The death of the false prophets (Jer 29:21-29:23)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts,

The God of Israel,

Concerning Ahab,

The son of Kolaiah,

As well as Zedekiah,

The son of Maaseiah.

‘They were prophesying a lie

To you in my name.

I am going to deliver them

Into the hand

Of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.

He shall kill them

Before your eyes.

On account of them,

This curse shall be used

By all the exiles from Judah

In Babylon.

‘Yahweh makes you

Like Zedekiah,

Like Ahab,

Whom the king of Babylon

Roasted in the fire.’

Because they have

Perpetuated outrage

In Israel.

They have committed adultery

With their neighbors’ wives.

They have spoken in my name

Lying words

That I did not command them.

I am the one who knows.

I bear witness.

Says Yahweh.’”

Yahweh talked about two prophets whom King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon roasted in a fire. These two prophets were Ahab, the son of Kolaiah, and Zedekiah, the son of Maaseiah. There was a king of northern Israel in the 9th century (874-853 BCE) named King Ahab with his wife Jezebel, who had confrontations with the prophet Elijah, as found in 1 Kings, chapters 16-22. However, this Ahab is only mentioned here. Zedekiah has the same name as the current king of Judah. His father Maaseiah was also the father of the priest Zephaniah, mentioned in chapter 21. This Zedekiah is not mentioned elsewhere either. These two prophets were prophesying lies that Yahweh had not commanded, so that they deserved to be killed by the king of Babylon. We do not know exactly what lies they were telling, but they also were adulterers. They may have tried to rebel against the king. Thus their names would be a curse.

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The first night they encounter the fish in the Tigris River (Tob 6:1-6:6)

“The young man went out and angel went with him. The dog came out with him and went along with them. They both journeyed along. When the first night overtook them they camped by the Tigris River. Then the young man went down to wash his feet in the Tigris River. Suddenly, a large fish leaped up from the water. The fish tried to swallow the young man’s foot. He cried out. But the angel said to the young man.

‘Catch hold of the fish!

Hang on to him!’

So the young man grasped the fish. He drew it up on the land. Then the angel said to him.

‘Cut open the fish!

Take out its gall, heart and liver!

Keep them with you, but throw away the intestines!

Its gall, heart, and liver are useful as medicine.’  

So after cutting open the fish, the young man gathered together the gall, heart, and liver. Then he roasted and ate some of the fish. They kept some to be salted.”

Now the adventure begins. Tobias, the angel, and his dog went on their way. We seem to have a domesticated dog. There is no mention of a donkey or other animal for transportation or hauling stuff. The first night they camped at the Tigris River, not very far from Nineveh. However, it is west of Nineveh, and they would have wanted to go east. So this was not a direct route. As Tobias went down to the Tigris River to wash his feet, a large fish tried to bite the foot of Tobias. He cried out. The angel told him to grab the fish, which he did. He had the fish on land, when the angel told him to cut it open. He then took out the gall, the heart, and the liver, as medicine, as the angel had requested. Then they roasted it and ate some of the fish. They salted the rest of the fish to eat later. This was a very good old fishing story.