The shame of Samaria (Hos 10:5-10:6)

“The inhabitants of Samaria

Tremble

Before the calf of Beth-aven.

Its people shall mourn

For it.

Its idolatrous priests

Shall wail over it.

Its glory

Has departed from it.

The thing itself

Shall be carried

To Assyria,

As tribute

To the great king.

Ephraim

Shall be put to shame.

Israel

Shall be ashamed

Of his idol.”

Hosea said that the people of Samaria would tremble before the idol calf at Beth-aven, the house of wickedness, that was close to Ai and Bethel. Maybe it was Bethel itself. However, the people and its priests would mourn for the soon to be departed glorious calf. What happened to it? Assyrians would take it as a tribute to their great king. Thus, Ephraim and Israel would be ashamed of this lost idol.

Future reign of Judah (Isa 16:4-16:5)

“When the oppressor is no more,

When the destruction has ceased,

When marauders have vanished

From the land,

Then a throne will be established

In steadfast love,

In the tent of David.

On it,

Shall sit in faithfulness

A ruler who seeks justice.

He will be swift

To do what is right.”

At one time the Moabites had paid tribute to Judah, so that this did not seem out of place to have the same set up again. When all this destruction and oppression of the marauders had passed, the Moabites should pay tribute to the tent of David, or the king of Judah. There they would receive steadfast love and faithful justice. They will do what is right.

The boast of the king of Assyria (Isa 10:8-10:11)

“The King of Assyria says.

‘Are not my commanders all kings?

Is not Calno

Like Carchemish?

Is not Hamath

Like Arpad?

Is not Samaria

Like Damascus?

As my hand has reached

To the kingdoms of the idols

Whose images

Were greater than those of Jerusalem.

They were greater than those of Samaria.

Shall I not do to Jerusalem

As I have done to Samaria?

Shall I not do to her idols

As I have done to the Samarian images?’”

King Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727 BCE), the king of Assyria said that he had commanders in his army that could become kings. He cited the examples of his capture of various towns or cities like Calno in 742 BCE and Carchemish, which is now on the border between Turkey and Syria, but was part of the Syrian empire that was lost in 738 BCE. There also was the capture of other western Syrian town of Hama or Hamath and Arpad that were in this same area that Tiglath-Pileser III captured in 741 BCE. Finally there was Damascus, also in Syria, that was captured in 732 BCE. King Menahem of Samaria was the king of northern Israel from 743-738 BCE, who paid tribute to the King of Assyria, as mentioned in 2 Chronicles, chapter 26, and 2 Kings, chapter 15. Now King Tiglath-Pileser III was thinking of attacking Jerusalem. What he had done to Samaria, he would the same to Judah by destroying their images, since he thought that Yahweh was just another idol god.

The good wife (Prov 31:10-31:12)

Aleph

“A good wife,

Who can find her?

She is far more precious

Than jewels.

Bet

The heart of her husband

Trusts in her.

He will have no lack of gain.

Gimel

She does him good.

She does not bring harm,

All the days of her life.”

The Book of Proverbs ends with this Hebrew acrostic or alphabet tribute to the perfect wife. Each verse starts with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet like some of the Psalms. Finding the perfect wife was like finding wisdom. This has led some to see wisdom as female, so that the Spirit of wisdom is feminine. A good capable wife is hard to find. She, like wisdom, is far more precious than jewels. Her husband can trust her. He will be successful because of her. She brings him good and not harm all the days of her life.

Yahweh’s creation (Ps 136:4-136:9)

“Yahweh alone does great wonders.

His steadfast love endures forever.

By understanding he made the heavens.

His steadfast love endures forever.

He spread out the earth on the waters.

His steadfast love endures forever.

He made the great lights.

His steadfast love endures forever.

He made the sun to rule over the day.

His steadfast love endures forever.

He made the moon and the stars to rule over the night.

His steadfast love endures forever.”

Once again, the congregational refrain, “His steadfast love endures forever” is repeated after every verse. This is a tribute to the creator Yahweh. He has done great wonders. He has made the heavens and put the earth on top of the waters. He made the great lights for the day and the night, the sun, the moon, and the stars. Therefore we cry out that his steadfast love endures forever.

The eternal Yahweh (Ps 102:25-102:28)

“Long ago

You laid the foundation of the earth.

The heavens are the work of your hands.

They will perish.

But you will endure.

They will all wear out like a garment.

You change them like clothing.

They pass away.

But you are the same.

Your years have no end.

The children of your servants

Shall live secure.

Their offspring shall be established

In your presence.”

This psalm ends with a tribute to the eternal Yahweh, who had laid the foundation for the earth. He has made both heaven and earth, which will both pass away just like the changing of clothes. However, Yahweh would not pass away. He would be the same since his years have no end. Their offspring and children would be established in the presence of eternal Yahweh.

The powerful successful king (Ps 72:8-72:11)

“May he have dominion

From sea to sea!

May he have dominion

From the river to the ends of the earth!

May his foes

Bow down before him!

May his enemies

Lick the dust!

May the kings of Tarshish

Render him tribute!

May the kings of the isles

Render him tribute!

May the kings of Sheba and Seba

Bring gifts!

May all kings

Fall down before him!

All nations

Give him service!”

Now we have the practical empire of the king. He will be king from sea to shining sea even to the ends of the earth. His foes will bow down before him, while his enemies will lick dust. What a nice thought! The kings of Tarshish and various islands will render him tribute. The kings of Sheba and Seba will also bring gifts and tribute. The river mentioned here is the Euphrates River, since that was a border area easily recognized. Tarshish maybe Spain and the other Mediterranean islands. Sheba and Seba are probably Arabian countries. There is no mention of the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Egyptians, and other common enemies, suggesting maybe a post-exilic writing. King Solomon had been an idealist wise king that everyone respected. Thus all the kings and all the nations would bring gifts and give service to him.

The first campaign of Lysias (2 Macc 11:1-11:4)

“Very soon after this, Lysias, the king’s guardian and kinsman, who was in charge of the government, being vexed at what had happened, gathered about eighty thousand infantry and all his cavalry. He came against the Jews. He intended to make the city a home for Greeks. He intended to levy tribute on the temple as he did on the sacred places of the other nations. He intended to put up the high priesthood for sale every year. He took no account whatever of the power of God, but was elated with his ten thousands of infantry, his thousands of cavalry, and his eighty elephants.”

Once again, this is similar to 1 Maccabees, chapter 4. However, there are some minor discrepancies. The chronology seems to be different here since this probably occurred before the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem. This was a good description of Lysias, since he had been the guardian of the young King Antiochus V. He was, in fact, in charge of the government. He did not like that the Jews had been successful in the battle of Emmaus against Gorgias, as in 1 Maccabees, chapter 4. Here he has 80,000 infantry instead of 70,000. There is no number given to the cavalry here, but there in the other description it was 5,000. Here there is a mention of 80 elephants that was not mentioned there. Here there is the explicit mention that he wanted Jerusalem to be a Greek city that was not said in 1 Maccabees. Here there is a greater emphasis on the Hellenization of Jerusalem. He hoped that more money would come from the annual selling of the position of high priest as in the other pagan temples throughout the kingdom. Lysias was relying on his troops, cavalry, and elephants, and not the power of God that the Jews were relying on.

The flight of Nicanor (2 Macc 8:34-8:36)

“The thrice-accursed Nicanor had brought one thousand merchants to buy the Jews. He was now humbled with the help of the Lord by opponents whom he regarded as of the least account. He took off his splendid uniform. He made his way alone like a runaway slave across the country until he reached Antioch. He had succeeded chiefly in the destruction of his own army! Thus he who had undertaken to secure tribute for the Romans by the capture of the people of Jerusalem proclaimed that the Jews had a Defender. Therefore the Jews were invulnerable, because they followed the laws ordained by him.”

Nicanor comes in for a heavy dismissal since he was cursed 3 times. He was the one who brought 1,000 merchants to buy the Jews for slavery. He was humbled by his opponents with the help of the Lord. However, he took off his wonderful uniform, and fled across the countryside like a runaway slave until he reached Antioch. His only success was that he had destroyed his own army. He now claimed that the Jews were invulnerable as long as they followed the laws of their almighty defender. Nicanor will appear again later in this book.

The letter of King Demetrius II to Simon (1 Macc 13:35-13:40)

King Demetrius sent him a favorable reply to this request. He wrote him a letter as follows.

‘King Demetrius

To Simon, the high priest and friend of kings,

And to the elders and nation of the Jews,

Greetings!

We have received the gold crown

And the palm branch that you sent.

We are ready to make a general peace with you.

We are ready to write to our officials

To grant you release from tribute.

All the grants that we have made to you remain valid.

Let the strongholds that you have built be your possession.

We pardon any errors and offenses committed to this day.

We cancel the crown tax that you owe.

Whatever other tax has been collected in Jerusalem

Shall be collected no longer.

If any of you are qualified to be enrolled in our bodyguard,

Let them be enrolled.

Let there be peace between us.’”

In a strong letter to Simon, the deposed King Demetrius II granted sovereignty to Judah. The letter was addressed to Simon, the elders, and the whole Jewish nation. King Demetrius II still considered himself the King of Syria. He accepted the gifts that Simon had sent him, the gold crown and the palm branch. He wanted to have peace with Simon. He said that the Jews no longer had to pay tribute or the crown tax to him. He also stated that all the grants that he had given before still stand. He pardoned all offenses committed to that day. There were to be no more taxes in Jerusalem. Anyone qualified could become part of his bodyguard. He just wanted peace between the two of them.