The return on the easy road (Isa 49:9-49:11)

“They shall feed along the ways.

On all bare heights

Shall be their pasture.

They shall not hunger.

They shall not thirst.

There shall not be a scorching wind.

There shall not be the sun

To strike them down.

He who has pity on them

Will lead them.

By springs of water,

He will guide them.

I will turn all my mountains

Into a road.

My highways shall be raised up.”

Yahweh explains that this will be an easy road back from the Exile. There will be food along the way and plenty of pastures. They will not be hungry or thirsty. There would be no scorching wind or dangerous sun to strike them with sun stroke. People will take pity on them, and lead them to springs of water. The mountains will become easy roads, while highways will appear out of nowhere.

The death of the unjust (Wis 4:16-4:19)

“The righteous that have died

Will condemn the ungodly that are living.

Youth that is quickly perfected

Will condemn the prolonged old age of the unrighteous.

They will see the end of the wise.

They will not understand

What the Lord purposed for them.

He kept them safe.

The unrighteous will see.

They will have contempt for them.

But the Lord will laugh them to scorn.

After this,

They will become dishonored corpses.

They are an outrage among the dead forever.

He will dash them speechless to the ground.

He will shake them from the foundations.

They will be left utterly dry.

They will be left barren.

They will suffer anguish.

Their memory will perish.”

The righteous (δίκαιος), when they die, condemn the living ungodly ones (ἀσεβεῖς). The perfected youth of the righteous is better than the old age of the unrighteous. The righteous understood the Lord’s purpose. The unrighteous have contempt for the righteous, but the Lord will laugh (ὁ Κύριος ἐκγελάσεται) at the unrighteous in scorn, after they have become dishonored corpses. The Lord will strike them speechless on the ground. They will be left dry, barren, and in anguish as their memory will be wiped out.

Destruction for the wicked (Ps 141:5-141:7)

“Let the righteous strike me!

Let the faithful correct me!

Never let the oil of the wicked anoint my head!

My prayer is continually against their wicked deeds.

When they are given over to those who shall condemn them,

Then they shall learn that my words were pleasant.

Like a rock that one breaks apart,

Like a rock that shatters on the land,

So shall their bones be strewn

At the mouth of Sheol.”

David said that the righteous and faithful ones should strike and correct him. However, he would never let the wicked ones anoint his head with oil or praise him in any way. In fact, he prayed continually to avoid wicked deeds. The results for the wicked were condemnation and unpleasant words. David wanted their bones to be like rocks breaking apart and being shattered all over the land so that they would end up at the mouth of the deadly underworld of Sheol.

Yahweh must bring justice (Ps 10:17-10:18)

“Yahweh!

You will hear the desire of the meek!

You will strengthen their heart!

You will incline your ear!

You will do justice for the orphans and the oppressed!

Thus those from the earth may strike terror no more.”

The psalmist wants Yahweh to hear the meek and strengthen their hearts. Listen to the cries for justice of the orphans and the oppressed. Get rid of the evil doers so that they cannot strike terror any more. The psalmist of David wanted justice for the oppressed. Get rid of the terrorists. That is a cry that we often hear today.

Yahweh defeats my enemies (Ps 3:7-3:7)

“Arise, Yahweh!

Deliver me!

O my God!

You strike all my enemies on the cheek.

You break the teeth of the wicked.”

David wanted Yahweh to wake up and deliver him. He wanted Yahweh to strike all his enemies on the cheek. He wanted him to break the teeth of all the wicked. Once again there was no pause or break. David wanted Yahweh to intervene on his behalf in this internal Israelite family struggle with his son. The wicked and the enemies were not other countries, but his own family and countrymen.

The battle at the Jordan River (1 Macc 9:47-9:49)

“So the battle began. Jonathan stretched out his hand to strike Bacchides, but he eluded him and went to the rear. Then Jonathan and the men with him leaped into the Jordan River. They swam across to the other side. The enemy did not cross the Jordan to attack them. About one thousand of Bacchides’ men fell that day.”

The battle began as Jonathan tried to strike Bacchides, but he was unsuccessful as Bacchides went to the rear of his army. Then Jonathan told his men to jump in the Jordan River and swim to the other side. However, General Bacchides did not follow them since his men had suffered the death of 1,000 men that day.

Judith shows them the head of General Holofernes (Jdt 13:15-13:16)

“Then Judith pulled the head out of the bag. She showed it to them. She said.

‘See here.

The head of General Holofernes,

The commander of the Assyrian army.

Here is the canopy beneath which he lay in his drunken stupor.

The Lord has struck him down by the hand of a woman.

As the Lord lives,

He has protected me in the way I went.

I swear that it was my face

That seduced him to his destruction.

He committed no act of sin with me.

He did not defile and shame me.’”

Then Judith took the head out of the food bag that her maid had with her. She showed his head to them. She then told them that this was the head of General Holofernes, the commander of the Assyrian army. The bed canopy that wrapped his head came from his tent. She killed him while he was in a drunken stupor. The Lord gave her strength to strike him down so that he died at the hand of a woman. The Lord protected her as she seduced him with her facial appearance that led to his own destruction. However, no sin was committed since he did not defile or shame her.

 

The prayer of Judith against the Assyrians (Jdt 9:7-9:10)

“Here now are the Assyrians,

A greatly increased force.

They pride themselves in their horses and riders.

They boast in the strength of their foot soldiers.

They trust in shield and spear.

They trust in bow and sling.

They do not know that you are the Lord who crushes wars.

The Lord is your name!

Break their strength by your might!

Bring down their power in your anger!

They intend to defile your sanctuary!

They intend to pollute the tabernacle,

Where your glorious name resides.

They intend to break off the horns of your altar with the sword.

Look at their pride!

Send your wrath upon their heads!

Give to me, a widow,

The strong hands to do what I plan.

By the deceit of my lips,

Strike down the slave with the prince.

The prince with his servant.

Crush their arrogance by the hand of a woman!”

Now Judith turned to the Assyrians at hand. They are so proud with their army of cavalry, foot soldiers, shields, spears, bows, and slings. They do not recognize the God of the Israelites. They do not know that the Lord God will crush all. He can break their strength. They intend to defile the sanctuary in Jerusalem. They intend to pollute the tabernacle. They intend to break the horns on the altar. All of this is intended for the Temple in Jerusalem, where the holy name of Yahweh resides. Judith wants God to send his wrath upon the proud Assyrians. She, a widow wants God to give her the strength to be deceitful so that she can strike down the prince of power with her hands. Judith will become the deceitful female warrior.