The Twelve prophets (Sir 49:10-49:10)

“May the bones

Of the twelve prophets

Send forth new life

From where they lie.

They comforted

The people of Jacob.

They delivered them

With confident hope.”

Finally we have the 12 prophets without mentioning their specific names. Just as there were 12 tribes so there also were 12 prophets. Sometimes they are referred to as the 12 Minor Prophets, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. They were important enough for Sirach to mention them so that this book of 12 or series of books about 12 prophets might have been considered canonical by the time of the writing of Sirach. Sirach wanted them to be like Elisha, whose dead body revived another dead person. These prophets gave comfort to the people of Jacob. They gave the Israelites hope.

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A prayer to Yahweh (Ps 119:25-119:32)

Dalet

“My soul clings to the dust.

Revive me according to your word!

When I told of my ways,

You answered me.

Teach me your statutes.

Make me understand the way of your precepts.

I will meditate on your wondrous works.

My soul melts away for sorrow.

Strengthen me according to your word!

Put false ways far from me!

Graciously teach me your law!

I have chosen the way of faithfulness.

I set your ordinances before me.

I cling to your decrees.

Yahweh!

Let me not be put to shame!

I will run in the way of your commandments.

You enlarge my understanding!”

This psalmist prays to Yahweh. He wanted to be revived by Yahweh since he had formerly answered his prayers. He wanted to know more about the statutes. Apparently the statutes were difficult things to learn. He was going to meditate on the these decrees so that he might better understand the wondrous works of Yahweh. He wanted to stay away from false ways. He wanted to be faithful as he clung to these decrees. He did not want to be put to shame. He was seeking a better understanding of the commandments. This section on the fourth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Dalet, ends with this plea.

Yahweh is not angry (Ps 85:3-85:7)

“You withdrew all your wrath.

You turned from your hot anger.

Restore us again!

O God of our salvation!

Put away your indignation toward us!

Will you be angry with us forever?

Wilt you prolong your anger to all generations?

Will you not revive us again?

Thus your people may rejoice in you.

Show us your steadfast love!

Yahweh!

Grant us your salvation!”

The psalmist wanted Yahweh to put away his hot anger for them. They wanted to be restored again. Yahweh was the God who granted salvation to them. They wanted to know if God was going to be angry with them forever into future generations. They wanted to be revived so that they could rejoice with Yahweh and his steadfast love. That was their salvation to live in the love of God.

God will help me in my troubles (Ps 71:19-71:21)

“O God!

You have done great things!

Who is like you?

You have made me

See many troubles!

You have made me

See many calamities!

You will revive me again!

From the depths of the earth

You will bring me up again!

You will increase my honor!

You will comfort me once again!”

God has done great things. There is no one like God. He led the psalmist into many troubles and calamities, but he always revived him. He brought him back from the depths of the earth. God will do so again. God will increase his honor. He will comfort him as he had done in the past.

Praise Yahweh (Ps 69:30-69:33)

“I will praise the name of God with a song!

I will magnify him with thanksgiving!

This will please Yahweh

More than an ox.

This will please Yahweh

More than a bull with horns and hoofs.

Let the oppressed see it!

Let them be glad!

You who seek God,

Let your hearts revive!

Yahweh hears the needy.

Yahweh does not despise his own that are in bonds.”

David was going to praise the name of God with a song. He felt that his song would magnify this thanksgiving praise. This will please Yahweh more than the sacrifices of oxen and bulls. This might be a post-exilic composition. Those who were oppressed should see the glory of God. They should be happy so that their hearts would be revived. Yahweh hears the cries of the needy and does not despise them.