Great rejoicing (Lk 1:14-1:14)

“You will have

Joy

And gladness.

Many people

Will rejoice

At his birth.”

 

καὶ ἔσται χαρά σοι καὶ ἀγαλλίασις, καὶ πολλοὶ ἐπὶ τῇ γενέσει αὐτοῦ χαρήσονται

 

Luke had the angel state the obvious.  Zechariah would have joy and gladness (καὶ ἔσται χαρά σοι καὶ ἀγαλλίασις).  The Greek word χαρά for joy can also mean grace.  Many people would rejoice at this birth of John (καὶ πολλοὶ ἐπὶ τῇ γενέσει αὐτοῦ χαρήσονται).  This would be a happy graced moment for him and many others.  The birth of a child in any family is very happy moment.

The hidden treasure and the kingdom of heaven (Mt 13:44-13:44)

“The kingdom of heaven is

Like a treasure

Hidden in a field.

Someone found it.

He hid it.

Then in his joy

He goes

And sells

All that he has.

Then he buys that field.”

 

Ὁμοία ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν θησαυρῷ κεκρυμμένῳ ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ, ὃν εὑρὼν ἄνθρωπος ἔκρυψεν, καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς χαρᾶς αὐτοῦ ὑπάγει καὶ πωλεῖ ὅσα ἔχει καὶ ἀγοράζει τὸν ἀγρὸν ἐκεῖνον.

 

Only Matthew has this parable about the treasure in the field.  Jesus. via Matthew, compared the kingdom of heaven to a hidden treasure in a field (Ὁμοία ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν θησαυρῷ κεκρυμμένῳ ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ).  If a man found it (ὃν εὑρὼν ἄνθρωπος), he would re-hide it again (ἔκρυψεν).  Then with great joy or gladness (καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς χαρᾶς αὐτοῦ), he would sell everything that he had (ὑπάγει καὶ πωλεῖ ὅσα ἔχει), so that he could buy that field (καὶ ἀγοράζει τὸν ἀγρὸν ἐκεῖνον).  In Jewish law, if you owned the property, you were entitled to everything on that property.  In other words, this man would give up everything for this treasure.  Thus, you should give up everything for the heavenly kingdom treasure.

 

No more fasting (Zech 8:18-8:19)

“The word of Yahweh of hosts

Came to me,

Saying.

‘Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

The fast of the fourth month,

The fast of the fifth month,

The fast of the seventh month,

The fast of the tenth month,

Shall be seasons of joy,

Shall be seasons of gladness,

Shall be cheerful feasts

For the house of Judah.

Therefore,

Love truth!

Love peace!’”

Yahweh told Zechariah that the former fasts on the 4th month, the 5th month, the 7th month, and the 10th month remembering the Babylonian siege and attack of Jerusalem would no longer be necessary.  Now there would be times of joy and gladness, cheerful feasts for the people of Judah.  However, they had to live in truth and peace, if this was to be fulfilled.

Patience (Bar 4:23-4:26)

“I sent you out

With sorrow,

With weeping.

But God will give you

Back to me

With joy,

With gladness forever.

As the neighbors of Zion

Have now seen

Your capture,

So they soon will see

Your salvation

By God.

This will come

To you

With great glory,

With the splendor

Of the Everlasting One.

My children,

Endure with patience

The wrath

That has come upon you

From God.

Your enemy

Has overtaken you.

But you will soon see

Their destruction.

You will tread

Upon their necks.

My pampered children

Have traveled rough roads.

They were taken away

Like a flock

Carried off

By the enemy.”

The personification of Jerusalem continued as this city advised her exiles to have patience. She had sent them out of town with sorrow and weeping. However, God was going to bring them back to Jerusalem with eternal joy and gladness. Zion’s neighbors had seen them captured. They would soon see these Israelites safely coming back with the glorious splendor of the Everlasting One, not Yahweh. Jerusalem wanted her pampered children to endure patiently the wrath of God that had come via their enemies. They would soon tread on the necks of their enemies since they would be destroyed. Even though they had traveled rough roads and were taken away like a flock of sheep, they needed patience.

Wisdom and creation (Bar 3:32-3:34)

But the one who knows

All things

Knows her.

He found her

By his understanding.

The one who prepared

The earth

For all time

Filled it

With four-footed creatures.

The one who sends forth

The light,

Then it goes.

He called it.

It obeyed him

Trembling.

The stars shone

In their watches.

They were glad.

He called them.

They said.

‘Here we are!’

They shone

With gladness

For him

Who made them.”

Baruch connected wisdom with creation, a great theme of late wisdom literature. Once again, this puts into doubt the Baruch authorship. God, who knows everything, knew about wisdom. Somehow wisdom was separate from God. God was able to find this wisdom, because of his understanding. God prepared the earth for all time in this static view of the earth. He filled it with four-footed creatures, while other creatures were not mentioned. God sent the light and it happened. He merely had to call it, and it happened. This is much like the first creation story in Genesis, chapter 1. The stars in the sky gladly followed his commands. They were like the prophets with this personification of stars saying that they were ready to shine with gladness in obedience to the creative God who made them.

The failure to serve the king of Babylon (Bar 2:21-2:23)

“Thus says the Lord.

‘Bend your shoulders!

Serve

The king of Babylon!

You will then

Remain in the land

That I gave

To your ancestors.

But if you will not obey

The voice of the Lord,

If you will not serve

The king of Babylon,

I will cease

The voice of mirth,

The voice of gladness,

The voice of the bridegroom,

The voice of the bride,

From the towns of Judah,

As well as from the region

Around Jerusalem.

The whole land

Will be a desolation

Without inhabitants.’”

The Lord via the prophets had told the Judeans to bend their shoulders and serve the king of Babylon. If they did that, they would remain in the land that the Lord had given to their ancestors. However, if they did not obey the voice of God, and not serve the king of Babylon, then God would cease to have any sounds of mirth or gladness from the brides or the bridegrooms from the towns of Judah as well as the region around Jerusalem. The whole land would become a desolation without inhabitants. They had a clear choice, obey the Lord and the king of Babylon, or suffer the consequences. They were already in exile, because they had not obeyed the king of Babylon. As usual, Jeremiah and Baruch were pro-Babylonian.

Crying for Moab and its vineyard (Jer 48:31-48:33)

“Therefore I wail for Moab!

I cry out for all Moab!

I mourn for

The people of Kir-heres.

More than for Jazer,

I weep for you!

O vine of Sibmah!

Your branches

Crossed over the sea,

Reached as far as Jazer.

The destroyed has fallen

Upon your summer fruits,

Upon your vintage.

Gladness has been taken away.

Joy has been taken away,

From the fruitful land

Of Moab.

I have stopped the wine

From the wine presses.

No one treads them

With shouts of joy.

The shouting is

Not the shout of joy.”

Yahweh seems to have great pity for Moab, like in Isaiah, chapter 16. He seemed very concerned about the summer fruits and the wine in Moab. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah mention the town of Kir-heres that is on the main road about 10 miles from the Dead Sea. Of particular interest to both of them was the vineyard of Sibmah, since their descriptions are almost the same. The vines of Sibmah were about 5 miles east of Heshbon, also part of Moab and Reuben. The wonderful vine shoots that had strayed into the desert and even across waters were now languishing. Jeremiah, like Isaiah, has Yahweh crying, because there would no longer be any shouting in the fields at the grape harvest time, because there were no more summer fruits. There would be no joy, gladness, shouting, or singing since there was no one to tread the wine presses. There were no more grapes. Yahweh had stopped the wine presses. The shouts that you now heard were not shouts of joy.

The restoration of joy and worship (Jer 33:11-33:11)

“There shall once more

Be heard

The voice of mirth,

The voice of gladness,

The voice of the bridegroom,

The voice of the bride,

The voices of those who sing,

As they bring thank offerings

To the house of Yahweh.

‘Give thanks

To Yahweh of hosts!

Yahweh is good!

His steadfast love

Endures forever!’

I will restore the fortunes

Of the land

As at first.’

Says Yahweh.”

However, there would be a total reversal of fortune. One of the favorite remarks about the desolation, as found in chapters 7, 16, and 25 of this work, was about no more voices of rejoicing with mirth or gladness when the voice of the bride, the bridegroom, and those singing would not be heard. Here it is the restoration of these merry making activities. They will have weddings and singing as they bring their offerings to the Temple, the house of Yahweh. Because Yahweh is good, his steadfast love endures forever. Thus he will restore the fortunes of this land to the way that it was.

Israel shall come back rejoicing (Jer 31:12-31:14)

“They shall come.

They shall sing aloud

On the height of Zion.

They shall be radiant

Over the goodness of Yahweh,

Over the grain,

Over the wine,

Over the oil,

Over the young of the flock.

Over their herd.

Their life shall become

Like a watered garden.

They shall never languish again.

Then shall the young women

Rejoice in the dance.

The young men

With the old men

Shall be merry.

I will turn their mourning

Into joy.

I will comfort them.

I will give them gladness

For sorrow.

I will give the priests

Their fill of fatness.

My people shall be satisfied

With my goodness.’

Says Yahweh.”

The Israelites will come to the heights of Zion to sing aloud. They will be happy over the goodness of Yahweh with their grain, their wine, their oil, their flocks, and their herds. Their life will become like a watered garden. They will never again languish away. The young women will rejoice in dancing, while the young and old men will be merry. Yahweh was going to comfort them by giving them gladness for all the sorrows that they suffered. Their mourning shall turn into joy. The priests would have fat sacrifices. They will be satisfied with all the goodness of Yahweh.