The Promised Land failure (Jer 32:22-32:23)

“You gave them

This land!

You swore

To their ancestors

To give them

This land!

This was a land

Flowing with milk

And honey!

They entered it.

They took possession of it.

But they did not obey

Your voice.

They did not follow

Your law.

Of all that you commanded

Them to do,

They did nothing at all.

Therefore you have made

All these disasters

Come upon them.”

Jeremiah’s prayer continues with Yahweh overseeing the Promised Land.   Yahweh had promised their ancestors this wonderful land that was flowing with milk and honey, rich and easy to till. Once they entered and took possession of this land, they did not obey the voice or law of Yahweh. Instead of following the commandments of Yahweh, they did nothing. Thus Yahweh sent disasters to this Promised Land.

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The qualities of wisdom (Wis 7:22-7:23)

“Wisdom is the fashioner of all things.

Wisdom has taught me.

There is in her a spirit that is

Intelligent,

Holy,

Unique,

Manifold,

Subtle,

Mobile,

Clear,

Unpolluted,

Distinct,

Invulnerable,

Loving the good,

Keen,

Irresistible,

Beneficent,

Humane,

Steadfast,

Sure,

Free from anxiety,

All-powerful,

Overseeing all,

Penetrating through all spirits that are intelligent,

Pure,

Altogether subtle.”

Many of the qualities given to the personification of wisdom will be adopted later in the New Testament writings by Paul with his description of the “Spirit” and the Christian Holy Spirit theology. Wisdom fashions all things. It has taught this author.   How do you describe this wisdom spirit? She is an intelligent and Holy Spirit. In some sense, she is the Holy Spirit. She is unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, clear, unpolluted, distinct, and invulnerable. She loves the good, and is keen, irresistible, beneficent, humane, steadfast, sure, and free from anxiety. She is all-powerful, overseeing all, and penetrating through all intelligent spirits. She is also pure and subtle. Thus you can see the comparative descriptions with the Christian Holy Spirit.

Judith (Jdt 8:1-8:8)

“Now in those days, Judith heard about these things. She was the daughter of Merari son of Ox, son of Joseph, son of Oziel, son of Elkiah, son of Ananias, son of Gideon, son of Raphaim, son of Ahitub, son of Elijah, son of Hilkiah, son of Eliab, son of Nathanael, son of Salamiel, son of Sarasadai, son of Israel. Her husband Manasseh, who belonged to her tribe and family, had died during the barley harvest. As he stood overseeing those who were binding sheaves in the field, he was overcome by the burning heat. He took to his bed and died in his town Bethulia. So they buried him with his ancestors in the field between Dothan and Balamon. Judith had remained as a widow for three years and four months at home where she set up a tent for herself on the roof of her house. She put sackcloth about her waist and dressed in widow’s clothing. She fasted all the days of her widowhood, except the day before the Sabbath and the Sabbath itself, the day before the new moon and the day of the new moon, and the festivals and days of rejoicing of the house of Israel. She was beautiful in appearance. She was very lovely to behold. Her husband Manasseh had left her gold and silver, men and women slaves, livestock, and fields. She maintained this estate. No one spoke ill of her. She feared God with great devotion.”

Now the main protagonist of this book appears on the scene, almost half way through this book. We learn about Judith’s rich genealogical background that includes many important people. What can we tell from her genealogy? She was the daughter of Merari, which is a Levite name. Joseph was a common name also. The names of Oziel and Elkiah are unique to her. The other names associated with famous people were Gideon, Elijah, and Hilkiah, but there was no attempt to associate those men with these men mentioned here. Many of the other names are hard to connect with anyone. Her husband, of the same tribe and family, died of sunstroke overseeing his workers. I wonder what happened to the workers. She was a well to do widow for over 3 years. She was very upright in all that she did.   Her name, Judith, literally means female Jew. She had a tent on her roof and wore sackcloth. She fasted all the time except for the Sabbath eve, the Sabbath, the new moons, and the other Jewish festivals. New moons keep appearing as a day to celebrate. She was beautiful, of course. On top of that, she was rich, inheriting her husband’s estate of gold, silver, slaves, livestock, and fields. There is no mention of her children if there were any. No one spoke ill of her because she feared God with a great devotion. This is the kind of description that many medieval female Christian saints enjoyed. She heard about what was going on in town.