“I heard a human voice
By the Ulai,
Help this man
He came near
Where I stood.
When he came,
I became frightened.
I fell prostrate.
But he said to me.
O son of man!
That the vision is
For the time
Of the end!’”
Then Daniel, in the first-person singular, heard a human voice or an angel speaking in a human voice. He was at the Ulai River, in Susa. This voice called for Gabriel to help him understand his vision. Then the archangel Gabriel came close to Daniel, but he was frightened and fell to the ground prostrate. Then Gabriel called him son of man. He told him that he should understand that this vision was for the end times.
“My wounds grow foul.
My wounds fester.
Because of my foolishness,
I am utterly bowed down.
I am utterly prostrate.
All day long I go around mourning.
My loins are filled with burning.
There is no soundness in my flesh.
I am utterly spent.
I am utterly crushed.
Because of the tumult of my heart.”
David or the psalmist was in bad shape. His wounds were growing more rank. They festered in his body because he had been foolish. He was knocked down and prostrate. Every day, all day long, he was in mourning. He had burning loins. As stated above, his body was not sound. In fact, he was utterly spent and crushed because of his sorrowful heart.
“O continue your steadfast love
To those who know you!
Let your salvation come to the upright of heart!
Do not let the foot of the arrogant thread on me!
Do not let the hand of the wicked drive me away!
Let these evildoers lie prostrate!
Let them be thrust down!
Let them be unable to rise!”
This short psalm ends with David wanting the continual steadfast love of Yahweh to come on those who knew and loved Yahweh. He wanted salvation for the upright of heart. He did not want the hands and feet of the arrogant and the wicked to thread on him or drive him away. However, he wanted the evildoers to lie prostrate, to be thrust down so that they would not be able to rise up again. Thus this psalm ends with a vindictive message.
“The king with barbarous arrogance was coming to show the Jews things far worse than those that had been done in his father’s time. But when Judas Maccabeus heard of this, he ordered the people to call upon the Lord day and night. Now was the time to help those who were on the point of being deprived of the law, their country, and the holy temple. He did not want to let the people who had just begun to revive fall into the hands of the blasphemous gentiles. They all joined in the same petition. They had implored the merciful Lord with weeping, fasting, and lying prostrate for three days without ceasing. Then Judas Maccabeus exhorted them and ordered them to stand ready.”
Judas Maccabeus heard that King Antiochus V was coming to destroy the Jews. He was going to be worse than his father King Antiochus IV. Judas Maccabeus ordered the people to pray to the Lord day and night. He was afraid that they would fall back into the deprived ways of the blasphemous gentiles. They all joined him in imploring the Lord for 3 days of weeping, fasting, and lying prostrate. Then he exhorted and commanded them to get ready.
“Now Judas Maccabeus and his followers, the Lord leading them on, recovered the temple and the city. They tore down the altars which that had been built in the public square by the foreigners. They also destroyed the sacred precincts. They purified the sanctuary. They made another altar of sacrifice. Then, striking fire out of flint, they offered sacrifices. After a lapse of two years, they burned incense. They lighted lamps. They set out the bread of the Presence. When they had done this, they fell prostrate. They implored the Lord that they might never again fall into such misfortunes. If they should ever sin, they might be disciplined by him with forbearance and not be handed over to blasphemous and barbarous nations.”
This purification of the Temple by Judas Maccabeus took place earlier in 1 Maccabees, chapter 4, about a year before the death of King Antiochus IV. Here it is 2 years after the desecration of the Temple. In fact, the description in 1 Maccabees was more elaborate, but pretty much the same as here. There was no lamentation and mourning for the city and the Temple here. The Lord led them on here as the altars were in the public square. In 1 Maccabees, they saved the old stones. Here they just made another altar. They offered sacrifices, burned incense, lighted lamps, and set out the bread of Presence as in 1 Maccabees. Here there is a prayer to be more lenient next time if they do sin.
“While he lay prostrate, speechless because of the divine intervention he was deprived of any hope of recovery. They praised the Lord who had acted marvelously for his own place. The temple, which a little while before was full of fear and disturbance, was filled with joy and gladness. The Almighty Lord had appeared.”
While Heliodorus was lying speechless without any hope of recovering, they began to praise the Lord. They thanked the Lord who had acted marvelously in favor of this place, the Temple. The Temple that had been full of fear was now filled with joy and gladness because the almighty Lord had appeared there to turn back Heliodorus. God had protected his Temple.
“The coastal people therefore sent messengers to sue for peace. They said.
‘We, the servants of Nebuchadnezzar, the Great King,
We lie prostrate before you.
Do with us whatever you will.
See! Our buildings,
All our land,
All our wheat fields,
Our flocks and herds,
And all our encampments lie before you.
Do with them as you please.
Our towns and their inhabitants are also your slaves.
Come and deal with them as you see fit.’
The men came to Holofernes and told him all this.”
The coastal people sent messengers to Holofernes to avoid any further devastation. They said that they were willing to be the servants of the king. They would prostrate before him. He could do whatever he wanted with their land, their fields, their herds, and their towns. They were willing to be his slaves. Holofernes then heard about this. Obviously the coastal people did not want to fight and just wanted to be left alone.