The siege of Jerusalem (Jer 32:2-32:2)

“At that time,

The army of

The king of Babylon

Was besieging Jerusalem.

The prophet Jeremiah

Was confined

In the court of the guard

That was in the palace

Of the king of Judah.

King Zedekiah of Judah

Had confined him.”

The time frame is clearly the time of the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonian army. However, Jeremiah was imprisoned in the palace jail by King Zedekiah of Judah. King Zedekiah had been installed as king by King Nebuchadnezzar in 598 BCE. However, he revolted against him and sought the aid of King Hophra or Pharaoh Apries (589-570 BCE) of Egypt. This led to the siege that lasted almost 2 years as the Egyptians tried to help King Zedekiah. Eventually, the Babylonians were successful. Meanwhile, King Zedekiah had Jeremiah confined to prison because, as always, Jeremiah was pro-Babylonian.

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The punishment of judgment day (Isa 24:21-24:23)

“On that day,

Yahweh will punish

The host of heaven

In heaven.

Yahweh will punish

The kings of the earth

On earth.

They will be gathered together

As prisoners

In a pit.

They will be shut up

In a prison.

After many days,

They will be punished.

Then the moon will be abashed.

The sun will be ashamed.

Yahweh of hosts

Will reign on Mount Zion

In Jerusalem.

Before his elders,

He will manifest his glory.”

The “host of heaven in heaven” seems to be a reference to a bunch of rebellious false idol gods. Obviously Yahweh will also punish the earthly kings, since they will be imprisoned together in a pit. They will stay there many days before they receive any punishment, but this text does not indicate that they will die or how they would be punished. Then the moon and the sun will also be embarrassed and ashamed. Yahweh will then finally rule in Mount Zion in Jerusalem before the elders there. Thus he can manifest his glory.

Pillar of fire for the holy ones (Wis 18:1-18:4)

“But for your holy ones

There was very great light.

Their enemies heard their voices.

But they did not see their forms.

They counted them happy

For not having suffered.

They were thankful

That your holy ones,

Though previously wronged,

Were doing them no injury.

They begged their pardon

For having been at variance with them.

Therefore you provided a flaming pillar of fire.

This was a guide for your people’s unknown journey.

This was also a harmless sun

For their glorious wandering.

Their enemies deserved to be deprived of light.

They deserved to be imprisoned in darkness.

They had kept your children imprisoned,

Through whom the imperishable light of the law

Was to be given to the world.”

The pillar of fire (πυριφλεγῆ στῦλον) can be found in Exodus, chapter 13. Here it seems like the Egyptians repented when they were in darkness. The Israelites were heard but not seen. The Egyptians, continually named as the enemies, were happy that these Israelites were going to leave them alone. After all, they had wronged them. Thus they asked for forgiveness and pardon for their deeds. God then provided the pillar of fire to help the Israelites on their wanderings. The enemies deserved their darkness (σκότει). They had imprisoned the children of God through whom the light of the world in the form of the law (νόμου φῶς) would be given to the world. There was this persistent theme of light and darkness. Israel was in the light. Egypt was in darkness.

The righteous Joseph (Wis 10:13-10:14)

“When a righteous man was sold,

Wisdom did not desert him.

She delivered him from sin.

She descended with him

Into the dungeon.

When he was in prison,

She did not leave him,

Until she brought him

The scepter of a kingdom.

He had authority over his masters.

Those who accused him

She showed to be false.

She gave him everlasting honor.”

Without mentioning his name, this section talks about the righteous Joseph, based on the stories in Genesis, chapters 37-41. Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery. However, wisdom did not abandon this righteous man (δίκαιον). She stayed with him when he was imprisoned in Egypt. However, due to his explanation of dreams, he received a special role in the Egyptian government. Thus he has an everlasting honor or eternal glory (δόξαν αἰώνιον). Of course, all this was accomplished because of wisdom.