Monotheism

Monotheism that maintains that there is only one transcendent God.  The Israelite belief in Yahweh, their one God, was the prime example of monotheism.  Islamic faith with its belief in one God, Allah, is another later example of monotheism.  Christianity took from Judaism its monotheism, but changed the Yahweh monotheism into a triune God of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

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The priests despise the name of Yahweh (Mal 1:6-1:6)

“‘A son honors his father.

A servant honors his master.

If then I am a father,

Where is my honor?

If I am a master,

Where is the respect due me?’

Says Yahweh of hosts

To you.

‘O priests!

You despise my name!

You say.

‘How have we despised

Your name?’”

Yahweh said that a son honors his father, just like a servant honors his master.  Yahweh as a father and master wanted to know why he was not honored or respected.  He aimed his question at the priests, since he felt that they had despised his name.  The priests wanted to know how they had despised his name.

Do not trust anyone (Mic 7:5-7:6)

“Put no trust

In a friend!

Have no confidence

In a loved one!

Guard the doors

Of your mouth

From her

Who lies in your embrace!

The son treats

The father

With contempt.

The daughter

Rises up

Against her mother.

The daughter-in-law

Rises up

Against her mother-in-law.

Your enemies are

Members of your own household.”

Micah warned that they should not trust anyone, not even a friend or loved one.  They should be careful about what they say when embracing someone.  The son was treating his father with contempt.  The daughter was against her mother.  The daughter-in-law was against her mother-in-law.  Their worst enemies were not outside, but in their very own house.  This was a time and a place where you could not trust anyone, even your friends, family, and lovers.  You had to be careful with everyone.

Against Israel (Am 2:6-2:8)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘For three transgressions

Of Israel,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

Because they sell

The righteous

For silver.

They sell the needy

For a pair of sandals.

They trample

The head of the poor

Into the dust

Of the earth.

They push the afflicted

Out of the way.

A father

With his son

Goes into the same girl.

So,

My holy name

Is profaned.

They lay themselves down

Beside every altar,

On garments

Taken in pledge.

In the house

Of their god,

They drink

The wine

Bought with fines

They imposed.”

Finally, Yahweh issued a diatribe against Israel itself. Yahweh, via Amos, invoked the same language or literary form as he had used against Damascus, the Philistines, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and Judah. He also used the same non-forgiving numeric formula of 3 and 4, as in Proverbs, chapter 30. The Israelites were, also involved in the slave trade, as they sold the righteous ones for silver. At the same time, they sold the needy for a pair of shoes or sandals. They trampled the heads of the poor into the dust of the earth. Both father and son would have sex with the same temple female prostitute. They profaned the holy name of Yahweh, as they laid down at any altar, with garments that they had taken as interest down payments. They drank wine in the houses of their gods bought with the fines that they had imposed on the poor people. They had committed serious crimes.

The assassinations of the Israelite kings (Hos 7:5-7:7)

“On the day of our king,

The officials

Became sick

With the heat of wine.

He stretched out his hand

With mockers.

They are kindled

Like an oven.

Their hearts

Burn with intrigue.

All night,

Their anger smolders.

In the morning,

It blazes

Like a flaming fire.

All of them are hot

As an oven.

They devour their rulers.

All their kings have fallen.

None of them calls upon me.”

Yahweh was upset about the northern Israelite kingdom. Even at the enthronement of the king, some conspirators, drunk with wine, were plotting an overthrow of the new king. This intrigue burned in their hearts. Finally, this smoldering anger would blaze into a flaming fire. They devoured their own rulers. Many kings had fallen. Thus, one of the wicked deeds of the northern kingdom of Israel was their various assassination plots that changed kings. At least 7 kings were murdered in this northern territory. King Pekah (737-732 BCE) had murdered King Pekahiah (7378-737 BCE), the son of King Menahem (743-738 BC). However, the worst crime of all was that no one called on Yahweh for help.

The terrible king (Dan 11:21-11:21)

“In his place,

Shall arise

A contemptible person.

Royal majesty

Had not been conferred on him.

He shall come in

Without warning.

He shall obtain

The kingdom

Through intrigue.”

Now we have the real villain, probably a contemporary of the writer of this Book of Daniel, King Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 BCE), who took over from his brother, King Seleucus IV. He was the one mentioned earlier in thus work, about the famous little horn in chapter 7, in the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar. Gabriel, the angel, described him as a contemptible person, claiming that the royal majesty was not conferred on him. King Antiochus IV was involved in some kind of intrigue that kept the son of King Seleucus from being king. However, he was the younger brother of the king and his father had been king, so that he some legal standing.

The new leader (Dan 11:19-11:20)

“Then he shall turn back

Toward the fortresses

Of his own land.

But he shall stumble.

He shall fall.

He shall not be found.

Then shall arise

In his place,

One who shall send

An official

For the glory

Of the kingdom.

But within a few days,

He shall be broken,

But not in anger,

Nor in battle.”

King Antiochus III turned back to Syria. However, he stumbled and fell. In other words, he died. Then, his son, Seleucus IV (187-175 BCE), took over as king of Syria and Babylon. However, he sent one of his officials, Heliodorus, to take money from the Temple treasury in Jerusalem. However, this official was not successful. He died, not in anger or battle, but was a broken man. Actually, Heliodorus assassinated King Seleucus IV in 175 BCE.