Deuterocanonical and Pseudocanonical Books (Part 2)
2 Maccabees 6:1-5 contains part of the fulfillment of (Daniel 12:11 NKJV): “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.” (See also 1 Maccabees 1:54). It was Mattathias and his friends who tore down the pagan altars and any idols (1 Macc. 2:25,45).
"And they performed the dedication of the altar eight days. And they offered sacrifices with gladness and they sacrificed sacrifices of deliverance and of praise - And Ihudah
(Yudah) and his brethren and all of the congregation of Yisrael ordained that they shall be keeping the days of the renewal (dedication)
of the altar in their appointed time, from year to year, eight days from the twenty-fifth day of First Canon
..." (1 Macc. 4:56,59)
It was the Feast of Ḥanuccah (Dedication) that Yeshua celebrated at (Jn. 10:22-24). Other Festival days have Scripture backing them; so this New Testament citation alone could be an indication that 1-2 Maccabees are Scripture (see also 2 Macc. 1:9; 10:6).
“Restored to women their sons, raised people from the dead; while others died through tortures, not hoping for deliverance, that they might have a better resurrection.” (Hebrews 11:35 Lamsa).
This sounds a lot like what took place in 2 Maccabees chapter 7.
Maccabees 3 & 4:
The Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon (CAL) has the books of 3rd and 4th Maccabees on their website. I haven't read those Aramaic books so I don't know if they are translations from the Greek text or the Greek text is from an Aramaic original.
1st Ezra (1st Esdras) & 2nd Ezra (2nd Esdras) [Chapters 3-12]:
The Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon (CAL) has these books online. The name "1st Ezra" suggests that this writing is the first book written by Ezra. The name "2nd Ezra" suggests that this writing is the second book written by Ezra. And at 2nd Ezra (2nd Esdras) 1:1, the words read: "The second book of Ezra the prophet ..." However, the first two chapters of 2nd Ezra (2nd Esdras) are missing from the Aramaic & Greek texts of that book. Those two chapters are believed to come from the Latin text and have been named "5th Ezra (Esdras)" because they are additions or forgeries to the original text of "2nd Ezra." To sum it up, all three books are numberless and 1st & 2nd Ezra could be renumbered to 2nd & 3rd Ezra. However, some count the book of Nehemiah as the 2nd book written by Ezra and hence CAL numbers 1st Ezra as "3rd Ezra" and 2nd Ezra as "4th Ezra." Though the books of Ezra and Nehemiah may have been one book at one time, I still think the book of Nehemiah was authored by Nehemiah and thus should be considered a separate book not from Ezra the scribe. Nehemiah 1:1 suggests Nehemiah wrote or possibly dictated the following thirteen chapters.
It's important to know that "Esdras" is the Greek transliteration for the name of "Ezra;" even when this name appears in the book of Ezra. Ezra or Esdras are the same person (see Ezra 7:1-5 and 1st Esdras 8:1-2).
Note: CAL lists 1st Ezra as 1Esdras(3 Ezra) and 2nd Ezra as P 4Ezra on its website.
Aramaic 1st Ezra is probably a translation of Greek 2nd Esdras since there is no evidence that an original Hebrew and Aramaic text existed. It's not Canonical or inspired. It's mainly copied material from Ezra, Nehemiah and Chronicles with 1 Ezra 3:1-5:6 being additional material not found in the Old Testament. 1st Ezra doesn't have much additional beneficial doctrine. However, it does show us that the eunuchs guarded the king's bed inside the room and were also stationed outside the room's door. Moreover, Aramaic 1st Ezra also has value in that it shows us that the alternate spelling of Orishlem (Jerusalem), with the additional yodh for the "i" sound, is a valid spelling. In the Peshitta Bible, that alternate spelling for Orishlem only occurs one time, one place in the New Testament. A scholar may think that spelling is a typo, but it isn't. That alternate spelling for "Yerushalem" appears many times and throughout 1st Ezra.
God giving the wicked over to be burned with worms eating their flesh is also spoken of in Judith and in the New Testament:
“And He shall give their flesh to the fire and to worms; and they shall burn in [their] wickedness forever” (Judith 16:21 Peshitta / 16:17 NAB)
[see also Isaiah 66:24; Mark 9:48].
"... and they became mighty ones in battle and they overturned the camps (or armies) of [their] enemies." (Heb. 11:34 Peshitta). It sounds like Paul had in mind what transpired in the book of (Judith 15:1-4, 6-7) here.
Textual Error Rebuttal: The Aramaic text of (Judith 1:1 & 7) reads: "... Nebuchadnezzar, the king [of the province] of Assyria ..." The Greek text reads: "Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the Assyrians." Often the word "Assyria" is translated as "Assyrians" in the LXX from the original Hebrew or Aramaic text; so the Greek translation can be explained. This isn't a historical inaccuracy as some have claimed. Nebuchadnezzar II, the King of Babylon (Babylonia), allied with the Medes, Persians and Scythians, defeated the Assyrian and Egyptian armies at Carchemish around 605 BC. Assyria then ceased to be an independent nation and was absorbed into the Babylonian Empire.
Yeshua the son of Sira (or Jesus Ben Sirach):
“He has put down
the mighty from [their] seats
, and he has lifted up the meek.” (Lk. 1:52 Lamsa).
Mary may be paraphrasing from the book by Yeshua, the son of Sira.
“The throne of the proud the LORD has overthrown, and He has set the meek in their place.” (The son of Sira 10:17 or Ben Sirach 10:14 NAB)
“For you provoked Him who made you, the everlasting God, because you sacrificed to demons
and not to God.” (2nd Letter of Baruch 4:7 Peshitta / Baruch 4:7 NAB)
The Apostle Paul may have been referring to the above verse when he said: :
“But what the pagans sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils and not to God; and I would not have you in fellowship with devils.” (1 Cor. 10:20 Lamsa)
Textual Error Rebuttal: The Aramaic text of "the Letter of Jeremiah the Prophet" is only one chapter and corresponds to Baruch chapter six in Catholic Bibles. So the Aramaic text of Baruch 6:2 and Jeremiah 25:11, in Hebrew or Aramaic, both say that the Jews will be in Bawel (Babylon) seventy years. So the problem is only with the Greek text of (Baruch 6:3 LXX / 6:2 NAB) which says that the Jews will be in Babylonia seven generations (approximately 700 years). The following is what the Aramaic text says.
"And when you have entered Bawel
(Baḅel), you shall be there many years and a long time, even unto seventy years, And after seventy years I shall bring you out from there in peace." (Baruch 6:2 / Letter of the Prophet Yirmeyahu [Jeremiah] 1:2 Peshitta).
The books of Judith, Tobit and 1st and 2nd Maccabees appear to be originally written in Aramaic. The Book by Yeshua the son of Sira appears to have been originally written in Hebrew. Most of the Hebrew text of this book has been preserved or recovered in several manuscripts, which I also have a book containing them. For the book of Wisdom, I conjecture it was originally written in Hebrew, though no such text has been found. I can’t say for certain what the original language was for the books of Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah. Parts of the canonical book of Jeremiah are in Aramaic, so it is probable that the Letter of Jeremiah and the book by his scribe (i.e. Baruch) were originally written in Aramaic. It could be that the reason Aramaic text is found in the books of Daniel, Ezra and Jeremiah is that God is telling the Jews that the new language that He will use for Scripture will be Aramaic.
Note: The Aramaic canon has an additional small book by Baruch, titled: “the First Letter of Baruch the Scribe.” Since it wasn’t received as canonical by the Alexandrian Jews or any other canon that I am aware of, I view it as apocrypha for now.
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