The prayer of Habakkuk (Hab 3:1-3:1)

“A prayer

Of Habakkuk,

The prophet,

According to Shigionoth.”

This last chapter is clearly a prayer or hymn of Habakkuk the prophet.  Like the psalms attributed to David, it may not have been written by him, but inspired by Habakkuk.  They were to sing this using the melody of Shigionoth or a lamentation.  Thus, this hymn or prayer may have been used in their worship services.

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King Cyrus (Dan 14:1-14:1)

“When King Astyages

Was laid to rest

With his ancestors,

Cyrus the Persian

Succeeded to his kingdom.”

This last chapter of the Book of Daniel is often referred to as the story of Bel, the god, and the dragon. Daniel will show how each one was useless. Once again, this chapter is only in the Greek Septuagint, so that it is often called apocryphal. This story takes place at the later part of the life of Daniel, since Cyrus the Persian (598-530 BCE) was the King. His rule in Persia began in 559 BCE and lasted about 30 years. Here, he is still only the king of Persia that he received from his father, King Astyages (585-550 BCE). The sister of King Astyages was the wife of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Thus, you can see the connection, as Cyprus would have been the nephew of the Babylonian king. Eventually, Cyrus took over Babylon in 539 BCE.

Gabriel speaks to Daniel (Dan 9:22-9:23)

“Gabriel came.

He said to me.

‘Daniel!

I have now come out

To give you wisdom,

To give you understanding.

At the beginning

Of your supplications,

A word went out.

I have come

To declare it.

You are greatly beloved.

Thus,

Consider the word!

Understand the vision!”

Gabriel had heard the prayer and supplications that Daniel had made to God. Thus, that this was the Angel Gabriel is not out of place, especially based on the last chapter. This Gabriel said to Daniel that he had come to give him wisdom and understanding. Something that he had said at the beginning of his prayers and supplications needed a further explanation. There was no doubt that Daniel was greatly loved. However, he had to consider the words and vision that was about to take place.

Daniel the president of the whole kingdom (Dan 6:2-6:3)

“There were

Three presidents

Over these satraps.

Daniel was one of them.

The satraps

Gave account

To these presidents.

Thus,

The king

Might suffer no loss.

Soon

Daniel distinguished himself

Above all the other presidents,

Above all the other satraps.

Because an excellent spirit

Was in him.

The king planned

To appoint him

Over the whole kingdom.”

Daniel seemed to have a unique role. He already had an important role under King Belshazzar (550-539 BCE) of Babylon, as indicated at the end of the last chapter. Here, he took on a bigger role as president of the whole country. However, Daniel would be an old man at this time. First, he was 1 of the 3 presidents. Then the king decided to put in charge of everything because of his excellent spirit. Thus, this Judean exile Daniel was in charge in Persia and Babylon, just under the king.

Beautiful Tyre (Ezek 27:3-27:4)

“Thus says Yahweh God.

‘O Tyre!

You have said.

‘I am perfect

In beauty.’

Your borders are

In the heart

Of the seas.

Your builders

Made perfect

Your beauty.’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, seemed to praise the beauty of Tyre. The people of Tyre thought that they were perfect in beauty. As a city island, her borders were the sea all around her. Somehow her builders made her perfectly beautiful. This seems odd coming after the complete condemnation of Tyre, at the end of the last chapter. This was a strange lamentation about Tyre.

The useless false wooden gods (Bar 6:70-6:73)

“Like a scarecrow

In a cucumber bed,

That guards nothing,

So are their gods of wood,

Overlaid with gold

Or silver.

In the same way,

Their gods of wood,

Overlaid with gold

Or silver,

Are

Like a thorn bush

In a garden,

On which every bird perches.

They are

Like a corpse

Thrown out in the darkness.

From the purple

Or the linen

That rot upon them,

You will know

That they are not gods.

They will finally

Be consumed themselves.

They will be a reproach

In the land.

Better,

Therefore

Is someone upright.

Such a person

Will be far above reproach.”

This letter of Jeremiah found as the last chapter in this book of Baruch ends with a comparison of these false wooden gods covered with gold and silver. The author compared them to a scarecrow in a cucumber bed that guarded nothing. They were compared to a thorn bush in a garden where birds sat on it. They were compared to a dead corpse in the dark. All of these useless items were like these useless idol gods. Even with purple or linen on them, they would still rot. They would be finally consumed and become a reproach to all. It was much better to be an upright person beyond reproach than any of these gods. So ends the letter of Jeremiah in the Book of Baruch.