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.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Raising the Ante, a reflection on 3 Maccabees 2

Facing the sanctuary, the high priest bent down and extended his hands with great dignity and prayed, "Lord, give attention to those of us suffering from a powerful, impious man. You've destroyed those who committed injustices, even the strong." He listed several examples including how Pharoah's army had been swallowed up when chasing the escaping Hebrew slaves led by Moses.

They continued their prayer, "See now, O holy King, that because of our many great sins we are rushed with suffering, subjected to our enemies, and overtaken by helplessness. In our downfall this audacious and profane man undertakes to violate the holy place on earth. Do not punish us for the defilement by these men. Wipe away our sins. Reveal your mercy."

God, having heard the prayer, complied dramatically. God shook Phil so hard that he lay helpless on the ground, paralyzed, unable to speak. His friends and bodyguards quickly dragged him away. After a while he recovered, but, in no way did he repent.

In retribution, when he returned to Alexandria, Phil required registration and branding of the Jews living there, and imposed poll taxes and slave status on them. But, if they agreed to give up being Jewish, they would attain equal citizenship with the Alexandrians. Although a lot of Jews did change their citizenship, most refused to abandon their religion. Instead they used bribes to save themselves.

They remained hopeful, and abhorred the collaborators.

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