“The day was growing
To a close.
The twelve came
‘Send the crowd away!
They may go
Into the surrounding villages
And the countryside
And get provisions.
We are here
In a deserted lonely place.’”
Ἡ δὲ ἡμέρα ἤρξατο κλίνειν· προσελθόντες δὲ οἱ δώδεκα εἶπαν αὐτῷ Ἀπόλυσον τὸν ὄχλον, ἵνα πορευθέντες εἰς τὰς κύκλῳ κώμας καὶ ἀγροὺς καταλύσωσιν καὶ εὕρωσιν ἐπισιτισμόν, ὅτι ὧδε ἐν ἐρήμῳ τόπῳ ἐσμέν.
Luke said that when the day was growing to a close (Ἡ δὲ ἡμέρα ἤρξατο κλίνειν), the twelve apostles came to Jesus (προσελθόντες δὲ οἱ δώδεκα). They said to him (ἶπαν αὐτῷ) to send the crowd away (Ἀπόλυσον τὸν ὄχλον), so that they might go into the surrounding villages and the countryside (ἵνα πορευθέντες εἰς τὰς κύκλῳ κώμας καὶ ἀγροὺς) to find lodging and provisions (καταλύσωσιν καὶ εὕρωσιν ἐπισιτισμόν). They said that they were in a deserted lonely place (ὅτι ὧδε ἐν ἐρήμῳ τόπῳ ἐσμέν). There were similar indications about this crowd needing to eat in Matthew, chapter 14:15, and Mark, chapter 6:35-36. Mark said that the disciples wanted to send the crowds home. After all, there were no fast food places to get something to eat. However, there were some places in the nearby villages where you could buy some food. Mark said that when it grew late, Jesus’ disciples came to him. They told him that they were in a deserted place. They wanted to send the crowds away, so that they could go into the surrounding region and nearby villages to buy food for themselves. This seemed like a good or reasonable plan. Matthew also said that the disciples wanted to send the crowds home. When it was evening, the disciples came to Jesus. They told him that there were in a deserted place at a late hour. They wanted to send the crowds away so that they could go into the nearby villages to buy food for themselves. Have you ever been in a large crowd without food?
“‘Now please hear me!
My lord king!
Be good enough
To listen to my plea!
Do not send me
Back to the house
Of the secretary Jonathan
To die there.’
So King Zedekiah gave orders.
They committed Jeremiah
To the court of the guard.
A loaf of bread
Was given him daily
From the bakers’ street,
Until all the bread of the city
So Jeremiah remained
In the court of the guard.”
Jeremiah did not want to go back to the dungeon cell in the house of the secretary Jonathan. Thus he pleaded with the king to get out of there. King Zedekiah granted his request. He was going to be kept in a semi-house arrest in the court of the guard, a real prison attached to the royal palace. There he would get a fresh loaf of bread from the common baker’s street area daily, until there were no more provisions in the city. Thus Jeremiah got better living conditions, if not released.
“Yahweh has chosen Zion.
He has desired it for his habitation.
‘This is my resting place forever.
Here I will reside.
I have desired it.
I will abundantly bless its provisions.
I will satisfy its poor with bread.
I will clothe its priests with salvation.
Its faithful will shout for joy.
There I will cause a horn to sprout up for David.
I have prepared a lamp for my anointed one.
I will clothe his enemies with shame.
But upon him,
His crown will gleam.’”
This psalm ends with Yahweh’s promise to remain at Zion, Jerusalem. Yahweh has chosen Zion for his dwelling place. He was going to rest there at his new residence. He desired to live there. He was going to provide for the poor people there with provisions and bread. The priests would be provided with saving clothes, while the faithful would be full of joyful shouts. David would have his horn of plenty full. He would have a lamp for the anointed one, David. His enemies would be clothed in shame, while David’s crown would gleam. Thus the combination of the Ark of the Covenant, the covenant with David, and Jerusalem as the holy city are all combined into one thought here at the conclusion of this psalm.
“Judas Maccabeus also attacked a certain city that was strongly fortified with earthworks and walls. Inhabited by all sorts of gentiles, its name was Caspin. Those who were within, relying on the strength of the walls and on their supply of provisions, behaved most insolently toward Judas Maccabeus and his men. They railed at them, even blaspheming and saying unholy things. But Judas Maccabeus and his men, calling upon the great Sovereign of the world, who without battering-rams or engines of war overthrew Jericho in the days of Joshua, rushed furiously upon the walls. They took the town by the will of God. They slaughtered untold numbers, so that the adjoining lake, a quarter of a mile wide, appeared to be running over with blood.”
This Caspin may be the same as Chaspho in 1 Maccabees, chapter 5. The only apparent reason for attacking this strongly fortified town was because they had some gentiles there. However, for some reason, the people in this town were insolent to Judas Maccabeus and his men. They blasphemed and said unholy things. Judas Maccabeus, after calling on the sovereign Lord, rushed the walls of this town named Caspin. Once again, by the will of God, they took this town like in the days of Joshua at Jericho. Here they killed so many people that a lake a quarter of a mile wide looked like it was running over with blood.
“The soldiers of the king’s army went up to Jerusalem against them. The king encamped in Judea and at Mount Zion. He made peace with the men of Beth-zur. They evacuated the town because they had no provisions there to withstand a siege, since it was a sabbatical year for the land. So the king took Beth-zur. He stationed a guard there to hold it. Then he encamped before the sanctuary for many days. He set up siege towers, engines of war to throw fire and stones, machines to shoot arrows, and catapults. The Jews also made engines of war to match theirs. They fought for many days. But they had no food in storage, because it was the seventh year. Those who found safety in Judea from the gentiles had consumed the last of the stores. Only a few men were left in the sanctuary. The rest of the men had scattered to their own homes. The famine proved too much for them.”
The king’s soldiers moved on to Jerusalem. They camped near Mount Zion. They had already made peace with the people of Beth-zur because they had no provisions due to the fact that it was a sabbatical year. No one worked the fields. The king set up a guard there. Then he camped near the sanctuary in Jerusalem. Then the king’s men set up towers to create engines of war. These engines of war were like battering rams or catapults to shot fire, stones, and arrows. The Jews tried to match these engines of war as the war dragged on. However, the men in Jerusalem, like the people in Beth-zur had little supplies since this was sabbatical jubilee year when no work was done. Eventually, a lot of the Jews left for their own homes as the famine continued.