The terrible situation in the land (Hos 4:2-4:3)

“There is swearing.

There is lying.

There is murder.

There is stealing.

Adultery breaks out.

Bloodshed follows bloodshed.

Therefore,

The land mourns.

All who live in it

Languish.

The wild animals,

Together with

The birds of the air,

Even the fish of the sea,

Are perishing.”

Hosea explained how bad the situation was in Israel. First, the place was full of sin with swearing, lying, murder, and stealing. Adultery was all over the place, with bloodshed everywhere. Thus, the land and its people mourned. Everyone who lived there was languishing. The wild animals, the birds of the air, and even the fish of the sea were perishing or dying. Death was in the air.

What they should avoid (Jer 7:8-7:11)

“‘Here you are.

You trust in deceptive words to no avail.

Will you steal?

Will you murder?

Will you commit adultery?

Will you swear falsely?

Will you make offerings to Baal?                              

Will you go after other gods

That you have not known?

Then you will come.

You will stand before me

In this house,

That is called by my name.

You will say.

‘We are safe!’

Yet you only go on doing

All these abominations.

Has this house,

That is called by my name,

Become a den of robbers

In your sight?

You know,

I too am watching.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, asks the people if they will really give up their deceptive ways. Are they going to continue to steal, murder, commit adultery, and swear falsely? Were they going to continue to offer sacrifices to the Baal gods? Were they going to continue to run after other gods that they know nothing about? Then why would they come to Yahweh’s Temple and say that they were safe there? While they proclaim their love of Yahweh, they continue to commit all these abominations. They have made his Temple into a den of robbers. Yet Yahweh was watching what was going on.

Evil consequences of the worship of false idols (Wis 14:22-14:26)

“Then it was not enough for them to err

About the knowledge of God,

But they lived in great strife due to ignorance.

They called such great evils peace.

Whether they killed children in their initiations,

Or celebrated secret mysteries,

Or held frenzied revels with strange customs,

They no longer keep

Either their lives pure

Or their marriages pure.

But they either treacherously killed one another,

Or grieved one another by adultery.

All was a raging riot

Of blood,

Of murder,

Of theft,

Of deceit,

Of corruption,

Of faithlessness,

Of tumult,

Of perjury.

There was confusion over what was good.

There was forgetfulness of favors.

There was pollution of souls.

There was sex perversion.

There was disorder in marriage.

There was adultery.

There was debauchery.”

What happens to those who worship false idols? They were ignorant of God (περὶ τὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ γνῶσιν). However, they lived in great strife and called it peace. They killed their children in strange initiation ceremonies. They celebrated secret mysteries (μυστήρια) with strange customs. Their lives and marriages were no longer pure. They killed each other. They committed adultery among themselves. They ended up in a riot of blood and murder. There was theft, deceit, corruption, faithfulness, tumult, perjury, sexual perversion, adultery, and debauchery. They did not know what was good.   They forgot favors. They defiled their souls.

The wicked plan murders against the weak poor people (Ps 10:7-10:9)

“Their mouths are filled with cursing.

Their mouths are filled with deceit.

Their mouths are filled with oppression.

Under their tongues are mischief and iniquity.

They sit in ambush in the villages.

In hiding places,

They murder the innocent.

Their eyes stealthily watch for the helpless.

They lurk in secret,

Like a lion in its covert.

They lurk,

So that they may seize the poor.

They seize the poor.

They drag them off in their net.”

The wicked people curse. They are deceitful. They oppress the poor. There is mischief and iniquity in their mouth. They sit in ambush, in hiding places to murder the innocent. They carefully watch the helpless. They lurk in secret like a lion about to catch its prey. They seize the poor and drag them off in nets.

The situation of this letter (2 Macc 1:7-1:9)

“In the reign of King Demetrius,

In the one hundred and sixty-ninth year,

We Jews wrote to you.

In the critical distress that came upon us,

In those years

After Jason and his company

Revolted from the holy land and the kingdom.

He burned the gate and shed innocent blood.

We prayed to the Lord.

We were heard.

We offered sacrifice and cereal offering.

We lighted the lamps.

We set out the loaves.

Now see that you keep the festival of booths

In the month of Chislev,

In the one hundred and eighty-eighth year.”

Here is the reason for the letter. They want the Jews in Egypt to celebrate the festival of Booths in 124 BCE in the month of Chislev, the 188th year. Apparently this is not the first letter since there is a reference to an earlier letter around 143 BCE, the 169th year mentioned here, when King Demetrius II was the Seleucid leader. All these calendar dates are from the beginning of this Seleucid Empire in 312 BCE. The distress was the capture and murder of Jonathan Apphus, the son of Mattathias in 143 BCE. Jason was the brother of the high priest Onias, who turned on the Maccabees. The destruction and shedding of innocent blood can be found in 1 Maccabees, chapter 1. However, under Simon, they were able to recover and rebuild the Temple. Thus they were asking the Jews in Egypt to celebrate with them the feast of Booths in Chislev. However, the normal time of festival of Tents or Booths, according to Leviticus, chapter 23, was in the 7th month, 1 week after the Day of Atonement. Clearly this work must have been written after 124 BCE.