The prophet (Mk 8:28-8:28)

“They answered him.

‘John the Baptist!’

Others say.

‘Elijah!’

Still others.

‘One of the prophets.’”

 

οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτῷ λέγοντες ὅτι Ἰωάνην τὸν Βαπτιστήν, καὶ ἄλλοι Ἡλείαν, ἄλλοι δὲ ὅτι εἷς τῶν προφητῶν.

 

This same response can be found in Matthew, chapter 16:14, and Luke, chapter 9:19, but there are slight differences.  Matthew is the only one who explicitly mentioned Jeremiah, who was a Judean prophet active from 626 BCE to 587 BCE, around the time of the destruction of the Temple.  Mark and Luke only had the more generic term of one of the prophets, rather than any individual prophet.  Mark said that the disciples responded to him (οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτῷ λέγοντες) that some people said he was John the Baptist (ὅτι Ἰωάνην τὸν Βαπτιστήν).  Others said Elijah (καὶ ἄλλοι δὲ Ἡλείαν).  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 (ἄλλοι δὲ ὅτι εἷς τῶν προφητῶν).  No one called him the Messiah or Christ.

Jesus and Elijah (Mk 6:15-6:15)

But others said.

‘He is Elijah.’

Still others said.

‘He is a prophet,

Like one of the prophets.”

 

ἄλλοι δὲ ἔλεγον ὅτι Ἡλείας ἐστίν· ἄλλοι δὲ ἔλεγον ὅτι προφήτης ὡς εἷς τῶν προφητῶν.

 

There is nothing like this in Matthew, but in Luke, chapter 9:8, there is something similar, almost word for word.  But others said (ἄλλοι δὲ ἔλεγον) that Jesus was Elijah (ὅτι Ἡλείας ἐστίν).  Still others said (ἄλλοι δὲ ἔλεγον) that he was a prophet, like the former prophets (ὅτι προφήτης ὡς εἷς τῶν προφητῶν).  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 the Old Testament who brought the word of Yahweh to his people.

Jesus cures the young girl (Mk 5:41-5:43)

“Jesus took her

By the hand.

He said to her.

‘Talitha cum!’

Which means,

‘Little girl!

Get up!’

Immediately,

The girl got up.

She began to walk.

She was twelve years of age.

At this,

They were overcome

With amazement.”

 

καὶ κρατήσας τῆς χειρὸς τοῦ παιδίου λέγει αὐτῇ Ταλιθὰ κούμ, ὅ ἐστιν μεθερμηνευόμενον Τὸ κοράσιον, σοὶ λέγω, ἔγειρε.

καὶ εὐθὺς ἀνέστη τὸ κοράσιον καὶ περιεπάτει· ἦν γὰρ ἐτῶν δώδεκα. καὶ ἐξέστησαν εὐθὺς ἐκστάσει μεγάλῃ.

 

This curing of the girl is similar to what can be found in Matthew, chapter 9:25, and Luke, chapter 8:54-55.  However, only Mark went into more detail by using Aramaic words to cure her.  Mark said that Jesus took her by the hand (καὶ κρατήσας τῆς χειρὸς τοῦ παιδίου).  He then said to her (λέγει αὐτῇ), “Talitha cum (Ταλιθὰ κούμ)!” that translated means (ὅ ἐστιν μεθερμηνευόμενον) “Little girl (Τὸ κοράσιον)! Get up or arise (σοὶ λέγω, ἔγειρε)!”  Immediately (καὶ εὐθὺς), the girl arose or got up (ἀνέστη τὸ κοράσιον).  She began to walk (καὶ περιεπάτει).  She was 12 years old (ἦν γὰρ ἐτῶν δώδεκα), the same number of years that the lady suffered from the blood flow.  At this, the crowds were immediately overcome with great amazement (καὶ ἐξέστησαν εὐθὺς ἐκστάσει μεγάλῃ).  This is somewhat like the prophet Elijah who brought a child back to life in 1 Kings, chapter 17:17-24.  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.

Temptations in the wilderness (Mk 1:13-1:13)

“Jesus was

In the wilderness

Forty days.

He was

Tempted by Satan.

He was

With the wild beasts.

The angels

Ministered to him.”

 

καὶ ἦν ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ τεσσεράκοντα ἡμέρας πειραζόμενος ὑπὸ τοῦ Σατανᾶ, καὶ ἦν μετὰ τῶν θηρίων, καὶ οἱ ἄγγελοι διηκόνουν αὐτῷ.

 

Mark has an abbreviated description of the temptations of Jesus compared to Matthew, chapter 4:2-11, and Luke, chapter 4:2-13.  Jesus was in the wilderness 40 days (καὶ ἦν ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ τεσσεράκοντα ἡμέρας).  All 3 synoptics agree on the 40 days, since there was a symbolism to this number with the 40 years that the Israelites were in the wilderness during the Exodus.  All agree that Jesus was tempted by Satan or the devil (πειραζόμενος ὑπὸ τοῦ Σατανᾶ).  Satan was the adversary or the accuser after the Persian influence on the Israelites after the exile.  The older devil concept was considered a fallen angel without all the powers of God, but nevertheless very strong.  Sometimes the devil was referred to as the personification of evil.  Why was Jesus tempted?  God, the Father, Yahweh, often tested the righteous ones and the prophets in the Hebrew Bible.  Luke and Matthew are very similar with their detailed account of these 3 temptations.  Mark does not mention Jesus fasting or any of the 3 specific detailed temptations that are in Luke and Matthew.  Jesus was with the wild beasts (καὶ ἦν μετὰ τῶν θηρίων), but this remark was not found in the longer detailed descriptions of Matthew and Luke, only here.  Mark makes it seem like the temptation was physical or like the fear of wild animals.  Then the angels ministered to him (καὶ οἱ ἄγγελοι διηκόνουν αὐτῷ).  This is somewhat similar to Matthew, chapter 4:11, but there were no angels ministering to Jesus in Luke, chapter 4:13.  Here, a number of angels came, as in 1 Kings, chapter 19:4-8, where an angel came to help Elijah when he was in the desert, as the shadow of Elijah appeared in many of these gospel stories.  These angels came to wait on and care for Jesus.

The response of the disciples (Mt 16:14-16:14)

“They said.

‘Some say

John the Baptist!

But others say

Elijah!

Still others say

Jeremiah!

Or others say

One of the prophets!’”

 

οἱ δὲ εἶπαν Οἱ μὲν Ἰωάνην τὸν Βαπτιστήν, ἄλλοι δὲ Ἡλείαν, ἕτεροι δὲ Ἱερεμίαν ἢ ἕνα τῶν προφητῶν.

 

This same response can be found in Mark, chapter 8:28, and Luke, chapter 9:19, but there are slight differences.  Matthew is the only one who explicitly mention Jeremiah, who was a Judean prophet active from 626 BCE to 587 BCE, around the time of the destruction of the Temple.  You can find out more about him in the Book of Jeremiah, one of the 3 major prophetic books of the Old Testament.  Mark and Luke only had the more generic as here, “one of the prophets.”  The disciples responded (οἱ δὲ εἶπαν) that some people said John the Baptist (Οἱ μὲν Ἰωάνην τὸν Βαπτιστήν) was the Son of Man.  Others said Elijah (ἄλλοι δὲ Ἡλείαν) was the Son of Man.  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.  Still others said that Jeremiah (ἕτεροι δὲ Ἱερεμίαν) was the Son of Man.  Finally, other people said that one of the many prophets (ἢ ἕνα τῶν προφητῶν) was the Son of Man.  No one mentioned Jesus.

 

The Queen of Sheba (Mt 12:42-12:42)

“The Queen of the South

Will rise up

At the judgment

With this generation.

She will condemn it.

Because she came

From the ends of the earth

To listen

To the wisdom of Solomon.

See!

Something greater

Than Solomon is here.”

 

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

 

This saying about the Queen of Sheba can also be found in Luke, chapter 11:31, so that perhaps this is a Q source.  However, in Luke, it preceded the comments about the men of Nineveh.  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.  Here she is called the Queen of the South (βασίλισσα νότου).  She would rise up at the judgment time against this generation (ἐγερθήσεται ἐν τῇ κρίσει μετὰ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης).  Just like the men of Nineveh, she would condemn them (καὶ κατακρινοῦσιν αὐτήν).  She had come from the ends of the earth (ὅτι ἦλθεν ἐκ τῶν περάτων τῆς γῆς) to hear the wisdom of Solomon (ἀκοῦσαι τὴν σοφίαν Σολομῶνος).  Now, Matthew reminded them that something or someone greater than King Solomon was there among them (καὶ ἰδοὺ πλεῖον Σολομῶνος ὧδε), Jesus himself.

Curing the girl (Mt 9:25-9:26)

“When the crowd

Had been put outside,

Jesus went in.

He took her

By the hand.

Then the girl got up.

The report of this

Spread throughout

That district”

 

ὅτε δὲ ἐξεβλήθη ὁ ὄχλος, εἰσελθὼν ἐκράτησεν τῆς χειρὸς αὐτῆς, καὶ ἠγέρθη τὸ κοράσιον.

καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ἡ φήμη αὕτη εἰς ὅλην τὴν γῆν ἐκείνην.

 

This curing of the girl is similar to what can be found in Mark, chapter 5:41-42, and Luke, chapter 8:54-55.  However, here the story is very succinct and the news spread quickly.  Jesus had the crowds put outside (ὅτε δὲ ἐξεβλήθη ὁ ὄχλος).  Then he went into (εἰσελθὼν) where the dead girl was.  He took her by the hand (ἐκράτησεν τῆς χειρὸς αὐτῆς).  Then this girl got up (καὶ ἠγέρθη τὸ κοράσιον).  This is somewhat like the prophet Elijah who brought a child back to life in 1 Kings, chapter 17:17-24.  The news of this event spread all over this land or district (καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ἡ φήμη αὕτη εἰς ὅλην τὴν γῆν ἐκείνην).  There was no attempt here to keep it quiet.

Solomon and field grass (Mt 6:29-6:30)

“Yet I tell you!

‘Even Solomon,

In all his glory,

Was not clothed

Like one of these.

But if God clothes

The grass of the field,

Which is alive today,

But tomorrow is thrown

Into the oven,

Will he not much more

Clothe you?

You of little faith!’”

 

λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν ὅτι οὐδὲ Σολομὼν ἐν πάσῃ τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ περιεβάλετο ὡς ἓν τούτων.

εἰ δὲ τὸν χόρτον τοῦ ἀγροῦ σήμερον ὄντα καὶ αὔριον εἰς κλίβανον βαλλόμενον ὁ Θεὸς οὕτως ἀμφιέννυσιν, οὐ πολλῷ μᾶλλον ὑμᾶς, ὀλιγόπιστοι;

 

Once again, Luke, chapter 12:27-28, has a similar Jesus saying, almost word for word, indicating a common Q source.  Matthew has 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.  God, and not the Father, clothes the field grass that is here today (εἰ δὲ τὸν χόρτον τοῦ ἀγροῦ σήμερον ὄντα) and gone tomorrow by being thrown into the furnace or oven (καὶ αὔριον εἰς κλίβανον βαλλόμενον).  This use of “κλίβανον,” oven or furnace, is unique to Matthew and Luke here.  Would God, not the Father, not take care of their clothing needs (ὁ Θεὸς οὕτως ἀμφιέννυσιν, οὐ πολλῷ μᾶλλον)?  Obviously, they were men of little faith (ὀλιγόπιστοι).  This word about little faith was a favorite term for Matthew, since he used it 5 times more, with only the Luke parallel here the only other usage in the New Testament.

The devil leaves (Mt 4:11-4:11)

“Then the devil left him.

Suddenly,

Angels came.

They waited

On Jesus.”

 

Τότε ἀφίησιν αὐτὸν ὁ διάβολος, καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄγγελοι προσῆλθον καὶ διηκόνουν αὐτῷ.

 

This ending is not quite the same as in Luke, chapter 4:13, where there were no angels. The show is over. The devil left Jesus (Τότε ἀφίησιν αὐτὸν ὁ διάβολος). He had failed to convince Jesus in any of these temptations. Jesus had passed his first test. As the devil left him, a number of angels came, as in 1 Kings, chapter 19:4-8, where an angel came to help Elijah when he was in the desert. The shadow of Elijah appears in many of the gospel stories. These angels came to wait on and care for Jesus (καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄγγελοι προσῆλθον καὶ διηκόνουν αὐτῷ). Score one for the good guys.

The kings of Judah up to the Babylonian captivity (Mt 1:8-1:11)

“Joram was

The father of Uzziah.

Uzziah was

The father of Jotham.

Jotham was

The father of Ahaz.

Ahaz was

The father of Hezekiah.

Hezekiah was

The father of Manasseh.

Manasseh was

The father of Amos.

Amos was

The father of Josiah.

Josiah was

The father of Jechoniah

And his brothers,

At the time of the deportation

To Babylon.”

 

Ἰωρὰμ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ὀζείαν, Ὀζείας δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰωαθάμ, Ἰωαθὰμ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἄχαζ, Ἄχαζ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἐζεκίαν, Ἐζεκίας δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Μανασσῆ, Μανασσῆς δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἀμώς, Ἀμὼς δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰωσείαν, Ἰωσείας δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰεχονίαν καὶ τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τῆς μετοικεσίας Βαβυλῶνος.

 

The chronology of the Judean kings, as found in 1 and 2 Kings, and 1 Chronicles, chapter 3, picks up with Amaziah’s son, Azariah (Ὀζείαν) or Uzziah who ruled from about 781-740 BCE.  However, here it says that Joram (Ἰωρὰμ) was his father when Joram was the father of Ahaziah.  Uzziah had a son named Jotham (Ἰωαθάμ) who ruled from about 740-736 BCE.  His son Ahaz (Ἄχαζ) ruled from about 736-716 BCE.  His son Hezekiah (Ἐζεκίαν) ruled from about 716-687 BCE.  His son Manasseh (Μανασσῆ) ruled from about 687-642 BCE.  His son Amon or Amos (Ἀμώς) ruled from about 642-640 BCE.  His son Josiah (Ἰωσείαν) ruled from about 640-609 BCE.  Many of Josiah’s sons would rule Judah.  His son Johanan, Jehoahaz or Shallum ruled for just one year about 609 BCE.  His brother (τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς), Josiah’s son Jehoiakim or Eliakim ruled from 609-598 BCE.  His son Jehoiachin, Coniah or Jeconiah (Ἰεχονίαν) ruled for less than a year about 598 BCE.  Zedekiah or Mattaniah, brother of Jehoiakim and son of Josiah, ruled from about 598-587 BCE until the beginning of the Babylonian captivity (ἐπὶ τῆς μετοικεσίας Βαβυλῶνος).  The Greek text used the term “begat” (ἐγέννησεν) to represent the relationships between these 8 men.  However, it seems perfectly acceptable to simply call them the father instead of saying “fathered them.”