The king goes to the lions’ den the next morning (Dan 6:19-6:20)

“Then at daybreak,

The king got up.

He hurried

To the den of lions.

When he came near

The den,

Where Daniel was,

He cried out anxiously

To Daniel.

‘O Daniel!

Servant of the living God!

Has your God,

Whom you faithfully serve,

Been able

To deliver you

From the lions?’”

The next morning, the king got up at the crack of dawn. He hurried to the to the lions’ den, where Daniel was. He then cried out to Daniel, as he called him the servant of the living God. He wanted to know if his God, whom he faithfully served, had saved him from the lions overnight. This story of Daniel in the lions’ den was probably based on a classic Babylonian folk-tale. However, the overlay of the God of Daniel was unique.

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Against Moab (Ezek 25:8-25:8)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Moab said.

‘The house of Judah is

Like all the other nations.’”

Instead of a very long diatribe against Moab, as in Jeremiah, chapter 48, and Isaiah, chapters 15 and 16, Ezekiel has only a few short comments. Moab was the country directly east of the Dead Sea on the other side of the Jordan River. The Moabites, like the Ammonites, had been involved in many quarrels and battles with the Israelites, since they had a strange biblical relationship. The Moabite kingdom lasted from around the 13th century BCE to around the 4th century BCE, where today it is also the country of Jordan, like Ammon. The Moabites were the descendants of Lot’s incest with his oldest daughter as in Genesis, chapter 19. In the Book of Ruth, chapter 4, the Moabites were friendly, as Ruth, a Moabite, had a son named Obed, who turned out to be the grandfather of King David via his son Jesse.   For a while, Moab was part of the Kingdom of Israel, until they revolted. Here the complaint against Moab was that they said that Judah was like the other countries and not unique.

Yahweh consecrates Jeremiah (Jer 1:9-1:10)

“Then Yahweh put out his hand.

He touched my mouth.

Yahweh said to me.

‘Now I have put my words

In your mouth.

See!

Today I appoint you

Over nations.

Today I appoint you

Over kingdoms.

You will pluck up.

You will pull down.

You will destroy.

You will overthrow.

You will build.

You will plant.’”

Yahweh then consecrated Jeremiah by putting out his hand and touching his mouth. He told Jeremiah that he was going to put his words into his mouth. Jeremiah would be over many nations and kingdoms. His task was to pluck up and pull down, destroy, and overthrow. Yet at the same time he was also going to build and plant. Jeremiah had a unique but difficult task as a prophet of God.

Lamentation over Babylon (Isa 47:1-47:4)

“Come down!

Sit in the dust!

O virgin daughter Babylon!

Sit on the ground

Without a throne!

O daughter Chaldea!

You shall no more

Be called tender!

You shall no more

Be called delicate!

Take the millstones!

Grind the meal!

Remove your veil!

Strip off your robe!

Uncover your legs!

Pass through the rivers!

Your nakedness shall be uncovered.

Your shame shall be seen.

I will take vengeance.

I will spare no one.

Our Redeemer

Is the Holy One of Israel.

Yahweh of hosts

Is his name!”                                     

This is a unique kind of Hebrew lamentation. Yahweh God has stripped the unconquered virgin Babylon of its royal throne. The Chaldeans, who were from the southern part of Babylon, would no longer be considered tender and delicate. Now they were to do the work of slaves, grinding the meal with millstones. On top of that, they were to strip down, taking their veils off and removing their robes, so that their legs would be uncovered. They would be shamefully naked as washing in a river. Yahweh with his army was going to take vengeance on them, so that no one would be spared. Yahweh is the redeemer and the Holy One of Israel.

All nations turn to Yahweh (Isa 45:14-45:17)

“They will make supplication to you.

Saying.

‘God is with you alone.

There is no other.

There is no god

Besides him.

Truly!

You are a God

Who hides himself.

O God of Israel!

The Savior.’

All of them are put to shame.

They are confounded.

The makers of idols

Go in confusion together.

But Israel is saved by Yahweh

With everlasting salvation.

You shall not be put to shame.

You shall not be confounded

To all eternity.”

Second Isaiah talks about the conversion of the whole world to Yahweh. This universal appeal is almost unique to Second Isaiah. The inhabitants of these other countries will say that Yahweh alone is God. There is no other god besides him. This had been the same request that Yahweh had made to his own people, but now everyone should say it, not just the Israelites. The God of Israel is a savior who hides himself. However, he will put all people to shame and confusion, especially those idol makers. Yahweh will then provide an everlasting salvation for his people, so that they will not be ashamed or confused for all eternity.

Enoch (Sir 44:16-44:16)

“Enoch pleased the Lord.

He was taken up.

He is an example

Of repentance

To all generations.”

It is interesting that the first famous holy man mentioned is Enoch. He first appeared in chapter 5 of Genesis. He was among the 12 patriarchs before the flood. In fact, he was the lucky 7th one. Enoch was the son of Jared and the great grandfather of Noah, via Methuselah and Lamech. Although he was a descendant via Seth, son of Adam and Eve, he has the same name as Cain’s son in chapter 4 of Genesis. However, what made Enoch unique among these early patriarchs was that he does not seem to die. Instead God “took him up” when he was merely 365 years old. Perhaps there is some symbolism here. There were 3 apocryphal Books of Enoch written from the 3rd century BCE to after the time of Jesus Christ. In fact, there are a few mentions of Enoch in the New Testament writings. Thus Sirach would not have been out of place talking about him as he was one of the first people not to die, but go to heaven or “be taken up.” Thus there was a certain fascination about Enoch. He certainly pleased the Lord. Somehow, he was an example of repentance. He had some kind of special relationship with God. Interesting enough, Enoch has had a role in the Dead Sea Qumran community, Rabbinic Judaism, early Christianity, and Islamic thought, as well as the Latter Day Saints, or Mormons.

The food of angels (Wis 16:20-16:23)

“Instead of these things,

You gave your people

The food of angels.

Without their toil,

You supplied them

From heaven

With bread ready to eat.

It provided every pleasure.

It suited every taste.

Your sustenance manifested

Your sweetness

Toward your children.

The bread,

Ministering to the desire of the one who took it,

Was changed to suit everyone’s liking.

Snow withstood fire without melting.

Ice withstood fire without melting.

Thus they might know

That the crops of their enemies

Were being destroyed

By the fire that blazed in the hail.

The fire flashed in the showers of rain.

Whereas the fire,

In order that the righteous might be fed,

Even forgot its native power.”

God gave his people (τὸν λαόν σου) the food of angels (ἀγγέλων τροφὴν). This bread from heaven came ready to eat, as it provided every pleasure to every taste. Obviously, this is a reference to the manna in the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land as in Exodus, chapter 16. What is unique here is that the taste of it was pleasing to each person even if they had other tastes. This food of snow and ice did not melt. However, the crops of their enemies were destroyed. They, however, the righteous were able to feed themselves with the heavenly tasty food.