The second call of Jonah (Jon 3:1-3:2)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to Jonah

A second time,

Saying.

‘Get up!

Go to Nineveh,

That great city!

Proclaim to it

The message

That I tell you!’”

This second call to Jonah to go to Nineveh was like the first call of Yahweh in chapter 1.  However, there are some changes.  There was no immediate ‘at once’ demand on Jonah.  He was, of course, to go to the great city of Nineveh, but there was no mention of the wickedness in Nineveh.  Instead, Jonah was to proclaim the message that Yahweh was going to tell him.  How will Jonah respond this 2nd time?

Jeremiah speaks to the priests and the people (Jer 27:16-27:18)

“Then I spoke

To the priests,

To all this people,

Saying.

‘Thus says Yahweh!

Do not listen

To the words

Of your prophets

Who are prophesying to you!

Saying.

‘The vessels of Yahweh’s house

Will soon be brought back

From Babylon.’

They are prophesying

A lie to you.

Do not listen to them!

Serve the king of Babylon!

Live!

Why should this city

Become a desolation?

If indeed they are prophets,

If the word of Yahweh

Is with them,

Then let them

Intercede with Yahweh of hosts,

That the vessels

Left in the house of Yahweh,

In the house of the king of Judah,

In Jerusalem,

May not go to Babylon.’”

Jeremiah repeats what he said to the king of Judah earlier in this chapter. Now he speaks to the priests and all the people, as much as that is possible, but the message is the same. They were not to listen to the false lying prophets who were saying not to serve the King of Babylon. Here the question is about the vessels that had been taken to Babylon. Were they coming back? Once again, they were not to listen to these false prophets who were telling them to revolt against the Babylonian king. Rather, they should live and not become a desolation by serving the king of Babylon. If these were true prophets of Yahweh, why not let them intercede with Yahweh to make sure that the vessels left in the Temple, the palace of the king, and in Jerusalem itself not be taken to Babylon.

The vision of the two baskets of figs (Jer 24:1-24:3)

“Yahweh showed me

Two baskets of figs

Placed before

The temple of Yahweh.

One basket had very good figs,

Like first-ripe figs.

But the other basket had very bad figs.

They were so bad

That they could not be eaten.

Yahweh said to me.

‘What do you see?

Jeremiah!’

I said.

‘Figs!

The good figs were very good.

The bad figs were very bad.

They were so bad

That they cannot be eaten.’”

During the time of the first captivity, Jeremiah had a vision from Yahweh about two baskets of figs placed before the Temple of God. One basket had good ripe figs, while the other basket had bad figs that were so bad that they could not be eaten. To make sure that Jeremiah got the message, Yahweh asked him what he saw. Then Jeremiah replied about what he saw in this vision. This short chapter is all about these good and bad figs.

The Hebrew Bible (Sir 0:1-0:4)

“Many great teachings have been given to us

Through the Law,

Through the Prophets,

Through the other books that followed them.

For these,

We praise Israel for instruction.

We praise Israel for wisdom.

Now those who read the scriptures

Must not only themselves understand them.

They must also,

As lovers of learning,

Be able

Through the spoken word,

Through the written word,

To help the outsiders.”

The first question that we face with this book of Ecclesiasticus is its role in the Biblical canon since it was not part of the Hebrew cannon, but certainly part of the Greek Septuagint. Thus it is often considered deutero-canonical. There is even a question as to whether this prologue is canonical since it clearly was added on later by the translator. No other book has this clear delineation between author and later translator. However, what is extremely interesting is the threefold division of the Hebrew Bible that still exists today, the Law, the Prophets, and the other Writings. This would seem to indicate that the canonical Hebrew Bible had been completed when this writing took place. This statement is generally considered the earliest witness to a Hebrew canon of the books of the Prophets. This author praised Israel for its instruction and wisdom. He was quite aware that most people did not read these holy writings or scripture. Thus, those who read these scriptures must not only understand it themselves, but also help others. These lovers of learning must help with the written and spoken word to spread the message of the great teachings.