Job maintains that the wicked do not get punished (Job 21:7-21:13)

“Why do the wicked live on?

Why do they reach old age?

Why do they grow mighty in power?

Their children are established in their presence.

Their offspring are established before their eyes.

Their houses are safe from fear.

No rod of God is upon them.

Their bull breeds without fail.

Their cow calves.

Their cows never miscarry.

They send out their little ones like a flock.

Their children dance around.

They sing to the tambourine and the lyre.

They rejoice to the sound of the pipe.

They spend their days in prosperity.

In peace they go down to Sheol.”

Job was very clear. The wicked live to reach old age. They actually grow stronger. They have many children. Their houses are safe. He did not see any punishment from God coming to them. In fact, their livestock are able to multiply without problems. The little children grew, danced, and sang to musical instruments. They seemed like very happy people. They spent their days in prosperity before they had a peaceful death and entered Sheol. Thus he was refuting the claim of Bildad that the wicked would not have children and not prosper. He maintained the opposite since the wicked seem to do quite well.

Simon takes the citadel in Jerusalem (1 Macc 13:49-13:53)

“The men who were in the citadel at Jerusalem were prevented from going in and out to the country to buy and sell things. So they were very hungry. Many of them perished from famine. Then they cried to Simon to make peace with them. So he did. He expelled them from there. He cleansed the citadel from its pollutions. On the twenty-third day of the second month, in the one hundred seventy-first year, the Jews entered it with praise and palm branches. They had harps, cymbals, and stringed instruments. They sang hymns and songs because a great enemy had been crushed and removed from Israel. Simon decreed that every year they should celebrate this day with rejoicing. He strengthened the fortifications of the temple hill alongside the citadel. He and his men lived there. Simon saw that his son John had reached manhood, so he made him commander of all the forces. He lived at Gazara.”

The Syrian men who were in the Jerusalem citadel could not go in or out to buy or sell anything. Thus they became hungry like a famine. Finally, they wanted to make peace with Simon. He decided to expel them from the citadel. There was a big celebration with praise and palm branches as the Jews entered the citadel in 141 BCE, about a year after their independence. Before they went in with harps, cymbals, and stringed instruments singing hymns and songs, they had the citadel cleansed from the foreign pollutions. They were going to celebrate this every year on the 23rd day of the 2nd month, that is sometime in May. Simon and his men decided to live in the citadel. He sent his son John to be the commander of the armed forces and live in Gaza. This apparently was his son John Hyrcanus who was the high priest from 134-104 BCE.

The final defeat and plunder of the camp (1 Macc 4:19-4:25)

“Just as Judas was finishing this speech, a detachment appeared, coming out of the hills. They saw that their army had been put to flight. The Jews were burning the camp. The smoke that was seen showed what had happened. When they perceived this, they were greatly frightened. When they also saw the army of Judas drawn up in the plain for battle, they all fled into the land of the Philistines. Then Judas returned to plunder the camp. They seized a great amount of gold and silver, cloth dyed blue and sea purple, as well as great riches. On their return they sang hymns and praises to heaven.

‘For he is good,

For his mercy endures forever.’

Thus Israel had a great deliverance that day.”

Just as Judas stopped speaking, a detachment of the gentiles appeared out of the hills. They saw that their army had been defeated as the Jews were burning up the camp. When they saw the smoke they were frightened. They then fled to the Philistine territory, always a good place for the enemies of Israel. Then Judas began to plunder the camp. They seized silver and gold, blue and purple cloth, and great wealth. On their return they sang hymns and praises. They had a great day of deliverance for Israel. They said that God was good and that his mercy endures forever.

Nehemiah leads the other group (Neh 12:38-12:43)

“The other company of those who gave thanks went to the left. I followed them with half of the people, upon the wall. We walked to the Tower of the Ovens, to the Broad Wall, and above the Gate of Ephraim, and by the Old Gate. We walked by the Fish Gate and the Tower of Hananel and the Tower of the Hundred, to the Sheep Gate. They came to a halt at the Gate of the Guard. So both companies of those who gave thanks stood in the house of God. I and half of the officials were with me. The priests Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Micaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah were with trumpets. Maaseiah, Shemaiah, Eleazar, Uzzi, Jehohanan, Malchijah, Elam, and Ezer were there also. The singers sang with Jezrahiah as their leader. They offered great sacrifices that day. They rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The joy of Jerusalem was heard far away.”

Nehemiah led the other group on the wall going around the west and north side of the wall. They passed by the Tower of Ovens, the Broad Wall, the Gate of Ephraim, the Old Gate, the Fish Gate, the Tower of Hananel and the Tower of the Hundred. Finally they came to the Sheep Gate and the Gate of the Guard. There they met at the house of God with the first group. Nehemiah’s group met Ezra’s first group at the Temple. Nehemiah’s priests had trumpets. These singers were led by Jezrahiah, who is only mentioned here and nowhere else. They offered great sacrifices, without being specific how much and what kind. They also rejoiced with all their families including women and children. They made such a noise that they could be heard far away.