They find Jesus on the third day (Lk 2:46-2:46)

“After three days,

They found him

In the Temple.

He was

Sitting among

The teachers,

Listening to them

And asking them questions.”

 

καὶ ἐγένετο μετὰ ἡμέρας τρεῖς εὗρον αὐτὸν ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ καθεζόμενον ἐν μέσῳ τῶν διδασκάλων καὶ ἀκούοντα αὐτῶν καὶ ἐπερωτῶντα αὐτούς·

 

Good news!  Luke said that Joseph and Mary found Jesus after 3 days (καὶ ἐγένετο μετὰ ἡμέρας τρεῖς).  That probably means that he was found on the 3rd day since they traveled one day out and one day back on their journey.  These 3 days will play an important role in the resurrection story, because Jesus will rise from the dead after 3 days.  Thus, the distress of these parents will be like the distress of the disciples of Jesus after his death.  The parents of Jesus found him in the Temple (εὗρον αὐτὸν ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ), just like the women who found the empty tomb on the 3rd day.  Jesus, the 12-year-old was sitting in the middle or among the Temple masters or teachers (καθεζόμενον ἐν μέσῳ τῶν διδασκάλων), experts in the Jewish religion and traditions.  He was both listening to them (καὶ ἀκούοντα αὐτῶν) and asking them questions (καὶ ἐπερωτῶντα αὐτούς).  Nothing had been mentioned about his prior schooling in Nazareth, if there was any.  Had he been trained at the local synagogue in Nazareth?

 

Jeremiah responds to all the Judeans (Jer 44:24-44:25)

“Jeremiah said

To all the people

Including all the women.

‘Hear the word of Yahweh!

All you Judeans

Who are in the land of Egypt!

Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

‘You

With your wives

Have accomplished in deeds,

What you declared in words,

Saying.

‘We are determined

To perform the vows

That we have made.

We will make offerings

To the queen of heaven.

We will pour out libations

To her.’

By all means,

Keep your vows!

Make your libations!’”

Jeremiah addressed all the people of Judah and then added all the women, as if they were not people. Jeremiah wanted them to hear the word of Yahweh that he was interpreting. He said that they and their wives had accomplished what they said that they were going to do. They were going to make offerings and libations to the “Queen of heaven,” the Canaanite goddess of fertility, Astarte. Jeremiah’s response to them was to go ahead and keep your vows with your sacrifices and drinks. Just see what happens to you!

Jeremiah responds (Jer 44:20-44:20)

“Then Jeremiah said

To all the people,

Men,

Women,

All the people,

Who were giving him

This answer.”

Jeremiah will respond to all the people. It is hard to figure out how this is taking place since they were scattered in various towns in Egypt. However, he clearly wants to make his point to the men and the women who had responded to him. Notice that there is no hierarchy of officials or leaders, but just the common generic men and women, but it is all the people.

Teach mourning to your children and neighbors (Jer 9:20-9:21)

“Hear!

O women!

The word of Yahweh!

Let your ears receive

The word of his mouth!

Teach to your daughters

A dirge!

Teach each to her neighbor

A lament!

Death has come up into our windows.

It has entered our palaces.

It has cut off the children

From the streets.

It has cut off the young men

From the squares.”

Jeremiah wanted the women to listen to the word of Yahweh. They should have receptive ears for his words. They should teach their daughters how to mourn at funerals. They should help their neighbors to learn how to mourn. Death was coming upon them through their windows. They should be ready because their palaces would see death, as if there was a god of death or angel of death approaching. Their children and young men would not be allowed to go into the streets to play or enter the squares to talk.

Death in Jerusalem (Isa 3:25-3:26)

“Your men shall fall

By the sword.

Your warriors shall fall

In battle.

Her gates shall lament.

Her gates shall mourn.

Ravaged,

She shall sit

Upon the ground.”

Isaiah warns that death will come to the men of Jerusalem by the sword or in battle. Thus the women who remain will lament and mourn. They will be ravaged, sitting on the ground lamenting their situation.

The persecution of the Jews (1 Macc 1:54-1:61)

“Now on the fifteenth day of Chislev, in the one hundred forty-fifth year they erected a desolating sacrilege on the altar of burnt offerings. They also built altars in the surrounding towns of Judah. They offered incense at the doors of the houses and in the streets. The books of the law that they found they tore to pieces and burned with fire. Anyone found possessing the book of the covenant, or anyone who adhered to the law, was condemned to death by the decree of the king. They kept using violence against Israel, against those who were found month after month in the towns. On the twenty-fifth day of the month they offered sacrifice on the altar that was on top of the altar of burnt offering. According to the decree, they put to death the women who had their children circumcised. They put to death their families and those who circumcised them. They hung the infants from their mothers’ necks.”

Once again, we have specific days and years. Chislev was December of 167 BCE. The sacrilege mentioned might be the idol of Zeus. There will be more indications of this in the Book of Daniel and 2 Maccabees, which must be from about the same time period. They used the old altars with incense in the house and streets. When they found the book of the law, they tore it apart and burned it. Thus we have an early instance of the burning of books. Anyone who was following the Mosaic covenant was condemned to death. Violence was a way of life. They put to death any women who circumcised their children, plus their whole family. Then they would hang the infants on their mother’s necks. This seems like an especially brutal way to get rid of strange customs.

Esther becomes the new queen (Esth 2:15-2:18)

“When the turn came for Esther daughter of Abihail, the uncle of Mordecai who had adopted her as his own daughter, to go in to the king, she asked for nothing except what Hegai the king’s eunuch who had charge of the women, advised. Now Esther was admired by all as she found favor in the eyes of all who saw her. When Esther was taken to King Artaxerxes into his royal palace in the twelfth month, which is Adar, in the seventh year of his reign, the king loved Esther more than all the other women. She won his favor and grace over all the virgins. He set the royal diadem crown on her head as she became queen. Then the king gave a great banquet to all his friends and officials lasting seven days to celebrate his marriage to Esther. He also granted a holiday remission of taxes to all the provinces under his rule. He gave gifts with royal liberality.”

Esther finally got her turn to audition with the king. She simply followed the advice of the eunuch Hegai. This was now the 7th year of the king’s rule, around 458 BCE. The original feast where the argument took place about Queen Vashti was in the 3rd year of his rule. Now after 4 years, Vashti was gone, without any mention of what happened to her. Now King Artaxerxes was smitten with Esther as he said that she was the one, since he loved her more than all the others. He immediately gave her the crown as she became Queen Esther. He gave a big wedding banquet in Esther’s honor. He also gave a tax holiday. Now that is a real holiday. He also gave gifts, which seems the opposite of most weddings where the bride and groom get the gifts. There is no specific mention of a wedding ceremony, but it might be presumed if they had a wedding banquet. There seems to be no problem about a Jewish woman marrying a non-Jewish person as there was in Ezra, chapters 9-10, and Nehemiah, chapter 10, which would have been about the same time frame. That prohibition was more about Jewish men marrying non-Jewish women.