Their testimony did not agree (Mk 14:59-14:59)

“But even on this point,

Their testimony

Did not agree.”

 

καὶ οὐδὲ οὕτως ἴση ἦν ἡ μαρτυρία αὐτῶν.

 

This is a unique saying of Mark.  He indicated that even on this point about the destruction of the Temple and the rebuilding of it, the testimony of these accusers did not agree (καὶ οὐδὲ οὕτως ἴση ἦν ἡ μαρτυρία αὐτῶν).  In other words, Mark said that they had no case against Jesus, because they needed to have 2 witnesses who would agree on a charge.

Advertisements

The anointed prince (Dan 9:25-9:27)

“Know therefore!

Understand!

From the time

That the word

Went out

To restore,

To rebuild

Jerusalem,

Until the time

To the coming

Of an anointed prince,

There shall be seven weeks.

For sixty-two weeks,

It shall be built again

With streets,

With a moat,

But in a troubled time.”

Once again, there is the problem of weeks and years. Clearly the text says weeks. Many have interpreted as years, 7 weeks as 7 times 7 or 49 years, and 62 weeks as 7 times 62 or 434 years. It would take a period of time to rebuild Jerusalem. That was clear and everyone knew and understood that. Who then is this new anointed prince? Is this a messianic expectation? From the time of the announcement of the rebuilding of Jerusalem, it would take 7 weeks (or 49 years) before this new anointed prince would take over. Was this a reference to the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the captivity or the 2nd century BCE Greek takeover of the Temple? Finally, it would take 62 weeks (434 years) to rebuild the city with streets and a moat. However, even this time would be troubled. There are more questions than answers here.

Jeshua (Sir 49:12-49:12)

“Also there was

Jeshua

Son of Jozadak.

In their days

They built the house.

They raised a temple

Holy to the Lord,

Destined for everlasting glory.”

Jeshua son of Jozadak was also known as Joshua. Jeshua is also the Hebrew name for Jesus. This Jeshua returned with Zerubbabel as the first high priest in Jerusalem after the captivity from about 515-490 BCE. Certainly, he was instrumental in the rebuilding of the 2nd Temple with all its significance. They built this holy Temple that was destined for glory, for it still existed at the time of Sirach. Jeshua or Joshua was mentioned in the books of Ezra, chapter 2, and Zachariah, chapter 6.

Rebuild Zion (Ps 51:18-51:19)

“Do good to Zion!

In your good pleasure!

Rebuild the walls of Jerusalem!

Then you will delight in right sacrifices.

You will delight in burnt offerings.

You will delight in whole burnt offerings.

Then bulls will be offered on your altar.”

This psalm ends with this addition about rebuilding Zion that had nothing to do with David and his sin with Bathsheba.  David had not even built the Temple so that to rebuild it would have been a post-exilic effort such as in Ezra and Nehemiah. This addition is almost in contradiction to the preceding verses that were pointing out the non-importance of sacrifices.  Here it is the opposite.  God would delight in right sacrifices, various burnt offers, and all those bulls on his altar.  This seems to go against the whole theme of this psalm, but brings the repentance back to ritual sacrifices.

King Demetrius I will give money to Jerusalem (1 Macc 10:38-10:45)

“As for the three districts that have been added to Judea

From the country of Samaria,

Let them be so annexed to Judea,

So that they may be considered to be under one ruler.

They will obey no other authority than the high priest.

Ptolemais and the land adjoining it,

I have given as a gift to the sanctuary in Jerusalem,

To meet the necessary expenses of the sanctuary.

I also grant fifteen thousand shekels of silver yearly

Out of the king’s revenues from appropriate places.

All the additional funds

That the government officials have not paid

As they did in the first years,

They shall give from now on for the service of the temple.

Moreover, the five thousand shekels of silver

That my officials have received every year

From the income of the services of the temple,

This too is canceled,

Because it belongs to the priests who minister there.

All who take refuge at the temple in Jerusalem,

Or in any of its precincts,

Because they owe money to the king

Or are in debt,

Let him be released

And receive back all their property in my kingdom.

Let the cost of rebuilding and restoring

The structures of the sanctuary be paid

From the revenues of the king.

Let the cost of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem

And fortifying it all around,

And the cost of rebuilding the walls in Judea,

Also be paid from the revenues of the king.”

King Demetrius I was very willing to be very generous with Jerusalem. The 3 new areas annexed to Judea would be under the rule of the high priest at Jerusalem. In fact, the land that Alexander had taken was Ptolemais, King Demetrius was now giving to the Jerusalem sanctuary. He was going to give 5,000 shekels yearly to the sanctuary. He also was going to give them the additional funds that stopped coming when King Antiochus IV was in charge. On top of giving money, he also was cancelling the money owed from the Temple. Anyone who fled to the Jerusalem Temple would find sanctuary and forgiveness of their debt. He was also going to pay with his royal revenues for the rebuilding and restoring the walls of Jerusalem. This seems like a very generous guy.

The prayer of Tobit for the return to Jerusalem (Tob 13:14-14:1)

“Happy are those who love you!

Happy are those who rejoice in your prosperity!

Happy also are all who grieve with you because of your afflictions.

They will rejoice with you.

They will witness all your glory forever.

My soul blesses the Lord,

The great King!

Jerusalem will be built as his house for all ages

How happy I will be,

If a remnant of my descendents should survive,

They would see your glory,

They would acknowledge the King of heaven.

The gates of Jerusalem will be built with sapphires and emeralds.

All her walls will be built with precious stones.

The towers of Jerusalem will be built with gold.

The battlements will be built with pure gold.

The streets of Jerusalem will be paved with ruby.

The streets of Jerusalem will be paved with stones of Ophir.

The gates of Jerusalem will sing hymns of joy.

All her houses will cry ‘Hallelujah!’

Blessed be the God of Israel!

The blessed will bless your holy name forever and ever.’

This ended Tobit’s words of praise.”

The setting is the time before the destruction and rebuilding of Jerusalem. It is not just the Temple, but the whole town that will praise God. Everyone will be happy who love Jerusalem and want it to prosper. Those who have grieved with you will rejoice with its new glory. Tobit’s soul blessed the Lord, who is the great king. Jerusalem shall be his home for all ages to come. The remnant of his descendents will return and be happy in the glory of Jerusalem. They will acknowledge the king of heaven there. The renewed paved streets of Jerusalem will have sapphires, emeralds, Ophir, and all kinds of precious stones. The gates will have these stones plus golden towers. The gates and houses will cry out with Alleluia all over the place. The God of Israel is to be blessed. Thus, we come to the end of Tobit’s prayer. It is more like a lament, a longing for the return to Jerusalem. He, in fact, had lived in the north, not in Jerusalem, but he would journey every year to worship there. This canticle or hymn clearly believed in an idealized Jerusalem.

The reply of the elders at Jerusalem (Ezra 5:11-5:16)

“This was their reply to us. ‘We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth. We are rebuilding the house that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and finished. But because our ancestors had angered the God of heaven, he gave them into the hand of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house and carried away the people to Babylonia. However, King Cyrus of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, made a decree that this house of God should be rebuilt. Moreover, the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which King Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem and had brought into the temple of Babylon, these King Cyrus took out of the temple of Babylon. They were delivered to a man named Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor. He said to him. ‘Take these vessels! Go and put them in the temple in Jerusalem! Let the house of God be rebuilt on its site!’ Then this Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of the house of God in Jerusalem. From that time until now it has been under construction. It is not yet finished.’”

Governor Tattenai gave the Jewish side of the story, explaining why they were doing such a thing as building a house of God. They were rebuilding the house of God on the same spot where the Temple used to be. Their ancestors had angered God, so that the Chaldeans with King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple and took the people into captivity. Then King Cyrus issued a decree that the Temple be built again. In fact, he gave the gold and silver vessels that originally came from Jerusalem that were in the Babylonian temple to Sheshbazzar, who was the governor in Jerusalem. Thus for the last few years, they have been building this unfinished Temple.