These false worshipers are seeking something (Wis 13:6-13:9)

“These people are little to be blamed.

Perhaps they go astray.

But they were seeking God.

They desired to find him.

As they live among his works,

They keep searching.

They trust in what they see.

Because the things that are seen are beautiful.

Yet again,

Not even they are to be excused.

If they had the power to know so much

That they could investigate the world,

How did they fail to find sooner

the Lord of these things?”

This writer seems to give these nature idol worshipers a pass. They were at least seeking God (πλανῶνται Θεὸν). They were trying to find him in his works (τοῖς ἔργοις). They kept searching in this beautiful world. However, since they were so smart, they should have investigated further to find the creator of all this beauty. They are not to be totally excused because they should have found the maker and creator (δεσπότην) of all these things. This is an argument against nature worshippers who fail to see through to the divine maker of nature.

Advertisements

The sacredness of naphtha (2 Macc 1:30-1:36)

“Then the priests sang the hymns.

After the materials of the sacrifice had been consumed,

Nehemiah ordered that the liquid that was left

Should be poured upon large stones.

When this was done,

A flame blazed up.

But when the light from the altar shone back,

It went out.

When this matter became known,

It was reported to the king of the Persians.

The place where the exiled priests had hidden the fire,

The liquid had appeared

With which Nehemiah and his associates

Had burned the materials of the sacrifice.

The king investigated the matter.

He enclosed the place.

He made it sacred.

With those persons whom the king favored

He exchanged many excellent gifts.

Nehemiah and his associates called this nephthar.

This means purification.

However, by most people it is called naphtha.”

After the priests had sung their hymns and the sacrifice had been consumed, Nehemiah ordered that the left over liquid be poured on large stones. A blaze started when the sun was shining brightly. However, when the sun was not out, there was no flame. This was reported to the king of Persia. Nehemiah was a trusted cupbearer for King Artaxerxes who investigated this material. He then called the place where it was found to be sacred. In fact, he gave this as gifts. Thus naphtha, nephthar, or oil gained its importance.

Mordecai and the plot to kill the king (Esth 2:21-2:23)

“While Mordecai was sitting in the royal courtyard, two of the king’s eunuchs, Bigthan and Terseh, who were the chief bodyguards, became angry. They conspired to assassinate King Artaxerxes. This matter became known to Mordecai, who warned Queen Esther. She, in turn, revealed the plot to the king in the name of Mordecai. When the affair was investigated and found to be true, the men were both hanged. Then the king ordered a memorandum to be deposited in the royal library in praise of the goodwill shown by Mordecai. It was recorded in the book of the annals in the presence of the king.”

The names of the 2 eunuchs are only in the Hebrew text, not the Greek text. Eunuchs were personal bodyguards. Perhaps this relates to the preliminary Greek text about the plot against the king, where Mordecai heard 2 eunuchs plotting to kill the king. There they confessed and were executed. It sounds very similar. Except here, Mordecai told Esther who then told the king. Here it is very clearly recorded in the annals of the king.