Israel brought it on themselves (Jer 2:17-2:19)

“Have you not brought this upon yourself?

You have forsaken Yahweh your God.

He tried to lead you in the way.

What did you gain by going to Egypt?

Why did you try to drink

The waters of the Nile?

What did you gain by going to Assyria?

Why did you try to drink

The waters of the Euphrates?

Your wickedness will punish you.

Your apostates will convict you.

Know!

See!

It is evil!

It is bitter for you

To forsake Yahweh

Your God.

The fear of me is not in you.’

Says Yahweh

God of hosts.”

Jeremiah reminds Israel that they brought all this destruction on themselves by giving up on Yahweh and going their own way. They gained nothing by going to Egypt to drink from the Nile River or from Assyria to drink from the Euphrates River. They will be punished for their wickedness by their own people. They will know and see that it is evil and bitter to forsake Yahweh.  They did not fear Yahweh, the God of hosts.

The vanity of greatness (Eccl 2:9-2:11)

“So I became great.

I surpassed all

Who were before me in Jerusalem.

However,

My wisdom remained with me.

Whatever my eyes desired,

I did not keep from them.

I kept my heart from no pleasure.

My heart found pleasure in all my toil.

This was my reward for all my toil.

Then I considered

All that my hands had done.

I considered the toil

I had spent in doing it.

Again,

All was vanity.

It was like chasing after wind.

There was nothing to be gained under the sun.”

Qoheleth became great as he surpassed all those that had gone before him. Yet he still had his wisdom. There was no pleasure denied to him. Whatever his eyes or heart desired, he got. He was the great playboy of the ancient world. Everything was his because of his wealth. In fact, he felt that he deserved this because of his hard work, which is true about most rich people. They feel that they deserve all their wealth because of their hard work. They forget about all the other hard working people who never achieve great wealth because of their circumstances. Qoheleth considered how much time he had spent becoming rich and great. Then it all kicked in. This was useless and in vain. He was once again out there chasing a wind that could never be caught. Rarely does one ever get rich enough to feel that they have enough. Like the super rich, suddenly Qoheleth felt that he had enough, because nothing was to be gained under the sun. He practically had everything. He was the richest man in Jerusalem.

Where is wisdom? (Job 12:11-12:12)

“Does not the ear test words?

Does the palate taste food?

Is wisdom with the aged?

Is understanding in length of days?”

Where can we find wisdom? Our ears hear words. Our palate tastes food. Are the aged those who have gained real wisdom simply because they have lived so long and experienced so much? Is not God’s wisdom greater than this?

Where can we find wisdom? Our ears hear words. Our palate tastes food. Are the aged those who have gained real wisdom simply because they have lived so long and experienced so much? Is not God’s wisdom greater than this?

The revolt in Antioch (1 Macc 11:45-11:51)

“Then the people of the city assembled within the city, to the number of one hundred twenty thousand. They wanted to kill the king. But the king fled into the palace. Then the people of the city seized the main streets of the city and began to fight. So the king called the Jews to his aid. They all rallied about him. Then they spread out through the city. They killed on that day about one hundred thousand men. They set fire to the city. They seized a large amount of spoil on that day. They saved the king. When the people of the city saw that the Jews had gained control of the city as they pleased, their courage failed. They cried out to the king with this entreaty.

‘Grant us peace!

Make the Jews stop fighting against us and our city.’

They threw down their arms and made peace. So the Jews gained glory in the eyes of the king and of all the people in his kingdom. They returned to Jerusalem with a large amount of spoil.”

There were about 120,000 people in revolt against King Demetrius II as this mob wanted to kill him. The king ran into his palace, but they seized the main streets of Antioch. Then the king asked the Jews for help. Supposedly, there were about 3,000 Jews in Antioch sent by Jonathan. Somehow, these 3,000 Jews spread out and killed 100,000 inhabitants of Antioch. It does not explain how this happened. They must have been great fighters. They even set fire to the city and took its spoils. Apparently, those remaining people of Antioch wanted peace. They wanted the Jews to stop fighting. The king was happy with the Jews as they returned to Jerusalem with their spoil. That was a great feat of the Jewish fighters but it was for a foreign king and made others mad.