Cry for the children (Lam 2:19-2:19)

Qoph

“Arise!

Cry out

In the night,

At the beginning

Of the watches!

Pour out

Your heart

Like water

Before the presence

Of Yahweh!

Lift your hands

To him

For the lives

Of your children.

They faint

For hunger

At the head

Of every street.”

This author wanted everyone to cry to Yahweh at night, at the beginning of every watch change of the guard. However, there was nothing to guard. They were to pour out their heart like water before Yahweh. They were to pray with outstretched hands for the children who were fainting with hunger on every street corner in town. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Qoph. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

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No one to comfort Zion (Lam 1:17-1:17)

Phe

“Zion stretches out

Her hands.

But there is no one

To comfort her.

Yahweh has commanded

Against Jacob.

His neighbors should

Become his foes.

Jerusalem has become

A filthy thing

Among them.”

Now we are back to a description about Zion, rather than a first person lament from Jerusalem. Zion wanted to be comforted, but there was no one to reach out to her outstretched hands. Yahweh had commanded that the neighbors of Jacob should become his enemies. Jerusalem itself has become a filthy useless thing among its neighbors. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Phe. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

The anger of Yahweh (Isa 5:25-5:25)

“Therefore the anger of Yahweh

Was kindled against his people.

He stretched out his hand

Against them.

He struck them.

The mountains quaked.

Their corpses were

Like refuse in the streets.

His anger has not turned away

From all this.

His hand is stretched out still.”

Yahweh was angry at what was going on in Israel, Judah, and Jerusalem. These incidents ignited his anger. He stretched out his hand against them. He struck his own people. The mountains quaked. Their dead bodies were all over the streets like strewn garbage. His anger has even now not turned away, since his outstretched hands are still over them.

The dream about Onias the high priest (2 Macc 15:12-15:16)

“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.