“A fool will no longer be called noble.
A villain will not be said to be honorable.
Fools speak folly.
Their mind plots iniquity.
They practice ungodliness.
They utter error concerning Yahweh.
They leave the craving of the hungry unsatisfied.
They deprive the thirsty of drink.
The villainies of villains are evil.
They devise wicked devices.
They ruin the poor with lying words,
Even when the plea of the needy is right.
But those who are noble
Plan noble things.
They stand by noble things.”
This Isaiah poem about the fools and the villains is like later wisdom literature. A fool should not be called noble. Neither should a villain be called honorable. The fools naturally speak folly, as they plot iniquity and practice ungodliness. They speak erroneously about Yahweh as they leave the hungry unsatisfied and the thirsty without drink. The villains are the same. They are devising wicked things as they ruin the lives of the poor with lying words, even when the poor are right. On the other hand, the real noble people plan noble things and stand by them.
“It is the glory of God
To conceal things.
But the glory of kings
Is to search things out.
Like the heavens for height,
Like the earth for depth,
So the mind of kings is unsearchable.
Take away the dross from the silver.
The smith has material for a vessel.
Take away the wicked from the presence of the king.
His throne will be established in righteousness.
Do not put yourself forward
In the king’s presence.
Do not stand in the place of the great.
It is better to be told.
‘Come up here.’
Than to be put lower
In the presence of a noble.”
God conceals things, but kings search them out. The mind of the kings is unsearchable in height, like the heavens, and in depth like the earth. The kings are a little less than God. In order to use silver you have to get rid of the low quality dross that surrounds it so that it might become material for a silver vessel. Do not let the wicked into the presence of the king. The king is established in righteousness. Do not try to put yourself forward in a great place before the king. It is much better to be told to come up than to be put lower in the presence of a noble person.
“The people were encouraged by the words of Judas Maccabeus. They were so noble and so effective in arousing the valor and awaking the courage in the souls of the young. Thus, they determined not to remain in camp, but to attack bravely. They would decide the matter, by fighting hand to hand with all courage, because the city, the sanctuary, and the temple were in danger. Their concern for their wives and children, and also for their brothers, sisters, and relatives, lay upon them less heavily. Their greatest and first fear was for the consecrated sanctuary. Those who had to remain in the city were in no little distress, being anxious over the encounter in the open country.”
Judas Maccabeus had encouraged the people to have courage, especially the young. Instead of staying in camp, they were willing to attack bravely. They wanted to fight hand to hand with courage. They were more worried about the city, the Temple, and sanctuary rather than their wives, children, brothers, sisters, or other relatives. Their greatest fear was for the consecrated sanctuary. The people who remained in the city were anxious about the battle encounter in the open country.
“What Judas Maccabeus saw was this. Onias, who had been high priest, was a noble and good man of modest bearing and gentle manner. He spoke fittingly. He had been trained from childhood in all that belongs to excellence. He was praying with outstretched hands for the whole body of the Jews. Then in the same fashion another appeared, distinguished by his gray hair and dignity. He had a marvelous majesty and authority. Onias spoke, saying.
‘This is a man who loves the family of Israel.
He prays much for the people and the holy city.
He is Jeremiah, the prophet of God.’
Jeremiah stretched out his right hand. He gave to Judas Maccabeus a golden sword. As he gave it he addressed him thus.
‘Take this holy sword,
As a gift from God,
With which you will strike down your adversaries.’”
Judas Maccabeus revealed his dream about the noble and good Onias who had been the Jerusalem high priest in the 3rd century BCE. In fact, there were other high priests with the same name related to him. This high priest Onias was a modest and a gentle person, who had been trained since childhood in excellence. He prayed with outstretched hands for the Jews. However, right beside Onias was a distinguished dignified gray haired man. In fact, Onias introduced him as Jeremiah the great prophet of God who loved Israel and prayed for its people and its holy city. Then Jeremiah, this great prophet, extended his hand to Judas Maccabeus to give him a holy golden sword so that he could strike down his adversaries. This was taken as a sign that Judas would be successful.
“Good and noble son of a father good and noble,
Upright and generous!
May the Lord grant the blessings of heaven to you!
May the Lord grant the blessings of heaven to your wife!
And to your wife’s father and mother!
Blessed be God!
I see in Tobias the very image of my cousin Tobit.”
This is the prayer or blessing of Gabael for Tobias. He called him the good and noble son of a good and noble father. They were both upright and generous. He wanted the Lord to grant the blessings of heaven to Tobias, his wife, and her parents. He blest God. Then he said that Tobias looked just like his father, Tobit, his cousin.