Preparing for war (Lk 14:31-14:31)

“What king,

Going to wage war,

Against another king

Will not sit down

First.

Will he not consider

Whether he is able

With ten thousand

To oppose the one

Who comes

Against him

With twenty thousand?”

 

Ἢ τίς βασιλεὺς πορευόμενος ἑτέρῳ βασιλεῖ συμβαλεῖν εἰς πόλεμον οὐχὶ καθίσας πρῶτον βουλεύσεται εἰ δυνατός ἐστιν ἐν δέκα χιλιάσιν ὑπαντῆσαι τῷ μετὰ εἴκοσι χιλιάδων ἐρχομένῳ ἐπ’ αὐτόν;

 

Luke indicated that Jesus told another unique story about a king (Ἢ τίς βασιλεὺς), who was planning to go to wage war (συμβαλεῖν εἰς πόλεμον) against another king (πορευόμενος ἑτέρῳ βασιλεῖ).  Would he not first sit down (οὐχὶ καθίσας πρῶτον) and consider or take counsel (βουλεύσεται) whether he was able (εἰ δυνατός ἐστιν) with ten thousand troops (ἐν δέκα χιλιάσιν) to oppose the other king who came (ὑπαντῆσαι) against him with twenty thousand troops (τῷ μετὰ εἴκοσι χιλιάδων ἐρχομένῳ ἐπ’ αὐτόν)?  Once again, Jesus was pointing out the importance of planning before any action.  Are you a good planner?

 

Advertisements

Powerful Yahweh (Jer 50:44-50:44)

“Like a lion

Coming up

From the thickets

Of the Jordan River

Against a perennial pasture,

I will suddenly

Chase them

Away from her.

I will appoint over her

Whomever I choose.

Who is like me?

Who can summon me?

Who is the shepherd

That can stand before me?”

Interesting enough, this section is almost word for word what Yahweh said against the Edomites in the preceding chapter. These Babylonians would be like lions that come out of the thickets on the Jordan River to find a beautiful pasture land. Suddenly, Yahweh would chase them away from this perennial green field. There is no one like Yahweh. Who could oppose him? The shepherds had no chance against Yahweh.

The plan of Yahweh for Edom (Jer 49:19-49:20)

“Like a lion

Coming up

From the thickets

Of the Jordan River

Against a perennial pasture,

I will suddenly

Chase Edom

Away from it.

I will appoint over it

Whomever I choose.

Who is like me?

Who can summon me?

Who is the shepherd

That can stand before me?

Therefore hear the plan

That Yahweh has made

Against Edom!

Hear the purposes

That he has formed

Against the inhabitants

Of Teman!

Surely the little ones

Of the flock

Shall be dragged away.

Surely their fold

Shall be appalled

At their fate.”

Yahweh has a precise plan for Edom. These Edomites were like lions that come out of the thickets on the Jordan River to find a beautiful pasture land. Suddenly Yahweh would chase Edom away from this perennial green field. There is no one like Yahweh. Who could oppose him? The shepherds had no chance against Yahweh. He clearly wants to get rid of the town of Teman, the Edomite clan around the southern Edomite town of Petra. Even the little ones would be dragged away. The shepherds and the sheep would be appalled at what was happening. Clearly the power of Yahweh was apparent.

The weapons of the new Jerusalem (Isa 54:16-54:17)

“‘See!

It is I!

I have created the smith

Who blows the fire of coals.

He produces a weapon

Fit for its purpose.

I have also created the ravager

To destroy.

No weapon that is fashioned

Against you

Shall prosper.

You shall confute every tongue

That rises against you in judgment.

This is the heritage of the servants of Yahweh

Their vindication is from me.’

So says Yahweh.”

Second Isaiah has Yahweh explain his position about the arms and protection of Jerusalem. Yahweh has created the blacksmiths who stand before the blast furnaces creating these weapons of destruction. He has also created the people who oppose them. No weapon will be successful against the Israelites. They will also have to fight off verbal aggression that would arise against them. These servants of Yahweh are his heritage, so that he will vindicate them.

The wicked believe that no one will bother them (Ps 10:5-10:6)

“The ways of the wicked prosper at all times.

Your judgments are on high!

They are out of their sight!

As for their foes,

They scoff at them.

They think in their heart.

‘We shall not be moved.

Throughout all generations

We shall not meet adversity.’”

The wicked ones prosper all the time. They think that God’s judgments are on high and out of sight. They scoff at those who oppose them. They think that that no one will touch them from one generation to the next. They believe that they will not meet adversity.

Job wants God to listen to him (Job 13:17-13:28)

“Listen carefully to my words!

Let my declaration be in your ears!

I have indeed prepared my case.

I know that I shall be vindicated.

Who is there that will contend with me?

Then I would be silent and die.

Only grant two things to me!

Then I will not hide myself from your face.

Withdraw your hand far from me!

Do not let dread of you terrify me!

Then call!

I will answer.

Let me speak!

You reply to me.

How many are my iniquities?

How many are my sins?

Make me know my transgression and my sin.

Why do you hide your face?

Why do you count me as your enemy?

Will you frighten a windblown leaf?

Will you pursue dry chaff?

You write bitter things against me.

You make me reap the iniquities of my youth.

You put my feet in the stocks.

You watch all my paths.

You set a bound to the soles of my feet.

One wastes away like a rotten thing.

One wastes away like a garment that is moth-eaten.”

Job pleads his case before God. He wanted him to listen carefully to his words. He has prepared his case well. He knew that he would be vindicated. He wanted to know who would oppose him. He wanted God not to hide his face and he would not hide his face. He wanted to go face to face with God. He wanted God not to scare him, but to call him. He wanted to reply to the many sins and iniquities of his youth. He wanted to know why God had him as an enemy. Why were bitter things written about him? This is almost saying that God had a face with a voice, and was able to hear and write things down with his hands. In this anthropomorphic view of God, he has a human face, ears, voice, and hands. God wanted him to be chained in a stockade, to waste away like a rotten garment that was moth-eaten. Certainly this was colorful language to use against a vindictive God.

Nicanor and Judas Maccabeus split (2 Macc 14:28-14:33)

“When this message came to Nicanor, he was troubled and grieved that he had to annul their agreement when the man had done no wrong. Since it was not possible to oppose the king, he watched for an opportunity to accomplish this by a stratagem. However, Maccabeus noticed that Nicanor was more austere in his dealings with him. He was meeting with him more rudely than had been his custom. Judas Maccabeus concluded that this austerity did not spring from the best motives. So he gathered not a few of his men, and went into hiding from Nicanor. When the latter became aware that he had been cleverly outwitted by the man, he went to the great and holy temple while the priests were offering the customary sacrifices. He commanded them to hand the man over. They declared on oath that they did not know where the man was whom he wanted. Then Nicanor stretched out his right hand toward the sanctuary. He swore this oath.

‘If you do not hand Judas Maccabeus over to me as a prisoner,

I will level this shrine of God to the ground.

I will tear down the altar.

I will build here a splendid temple to Dionysus.’”

Nicanor was troubled by the message that he got from King Demetrius I. He knew that Judas Maccabeus had not done anything wrong. At the same time, he realized that he could not oppose the direct order of the king. He was trying to figure out what to do. Judas Maccabeus noticed that Nicanor was not as friendly as before and even downright rude. He suspected Nicanor of bad motives, so he and some of his men went into hiding. When Nicanor found out about this, he went to the Temple where the priests were officiating at the sacrifices. He commanded the priests to turn over Judas Maccabeus to him. When they declared under oath that they did not know where he was, Nicanor stretched out his right hand and said that if they did not turn him over to him, he would level the Temple and the altar. In its place he would build a temple to the god Dionysus. Now this could be problem.