It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Monday, August 31, 2015

King Reversal, a reflection on 3 Maccabees 6

The priest Eleazar prayed, acknowledging God's power and mercy, "Remember how you rescued our ancestors from an arrogant Pharaoh and again in Assyria and another time, you rescued Daniel and Jonah. We ask you to once more rescue your people from vile, arrogant, lawless Gentiles. Don't let them praise their empty gods by saying that you wouldn't rescue us. Show them your power."

As Eleazar concluded his prayer, the king arrived. The Jews cried out in prayer so loudly that even the nearby valleys echoed, panicking the army. God then sent two frightening angels down. Although the Jews could not see them, everybody else good, and the sight paralyzed them in fright. The elephants  that had been leading the army turned back on them and trampled them.

The king's anger repented. He accused his friends of using their power badly, that they were trying to destroy him. He demanded that the Jews be released and allowed to go back to their homes. On the other hand, he ordered punishment for those who had believed that the Jews should have been destroyed.

When he got back to Alexandria, the king commanded the treasurer to give the Jews wine and everything else needed for a seven-day festival. Consequently, in the very place where they had thought they were going to be killed, they instead prepared for a festival of deliverance.

The Jews decided that this festival should be celebrated annually by Jews living in exile there--not an occasion to eat and drink too much, but as a memory of the rescue that God had accomplished for them.

They appealed to the king, asking for his permission to return to their homes. Read Chapter 7 to find out how the king responded.

After the king decided not to discriminate against the Jews, he denounced people who had believed the way he had used to. When we repent, should we forgive people who did what we used to do?

How do survivors of discrimination forgive people who had escaped the effects of that discrimination?

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