Prepare to meet God (Am 4:12-4:12)

“Therefore thus,

I will do to you!

O Israel!

I will do this

To you!

Prepare to meet

Your God!

O Israel!”

Amos has Yahweh issue one last solemn warning. Yahweh has tried many things to get the attention of these northern Israelites. However, he finally told them that they would meet the judgment of God himself. They had to prepare for their own death.

The soldiers of Babylon stop fighting (Jer 51:30-51:33)

“The warriors of Babylon

Have given up fighting.

They remain

In their strongholds.

Their strength has failed.

They have become women.

Her buildings are on fire.

Her bars are broken.

One runner runs

To meet another.

One messenger runs

To meet another.

They tell

The king of Babylon

That his city is taken

From end to end.

The fords have been seized.

The marshes have been burned

With fire.

The soldiers are in panic.

Thus says Yahweh of hosts,

The God of Israel.

‘Daughter Babylon is

Like a threshing floor

At the time

When it is trodden.

Yet a little while

The time of her harvest

Will come.’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, notes that the Babylonian warriors have stopped fighting. They stay in their fortresses. Their strength has left them so that they are like women. Their buildings are on fire. The bars to their gates are broken. Messengers are running to meet other messengers on their way to tell the king that the city is lost from end to end. The fords or the shallow parts of the river areas have been seized, while the wet marshes have been set on fire. All the soldiers are in a state of panic. Thus the God of Israel compares Babylon to a barren threshing floor that is waiting for a harvest that will never come.

Ishmael kills the pilgrim worshippers (Jer 41:6-41:8)

“Ishmael,

The son of Nethaniah,

Came out from Mizpah

To meet

The weeping pilgrims.

As he met them,

He said to them.

‘Come to Governor Gedaliah,

The son of Ahikam.’

When they reached

The middle of the city,

Ishmael,

The son of Nethaniah,

With his men

Slaughtered them.

He threw them into a cistern.

But there were ten men

Among them

Who said to Ishmael,

‘Do not kill us!

We have stores

Of wheat,

Of barley,

Of oil,

Of honey

Hidden in the fields.’

So he refrained.

He did not kill them

Along with their companions.”

Ishmael went out to meet these 80 mourning crying pilgrims as they approached Mizpah. He told them to come and meet the new governor of Judah, Gedaliah. When they got to the center of Mizpah, Ishmael and his 10 men killed these 80 pilgrims. He saved 10 of these northern pilgrims because they said that they hidden provisions of wheat, barley, oil, and honey in the fields. However, the other dead people were thrown into a cistern well. It is amazing how strong these 10 men with Ishmael were.

The greetings in Sheol (Isa 14:9-14:11)

“Sheol beneath is stirred up.            

They want to meet you

When you come.

They rouse the shades

To greet you.

All who were leaders of the earth

Greet you.

All who were kings of the nations

Rise from their thrones.

All of them will speak.

They will say to you.

‘You too have become

As weak as we!

You have become

Like us!’

Your pomp

Is brought down to Sheol.

The sound of your harps

Is brought down to Sheol.

Maggots are the bed beneath you.

Worms are your covering.”

This haughty king now descends after his death into the shadowy underworld of Sheol. Everyone there wanted to meet this king. All the former leaders and kings of the world were there to greet this newly deceased Babylonian king. They got up from their thrones and greeted him. Then they reminded him that he had become like them, weak. All his self important pomps were gone in Sheol. There was no harp playing in Sheol. In fact, he would sleep on a bed of maggots with worms as his covering, not a pretty picture.

Yahweh is in charge (Ps 59:8-59:10)

“Yahweh!

You laugh at them.

You hold all the nations in derision.

O my strength!

I will watch for you!

O God!

You are my fortress!

My God

In his steadfast love

Will meet me.

My God

Will let me look in triumph

On my enemies.”

Yahweh laughs at the world since he derides all nations. He is David’s strength and fortress. David was watching for him. After all, God loved him with a steadfast love. God was going to meet him so that he could look in triumph over his enemies.

Job wants to meet God (Job 23:1-23:7)

“Then Job answered.

‘Today also my complaint is bitter.

His hand is heavy,

Despite my groaning.

O that I knew where I might find him!

O that I might come even to his dwelling!

I would lay my case before him.

I would fill my mouth with arguments.

I would learn what he would answer me.

I would understand what he would say to me.

Would he contend with me in the greatness of his power?

No!

But he would give heed to me.              

There an upright man could reason with him.

I should be acquitted forever by my judge.’”

Job was still bitter. Despite all his complaints, he still wanted to find God. He wanted to meet him face to face in his house. Then he would lay out his cause with many arguments. However, he would learn and understand by listening. He believed that he, the upright man, would get a fair hearing. In the end, he would be acquitted by God, if only he could present his case.

The consultation of Judas Maccabeus and Nicanor (2 Macc 14:20-14:22)

“The terms had been fully considered. The leaders had informed the people. Thus it had appeared that they were of one mind. They then agreed to the covenant. The leaders set a day on which to meet by themselves. A chariot came forward from each army. Seats of honor were set in place. Judas Maccabeus posted armed men in readiness at key places to prevent sudden treachery on the part of the enemy. Thus they held the consultation.”

Judas Maccabeus and Nicanor had explained the agreement to their people so that they had an agreement before they met. Then they set a date to meet. In 1 Maccabees, chapter 7, there was no meeting of Nicanor and Judas Maccabeus, just the defeat of Nicanor, who took the place of Bacchides. Here there is a formal meeting and consultation as they sat in chariots with men ready to attack if things did not go well.

Jonathan meets the officers of the deposed King Demetrius II (1 Macc 11:63-11:66)

“Then Jonathan heard that the officers of King Demetrius had come to Kadesh in Galilee with a large army, intending to remove him from office. He went to meet them, but he left his brother Simon in the country. Simon encamped before Beth-zur. He fought against the town for many days until he had hemmed it in. Then they asked him to grant them terms of peace. He did so, but he removed them from there. He took possession of the town and set a garrison over it.”

While Jonathan set out to meet the officers of the army of the deposed King Demetrius II at Kedesh in the Galilee area, his brother Simon was left in the country. Simon went to Beth-zur and made the people there settle for a peace treaty when he took possession of the town with a garrison of troops.

King Demetrius II and Jonathan disagree (1 Macc 11:20-11:22)

“In those days, Jonathan assembled the Judeans to attack the citadel in Jerusalem. He built many engines of war to use against it. However, certain renegades, who hated their nation, went to the king. They reported to him that Jonathan was besieging the citadel. When the king heard this, he was angry. As soon as he heard it, he set out and came to Ptolemais. He wrote Jonathan not to continue the siege, but to meet him for a conference at Ptolemais as quickly as possible.”

You may wonder, while was the Syrian citadel still in Jerusalem. King Demetrius I had promised to hand it over in the preceding chapter. Apparently, it never happened. In fact, this was another attempt to get independence for Judea. Jonathan besieged the citadel with war machines, or catapults to hurl at the citadel. However, those nasty Jewish renegades showed up again and ran to the new king to tell him what Jonathan was doing. King Demetrius II then sent a letter to Jonathan that he wanted to talk to him in Ptolemais, the former home of the dead King Alexander I. He wanted this matter solved as quickly as possible.

King Ptolemy VI of Egypt visits Syria (1 Macc 11:1-11:3)

“Then the king of Egypt gathered great forces, like the sand by the seashore, and many ships. He tried to get possession of Alexander’s kingdom by trickery. He wanted to add it to his own kingdom. He set out for Syria with peaceable words. The people of the towns opened their gates to him. They went to meet him, because King Alexander had commanded them to meet him, since he was King Alexander’s father-in-law. However, when King Ptolemy entered the towns he stationed forces as a garrison in each town.”

King Ptolemy VI of Egypt, father-in-law to King Alexander I of Syria, went to visit Syria. He had a great army like the sand by the sea. He wanted to add Syria to his own kingdom, although he seemed to come in peace. His daughter was the wife of King Alexander I. Every town opened their gates to King Ptolemy VI because the Syrian king told them to do that. However, then the Egyptian king would leave a garrison of troops in each town.