Arioch brings Daniel to the king (Dan 2:25-2:25)

“Then Arioch quickly

Brought Daniel

Before the king.

He said to the king.

‘I have found

Among the exiles

From Judah

A man who can tell

The king

The interpretation.’”

Arioch quickly responded to Daniel. He brought him right away to the king. Then he told the king that he had found this Judean exile who was willing to give an interpretation to his dream.

The failure to serve God (Bar 2:19-2:20)

“It is not because

Of any righteous deeds

Of our ancestors,

Or our kings

That we bring

Before you

Our prayer

For mercy.

O Lord our God!

You have sent

Your anger

With your wrath

Upon us.

You declared

By your servants

The prophets.”

They had not served God. Their ancestors, their kings, and they themselves had not done righteous deeds. However, they were willing to bring their prayer for mercy to their Lord God. They knew that he had sent his anger and wrath upon them through his servants and prophets.

Jeremiah responds (Jer 42:4-42:4)

“The prophet Jeremiah

Said to them.

‘Very well!

I am going to pray

To Yahweh

Your God,

As you request.

Whatever Yahweh

Answers you,

I will tell you.

I will keep nothing back

From you.’”

The prophet Jeremiah responded to their request to intercede with Yahweh about their future. He was willing to pray to their God, not just his God, Yahweh, as they had asked. Whatever response he got back from Yahweh, he was going to tell them. He was not going to hide or sugarcoat anything that Yahweh had to say.

Seek and you shall find (Jer 29:12-29:14)

“Then when you call

Upon me,

I will listen.

When you come,

I will see you.

When you pray to me,

I will hear you.

When you search for me,

You will find me.

When you seek me

With all your heart,

I will let you find me.’

Says Yahweh.”

In somewhat beautiful poetic terms, Yahweh, via Jeremiah’s letter, says that if they called on him, he would hear them. If they prayed to him, he would listen to them. If they searched for him, they would find him. If they sought him with their whole hearts, he would let himself be found. Yahweh was ready and willing to help them. They just had to reach out to him with calls, prayers, and sincere searching.

The threat of Yahweh (Jer 27:8-27:8)

“‘But if any nation or kingdom

Will not serve this king,

Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon,

I will punish that nation or kingdom.

If they will not put their necks

Under the yoke

Of the king of Babylon,

I will punish that nation

With the sword,

With famine,

With pestilence,

Until I have completed

Its destruction

By his hand.’

Says Yahweh.”

In this oracle of Yahweh, via Jeremiah, if any country would not serve King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (605-562 BCE), Yahweh was going to punish them. If they were not willing to wear the yoke of the Babylonian king, Yahweh would punish them either by the sword, famine, or pestilence. This punishment would exist as long as it took for the Babylonian king to destroy them. This was a clear mandate of Yahweh in favor of the good King Nebuchadnezzar. Those who rebelled against him would be punished.

Yahweh reaches out (Isa 65:1-65:2)

“I was ready to be sought out

By those who did not ask.

I was ready to be found

By those who did not seek me.

I said.

‘Here I am!

Here I am!’

To a nation

That did not call on my name.

I held out my hands

All day long

To a rebellious people.

They walk in a way

That is not good.

They follow their own devices.”

The response of Yahweh is that he is trying to reach out to the Israelites. He was ready and willing to go to those who were not even asking for or seeking him. Yahweh had replied that he was there for a nation that did not even called his name. Yahweh held out his hands all day long to these rebellious people. They did not walk the right way, since they followed their own devices and their own ways.

Against Molech (Isa 57:9-57:10)

“You journeyed to Molech

With oil.

You multiplied your perfumes.

You sent your envoys far away.

You sent them down even to Sheol.

You grew weary

From your many wanderings.

But you did not say.

‘It is useless.’

You found your desire rekindled.

Thus you did not weaken.”

Third Isaiah was also against Molech, a local Canaanite god that must have had a lot of Israelite worshippers. Apparently, many worshippers of Molech brought oils and perfumes to offer to Molech, who was sometimes associated with the Baal temples and altars. They sent messengers that were willing to go to Sheol, the afterlife underworld. However, they grew weary from their many trips. However, they were not able to say that it was useless. In fact, they rekindled their desire for Molech, instead of weakening it.

The discussion between Yahweh and his servant (Isa 49:3-49:4)

“Yahweh said to me.

‘You are my servant!

Israel!

I will be glorified in you.’

But I said.

‘I have labored in vain.

I have spent my strength

For nothing,

For vanity.

Yet surely my cause is with Yahweh.

My reward is with my God.’”

Second Isaiah has Yahweh call his servant Israel, not Isaiah. Yahweh was going to be glorified in his servant. However, the servant responded that he had labored in vain, spending all his strength on nothing but useless things. Nevertheless, this servant was willing to say that his cause was with Yahweh. He expected his reward from his God.

Obedience not revolution (Isa 1:19-1:20)

“‘If you are willing,

If you are obedient,

You shall eat

The goods of the land.

But if you refuse,

If you rebel,

You shall be devoured

By the sword.’

The mouth of Yahweh

Has spoken.”

This oracle of Yahweh was clear, since the mouth of Yahweh had spoken to Isaiah. Obedience meant the good life. Rebellion meant death. Forgiveness could be achieved by being obedient, instead of being rebellious. You had to be willing and obedient to enjoy the good foods of the land. However, if you refused and rebelled, you would fall by the sword.

Numerical blessings (Sir 25:7-25:12)

“I can think of nine

Whom I should call blessed.

My tongue proclaims a tenth.

A blessed man can rejoice

In his children.

A blessed man lives

To see the downfall of his foes.

Happy the man

Who lives With a sensible wife.

Happy is the one

Who does not plow

With an ox and donkey together.

Happy is the one

Who does not sin with his tongue.

Happy is the one

Who has not served an inferior.

Happy is the one

Who finds a friend.

Happy is the one

Who speaks to attentive listeners.

How great is the one

Who finds wisdom!

But none is superior to the one

Who fears the Lord.

Fear of the Lord

Surpasses everything.

To whom can we compare

To the one who has it?

The fear of the Lord

Is the beginning of love

For him.

Faith is the beginning

Of clinging to him.”

Once again, Sirach has a numerical proverb. There are 9 kinds of blessed people and a 10th that is even better. He would consider you a blessed happy person if you rejoiced in your children (1). You would be blessed happy if you see your foes fail (2). You are blessed happy, if you live with a sensible wife (3). You are blessed happy, if you plow your field without mixing up your ox and your donkey (4). You should be blessed happy, if you never sin with your tongue (5). You should be blessed happy, if you never have to serve an inferior (6). You are blessed happy, if you have found a friend (7) and people willing to listen to you (8). However, you the great ones are blessed happy when you find wisdom (9). You are the people who fear the Lord (10), since that surpasses everything. Nothing can compare to you, the ones who have the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of love for the Lord. It is the beginning of faith in the Lord.

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