The daily burnt offering of the lamb (Ezek 46:13-46:15)

“The prince shall provide

A lamb a year old,

Without blemish,

For a burnt offering

To Yahweh

Daily.

Morning by morning

He shall provide it.

He shall provide

A grain offering

With it,

Morning by morning.

This shall be

One sixth of an ephah,

One third of a hin of oil

To moisten the flour,

As a grain offering

To Yahweh.

This is the ordinance

For all time.

Thus,

The lamb

With the grain offering,

Along with the oil,

Shall be provided,

Morning by morning,

As a regular burnt offering.”

Not only was the prince responsible for the sacrifices at the festivals, the weekly Sabbath, and the monthly new moon offerings, he was also responsible for providing the lamb offered up daily as a burnt offering in the Temple to Yahweh. Besides that, he also had to provide a small grain offering of 1/6th of an ephah or less than 1/10th of a bushel of grain with 1/3rd of a gallon of oil. This was a daily task. The oil moistened the flour, as usual. Yahweh, via Ezekiel said that this was a perpetual ordinance. There was to be a morning burnt offering to Yahweh of a lamb, with the accompanying grain and oil, every single day.

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The gentiles take over the Temple (2 Macc 6:3-6:6)

“Harsh and utterly grievous was the onslaught of evil. The temple was filled with debauchery and reveling by the gentiles. They dallied with prostitutes. They had intercourse with women within the sacred precincts. Besides they brought in things for sacrifice that were unfit. The altar was covered with abominable offerings which were forbidden by the laws. People could neither keep the Sabbath, nor observe the festivals of their ancestors, nor so much as confess themselves to be Jews.”

The gentiles took over the Temple. This was mentioned in 1 Maccabees, chapter 1, but here it is more specific, especially about prostitutes as part of a fertility cult. They would have intercourse in the sacred places to help have children. They also offered unfit sacrifices. The altars were full of all kinds of Jewish forbidden abominable offerings. The Israelites could not keep the Sabbath, nor observe their festival days. In fact, they could not even confess that they were Jews.

Judith (Jdt 8:1-8:8)

“Now in those days, Judith heard about these things. She was the daughter of Merari son of Ox, son of Joseph, son of Oziel, son of Elkiah, son of Ananias, son of Gideon, son of Raphaim, son of Ahitub, son of Elijah, son of Hilkiah, son of Eliab, son of Nathanael, son of Salamiel, son of Sarasadai, son of Israel. Her husband Manasseh, who belonged to her tribe and family, had died during the barley harvest. As he stood overseeing those who were binding sheaves in the field, he was overcome by the burning heat. He took to his bed and died in his town Bethulia. So they buried him with his ancestors in the field between Dothan and Balamon. Judith had remained as a widow for three years and four months at home where she set up a tent for herself on the roof of her house. She put sackcloth about her waist and dressed in widow’s clothing. She fasted all the days of her widowhood, except the day before the Sabbath and the Sabbath itself, the day before the new moon and the day of the new moon, and the festivals and days of rejoicing of the house of Israel. She was beautiful in appearance. She was very lovely to behold. Her husband Manasseh had left her gold and silver, men and women slaves, livestock, and fields. She maintained this estate. No one spoke ill of her. She feared God with great devotion.”

Now the main protagonist of this book appears on the scene, almost half way through this book. We learn about Judith’s rich genealogical background that includes many important people. What can we tell from her genealogy? She was the daughter of Merari, which is a Levite name. Joseph was a common name also. The names of Oziel and Elkiah are unique to her. The other names associated with famous people were Gideon, Elijah, and Hilkiah, but there was no attempt to associate those men with these men mentioned here. Many of the other names are hard to connect with anyone. Her husband, of the same tribe and family, died of sunstroke overseeing his workers. I wonder what happened to the workers. She was a well to do widow for over 3 years. She was very upright in all that she did.   Her name, Judith, literally means female Jew. She had a tent on her roof and wore sackcloth. She fasted all the time except for the Sabbath eve, the Sabbath, the new moons, and the other Jewish festivals. New moons keep appearing as a day to celebrate. She was beautiful, of course. On top of that, she was rich, inheriting her husband’s estate of gold, silver, slaves, livestock, and fields. There is no mention of her children if there were any. No one spoke ill of her because she feared God with a great devotion. This is the kind of description that many medieval female Christian saints enjoyed. She heard about what was going on in town.