Yahweh is the fountain of living water (Jer 17:12-17:13)

“O glorious throne,

Exalted from the beginning,

Shrine in our sanctuary!

Yahweh!

O hope of Israel!

All who forsake you

Shall be put to shame.

Those who turn away from you

Shall be recorded

In the underworld.

They have forsaken

The fountain of living water,          

Yahweh!”

This seems to be two verses that were added to Jeremiah, talking about Yahweh. Yahweh was sitting on his glorious throne. He was the hope of Israel, so that he would shine in their sanctuary. Anyone who gave up on Yahweh would be put to shame and thus recorded in the underworld. They have forsaken the fountain of the living water that is Yahweh himself.

Future praise for Yahweh (Ps 102:18-102:22)

“Let this be recorded for a generation to come.

Thus a people yet unborn may praise Yahweh.

He looked down from his holy height.

From heaven,

Yahweh looked at the earth.

He heard the groans of the prisoners.

He set free those who were doomed to die.

Thus the name of Yahweh may be declared in Zion.

His praise may be declared in Jerusalem.

Peoples will gather together to worship Yahweh.

Kingdoms will worship Yahweh.”

This was to be recorded for posterity so that future generations would praise Yahweh. He looked down from heaven, his holy high place, on earth. He heard the groans of the prisoners and those doomed to die. He wanted the name of Yahweh declared on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem. Various people and kingdoms will gather in the future to worship Yahweh.

Queen Esther on Purim (Esth 9:29-9:32)

“Queen Esther daughter of Abihail, along with the Jew Mordecai, were given full written authority. They confirmed this second letter about Purim. Letters were sent wishing peace and security to all the Jews, to the one hundred twenty-seven provinces of the kingdom of King Artaxerxes. This letter gave orders that these days of Purim should be observed at their appointed seasons. The Jew Mordecai and Queen Esther enjoined on all the Jews, just as they had for themselves and for their descendants, regulations concerning their fasts and their lamentations. The command of Queen Esther fixed these practices of Purim. It was recorded in writing.”

Not only was there an explanation by Mordecai, the queen herself sent out a letter to the 127 provinces pertaining to all the Jews. Purim was to be observed at the appointed times. She laid out the regulations concerning this feast, with fasting, and lamentations. All of this was in writing. Once again there was an insistence that this was written down. The feast of Purim would become an important post-exilic feast day, a time of great rejoicing, drinking and eating.

The official institution of Purim (Esth 9:20-9:23)

“Mordecai recorded these things. He sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Artaxerxes, both near and far. He enjoined them that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month of Adar and also the fifteenth day of the same month, year by year. These are the days on which the Jews gained relief from their enemies. This is the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness, and from mourning into a holiday. They should make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another, and presents to the poor. Thus the Jews adopted as a custom what they had begun to do, as Mordecai had written to them.”

Mordecai put in a decree for the Jews of the Persian kingdom, a custom that they had already started. This became known as Purim. Each year they should remember what happened to them on the 14th and 15th of Adar. They should exchange food gifts and give to the poor. They were to remember that on this day that they turned from sorrow to gladness and from mourning to feasting. In modern day Judaism, this has become a big holiday eating and drinking for Conservative and Orthodox Jews, much like a Halloween feast. Children dress up and exchange treats. They read the Book of Esther, while booing Haman and cheering Mordecai.

Mordecai and the plot to kill the king (Esth 2:21-2:23)

“While Mordecai was sitting in the royal courtyard, two of the king’s eunuchs, Bigthan and Terseh, who were the chief bodyguards, became angry. They conspired to assassinate King Artaxerxes. This matter became known to Mordecai, who warned Queen Esther. She, in turn, revealed the plot to the king in the name of Mordecai. When the affair was investigated and found to be true, the men were both hanged. Then the king ordered a memorandum to be deposited in the royal library in praise of the goodwill shown by Mordecai. It was recorded in the book of the annals in the presence of the king.”

The names of the 2 eunuchs are only in the Hebrew text, not the Greek text. Eunuchs were personal bodyguards. Perhaps this relates to the preliminary Greek text about the plot against the king, where Mordecai heard 2 eunuchs plotting to kill the king. There they confessed and were executed. It sounds very similar. Except here, Mordecai told Esther who then told the king. Here it is very clearly recorded in the annals of the king.

Raphael reveals that he is an angel (Tob 12:11-12:15)

“I will now declare the whole truth to you. I will conceal nothing from you. Already I have declared to you when I said.

‘It is good to conceal the secret of a king,

But to reveal with due honor the works of God.’

So now, when you and your daughter-in-law Sarah prayed,

It was I who brought and read the record of your prayer

Before the glory of the Lord.

Likewise, whenever you would bury the dead,

I was present with you.

That time when you did not hesitate to get up

And leave your dinner to go and bury the dead,

I was sent to test you.

At the same time,

God sent me to heal you and Sarah your daughter-in-law.

I am Raphael,

One of the seven angels who stand ready

And enter before the glory of the Lord.’”

Raphael said that he would reveal the whole truth and conceal nothing. He had hinted at that when he said that it was good to conceal the secrets of the king. He told Tobit and Tobias that when Tobit and Sarah had prayed in despair, he was the one who recorded this and brought it to the Lord. He was present when Tobit buried the dead. He was sent to test him. God sent him to heal both Tobit and Sarah. Then he revealed that he is the angel Raphael. However, he is not just any angel, but one of the 7 who stand before the glory of the Lord. Literally, his name means, “God heals,” so that this was a perfect project for him. The naming of angels did not take place until after the Persian captivity, in the Second Temple time, so there is a Persian influence here. Sometimes, he is referred to as an archangel, because of his place among the top 7 angels. Perhaps he might have a place among the guardian angels as he protected Tobias here.