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.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Protection by the Lord, a reflection on 3 Maccabees 5:1-22

Then the king came up with a new plan. He ordered their keeper to drug all 500 elephants then bring them to the racecourse where the Jews were imprisoned, thus bringing them to their doom. After giving these commands, he went back to partying with those of his friends who were especially hostile toward the Jews.

Hermon, the elephant keeper, promptly began to carry out the orders. The guards in charge of the Jews tied up their hands. To the Gentiles, it seemed that the Jews were entirely without any way of escape from their fate. But, the Jews called on their almighty Lord and merciful God and father, who rules over every power. They continued to pray to turn away the evil plot against them and rescue them with a glorious display of power from their impending fate.

When Hermon got the savage elephants drunk, he reported to the king, who had also gotten drunk. Further, God had sent the king a pleasant and deep sleep. Because he was asleep, he couldn't give Hermon the final command. The Jews praised their holy God and again prayed that the arrogant Gentiles would be overcome.

As the day went on, one of the king's servants waked him, with some difficulty, and told him it was past time for that celebratory banquet. The king decided to drink some more. After they feasted and partied for a while, the king called Hermon in to account for why the Jews were still alive. Hermann pointed out that he had done what he was ordered to do. So, the king, now really angry, said that the Jews could be grateful for today’s sleep, but “Tomorrow,” he said, “without delay, prepare the elephants in the same way for the destruction of the unseemly Jews.”  So the king spoke, and when all those present gave their unanimous approval readily and joyfully, they all departed for their own homes. But they didn’t spend their night sleeping so much as devising all kinds of insults for those who seemed to be doomed.

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