The Old Testament takes up two-thirds of the Christian Bible. The Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh, is divided into three major parts, the Torah, the Nevi’im, and the Ketuvim. The Torah was known as the Law or instruction. The works of the prophets was called Nevi’im. Finally, the Writings were called Ketuvim. New Testament writers used these three terms of the law, the prophets, and the writings when they referred to the Hebrew Scriptures, the only Bible that they knew. Most of the final codification of the Hebrew Bible had taken place centuries before the time of Jesus Christ. Thus, the Christians often referred to the law and the prophets when they were talking about the books of the Hebrew Bible. These early Christians never referred to their own writings as the Bible.
The purchase of the field (Jer 32:9-32:11)
“I bought the field
From my cousin Hanamel.
I weighed out
The money to him,
Seventeen shekels of silver.
I signed the deed.
I sealed it.
I got witnesses.
I weighed the money on scales.
Then I took
The sealed deed of purchase,
That contained the terms
With the conditions,
As well as the open copy.”
This is a very unusual section that contains explicit first person details of this property field sale. However, there is no indication of the exact size of this field. Nowhere else in the biblical works is there such a specific indication of how financial transactions took place. First, Jeremiah bought the land. Most times, there would be no more details other than that. However, here Jeremiah next weighs out the money, 17 silver shekels, which was not a lot of money, about a couple of hundred USA dollars. Where he got the money is not indicated here. Then he signed the deed, probably on papyrus, sealed it, and had witnesses also sign it. There must have been some kind of official seal used here, but we do not know what kind. Finally there seems to be 2 copies of this transaction. The sealed deed contained all the terms and conditions of the sale, while the open copy or city file copy might just have the statement that the sale was made, much like current open records in USA, which generally adds the dollar amount of the sale. Thus these transactions were stored or kept in jars of some kind.
The primary mission of the servant prophet (Isa 61:1-61:1)
“The Spirit of Yahweh God is upon me.
Because Yahweh has anointed me.
He has sent me
To bring good news to the oppressed.
He has sent me
To bind up the brokenhearted.
He has sent me
To proclaim liberty to the captives.
He has sent me
To release the prisoners.”
The question immediately rises is this about prophets in general, the prophet Isaiah, or the servant of Yahweh? Definitely the Spirit of Yahweh was upon this person. Not only that, but this disciple or prophet of Yahweh has been anointed, either like a priestly or a royal anointing. However, the primary mission is not cultic, but rather social in nature, what we might call social justice. Having been called by the Spirit and anointed by Yahweh, he was sent out. This would imply a time when there was no Temple, basically the exilic time. The generic mission was simple. Bring good news to the oppressed. The good news concept was later adapted by the early followers of Jesus who talked about the good news of the gospel. This basic mission included binding up the broken hearted and freeing prisoners that were clearly exilic problems and terms.
The consultation of Judas Maccabeus and Nicanor (2 Macc 14:20-14:22)
“The terms had been fully considered. The leaders had informed the people. Thus it had appeared that they were of one mind. They then agreed to the covenant. The leaders set a day on which to meet by themselves. A chariot came forward from each army. Seats of honor were set in place. Judas Maccabeus posted armed men in readiness at key places to prevent sudden treachery on the part of the enemy. Thus they held the consultation.”
Judas Maccabeus and Nicanor had explained the agreement to their people so that they had an agreement before they met. Then they set a date to meet. In 1 Maccabees, chapter 7, there was no meeting of Nicanor and Judas Maccabeus, just the defeat of Nicanor, who took the place of Bacchides. Here there is a formal meeting and consultation as they sat in chariots with men ready to attack if things did not go well.