The last of the ten kingdoms (Dan 7:24-7:26)

“As for the ten horns,

Out of this kingdom,

Ten kings shall arise.

Another shall arise after them.

This one shall

Be different

From the former ones.

He shall put down

Three kings.

He shall speak words

Against the Most High.

He shall wear out

The holy ones

Of the Most High.

He shall attempt

To change

The sacred seasons.

He shall attempt

To change the law.

They shall be given

Into his power

For a time,

Two times,

Half a time.

Then the court shall sit

In judgment.

His dominion shall be

Taken away,

To be consumed,

To be totally destroyed

To the end.”

Next, he explained that the 10 horns on the beast were the 10 Greek kings that succeeded Alexander the Great in his kingdom. However, there was a vehemence against the little horn king that overthrew the 3 kings. This was, of course, a reference to the Greek King Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-163 BCE), who was different from the other Greek rulers. He spoke openly against the Most High God. He wore out God’s holy ones. He attempted to change the holy seasons and do away with the religious festivals. He also tried to change the Jewish law. He had power for a little while, before the final kingdom would come. Then his dominion would be taken away. He would be consumed and destroyed. 1 Maccabees, chapter 1, went into great detail about this king.

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The prayer for King Nebuchadnezzar (Bar 1:11-1:12)

“Pray

For the life

Of King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon!

Pray

For the life of his son

Belshazzar!

Thus their days

On earth

May be

Like the days of heaven.

Pray that

The Lord

Will give us strength!

Pray that

He will give

Light to our eyes!

We shall live

Under the protection

Of King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon,

Under the protection

Of his son

Belshazzar.

We shall serve them

Many days.

We will find favor

In their sight.”

Baruch and these exiles looked very favorably on the king of Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar (634-562 BCE), as they pray for him. They also pray for his son Belshazzar. They were going to live under the protection of both of them. They would serve both of them in order to find favor with them. King Nebuchadnezzar took over Babylon and consolidated his power around 605 BCE. He was succeeded by Amel-Marduk in 562 BCE, his son, who ruled for 2 years. Then his brother-in-law Nabonidus took over for 10 years. Belshazzar was the king of Babylon from 550-539, when the great empire fell. However, Belshazzar was not the son of King Nebuchadnezzar, but the son of Nabonidus and may have served as king with his father. Obviously there are some historical problems here.

The Chaldeans take Jerusalem (Jer 32:26-32:29)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to Jeremiah.

‘See!

I am Yahweh!

The God of all flesh!

Is anything too hard for me?’

Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh.

‘I am going to give this city

Into the hands of the Chaldeans.

I am going to give this city

Into the hand of King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon.

He shall take it.

The Chaldeans,

Who are fighting against this city,

Shall come.

They will set this city on fire.

They will burn it.

They will burn the houses

On whose roofs

Offerings were made

To Baal,

Where libations

Have been poured out

To other gods.

They did these sacrifices

To provoke me to anger.’”

Yahweh once again has an oracle for Jeremiah. Yahweh was the God of all flesh. There was nothing too hard for him. He was going to give Jerusalem over to the Chaldeans who were fighting there. He was going to hand the city over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The Babylonians and the Chaldeans were going to set the city on fire and burn it down. Thus the houses with the roof tops that had made offerings to Baal or libations to the other gods would be destroyed. These Israelites had offered these sacrifices to provoke Yahweh to anger. They had succeeded.

King Shallum (Jer 22:11-22:12)

“Thus says Yahweh

Concerning King Shallum

The son of King Josiah

Of Judah.

He succeeded his father,

King Josiah.

He went away from this place.

He shall never return here.

But in the place

Where they have carried him captive,

There he shall die.

He shall never

See this land again.”

King Shallum or King Jehoahaz (609-609 BCE) was the son of King Josiah (640-609 BCE). At the age of 23 he succeeded his father who had died in battle. As you can see, he lasted less than a year, only 3 months, before he was banished to Egypt by King Necho II of Egypt (610-595 BCE), where he died in prison. His brother King Eliakim or King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE) succeeded him with the blessings of King Necho II of Egypt. Jeremiah recounts that Yahweh had him succeed his father. Then he was sent away to Egypt from which he never returned. He never saw his homeland again. There is a good deal of historical artifacts about this time, showing the problems of the Egyptians, the Assyrians, and the Babylonians with the king of Judah in the middle.

Title (Jer 1:1-1:3)

“These are the words of Jeremiah,

Son of Hilkiah,

Of the priests

Who were in Anathoth

In the land of Benjamin.

The word of Yahweh

Came in the days of King Josiah

Son of Amon of Judah,

In the thirteenth year of his reign.

It came also in the days of King Jehoiakim,

Son of Josiah of Judah,

Until the end of the eleventh year of King Zedekiah,

Son of Josiah of Judah,

Until the captivity of Jerusalem

In the fifth month.”

Jeremiah probably was a prophet in Judah from 627-587 BCE, about 40 years, much like the 40 years of Moses in the desert. He was the son of Hilkiah, who was mentioned in 2 Kings, chapter 26. Although this priest Hilkiah served under King Josiah (641-609 BCE) of Judah, it is not clear that he is the same person as the father of Jeremiah. This Hilkiah, the father of Jeremiah, was among a number of priests who lived at Anathoth, in the Benjamin territory, about 2 miles outside of Jerusalem. If this is the 13th year of King Josiah, who had succeeded his killed father, King Amon (642-641 BCE), the call of Jeremiah to be a prophet took place around 627 BCE. These are the words about Jeremiah during the reigns of King Josiah, and under his sons, King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE) and King Zedekiah (598-587 BCE). There is no mention of the other two sons of King Josiah, who only were kings for 1 year each, King Jehoahaz in 609 BCE, and King Jehoiachin in 598 BCE. King Zedekiah was the king at the time when the Babylonian captivity of Jerusalem took place in 587 BCE.

Joshua (Sir 46:1-46:6)

“Joshua

Son of Nun

Was mighty in war.

He was the successor of Moses

In the prophetic office.

He became,

As his name implies,

A great savior of God’s elect.

He took vengeance

On the enemies

That rose against them.

Thus he might give Israel

Its inheritance.

How glorious he was

When he lifted his hands.

He brandished his sword

Against the cities.

Who before him,

Ever stood so firm?

He waged the wars of the Lord.

Was it not through him

That the sun stood still?

Did not one day

Become as long as two?

He called upon the Most High,

The Mighty One,

When enemies pressed him on every side.

The great Lord answered him

With hailstones of mighty power.

He overwhelmed that nation in battle.

On the slope

He destroyed his opponents.

Thus the nations might know his armament.

He was fighting

In the sight of the Lord.

He was a devoted follower of the Mighty One.”

Of course, there was a whole biblical book named after Joshua. Sirach lists him as a warrior and a prophet, who succeeded Moses. This son of Nun was a great savior of God’s people. He wiped out the enemies of Israel so that they might have their inheritance. He lifted up his hand as he swung his sword. Before him, no one had ever waged wars for the Lord like him. He stood firm and created miracles with the sun. He called upon the Most High God, the mighty one, when enemies were all around him. The Lord heard his cry so that his enemies were destroyed. Thus all the countries came to know about his fighting strength for the Lord, as a devoted follower of the Mighty one.

The attacks (Ps 129:1-129:4)

A Song of Ascents

“Often have they attacked me from my youth.

Let Israel now say.

‘Often have they attacked me from my youth.

Yet they have not prevailed against me.

The plowers plowed on my back.

They made their furrows long.’

Yahweh is righteous.

He has cut the cords of the wicked.”

Psalm 129 is another in this series of pilgrimage songs or psalms on the ascent to Jerusalem. In this particular song the psalmist claims to have been attacked since his youth. This youth may be a reference to Israel in its early stages in Canaan as Israel proclaimed the same message. They tried to plow the back of the psalmist. However, his enemies have not succeeded. Yahweh is the righteous one who has cut the cords of the wicked ones.