The reaction of the people to the actions of Simon (Sir 50:16-50:19)

“Then the sons of Aaron shouted.

They blew their trumpets

Of hammered metal.

They sounded a mighty fanfare,

As a reminder before

The Most High.

Then all the people together

Quickly fell to the ground

On their faces.

They worshiped their Lord,

The Almighty,

The God Most High.

Then the singers praised him

With their voices

In sweet full-toned melody.

The people

Of the Lord Most High

offered their prayers

Before the merciful one,

Until the order of worship of the Lord

Was ended.

Thus they completed Simon’s ritual.”

Next the sons of Aaron shouted. Then they blew their hammered metal trumpets with a great fanfare before the Most High God. The people in the assembly then quickly fell with their faces down to the ground, as they worshipped the Lord Almighty, the Most High God. The singers chimed in with their sweet melodic voices, as the people offered their prayers to the Most High merciful God, until this worship service to the Lord was ended.

The glory of King David (Sir 47:6-47:11)

“They glorified him

For the tens of thousands that he conquered.

They praised him

For the blessings bestowed

By the Lord.

The glorious diadem was given to him.

He wiped out his enemies on every side.

He annihilated his adversaries,

The Philistines.

He crushed their power even to our own day.

In all that he did

He gave thanks to the Holy One,

The Most High,

Proclaiming his glory.

He sang praise

With all his heart.

He loved his Maker.

He placed singers before the altar.

They made sweet melody with their voices.

Daily they sing his praises.

He gave beauty to the festivals.

He arranged their times

Throughout the year.

They praised God’s holy name.

The sanctuary resounded from early morning.

The Lord took away his sins.

He exalted his power forever.

He gave him a covenant of kingship.

He gave him a glorious throne in Israel.”

Sirach told of the glory of King David who had killed thousands of his enemies. He was praised for the Lord’s blessings that he had received. He was given a glorious diadem crown to wear, after an unmentioned dispute with King Saul. David wiped out his enemies, especially the Philistines, but they kept coming back for more. However, David gave thanks to the Holy One, the Most High God. He loved his creator. He sang praises to him. He had singers at the altar as well as set up wonderful festivals throughout the year. Although there is mention of a sanctuary, the Temple was not built until his son King Solomon built it. The Lord took away the sins of David and established a covenant of kingship with him on the throne in Israel. In light of what was to come, there was no eternal covenant of kingship.

Luxurious wealth (Eccl 2:4-2:8)

“I made great works.

I built houses.

I planted vineyards for myself.

I made myself gardens.

I made myself parks.

I planted in them

All kinds of fruit trees.

I made myself pools from which

To water the forest of growing trees.

I bought male slaves.

I bought female slaves.

I had slaves who were born in my house.

I had great possessions of herds.

I also had great possessions of flocks.

More than any

Who had been before me in Jerusalem.

I also gathered for myself

Silver and gold

From the treasure of kings and provinces.

I got singers,

Both men and women.

I enjoyed the delights of the flesh

With many concubines.”

Qoheleth continued his first person singular narrative. Was it all about him? He built great houses and vineyards just for himself. He made his own gardens and parks, all full of great fruit trees. He put in ponds besides the trees for irrigation. He bought both male and female servants. He created his own slaves by having them procreate in his house. He had great herds and flocks of animals and birds. He was richer than any man who had ever lived in Jerusalem. He gathered gold and silver from the various kings and provinces. He had male and female singers. Of course, he had many concubines to delight him. This was the life of luxury of a rich powerful self indulgent king of Jerusalem.

Singers and dancers (Ps 87:7-87:7)

“Singers and dancers alike say.

‘All my springs are in you.’”

This seems to be a confusing end to this psalm. It is not the fact of singers and dancers, but what they say. It seems that all people or good people spring from Mount Zion. Everything springs from Yahweh and especially from Zion.

The solemn processions (Ps 68:24-68:27)

“Your solemn processions are seen!

O God!

The processions

Of my God,

My King,

Into the sanctuary!

The singers are in front.

The musicians are last.

Between them are girls playing tambourines.

‘Bless God in the great congregation!

Yahweh!

O you who are of Israel’s fountain!’

There is Benjamin,

The least of them,

In the lead.

The princes of Judah are in a body.

The princes of Zebulun are there.

The princes of Naphtali are there.”

This is a description of a great procession into the Temple area. Yahweh is king and God. They head into the sanctuary area. The singers are in front with the musicians last, as girls with tambourines are in the middle. They are there to bless God who is the fountain and foundation of Israel. Only 4 tribes are mentioned, 2 from the north, Zebulun and Naphtali, and 2 from the south. Benjamin was the small tribe that King Saul had come from, while King David was from Judah. Thus the solemn march to the temple took place.

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.

The tithing Temple obligations (Neh 10:32-10:39)

We also lay upon ourselves the obligation to charge ourselves yearly one-third part of a shekel for the service of the house of our God. This was to pay for the rows of bread, the regular grain offering, the regular burnt offering, the Sabbaths, the new moons, the appointed festivals, the sacred donations, and the sin offerings to make atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God. We have also cast lots among the priests, the Levites, and the people, for the wood offering, to bring it into the house of our God, by ancestral houses, at times appointed, year by year, to burn upon the altar of Yahweh our God, as it is written in the law. We obligate ourselves to bring the first fruits of our soil and the first fruits of every tree, year by year, to the house of Yahweh. We will also bring to the house of our God, to the priests who minister in the house of our God, the first-born males of our livestock, as it is written in the law, and the firstlings of our herds and of our flocks. We will bring the first of our dough, and our contributions, the fruit of every tree, the wine and the oil, to the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God. We will bring to the Levites the tithes from our soil. The Levites will collect the tithes in all our rural towns. The priest, the descendent of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive the tithes. The Levites shall bring up a tithe of the tithes to the house of our God, to the chambers, to the storehouse. The people of Israel and the sons of Levi shall bring the contribution of grain, wine, and oil to the storehouses, where the vessels of the sanctuary are. That is where the priests that minister, and the gatekeepers and the singers are. We will not neglect the house of our God.”

The Temple in Jerusalem will be the center of worship. They are each going to give 1/3 of a shekel, the Temple tax, about the equivalent of $2.00 USA. The bread and the burnt offerings come from Leviticus, chapter 24, and Numbers, chapter 26. The bringing of wood is a new idea here. The first fruits concept comes from Deuteronomy, chapter 26. The offering of the first born male of the livestock comes from Exodus, chapter 13. However, the first part of dough, wine, and oil was not in Exodus. The Levites would collect the tithes in all the rural towns, based on Numbers, chapter 18. There is a clear procedure of how the tithes are to be brought from the rural areas to the Temple. The priests, the gatekeepers, and the singers should not be neglected. The house of God should not be neglected.