Against Judah (Nah 1:9-1:10)

To Judah

“Why do you plot

Against Yahweh?

He will make a full end.

No adversary

Will rise up twice.

Like thorns,

They are entangled.

Like drunkards,

They are drunk.

They are consumed,

Like dry stubble.”

Next there were a series of prophecies addressed to different countries.  The first was addressed to Judah.  Nahum wanted to know why they were plotting against Yahweh, because Yahweh would always win out in the end.  No adversary or enemy of Yahweh would be able to rise up twice.  They would be like entangled thorns or drunken drunkards.  They would be wiped out or consumed like dry stubble.

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The personal plot against Jeremiah (Jer 11:18-11:19)

“Yahweh made it known to me.

I knew it.

Then you showed me

Their evil deeds.

But I was

Like a gentle lamb

Led to the slaughter.

I did not know

It was against me.

They devised schemes.

Saying.

‘Let us destroy the tree

With its fruit!

Let us cut him off

From the land of the living!

Thus his name will no longer

Be remembered!’”

Jeremiah recounts how Yahweh let him know about the plot to end his life. Jeremiah knew about their evil deeds, but he was like a gentle lamb led to slaughter. He did not realize that they were plotting a scheme against him. These evil doers wanted to destroy this tree with its fruit, Jeremiah. They wanted to cut him off from the land of the living, kill him. Thus his name would not be remembered anymore.

The hypocrite (Sir 27:22-27:24)

“Whoever winks his eye

Plots mischief.

Those how know him

Will keep their distance.

In your presence,

His mouth is all sweetness.

He admires your words.

But later

He will twist his speech.

With your own words,

He will trip you up.

I have hated many things.

But I have hated him

Above all.

Even the Lord hates him.”

Sirach warns us about hypocrites. You can tell a hypocrite because he is always winking his eye, as he is plotting some mischief. Once you know who they are, keep your distance. When they are with you, they have pleasant sweet words for you. They admire your speech. However, they will later twist your words and trip you up. Sirach hates many things, but he really hates these hypocrites even more than the ungodly. He then tries to speak for God, saying that even the Lord hates hyprocrites.

The trustworthy servant (Ps 119:17-119:24)

Gimel

“Deal bountifully with your servant.

Thus I may live and observe your word.

Open my eyes!

Thus I may behold

Wondrous things out of your law.

I am an alien in the land.

Do not hide your commandments from me!

My soul is consumed with longing

For your ordinances at all times.

You rebuke the insolent.

You rebuke the accursed ones,

You rebuke those who wander from your commandments.

Take away from me their scorn and contempt.

I have kept your decrees.

Even though princes sit plotting against me,

Your servant will meditate on your statutes.

Your decrees are my delight.

They are my counselors.”

This psalmist maintained that he was a trustworthy servant. He wanted to live and observe the word of God. He wanted his eyes opened so that he could see all the wondrous things of the law. He was like an alien in his own land. He did not want Yahweh to hide the commandments from him. He was consumed with following the laws of Yahweh. He knew that Yahweh rebuked those who wandered from keeping his commandments, the insolent and the accursed ones. Even if other princes were plotting against him, this psalmist would continue to meditate on Yahweh’s statutes. The psalmist delighted in Yahweh’s decrees since they were like his counselors. Thus this section on the third consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Gimel, came to an end.

Request for Yahweh to punish (Ps 59:4-59:5)

“Rouse yourself!

Come to my help!

See!

You!

Yahweh!

God of hosts!

God of Israel!

Awake!

Punish all the nations!

Spare none of those

Who treacherously plot evil!”

Selah

David wanted to wake up Yahweh. This is a direct appeal for help. He wanted the God of hosts, the God of Israel, to see and punish all the other nations. None were to be spared. Anyone who was treacherously plotting evil should be punished without exception. This section ends with a melodic musical interlude meditative pause, Selah.

The prayer at Mizpah (1 Macc 3:50-3:53)

“They cried aloud to Heaven, saying.

‘What shall we do with these?

Where shall we take them?

Your sanctuary is trampled down and profaned.

Your priests mourn in humiliation.

Here the gentiles are assembled against us to destroy us.

You know what they plot against us.

How will we be able to withstand them?

If you do not help us?’

Their problem was simple as they cried out to heaven where God was. They wanted to know what to do about these cultic items since there was no Temple. Where should they take the first fruits and the tithes? The sanctuary was trampled and profaned. The priests were mourning. The gentiles were plotting against them to destroy them. There is no way that they can withstand them other than help from God.

Queen Esther asks God for courage (Greek text only)

“O Lord!

Do not surrender your scepter to what has no being!

Do not let them laugh at our downfall!

Turn their plan against them!

Make an example of the man who began this against us.

Remember, O Lord!

Make yourself known in this time of our affliction.

Give me courage!

O King of the gods!

Master of all dominion!

Put eloquent speech in my mouth before the lion.

Turn his heart to hate the man who is fighting against us.

Let there be an end of him and those who agree with him!

Save us by your hand!

Help me!

I am alone

I have no helper but you, O Lord.

You have knowledge of all things.

You know that I hate the splendor of the wicked.

I abhor the bed of the uncircumcised and of any alien.

You know my necessity.

I abhor the sign of my proud position,

That which is upon my head on the days when I appear in public.

I abhor it like a filthy rag.

I do not wear it on the days when I am at leisure.

Your servant has not eaten at Haman’s table.

I have not honored the king’s feast.

I have not drunk the wine of libations.

Your servant has had no joy

Since the day that I was brought here until now,

Except in you, O Lord God of Abraham.

O God, whose might is over all,

Hear the voice of the despairing!

Save us from the hands of evildoers!

Save me from my fear!”

Queen Esther asked God to give her courage in this Greek text. She wanted to turn the plan against the man who was plotting against her and her people.   She wanted God to reveal himself. She wanted his help to give her the strength since she had no one to help her, except God. She said that she hated the uncircumcised bed and the royal position. However, she had agreed to this, in fact sought it out. She said that she had not eaten at Haman’s table or drank at the king’s libations. However, she had been queen for a few years. She proclaimed that she has had no joy since she became queen. She took her joy in the all powerful God of Abraham. In desperation, she wanted to be saved from evildoers and her own fear.