“You shall love
καὶ τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν.
Luke indicated that the lawyer said that they should love their neighbor (καὶ τὸν πλησίον σου) as themselves (ὡς σεαυτόν), using the second person plural. There is something similar in Mark, chapter 12:3, where Mark indicated that Jesus, not the lawyer, replied that the 2nd commandment was like the 1st one. since it was about love. Not only were they to love God, but they were to love their neighbors as themselves. There were no other commandments greater than these 2 commandments of love. Everything was based on the love of God and neighbor. Matthew, chapter 22: 38-39 had Jesus reply also, not the lawyer, that they were to love their neighbors as themselves, since all the commandments of the law and the prophets hung on these two commandments. This second commandment was based on Leviticus, chapter 19:11-18, that has become the basic fundamental cornerstone of Judaism and Christianity. Leviticus further explained the Ten Commandments and your neighbor. They were not to steal or deal falsely with their neighbor. They should not lie, swear, or defraud their neighbor. They were not to keep the wages of a laborer, or revile the deaf or the blind. They should not render an unjust judgment, since they should treat the poor and the great with equal justice. They should not slanderer or profit from the blood of their neighbors. They were not to hate in their heart any of their relatives. They should not take vengeance or bear a grudge, because they should love their relatives and neighbors as themselves. All the commandments of the law and the prophets depended on these two commandments of loving God and your neighbor. Do you love your neighbor?
“The second commandment
Is like it.
‘You shall love
On these two commandments
Hang all the law
And the prophets.’”
δευτέρα ὁμοία αὐτῇ Ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν.
ἐν ταύταις ταῖς δυσὶν ἐντολαῖς ὅλος ὁ νόμος κρέμαται καὶ οἱ προφῆται.
There is something similar in Mark, chapter 12:31, almost word for word, and Luke, chapter 20:27, but in a more condensed version. This was based on Leviticus, chapter 19:18. A further explanation of the commandments in Leviticus ends with this basic fundamental concept of love your neighbor as yourself, which became the cornerstone of Judaism and Christianity. They were not to hate in their heart anyone of their relatives. They should reprove their neighbor, but not take vengeance on him. They were not to bear a grudge, because they should love them as themselves. Jesus replied that the 2nd commandment was like the 1st one (δευτέρα ὁμοία αὐτῇ) since it was about love. Not only were they to love God, but they were to love their neighbors as themselves (Ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν). All the commandments of the law (ὅλος ὁ νόμος) and the prophets (καὶ οἱ προφῆται) hang (κρέμαται) on these two commandments (ἐν ταύταις ταῖς δυσὶν ἐντολαῖς).
“Now with all our heart,
We follow you!
We fear you!
We seek your presence!
Do not put us to shame!
Deal with us
In your patience!
Deal with us
In your abundant mercy!”
Azariah pointed out that they were going to follow God with all their heart. They feared him and were seeking his presence. However, they did not want to be put to shame. They wanted God’s patience and mercy to come to them.
In the night,
At the beginning
Of the watches!
Before the presence
Lift your hands
For the lives
Of your children.
At the head
Of every street.”
This author wanted everyone to cry to Yahweh at night, at the beginning of every watch change of the guard. However, there was nothing to guard. They were to pour out their heart like water before Yahweh. They were to pray with outstretched hands for the children who were fainting with hunger on every street corner in town. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Qoph. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.
He comes up like clouds!
His chariots are
Like the whirlwind.
His horses are swifter
Woe to us!
We are ruined!
Wash your heart clean of wickedness!
Thus you may be saved.
How long shall your evil schemes
Lodge within you?”
The enemy is coming like a series of clouds. His chariots are like tornado winds. His horses are quicker than eagles. Jerusalem will be ruined. The only way that they can be saved is if they cleanse their heart of wickedness. Their evil schemes are so much a part of their life that it will be difficult to get rid of them quickly.
“Therefore thus says Yahweh God.
‘My servants shall eat.
But you shall be hungry.
My servants shall drink.
But you shall be thirsty.
My servants shall rejoice.
But you shall be put to shame.
My servants shall sing
From gladness of the heart.
But you shall cry
Out of pain of the heart.
You shall wail
For anguish of spirit.’”
Yahweh pointed out that his servants would be fine. However, the others were in trouble. Yahweh’s servants would eat, drink, and rejoice, while the others would be hungry, thirsty, and put to shame. The servants of Yahweh would sing with gladness in their heart. The others would have a painful cry from the heart. They would wail because of their bruised spirit.
“Wisdom is a kindly spirit.
Wisdom will not free blasphemers
From the guilt of their words. God is witness
Of their inmost feelings.
God is a true observer of their hearts.
He is a hearer of their tongues.
The Spirit of the Lord
Has filled the world.
What holds all things together
Knows what is said.
Therefore those who utter unrighteous things
Will not escape notice.
When it punishes,
Will not pass them by.
Inquiry will be made
Into the counsels of the ungodly.
A report of their words
Will come to the Lord.
It will convict them of their lawless deeds.
A jealous ear hears all things.
The sound of grumbling does not go unheard.
Beware then of useless grumbling!
Keep your tongue from slander!
No secret word is without result.
A lying mouth destroys the soul.”
Wisdom (σοφία) is a kindly or philanthropic spirit (φιλάνθρωπον πνεῦμα). There is almost equivalence between wisdom and the Spirit. The blasphemers (βλάσφημον) will not escape the guilt of their words. God is a witness (μάρτυς ὁ Θεὸς) to their innermost feelings. He knows their heart (τῆς καρδίας αὐτοῦ ἐπίσκοπος ἀληθὴς). He hears their tongues (τῆς γλώσσης ἀκουστής). The Spirit of the Lord (πνεῦμα Κυρίου) has filled the world. Thus this creative spirit knows all things. Thus those who utter unrighteous things will not escape notice. A just punishment will not pass them by. An inquiry will be made and a report will be given to the Lord (Κΰριον). They will be convicted of their evil and lawless deeds. A jealous ear hears all things. Thus the Lord hears this useless grumbling. You should keep your tongue from slandering. Even secret words are known, so that a lying mouth destroys the soul (ψυχήν).
“Fools mock at the guilt offering.
But the upright enjoy God’s favor.
The heart knows its own bitterness.
No stranger shares its joy.
The house of the wicked will be destroyed.
But the tent of the upright will flourish.
There is a way that seems right to a person.
But its end is the way to death.
Even in laughter
The heart is sad.
The end of joy is grief.”
Although the Hebrew text is difficult, it appears that fools do not see any value in the guilt offering. God scorns the wicked people, but he enjoys the upright ones. The heart knows the bitterness that no stranger can share in. The house of the wicked person will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will be fine. Sometimes we think that we are on the right path but it may actually lead to death. Even when some people laugh, their heart is sad, since the end of their joy leads to grief.
“When he killed them,
They sought him.
They sought God earnestly.
That God was their rock,
That the Most High God was their redeemer.
But they flattered him with their mouths.
They lied to him with their tongues.
Their heart was not steadfast toward him.
They were not true to his covenant.”
After some of the Israelites died in the desert, others claimed to repent. They sought God earnestly as they remembered that God was their rock. The Most High God was their redeemer. They tried to flatter God with their mouths as they lied with their tongues. Their heart was not in it. They were not true to the covenant.
“Those of low estate are but a breath.
Those of high estate are a delusion.
In the balances they go up.
They are together
Lighter than a breath.
Put no confidence in extortion.
Set no vain hopes on robbery.
If riches increase,
Do not set your heart on them.”
Suddenly there is a discussion about the relative value of wealth. Those of a low estate are like a breath, while those of a high estate are a delusion. Together they are a mere breath. David then asks them not to extort or rob each other, which seems like a good recommendation. If, however, your riches increased, he did not want them to set their heart on their new found wealth.