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p. 130

The Messianic Woes (xxiii. 18-25).
[Eschatological partly.]

18. Behold the earth will be destroyed on account of all their works, and there will be no seed of the vine, and no oil; for their works are altogether faithless, and they will all perish together, beasts and cattle and birds, and all the fish of the sea, 1 on account of the children of men. 19. And they will strive one with another, the young with the old, and the old with the young, the poor with the rich, and the lowly with the great, and the beggar with the prince, 2 on account of the law and the covenant; 3 for they have forgotten commandment, and covenant, and feasts, and months, and Sabbaths, and jubilees, and all judgments. 20. And they will stand (with bows and) swords and war to turn them back into the way; 4 but they will not return until much blood hath been shed on the earth, one by another. 5 21. And those who have escaped will not return from their wickedness to the way of righteousness, but they will all exalt themselves to deceit and wealth, that they may each take all that is his neighbour's, and they will name the great name, but not in truth and not in righteousness, and they will defile the holy of holies with their uncleanness and the corruption of their pollution. 6 22. And a great punishment will befall the deeds of this generation

p. 131

from the Lord, and He will give them over to the sword and to judgment and to captivity, and to be plundered and devoured. 23. And He will wake up against them the sinners of the Gentiles, who have neither mercy nor compassion, and who will respect the person of none, neither old nor young, nor any one, for they are more wicked and strong to do evil than all the children of men.

And they will use violence against Israel and transgression against Jacob,
And much blood will be shed upon the earth,
And there will be none to gather and none to bury. 1
24. In those days they will cry aloud,
And call and pray that they may be saved from the hand of the sinners, the Gentiles; 2
But none will be saved.
25. And the heads of the children will be white with grey hair, 3
And a child of three weeks will appear old like a man of one hundred years,
And their stature will be destroyed by tribulation and oppression.



130:1 Cf. 4 Ezra v. 7 (Ezek. xxxviii. 20).

130:2 Internecine strife is a standing feature in such eschatological passages; cf. 4 Ezra vi. 24; Matt. xxiv. 10; Ap. Bar., lxx. 3-4.

130:3 Here the writer passes to a description of what is happening in his own time.

130:4 "Way" here = the true path of religion; cf. Isa. xxx. 21 Acts ix. 2, etc.

130:5 The conflicts between the early Maccabeans (at the head of the national party in Judah) and the Hellenizers seem to be referred to.

130:6 Probably the machinations of the Hellenizing party under the High Priest Alcimus are referred to; cf. 1 Macc. ix. 54.

131:1 The sufferings of the nation up to (but not including) Simon's High Priesthood (142-135 B.C.) may be referred to. For the last line cf. Jer. viii. 2.

131:2 Cf. Gal. ii. 15.

131:3 Cf. Sibylline Oracles, ii. 155 ("children with grey hair on their temples born")--one of the signs of the coming in of the Messianic age.

Next: Renewed Study of the Law followed by a Renewal of Mankind. The Messianic Kingdom and the Blessedness of the Righteous (xxiii. 26-32)