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, September 2, 2015

Home Again, a reflection on 3 Maccabees 7:17-23

They reached the seaport, where a fleet of ships had been waiting for them, where they toasted their rescue by the king who had generously supplied them, each of them, with every thing they needed for the journey home.

When they reached their land in peace, they had another festival, then departed unharmed, free, and overjoyed to their own homes. They gained more influence among their enemies than they had had previously, and were held in honor and awe.  People who had taken their possessions returned them with the greatest deference. Credit was given to the supreme God who had perfectly performed mighty deeds for their salvation.

Sarah Pearce, in The Oxford Bible Commentary, sums up 3 Maccabees: to the God of Israel will be rewarded with life, apostasy with death. Finally, the story serves, as does Esther for the feast of Purim, to explain and support an existing Jewish festival whose origins had perhaps been forgotten by the Jews of Egypt.
[Sara R. Johnson, in the Women's Bible Commentary, points out the differences in this version with that presented in the book of Esther; e.g., whether the Jews asked permission to kill apostates or Gentiles, and, of course, emphasis on or less attention to a woman with influence. On the other hand, she reminds us that in both books, the ordeal ends happily for the Jews.]

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