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Day 244 – Susanna’s Righteousness


Thoughts and Reflection

Today we read that the Lord will ask Jeremiah to write about a time when the people of Israel will return from exile. Rather than being a negative prophet, Jeremiah is filled with positivity and encouragement. Interestingly Daniel chapter 12 is not fond in many protestant bibles. It mentions the archangel Michael and the resurrection of the dead.

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Daily Readings

Jeremiah 30

1 The word which came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, as follows,

2 ‘Yahweh, God of Israel, says this, “Write for yourself in a book all the words I have spoken to you.

3 For look, the days are coming, Yahweh declares, when I shall bring back the captives of my people Israel (and Judah), Yahweh says. I shall make them come back and take possession of the country I gave to their ancestors.” ‘

4 These are the words Yahweh spoke about Israel (and Judah):

5 Yahweh says this: We have heard a cry of panic, of terror, not of peace.

6 Now ask and see: can a man bear children? Then why do I see each man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labour? Why has every face grown pale?

7 Disaster! This is the great day, no other like it: a time of distress for Jacob, though he will be saved from it.

8 (That day, Yahweh Sabaoth declares, I shall break the yoke now on your neck and snap your chains; and foreigners will enslave you no more,

9 but Israel and Judah will serve Yahweh their God, and David their king whom I shall raise up for them.)

10 So do not be afraid, my servant Jacob, Yahweh declares, Israel, do not be alarmed: for look, I shall rescue you from distant countries and your descendants from the country where they are captive. Jacob will return and be at peace, secure, with no one to trouble him. 

11 For I am with you to save you, Yahweh declares, I shall make an end of all the nations where I have driven you, but I shall not make an end of you, only discipline you in moderation, not to let you go quite unpunished.

12 Yes, Yahweh says this: Your wound is incurable, your injury past healing.

13 There is no one to plead your cause; for an ulcer there are remedies, but for you no cure at all.

14 All your lovers have forgotten you, they look for you no more. Yes, I have struck you as an enemy strikes, with cruel punishment (because of your great guilt and countless sins).

15 Why cry out because of your wound? Your pain is incurable! Because of your great guilt and countless sins, I have treated you like this.

16 But all those who devoured you will be devoured, all your enemies, all, go into captivity, those who despoiled you will be despoiled, and all who pillaged you be pillaged.

17 For I shall restore you to health and heal your wounds, Yahweh declares, you who used to be called ‘Outcast’, ‘Zion for whom no one cares’.

18 Yahweh says this: Look, I shall restore the tents of Jacob and take pity on his dwellings: the town will be rebuilt on its mound, the stronghold where it ought to stand.

19 From them will come thanksgiving and shouts of joy. I shall make them increase, they will not decrease; I shall make them honoured, no more to be humbled.

20 Their sons will be as once they were, their community fixed firmly before me, and I shall punish all their oppressors.

21 Their prince will be one of their own, their ruler come from their own people, and I shall permit him to approach me freely; for who, otherwise, would be so bold as to approach me, Yahweh demands?

22 You will be my people and I shall be your God.

23 Look, Yahweh’s hurricane, his wrath, bursts out, a roaring hurricane, to burst on the heads of the wicked;

24 Yahweh’s burning anger will not turn aside until he has performed, has carried out, what he has in mind. In the final days, you willunderstand this.

Daniel 12

1 ‘At that time Michael will arise — the great Prince, defender of your people. That will be a time of great distress, unparalleled since nations first came into existence. When that time comes, your own people will be spared — all those whose names are found written in the Book.

2 ‘Of those who are sleeping in the Land of Dust, many will awaken, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting disgrace.

3 Those who are wise will shine as brightly as the expanse of the heavens, and those who have instructed many in uprightness, as bright as stars for all eternity.

4 ‘But you, Daniel, must keep these words secret and keep the book sealed until the time of the End. Many will roam about, this way and that, and wickedness will continue to increase.’

5 I, Daniel, then looked and saw two other people standing, one on the near bank of the river, the other on the far.

6 One of them said to the man dressed in linen who was standing further up the stream, ‘How long until these wonders take place?’

7 I heard the man speak who was dressed in linen, standing further up the stream: he raised his right hand and his left to heaven and swore by him who lives for ever, ‘A time and two times, and half a time; and all these things will come true, once the crushing of the holy people’s power is over.’

8 I listened but did not understand. I then said, ‘My lord, what is to be the outcome?’

9 ‘Go, Daniel,’ he said. ‘These words are to remain secret and sealed until the time of the End.

10 Many will be cleansed, made white and purged; the wicked will persist in doing wrong; the wicked will never understand; those who are wise will understand.

11 From the moment that the perpetual sacrifice is abolished and the appalling abomination set up: a thousand two hundred and ninety days.

12 Blessed is he who perseveres and attains a thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.

13 But you, go away and rest; and you will rise for your reward at the end of time.’

Daniel 13

1 In Babylon there lived a man named Joakim.

2 He was married to a woman called Susanna daughter of Hilkiah, a woman of great beauty; and she was God-fearing, for

3 her parents were worthy people and had instructed their daughter in the Law of Moses.

4 Joakim was a very rich man and had a garden by his house; he used to be visited by a considerable number of the Jews, since he was held in greater respect than any other man.

5 Two elderly men had been selected from the people, that year, to act as judges. Of such the Lord had said, ‘Wickedness has come to Babylon through the elders and judges posing as guides to the people.’

6 These men were often at Joakim’s house, and all who were engaged in litigation used to come to them.

7 At midday, when the people had gone away, Susanna would take a walk in her husband’s garden.

8 The two elders, who used to watch her every day as she came in to take her walk, gradually began to desire her.

9 They threw reason aside, making no effort to turn their eyes to Heaven, and forgetting the demands of virtue.

10 Both were inflamed by passion for her, but they hid their desire from each other,

11 for they were ashamed to admit the longing to sleep with her,

12 but they made sure of watching her every day.

13 One day, having parted with the words, ‘Let us go home, then, it is time for the midday meal,’ they went off in different directions,

14 only to retrace their steps and find themselves face to face again. Obliged then to explain, they admitted their desire and agreed to look for an opportunity of surprising her alone.

15 So they waited for a favourable moment; and one day Susanna came as usual, accompanied only by two young maidservants. The day was hot and she wanted to bathe in the garden.

16 There was no one about except the two elders, spying on her from their hiding place.

17 She said to the servants, ‘Bring me some oil and balsam and shut the garden door while I bathe.’

18 They did as they were told, shutting the garden door and going back to the house by a side entrance to fetch what she had asked for; they knew nothing about the elders, for they had concealed themselves.

19 Hardly were the maids gone than the two elders sprang up and rushed upon her.

20 ‘Look,’ they said, ‘the garden door is shut, no one can see us. We want to have you, so give in and let us!

21 Refuse, and we shall both give evidence that a young man was with you and that this was why you sent your maids away.’

22 Susanna sighed. ‘I am trapped,’ she said, ‘whatever I do. If I agree, it means death for me; if I resist, I cannot get away from you.

23 But I prefer to fall innocent into your power than to sin in the eyes of the Lord.’

24 She then cried out as loud as she could. The two elders began shouting too, putting the blame on her,

25 and one of them ran to open the garden door.

26 The household, hearing the shouting in the garden, rushed out by the side entrance to see what had happened to her.

27 Once the elders had told their story, the servants were thoroughly taken aback, since nothing of this sort had ever been said of Susanna.

28 Next day a meeting was held at the house of her husband Joakim. The two elders arrived, full of their wicked plea against Susanna, to have her put to death.

29 They addressed the company, ‘Summon Susanna daughter of Hilkiah and wife of Joakim.’ She was sent for,

30 and came accompanied by her parents, her children and all her relations.

31 Susanna was very graceful and beautiful to look at;

32 she was veiled, so the wretches made her unveil in order to feast their eyes on her beauty.

33 All her own people were weeping, and so were all the others who saw her.

34 The two elders stood up, with all the people round them, and laid their hands on her head.

35 Tearfully she turned her eyes to Heaven, her heart confident in God.

36 The elders then spoke, ‘While we were walking by ourselves in the garden, this woman arrived with two maids. She shut the garden door and then dismissed the servants.

37 A young man, who had been hiding, went over to her and they lay together.

38 From the end of the garden where we were, we saw this crime taking place and hurried towards them.

39 Though we saw them together, we were unable to catch the man: he was too strong for us; he opened the door and took to his heels.

40 We did, however, catch this woman and ask her who the young man was.

41 She refused to tell us. That is our evidence.’ Since they were elders of the people and judges, the assembly accepted their word: Susanna was condemned to death.

42 She cried out as loud as she could, ‘Eternal God, you know all secrets and everything before it happens;

43 you know that they have given false evidence against me. And now I must die, innocent as I am of everything their malice has invented against me!’

44 The Lord heard her cry

45 and, as she was being led away to die, he roused the holy spirit residing in a young boy called Daniel

46 who began to shout, ‘I am innocent of this woman’s death!’

47 At this all the people turned to him and asked, ‘What do you mean by that?’

48 Standing in the middle of the crowd, he replied, ‘Are you so stupid, children of Israel, as to condemn a daughter of Israel unheard, and without troubling to find out the truth?

49 Go back to the scene of the trial: these men have given false evidence against her.’

50 All the people hurried back, and the elders said to Daniel, ‘Come and sit with us and tell us what you mean, since God has given you the gifts that elders have.’

51 Daniel said, ‘Keep the men well apart from each other, for I want to question them.’

52 When the men had been separated, Daniel had one of them brought to him. ‘You have grown old in wickedness,’ he said, ‘and now the sins of your earlier days have overtaken you,

53 you with your unjust judgements, your condemnation of the innocent, your acquittal of the guilty, although the Lord has said, “You must not put the innocent and upright to death.”

54 Now then, since you saw her so clearly, tell me what sort of tree you saw them lying under.’ He replied, ‘Under an acacia tree.’

55 Daniel said, ‘Indeed! Your lie recoils on your own head: the angel of God has already received from him your sentence and will cut you in half.’

56 He dismissed the man, ordered the other to be brought and said to him, ‘Son of Canaan, not of Judah, beauty has seduced you, lusthas led your heart astray!

57 This is how you have been behaving with the daughters of Israel, and they have been too frightened to resist; but here is a daughter of Judah who could not stomach your wickedness!

58 Now then, tell me what sort of tree you surprised them under.’ He replied, ‘Under an aspen tree.’

59 Daniel said, ‘Indeed! Your lie recoils on your own head: the angel of God is waiting with a sword to rend you in half, and destroy the pair of you.’

60 Then the whole assembly shouted, blessing God, the Saviour of those who trust in him.

61 And they turned on the two elders whom Daniel had convicted of false evidence out of their own mouths.

62 As the Law of Moses prescribes, they were given the same punishment as they had schemed to inflict on their neighbour. They were put to death. And thus, that day, an innocent life was saved.

63 Hilkiah and his wife gave thanks to God for their daughter Susanna, and so did her husband Joakim and all his relations, because she had been acquitted of anything dishonourable.

64 From that day onwards, Daniel’s reputation stood high with the people.

Proverbs 16:17-20

17 To turn from evil is the way of the honest; whoever watches the path keeps life safe.

18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

19 Better be humble with the poor than share the booty with the proud.

20 Whoever listens closely to the word finds happiness; whoever trusts Yahweh is blessed.


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