At this mountain festival, Yahweh will destroy the shroud or sheet that was cast over all the nations and people, like some kind of veil. This passage seems to indicate that Yahweh was going to eliminate death once and for all as he would swallow it up, much like a Canaanite phraseology. He will then wipe away the tears and the disgrace of his people. Clearly Yahweh has spoken.

The land and its ruler (Eccl 10:16-10:17)

“Woe to you!

O land!

When your king is a child or servant,

Your princes feast in the morning!

Happy are you!

O land!

When your king is a noble man,

Your princes feast at the proper time!

They have strength!

They are not for drunkenness!”

The land was always important for the Israelites. Qoheleth said that it was better to have a king who was a nobleman and not a child or servant. The princes would then feast at the proper time, not in the morning. Instead of being a woeful land, it would be a happy land because they would have strength and not be drunk.

The dichotomies of life

“A good name is better

Than precious ointment.

The day of death is better

Than the day of birth.

It is better to go to the house of mourning

Than to go to the house of feasting.

This is the end of everyone.

The living will lay it to heart.

Sorrow is better

Than laughter.

By sadness of countenance,

The heart is made glad.

The heart of the wise

Is in the house of mourning.

But the heart of fools is

In the house of mirth.

It is better for a man

To hear the rebuke of the wise

Than to hear the song of fools.

Like the crackling of thorns under a pot

So is the laughter of fools.

This also is vanity.

Surely oppression makes the wise foolish.

A bribe corrupts the heart.”

Qoheleth presents a reflection on life and death, like the modern philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889-1976). With his phrase Sein zum Tode, from his book Being and Time, Heidegger meant that all human beings were destined to die. It is our purpose in life to die. Therefore we must live our life now in authenticity. Qoheleth starts off by saying how important a good name is, more prized than precious ointment. Also the day of death is more important than the day of your birth. It is better to mourn than to feast. As usual, he points out that everyone will die, so that the living must be aware of that. Sorrow was better than laughter, rather than the other way around. The heart was made glad through a sad face. The truly wise mourn, while the fools live a life of mirth. Listen to the criticisms of the wise rather than the songs of fools. Foolish laughter is like burning thorns crackling on a fire since it is pure vanity and useless. Oppression makes us wiser, but bribes corrupt the heart.

Yahweh is the fountain of life (Ps 36:7-36:9)

“All people may take refuge

In the shadow of your wings.

They feast

On the abundance of your house.

You give them drink

From the river of your delights.

With you is the fountain of life.

In your light,

We see light.”

Everyone can take refuge in the shadows under the wings of Yahweh. They can feast from the abundance of his house. They get to drink from the delightful rivers. Yahweh is the foundation of life. Without him there would be no light. Actually through this light, we can see through his light.