Yahweh of hosts, via Zechariah, talked about the foundation of the Temple. Their hands had to be strong to finish this work. They had heard from the prophets who were present at the foundation laying. They were now about to rebuild the Temple.
This chapter 13 story only appears in the Greek Septuagint version of the Book of Daniel. Thus, this story of Susanna and Daniel is sometimes called apocryphal literature. It probably should be at the beginning of this work, since it presents Daniel as a young man, but it is usually placed here at the end. This story is about the wife of Joakim, a Jewish man living in exile in Babylon. The name Joakim means that the Lord will establish him.
Daniel watched as the noisy arrogant little horn beast was killed. His body was burned and destroyed. There seemed to be a lot of anger at this little horn, the Greek King Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-163 BCE), perhaps indicating the date of this work. 1 Maccabees, chapter 1, went into great detail about this king.
The king was very happy. Thus, he commanded that Daniel be removed from the lion’s den. When Daniel was taken out of the den, it was clear that he did not have any kind of harm on him. He had trusted in his God, who saved him from the lions. Trust in God was a key theme of this work.
King Nebuchadnezzar had described his dream to Daniel. Now, he wanted Belteshazzar, Daniel, to given him an interpretation. All the wise men of his kingdom of Babylon were not able to give him an interpretation. However, Daniel, or Belteshazzar, was an able man endowed with the spirit of the holy gods. Daniel had some sort of divine power to interpret dreams, as was seen earlier in this work.
In some sort of cruel joke, Yahweh gave his people statutes and ordinances that he knew were not good or helpful for their life. In fact, he seemed to indicate that he had told them to offer up their first born babies as a sacrifice. He did this to defile and horrify them. However, like always, they should know that he was Yahweh. Was this some sort of primitive practice? This seems to contradict everything else that was said in this work.
Yahweh himself determined that the walls of Zion should be made a ruin. He stretched out the measuring line, like a surveyor, to determine how to do this. He did not restrain his hand from this work. He has caused the walls and ramparts of Jerusalem to lament and languish together. It seems that Yahweh is portrayed as personally overseeing the destruction of the Jerusalem walls because of his anger at them. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Heth. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.
Jeremiah received an oracle that was to be addressed to all the Judeans living in Egypt. No longer was this a small group of the remnant led by Johanan at Tahpanhes, but this was addressed to all the other Judeans living in different cities and places in Egypt. How did these Judeans get there? How big were these Israelite colonies? Were they left over from Exodus times? Were they also recent immigrants? The remnant group with Jeremiah and Baruch at Tahpanhes had just arrived. Were there other Judeans before they arrived in that town? Migdol was an island in the Nile River, east of Tahpanhes. Memphis was the ancient capital of lower Egypt, in the Nile River delta area. Pathros was also in the southern part of Egypt where Judean colonies might have been. As these places are mentioned, the assumption is that there must have been some other Judeans there. At least the author of this work knew something about them. Like the preceding chapter, this section has a different numbered chapter in the Greek translation of the Septuagint, chapters 51, not chapter 44 as here.
This work has a couple of appendices about giving thanks to God and the importance of wisdom. This was as if to envelop these sometimes mundane comments of Sirach within a more religious context. This author wants to give thanks to the Lord who is his king. He wants to praise God who is his savior. He wants to give thanks to his name, the unnamed Yahweh.