The reading of the book (Bar 1:3-1:4)

“Baruch read

The words

Of this book

To King Jeconiah,

The son of King Jehoiakim,

King of Judah.

He read it

To all the people

Who came

To hear the book.

He read it

To the nobles,

To the princes,

To the elders,

To all the people,

Small and great,

All who lived

In Babylon

By the river Sud.”

Baruch was accustomed to reading aloud as he had done in Jeremiah, chapter 36. Here he is reading his book to King Jeconiah (598 BCE) in exile in 582 BCE, and not King Zedekiah (598-587 BCE). King Jeconiah was also known as King Coniah or King Jehoiachin, who ruled for less than a year after the death of his father King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE). As in Jeremiah, Baruch read this book publically to anyone who wanted to hear it. He also read it to all the important people in Babylon that included the nobles, the princes, and the elders, those great and small. There was no mention of the Babylonian king here. As for the Sud River, no one seems to know where that was.

Advertisements

The punishment for King Zedekiah (Jer 52:10-52:11)

“The king of Babylon

Killed

The sons

Of King Zedekiah

Before his eyes.

He also killed

All the officials

Of Judah,

At Riblah.

He put out

The eyes of

King Zedekiah.

He bound him

In fetters.

The king of Babylon

Took him

To Babylon.

He was put in prison

Until the day

Of his death.”

Once again, this is very similar, but more detailed than 2 Kings, chapter 25 and the earlier Jeremiah story in chapter 39. King Nebuchadnezzar ordered that the sons of King Zedekiah be killed right in front of him. The king of Babylon then killed all the nobles or officials of Judah. Finally he blinded King Zedekiah, bound him up in chains, and took him to Babylon. He now lived as the captured blind ex-king in a Babylonian prison until he died. This last detail about the prison is only mentioned here.

Desolation (Isa 34:11-34:12)

“But the hawk shall possess it.

The porcupine shall possess it.

The owl shall live in it.

The raven shall live in it.

He shall stretch the line of confusion over it.

The plummet of chaos shall be over its nobles.

They shall name it ‘No Kingdom There.’

Its princes shall be nothing.”

Isaiah continues with his description of the desolation of Edom. A variety of the vulture like animals and birds will live there, the hawk, the porcupine, the owl, and the raven. There will be confusion and chaos among the nobles and people there. The name of the country would become ‘No Kingdom There,’ obviously a mocking name. Their princes, or whatever is left of them, would be like nothing.

Yahweh’s army (Isa 13:2-13:3)

“On a bare hill

Raise a signal.

Cry aloud to them.

Wave the hand

For them to enter

The gates of the nobles.

I myself have commanded

My consecrated ones.

I have summoned

My warriors,

My proudly exulting ones,

To execute my anger.”

Now Yahweh speaks to Isaiah in his vision. Yahweh was on a hill. He gave a signal to give a loud cry. He waved his hand for them to enter through the gates of the nobles. Interesting enough, the name of Babylon was derived from the term “gate of God.” Yahweh commanded his consecrated ones, his proud exulting warriors, to execute his anger. This appears to be a reference to the Persian soldiers in the 6th century BCE when they were to enter into Babylon through one of the gates. This was not an Israelite army, but a foreign army that Yahweh sent to attack Babylon.

The book of genealogy (Neh 7:5-7:5)

“Then my God put it into my mind to assemble the nobles and the officials and the people to be enrolled by genealogy. I found the book of the genealogy of those who were the first to come back.”

Nehemiah has God tell him to enroll everyone in a book of genealogy. He found the book of genealogy about those who had returned after the exile. The important people were captured by King Nebuchadnezzar around 582 BCE. This return is around 537 BCE so that some of these people may have still been living. Although the prophet Jeremiah had predicted 70 years, that might include the years of the first attack. If not the original captured people, certainly these were their sons or grandsons.

 

The role of Tobiah (Neh 6:17-6:19)

“Moreover in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah. Tobiah sent letters to them. Many in Judah were bound by oath to him, because he was the son-in-law of Shecaniah son of Arah. His son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berechiah. Also they spoke of his good deeds in my presence. They reported my words to him. Tobiah sent letters to intimidate me.”

Tobiah seems to be the main intimidator in this section. Technically, they were still under the power of Samaria since Judah was not an independent province. They were part of the Province Beyond the River. Tobiah had a special relationship to the noble Jews of Jerusalem because of his marriage. Tobiah had married the daughter of the Jewish priest Shecaniah. His son had married the daughter of Meshullam who was one of the main builders of the wall. Thus there was a friendly relationship here. However, Nehemiah was not intimidated by Tobiah, even though some in Jerusalem looked favorably on him.