Would Elijah save Jesus? (Mt 27:49-27:49)

“But the others said.

‘Wait!

Let us see

Whether Elijah

Will come to save him.’”

 

οἱ δὲ λοιποὶ εἶπαν Ἄφες ἴδωμεν εἰ ἔρχεται Ἡλείας σώσων αὐτόν.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 15:36.  There was nothing about Elijah in Luke, chapter 23, and in John, chapter 19.  Matthew said that some of the other bystanders (οἱ δὲ λοιποὶ εἶπαν) wanted to wait and see whether Elijah would come to save Jesus (Ἄφες ἴδωμεν εἰ ἔρχεται Ἡλείας σώσων αὐτόν).  Other ancient manuscripts have the additional symbolic phrase that can be found in John, 19:34 that happened after Jesus had died.  This verse read “Another soldier took a spear and pierced his side.  Then out came water and blood (ἄλλος δὲ λαβὼν λόγχην ἔνυξεν αὐτοῦ τὴν πλευράν, καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ὕδωρ καὶ αἷμα).”

 

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A new victory song (Isa 42:10-42:13)

“Sing to Yahweh a new song!

Sing of his praise

From the ends of the earth!

Let the sea roar!

Let all that fills it roar!

Let the coastlands roar!

Let their inhabitants roar!

Let the desert lift up its voice!

Let its towns lift up their voice!

Let the villages that Kedar inhabits

Lift up their voice!

Let the inhabitants of Sela sing for joy!

Let them shout

From the top of the mountains!      

Let them give glory to Yahweh!

Let them declare his praise in the coastlands!

Yahweh goes forth

Like a soldier.

Like a warrior,

He stirs up his fury.

He cries out!

He shouts aloud!

He shows himself mighty

Against his foes.”

This section of Second Isaiah is like a hymn, a song, a psalm, a new victory chant to a victorious Yahweh, instead of an admonition directly from him as in the preceding section. They were to sing a new song to Yahweh praising him from the ends of the earth. The seas and everything in it should roar. The coastline with its inhabitants should roar praise for Yahweh. The desert and its towns should roar with praise for Yahweh. Even the Kedar Arab tribe and its villages should lift up their voices. Sela, the capital of Edom, and its inhabitants should also sing for joy. They should all shout from the mountain tops to give glory to the Lord, so that even the coastlands can hear it. The soldier Yahweh was a great furious warrior who cried out and shouted aloud as he showed his might against his enemies. This clearly was a military victory chant because of mighty Yahweh.

The intervention of Judith (Jdt 16:5-16:10)

“But the Lord Almighty has foiled them

By the hand of a woman.

For their mighty one did not fall by the hands of the young men.

The sons of the Titans did not strike him down.

The tall giants did not set upon him.

But Judith,

Daughter of Merari,

With the beauty of her countenance,

She undid him.

She put away her widow’s clothing.

To exalt the oppressed in Israel.

She anointed her face with perfume.

She fastened her hair with a tiara.

She put on a linen gown to beguile him.

Her sandal ravished his eyes.

Her beauty captivated his mind.

The sword severed his neck.

The Persians trembled at her boldness,

The Medes were daunted at her daring.”

Suddenly the canticle is about Judith rather than Judith praying to God. The almighty God struck down the enemy with a female, almost to say, even a woman got him because he was so weak. It was not a young strong male soldier, nor some giant that brought him down. No, it was the beautiful widow who put away her widow’s clothing, anointed her face, fastened her hair, and wore a linen gown. She ravished his eyes, captivated his mind, and severed his neck. General Holofernes was not a Persian but an Assyrian. Medes was associated with the Persians, once again indicating some inconsistent details.

The Assyrians flee (Jdt 15:1-15:7)

“When the men in the tents heard it, they were amazed at what had happened. Overcome with fear and trembling, they did not wait for one another. With one impulse, all rushed out. They fled by every path across the plain and through the hill country. Those who had camped in the hills around Bethulia also took flight. Then the Israelites, everyone that was a soldier, rushed out upon them. Uzziah sent men to Betomesthaim, Choba, and Kola, and to all the frontiers of Israel, to tell them what had taken place. He urged all the Israelites to rush out upon their enemies to destroy them. When the Israelites heard it, with one accord they fell upon the enemy. They cut them down as far as Choba. Those in Jerusalem and all the hill country also came. They were told what had happened in the camp of the enemy. The men of Gilead and in Galilee outflanked them with great slaughter, even beyond Damascus and its borders. The rest of the people of Bethulia fell upon the Assyrian camp and plundered it, acquiring great riches. The Israelites, when they returned from the slaughter, took possession of what remained. Even the villages and towns in the hill country and in the plain got a great amount of booty, since there was a vast quantity of it.”

When all the foot soldiers in the camp heard what had happened, they were overcome with fear and trembling. Many of them rushed to the various paths to get out of the area. With all this going on, the Israelite soldiers rushed the camp. Meanwhile Uzziah, the lead elder in Bethulia, sent word out by messengers about what had happened there. He sent people to Betomesthaim, Choba, and Kola, but unfortunately no one has been able to pinpoint where these places are, but they probably were close to Dothan. He wanted the men at the frontiers to destroy their enemy as he was escaping. He sent word to Jerusalem and the hill country. Apparently, he was more successful in the northern areas of Galilee and Gilead, as they chased the enemy as far as Damascus. The men of Bethulia attacked the Assyrian camp killing the confused soldiers and taking their stuff as booty, since there were many supplies there for this famished town.