Sing to Yahweh in the Temple (Ps 27:6-27:6)

“Now my head is lifted up above.

My enemies are all around me.

I will offer in his tent

Sacrifices with shouts of joy.

I will sing.

I will make melody to Yahweh.”

David’s head was lifted above all his enemies who were all around him. He was going to offer sacrifices in the tent or Temple of Yahweh. He was going to sing and make melody to Yahweh. However, the problem was that only the Levites and priests could make the sacrifices in the Temple. David was not a Levite.

Job remembers the good old days (Job 29:1-29:6)

“Job again took up his discourse.

He said.

‘O that I were as in the months of old.

As in the days when God watched over me,

When his lamp shone over my head,

By his light I walked through darkness.

As I was in my prime,

When the friendship of God was upon my tent,

When the Almighty Shaddai was still with me,

When my children were around me,

When my steps were washed with milk,

The rock poured out for me streams of oil!’”

Now it is back to the old complaining Job. Once again this is a solemn discourse, not a mere complaint with his friends. This time he was reminiscing about the “good old days.” God was watching over him as his head had something like a lamp around it. Job was able to walk through darkness because God liked him in his tent. He was in the prime years of his life. The friendship of the almighty Shaddai was still with him. His children were all around him. His steps were washed with milk, while oil gushed out of rocks. In other words, these were metaphors for the fact that he was prosperous and happy.

Jeremiah hides the cult material (2 Macc 2:4-2:8)

“It was also in the same document

Writing that the prophet,

Having received an oracle,

Ordered that the tent and the ark should follow with him.

He went out to the mountain

Where Moses had gone up.

He had seen the inheritance of God.

Jeremiah came and found a cave-dwelling.

He brought the tent there

With the ark and the altar of incense.

Then he sealed up the entrance.

Some of those who followed him

Came up intending to mark the way,

But they could not find it.

When Jeremiah learned of it,

He rebuked them and declared.

‘The place shall be unknown

Until God gathers his people together again

Until God shows his mercy.

Then the Lord will disclose these things.

The glory of the Lord

And the cloud will appear.

As they were shown in the case of Moses,

And as Solomon asked

That the place should be specially consecrated.’”

Once again, this letter refers to the Epistle of Jeremiah. However, this reference to Jeremiah is more about not being enticed by the idols of the gods that they will see in captivity. This implies that Jeremiah went to Mount Sinai to get the tent of Moses. He then hid it with the Ark of the Covenant and the altar of incense in some cave that was sealed. No one would know about this cave until the end of time when God would gather all his people. Here then is a hint of eschatology, the end times. People tried to find this cave but were unable to do so. King Solomon also had the Ark of the Covenant passed around. The glory and the cloud are how God appeared to Moses.

The Assyrians discover the death of General Holofernes (Jdt 14:14-14:19)

“Bagoas went in as he knocked at the entry of the tent. He assumed that General Holofernes was sleeping with Judith. But when no one answered, he opened it. Then he went into the bedchamber. There he found General Holofernes sprawled on the floor dead, with his head missing. He cried out with a loud voice. He wept, groaned and shouted. He tore his clothes. Then he went to the tent where Judith had stayed. When he did not find her, he rushed out to the people and shouted.

‘The slaves have tricked us!

One Hebrew woman has brought disgrace

On the house of King Nebuchadnezzar!

Look!

General Holofernes is lying on the ground!

His head is missing!’

When the leaders of the Assyrian army heard this, they tore their tunics. They were greatly dismayed. Their loud cries and shouts rose up throughout the camp.”

Bagoas was the chief personal steward of General Holofernes. He politely knocked at the entry way to the general’s tent. He thought that the general was sleeping with Judith and did not want to disturb him. However, when no one answered, he entered the bedchamber.   There he found the general sprawled out on the floor beheaded. He was really upset. He wept, groaned, and shouted as he tore his clothes. When people were upset they would tear their clothes. Then he went to the tent of Judith to see how she was. However, she was gone. Then he realized what had happened. He ran out of the tent shouting that they had been tricked by the slaves. This Hebrew woman had brought disgrace to the house of King Nebuchadnezzar. The general was dead with his head missing. When the Assyrian army leaders heard this, they tore their clothes as they too were dismayed. Thus there were loud shouts throughout the camp. Strangely enough, there was no second in command to take over things.

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.

 

Judith goes out to pray (Jdt 12:5-12:9)

“Then the servants of General Holofernes brought her into the tent. She slept until midnight. Toward the morning watch she got up. She sent this message to General Holofernes.

‘Let my lord now give orders to allow your servant

To go out and pray.’

So General Holofernes commanded his guards not to hinder her. She remained in the camp three days. She went out each night to the valley of Bethulia. She bathed at the spring in the camp. After bathing, she prayed the Lord God of Israel to direct her way for the triumph of his people. Then she returned purified. She stayed in the tent until she ate her food toward evening.”

Judith seems to have a tent near the general or in part of the general’s tent. She slept until midnight. However, at the morning watch she sent a message to the general. She wanted her and her servant to go out to pray. Then General Holofernes ordered his guards to let her go. She stayed in the army camp 3 days. Each night she would go out to the valley of Bethulia and bathe in the guarded springs. Then she would pray to the God of Israel for direction. Once purified or cleansed, she would return to the tent and eat her food at night. This seems like a simple routine so that she would not be suspected of anything.