Wake up Yahweh (Ps 44:23-44:26)

“Rouse yourself!

Why do you sleep?

Yahweh!

Awake!

Do not cast us off forever!

Why do you hide your face?

Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?

We sink down to the dust.

Our bodies cling to the ground.

Rise up!

Come to our help!

Redeem us!

For the sake of your steadfast love!’

Instead of an ending praise, this is like a command to God to help them. This psalmist wanted God to wake up from his sleep. They did not want to be cast off forever. Why was God hiding his face? Had he forgotten about their afflictions and oppressions? They were sinking like dust on the ground. He wanted God to rise up and help him. He wanted God to show his steadfast love by saving them.

The wicked take advantage of the poor (Ps 10:1-10:2)

“Why Yahweh!

Why do you stand far off?

Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

In arrogance the wicked persecute the poor.

Let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.”

Psalm 10 does not have any titles so that its addition to 9 seemed sensible. It is not clear why Yahweh was standoffish in hiding during times of trouble. However, the wicked have persecuted the poor. The psalmist wants Yahweh to have them get caught in their own devised schemes.

The role of the godless ones (Job 34:27-34:30)

“They turned aside from following him.

They had no regard for any of his ways.

They caused the cry of the poor to come to him.

He heard the cry of the afflicted.

When he is quiet,

Who can condemn?

When he hides his face,

Who can behold him?

Whether it is a nation or an individual,

The godless man should not reign.

Those who ensnare the people should not reign.”

Elihu wanted to point out that the godless wicked person should not be in charge. They have no regard for God’s ways. They do not care about the poor or the afflicted. How can you condemn someone when they are quiet and hiding their face, whether it be a nation or an individual? Clearly they should not rule others.

Job thought that God was too busy for the poor (Job 24:1-24:9)

“Why are times not kept by the Almighty Shaddai?

Why do those who know him never see his days?

The wicked remove landmarks.

They seize flocks and pasture them.

They drive away the donkey of the orphan.

They take the widow’s ox for a pledge.

They thrust the needy off the road.

The poor of the earth all hide themselves.

Like wild asses in the desert

They go out to their toil.

They scavenge in the wasteland food for their young.

They reap in a field not their own.

They glean in the vineyard of the wicked.

They lie all night naked,

Without clothing.

They have no covering in the cold.

They are wet with the rain of the mountains.

They cling to the rock for want of shelter.”

Job seemed to imply that God was too busy to care about the poor. Job contrasted the ways of the rich and the poor. The day of the Lord never seemed to come. Instead the wicked remove landmarks or steal land, steal flocks, drive away with donkeys and oxen. They were stealing property from others. The poor are sent into hiding. They have to scavenge for their children’s food, work in other people’s fields, and glean or pick up the left over harvest items in the vineyard. They have no clothing to protect them from the cold and the wet. Their housing was rocks and caves.

Nicanor and Judas Maccabeus split (2 Macc 14:28-14:33)

“When this message came to Nicanor, he was troubled and grieved that he had to annul their agreement when the man had done no wrong. Since it was not possible to oppose the king, he watched for an opportunity to accomplish this by a stratagem. However, Maccabeus noticed that Nicanor was more austere in his dealings with him. He was meeting with him more rudely than had been his custom. Judas Maccabeus concluded that this austerity did not spring from the best motives. So he gathered not a few of his men, and went into hiding from Nicanor. When the latter became aware that he had been cleverly outwitted by the man, he went to the great and holy temple while the priests were offering the customary sacrifices. He commanded them to hand the man over. They declared on oath that they did not know where the man was whom he wanted. Then Nicanor stretched out his right hand toward the sanctuary. He swore this oath.

‘If you do not hand Judas Maccabeus over to me as a prisoner,

I will level this shrine of God to the ground.

I will tear down the altar.

I will build here a splendid temple to Dionysus.’”

Nicanor was troubled by the message that he got from King Demetrius I. He knew that Judas Maccabeus had not done anything wrong. At the same time, he realized that he could not oppose the direct order of the king. He was trying to figure out what to do. Judas Maccabeus noticed that Nicanor was not as friendly as before and even downright rude. He suspected Nicanor of bad motives, so he and some of his men went into hiding. When Nicanor found out about this, he went to the Temple where the priests were officiating at the sacrifices. He commanded the priests to turn over Judas Maccabeus to him. When they declared under oath that they did not know where he was, Nicanor stretched out his right hand and said that if they did not turn him over to him, he would level the Temple and the altar. In its place he would build a temple to the god Dionysus. Now this could be problem.

Inspectors (1 Macc 1:51-1:53)

“In such words King Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom. He appointed inspectors over all the people. He commanded the towns of Judah to offer sacrifice, town by town. Many of the people, everyone who forsook the law, joined them. They did evil in the land. They drove Israel into hiding in every place of refuge they had.”

King Antiochus IV wrote to his whole kingdom, where he set up inspectors over the people. Somehow, he commanded each town in Judah to follow his law. They would be disobeying the Mosaic Law by doing evil. However, many of the Israelites began to hide.