The foundation of the Temple (Zech 8:9-8:9)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

‘Let your hands be strong!

You recently have been hearing

These words

From the mouth

Of the prophets.

They were present

When the foundation

Was laid

For the rebuilding

Of the Temple,

The house of Yahweh of hosts.’”

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.

Joakim (Dan 13:1-13:1)

“There was a man

Living in Babylon

Whose name was Joakim.”

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.

The little horn beast was killed (Dan 7:11-7:11)

“I watched then

Because of the noise

Of the arrogant words

That the horn

Was speaking.

And as I watched,

The beast

Was put to death.

Its body destroyed.

It was given over

To be burned

With fire.”

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.

Daniel is released from the den (Dan 6:23-6:23)

“Then the king

Was exceedingly glad.

He commanded

That Daniel be taken up

Out of the den.

Thus,

Daniel was taken up

Out of the den.

No kind of hurt

Was found on him,

Because he had trusted

In his God.”

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.

The king asks Daniel to interpret this dream (Dan 4:18-4:18)

“‘This is the dream

That I,

King Nebuchadnezzar,

Saw.

Now you!

O Belteshazzar!

Declare the interpretation!

All the wise men

Of my kingdom

Are unable

To tell me

The interpretation.

However,

You are able!

You are endowed

With a spirit

Of the holy gods!’”

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.

The false statutes (Ezek 20:25-20:26)

“Moreover

I gave them statutes

That were not good.

I gave them ordinances

By which

They could not have life.

I defiled them

Through their very gifts,

In their offering up

All their firstborn.

Thus I might

Horrify them.

Thus they might know

That I am Yahweh.”

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.

The ruined walls of Jerusalem (Lam 2:8-2:8)

Heth

“Yahweh determined

To lay in ruins

The wall

Of daughter Zion.

He stretched

The line.

He did not withhold

His hand

From destroying it.

He caused ramparts

To lament.

He caused the wall

To lament.

They languish together.”

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.