“Then Herod secretly called
For the Magi.
The exact time
When the star had appeared.”
Τότε Ἡρῴδης λάθρᾳ καλέσας τοὺς μάγους ἠκρίβωσεν παρ’ αὐτῶν τὸν χρόνον τοῦ φαινομένου ἀστέρος
Then Herod (Ἡρῴδης) secretly called (λάθρᾳ καλέσας) the magi (τοὺς μάγους). It is not clear why he had to do this secretly, since they seem to have publicly went to him. He wanted to know from them (ἠκρίβωσεν παρ’ αὐτῶν) the exact time (τὸν χρόνον) when this star had first appeared (τοῦ φαινομένου ἀστέρος). This was an attempt by Herod to figure out when this new king was born.
“I have told the glad news of deliverance
In the great congregation.
I have not restrained my lips.
As you know!
I have not hidden
Your saving help within my heart.
I have spoken of your faithfulness.
I have spoken of your salvation.
I have not concealed your steadfast love,
I have not concealed your faithfulness,
From the great congregation.”
David has proclaimed the good news of salvation to the great Jewish congregation where later they would gather in the Temple. He has not kept quiet. He has not hidden his love for Yahweh. He has spoken about his saving help, the faithfulness, and steadfast love of Yahweh. He has not concealed the faithfulness of Yahweh toward him and his faithfulness towards Yahweh. He has done all this publicly in the great assemblies.
“For example, two women were brought in for having circumcised their children. They publicly paraded them around the city, with their babies hung at their breasts. Then they hurled them down headlong from the wall.”
This is a reference to some incidents that occurred in 1 Maccabees, chapter 1. Here it is only 2 women who had their children circumcised. They were then publically displayed with their dead children on their breasts. Then they were thrown from a wall and killed.
“While such was the state of affairs, it happened that the people of Tarsus and of Mallus revolted because their cities had been given as a present to Antiochis, the king’s concubine. So the king went hurriedly to settle the trouble. He left Andronicus, a man of high rank, to act as his deputy. But Menelaus, thinking he had obtained a suitable opportunity, stole some of the gold vessels of the temple. He gave them to Andronicus. As it happened, he had sold other vessels to Tyre and the neighboring cities. When Onias became fully aware of these acts he publicly exposed them. He had first withdrawn to a place of sanctuary at Daphne near Antioch. Therefore Menelaus, taking Andronicus aside, urged him to kill Onias. Andronicus came to Onias. Resorting to treachery, he offered him sworn pledges and gave him his right hand. He persuaded Onias, though still suspicious, to come out from the place of sanctuary. Then, with no regard for justice, he immediately put him out of the way.”
When there was a revolt in Tarsus and Mallus because of a present to his concubine, King Antiochus IV had to go there to settle the problem. He left Andronicus as his deputy in charge. Menelaus then stole some gold vessels from the Temple and gave them to Andronicus. Menelaus then sold other vessels to Tyre and the neighboring seacoast towns. When deposed high priest Onias III heard about this he first went to an Apollo sanctuary in Daphne about 5 miles from Antioch. There he publically exposed the actions of Menelaus. Menelaus then persuaded the deputy of the king, Andronicus, to kill Onias. Andronicus tricked Onias when he swore not to hurt him, but when he came out of the sanctuary, he killed him. There was no regard for justice.