Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

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Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Holocaust

Daily Readings
Sirach 32 + II Kings 24:18-25:30 + Zephaniah 1 + Baruch 1

Quote of the Day
I will utterly sweep away everything
From the face of the earth, says the LORD.
I will sweep away humans and animals;
I will sweep away the birds of the air
And the fish of the sea.
I will make the wicked stumble,
I will cut off humanity
From the face of the earth, says the LORD.
I will stretch out my hand against Judah,
And against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem….
Zephaniah 1:1-4a

Daily Text: II Kings 24:18-25:30

Holocaust
Why in the world would Zedekiah rebel against the king of Babylon? He had to remember what had happened to Jehoiakim and Jehoichin. There was evidently movement by the Egyptians under the new Pharaoh, Apries. Zedekiah was certainly convinced that something had changed radically. However, his conviction did not change the reality of Babylonian hegemony. They came; they built a siege wall or ‘collar’ around the city and began to assault the walls with rams and ramps. It took about eighteen months, and one night with no food at all left to feed the people the Chaldeans broke through the city wall. When he knew that the enemy was inside the walls, Zedekiah, and the soldiers still with him, left by a quiet gate through the kings garden, probably negotiating the covered waterways built by Hezekiah to bring water into the city. They were away down the Arabah wadi to Jericho, with his own soldiers scattering to the hills before the Chaldeans caught up with him and made him prisoner. It was the end. They burned the temple, the palace and all the great houses, broke down the city wall and looted the treasuries of the city. The remaining leadership were taken to Riblah before the king where they were summarily executed leaving only the poorest of the poor, the uneducated and the marauding bands of escaped Judean soldiers in the hills of Judea. The long effort YHWH was making with his people was just beginning.

Oh! Weep for Those
George Noel Gordon, Lord Byron

Oh! weep for those that wept by Babel’s stream,
Whose shrines are desolate, whose land a dream;
Weep for the harp of Judah’s broken shell’
Mourn—where their god hath dwelt the godless dwell!

And where shall Israel lave her bleeding feet?
And when shall Zion’s songs again seem sweet?
And Judah’s melody once more rejoice
The hearts that leaped before its heavenly voice?

Tribes of the wandering foot and weary breast,
How shall ye flee away and be at rest!
The wild-dove hath her nest, the fox his cave,
Mankind their country—Israel but the grave!
395:258

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