Zechariah was terrified (Lk 1:12-1:12)

“When Zechariah

Saw the angel,

He was terrified.

Fear overwhelmed him.”

 

καὶ ἐταράχθη Ζαχαρίας ἰδών, καὶ φόβος ἐπέπεσεν ἐπ’ αὐτόν.

 

Luke noted that when Zechariah saw this angel (Ζαχαρίας ἰδών), he was terrified, troubled, or disturbed (καὶ ἐταράχθη).  Fear or reverential terror (καὶ φόβος) came over him or overwhelmed him (ἐπέπεσεν ἐπ’ αὐτόν).  A supernatural presence or an extra-terrestrial non-human would scare most people.  Luke often emphasized this religious fear or awesomeness for God and his messengers.

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The four blacksmiths (Zech 1:20-1:21)

“Then Yahweh showed me

Four blacksmiths!

I said.

‘What are these coming to do?’

He answered.

‘These are the horns

That scattered Judah.

Thus,

No head could be raised.

But they have come

To terrify them.

They have come

To strike down

The horns

Of the nations

That lifted up

Their horns

Against the land of Judah,

To scatter it.’”

Next Yahweh showed Zechariah 4 blacksmiths.  Of course, Zechariah asked what these blacksmiths were going to do.  The angel that had been talking to Zechariah told him that these blacksmiths had come to scare the 4 horns and strike them down.  Thus, these blacksmiths were agents or angels of Yahweh that had come to protect Judah.  They were going to scatter the other 4 horns, since those horns would be smashed down.

Another personal lament of Jeremiah (Jer 17:14-17:18)

“Heal me!

Yahweh!

Then I shall be healed.

Save me!

Then I shall be saved.

You are my praise!

See how they say to me.

‘Where is the word of Yahweh?

Let it come!’

I have not run away

From being a shepherd

In your service.

I have not desired

The fatal day.

You know

What came from my lips.

It was before your face.

Do not become a terror to me!

You are my refuge

In the day of disaster.

Let my persecutors be shamed!

But do not let me be shamed!

Let them be dismayed!

But do not let me be dismayed!

Bring on them

The day of disaster!

Destroy them

With a double destruction!”

Jeremiah lamented about the fatal day of destruction. He wanted to be healed and saved by Yahweh because he praised him. He was taunted by others for his connection to Yahweh. However, he had not run away from being a shepherd or leader in the service of Yahweh. He had not desired this fatal day of destruction. Yahweh knew what he had said in front of him. He did not want Yahweh to scare him on this future fatal day. Instead, he wanted his persecutors to be ashamed and dismayed, but not him. He wanted to bring on this fatal day to them with a double dose of destruction.

 

No hope for the sorcerers of Babylon (Isa 47:12-47:13)

“Stand fast in your enchantments!

Stand fast in your many sorceries!

You have labored from your youth

With these actions.

Perhaps you may be able to succeed.

Perhaps you may inspire terror.

You are wearied

With your many consultations.

Let those who study the heavens

Stand up!

Let them save you!

Let those who gaze at the stars

Predict what shall befall you!

Let those who gaze at each new moon

Predict what shall befall you!”

Yahweh taunted Babylon by saying that they should rely on their sorcerers, their enchanters, their astrologists, and magicians. They had followed them since they were young. Maybe they will succeed. Maybe they will scare people. However, they are weary from all their consultations. Let those who study the heavens stand up and save you. Can those who gaze at the stars and the new moon predict what is going to happen to you? This is a direct challenge to the people of Babylon.

The plague on the righteous (Wis 18:20-18:25)

“The experience of death

Touched also the righteous.

A plague came upon the multitude

In the desert.

But the wrath did not long continue.

A blameless man was quick

To act as their champion.

He brought forward the shield of his ministry.

He brought forth prayer.

He brought forward propitiation by incense.

He withstood the anger.

He put an end to the disaster.

He showed that he was your servant.

He conquered the wrath

Not by strength of body,

Not by force of arms,

But by his word

He subdued the avenger.

He appealed to the oaths given to our ancestors.

He appealed to the covenants given to our ancestors.

When the dead had already fallen on one another in heaps,

He intervened.

He held back the wrath.

He cut off its way to the living.

On his long robe

The whole world was depicted.

The glories of the ancestors

Were engraved on the four rows of stones.

Your majesty was on the diadem upon his head.

The destroyer yielded to these.

The destroyer feared these.

Merely to test the wrath was enough.”

This section takes part of the Exodus story in chapters 32 and the Numbers presentation in chapter 17 and combines them into one episode. In other words, the righteous (δικαίων) were not free from the wrath of God. A plague came upon them in the desert (ἐν ἐρήμῳ) that nearly killed 15,000 of them because the Israelites had rebelled against Moses and Aaron. However, Moses instructed Aaron to make reparation by prayer (προσευχὴν) and incense. The blameless man was Aaron, and not Moses, but there is no indication of his explicit name here since in the Exodus story Aaron had rebelled also. This blameless man subdued the avenger by his prayerful sacrificial actions. He remembered the oaths and covenants that his ancestors had made. The use of the robe is definitely the Levitical robe of Aaron from Exodus, chapter 28. His lovely robe had 4 rows of stones. He also had a diadem on his head (διαδήματος κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ). Obviously, this is from the time of the settled Israelites, but it was enough to scare off this destroyer. The Israelites learned from this episode.

Job wants God to listen to him (Job 13:17-13:28)

“Listen carefully to my words!

Let my declaration be in your ears!

I have indeed prepared my case.

I know that I shall be vindicated.

Who is there that will contend with me?

Then I would be silent and die.

Only grant two things to me!

Then I will not hide myself from your face.

Withdraw your hand far from me!

Do not let dread of you terrify me!

Then call!

I will answer.

Let me speak!

You reply to me.

How many are my iniquities?

How many are my sins?

Make me know my transgression and my sin.

Why do you hide your face?

Why do you count me as your enemy?

Will you frighten a windblown leaf?

Will you pursue dry chaff?

You write bitter things against me.

You make me reap the iniquities of my youth.

You put my feet in the stocks.

You watch all my paths.

You set a bound to the soles of my feet.

One wastes away like a rotten thing.

One wastes away like a garment that is moth-eaten.”

Job pleads his case before God. He wanted him to listen carefully to his words. He has prepared his case well. He knew that he would be vindicated. He wanted to know who would oppose him. He wanted God not to hide his face and he would not hide his face. He wanted to go face to face with God. He wanted God not to scare him, but to call him. He wanted to reply to the many sins and iniquities of his youth. He wanted to know why God had him as an enemy. Why were bitter things written about him? This is almost saying that God had a face with a voice, and was able to hear and write things down with his hands. In this anthropomorphic view of God, he has a human face, ears, voice, and hands. God wanted him to be chained in a stockade, to waste away like a rotten garment that was moth-eaten. Certainly this was colorful language to use against a vindictive God.