The problem of Jerusalem (Zech 12:2-12:3)

“See!

I am about to make Jerusalem

A cup of trembling

For all the surrounding people.

It will be against Judah also

In the siege against Jerusalem.

On that day,

I will make Jerusalem

A heavy stone

For all the people.

Anyone who lifts it

Shall grievously hurt themselves.

All the nations of the earth

Shall come together against it.”

Zechariah pointed out that Jerusalem was going to have a special place.  They were going to be like a cup of trembling or reeling, perhaps an allusion to the cup, bowl, or basin that caught the blood of the Passover lamb.  The neighboring people should be aware that Jerusalem was under siege.  Thus, Jerusalem was to become a heavy stone that few people could lift.  Apparently, there was a practice of lifting stones to show one’s strength among young men, like weight lifting.  Thus, anyone who tried to lift the heavy stone of Jerusalem would hurt themselves.  All the various countries in the world would come against Jerusalem, but at their own risk.

Assyria in the pit (Ezek 32:22-32:23)

“Assyria is there.

All its company is there.

Their graves are

All around it.

All of them killed,

Fallen by the sword.

Their graves are set

In the uttermost parts

Of the pit.

Its company

Is all around

Its grave.

All of them

Have been killed,

Fallen by the sword.

They had spread

Terror

In the land

Of the living.”

There apparently was a special place for the Assyrians in this pit or Sheol, the shadowy underworld of the afterlife. Somehow their graves were all around them, since they were all killed by the sword. Thus, their graves were set off in the uttermost parts of this pit. The Assyrian company armies were all around in graves also, since all of them had died by the sword. While they were living, they had spread terror. Now they were in the worst part of Sheol.

The blessed ones (Wis 3:13-3:15)

“Blessed is the barren woman

Who is undefiled.

She has not entered into a sinful union.

She will have fruit

When God examines souls.

Blessed also is the eunuch

Whose hands have done no lawless deed.

He has not devised wicked things against the Lord.

Special favor will be shown him

For his faithfulness.

There will be a place of great delight

In the temple of the Lord.

The fruit of good labors is renowned.

The root of understanding does not fail.”

This author then praises or calls the barren woman and the eunuch blessed or blissful (μακαρία). Both of these groups of people were considered outcasts of society because of their sterility. These barren women are those who were not defiled. They had not entered into a sinful union. They will bear fruit when their souls would be examined (ἐπισκοπῇ ψυχῶν). The eunuchs should have not done any lawless actions. They will not have devised anything wicked against the Lord (κατὰ τοῦ Κυρίου πονηρά). They will receive special favors because they were faithful. They will have a special place in the Temple of the Lord (ἐν ναῷ Κυρίου θυμηρέστερος). This is a reference to some kind of eternal reward. The fruits of a good life and understanding will not fail.

Yahweh cares about David (Ps 18:16-18:19)

“He reached down from on high.

He took me.

He drew me out of mighty waters.

He delivered me from my strong enemy.

He delivered me from those who hated me.

They were too mighty for me.

They confronted me.

In the day of my calamity,

However Yahweh was my support.

He brought me out into a broad place.

He rescued me,

Because he delighted in me.”

The psalmist David seems to imply that Yahweh had a special place for him. This is almost word for word from the canticle in 2 Samuel, chapter 22. Yahweh reached down from the heavens. He took David out of the mighty waters. More than anything, he rescued David from his strong enemy and those who hated him. David realized that he was not strong enough by himself. He needed the help of Yahweh in the day of his calamity when his enemies confronted him. Yahweh was his support who had brought him forward. Yahweh delighted in David. His enemies attacked him, but Yahweh was always with him because he loved him.