The threat of the imminent exile (Jer 13:15-13:17)

“Hear!

Give ear!

Do not be haughty!

Yahweh has spoken.

Give glory to Yahweh!

Your God!

Before he brings darkness.

Give glory to Yahweh!

Your God!

Before your feet stumble

On the mountains at twilight.

While you look for light

He turns it into gloom.

He makes it deep darkness.

But if you will not listen,

My soul will weep in secret

For your pride.

My eyes will weep bitterly.

Tears will run down my cheeks

Because Yahweh’s flock

Has been taken captive.”

Jeremiah talks about an imminent captivity. They seem to have one last chance to listen to the words of Yahweh and not be proud. They would have to give glory to Yahweh, their God. Otherwise their feet would stumble as if they were on a mountain at twilight. The light was soon going to turn to darkness and gloom. If they did not listen to God, then Jeremiah would weep in secret because of their pride. He would weep bitterly with tears running down his cheeks, because they were going to be taken into captivity.

The first defeat (Isa 9:1-9:1)

“There will be no gloom

For those who are in anguish.

In the former time,

He brought into contempt

The land of Zebulun

With the land of Naphtali.

But in the latter time

He will make glorious

The way of the sea,

The land beyond the Jordan,

Galilee of the nations.”

Isaiah indicates that the first defeat was to be in the northern tribe territories of Zebulun and Naphtali, which were closer to Syria around the Sea of Galilee. Perhaps, this is the invasion of the Assyrian King Tiglath-pileser III (745-727 BCE) when King Pekah (737-732 BCE) was the king of Israel. King Tiglath-pileser III captured the northern territory of Israel, including all of Naphtali, as in 2 Kings, chapter 15. He was the first to displace the Israelites since he took captives from these northern cities and brought them to Assyria, probably around 732 BCE. Isaiah speaks of it as a former time. As for the latter time, “The Way of the Sea” was the name of Assyria province set up in what later will be called Galilee in Naphtali. The land on the other side of the Jordan River will also be taken.

Athenobius goes to Jerusalem to meet Simon (1 Macc 15:32-15:36)

“Athenobius, the king’s friend, came to Jerusalem. When he saw the splendor of Simon, and the sideboard with its gold and silver plate, and his great magnificence, he was amazed. He reported to him the words of the king, but Simon said to him in reply.

‘We have neither taken foreign land.

We have never seized foreign property.

We have only the inheritance of our ancestors.

This at one time had been unjustly taken by our enemies.

Now that we have the opportunity,

We are firmly holding the inheritance of our ancestors.

As for Joppa and Gazara,

Which you demand,

They were causing great damage among the people

And to our land.

For them,

We will give you a hundred talents.’

Athenobius did not answer him a word. He returned in wrath to the king. He reported to him these words, the splendor of Simon, and all that he had seen. The king was very angry.”

Athenobius, King Antiochus VII’s friend and envoy, was amazed at the splendor in Jerusalem with all the silver and gold. Then he went to Simon and repeated the words of the king in the preceding paragraph. Simon then responded that he had not taken any foreign land or property. All that he took was the inheritance of his ancestors that had been taken unjustly by their enemies. He was going to hold firm to the inheritance of his ancestors. As for Joppa and Gaza, they had caused great hardship on the Jewish people and the land. However, he was willing to pay 100 talents of silver, not the 500 or 1,000 that King Antiochus VII wanted. Athenobius did not say a word. He just returned to the king in an angry mood. When he reported this to the king, he too became very angry. I can see a problem brewing here.

The property of Haman goes to Queen Esther (Esth 8:1-8:2)

“On that day, King Artaxerxes gave to Queen Esther the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had told what he was to her. The king took off his signet ring, which he had taken from Haman. He gave it to Mordecai. Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.”

The king took his signet ring from Haman and gave it to Mordecai. The king gave Queen Esther all the property of Haman and his family. Queen Esther, after telling the king how she was related to Mordecai, put Mordecai in charge of the house of Haman. The tables have completely turned around.