Gabriel comes (Dan 9:20-9:21)

“I was speaking.

I was praying,

I was confessing my sins,

As well as the sins

Of my people Israel.

I was presenting

My supplication

Before Yahweh

My God,

On behalf

Of the holy mountain

Of my God.

While I was speaking

In prayer,

The man Gabriel,

Whom I had seen before

In the vision,

Came to me

In swift flight,

At the time

Of the evening sacrifice.”

Daniel was continuing with his prayers and supplications to Yahweh. He was confessing his sins and the sins of his people Israel. He was praying for the holy mountain of God that had been desolated. Then a man called Gabriel came flying in. Daniel said that he was the same Gabriel that was in the preceding chapter that helped Daniel interpret his vision before. There, he had the appearance of a man. Here, he is referred to as a flying man who arrived at the time of the evening sacrifice. Was this the angel Gabriel?

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Elijah (Sir 48:1-48:3)

“Then Elijah arose.

He was a prophet,

Like a fire.

His word burned

Like a torch.

He brought a famine

Upon them.

By his zeal

He made them

Few in number.

By the word of the Lord

He shut up the heavens.

Three times also

He brought down fire.”

Sirach seems to be relying on the Elijah cycle of stories from 1 Kings, chapters 17-18. This 9th century BCE northern prophet, Elijah, from the east side of the Jordan River in the town of Tishbe, the Gilead, went to the king of Northern Israel, King Ahab (874-853 BCE). Elijah was like a fire as his words were like a flaming torch. He foretold the famine that reduced the number of people in Israel. He foretold this famine, not brought as Sirach said. Elijah was able to control the heavens with his prayers, so that he could bring an end to this drought. He also had a faceoff with the 450 Baal priests or Jezebel’s prophets when he confronted the practices of King Ahab and his wife. Elijah then had Yahweh send down fire on his wet wood. Although the original story did not mention how many times the fire came down, Sirach mentions that it was 3 times.

A prayer to Yahweh (Ps 119:25-119:32)

Dalet

“My soul clings to the dust.

Revive me according to your word!

When I told of my ways,

You answered me.

Teach me your statutes.

Make me understand the way of your precepts.

I will meditate on your wondrous works.

My soul melts away for sorrow.

Strengthen me according to your word!

Put false ways far from me!

Graciously teach me your law!

I have chosen the way of faithfulness.

I set your ordinances before me.

I cling to your decrees.

Yahweh!

Let me not be put to shame!

I will run in the way of your commandments.

You enlarge my understanding!”

This psalmist prays to Yahweh. He wanted to be revived by Yahweh since he had formerly answered his prayers. He wanted to know more about the statutes. Apparently the statutes were difficult things to learn. He was going to meditate on the these decrees so that he might better understand the wondrous works of Yahweh. He wanted to stay away from false ways. He wanted to be faithful as he clung to these decrees. He did not want to be put to shame. He was seeking a better understanding of the commandments. This section on the fourth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Dalet, ends with this plea.

Yahweh has been good to me (Ps 116:1-116:4)

“I love Yahweh

Because he has heard my voice.

He has heard my supplications.

Therefore I will call on him

As long as I live,

Because he inclined his ear to me.

The snares of death encompassed me.

The pangs of Sheol laid hold of me.

I suffered distress.

I suffered anguish.

Then I called on the name of Yahweh.

‘Yahweh!’

I pray!

Save my life!’”

Psalm 116 is a thanksgiving psalm without any titles. This psalm begins with the psalmist talking about how he loves Yahweh because Yahweh has heard his voice. Unlike the psalms that ask God to listen, this psalmist has already had his prayers answered. Yahweh heard his voice and supplications because he inclined his ear to him. The result is that he will always call upon Yahweh as long as he lives. He apparently was near his death in great distress and anguish almost near Sheol. Then he called out the name of Yahweh and he was saved. This is like a call to prayer for the others in the congregation.

Yahweh has heard my lament (Ps 6:8-6:10)

Depart from me!

All you workers of evil,

Yahweh has heard the sound of my weeping.

Yahweh has heard my supplication.

Yahweh accepts my prayer.

All my enemies shall be ashamed.

They shall be struck with terror.

They shall turn back.

In a moment,

They shall be put to shame.”

Finally David can say to the evildoers, be gone. Yahweh has heard his weeping, his prayers, and supplications. Yahweh has accepted his prayers. Now his enemies were ashamed because they were struck with terror. They were turning back and being put to flight in shame.

God would listen to Job (Job 31:35-31:37)

“O that I had one to hear me!

Here is my signature!

Let the Almighty Shaddai answer me!

O that I had the indictment written by my adversary!

Surely I would carry it on my shoulder.

I would bind it on me like a crown.

I would give him an account of all my steps.

Like a prince I would approach him.”

Job wanted God, the almighty Shaddai to listen to him. Job was willing to give his signature which would have been the Hebrew “taw,” the last letter of Semitic alphabets. More than listening, Job wanted an answer to his prayers and petitions. He wanted a written indictment against him so that he could defend himself. This sounds like he lived in a time where legal documents were disputed. He wanted to explain his whole life. He had nothing to hide. He would wear this indictment on his shoulders or like a crown on his head.

Eliphaz wants Job to reconcile with God (Job 22:21-22:30)

“Agree with God!

Be at peace!

In this way good will come to you.

Receive instruction from his mouth.

Lay up his words in your heart.

If you return to the Almighty Shaddai,

You will be restored.

If you remove unrighteousness from your tents,

If you treat gold like dust,

If you treat the gold of Ophir like the stones of the torrent bed,

If the Almighty Shaddai is your gold,

If the Almighty Shaddai is your precious silver,

Then you will delight yourself in the Almighty Shaddai.

Lift up your face to God!

You will pray to him!

He will hear you.

You will pay your vows!

You will decide on a matter!

It will be established for you.

Light will shine on your ways.

When others are humiliated,

You say it is pride.

God saves the humble.

He will deliver even those who are guilty.

They will escape

Because of the cleanness of your hands.”

Eliphaz wanted Job to admit his guilt so that everything would be fine. He wanted him to just agree with God. Then Job would be at peace. He should listen to God and admit his failings. He wanted him to return to the almighty Shaddai. The almighty one should be his gold, silver, and precious metal. Then he could lift up his face to God since God would hear his prayers. God does not like the haughty, but prefers the humble. Eliphaz wanted Job to be humble before God. Thus even if he was guilty, God would forgive him because of his clean hands.