Apple tree (Song 2:3-2:5)

Female lover

“As an apple tree

Among the trees of the wood,

So is my beloved

Among young men.

With great delight

I sat in his shadow.

His fruit was sweet to my taste.

He brought me

To the banqueting house.

His intention toward me

Was love.

Sustain me with raisins.

Refresh me with apples.

I am faint with love.”

The female lover compares her lover to an apple tree in a forest. Thus she can sit in his shadow as this shady apple tree stands out among the other young men. His fruit was sweet and tasty. He brought her to the banquet hall with his love intentions. He sustained her with raisins. He refreshed her with apples. There could be sexual connotations here, but certainly the setting is romantic love. She is love sick, fainting with love. Clearly, she has fallen in love with this handsome young man who is like an apple tree.

God is my helper (Ps 54:4-54:5)

“But surely,

God is my helper.

Yahweh is the upholder of my life.

He will repay my enemies for their evil.

In your faithfulness

Put an end to them!”

The response of David is to call God to help him. Yahweh was the one who sustained him in his life. He believed that Yahweh would repay his enemies for what they have done. They had not been faithful to Yahweh. He wanted them eliminated, an end to them.

Prayer for help (Ps 41:10-41:12)

“But You!

Yahweh!

Be gracious to me!

Raise me up!

Thus I may repay them.

By this I know

That you are pleased with me.

My enemy has not triumphed over me.

But you have upheld me

Because of my integrity.

You have set me in your presence forever.”

David prayed to Yahweh. Once again he wanted Yahweh to be gracious to him and raise him up out of his sick bed. Then he would be able to repay all those who were not kind to him. David knew that Yahweh was pleased with him because his enemy had not defeated him. He had been sustained by Yahweh because of his integrity. Therefore he would be in the presence of Yahweh forever. Is this an indication of eternal life?

Yahweh sustains me (Ps 3:5-3:6)

“I lie down and sleep.

I wake again.

Yahweh sustains me.

I am not afraid of

Ten thousands of people.

I am not afraid of

Those who have set themselves against me all around.”

David was not afraid to sleep because he would awake. Yahweh was like his body guard and sustained him in all things. He was not afraid of 10,000 people even if they had him surrounded. He would still trust in Yahweh. There was no “Selah” or pause here as in the preceding verses.

Let us thank God (Jdt 8:25-8:27)

“In spite of everything,

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

He is putting us to the test as he did our ancestors.

Remember what he did with Abraham,

How he tested Isaac,

What happened to Jacob in Syrian Mesopotamia,

While he was tending the sheep of Laban,

His mother’s brother.

He has not tried us with fire,

As he did them,

To search their hearts.

Nor has he taken vengeance upon us.

But the Lord scourges those who are close to him,

In order to admonish them.”

Despite everything, Judith wants them to give thanks to the Lord, our God. This is a test like he gave to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God is not trying us with fire nor is he vengeful. He scourges those that are close to him to help them learn by admonishment. This was a stirring speech by Judith as she wanted to give courage to the elders. She wanted to remind them that God had sustained their ancestors in times of trial.