The lilies (Lk 12:27-12:27)

“Consider the lilies!

They neither toil

Nor spin.

Yet I tell you!

Even Solomon,

In all his glory,

Was not clothed

Like one of these.”

 

κατανοήσατε τὰ κρίνα, πῶς οὔτε νήθει οὔτε ὑφαίνει· λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν, οὐδὲ Σολομὼν ἐν πάσῃ τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ περιεβάλετο ὡς ἓν τούτων.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that they should consider the lilies (κατανοήσατε τὰ κρίνα).  They neither toil (πῶς οὔτε νήθει) nor spin (οὔτε ὑφαίνει).  Yet, Jesus said, with a solemn pronouncement (λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν), that not even Solomon (οὐδὲ Σολομὼν) in all his glory (ἐν πάσῃ τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ), was clothed like one of these flowers (περιεβάλετο ὡς ἓν τούτων).  Once again, Matthew, chapter 6:28-29, had a similar Jesus saying, almost word for word, indicating a common Q source, about the lilies.  Matthew indicated that Jesus wanted to know why they were worried about their clothes (καὶ περὶ ἐνδύματος τί μεριμνᾶτε).  He wanted them to look and consider the lilies of the field (καταμάθετε τὰ κρίνα τοῦ ἀγροῦ).  This is the only time that the word “καταμάθετε” appears in the New Testament writings.  It means to understand, take in a fact, consider carefully.  These lilies grew without any weary work in the field or any spinning (πῶς αὐξάνουσιν· οὐ κοπιῶσιν οὐδὲ νήθουσιν).  The verb to spin, “νήθουσιν” is unique to Matthew among all the New Testament writings.  Matthew also had Jesus utter his solemn saying (λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν) that King Solomon in all his glory (ὅτι οὐδὲ Σολομὼν ἐν πάσῃ τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ) did not have better looking clothing than these field flowers (περιεβάλετο ὡς ἓν τούτων).  In 1 Kings, chapter 10:1-5, the Queen of Sheba remarked about the wonderful clothes of King Solomon and his palace. Thus, the lilies of the field looked great without any work or care.  Do you look good without any care or work?

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The queen of the South (Lk 11:31-11:31)

“The queen of the South

Will rise

At the judgment

Against the people

Of this generation.

She will condemn them.

Because she came

From the ends of the earth

To listen to

The wisdom of Solomon.

See!

Someone greater

Than Solomon

Is here.”

 

βασίλισσα νότου ἐγερθήσεται ἐν τῇ κρίσει μετὰ τῶν ἀνδρῶν τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης καὶ κατακρινεῖ αὐτούς· ὅτι ἦλθεν ἐκ τῶν περάτων τῆς γῆς ἀκοῦσαι τὴν σοφίαν Σολομῶνος, καὶ ἰδοὺ πλεῖον Σολομῶνος ὧδε.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that the queen of the South (βασίλισσα νότου) would rise (ἐγερθήσεται) at the judgment time (ἐν τῇ κρίσει) against the men or people of this generation.  She will condemn them (καὶ κατακρινεῖ αὐτούς), because she came from the ends of the earth (ὅτι ἦλθεν ἐκ τῶν περάτων τῆς γῆς) to listen to the wisdom of Solomon (ἀκοῦσαι τὴν σοφίαν Σολομῶνος).  However, someone greater than Solomon is here (καὶ ἰδοὺ πλεῖον Σολομῶνος ὧδε).  This saying about the Queen of Sheba can also be found in Matthew, chapter 12:42, so that perhaps this is a Q source.  However, in Luke here, it preceded the comments about the men of Nineveh, while it was the reverse in Matthew.  Why was this unnamed Queen of Sheba able to give a judgment on this generation?  She was not even Jewish.  However, she visited King Solomon in 1 Kings, chapter 10:1-13, with the same story repeated in 2 Chronicles, chapter 9:1-12.  This mythical mysterious woman came from Sheba, but no one knows exactly where that was or her specific name.  She might have been from around the gold mines at Ophir, wherever that might be.  This might explain her wealth in spices, gold, and precious stones.  Anyway, King Solomon answered all her questions with great wisdom.  She observed all his wisdom, plus his house, his food, his clothing, and his servants.  She praised King Solomon, the son of King David, because his wisdom exceeded what she had anticipated and his prosperity exceeded her expectations.  Matthew and Luke both called her the Queen of the South (βασίλισσα νότου).  Matthew also said that she would rise up at the judgment time against this generation and condemn them.  She had come from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon.  Now, Matthew reminded them that someone greater than King Solomon was there among them, Jesus himself.  Do you recognize greatness when you see it?

One of the risen prophets (Lk 9:19-9:19)

“The disciples answered.

‘John the Baptist!’

But others say.

‘Elijah!’

While others say.

‘One of the ancient prophets

Has risen!’”

 

οἱ δὲ ἀποκριθέντες εἶπαν Ἰωάνην τὸν Βαπτιστήν, ἄλλοι δὲ Ἡλείαν, ἄλλοι δὲ ὅτι προφήτης τις τῶν ἀρχαίων ἀνέστη.

 

Luke said that his disciples answered him by saying (οἱ δὲ ἀποκριθέντες εἶπαν) that people thought that he was John the Baptist (Ἰωάνην τὸν Βαπτιστήν), Elijah (ἄλλοι δὲ Ἡλείαν), or one of the ancient prophets (ἄλλοι δὲ ὅτι προφήτης τις τῶν ἀρχαίων) that has risen (ἀνέστη).  A similar response can be found in Matthew, chapter 16:14, and Mark, chapter 9:19, but there are differences.  Matthew is the only one who explicitly mentioned Jeremiah, while Mark and Luke had the more generic term of one of the prophets, rather than any individual prophet.  Mark said that the disciples responded to him that some people said he was John the Baptist, while others said Elijah.  This Elijah was a 9th century BCE northern Israel prophet whose work can be found in the Old Testament Books of 1 Kings, 2 Kings, and 1 Chronicles.  Finally, other people said that he was one of the many prophets.  No one called him the Messiah or Christ.  Matthew indicated that the disciples responded that some people said that John the Baptist was the Son of Man.  Others said that Elijah was the Son of Man.  Still others said that the Son of Man was Jeremiah, a Judean prophet active from 626 BCE to 587 BCE, around the time of the destruction of the Temple, .  The Book of Jeremiah was one of the 3 major prophetic books of Hebrew Scripture. Finally, other people said that one of the many other ancient prophets was the Son of Man.  Matthew and Mark did not mention that Jesus was the resurrected form of these people like Luke did.  Would you consider Jesus the Son of Man?

Elijah or ancient prophets (Lk 9:8-9:8)

“Some others said

That Elijah had appeared.

Others said

That one of the ancient prophets

Had risen.”

 

ὑπό τινων δὲ ὅτι Ἡλείας ἐφάνη, ἄλλων δὲ ὅτι προφήτης τις τῶν ἀρχαίων ἀνέστη.

 

Luke said that some people said Jesus was the appearance of Elijah (ὑπό τινων δὲ ὅτι Ἡλείας ἐφάνη).  Others said that Jesus was one of the ancient prophets who had risen (ἄλλων δὲ ὅτι προφήτης τις τῶν ἀρχαίων ἀνέστη).  There was nothing about this speculation in Matthew.  However, Mark, chapter 6:15, had something similar, almost word for word.  Some people said that Jesus was Elijah.  Still others said that he was a prophet, like the former ancient prophets.  Elijah was a 9th century BCE northern Israelite prophet whose work can be found in the Old Testament Books of 1 Kings, 2 Kings, and 1 Chronicles.  There was no doubt that the role of Elijah dominated late Jewish thought at the time of Jesus, with his name appearing around John the Baptist, the transfiguration, and the death of Jesus.  The prophets were the holy men of Hebrew scripture who brought the word of Yahweh to his people.  Who would you compare Jesus to?

Jesus told the little girl to get up (Lk 8:54-8:54)

“But Jesus

Took the little girl

By the hand.

He called out.

‘Child!

Get up!’”

 

αὐτὸς δὲ κρατήσας τῆς χειρὸς αὐτῆς ἐφώνησεν λέγων Ἡ παῖς, ἔγειρ

 

Luke said that Jesus took her by the hand (αὐτὸς δὲ κρατήσας τῆς χειρὸς αὐτῆς) and called out saying (ἐφώνησεν λέγων) to the child (Ἡ παῖς) to get up (ἔγειρ).  This curing of this young girl was similar to what can be found in Matthew, chapter 9:25, and Mark, chapter 5:41-42.  However, only Mark went into more detail by using Aramaic words to cure her.  Mark said that Jesus took her by the hand and then said to her, “Talitha cum (Ταλιθὰ κούμ)!” which means “Little girl! Get up or arise!”  Immediately, the girl arose or got up.  She began to walk.  She was 12 years old, the same number of years that the lady suffered from the blood flow.  At this, the crowd was immediately overcome with great amazement.  The use and explanation of Aramaic may indicate an oral source for this story that may have been told originally in Aramaic.  Mark felt compelled to explain this to his Greek non-Aramaic audience.  Matthew had a very succinct story.  Jesus had the crowds put outside.  Then he went into where the dead girl was.  He took her by the hand.  Then this girl got up, without Jesus saying any words.  This is somewhat like the prophet Elijah who brought a child back to life in 1 Kings, chapter 17:17-24.  Have you ever witnessed a miracle?

A great prophet (Lk 7:16-7:16)

“Fear seized

All of them.

They glorified God.

Saying.

‘A great prophet

Has arisen among us!

God has looked favorably

On his people!’”

 

ἔλαβεν δὲ φόβος πάντας, καὶ ἐδόξαζον τὸν Θεὸν λέγοντες ὅτι Προφήτης μέγας ἠγέρθη ἐν ἡμῖν, καὶ ὅτι Ἐπεσκέψατο ὁ Θεὸς τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ.

 

Luke said that fear seized all the people (ἔλαβεν δὲ φόβος πάντας) there in Nain.  They glorified God (καὶ ἐδόξαζον τὸν Θεὸν).  They said that a great prophet had arisen among them (λέγοντες ὅτι Προφήτης μέγας ἠγέρθη ἐν ἡμῖν).  God had visited or looked favorably on his people (καὶ ὅτι Ἐπεσκέψατο ὁ Θεὸς τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ).  This was truly a shocking development.  The people of Nain were fear struck and felt privileged at the same time.  They began to praise God.  They called Jesus a great prophet like Elijah in 1 Kings, chapter 17:17-24, and Elisha in 2 Kings, chapter 4:32-37, who restored life to dead young people about 1,000 years prior.  This was a big deal.  Would you be afraid or amazed if you saw a dead man rise up from a casket?

The famine at the time of Elijah (Lk 4:25-4:26)

“In truth!

I say to you!

There were many widows

In Israel

At the time of Elijah.

The heavens

Were shut closed for

Three years and six months.

There came

A great famine

Over all the land.

Yet Elijah was sent

To none of them,

Except to a widow

At Zarephath,

In Sidon.”

 

ἐπ’ ἀληθείας δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, πολλαὶ χῆραι ἦσαν ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Ἡλείου ἐν τῷ Ἰσραήλ, ὅτε ἐκλείσθη ὁ οὐρανὸς ἐπὶ ἔτη τρία καὶ μῆνας ἕξ, ὡς ἐγένετο λιμὸς μέγας ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν

καὶ πρὸς οὐδεμίαν αὐτῶν ἐπέμφθη Ἡλείας εἰ μὴ εἰς Σάρεπτα τῆς Σιδωνίας πρὸς γυναῖκα χήραν.

 

There are no similar stories in Mark and Matthew.  Luke uniquely had Jesus tell this story about Elijah as found in 1 Kings, chapter 17:1-16.  John the Baptist had been compared to Elijah, a major almost romantic 9th century BCE prophet, whose name appears more than 100 times in the biblical literature.  Elijah also appeared with Moses in the transfiguration of Jesus mentioned later in this work.  Elijah’s influence on the evangelical authors was very important, just like here.  There were a series of stories about Elijah when King Ahab (874-853 BCE) was king of Israel.  Elijah, commanded by Yahweh, went to a northern town near Sidon, probably a Phoenician town.  He provided a widow and her family with a never-ending jar and jug that provided meal and oil for her and her household until the drought came to an end.  Luke pointed out with a solemn pronouncement (ἐπ’ ἀληθείας δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν) that there were many widows (πολλαὶ χῆραι ἦσαν) at the time of Elijah (ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Ἡλείου), in Israel (ἐν τῷ Ἰσραήλ).  The heavens were closed or shut down (ὅτε ἐκλείσθη ὁ οὐρανὸς) for 3 ½ years (ἐπὶ ἔτη τρία καὶ μῆνας ἕξ).  Thus, there was a great drought across the whole land (ὡς ἐγένετο λιμὸς μέγας ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν).  However, Yahweh sent Elijah to none of the Israelite widows (καὶ πρὸς οὐδεμίαν αὐτῶν ἐπέμφθη Ἡλείας).  Instead Elijah was sent to a widow at Zarephath, in Sidon (εἰ μὴ εἰς Σάρεπτα τῆς Σιδωνίας πρὸς γυναῖκα χήραν).