There is no other God (Isa 43:10-43:13)

“‘You are my witnesses!’

Says Yahweh.

‘You are my servant

Whom I have chosen.

Thus you may know me.

You may believe in me.

You may understand

That I am he.

Before me

No god was formed.

There shall be none after me.

I!

I am Yahweh.

Besides me

There is no savior.

I declared.

I saved.

I proclaimed.

There was no strange god among you.

You are my witnesses!’

Says Yahweh.

‘I am God!

Henceforth I am he.

There is none

Who can deliver you

From my hand.

I work.

Who can hinder it?’”

In the strongest possible personal terms, first person singular, Yahweh proclaims that he alone is God. There is no other god. Yahweh claims that the Israelites are his witnesses, since they are his servant that he has chosen. Clearly, this servant is the Israelites. They know and believe in the Lord. They understand who he is. There was no other god before Yahweh and there will be none after him. There is no other savior who can deliver the Israelites, so that no one can hinder him. There were no strange gods among the Israelites. Once again, the Israelites are the witnesses for Yahweh. Yahweh is truly God.

Joshua (Sir 46:1-46:6)

“Joshua

Son of Nun

Was mighty in war.

He was the successor of Moses

In the prophetic office.

He became,

As his name implies,

A great savior of God’s elect.

He took vengeance

On the enemies

That rose against them.

Thus he might give Israel

Its inheritance.

How glorious he was

When he lifted his hands.

He brandished his sword

Against the cities.

Who before him,

Ever stood so firm?

He waged the wars of the Lord.

Was it not through him

That the sun stood still?

Did not one day

Become as long as two?

He called upon the Most High,

The Mighty One,

When enemies pressed him on every side.

The great Lord answered him

With hailstones of mighty power.

He overwhelmed that nation in battle.

On the slope

He destroyed his opponents.

Thus the nations might know his armament.

He was fighting

In the sight of the Lord.

He was a devoted follower of the Mighty One.”

Of course, there was a whole biblical book named after Joshua. Sirach lists him as a warrior and a prophet, who succeeded Moses. This son of Nun was a great savior of God’s people. He wiped out the enemies of Israel so that they might have their inheritance. He lifted up his hand as he swung his sword. Before him, no one had ever waged wars for the Lord like him. He stood firm and created miracles with the sun. He called upon the Most High God, the mighty one, when enemies were all around him. The Lord heard his cry so that his enemies were destroyed. Thus all the countries came to know about his fighting strength for the Lord, as a devoted follower of the Mighty one.

Covenant and the law (Sir 24:23-24:23)

“All this is

In the book of the covenant

Of the Most High God.

This is the law

That Moses commanded us.

It is an inheritance

For the congregations of Jacob.

Do not cease to be strong

In the Lord!

Cling to him!

Thus he may strengthen you.

The Lord Almighty alone is God.

Besides him,

There is no savior.”

Sirach emphasizes the Law of Moses in the book of the covenant for the descendants of Jacob. You should cling to the Lord, the one and only God and savior who gives you strength.

The sign of the serpents (Wis 16:5-16:7)

“When the terrible rage of wild beasts

Came upon your people,

They were being destroyed

By the bites of writhing serpents.

Your wrath did not continue to the end.

They were troubled for a little while

As a warning.

They received a symbol of deliverance

To remind them of your law’s command.

The ones who turned toward it

Were saved,

Not by the thing that he saw,

But by you,

The Savior of all.”

This is a reference to Moses and the bronze serpent in Numbers, chapter 21. The Israelites, after Yahweh had sent poisoned snakes to them, repented. These wild terrible snakes were biting and killing the Israelites. However, Yahweh put a stop to it. This was then seen as a symbol of God’s deliverance for his people. They were reminded to keep the laws. Those who turned to the law’s commandments (ἐντολῆς νόμου σου·) would be saved by the Savior of all (πάντων σωτῆρα), God.

Yahweh saves the righteous (Ps 37:39-37:40)

Tav

“The salvation of the righteous is from Yahweh.

He is their refuge in times of trouble.

Yahweh helps them.

Yahweh rescues them.

Yahweh rescues them from the wicked.

Yahweh saves them

Because they take refuge in him.”

This long psalm ends with Yahweh as the savior of the righteous. In times of trouble he was their refuge. He helped them. He rescued them from the wicked ones. He saved them. He did all this for the righteous because they took refuge in him.

The conversion of Heliodorus (2 Macc 3:35-3:40)

“Then Heliodorus offered sacrifice to the Lord. He made very great vows to the savior of his life. Having bidden Onias farewell, he marched off with his forces to the king. He bore testimony to all concerning the deeds of the supreme God, which he had seen with his own eyes. When the king asked Heliodorus what sort of person would be suitable to send on another mission to Jerusalem, he replied.

‘If you have any enemy or plotter against your government,

Send him there!

You will get him back thoroughly flogged,

If he survives at all.

There is certainly some power of God about the place.

He who has his dwelling in heaven

Watches over that place himself.

He brings it aid.

He strikes and destroys those who come to do it injury.’

This was the outcome of the episode of Heliodorus and the protection of the treasury.”

Heliodorus offered a sacrifice to the Lord. It is not clear if he did this in Jerusalem. He does not convert to become a Jew. He seems to be more favorably disposed to the Jews. He bid farewell to the high priest Onias, without a word about the money problem. When the king asked him who he should send there, Heliodorus said to send an enemy or plotter because he would not survive. The powerful God in heaven protected that place. He would destroy anyone who would come to injure the Temple of God in Jerusalem. Thus this brings an end to the story of Heliodorus and those worried about the Temple money.

Queen Esther dresses up to go to the Palace (Greek text only)

“On the third day, when Queen Esther ended her prayer, she took off the garments in which she had worshiped. She arrayed herself in splendid attire. Then, majestically adorned, after invoking the aid of the all-seeing God and Savior, she took her two maids with her. She leaned gently for support on one, while the other followed carrying her train. She was radiant with perfect beauty. She looked happy, as if beloved, but her heart was frozen with fear. When she had gone through all the doors, she stood before the king.”

One again the Greek text continues. After this 3 day prayer, Queen Esther took off her sack cloth garments. Now she put on royal clothes. She invoked God to help her. However, she took 2 maids with her, one to lean on and the other to carry the train of her splendid dress. She looked radiant, beautiful and happy, but she was fearful. Finally, she stood before the king.