The 70 year captivity (Jer 29:10-29:10)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘Only when Babylon’s seventy years

Are completed,

I will fulfill to you

My promise.

I will bring you

Back to this place.’”

Clearly Yahweh says, via this letter of Jeremiah, that the captivity will last 70 years. 70 years from 598 BCE, the first exile, would be 528 BCE, while 70 years from the second exile in 587 BCE would 517 BCE. Yahweh definitely was going to fulfill his promise to bring them back to Jerusalem, but not right now.

Jeremiah explains the role of a prophet (Jer 28:6-28:9)

“The prophet Jeremiah said.

‘Amen!

May Yahweh do so!

May Yahweh fulfill

The words

That you have prophesied.

May he bring back

To this place

From Babylon

The vessels

Of the house of Yahweh,

With all the exiles.

But listen now

To this word

That I speak in your hearing,

In the hearing of all the people.

The prophets

Who preceded you,

As well as me,

From ancient times

Prophesied war,

Prophesied famine,

Prophesied pestilence

Against many countries,

Against great kingdoms.

As for the prophet

Who prophesies peace,

When the word of

That prophet comes true,

Then it will be known

That Yahweh

Has truly sent this prophet.’”

Jeremiah admitted that maybe Yahweh would fulfill the words of Hananiah that the exiles and the sacred vessels would return to Jerusalem from Babylon. However, Jeremiah reminded everybody that the prophets of the past quite often prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and kingdoms. If there was a true peace, then they would all know that Yahweh had sent this prophet of peace.

The generous spirit of sacrifice (Sir 35:6-35:12)

“Do not appear

Before the Lord

Empty-handed!

All that you offer

Is a fulfillment of the commandments.

The offering of a righteous person

Enriches the altar.

Its pleasing odor

Rises before the Most High.

The sacrifice of the righteous

Is acceptable.

It will never be forgotten.

Be generous

When you worship the Lord!

Do not stint

The first fruits of your hands!

With every gift

Show a cheerful face!

Dedicate your tithe

With gladness!

Give to the Most High

As he has given to you!

Be as generous

As you can afford!”

Sirach wanted every Temple sacrificial offering to be generous. You should never appear before the Lord empty-handed. You should fulfill the commandments. Your offering should enrich the altar with a pleasing odor that reaches to the Most High God. The acceptable sacrifices of the righteous will never be forgotten. Thus, you should be generous when you worship the Lord. You should not be stingy with your offering of the first fruits. Every tithe gift that you bring should be with a cheerful glad face. Remember that you are giving to the Most High God as he has given to you. You should be as generous as you can afford to be.

Vows (Eccl 5:4-5:6)

“When you make a vow to God,

Do not delay fulfilling it.

God has no pleasure in fools.

Fulfill what you vow!

It is better that you should not vow

Than that you should vow

Yet not fulfill it.

‘Do not let your mouth

Lead you into sin!

Do not say before the messenger

That it was a mistake!

Why should God be angry

At your words?

Why should he destroy

The work of your hands?’”

If you make a vow, fulfill it! Quite often, these vows were Temple payments. God does not take pleasure in fools. It is better not to make a vow that you were not able to fulfill. Don’t let your mouth lead you into sin! Don’t blame the messenger! God can be angry at your words. He could destroy your work.

The earth should praise Yahweh (Ps 148:7-148:8)

“Praise Yahweh!

From the earth!

You sea monsters!

All the depths!

Fire!

Hail!

Snow!

Frost!

Stormy winds fulfill his command!”

Besides heaven, the earth and its environment with its changing climate should praise Yahweh. All the sea monsters and the depths of the sea should praise Yahweh. Fire, hail, snow, frost, and stormy winds fulfill his commandments so that they praise Yahweh.

Faithful Yahweh (Ps 145:13-145:20)

Nun

Yahweh is faithful in all his words.

He is gracious in all his deeds.

Samek

Yahweh upholds all who are falling.

He raises up all who are bowed down.

Ain

The eyes of all look to you.

You give them their food in due season.

Phe

You open your hand.

You satisfy the desire of every living thing.

Cade

Yahweh is just in all his ways.

He is kind in all his doings.

Qoph

Yahweh is near to all who call upon him.

He is near to all who call upon him in truth.

Resh

He fulfills the desire of all who fear him.

He also hears their cry.

He saves them.

Shin

Yahweh watches over all who love him.

But he will destroy all the wicked.”

Yahweh is faithful in his words and gracious in his deeds. He holds up all who are falling. He raises up those bowed down. He gives them food in due season. He opens his hand to fulfill desires. Yahweh is just in his ways and kind in his actions. He is near to those who truthfully call upon him. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him. He can hear their cry and save them. He watches over all those who love him. However, he will destroy the wicked. The next 8 letters of the Hebrew alphabet are found here in italic.