Two days before Passover (Mk 14:1-14:1)

“It was two days

Before the Passover,

The Festival

Of Unleavened Bread.”

 

Ἦν δὲ τὸ πάσχα καὶ τὰ ἄζυμα μετὰ δύο ἡμέρας

 

There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 26:2, and in Luke, chapter 22:1, where there was talk of the Passover in 2 days.  There were 3 major annual pilgrimage festivals in Jerusalem, Pentecost, Booths, and Passover, with Passover the most popular.  This Passover feast celebrated the Israelite Exodus from Egypt.  Therefore, this festival reminded the Jewish people of their escape from a foreign country.  Thus, the Roman leaders had a heightened alert with more troops in Jerusalem.  Mark indicated that Jesus said to his disciples that it was 2 days (μετὰ δύο ἡμέρας), before the Passover (Ἦν δὲ τὸ πάσχα), the festival of Unleavened Bread (καὶ τὰ ἄζυμα) that lasted a whole week.  Passover and Unleavened bread were one festival, not 2 separate ones.

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Yahweh and the battle in Babylon (Jer 51:11-51:14)

“Sharpen the arrows!

Fill the quivers!

Yahweh has stirred up

The spirit of the kings

Of the Medes.

His purpose concerning Babylon

Is to destroy it.

That is the vengeance of Yahweh,

That is the vengeance

For his temple.

Raise a standard

Against the walls of Babylon!

Make the watch strong!

Post sentinels!

Prepare the ambushes!

Yahweh has both planned

As well as done

What he spoke

Concerning the inhabitants

Of Babylon.

You who live

By mighty waters,

Rich in treasures,

Your end has come.

The thread of your life

Is cut.

Yahweh of hosts

Has sworn by himself.

Surely I will fill you

With troops,

Like a swarm of locusts.

They shall raise

A shout of victory

Over you.”

Here there is a serious of commands from Yahweh, via Jeremiah. The warriors were to have their quivers ready full of arrows. Yahweh has stirred up the Medes, the people to the north of Babylon with the Persians. They were going to destroy Babylon because of Yahweh’s vengeance for what the Babylonians had done to his temple in Jerusalem. There was going to be an invasion of Babylon with wise watchmen and sentinels as well as strong ambushes. Yahweh had planned and carried out his word against Babylon, the land of mighty waters such as the Euphrates and the Tigris, with all their treasures. Their end has come. The thread of their life has been cut. There will be troops in Babylon, like swarms of locusts, shouting about victory.

The revolt against Ishmael (Jer 41:13-41:14)

“When all the people

Who were with Ishmael

Saw Johanan,

The son of Kareah,

With all the leaders

Of the forces with him,

They were glad.

So all the people,

Whom Ishmael

Had carried away captive

From Mizpah,

Turned around.

They came back.

They went to Johanan,

The son of Kareah.”

When all the people with Ishmael saw Johanan with all his leaders and troops, they were happy. Instead of being taken captive, they now rebelled against Ishmael. They turned around and ran back to Johanan with his forces. Their captivity came to a quick end a few miles outside of Mizpah at Gibeon.

Why the Rechabites moved to Jerusalem (Jer 35:11-35:11)

“But when King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon

Came up against the land,

We said.

‘Come!

Let us go to Jerusalem!

They feared

The army of the Chaldeans.

They feared

The army of the Arameans.’

This is why

We are living in Jerusalem.”

How then did they end up in the city of Jerusalem? Their explanation was simple. With the coming of King Nebuchadnezzar (605-562 BCE) of Babylon, they moved to safety in or around Jerusalem. They feared for their lives because of the Babylonian invasion with their Chaldean and Aramean troops. Thus they took refuge in Jerusalem. Obviously, they were a little out of place there with their strange life style ways.

Future problems for the king of Assyria (Isa 10:16-10:19)

“Therefore the Sovereign,

Yahweh of hosts,

Will send

A wasting sickness

Among his stout warriors.

Under his glory

A burning will be kindled,

Like the burning of a fire.

The light of Israel

Will become a fire.

His Holy One

Will be a flame.

It will burn his thorns.

It will devour his briers in one day.

Yahweh will destroy

The glory of his forest.

Yahweh will destroy

The glory of his fruitful land,

Both soul and body.

It will be as

When an invalid wastes away.

The remnant of the trees

Of his forest

Will be so few

That a child

Can write them down.”

Isaiah predicts the devastation of the army and land of the king of Assyria. Yahweh was going to send a wasting sickness among his warriors. This maybe an allusion to 2 Kings, chapter 19, when 185,000 Assyrian troops died. The light of Israel will become a raging flame starting a great fire that will destroy and devour the thorns and briers of Assyria itself. Yahweh will destroy the forests and the fruitful land with a wild fire, so that both their bodies and souls will be destroyed. There will be so few trees left, so that a mere child can count and write the number down.

The death of Nicanor (2 Macc 15:25-15:28)

“Nicanor and his troops advanced with trumpets and battle songs. Judas Maccabeus and his troops met the enemy in battle with invocations to God and prayers. So, fighting with their hands and praying to God in their hearts, they laid low no less than thirty-five thousand men. They were greatly gladdened by God’s manifestation. When the action was over, they were returning with joy. They recognized Nicanor, lying dead, in full armor.”

Nicanor and his army advanced with trumpets and battle songs. On the other hand, Judas Maccabeus and his troops went to fight with prayers in their hearts to God. Thus they fought and prayed at the same time. This seemed to have worked quite well. They killed 35,000 troops of Nicanor. They were glad because God had manifested his gladness with their actions. After the action was all over, they too were happy. Then they recognized Nicanor in full armor dead. There is something similar to this in 1 Maccabees, chapter 7, where Nicanor was defeated.

Nicanor plans to attack Judas Maccabeus (2 Macc 15:1-15:5)

“When Nicanor heard that Judas and his troops were in the region of Samaria, he made plans to attack them with complete safety on the day of rest. The Jews who were compelled to follow him said.

‘Do not destroy so savagely and barbarously,

But show respect for the day

That he who sees all things

Has honored and hallowed above other days.’

The thrice-accursed wretch asked if there were a sovereign in heaven who had commanded the keeping of the Sabbath day. They declared.

‘It is the living Lord himself,

The Sovereign in heaven,

Who ordered us to observe the seventh day.’

He replied.

‘I am a sovereign also, on earth,

I command you to take up arms.

I command you to finish the king’s business.’

Nevertheless, he did not succeed in carrying out his abominable design.”

Nicanor found out that Judas Maccabeus and his troops were in Samaria. He wanted to attack them on the Sabbath day, the day of rest. However, his Jewish followers, the renegades, told him that this was not a good idea. It would not be a good idea to kill Judas on the Sabbath because the living God had told them to observe the Sabbath. However, Nicanor responded that he was a sovereign also. He was commanding them to take up arms and finish the king’s business. However, this wretched fellow’s plans were not successful. Now this biblical author has an extremely negative view of Nicanor.