The future of Jerusalem (Isa 4:4-4:6)

“When Yahweh has washed away

The filth of the daughters of Zion,

When he has cleansed

The bloodstains of Jerusalem

From its midst

By a spirit of judgment,

When the cleansing

By a spirit of burning

Is complete,

Then Yahweh will create

Over the whole site of Mount Zion.

He will create over its places of assembly

A cloud by day with smoke,

By night the shining of a flaming fire.

Indeed over all the glory

There will be a canopy.

It will serve as a pavilion.

It will be a shade by day

From the heat.

It will be a refuge from storms.

It will be a shelter from rain.”

Many of these oracles of Isaiah may come from the period of the exile, when there was the hope for a future Jerusalem. Once all the filth of the daughters of Zion and all the bloodshed in Jerusalem had been cleared out by judgment and burning, then Yahweh could create a whole new site at Zion. This new place for a religious assembly at Jerusalem would have a cloud or smoke during the day. At night, there would be a bright burning flame. Over all this glory, there would be a canopy that would act as a pavilion to provide shade from the heat and shelter from storms and rain. This was obviously a less ostentatious undertaking than a whole new temple.

God’s victory at Modein (2 Macc 13:13-13:17)

“After consulting privately with the elders, he determined to march out and decide the matter by the help of God before the king’s army could enter Judea and get possession of the city. So, committing the decision to the Creator of the world, he exhorted his troops to fight nobly to the death for the laws, the temple, the city, the country, and the commonwealth. He pitched his camp near Modein. He gave his troops the watchword.

‘God’s victory.’

He picked a force of the bravest young men. He attacked the king’s pavilion at night. He killed as many as two thousand men in the camp. He stabbed the leading elephant and its rider. In the end they filled the camp with terror and confusion as they withdrew in triumph. This happened, just as day was dawning, because the Lord’s help protected him.”

Clearly the success of Judas Maccabeus came because of divine intervention on his side. Everything was done with the help of God. He first consulted with the elders, which seems to be a common practice. He committed his decision to the Creator, not the God of Israel. He wanted his troops to defend the laws, the Temple, the city, and the country. This took place near Modein, where his father was from, although there is no mention of his father Mattathias in 2 Maccabees. The key word was ‘God’s victory.’ He picked a few brave young men to lead the attack on the king’s pavilion at night. He killed 2,000 that night as well as the lead elephant. This led to confusion in the camp, another common biblical theme.