270 BC to 250 BC, Psalm 34: Opening to the nations.

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Weltchronik_Fulda_Aa88_236r_detailThis generation is that of the years between 270 BC to 250 BC.

The comments on this psalm are lightened because for a more complete analysis it would be necessary before to explain some additional undeveloped analyzes on this website.
This generation is that of the years between 270 BC to 250 BC.
Before becoming interested in the body of the psalm we must first analyze its title:
(extract of the psalm 35 associated to this generation, verse 1  – title of the psalm  – )
  • Of David, when he disguised his sanity before Abimelech, whereupon he drove him out and he departed.
This title refers to a particular episode in the life of David, the one who preceded his flight and his refuge in the cave of Adulam, when he simulated madness with a King Philistine to be spared. Before this event, David had introduced himself to the priests of Nob and had asked them for bread:
  • And [1] he arose and went away; and Jonathan came to the city.
  • And David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest, and Ahimelech came trembling toward David, and said, « Why are you alone, and no one with you? »
  • And David said to Ahimelech the priest, « The king charged me with a matter, and said to me, ‘Let no man know anything concerning the matter upon which I am sending you, and with which I have charged you.’ And I troubled the young men (to advance) to a hidden, secret place.
  • And now, what is there in your possession? Five loaves of bread? Give them into my hand, or whatever is found. »
  • And the priest answered David, and said, « There is no ordinary bread in my possession, but there is holy bread, if the young men have but kept themselves from women. »
In fact sacred food had been so used for secular purposes. On this event, the priests were decimated by Saul, the only surviving priest to take refuge in the cave of Adulam with David.

The people of Israel had been designated as a priestly nation to the world, for which they had received the Torah on Mount Sinai, which until now was the exclusive property of the people of Israel, and the means for that to venerate his God, the God of humanity.
The priests of Nob who had the exclusive offerings to God on the altar in the name of the whole people of Israel, offered to this people the offerings reserved for them, thus making the holy thing profane.
In the same way, the people of Israel have given, through the Septuagint, to all the peoples of the world, which was their own good, thus making the holy thing sacred. The priests of Nob contributed, in the desacralization of their offerings, to their own peril. In the same way, the Jewish people, by opening to the world the sacred text of the Torah, is also in a situation of imminent peril.
Saul and his troops may have thought that priests are no longer useful or at least they have lost their sacredness, if their offerings are accessible to the entire people of Israel. In the same way the peoples of the world can also think that the Jewish people are no longer of any use if the sacred texts are accessible to everyone.
Thus, until now, the Jewish people was a people like the others with its God and Temple. Other peoples could fight the people of Israel, but at no time had they tried to rob him of his place with God. The notion of an elected people was so far unbearable to any people.
Nations either respected the beliefs of the people of Israel or were content with their own pagan beliefs. If the appearance of the Septuagint will allow all the peoples of the earth to recognize their creator, it will at the same time give birth to a new pitfall for the Jewish people: anti-Semitism.
That is not due to a classic rivalry of other peoples towards the people of Israel. But rather because people question and fight the notion of the chosen people to try to address God without intermediary. Just as Saul tried to eliminate the priests so as to get closer to God.
It is precisely this event of the priests of Nob, that the Gospels use so that the Christians, new followers of the God of the people of Israel, take their distance with the laws defended by the Jews:
  • At that time [2], Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them.
  • When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”
  • He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?
  • He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests.
Thus, the new religions of Jewish Monotheism, Christianity and Islam, will strive over the generations to try to destroy the Jewish people in the hope of better assert their belief and thus their place with God.
Like the priests of Nob, the Jewish people will suffer in their flesh throughout the generations during which they will live with the defenders of the new religions. Like the priests of Nob, the Jewish people will repeatedly fail to disappear, but thanks to their faith, there will always remain a remnant of this people so that it is still there at the end of time.
It is this unshakable faith that David evokes in the beginning of the psalm:
(extract of the psalm 35 associated to this generation, verse 2 to 6 )
  • I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise is always in my mouth.
  • My soul boasts of the Lord; may the humble hear and rejoice.
  • Declare the greatness of the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.
  • I sought the Lord and He answered me, and He delivered me from all my terrors.
  • They looked to Him and they became radiant, and their faces will not be ashamed.
Just as David took refuge with God when he was pursued by Saul following the event of the priests of Nob, the Jews in their long wanderings until the final redemption will escape their enemies thanks to the refuge with God .
If God can not avoid their fate on earth, their souls will find refuge with God who will protect them from earthly attacks.
This is what the continuation of the psalm expresses:

(extract of the psalm 35 associated to this generation, verse 7 to 10 )

  • This poor man called and the Lord heard, and He saved him from all his troubles.
  • An angel of the Lord is stationed around those who fear Him, and He saved them.
  • Comprehend and see that the Lord is good; praiseworthy is the man who takes shelter in Him.
  • Fear the Lord, His holy ones; for there is no want to those who fear Him.
In the generation that interests us, the one that corresponds to the second half of the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, the time is not yet mistrustful and the Jewish people tend to regard as a good thing the translation into Greek of the Bible.
The Greek Jews themselves, who for the most part do not know either Hebrew or Aramaic, can thus access the sacred book in their natural language. The other peoples, and especially the Greeks, the dominant people of the moment, can access the wisdom they consider as universal included in the divine message of the Bible.
The existence of the Septuagint a few centuries before the writing of the Gospels will comfort the first Christians of the veracity of the latter. The Gospels indeed cite events that illustrate the various predictions of the Old Testament (as a whole).
A critical mind might suppose that some passages of the Gospels were written with the will to conform to his predictions, this was obviously not conceivable for the first Christians who considered the Gospels as unquestionable.
This will cause the first theoreticians of Christianity to no longer regard the election of the people of Israel as eternal, and to declare the Jewish people as fallen from God with all the consequences that we know about the coexistence between Jews and Christians.
Islam will not be left out, and will subtly use Jesus as a weapon against Jews and Christians. The Jews because they do not recognize the prophetic character of Jesus, the Christians because they deify Jesus who despite his status as a prophet in Islam, remains a man.
We are still in the first watch of the night, that corresponding to the curses of Leviticus as we have already mentioned from the following quote:
  • Rabbi [4] Eliezer says: The night consists of three watches, and over each and every watch, the Holy One, Blessed be He, sits and roars like a lion in pain over the destruction of the Temple. This imagery is derived from a reference in the Bible, as it is stated: “The Lord roars [yishag] from on high, from His holy dwelling He makes His voice heard. He roars mightily [shaog yishag] over His dwelling place, He cries out like those who tread grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth” (Jeremiah 25:30). The three instances of the root shin-alef-gimmel in this verse correspond to the three watches of the night.
Although in a propitious period, the Septuagint prepares the ground for future clashes between the people of Israel and the Romans and then towards Christianity and Islam. That is what will happen after the destruction of the second Temple, in the following watches, those corresponding to the last two roars mentioned by Jeremiah, those corresponding to the curses of Deuteronomy.
The enemies of tomorrow, with regard to the roars evoked, are still only lion cubs. Despite the threat they pose to the future of the Jews, the only help that can be obtained is that from God by stubbornly acting in accordance with divine law.
This is evoked by the continuation of the psalm:

(extract of the psalm 35 associated to this generation, verse 11 to 15 )

  • Young lions suffer want and are hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good.
  • Come, children, hearken to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
  • Who is the man who desires life, who loves days to see goodness?
  • Guard your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceitfully.
  • Shun evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it.
(the end of the psalm is not commented here because it requires additional elements not presented on this website)

 

 

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[1] Shmuel I – I Samuel – Chapter 21, verses 1 to 5

[2] Gospel of Matthew, chapter 12 verses 1 to 4 and also GOSPEL according to Mark Chapter 2 verses 23 to 26 as well as EVANGIL according to Luke Chapter 6 verses 1 to 4

[4] TALMUD, BERAKHOT 1, 3a (included a quote of Jeremiah 25:30). Translation got form website: https://www.sefaria.org/