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.

Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Monday, March 06, 2006

Washington Needs Laundering: Bible Commentary on Micah 1 with poem by Eric H. Daniell, The Silent Stars

Daily Readings
Psalm 105:23-45 Exodus 12 Micah 1 II Thessalonians 3

Daily Text: Micah 1

Washington Needs Laundering
Micah was an 8th century prophet, overlapping with Isaiah and Hosea. Most likely Micah 1 was written in about 722 B.C. just before Samaria was sacked by Assyria. Anderson and Freedman (p. 250) see a unity in the chapter as follows: 1:2 Invocation, 1:3,4 Theophany, 1:5 Accusation, 1:6-7 Judgment and 1:8-16 Lament. International calls to see the Lord as witness against Samaria are followed by a ‘description’ of divine attention, divine travel to the high places of Samaria. An accusation is made against Samaria followed by judgement and a warning of disaster in the form of a lament. This lament, particularly from vs. 10-16 is very difficult to read. Virtually, all scholars see it as word play on town names, puns if you will. Wolff creates a contemporary translation that approximates its meaning, but the reader should see beyond to the terror these puns must represent for the inhabitants of these towns.

10Don’t “boast” in Gath! Weep; yes, weep!
In Dustville roll yourselves in the dust!
11You inhabitants of Horntown, they are blowing an alarm for you on the ram’s horn. Rootberg will be uprooted.
Lament for Standton, your standing place shall be taken from you!
12How can the inhabitants of Eviland hope for good?
Indeed misfortune is coming down from the Lord upon the very gates of the
City of Fortune (Jerusalem)
13Harness the steeds to the chariot, ye inhabitants of Chariotsburg (Lachish)!
(That is the chief and first sin of Zion’s daughter,
for in you are found Israel’s rebelliousnesses.)
14Give parting gifts to Gath’s Possession (Moresheth-Gath)!
Deceitville’s fortifications are a deception for Israel’s kings.
15I am against bringing an army of occupation upon you, you inhabitants of
Occupation town (Mareshah).
The glory of Israel is coming to hide in the Refugees’ Hiding Place (Adullam).
16No hair on your head as you howl in mourning for the children you loved!
Bare yourself bald like the beaked bird (the eagle),
in mourning for your children who are leaving you and going into exile.

As elementary as this seems, the puns would not be forgotten. “Lynch no more in Lynchburg” or “The rich will perish in Richmond” might be pretty frightening if there was a moving army to back up the warnings! Micah made his point, you may be sure, whether it is easy for us to understand or no.

The Silent Stars
Thoughts while on guard before Ypres, October 1917
Eric H. Daniell

The bark and boom of guns and shrieking flight
Of shells;--then silence. Torn and half-decayed
Lie scattered fragments; all is overlaid
With nauseous mire. Some flick’ring fire leaps bright
In sudden majesty, its very might
In thund’rous self-extinguishment displayed.
The lonely sentry, restless, half-afraid,
Finds comfort in the stars’ unchanging light.

Ye strugglers mid the sordid things of life:--
Degrading poverty’s unequal strife,
Triumphant evil’s smug complacency,
Thoughtless impurity, cold unbelief,
Avarice, war, and death, and blinding grief—
Look up, and see God’s loving constancy.

Collect for the Day
God of our salvation, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, you have fulfilled your promise to our ancestors in the faith to redeem the world from slavery and to lead us into the promised land. Grant us living water from the rock and bread from heaven, that we may survive our desert pilgrimage and praise you for ever, through Jesus Christ our Redeemer. [476:848:Psalm prayer 105]


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