Giving thanks not for silver or gold…

Posted: 27th November 2008 by ElShaddai Edwards in Uncategorized

2 Maccabees 12.34, 39-45 (REB):

Battle was joined and a small number of Jews fell. […] Next day they went to collect the bodies of the fallen, as by now had become necessary, in order to take them for burials with their kinsfolk in their family graves. On each one of the dead they found under the tunic amulets sacred to the idols of Jamnia, objects forbidden to Jews by the law. It was evident to all that here was the reason these men had fallen. So everyone praised the acts of the Lord, the just Judge and Revealer of secrets, and turning to prayer they begged that every trace of this offence might be blotted out. The nobel Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from wrongdoing, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. He levied a contribution from each man, and sent to Jerusalem the total of two thousand silver drachmas to provide a sin-offering – a fit and proper act in which he took due account of the resurrection. Had he not been expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been superfluous and senseless to pray for the dead; but since he had in view the splendid reward reserved for those who die a godly death, his purpose was holy and devout. That was why he offered the atoning sacrifice, to free the dead from their sin.

On this Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful that Jesus Christ died as the perfect and eternal sacrifice of atonement for our wrongdoing, that we are freed from sin by his blood shed on the cross and not by silver or gold or any other work of our own doing.

  1. […] Stirring it up again This has been the longest hiatus in my blogging since I started, but I have been enjoying a ten day wallow in the sin of accidie, and haven’t managed to stumble across any post that has stimulated me out of it. Even Jim West’s rantothons have been pallid of late. But it seems I should mark a return to active blogocity with a bit of controversy, and I nominate ElShaddai’s Thanksgiving post. […]

  2. John Hobbins says:


    Thanks for this post. I respond on my blog.

    On another note, perhaps you’ve already clarified, and I don’t remember, did you come up with “smooth operator” on your own for the Genesis passage, or hear it from someone else? I heard it from someone else in years past, but the memory is hazy to say the least. Anyway, I like it very much, and have used it in two separate posts now.

  3. Thanks for the note, John – I saw your post this morning and started jotting some thoughts down. I’ll try to finish that up today or tomorrow…

    As for “smooth operator”, I have since seen it used a few times in conjunction with the passage from Genesis 3 as well as with Jacob and Esau, but I believe that at the time the phrase came to me unaided after reading the selection about the pun from Kass’ book.

  4. John Hobbins says:


    In that case, I want to give you credit for your unaided genius w.r.t. “smooth operator” and will rewrite the relevant posts accordingly.

  5. In that case, I want to give you credit for your unaided genius…

    Well, that may be putting it a little strong… surely there’s no need to update your posts!