The splendor of the house of Yahweh (Hag 2:7-2:9)

“‘Thus,

The treasures

Of all the nations

Shall come.

I will fill this house

With splendor.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘The silver is mine.

The gold is mine.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘The latter splendor

Of this house

Shall be greater

Than the former.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘In this place,

I will give prosperity.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.’”

These are 4 short quick sayings of Yahweh of hosts, via Haggai.  First, Yahweh said that the treasures of the various countries would come to him, as he was gong to fill his new house with splendor.  Secondly, the silver and gold already belonged to him.  Thirdly, Yahweh of hosts said that the splendor of the new house of Yahweh would be greater than the Temple built by David and Solomon.  Finally, there would be prosperity for all people around the Temple.

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The Israelite slave trade (Joel 3:5-3:6)

“You have taken

My silver,

My gold.

You have carried

My rich treasures

Into your temples.

You have sold

The people of Judah,

The people of Jerusalem,

To the Greeks.

You have removed them far

From their own border.”

Next Yahweh, via Joel, accused the Mediterranean coastal cities of stealing the silver and gold from the treasury of the Yahweh Temple in Jerusalem. They had sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem as slaves to the Greeks. Thus, they were removed far from their own border. This also assumes the Babylonian captivity.

The eternal kingdom (Dan 2:44-2:45)

“In the days

Of those kings,

The God of heaven

Will set up a kingdom

That shall never be destroyed.

This kingdom

Shall not be left

To another people.

It shall crush

All these kingdoms.

It shall bring them

To an end.

It shall stand forever.

Just as you saw

That a stone was cut

From the mountain,

Not by human hands.

This stone crushed

The iron,

The bronze,

The clay,

The silver,

The gold.

The great God

Has informed

The king

What shall be hereafter.

The dream is certain.

Its interpretation is

Trustworthy.”

Daniel then talked about the fifth and final kingdom, the eternal kingdom, set up by the God of heaven that shall never be destroyed. No other people would inherit this kingdom, since it would crush all the other kingdoms, like the stone in the king’s dream that crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and gold kingdoms. The great God in heaven has informed King Nebuchadnezzar about the future. Thus, Daniel concluded that the dream was certain and his interpretation was also trustworthy.

Yahweh will answer you (Isa 30:19-30:22)

“Yes!

O people in Zion!

Inhabitants of Jerusalem!

You shall weep no more!

He will surely be gracious to you

At the sound of your cry.

When he hears it,

He will answer you.

Even though Yahweh may give you

The bread of adversity

With the water of affliction,

Yet your teacher

Will not hide himself any more.

But your eyes shall see your teacher.

When you turn to the right

Or when you turn to the left,

Your ears shall hear

A word behind you,

Saying.

‘This is the way!

Walk in it!’

Then you will defile

Your silver-covered idols.

Then you will defile

Your gold-plated images.

You will scatter them

Like filthy rags.

You will say to them.

‘Away with you!’”

This seems to be an oracle from the time of the Exile about the future restoration of Jerusalem. The people of Jerusalem will weep no more, because Yahweh will be gracious to their cry and answer them. There will be adversity and affliction. However, your teacher will no longer hide himself from you as you will be able to see him. This teacher may have been a prophet. Then as you turn to the right or the left, you will hear his words from behind you telling you the correct way to walk on the straight path. That is when you will defile the silver and golden idols and images that you had. You will scatter them like filthy rages as you will throw them away. Apparently idol worship was prevalent in Jerusalem itself.

King Antiochus steals from the Jerusalem Temple (1 Macc 1:20-1:24)

“After subduing Egypt, King Antiochus returned in the one hundred forty-third year. He went up against Israel as he came to Jerusalem with a strong force. He arrogantly entered the sanctuary. Then he took the golden altar, the lamp stand for the light, and all its utensils. He also took the table for the bread of the Presence, the cups for drink offerings, the bowls, the golden censers, the curtain, the crowns, and the gold decoration on the front of the temple. He stripped it all off. He took the silver and the gold, and the costly vessels. He took also the hidden treasures which he found. Taking them all, he departed to his own land. He shed much blood. He spoke with great arrogance.”

King Antiochus IV of Syria actually had to give up Egypt because the Romans threatened him with war. Remember he had been a Roman prisoner, so that he feared the Romans. He decided to pick on Jerusalem in 169 BCE, the 143rd year since the beginning of the Greek empire. There is no mention of a big battle. He seems to have taken all the good stuff from the Jerusalem Temple, especially the gold and silver objects. He obviously was arrogant.

The final stop in Jerusalem (Ezra 8:31-8:34)

“Then we departed from the river Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem. The hand of our God was upon us. He delivered us from the hand of the enemy and from ambushes along the way. We came to Jerusalem. There we remained three days. On the fourth day, within the house of our God, the silver, the gold, and the vessels were weighed into the hands of the priest Meremoth son of Uriah, and with him was Eleazar son of Phinehas, and with them were the Levites, Jozabad son of Jeshua and Noadiah son of Binnui. The total was counted and weighed. The weight of everything was recorded.”

Once again, notice the first person plural “we.” This group of about 5,000 with Ezra left on the 12th day of the 1st month. They were protected by God so that no enemy attacked them. They were lucky since they had a huge fortune with them. It does say how long it took them to make this journey, but the first group, some 80 years earlier, took about 5 months. However, the Temple was built by the time Ezra and his group arrived. They stayed 3 days before they presented their great treasures to the Temple priests. They then counted and weighed everything so that it could be recorded. Meremoth will play an important role in the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem. This Eleazar is obviously not the son of Aaron, but a common name for priests. There were other people name Jozabad, but this is the only Noadiah.