The famine (Lk 15:14-15:14)

“When he had spent

Everything he had,

A severe famine

Took place

Throughout that country.

He began

To be in need.”

 

δαπανήσαντος δὲ αὐτοῦ πάντα ἐγένετο λιμὸς ἰσχυρὰ κατὰ τὴν χώραν ἐκείνην, καὶ αὐτὸς ἤρξατο ὑστερεῖσθαι.

 

This long parable story about the prodigal son can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that when this young prodigal son had spent everything that he had (δαπανήσαντος δὲ αὐτοῦ πάντα), a severe famine took place (ἐγένετο λιμὸς ἰσχυρὰ) throughout that country (κατὰ τὴν χώραν ἐκείνην).  He began to be and feel needy (καὶ αὐτὸς ἤρξατο ὑστερεῖσθαι).  Having dissipated his wealth, he was broke in a foreign land, where there was a famine.  He really began to feel like he needed help.  Have you ever felt like you needed help?

The power of Yahweh’s name (Jer 17:3-17:4)

“Your wealth,

With all your treasures

I will give for spoil

As the price of your sins

Throughout all your territory.

By your own act

You shall lose the heritage

That I gave you.

I will make you

Serve your enemies

In a land that you do not know.

In my anger,

A fire is kindled

That shall burn forever.”

Here we have a repeat of what was said in chapter 15 with the last verse exactly word for word. Yahweh would not relent. He was going to give away the wealth and treasure of the whole country as plunder. This was the price they had to pay for their sins. Thus they would serve their former enemies in a foreign land. Yahweh’s anger has been kindled and would burn forever. There was no turning back.

The punishing judgment of Yahweh (Jer 15:13-15:14)

“I will give as plunder

Your wealth,

With your treasures,

Without a price,

Throughout all your territory.

For all your sins,

I will make you

Serve your enemies

In a land that you do not know.

In my anger

A fire is kindled

That shall burn forever.”

Yahweh will not relent. He was going to freely give away the wealth and treasure of the whole country as plunder. Due to their sins, they would serve their former enemies in a foreign land. Yahweh’s anger has been kindled and will burn forever. There is no turning back.

Let me never forget Jerusalem (Ps 137:4-137:6)

“How could we sing Yahweh’s song

In a foreign land?

If I forget you,

O Jerusalem!

Let my right hand wither!

Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,

If I do not remember you,

If I do not set Jerusalem

Above my highest joy.”

The psalmist asked how he could sing a song about Yahweh when he was in a foreign land. If he had forgotten Jerusalem, his right hand should wither. His tongue should stick to the roof of his mouth. He was always going to remember Jerusalem as his greatest joy. He would never forget that wonderful place.

Athenobius goes to Jerusalem to meet Simon (1 Macc 15:32-15:36)

“Athenobius, the king’s friend, came to Jerusalem. When he saw the splendor of Simon, and the sideboard with its gold and silver plate, and his great magnificence, he was amazed. He reported to him the words of the king, but Simon said to him in reply.

‘We have neither taken foreign land.

We have never seized foreign property.

We have only the inheritance of our ancestors.

This at one time had been unjustly taken by our enemies.

Now that we have the opportunity,

We are firmly holding the inheritance of our ancestors.

As for Joppa and Gazara,

Which you demand,

They were causing great damage among the people

And to our land.

For them,

We will give you a hundred talents.’

Athenobius did not answer him a word. He returned in wrath to the king. He reported to him these words, the splendor of Simon, and all that he had seen. The king was very angry.”

Athenobius, King Antiochus VII’s friend and envoy, was amazed at the splendor in Jerusalem with all the silver and gold. Then he went to Simon and repeated the words of the king in the preceding paragraph. Simon then responded that he had not taken any foreign land or property. All that he took was the inheritance of his ancestors that had been taken unjustly by their enemies. He was going to hold firm to the inheritance of his ancestors. As for Joppa and Gaza, they had caused great hardship on the Jewish people and the land. However, he was willing to pay 100 talents of silver, not the 500 or 1,000 that King Antiochus VII wanted. Athenobius did not say a word. He just returned to the king in an angry mood. When he reported this to the king, he too became very angry. I can see a problem brewing here.