Simeon (Lk 2:25-2:25)

“Now there was a man

In Jerusalem,

Whose name

Was Simeon.

This man

Was righteous

And devout.

He was looking forward

To the consolation

Of Israel.

The Holy Spirit

Rested upon him.”

 

Καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄνθρωπος ἦν ἐν Ἰερουσαλὴμ ᾧ ὄνομα Συμεών, καὶ ὁ ἄνθρωπος οὗτος δίκαιος καὶ εὐλαβής, προσδεχόμενος παράκλησιν τοῦ Ἰσραήλ, καὶ Πνεῦμα ἦν Ἅγιον ἐπ’ αὐτόν·

 

Next Luke brought a man named Simeon into this scene in the Jerusalem Temple.  We know nothing else about him, except what is written here in Luke.  Simeon (ᾧ ὄνομα Συμεών,) was a righteous (καὶ ὁ ἄνθρωπος οὗτος δίκαιος) and devout God-fearing man (καὶ εὐλαβής) living in Jerusalem (Καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄνθρωπος ἦν ἐν Ἰερουσαλὴμ).  He was looking forward to the consolation of Israel (προσδεχόμενος παράκλησιν τοῦ Ἰσραήλ).  The Holy Spirit rested upon him (καὶ Πνεῦμα ἦν Ἅγιον ἐπ’ αὐτόν).  Once again, Luke emphasized that the Holy Spirit was on Simeon, just he had been on John, Mary, Elizabeth, and Zechariah, 5 people filled with the Holy Spirit.  The consolation that Simeon was expecting was the redemption of Israel or the messianic happening of the end times.

 

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Wood from Lebanon at the new Temple (Isa 60:13-60:13)

“The glory of Lebanon

Shall come to you.

The cypress tree,

The plane tree,

The pine tree,

Will beautify the place

Of my sanctuary.

I will glorify

Where my feet rest.”

Just as the wood from the first Temple of King Solomon came from cypress trees in Lebanon so too the new Temple would also have cypress wood from Lebanon. The glorious cypress, plane, and pine trees would beautify the place of the new sanctuary. Yahweh wanted to glorify the place where his feet rested.

Egypt was more culpable than Sodom (Wis 19:13-19:17)

“The punishments did not come upon the sinners

Without prior signs

With the violence of thunder.

They justly suffered

Because of their wicked acts.

They practiced a more bitter hatred of strangers.

Others had refused to receive strangers

When they came to them.

But these made slaves of guests

Who were their benefactors.

Not only so,

While punishment of some sort

Will come upon the former

For having received strangers with hostility,

The latter,

Having first received them with festal celebrations,

Afterward afflicted them with terrible sufferings.

They had already shared the same rights.

They were stricken also with loss of sight.

Just as were those at the door of the righteous man.

When surrounded by yawning darkness,

Each tried to find the way through their own door.”

Who was worse, the Egyptians or the Sodomites from Genesis, chapters 18-19? Did the Egyptians deserve to be punished? The decision rested on how they treated strangers. Interesting enough, the argument is not about immorality but about hospitality. There is no explicit mention of Sodom or Egypt, but the implications are clear. These Egyptians were clearly warned with the various plagues. Instead of refusing strangers, the Egyptians had welcomed the Israelites, especially based on the stories about Joseph in Genesis, chapters 37-47. There his whole family, father and brothers, the sons of Jacob were welcomed into Egypt. However, as pointed out at the beginning of Exodus, chapters 1 and 5, they then enslaved them and tried to kill the Israelite male babies. Unlike the Sodomites they were not blind, but simply lived in darkness. This story about blindness is clearly from the Sodomite story in Genesis.

Timothy and the other gentiles (1 Macc 5:37-5:41)

“After these things, Timothy gathered another army and encamped opposite Raphon, on the other side of the stream. Judas sent men to spy out the camp. They reported to him.

‘All the gentiles around us have gathered to him.

It is a very large force.

They also have hired Arabs to help them.

They are encamped across the stream,

They are ready to come and fight against you.’

Judas went to meet them. Now as Judas and his army drew near to the stream of water, Timothy said to the officers of his forces.

‘If he crosses over to us first,

We will not be able to resist him.

He will surely defeat us.

However, if he shows fear,

If he camps on the other side of the river,

We will cross over to him.

We will defeat him.’”

Timothy and his army gathered near a stream of the Yarmouk River, a tributary of the Jordan River called Raphon. Judas Maccabeus sent spies to figure out what he was up to. The spies came back to say that he had a large force. In fact, a number of Arab mercenaries had joined forces with Timothy. Timothy had a plan. If the troops of Judas rested on the other side of the stream in a camp, they would attack him. Otherwise, they might have a bit of a problem.

The Jews in Susa celebrate (Esth 9:18-9:19)

“The Jews, who were in Susa, gathered on the thirteenth day and on the fourteenth day. They rested on the fifteenth day of Adar, making that a day of feasting and gladness. Therefore the Jews of the villages, who live in the open towns, hold the fourteenth day of the month of Adar as a day for gladness and feasting and holiday-making. This is a day on which they send gifts of food to one another.”

There was a difference between the Jews in Susa and those in the various villages. Since the Jews in the city of Susa defended themselves for 2 days, they did not celebrate until the 15th or Adar instead of the 14th as the rest of the provinces. During this day of celebration they sent gifts of food to one another.

The Jews kill 75,000 people in the provinces (Esth 9:16-9:17)

“Now the other Jews who were in the king’s provinces also gathered to defend their lives. They gained relief from their enemies. They killed seventy-five thousand of those who hated them. However, they laid no hands on the plunder. This was on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar. On the fourteenth day they rested and made that a day of feasting and gladness.”

The Jewish people in the provinces gathered to defend themselves. They gained relief from their enemies by killing 75,000 of those people who hated them. However, they took no plunder. The day after, they celebrated with feasts and gladness as they rested.

The campaign against King Arphaxad (Jdt 1:13-1:16)

“In the seventeenth year, King Nebuchadnezzar led his forces against King Arphaxad. He defeated him in battle. He overthrew the whole army of King Arphaxad, all his cavalry, and all his chariots. Thus he took possession of his towns. He came to Ecbatana. He captured its towers, plundered its markets, and turned its glory into disgrace. He captured King Arphaxad in the mountains of Ragau. He struck him down with his spears. He destroyed him, once and for all. Then he and all his combined forces, a vast body of troops, returned to Nineveh. There he and his forces rested and feasted for one hundred twenty days.”

5 years later, around 588 BCE, King Nebuchadnezzar led his troops against King Arphaxad as he defeated him. He took all their possessions, and destroyed the town of Ecbatana. He captured King Arphaxad in the mountains of Ragau, and killed him. Then he returned to Nineveh and rested for 4 months.