The circumcision (Lk 1:59-1: 59)

“On the eighth day,

They came

To circumcise

The child.

 

Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ ὀγδόῃ ἦλθον περιτεμεῖν τὸ παιδίον,

 

Luke explained what happened on the eighth day (Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ ὀγδόῃ) after the birth of the child.  They came to circumcise this child (ἦλθον περιτεμεῖν τὸ παιδίον).  This circumcision, brit milah, or bris was a sign of the covenant with God that goes back to Abraham in Genesis, chapter 17:11-12.  This sacerdotal covenant alliance story emphasized male circumcision as the main part of the Yahweh covenant.  Thus. circumcision became a big deal.  Every male was to be circumcised by removing the flesh of the foreskin of his penis, when he was eight days old.  This also included male slaves born or brought into the house.  An uncircumcised Jewish male would be cut off from his people, because he had broken the covenant with God.  Circumcision has been practiced among many ancient and contemporary groups for either religious or hygienic reasons.  In fact, despite their differences, Islamic males practice circumcision also.  In the USA, most boys born in a hospital are circumcised for hygienic or health purposes.

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The seven-month search and burial (Ezek 39:12-39:16)

“‘The house of Israel

Shall spend

Seven months

Burying them,

In order to cleanse

The land.

All the people

Of the land

Shall bury them.

It will bring them honor

On the day

That I show my glory.’

Says Yahweh God.

‘They will set apart men

To pass through

The land continually.

They will bury

Any invaders who remain

On the face of the land.

It will then be cleansed.

They will make their search.

For seven months.

As the searchers

Pass through the land,

Anyone who sees

A human bone

Shall set up

A sign by it,

Until the buriers

Have buried it

In the Valley of Hamon-gog.

A city Hamonah

Is there also.

Thus,

They shall cleanse

The land.”

The house of Israel was to spend 7 months burying the men with Gog, so that they could cleanse the land of Israel and its people. These grave diggers would gain honor on the day when Yahweh was going to show his glory. These body searchers would be set apart to pass through the land continually. They would bury any remains they found. Anyone who saw a human bone was to set up a sign by it, until these buriers buried them in the Valley of Hamon-gog or the city Hamonah, next to it. Thus, the land would be cleansed by removing these dead bodies in 7 months.

The call to Judah and Jerusalem (Jer 4:3-4:4)

“Thus says Yahweh

To the people of Judah,

To the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

‘Break up your fallow ground!

Do not sow among thorns!

Circumcise yourselves to Yahweh!

Remove the foreskin of your hearts!

O people of Judah!

Inhabitants of Jerusalem!

Otherwise my wrath will go forth like fire.

My wrath will burn with no one to quench it,

Because of the evil of your doings.’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, has a call to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They were to work their uncultivated lands. They were not to sow seeds among the thorns. They were to circumcise themselves to Yahweh by removing the foreskins on their hearts. The call to Judah and Jerusalem was clear. If they did not listen, the wrath of Yahweh would go forth against them like a roaring unquenchable burning fire, because of their evil deeds.

Poem of consolation (Isa 57:14-57:15)

“It shall be said.

‘Build up!

Build up!

Prepare the way!

Remove every obstruction

From my people’s way.’

Thus says the high lofty One

Who inhabits eternity,

Whose name is Holy.

‘I dwell in the high holy place.

I also dwell with those

Who are contrite,

Who are humble in spirit,

In order to revive

The spirit of the humble,

In order to revive

The heart of the contrite.’”

Third Isaiah says that they should build up the way for God’s people. They were to prepare this way by removing all obstructions. Then the one holy eternal one said that he dwelt in his high holy place. However, he also dwelt with the contrite and the humble of spirit. He wanted to revive the spirit of the humble and the heart of the contrite.

Lamentation over Babylon (Isa 47:1-47:4)

“Come down!

Sit in the dust!

O virgin daughter Babylon!

Sit on the ground

Without a throne!

O daughter Chaldea!

You shall no more

Be called tender!

You shall no more

Be called delicate!

Take the millstones!

Grind the meal!

Remove your veil!

Strip off your robe!

Uncover your legs!

Pass through the rivers!

Your nakedness shall be uncovered.

Your shame shall be seen.

I will take vengeance.

I will spare no one.

Our Redeemer

Is the Holy One of Israel.

Yahweh of hosts

Is his name!”                                     

This is a unique kind of Hebrew lamentation. Yahweh God has stripped the unconquered virgin Babylon of its royal throne. The Chaldeans, who were from the southern part of Babylon, would no longer be considered tender and delicate. Now they were to do the work of slaves, grinding the meal with millstones. On top of that, they were to strip down, taking their veils off and removing their robes, so that their legs would be uncovered. They would be shamefully naked as washing in a river. Yahweh with his army was going to take vengeance on them, so that no one would be spared. Yahweh is the redeemer and the Holy One of Israel.

Do not take advantage of others (Prov 23:10-23:11)

“Do not remove an ancient landmark.

Do not encroach on the fields of orphans.

Their redeemer is strong.

He will plead their cause against you.”

This is a repetition of what was said last chapter about not removing ancient landmarks. This is about trying to take land from others. In particular, you were not to try to take away the fields of orphans, since they might have a redeemer or relative who would plead their case against you. Do not think that you can get away with this kind of action.