David was not moved (Ps 30:6-30:7)

“As for me,

I said in my prosperity,

‘I shall never be moved.’

By your favor,

Yahweh!

You have established me

As a strong mountain.

You hid your face.

I was dismayed.”

David in his prosperity was never moved. He had the favor of Yahweh who had established him in his richness. He was like an unmovable mountain. Nevertheless, Yahweh hid his face. This was upsetting to David. This almost sounds like Job.

Land and covenant (Ps 25:11-25:14)

Lamed

“For your name’s sake!

Yahweh!

Pardon my guilt!

For it is great!

Mem   

Who are they that fear Yahweh?

He will teach them the way that they should choose.

Nun    

They will abide in prosperity.

Their children shall possess the land.

Samek

The friendship of Yahweh is

For those who fear him.

He makes his covenant known to them.”

The psalmist, David, wanted to be pardoned for his great guilt. Anyone that feared Yahweh could be taught the way to follow him. Those who follow Yahweh will be blessed with prosperity and land. Yahweh was friendly to those who feared him. He made a covenant with them.

These outcasts now look down on Job (Job 30:9-30:15)

“Now they mock me in song.

I am a byword to them.

They abhor me.

They keep aloof from me.

They do not hesitate to spit at the sight of me.

God has loosed my bowstring.

God has humbled me.

They now have cast off restraint in my presence.

On my right hand

The rabble rises up.

They send me sprawling.

They build roadblocks from ruin.

They break up my path.

They promote my calamity.

No one restrains them.

As through a wide breach they come.

Amid the crash they roll on.

Terrors are turned upon me.

My honor is pursued as by the wind.

My prosperity has passed away like a cloud.”

Once again, in colorful language, Job complains about the rabble around him. He did not like what they were doing to him. They were mocking him with various songs and stories. They did not like him. They spit in his direction when he came near to them. They really had no restraints in his presence since God had abandoned him. This rabble of outcasts sent him sprawling to the ground. They blocked his path. They were bullies to him since no one stopped them in their conduct. They already were the outcasts of society. They came at him just like through a hole in the wall. They just rolled over him. All of Job’s honor and prosperity was gone like a wind or cloud. Here today, but gone tomorrow.

Do the wicked really suffer? (Job 21:17-21:26)

“How often is the lamp of the wicked put out?

How often does calamity come upon them?

How often does God distribute pains in his anger?

How often are they like straw before the wind?

How often are they like chaff that the storm carries away?

You say.

‘God stores up their iniquity for their children.

Let it be paid back to them.

Thus they may know it.

Let their own eyes see their destruction.

Let them drink of the wrath of the Almighty Shaddai.’

What do they care for their household after them?

When the number of their months is cut off?

Will any teach God knowledge?

He judges those that are on high.

One dies in full prosperity.

They are at ease and secure.

Their loins are full of milk.

The marrow of their bones is moist.

Another dies in bitterness of soul.

They have never tasted of good.

They lie down alike in the dust.

The worms cover them.”

Job wondered whether the wicked were really punished at all. The wicked people seem to be surviving pretty well. Where is their pain and calamity? They do not seem to be like chaff or straw in the wind. As for their children getting the punishment, what do they care about that? What do they care about their inheritance after they have died? They seem to die at ease and secure with their prosperity. What else could you ask for? They die like everyone else. Dust and worms will cover them up whether they were prosperous or not, whether they were wicked or not. Where is God’s punishment to them since they do not seem to care or know about God?

The wicked see no profit in God (Job 21:14-21:16)

“They say to God.

‘Leave us alone!

We do not desire to know your ways.

What is the Almighty Shaddai?

Why should we serve him?

What profit do we get?

Why pray to him?’

Is not their prosperity indeed their own achievement?

The plans of the wicked are repugnant to me.”

Job said that the wicked wanted God to leave them alone. They did not want to know his ways. Why should they bother with the almighty Shaddai? Why serve or pray to him since he would not bring them profit or prosperity? After all, does not prosperity come from their achievements and their own initiative? Job maintained that all the plans of the wicked were repulsive to him.

Job maintains that the wicked do not get punished (Job 21:7-21:13)

“Why do the wicked live on?

Why do they reach old age?

Why do they grow mighty in power?

Their children are established in their presence.

Their offspring are established before their eyes.

Their houses are safe from fear.

No rod of God is upon them.

Their bull breeds without fail.

Their cow calves.

Their cows never miscarry.

They send out their little ones like a flock.

Their children dance around.

They sing to the tambourine and the lyre.

They rejoice to the sound of the pipe.

They spend their days in prosperity.

In peace they go down to Sheol.”

Job was very clear. The wicked live to reach old age. They actually grow stronger. They have many children. Their houses are safe. He did not see any punishment from God coming to them. In fact, their livestock are able to multiply without problems. The little children grew, danced, and sang to musical instruments. They seemed like very happy people. They spent their days in prosperity before they had a peaceful death and entered Sheol. Thus he was refuting the claim of Bildad that the wicked would not have children and not prosper. He maintained the opposite since the wicked seem to do quite well.

God punishes the wicked (Job 20:20-20:29)

“They know no quiet in their bellies.

In their greed,

They let nothing escape.

There was nothing left after they had eaten.

Therefore their prosperity will not endure.

In full sufficiency,

They will be in distress.

All the force of misery will come upon them.

To fill their belly to the full,

God will send his fierce anger into them.

God will rain upon them as their food.

They will flee from an iron weapon.

A bronze arrow will strike them through.

It is drawn forth.

It comes out of their body.

The glittering point comes out of their gall.

Terrors come upon them.

Utter darkness is laid up for their treasures.

A fire fanned by no one will devour them.

What is left in their tent will be consumed.

The heavens will reveal their iniquity.

The earth will rise up against them.

The possessions of their home will be carried away.

They will be carried off in the day of God’s wrath.

This is the portion of the wicked from God.

This is the heritage decreed for them by God.”

Zophar continued that God punishes the wicked and the greedy. Their stomachs are never full since they have an insatiable hunger. Their prosperity will not endure. They will be in distress and misery. Their food will be rain. They will face iron weapons, especially a bronze arrow in their gall bladder. Darkness will be their treasure. They will face a fire that no one starts. Their tents will be destroyed. Their possessions will be carried away. Heaven and earth will rise up against them. This will be the portion and heritage that God will give to the wicked. This seems to imply that Job was the wicked person who faced God’s wrath.

Nicanor as the governor of Judea (2 Macc 14:11-14:14)

“When Alcimus had said this, the rest of the king’s friends, who were hostile to Judas Maccabeus, quickly inflamed King Demetrius still more. He immediately chose Nicanor, who had been in command of the elephants. He appointed him governor of Judea. He sent him off with orders to kill Judas Maccabeus and scatter his troops. He was to install Alcimus as high priest of the great temple. The gentiles throughout Judea, who had fled before Judas Maccabeus, flocked to join Nicanor. They thought that the misfortunes and calamities of the Jews would mean prosperity for themselves.”

Once again, this is similar but not quite the same as 1 Maccabees, chapter 7. There is no mention of Bacchides here. Instead the leader of the troops and the governor of Judea was Nicanor. Apparently, Nicanor had been in charge of the elephants that seem to have been a big deal in the Syrian army. He may also have been with King Demetrius I when he was in jail in Rome. Now this meant that there was a separate governor for Judea whose sole purpose was to kill Judas Maccabees and disperse his troops. Alcimus was officially made the high priest. The gentiles in the area were happy so that they eagerly joined with Nicanor. The assumption of the gentiles was a zero sum game that if the Jews were in trouble, it would be better for them.

The letter of King Antiochus IV to the Jews (2 Macc 9:18-9:22)

“Instead King Antiochus wrote to the Jews the following letter, in the form of a supplication. This was its content.

‘To his worthy Jewish citizens,

Antiochus their king and general

Sends hearty greetings and good wishes

For their health and prosperity.

If you and your children are well

And your affairs are as you wish,

I am glad.

As my hope is in heaven,

I remember with affection your esteem and good will.

On my way back from the region of Persia

I suffered an annoying illness.

I have deemed it necessary to take thought

For the general security of all.

I do not despair of my condition.

I have good hope of recovering from my illness.’”

The letter of King Antiochus IV has a different friendly tone. He talked about the worthy Jewish citizens. He wished them health and prosperity. He hoped their children and affairs were in good order. He said that his hope was in heaven. He talked about their good will towards him. Then he mentioned that he had suffered an annoying illness on his way back from Persia. He hoped to recover from his illness. This was the new kinder and gentler King Antiochus IV.

A poem to Simon (1 Macc 14:4-14:15)

“The land had rest all the days of Simon.

He sought the good of his nation.

His rule was pleasing to them,

Honor was shown him all his days.

To crown all his honors

He took Joppa for a harbor.

He opened a way to the isles of the sea.

He extended the borders of his nation.

He gained full control of the country.

He gathered a host of captives.

He ruled over Gazara and Beth-zur and the citadel.

He removed its uncleanness from it.

There was none to oppose him.

They tilled their land in peace.

The ground gave its increase.

The trees of the plains give their fruit.

Old men sat in the streets.

They all talked together of good things.

The young people put on splendid military attire.

He supplied the towns with food.

He furnished them with the means of defense.

His renown spread to the ends of the earth.

He established peace in the land.

Israel rejoiced with great joy.

All the people sat under their own vines and fig trees.

There was none to make them afraid.

No one was left in the land to fight them.

The kings were crushed in those days.

He gave help to all the humble of his people.

He sought out the law.

He did away with all the renegades and outlaws.

He made the sanctuary glorious.

He added to the vessels of the sanctuary.”

This poem To Simon was inserted here like that of Judas in chapter 3 of this work. Simon had brought peace to this land, a sort of idyllic time. He had full control of the country as they had a seaport. Everyone was happy. The old men sat around talking, while the young men had nice military clothes. All the towns had food and a good defense since the surrounding kings had been defeated. People sat unde their own vineyards and fig trees. No one was afraid. All the renegades and outlaws had been eliminated. The sanctuary was in great shape. What was there not to like? Simon had achieved peace, prosperity, and honor.