The future reign of Yahweh at Zion (Mic 4:1-4:2)

“In days to come

The mountain of Yahweh’s house

Shall be established

As the highest of the mountains.

It shall be raised above the hills.

People shall stream to it.

Many nations shall come.

They shall say.

‘Come!

Let us go up

To the mountain of Yahweh!

Let us go

To the house of the God of Jacob!

He may teach us his ways.

We may walk in his paths.’

Out of Zion

Shall go forth instruction.

The word of Yahweh

Comes from Jerusalem.”

This is exactly the same as an oracle of Isaiah, chapter 2, word for word.  The Lord’s house would be on the highest mountain above the hills at Zion in Jerusalem.  All the nations of the world would come to the God of the house of Jacob, so that they could learn the ways and paths of Yahweh, the Lord God.

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The call to the house of Jacob (Isa 2:5-2:5)

“O house of Jacob!

Come!

Let us walk

In the light of Yahweh.”

Isaiah has this call to the whole house of Jacob, not just Judah. He wanted them to come and walk in the light of Yahweh. He does not call them the sons of Israel, but the house of Jacob. This is a clarion call for all the Israelites to follow Yahweh, the Lord God, who is their guiding light.

Perpetual peace from Jerusalem (Isa 2:2-2:4)

“In days to come

The mountain of Yahweh’s house

Shall be established

As the highest of the mountains.

It shall be raised above the hills.

All the nations shall stream to it.

Many people shall come.

They shall say.

‘Come!

Let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh!

Let us go to the house of the God of Jacob!

Thus he may teach us his ways.

Thus we may walk in his paths.’

Out of Zion

Shall go forth instruction.

The word of Yahweh

Comes from Jerusalem.

He shall judge

Between the nations.

He shall arbitrate for many people.

They shall beat their swords into plowshares.

They shall turn their spears into pruning hooks.

A nation shall not lift up its sword

Against another nation.

Neither shall they learn war anymore.”

Isaiah has a vision of a time of perpetual peace that is often cited by pacifists. However, it comes from Yahweh. The Lord’s house will be on the highest mountain above the hills at Zion in Jerusalem. All the nations of the world would come to the God of the house of Jacob, so that they could learn the ways and paths of Yahweh, the Lord God. Yahweh would arbitrate and judge all nations. Then there is the famous saying that they would beat their swords into plows. They would turn their spears into pruning hooks. No one would lift a sword against anyone else. People would forget how to wage war since no one would learn it. This is the utopian theocratic peace that has Jerusalem rule the world through Yahweh. It has never happened and probably will not.

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.

Tobias in Ecbatana (Tob 14:12-14:15)

“When Tobias’ mother Anna died, he buried her beside his father. Then he and his wife and their children returned to Media. He settled in Ecbatana with Raguel his father-in-law. He treated his parents-in-law with great respect in their old age. He buried them in Ecbatana of Media with honor and magnificent funerals. He inherited both the property of Raguel and that of his father Tobit. He died highly respected at the age of one hundred seventeen years. Before he died, he heard of the destruction of Nineveh. He saw its prisoners being led into Media, those whom King Cyrus of Media had taken captive. Tobias praised God for all he had done to the people of Nineveh and Assyria. Before he died, he rejoiced over Nineveh. He blessed the Lord God forever and ever. Amen.”

After the death and burial of his mother Anna, Tobias with his wife and children returned to Ecbatana to be with the parents of his wife Sarah. He treated his elderly in-laws well, and buried them correctly. He then inherited both the estates of his father Tobit and his father-in-law Raguel. It made sense to return to Ecbatana, so that his wife could be with her elderly parents. Before Tobias died, King Cyrus took over Nineveh and Assyria. In fact, Tobias praised God for the Persians and King Cyrus. There definitely was a strong tendency to favor the Persians over the Assyrians and Babylonians. He died blessing God forever, so that it was fitting to end with an Amen.