The death of the two elders (Dan 13:60-13:62)

“Then the whole assembly

Raised a great shout.

They blessed God,

Who saves those

Who hope in him.

They took action

Against the two elders.

Out of their own mouths,

Daniel had convicted them

Of bearing false witness.

They did to them

As they had wickedly planned

To do to their neighbor.

Acting in accordance

With the law of Moses,

They put them to death.

Thus,

Innocent blood

Was spared

That day.”

The whole assembly of the Israelites at Joakim and Susanna’s house raised a great shout to bless God who always saved those who hoped in him. Then, they took action against these two elders. Their own words, about the two different trees for the intimate embrace, had convicted them of lying and bearing false witness against their neighbor. Thus, according to the Law of Moses, they were to be put to death. In the meantime, the innocent blood of Susanna had been saved on that day.

We have not followed the law (Dan 9:9-9:11)

“To the Lord!

Our God!

Belong mercy!

Belong forgiveness!

We have rebelled

Against him.

We have not obeyed

The voice of Yahweh,

Our God,

By following his laws,

That he set

Before us,

By his servants,

The prophets.

All Israel

Has transgressed

Your law.

They have turned aside

From it.

They refuse

To obey your voice.

Thus,

The curse,

With the oath written

In the law of Moses,

The servant of God,

Has been poured out

Upon us,

Because we have sinned

Against you.”

Daniel asked his Lord God to bring mercy and forgiveness because they had rebelled against him. They had not obeyed the voice of Yahweh, their God. They had not followed his laws that he set before them, through his servant prophets. All Israel had transgressed God’s law, because they turned away from it. They had refused to obey God’s voice. Thus, they ended up with the curse and the oath written in the law of Moses, the servant of God. This curse was poured out on them, because they had sinned against God.

The marriage contract (Tob 7:11-7:13)

“However, Tobias said.

‘I will neither eat nor drink anything

Until you settle the things that pertain to me.’

Raguel said.

‘I will do so.

She is given to you

In accordance with the decree in the Book of Moses.

It has been decreed from heaven that she be given to you.

Take your kinswoman.

From now on you are her brother.

She is your sister.

She is given to you from today and forever.

May the Lord of heaven, my child,

Guide and prosper you both this night.

May he grant you mercy and peace.’

Then Raguel summoned his daughter Sarah. When she came to him he took her by the hand and gave her to Tobias, saying.

‘Take her to be your wife in accordance with the law

And the decree written in the Book of Moses.

Take her!

Bring her safely to your father!

May the God of heaven make your journey

Prosperous with his peace.’

Then he called her mother. He told her to bring writing material. He wrote out a copy of the marriage contract. This said that he gave her to him as wife according to the decree of the Law of Moses.”

Tobias said that he was not going to eat or drink anything until this matter was settled. The marriage contract is between Tobias and Raguel, and not between Sarah and Tobias. Raguel makes all the arrangements. Raguel agreed to give his daughter to Tobias according to the Book of Moses. It is unclear what Book of Moses this is referring to. The only possible reference might be the marriage of Isaac in Genesis, chapter 24. After all the arrangements were made, finally the daughter Sarah appeared. Then there was the famous giving of the hand of the daughter from the father to the groom, the man. In this case, Sarah had no consent. She simply did what her father wanted her to do. In fact, the mother was not even present. She was called in to get some writing materials. Then Raguel wrote out the marriage contract according to the Law of Moses. This clearly was a legal written contract with nothing to do with romantic love. Tobias was to bring his new bride home to his father.

The righteous Tobit (Tob 1:6-1:9)

“But I alone went often to Jerusalem for the festivals, as it is prescribed for all Israel by an everlasting decree. I would hurry off to Jerusalem with the first fruits of the crops and the firstlings of the flock, the tithes of the cattle, and the first shearings of the sheep. I would give these to the priests, the sons of Aaron, at the altar. Likewise, I would give a tenth of the grain, wine, olive oil, pomegranates, figs, and rest of the fruits to the sons of Levi who ministered at Jerusalem. Also for six years I would save up a second tenth in money and go and distribute it in Jerusalem. A third tenth I would give to the orphans and widows, and to the converts who had attached themselves to Israel. I would bring it and give it to them in the third year. We would eat it according to the ordinance decreed concerning it in the Law of Moses and according to the instructions of Deborah, the mother of my father Tobiel. My father had died and left me an orphan. When I became a man I married a woman named Anna, a member of our family. By her I became the father of a son I called Tobias.”

Tobit goes on to explain why he is righteous. He went alone to the festivals at Jerusalem. The fact that he could take time to go to Jerusalem meant that he might have been among the rich of his area. He brought his tithes with him. He explained that he gave the tithes to the priests and Levites in Jerusalem. Every 3rd year, he would give a 10th to the orphans, widows, and converts to Judaism. This is one of the mentions of converts to Judaism. He followed the ordinances of the Law of Moses and his grandmother Deborah since his father had died and left him an orphan. Finally, he married Anna, from his family, and had a son called Tobias.

The travels of Ezra from Babylonia to Jerusalem (Ezra 7:6-7:10)

“This Ezra went up from Babylon. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that Yahweh the God of Israel had given. The king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of Yahweh his God was upon him. Some of the people of Israel, and some of the priests and Levites, the singers and gatekeepers, and the temple servants also went up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes. They came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. On the first day of the first month the journey up from Babylon was begun. On the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem. The gracious hand of his God was upon him. Ezra had set his heart to study the law of Yahweh, to do it, and to teach his statutes and ordinances in Israel.”

Ezra had been born in Babylon. It is precisely this scribe Ezra who will initiate the title or group of people called “scribes.” These were the writers, copiers, and interpreters of the Hebrew Scriptures about the Law of Moses, and Yahweh. At the same time, he was like a prophet since the hand of Yahweh was upon him.   Some priests and Levites, singers and gatekeepers, as well as Temple servants went with him. There is no specific number given, since it seems like a small group, not like the large group some 80 years earlier. They were leaving in the 7th year of King Artaxerxes, about 458 BCE. Their trip took about 5 months. God was with them so that nothing untold happened. Ezra wanted to study the Law of Yahweh, follow it, and teach it.