Wednesday, September 19, 2012

tolerance to oppression

Good morning brothers and sisters,
Today at 5:30 we'll be gathering in Christler Hall for our first Supper and Scripture of the fall. Everyone is welcome to this opportunity to gather around good food and God's word. Tolerance and listening had been hallmarks of Alexander the Great's conquest. He tried to respect the cultures he conquered so they could feel like partners in a new kingdom rather than simply defeated subjects. Antiochus IV Epiphanes, one of his successors, took the opposite approach, as we see in our reading. While the Jewish community was largely left alone prior to this, under Antiochus a sever oppression begins.


1 Maccabees 1:20-31
20 After subduing Egypt, Antiochus returned in the one hundred and forty-third year. He went up against Israel and came to Jerusalem with a strong force. 21He arrogantly entered the sanctuary and took the golden altar, the lampstand for the light, and all its utensils. 22He took also the table for the bread of the Presence, the cups for drink-offerings, the bowls, the golden censers, the curtain, the crowns, and the gold decoration on the front of the temple; he stripped it all off. 23He took the silver and the gold, and the costly vessels; he took also the hidden treasures that he found. 24Taking them all, he went into his own land.
He shed much blood, and spoke with great arrogance.

25 Israel mourned deeply in every community,
26   rulers and elders groaned,
young women and young men became faint,
   the beauty of the women faded.
27 Every bridegroom took up the lament;
   she who sat in the bridal chamber was mourning.
28 Even the land trembled for its inhabitants,
   and all the house of Jacob was clothed with shame. 

29 Two years later the king sent to the cities of Judah a chief collector of tribute, and he came to Jerusalem with a large force. 30Deceitfully he spoke peaceable words to them, and they believed him; but he suddenly fell upon the city, dealt it a severe blow, and destroyed many people of Israel. 31He plundered the city, burned it with fire, and tore down its houses and its surrounding walls.

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