The response of Susanna (Dan 13:22-13:23)

“Susanna groaned.

She said.

‘I am completely trapped.

If I do this,

It will mean death for me.

If I do not do this,

I cannot escape

Your hands.

I choose not to do it.

I will fall

Into your hands,

Rather than to sin

In the sight of the Lord.’”

Susanna groaned, as she felt trapped. If she committed adultery with these two elder judges, she would be killed. If she did not, she would fall into their hands. They would control her life and judge her. The choice was hers. She decided not to have sex with these two old judges. Instead, she was not going to sin in the sight of God. She would rather be judged by humans than God. Of course, this is the great moral tale. Stand up for your beliefs.

The sins of Jerusalem (Lam 1:8-1:8)

Heth

“Jerusalem

Sinned grievously.

So she became

A mockery.

All who honored her

Now despise her.

They have seen

Her nakedness.

She herself groans.

She turns

Her face away.”

Clearly Jerusalem has sinned seriously. Jerusalem has become a mockery of itself. Those who once honored her, now despise her. They have seen her naked. She herself has groaned and turned her face away, since she has admitted her faults. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Heth. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

“When I kept silence,

My body wasted away.

I was groaning all day long.

Day and night

Your hand was heavy upon me.

My strength was dried up

Like the heat of summer.

Selah”

Sickness and sinning were considered synonymous. When David was silently suffering his body was wasting away. He groaned the whole time, both day and night. The heavy hand of Yahweh was upon him. His strength was dried up as the heat of summer does. Once again, there is a pause for a musical interlude with the Selah.

The last words of Eleazar (2 Macc 6:28-6:30)

“When he had said this, he went at once to the rack. Those who a little before had acted toward him with good will now changed to ill will.  They believed that the words he had uttered were in their opinion sheer madness. When he was about to die under the blows, he groaned aloud and said.

‘It is clear to the Lord,

In his holy knowledge that,

Though I might have been saved from death,

I am enduring terrible sufferings

In my body

Under this beating,

But in my soul

I am glad to suffer these things because I fear him.’”

At the rack, those who liked him thought that his speech was foolishness. They now changed from being kind to him to being ill willed towards him. They began to wipe him with blows. He finally groaned his last words. He knew that the Lord understood that he could have been saved from death. He knew his body was suffering great blows. However, his soul was glad to suffer because of fear or reverence of the Lord. This was great suffering at death with an explanation of why it was happening.

The Assyrians discover the death of General Holofernes (Jdt 14:14-14:19)

“Bagoas went in as he knocked at the entry of the tent. He assumed that General Holofernes was sleeping with Judith. But when no one answered, he opened it. Then he went into the bedchamber. There he found General Holofernes sprawled on the floor dead, with his head missing. He cried out with a loud voice. He wept, groaned and shouted. He tore his clothes. Then he went to the tent where Judith had stayed. When he did not find her, he rushed out to the people and shouted.

‘The slaves have tricked us!

One Hebrew woman has brought disgrace

On the house of King Nebuchadnezzar!

Look!

General Holofernes is lying on the ground!

His head is missing!’

When the leaders of the Assyrian army heard this, they tore their tunics. They were greatly dismayed. Their loud cries and shouts rose up throughout the camp.”

Bagoas was the chief personal steward of General Holofernes. He politely knocked at the entry way to the general’s tent. He thought that the general was sleeping with Judith and did not want to disturb him. However, when no one answered, he entered the bedchamber.   There he found the general sprawled out on the floor beheaded. He was really upset. He wept, groaned, and shouted as he tore his clothes. When people were upset they would tear their clothes. Then he went to the tent of Judith to see how she was. However, she was gone. Then he realized what had happened. He ran out of the tent shouting that they had been tricked by the slaves. This Hebrew woman had brought disgrace to the house of King Nebuchadnezzar. The general was dead with his head missing. When the Assyrian army leaders heard this, they tore their clothes as they too were dismayed. Thus there were loud shouts throughout the camp. Strangely enough, there was no second in command to take over things.