“Now there was a man
He was looking forward
To the consolation
The Holy Spirit
Rested upon him.”
Καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄνθρωπος ἦν ἐν Ἰερουσαλὴμ ᾧ ὄνομα Συμεών, καὶ ὁ ἄνθρωπος οὗτος δίκαιος καὶ εὐλαβής, προσδεχόμενος παράκλησιν τοῦ Ἰσραήλ, καὶ Πνεῦμα ἦν Ἅγιον ἐπ’ αὐτόν·
Next Luke brought a man named Simeon into this scene in the Jerusalem Temple. We know nothing else about him, except what is written here in Luke. Simeon (ᾧ ὄνομα Συμεών,) was a righteous (καὶ ὁ ἄνθρωπος οὗτος δίκαιος) and devout God-fearing man (καὶ εὐλαβής) living in Jerusalem (Καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄνθρωπος ἦν ἐν Ἰερουσαλὴμ). He was looking forward to the consolation of Israel (προσδεχόμενος παράκλησιν τοῦ Ἰσραήλ). The Holy Spirit rested upon him (καὶ Πνεῦμα ἦν Ἅγιον ἐπ’ αὐτόν). Once again, Luke emphasized that the Holy Spirit was on Simeon, just he had been on John, Mary, Elizabeth, and Zechariah, 5 people filled with the Holy Spirit. The consolation that Simeon was expecting was the redemption of Israel or the messianic happening of the end times.
“On the south side,
It shall be
Four thousand five hundred cubits
The three gates are
The gate of Simeon,
The gate of Issachar,
The gate of Zebulun.”
On the south side, three lesser known tribes had gates. Simeon had very few people, while Issachar and Zebulun were small northern territories.
“Adjoining the territory
From the east side
To the west side,
Issachar shall have
Once again, Issachar is completely out of place considering where it was in Joshua, chapter 19, up north of Manasseh, between Zebulun and Naphtali. Nevertheless, this small tribe got one portion, next to the territory of Simeon, somewhere here in the south.
“Here is your brother Simeon
Who I know is wise in counsel.
Always listen to him.
He shall be your father.
Judas Maccabeus has been a mighty warrior from his youth.
He shall command the army for you.
He shall fight the battle against the peoples.
You shall rally around you
All those who observe the law
You shall avenge the wrong done to your people.
Pay back the gentiles in full.
Obey the command of the law.”
John, his son, was the oldest, but there is no mention of him here. Here it is the 2nd son Simeon, and the 3rd son Judas, who was called Maccabeus. Simeon was to be like the father to them because of his wise counsel, while Judas was to lead the army. He wanted them to rally around those who follow the law. However, he wanted them to pay back the gentiles just as the law had commanded.
“In those days, Mattathias son of John, son of Simeon, a priest of the family of Joarib, moved from Jerusalem. He settled in Modein. He had five sons, John surnamed Gaddi, Simon called Thassi, Judas called Maccabeus, Eleazar called Avaran, and Jonathan called Apphus. He saw the blasphemies being committed in Judah and Jerusalem.”
This Mattathias was the son of John and grandson of Simeon, the Hasmonean, from a priestly family. He moved his family from Jerusalem to Modein, about 17 miles northwest of Jerusalem, but there is no date for this migration except the vague ‘in those days.’ His 5 sons were 1) John, 2) Simon, 3) Judas, 4) Eleazar, and 5) Jonathan. He had seen the blasphemies committed against Judah and Jerusalem. This is the introduction to the Maccabees family, although only 1 in the family used the name of Maccabeus.
“Then the Israelites came down from their town. They found Achior and untied him. They brought him into Bethulia. They placed him before the magistrates of their city, who in those days were Uzziah son of Micah, of the tribe of Simeon, and Chabris son of Gothoniel, and Charmis son of Melchiel. They called together all the elders of the town. All their young men and women ran to the assembly. They set Achior in the midst of all their people. Uzziah questioned him about what had happened. He answered them. He told them what had taken place at the council of General Holofernes. He told them everything that he had said in the presence of the Assyrian leaders. He told them that General Holofernes had boasted what he would do against the house of Israel.”
The Israelites came down from Bethulia, this difficult to locate town. They found Achior tied up. So they untied him and brought him back to Bethulia. There they called the 3 leaders in Bethulia, Uzziah, Chabris, and Charmis. This author noted that Uzziah was from Simeon, but that tribe had been fully integrated into Judah for centuries. This Uzziah was not the king of Judah who ruled in the 8th century BCE. Both Chabris and Charmis only appear here in this book of Judith. Although they called a meeting for the elders, both the young men and women came to the meeting. Uzziah was the lead questioner. He wanted to know what happened. Then Achior told his side of the story about what he told General Holofernes, plus what General Holofernes had said about the Israelites.
“In the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet a boy, he began to seek the God of his ancestor, King David. In the twelfth year, he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the sacred poles, and the carved and the cast images. In his presence they pulled down the altars of the Baals. He demolished the incense altars that stood above them. He broke down the sacred poles, as well as the craved and cast images. He made dust of them. He scattered the dust over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. He also burned the bones of the priests on their altars. He purged Judah and Jerusalem. In the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, and as far as Naphtali, in their ruins all around, he broke down the altars. He beat the sacred poles and the images into powder. He demolished all the incense altars throughout all the land of Israel. Then he returned to Jerusalem.”
This is a less colorful and less detailed summary of 2 Kings, chapter 23. Here, however, King Josiah begins the religious reforms before the finding of the scroll with the Law of Moses on it. When he was 16 years old, 8 years into his rule, King Josiah began to seek the God of King David. When he was 20 years old, 4 years later, he began to get rid of the high places in Judah and Jerusalem. He wanted to do away with the sacred poles and the idol images. He got rid of all the Baal altars. These idol god images were burned with the ashes spread over the graves of those who had worshipped Baal. He burned the bones of the priests who worshipped idols in Judah and in Jerusalem. King Josiah set out to get rid of all the shrines in the high places all over Manasseh, Ephraim, Simeon, and Naphtali. In other words, he went to northern Israel. If there were any priests at these shrines, he had them killed. He then burned their human bones on altars. Finally, he returned to Jerusalem after his northern venture to eliminate all the foreign sacred shrines. Only Jerusalem with the Temple of Yahweh remained.