The sacred vessels (Bar 1:8-1:9)

“At the same time,

On the tenth day

Of Sivan,

Baruch took

The vessels

Of the house

Of the Lord.

They had been carried away

From the temple.

He wanted

To return them

To the land

Of Judah.

These were

The silver vessels

That King Zedekiah,

The son of King Josiah,

King of Judah,

Had made.

This was done

After King Nebuchadnezzar,

The king of Babylon,

Had carried them away

From Jerusalem

With King Jeconiah,

With the princes,

With the prisoners,

With the nobles,

With the people of the land.

He brought them

To Babylon.”

Sivan was the 3rd month of the year, so that this was the 10th of that month. Baruch had somehow gotten hold of the sacred vessels from the Temple in Jerusalem that had been carried away with King Zedekiah (598-587 BCE) in 587 BCE. He had made these sacred vessels after the original sacred vessels had been taken away in 598 BCE when King Jeconiah (598 BCE) was taken captive. King Jeconiah had been taken captive with the princes, prisoners, nobles, and land owners to Babylon. Baruch wanted to return these sacred vessels to Jerusalem. Once again, it is not clear how this was going to happen.

The punishment for King Zedekiah (Jer 39:6-39:7)

“The king of Babylon

Slaughtered

The sons of King Zedekiah

At Riblah

Before his eyes.

Also the king of Babylon

Slaughtered

All the nobles of Judah.

He put out

The eyes of Zedekiah.

He bound him

In fetters.

He took him to Babylon.”

Once again, this is very similar to 2 Kings, chapter 25. King Nebuchadnezzar ordered that the sons of King Zedekiah be killed right in front of him. The king of Babylon then killed all the nobles or officials of Judah. Finally he blinded King Zedekiah, bound him up in chains, and took him to Babylon. He now lived as the captured blind ex-king in Babylon.

The great drought (Jer 14:2-14:6)

“Judah mourns.

Her gates languish.

Her people lie in gloom

On the ground.

The cry of Jerusalem goes up.

Her nobles send their servants

For water.

They come to the cisterns.

They find no water.

They return

With their vessels empty.

They are ashamed.

They are dismayed.

They cover their heads.

Because the ground is cracked.

Because there has been no rain

On the land.

The farmers are dismayed.

They cover their heads.

Even the doe in the field

Forsakes her newborn fawn.

Because there is no grass.

The wild asses stand

On the bare heights.

They pant for air

Like jackals.

Their eyes fail.

Because there is no herbage.”

This drought had Judah in mourning. Gloom was all around. The nobles sent their servants for water, but the well cisterns had no water. Thus they returned empty handed, being ashamed and dismayed. They too went into mourning by covering their heads. The dry ground was cracking because there had been no rain in the land. The farmers were dismayed and went into mourning by covering their heads. Even the deer were giving up their young fawns since they could not find any grass. The wild asses on the bare heights had breathing difficulties. Their eyes were failing because they could not find any wild green plants to eat. Everyone was having difficulty in this drought.

A reproach against carousing (Isa 5:11-5:13)

“Woe to you

Who rise early in the morning,

In pursuit of strong drink!

Woe to you

Who linger in the evening

To be inflamed by wine!

These feasts consist of

Lyre,

Harp,

Tambourine,

Flute,

And wine.

They do not regard

The deeds of Yahweh!

They do not see

The work of his hands!

Therefore my people

Go into exile

Without knowledge.

Their nobles

Are dying of hunger.

Their multitude

Is parched with thirst.”

Isaiah turns to those who think only about drinking and carousing around. The first thing they think of in the morning is where their next drink is coming from. At night, they only worry about drinking wine while others played musical instruments like the lyre, harp, tambourine, and the flute. While the Israelites were going into exile, these people had no regard for the work of Yahweh and his deeds since they lacked knowledge. The nobles and the people were dying of malnutrition and thirst. However, these folks continued to play on.

A description of wisdom (Prov 8:12-8:21)

“I

Wisdom,

I live with prudence.

I attain knowledge.

I attain discretion.

The fear of Yahweh is hatred of evil.

I hate pride.

I hate arrogance.

I hate the way of evil.

I hate perverted speech.         

I have good advice.

I have sound wisdom.

I have insight.

I have strength.

Kings reign by me.

Rulers decree what is just.

Rulers rule by me.

Nobles govern by me.

All who govern rightly rule by me.

I love those who love me.

Those who seek me diligently

Find me.

Riches and honor are with me.

Enduring wealth is with me.

Prosperity is with me.

My fruit is better than gold,

Even fine gold.

My yield is better than choice silver.

I walk in the way of righteousness.

I walk along the paths of justice,

I endow with wealth those who love me.

I fill their treasuries.”

In an interesting use of a literary form, female wisdom describes herself in the first person singular, “I.” She is prudent, knowledgeable, and discreet. As God fearing, she hates evil, pride, arrogance, and perverted speech. On the other hand, she has good advice, sound wisdom, insight, and strength. All the kings, rulers, and nobles govern rightly because of her. She loves those who love her and seek her out diligently. When you have lady wisdom, then you have riches, honor, wealth, and prosperity. The fruit of wisdom is better than fine gold and silver. She walks in the way of righteousness along the paths of justice. Those who love her will be filled with wealth and treasures.

Triumph of Israel (Ps 149:6-149:9)

“Let the high praises of God be in their throats!

Let the two-edged swords in their hands

Execute vengeance on the nations!

Let the two-edged swords in their hands

Punish the peoples!

Let them bind their kings with chains!

Let their bind their nobles with chains of iron!

Let them execute on them

The judgment decreed!

This is glory for all his faithful ones.

Praise Yahweh!”

Psalm 149 ends with the phrase “praise Yahweh,” another way of saying alleluia, the Hebrew “Hallelujah.” This is the triumph of Israel. They will have executed judgment on their enemies with the two edged sword. They will have punished people. They will have bound up the kings and nobles. They will have executed judgment on them. The faithful ones will live in glory. Thus they will praise Yahweh with an alleluia.

People honored Job in the old days (Job 29:7-29:10)

“When I went out to the gate of the city,

When I took my seat in the square,

The young men saw me and withdrew.

The aged rose up and stood.

The nobles refrained from talking.

They laid their hands on their mouths.

The voices of princes were hushed.

Their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths.”

Once again, Job remembered the good old days, when he would go out to the city gate and take his seat in the square. He speaks in the first person singular. He might have been on the city judicial council since that is where they would meet. The young men would step back. The old men would stand up for him. The nobles and the princes were hushed in their tones, as they hardly said a word, as if their tongues were stuck in their mouths. They put their hands over their mouths. There was a lot of respect in his community shown to Job in those days.