The restoration of the king (Dan 4:36-4:36)

“At the time

That my reason returned

To me,

My majesty

Was restored

To me.

My splendor

Was restored

To me,

For the glory

Of my kingdom.

My counselors,

My lords,

Sought me out.

I was re-established

Over my kingdom.

Still more greatness

Was added to me.”

King Nebuchadnezzar, in the first-person singular, remarked that once he was reasonable again, all his majesty and splendor was restored to him and his glorious kingdom. His former counselors and princes sought him out. He was re-established over his great kingdom. He even became greater yet.

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Restoration of Zion (Isa 33:3-33:6)

“At the sound of tumult,

People flee.

Before your majesty,

Nations scattered.

Spoil was gathered

As the caterpillar gathers.

As locusts leap,

They leaped upon it.

Yahweh is exalted.

He dwells on high.

He will fill Zion with justice.

He will fill Zion with righteousness.

He will be

The stability of your times,

The abundance of salvation,

The wisdom,

The knowledge.

The fear of Yahweh

Is Zion’s treasure.”

Clearly Yahweh was in charge. People and nations were fleeing before his majesty and the sound of tumult. They were gathering the spoils of the fleeing people like caterpillars, slow but sure. They were like locusts over everything. Yahweh was exalted on Mount Zion because of justice and righteousness. Yahweh brought stability to Mount Zion. There was an abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. There was a final emphasis on the fear of the Lord as the great treasure at Mount Zion.

The day of the exaltation of God (Isa 2:9-2:11)

“People are humbled.

Everyone is brought low.

Do not forgive them!

Enter into the rocks

From the terror of Yahweh!

Hide in the dust

From the glory of his majesty!

The haughty eyes of people

Shall be brought low.

The pride of everyone

Shall be humbled.

Yahweh alone

Will be exalted On that day.”

Isaiah warned that there would come a day when Yahweh, the Lord would be exalted. Then on that day the people would be humbled and brought low. Their sins would not be forgiven. They might try to hide behind rocks or in the ground, but the terror of Yahweh would find them. The glory of his majesty would overtake them. The haughty eyes of everyone would be humbled. Only Yahweh would remain alone and exalted.

Eulogy for famous holy men (Sir 44:1-44:2)

“Let us now sing the praises

Of famous men,

Our ancestors,

In their generations.

The Lord apportioned to them

Great glory.

The Lord apportioned to them

His majesty from the beginning.”

Sirach then turned to a hymn to honor all his famous holy ancestors from past generations. Their lives, like the saints of the later Christian tradition, illustrated the glory of God. Notice how all are male. In their own generations, they were glorified by the Lord so that his majesty might shine in their lives from the beginning. For those familiar with the 1981 movie “Chariots of Fire” will recognize this verse from the opening scenes of the movie at the memorial services.

The Egyptian experience and creation (Sir 16:15-16:16)

“The Lord hardened Pharaoh.

Thus he did not recognize him.

The result was

That his works might be known

Under heaven.

His mercy is manifest

To the whole of creation.

He divided

His light

And his darkness

With a plumb line.”

Sirach seems to say that the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh in order to show off his majesty. His great power was manifested in all his creation, including his mercy. The Lord has divided the world into light and darkness using a builder’s plumb line that measures things.

Job was kind to the needy (Job 31:16-31:23)

“If I have withheld anything that the poor desired,

If I have caused the eyes of the widow to fail,

If I have eaten my morsel alone,

If I have not let the orphan eat from it,

From my youth,

I have reared the orphan like a father.

From my mother’s womb I have guided the widow.

If I have seen any one perish for lack of clothing,

If there was a poor man without covering,

If his loins have not blessed me,

If he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep,

If I have raised my hand against the orphan,

Because I saw I had supporters at the gate.

Then let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder!

Let my arm be broken from its socket!

I was in terror of calamity from God.

I could not have faced his majesty.”

Job maintained that that he had always helped the poor, the widows, and orphans. He shared his food. He treated the orphans as if they were like his children. From his childhood he had always been kind to widows. He gave away his clothing, sometimes direct from the sheep. He had helped the orphans in all that they did. If he had not done these things, then his shoulder blades should fall off and the socket of his arm should be broken. He had always feared God and his majesty.