Daniel is safe (Dan 14:40-14:42)

“On the seventh day,

The king came

To mourn

For Daniel.

When he came

To the den,

He looked in.

There sat Daniel.

The king shouted

With a loud voice.

‘You are great!

O Lord!

God of Daniel!

There is no other

Besides you!’

Then he pulled

Daniel out.

He threw into the den

Those who had attempted

His destruction.

They were instantly eaten

Before his eyes.”

Thus, ends the great story of Daniel. On the 7th day, the king came to mourn the death of Daniel. Instead, he was surprised to see Daniel sitting in the den of lions. Then the king shouted out his praise for the God of Daniel, the Lord. There were no other gods like him. Next, he pulled Daniel out of the den. Finally, he threw those who had attempted the destruction of Daniel into the lion’s den. The lions immediately ate these men right before the eyes of the king.

The self-exaltation of the king (Dan 11:36-11:37)

“The king

Shall act

As he pleases.

He shall exalt himself.

He shall consider himself

Greater than any god.

He shall speak

Horrendous things

Against the God of gods.

He shall prosper

Until the period of wrath

Is completed.

What is determined

Shall be done.

He shall pay no heed

To the gods

Of his ancestors,

Or to the one beloved

By women.

He shall not pay respect

To any other god.

He shall consider himself

Greater than all.”

Gabriel continued to tell Daniel about King Antiochus IV, who acted as he pleased. He exalted himself. He believed that he was greater than any god. He even spoke horrendous things against the God of gods, the Israelite God. He would continue to prosper, until the time of wrath was completed. This arrogant king did not even pay homage to the gods of his ancestors, or to the gods that women loved. He did not pay respect to any other gods. He seemed to have been intrigued by the Greek gods and wanted to be a god himself. He considered himself greater than any of the other gods.

The useless false wooden gods (Bar 6:70-6:73)

“Like a scarecrow

In a cucumber bed,

That guards nothing,

So are their gods of wood,

Overlaid with gold

Or silver.

In the same way,

Their gods of wood,

Overlaid with gold

Or silver,

Are

Like a thorn bush

In a garden,

On which every bird perches.

They are

Like a corpse

Thrown out in the darkness.

From the purple

Or the linen

That rot upon them,

You will know

That they are not gods.

They will finally

Be consumed themselves.

They will be a reproach

In the land.

Better,

Therefore

Is someone upright.

Such a person

Will be far above reproach.”

This letter of Jeremiah found as the last chapter in this book of Baruch ends with a comparison of these false wooden gods covered with gold and silver. The author compared them to a scarecrow in a cucumber bed that guarded nothing. They were compared to a thorn bush in a garden where birds sat on it. They were compared to a dead corpse in the dark. All of these useless items were like these useless idol gods. Even with purple or linen on them, they would still rot. They would be finally consumed and become a reproach to all. It was much better to be an upright person beyond reproach than any of these gods. So ends the letter of Jeremiah in the Book of Baruch.

The wild animals compared to the heavenly bodies (Bar 6:68-6:69)

“The wild animals

Are better

Than the idols are.

They can flee

To shelter.

They can help themselves.

So we have no evidence

Whatever

That they are gods.

Therefore do not fear them!”

Once again, there is a comparison of the living wild animals with the dead wooden idols. Obviously, the living animals are better than these false idols because they can flee to shelter and help themselves. Thus, there is no evidence whatsoever that these idols are gods. Therefore we should not be afraid of them.

The powerless idols (Bar 6:53-5:56)

“These false idols cannot

Set up a king

Over a country.

They cannot

Give rain

To people.

They cannot

Judge

Their own cause.

They cannot

Deliver anyone

Who is wronged.

They have no power.

They are like crows

Between heaven and earth.

When fire breaks out

In a temple

Of wooden gods,

Overlaid with gold

Or silver,

Their priests will flee.

They will escape.

But the gods

Will be burned up

Like timbers.

Besides,

They can offer

No resistance

To a king

Or any enemies.

Why then must

Anyone admit

Or think

That they are gods?”

This author maintains that these false idols cannot set up a king over a country. They cannot give rain to anybody. They cannot judge their own cause. They cannot deliver anyone that has been wronged, since they have no power. They are like crows in the sky. If a fire breaks out in a temple of wooden gods with gold and silver, their priests will flee and escape. However, these idol gods will be burned up like timbers. These weak false idols cannot offer any resistance to a king or any enemies. How then can you think or admit that they are gods?

Females touching these idol gods (Bar 6:29-6:30)

“Sacrifices to these idol gods

May even be touched

By women

In their period

Or at childbirth.

Since you know

By these things

That they are not gods,

Do not fear them!

How can they

Be called gods?

Women serve meals

For these gods

Of silver,

Of gold,

Of wood.”

This author points out his anti-feminism by saying that these cannot be true gods if women are involved with them. The sacrifices to these gods were being touched by women, even those in their period or childbirth, which was considered to be unclean from the Hebrew perspective. After all, only men were able to be priests at the Temple in Jerusalem of the true God. These are not true gods because women would serve meals for these gods of silver, gold, and wood. How can you call them gods? Do not be afraid of them!

The strange creatures in the foreign temples (Bar 6:20-6:23)

“The idols are just

Like a beam

In the temple.

It is said

That their hearts

Are eaten away,

When crawling creatures

From the earth

Devour them,

Along with their robes.

They do not notice

When their faces

Have been blackened

By the smoke

Of the temple.

Bats,

Swallows,

Birds,

As well as cats

Alight on their bodies

As well as their heads.

From this

You will know

That they are not gods.

So do not fear them!”

This author elaborates about the conditions that idols have in the foreign temples. They are just like wooden beams in the temple. Their hearts are being eaten away by crawling creatures that devour them along with their precious robes. These false idols do not even notice when their faces become blackened by the smoke in the temple. There are all kinds of creatures all over them. Bats, cats, swallows, and other birds have landed on their heads and bodies. Thus they should know that these are not really gods. Thus, there is nothing to fear from them.