“In the thirty-seventh year
Of the exile
Of King Jehoiachin
In the twelfth month,
On the twenty-fifth day
Of the month,
In the year
That he began to reign,
To King Jehoiachin
He brought him
Out of prison.”
This once again is similar to 2 Kings, chapter 25. However, the date is off by 2 days. Here it is the 25th and the not the 27th of the 12th month. The death of King Nebuchadnezzar about 562 BCE led to the reign of King Merodach who is also known as King Evil-Merodach or Merodach-Baladan. Merodach was also the name of a Babylonian god. This new king of Babylon freed King Jehoiachin of Judah, who was now 55 years old, from jail, after being in jail for 37 years.
“I hear a voice I had not known.
‘I relieved your shoulder of the burden.
Your hands were freed from the basket.
In distress you called.
Then I rescued you.
I answered you in the secret place of thunder.
I tested you at the waters of Meribah.’”
The psalmist noted that he heard an unknown voice. This voice said that he relieved them of their burdens. He freed their hands from the basket in their distress. He had rescued them. He had answered them with thunder. He had tested them at the waters of Meribah. These are references to the activities found in Exodus, chapters 17-19. This section ends with the musical meditative interlude pause of Selah.
Your steadfast love is good.
According to your abundant mercy,
Turn to me!
Do not hide your face from your servant!
I am in distress!
Make haste to answer me!
Draw near to me!
Set me free
Because of my enemies!”
Now there is a change in tone. No longer is David waiting for a response. Now he wanted an answer right away. He pleaded to the goodness of God, his love for him, and his great mercy. He was in distress. He did not want God to hide his face from him. He wanted a hasty response. He wanted God close to him. He wanted God to see him so that he could be freed from his enemies. He wanted to be redeemed.
“This is the story of Judas Maccabeus and his brothers. This is about the purification of the great temple and the dedication of the altar. Further there is an explanation of the wars against Antiochus Epiphanes and his son Eupator. There were appearances that came from heaven to those who fought bravely for Judaism. Although few in number, they seized the whole land and pursued the barbarian hordes. They regained possession of the temple famous throughout the world. They freed the city. They re-established the laws that were about to be abolished. The Lord with great kindness became gracious to them.”
For the first time, we have a biblical author tell us what he is going to do. This style is based on the custom of Greek historians. He summarized what he was going to do. This is the story of Judas Maccabeus and his brothers. They purified the Temple and dedicated the altar. They fought wars with King Antiochus IV and his son, King Antiochus V. There was heavenly help for the Jews. Although small in number, they chased the barbarian hordes. They took possession of the Temple and freed the holy city of Jerusalem. They reestablished the laws because God was kind to them. This so-called historical work has a clear Theo-centric basis. God was on their side.