The righteous flourish like trees (Ps 92:12-92:15)

“The righteous flourish

Like the palm tree.

The righteous grow

Like a cedar in Lebanon.

They are planted

In the house of Yahweh.

They flourish

In the courts of our God.

They still produce fruit

In old age.

They are always green.

They are full of sap.

They show that

Yahweh is upright.

He is my rock.

There is no unrighteousness in him.”

This psalm ends with the righteous flourishing. The upstanding people flourish like palm trees or like the cedars in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of Yahweh. They flourish in God’s courtyards. Even in old age, they still produce fruit as they are green and full of sap. The growth of all these plants and trees shows the uprightness of Yahweh since there is no unrighteousness in him. Thus the faithful ones are like giant growing trees.

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A poem about Judas Maccabeus (1 Macc 3:3-3:9)

“He extended the glory of his people.

He put on his breastplate like a giant.

He tied on his armor of war.

He waged battles.

He protected the camp by his sword.

He was like a lion in his deeds.

He was like a lion’s cub roaring for prey.

He searched out

He pursued those who broke the law.

He burned those who troubled his people.

Lawbreakers shrank back for fear of him.

All the evildoers were confounded.

Deliverance prospered by his hand.

He embittered many kings.

He made Jacob glad by his deeds.

His memory is blessed forever.

He went through the cities of Judah.

He destroyed the ungodly out of the land.

Thus he turned away wrath from Israel.

He was renowned to the ends of the earth.

He gathered in those who were perishing.”

Somehow this poem about Judas Maccabeus is here at the beginning of his adventures, and not at the end. He was the commander of the army of revolutionaries in Judea. He was like a giant of his time. Like a giant, he wore the armor and breastplate of a fighter waging wars. He was like lion or lion’s cub as he went after his prey. He searched out those who broke the Mosaic Law. He made many people fear him, but he made the memory of Jacob proud. He destroyed the ungodly of the land so that the wrath of God was turned away from Israel. He became renowned to the ends of the earth.

The intervention of Judith (Jdt 16:5-16:10)

“But the Lord Almighty has foiled them

By the hand of a woman.

For their mighty one did not fall by the hands of the young men.

The sons of the Titans did not strike him down.

The tall giants did not set upon him.

But Judith,

Daughter of Merari,

With the beauty of her countenance,

She undid him.

She put away her widow’s clothing.

To exalt the oppressed in Israel.

She anointed her face with perfume.

She fastened her hair with a tiara.

She put on a linen gown to beguile him.

Her sandal ravished his eyes.

Her beauty captivated his mind.

The sword severed his neck.

The Persians trembled at her boldness,

The Medes were daunted at her daring.”

Suddenly the canticle is about Judith rather than Judith praying to God. The almighty God struck down the enemy with a female, almost to say, even a woman got him because he was so weak. It was not a young strong male soldier, nor some giant that brought him down. No, it was the beautiful widow who put away her widow’s clothing, anointed her face, fastened her hair, and wore a linen gown. She ravished his eyes, captivated his mind, and severed his neck. General Holofernes was not a Persian but an Assyrian. Medes was associated with the Persians, once again indicating some inconsistent details.