Old Anna lived in the Temple (Lk 2:37-2:37)

“Then Anna lived

As a widow

To the age of eighty-four.

She never left

The Temple.

She worshiped there

With fasting

And prayer,

Night and day.”

 

καὶ αὐτὴ χήρα ἕως ἐτῶν ὀγδοήκοντα τεσσάρων, ἣ οὐκ ἀφίστατο τοῦ ἱεροῦ νηστείαις καὶ δεήσεσιν λατρεύουσα νύκτα καὶ ἡμέραν.

 

Next Luke spoke about how this old female prophet, Anna was a widow, living in the Temple, worshiping and fasting day and night.  Thus, she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four (καὶ αὐτὴ χήρα ἕως ἐτῶν ὀγδοήκοντα τεσσάρων).  She never left the Temple (ἣ οὐκ ἀφίστατο τοῦ ἱεροῦ).  She worshiped or served there with fasting and prayer (νηστείαις καὶ δεήσεσιν λατρεύουσα), night and day (νύκτα καὶ ἡμέραν).  She was a very devout old Jewish lady.  Once again, Luke indicated that she was a widow that did not remarry, but dedicated herself to the Temple worship.

The woman was a gentile (Mk 7:26-7:26)

“Now the woman

Was a gentile,

Of Syrophoenician origin.

She begged him

To cast

The demon

Out of her daughter.”

 

ἡ δὲ γυνὴ ἦν Ἑλληνίς, Συροφοινίκισσα τῷ γένει· καὶ ἠρώτα αὐτὸν ἵνα τὸ δαιμόνιον ἐκβάλῃ ἐκ τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτῆς.

 

Matthew, chapter 15:22, has something similar.  This woman was a gentile Canaanite woman (ἡ δὲ γυνὴ ἦν Ἑλληνίς), of Syrophoenician origin (Συροφοινίκισσα τῷ γένει), that is in the area of Syria and Phoenicia.  Matthew never mentioned the area she was from.  The Canaanites, who worshiped Baal, were still the enemies of the Jewish people.  This Canaanite woman kept begging Jesus (καὶ ἠρώτα αὐτὸν) to cast out the demon from her daughter (ἵνα τὸ δαιμόνιον ἐκβάλῃ ἐκ τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτῆς), since her daughter was possessed by an evil spirit.

Jesus appears to the women (Mt 28:9 -28:10)

“Then,

Jesus met them.

He said.

‘Greetings!’

They came

To him.

They took hold

Of his feet.

They worshiped him.

Then Jesus

Said to them.

‘Do not be afraid!

Go!

Tell my brothers

To go

To Galilee!

Where they will see me.’”

 

καὶ ἰδοὺ Ἰησοῦς ὑπήντησεν αὐταῖς λέγων Χαίρετε. αἱ δὲ προσελθοῦσαι ἐκράτησαν αὐτοῦ τοὺς πόδας καὶ προσεκύνησαν αὐτῷ.

τότε λέγει αὐταῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς Μὴ φοβεῖσθε· ὑπάγετε ἀπαγγείλατε τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς μου ἵνα ἀπέλθωσιν εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν, κἀκεῖ με ὄψονται.

 

This is the first post-resurrection appearance of the risen Jesus to anyone and it is to these 2 women, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, the mother of James.  Mark, chapter 16:9, has this first appearance of Jesus to Mary Magdalene alone.  Luke, chapter 24, did not have an apparition to any women.  John, chapter 20:12-13, had Jesus appear to Mary Magdalene alone, while she was still at the tomb.  Matthew said that Jesus met them (καὶ ἰδοὺ Ἰησοῦς ὑπήντησεν αὐταῖς), assuming that it is the 2 women, with a rejoicing greeting (λέγων Χαίρετε).  They both came to him (αἱ δὲ προσελθοῦσαι).  They took hold of his feet (ἐκράτησαν αὐτοῦ τοὺς πόδας) and worshiped him (καὶ προσεκύνησαν αὐτῷ).  In John, chapter 20:17, Jesus warned Mary Magdalene that she should not touch him because he had not ascended to his Father, but there was no warning here.  Then Jesus told them to not be afraid (τότε λέγει αὐταῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς Μὴ φοβεῖσθε).  They were to go and tell his brothers (ὑπάγετε ἀπαγγείλατε τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς μου) to go to Galilee (ἵνα ἀπέλθωσιν εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν), where they would see him (κἀκεῖ με ὄψονται).  The Byzantine Orthodox text had a beginning phrase, “that as they were on their way to tell the other disciples (Ὡς δὲ ἐπορεύοντο ἀπαγγεῖλαι τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ)” that was not in the other editions.  Obviously, that is where they were going.

Against the strange false idol gods (Zeph 1:4-1:6)

“I will cut off

From this place

Every remnant of Baal.

I will cut off

The name

Of the idolatrous priests.

They bow down

On the roofs

To the host

Of the heavens.

They bow down.

They swear

To Yahweh,

But also swear

To Milcom.

They have turned back

From following Yahweh.

They do not seek Yahweh.

They do not inquire of him.”

In Jerusalem and Judah, Yahweh was going to cut off every last remains of the Canaanite god Baal, a very popular Semitic god, who was in charge of fertility and storms as the lord of all.  Thus, the use of the term lord might indicate Baal as well.  Apparently, there were some idolatrous priests in Judah or Jerusalem who worshiped Baal on the roofs of their houses.  On top of that, there was the cult or worship of Milcom or Moloch.  Generally, people would offer up their children as sacrifices to Milcom or Moloch.  Thus, some people were swearing by Yahweh, but also swearing by Milcom at the same time.  In other words, they were not true monotheists.  They had turned away from Yahweh.  They were no longer seeking Yahweh or inquiring about him.

The power of foreign gods (Dan 11:38-11:39)

“He shall honor

The god of fortresses,

Instead of these,

A god whom his ancestors

Did not know.

He shall honor

With gold,

With silver,

With precious stones,

With costly gifts.

He shall deal

With the strongest fortresses

By the help

Of a foreign god.

Those who acknowledge him,

He shall make more wealthy.

He shall appoint them

As rulers over many.

He shall divide

The land

For a price.”

Gabriel went on to tell Daniel about how King Antiochus IV worshiped foreign gods, probably the Greek gods of Jupiter at Olympus, not the Syrian gods of his ancestors. Apparently, King Antiochus IV had more respect for these Greek gods. Jupiter was a god of strength. His ancestors knew nothing about these Greek gods. However, he honored them with gold, silver, precious stones, and costly gifts. He relied on these foreign gods to maintain his stronghold positions. King Antiochus made people wealthy, if they agreed with him. In fact, he may have practiced a form of bribery, by dividing up the land for a price.

The bones of the dead people (Jer 8:1-8:3)

“Says Yahweh.

‘At that time,

The bones of the kings of Judah,

The bones of its officials,

The bones of the priests,

The bones of the prophets,

The bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem

Shall be brought out of their tombs.

They shall be spread

Before the sun,

Before the moon,

Before all the host of heaven.

They have loved these heavenly bodies.

They have served them.

They have followed them.

They have inquired after them.

They have worshiped them.

Their bones shall not be gathered.

Their bones shall not be buried.

They shall be

Like dung

On the surface of the ground.

Death shall be preferred

To life

By all the remnant

That remains of this evil family

In all the places

Where I have driven them.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, speaks in ironic terms about the bones of the people of Judah and Jerusalem. The bones of all the people, whether they were the kings, the officials, the priests, the prophets, or the inhabitants of Jerusalem, would be brought out their tombs. These bones would be spread out before the sun, the moon, and the hosts of heavens. They had followed, loved, served, and worshiped these heavenly bodies. Thus their bones would not be buried, but rather scattered on the ground like dung. People would prefer death over life. This also refers to all the remaining people of this evil family, no matter where they have been driven to. Thus Yahweh has spoken about the disgrace of the people of Judah and Jerusalem.

The celebration at the renewed Temple (1 Macc 4:52-4:58)

“Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, which is the month of Chislev, in the one hundred forty-eighth year, they rose and offered sacrifice. As the law directs, they offered this on the new altar of burnt offering that they had built. At the very season and on the very day that the gentiles had profaned it, it was dedicated with songs, harps, lutes, and cymbals. All the people fell on their faces and worshiped. They blessed heaven who had prospered them. So they celebrated the dedication of the altar for eight days. They joyfully offered burnt offerings. They offered a sacrifice of well-being and a thanksgiving offering. They decorated the front of the temple with golden crowns and small shields. They restored the gates and the chambers for the priests. They fitted them with doors. There was very great joy among the people. The disgrace brought by the gentiles was removed.”

Now this took place on the 25th day of Chislev in the 148th year, December of 164 BCE, exactly 3 years after the gentiles had profaned the sanctuary with the worship of Zeus. They were very careful to point out that it was the same day, and same month, only 3 years later. They now sacrificed on their new burnt offering altar. All the people fell on their face as they worshipped. They blessed heaven. It is interesting to note that it is heaven and not explicitly God that they praise. Heaven has become more than a high place, but the place of God himself. There is a personification or divination of heaven. They celebrated for 8 days, as they offered sacrifices of well-being and thanksgiving. They decorated the front of the Temple with golden crowns and shields. They restored the gates and the chambers for the priests with new doors. There was great joy among the people because the disgrace of the gentiles had been removed.