The powerful word of God (Isa 66:5-66:6)

“Hear the word of Yahweh!

You who tremble at his word!

Your own people!

Those who hate you!

Those who cast you out

For my name’s sake!

They have said.

‘Let Yahweh be glorified!

Thus we may see your joy!

But it is they

Who shall be put to shame.

Listen!

An uproar from the city!

A voice from the temple!

The voice of Yahweh!

He renders retribution to his enemies!”

The prophet wanted everyone to hear and tremble at the powerful word of Yahweh. Those people who rejected the name of Yahweh will be put to shame. There will be an uproar in the city and the voice of Yahweh will be heard from the Temple as he renders retribution to his enemies.

God will lead the servant of Yahweh (Isa 50:10-50:11)

“Who among you fears Yahweh?

Who obeys the voice of his servant?

Who walks in darkness?

Who has no light?

Who trusts in the name of Yahweh?

Who relies upon his God?

But all of you are kindlers of fire!

You are lighters of firebrands!

Walk in the flame of your fire!

Walk among the branches

That you have kindled!

This is what you shall have

From my hand.

You shall lie down in torment!”

Second Isaiah reminds the faithful that if they fear and trust Yahweh they will be okay. If they obey the voice of his servant and rely on God, they will be fine. However, if they walk in darkness, there will be no light. He wanted them to start fires and walk in the flames of their own fires. They will be tormented, but Yahweh will lead them to safety.

The voice (Isa 40:6-40:8)

“A voice says.

‘Cry out!’

I said.

‘What shall I cry?’

All people are grass.

Their delicacy is

Like the flowers of the field.

The grass withers.

The flower fades

When the breath of Yahweh

Blows upon it.

Surely the people are grass.

The grass withers.

The flower fades.

But the word of our God

Will stand forever.”

Second Isaiah heard a voice tell him to cry out. However, he wanted to know what he should cry out about. The response was that all people were like grass and the flowers of the field. Both the grass withers and the flowers fade when the breath of Yahweh blows on them. Thus the people are grass or flowers that wither and fade. However, the word of God will stand forever and not wither or fade.

Moses (Sir 45:1-45:5)

“From Jacob’s descendants,

The Lord brought forth a godly man.

He found favor in the sight of all.

He was beloved by God.

He was beloved by the people.

Moses’ memory is blessed.

The Lord made him equal in glory

To the holy ones.

The Lord made him great.

Mosses brought terror to his enemies

By his words.

He performed swift miracles.

The Lord glorified him

In the presence of kings.

The Lord gave him commandments

For his people.

The Lord revealed to him his glory.

The Lord consecrated him for his faithfulness.

He sanctified him for his meekness.

He chose him out of all humans.

He allowed him to hear his voice.

He led him into the dark cloud.

He gave him the commandments

Face to face.

He gave him the law of life.

He gave him knowledge.

Thus Moses

Might teach Jacob the covenant.

He might teach Israel his decrees.”

Obviously, Sirach has Moses as one of these blessed famous godly men, who found favor in the sight of all people. He surely was a holy one as described in practically all the first part of Exodus, chapters 2-24. Moses was a later descendant of Jacob who was loved both by God and the people. However, Moses was a terror to his enemies, yet glorified in the presence of kings. He performed great miracles. The Lord gave him commandments face to face, as he was chosen and consecrated from all the people, because he was faithful and meek. He heard the voice of God in the dark cloud. He received the law of life and knowledge from God. Thus he was able to teach the covenant and the decrees to Jacob and Israel.

Dislike of the Promised Land (Ps 106:24-106:27)

“Then they despised the pleasant land.

They had no faith in his promise.

They grumbled in their tents.

They did not obey the voice of Yahweh.

Therefore he raised his hand.

He swore to them.

He would make them fall in the wilderness.

He would disperse their descendants among the nations.

He would scatter them over the lands.”

Based on Numbers, chapter 14, the Israelites were reluctant to enter the Promised Land. In fact, some wanted to return to Egypt. They had no faith in the promise of Yahweh. They grumbled. They said that they would not obey the voice of Yahweh. This made Yahweh angry. Once again, Moses intervened. This time Yahweh said that the grumblers would not see the Promised Land. Instead they would die in the wilderness before they got there. On top of that, their descendents would be scattered among many nations and various lands. This seems to be a justification for the later Exile.

Yahweh as the creator of earth (Ps 104:5-104:9)

“You set the earth on its foundations.

Thus it shall never be shaken.

You cover it with the deep

As with a garment.

The waters stood above the mountains.

At your rebuke

They fled.

At the sound of your thunder

They took to flight.

They rose up to the mountains.

They ran down to the valleys.

They all went to the place that you appointed for them.

You set a boundary.

They may not pass this boundary.

Thus the waters might not again cover the earth.”

The earth had foundations like any building in a very static way. There was no hint of a round world in this flat world concept of the earth. However, they did seem to understand that the solid earth came from the waters. At the command of Yahweh, the waters receded, much like at the time of Noah in Genesis, chapters 6-10. The thunder served as the voice of Yahweh telling the waters to recede, which they did. Then the earth was formed as the mountains rose and the valley sunk, all due to the water that had been there. Everything took its place as it was appointed by Yahweh. Yahweh put boundaries on the waters so that they would never again cover the earth. This was the victory of Yahweh over the chaos of the waters.

The voice (Ps 81:5-81:7)

“I hear a voice I had not known.

‘I relieved your shoulder of the burden.

Your hands were freed from the basket.

In distress you called.

Then I rescued you.

I answered you in the secret place of thunder.

I tested you at the waters of Meribah.’”

Selah

The psalmist noted that he heard an unknown voice. This voice said that he relieved them of their burdens. He freed their hands from the basket in their distress. He had rescued them. He had answered them with thunder. He had tested them at the waters of Meribah. These are references to the activities found in Exodus, chapters 17-19. This section ends with the musical meditative interlude pause of Selah.

The voice of Yahweh (Ps 29:3-29:4)

“The voice of Yahweh is over the waters.

The God of glory thunders.

Yahweh!

He is over mighty waters.

The voice of Yahweh is powerful.

The voice of Yahweh is full of majesty.”

The voice of Yahweh is the thunder over the various and mighty waters. This powerful voice of Yahweh is full of majesty. Thunder was considered to be the voice of Yahweh in various thunderstorms.

Yahweh responds to Job (Job 40:6-40:9)

“Then Yahweh answered Job out of the whirlwind.

‘Gird up your loins like a man!

I will question you.

You declare to me.

Will you even put me in the wrong?

Will you condemn me that you may be justified?

Do you have a divine arm?

Can you thunder with a voice like his?’”

Once again, Yahweh will speak out a whirlwind like he did earlier at the beginning of chapter 38. The whirlwind was the classic place for the voice of Yahweh. Once again, it is a challenge to Job. Was Job going to justify himself by saying that God was wrong?   In fact, he mocked Job by saying that he did not have a divine arm or a divine thunderous voice.

Simon takes command (1 Macc 13:7-13:11)

“The spirit of the people was rekindled when they heard these words. They answered in a loud voice.

‘You are our leader

In place of Judas

And Jonathan your brother.

Fight our battles.

All that you say to us we will do.’

So he assembled all the warriors. He hurried to complete the walls of Jerusalem. He fortified it on every side. He sent Jonathan son of Absalom to Joppa. He had a considerable army. He drove out its occupants and remained there.”

The people were excited to hear the voice of Simon. Their spirits were rekindled. They proclaimed that Simon was their leader in the place of his brother Judas and Jonathan. He was going to fight their battles. They were willing to do whatever he asked them to do. Simon sent Jonathan, who may have been his uncle, to take over the seacoast town of Joppa, which he did.