The attack of the king of the south (Dan 11:7-11:9)

“In those times,

A branch from her roots

Shall rise up

In his place.

He shall come

Against the army.

He shall enter the fortress

Of the king of the north.

He shall take action

Against them.

He shall prevail.

He shall carry off

To Egypt

Even their gods,

With their idols,

With their precious vessels

Of silver,

Of gold,

As spoils of war.

For some years,

He shall refrain

From attacking

The king of the north.

Then the latter

Shall invade

The realm

Of the king of the south.

But he shall return

To his own land.”

The southern King Ptolemy III (247-221 BCE) attacked the northern King Seleucus II (246-225 BCE). Ptolemy III would enter the fortress of the king of the north, as he would be successful. He would take their spoils and booty back to Egypt, including the idols of their gods, as well as their precious silver and gold vessels. There were a few years of peace, but then the northern King Seleucus II attacked the south unsuccessfully and returned home.

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Hatred (Prov 10:12-10:18)

“Hatred stirs up strife.

But love covers all offenses.

On the lips of him who has understanding

Wisdom is found.

But a rod is for the back

Of one who lacks sense.

The wise lay up knowledge.

But the babbling of a fool brings ruin near.

The wealth of the rich is their fortress.

But the poverty of the poor is their ruin.

The wage of the righteous leads to life.

But the gain of the wicked is to sin.

Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life,

But one who rejects a rebuke goes astray.

Lying lips conceal hatred.

But whoever utters slander is a fool.”

Hatred stirs up things. However, love covers all faults. Wise lips have understanding. However, for the senseless they need a rod slap on the back. The wise ones have knowledge, but the babbling fools have nothing but ruin. The rich use wealth as a fortress. The poverty of the poor brings them to ruin. The righteous will have life, while the wicked will simply sin. When you follow instructions, you are on the path to life. However, if you reject a rebuke, you are probably going astray. Lying lips conceal hatred, but fools are slanderers.

Prayer before the battle (Ps 144:1-144:2)

A psalm of David

“Blessed be Yahweh!

My rock!

He trains my hands for war.

He trains my fingers for battle.

My rock!

My fortress!

My stronghold!

My deliverer!

My shield!

I take refuge in him.

He subdues the peoples under me.”

Psalm 144 is a psalm of David as he prepared for a battle in a war. Yahweh was to be blessed because he was the rock of David. He trained his hands and fingers for war and its battles. Yahweh was his fortress, his stronghold, his deliverer, his shield, and his refuge. Yahweh would subdue the various people for David.

The names of God (Ps 91:1-91:2)

“You live in the shelter of the Most High.

You abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

You will say to Yahweh.

‘My refuge and my fortress.

My God,

In whom I trust.’”

Psalm 91 has no title, unlike many of the other psalms. This psalm starts with 4 different names for God, which is unusual since normally only 2 or 3 names are used, God or Yahweh. First we live in the shelter of the Most High God that is El Elyon in Hebrew and gphyistos in Greek, the highest one. Next we abide in the shadow of the Almighty God that is El Shaddai in Hebrew and the more familiar Greek pantokrator, creator of all. Normally when the Israelites speak to God they call him with the more familiar Yahweh that is the proper name for the God of Israel, more commonly the Hebrew epigram YHW. He seems to be an Israelite warrior God who gets angry a lot. He could not be depicted with any statues or idols. Later Jewish prayer life changed the pronunciation of Yahweh with the word Adonai in its place. The common translation of Yahweh into Greek was kurios, or Lord. Thus many bibles use this term “Lord” for Yahweh. So what did he say to Yahweh? Yahweh is his refuge and fortress. However, then we have the 4th term for God, Elohim in Hebrew and Theos in Greek. Using Theos in Greek put God at the same level as other gods, but clearly Adonai or Yahweh was the monotheistic God in the later writings. Obviously this psalmist trusted in God.

Yahweh is in charge (Ps 59:8-59:10)

“Yahweh!

You laugh at them.

You hold all the nations in derision.

O my strength!

I will watch for you!

O God!

You are my fortress!

My God

In his steadfast love

Will meet me.

My God

Will let me look in triumph

On my enemies.”

Yahweh laughs at the world since he derides all nations. He is David’s strength and fortress. David was watching for him. After all, God loved him with a steadfast love. God was going to meet him so that he could look in triumph over his enemies.

Yahweh is my rock (Ps 31:1-31:5)

“To the choirmaster leader, a psalm of David.

In you!

Yahweh!

I seek refuge!

Do not let me ever be put to shame!

In your righteousness

Deliver me!

Incline your ear to me!

Rescue me speedily!

Be a rock of refuge for me!

Be a strong fortress to save me!

You are indeed my rock!

You are indeed my fortress!

For your name’s sake

Lead me!

Guide me!

Take me out of the net

That is hidden for me!

You are my refuge!

Into your hand

I commit my spirit!

You have redeemed me!

Yahweh!

Faithful God!”

Once again, Psalm 31 is a lamenting fairly long psalm for deliverance from the personal enemies of David. There was the usual indication of a choir master leader. David sought refuge in Yahweh. He did not want to be put to shame. He wanted to be delivered quickly from his enemies. He wanted Yahweh to listen to him. His refuge was Yahweh because Yahweh was his rock and fortress. He wanted to be guided by Yahweh so that no net would catch his feet. He committed his heart to the hand of Yahweh, who had redeemed him as his faithful God.

King Antiochus V attacks the Jews (2 Macc 13:18-13:19)

“The king, having had a taste of the daring of the Jews, tried a strategy in attacking their positions. He advanced against Beth-zur, a strong fortress of the Jews. However, he was turned back. He attacked again and was defeated.”

This is once again similar to 1 Maccabees, chapter 6. The young King Antiochus V with his leader Lysias decided to use some strategy against the Jews.   He would attack, then fall back, and then attack again. However, he was defeated.