The prayer of Elizabeth (Lk 1:25-1:25)

“Elizabeth said.

‘This is what

The Lord

Has done to me.

He looked on me.

He took away

The disgrace

That I have endured

Among my people.’”

 

λέγουσα

ὅτι Οὕτως μοι πεποίηκεν Κύριος ἐν ἡμέραις αἷς ἐπεῖδεν ἀφελεῖν ὄνειδός μου ἐν ἀνθρώποις.

 

Luke has this prayer of Elizabeth.  She said that the Lord had done this to her (ὅτι Οὕτως μοι πεποίηκεν Κύριος).  Many believed that only God could help people get pregnant, since he controlled the opening and closing of the womb, as indicated in Genesis, chapter 16:2, about Sarah and being barren.  That was the reason that there were so many pagan fertility gods, rites, and rituals, since giving birth was considered to be some kind of magical or divine action.  Also, contemporary political gesturing around reproductive rights has its basis in religious beliefs.  Elizabeth said that in those days (ἐν ἡμέραις), the Lord had looked on her (αἷς ἐπεῖδεν), since he took away her disgrace or reproach (ἀφελεῖν ὄνειδός) that she had endured among her people or other men (ἐν ἀνθρώποις).  Being barren or sterile was considered a punishment from God.  The prime example of a happiness at birth would have been in Genesis, chapter 29:31-30:23, where Rachel finally had a son, Joseph.  Elizabeth understood her pregnancy as a personal vindication or reward for her righteousness.  She did not seem to understand the wider consequences of her pregnancy.

 

Achior the Ammonite explains the history of Israel (Jdt 5:5-5:9)

“Then Achior, the leader of all the Ammonites, said to him.

‘May my lord please listen to a report

From the mouth of your servant.

I will tell you the truth about these people

Who live in the mountain district near you.

No falsehood shall come from your servant’s mouth.

These people are descended from the Chaldeans.

At one time, they lived in Mesopotamia,

Because they did not wish to follow the gods of their ancestors

Who were in Chaldea.

They had abandoned the ways of their ancestors.

They worshiped the God of heaven, the God they had come to know. Their ancestors drove them out from the presence of their gods.

They fled to Mesopotamia.

They lived there for a long time.

Then their God commanded them to leave the place

Where they were living

And go to the land of Canaan.

There they settled.

They grew very prosperous in gold

And silver with very much livestock.’”

Achior, the leader of the Ammonites, told the story of how the Israelites came to be in Canaan. In one sense, he seems to know a lot about Israelite history, yet he had been an enemy to them. He maintained that he was not lying. He started with the adventures of Abraham rather than Moses. Achior maintained that the Israelites are Chaldeans. Chaldea was the name of Babylonia, so that the Israelites were originally Babylonians. Thus the Babylonian exile meant that they were actually going home. They were kicked out of Mesopotamia because of their religious beliefs. They eventually settled in Canaan and became prosperous there. However, he did not mention Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but it is along the general outlines of the story of Abraham.