Angels will protect you (Lk 4:11-4:11)

“‘On their hands,

They will bear you up.

Thus,

You will not dash

Your foot

Against a stone.’”

 

καὶ ὅτι ἐπὶ χειρῶν ἀροῦσίν σε μή ποτε προσκόψῃς πρὸς λίθον τὸν πόδα σου.

 

Luke is very similar to Matthew, chapter 4:6.  Once again, the devil had said that if Jesus was truly the Son of God, he could throw himself down.  Then God’s angels would catch him.  Luke indicated that the devil, citing Psalm 91:11-12, said that God would command these angels to protect him.  With their hands, they would bear him up (καὶ ὅτι ἐπὶ χειρῶν ἀροῦσίν σε), as if angels had hands.  Thus, he would not dash or strike his foot against a stone (μή ποτε προσκόψῃς πρὸς λίθον τὸν πόδα σου).  These angels would catch him in their hands so that his feet would never touch the ground.  Yahweh, in this original psalm was going to send his angels to protect the good ones, so that they would never stub their feet on any stones.

The stone with an inscription (Zech 3:9-3:10)

“‘I will engrave

Its inscription.

On the stone

That I have set

Before Joshua,

On a single stone

With seven facets.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘I will remove

The guilt of this land

In a single day.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘On that day,

You shall invite each other

To come

Under your vine,

Under your fig tree.’”

Yahweh was going to set up a stone with a single inscription on it but with 7 facets or 7 eyes.  Was this the priesthood of the new Temple?  Yahweh was going to take away the guilt of their land in a single day.  On that day, everyone would sit around talking to their friends and neighbors under their cultivated vines and fig trees.

The destruction of the statue (Dan 2:34-2:35)

“As you looked on,

A stone was cut out,

Not by human hands.

It struck the statue

On its feet

Of iron and clay.

It broke them

Into pieces.

Then the iron,

The clay,

The bronze,

The silver,

The gold,

Were all broken

Into pieces.

They became

Like the chaff

Of the summer threshing floors.

The wind

Carried them away.

Thus,

Not a trace of them

Could be found.

But the stone

That struck the statue

Became a great mountain.

It filled

The whole earth.”

Daniel explained that the statue of the king’s dream was destroyed. Somehow, a stone was cut out of a mountain. Then, this cut rock struck the iron and clay feet of this statue, but with no one with hands directing this rock. Thus, the feet of this statue were broken into pieces. Then the rest of the statue with its iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold also broke into pieces. These small pieces of the statue became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors, blowing in the wind. No one would ever be able to find them. However, the cut rock that struck the feet of the statue became like a big mountain covering the whole earth.

The book of Jeremiah in the Euphrates River (Jer 51:63-51:64)

“When you finish

Reading this scroll,

Tie a stone to it.

Throw it into

The middle

Of the Euphrates River.

Say.

‘Thus shall Babylon sink.

It will rise no more,

because of the disasters

That I am bringing on her.’”

When Seraiah had finished reading the scroll, he was to tie a stone to it and throw it into the middle of the Euphrates River. This symbolic act was to show that just as the words in this scroll sank with the stone, so would Babylon sink also. It would never rise again, because of all the disasters that Yahweh was going to bring to Babylon. Thus we have another example of biblical writings and how they were used.

The shame of Israel (Jer 2:26-2:28)

“As a thief is shamed when caught,

So the house of Israel shall be shamed.

Their kings shall be shamed.

Their princes shall be shamed.

Their priests shall be shamed.

Their prophets shall be shamed.

Who says to a tree?

‘You are my father.’

Who says to a stone?

‘You gave me birth.’

They have turned their backs to me.

They have not turned their faces to me.

But in the time of their trouble,

They say.

‘Arise!

Save us!’

But where are your gods

That you made for yourself?

Let them come!

See if they can save you

In your time of trouble.

You have as many gods

As you have towns!

O Judah!”

Jeremiah says that the house of Israel should be shamed like a thief who gets caught. This shame includes their kings, officials, priests, and prophets. Think of this, these people were saying to a tree, you are my father. They were saying to a stone that they were born from a stone. They turned their backs on Yahweh, since they would not show their face to him. However, whenever there was a problem, they would come running to Yahweh, asking him to come and save them. Where were their gods that they had made? Let them come and save them. However, they had as many gods as there were towns. Each town in Judah had their own little god image for protection.

Almsgiving (Sir 29:8-29:13)

“Be patient with someone

In humble circumstances.

Do not keep him waiting

For your alms.

Help the poor man

For the commandment’s sake.

In their need,

Do not send them away

Empty-handed.

Lose your silver

For the sake of a brother.

Lose your silver

For the sake of a friend.

Do not let your silver rust

Under a stone.

Do not let your silver be lost.

Lay up your treasure

According to the commandments

Of the Most High.

It will profit you

More than gold.

Store up almsgiving

In your treasury.

It will rescue you

From every disaster.

Better than a stout shield,

Better than a sturdy spear,

It will fight for you

Against the enemy.”

You should be patient with people in humble poor circumstances. You should not make them wait for your almsgiving gift. You are only following the commandments when you give to the poor. You should not send the needy away empty-handed. You should give your silver to a brother or a friend. Do not let your silver rust or get lost under a stone. Circulate money. Your treasure should be in the commandments of the Most High God that are more profitable than gold. Your treasury should be filled with almsgiving, so that it can rescue you from any disaster that might come your way. Almsgiving is better than a strong shield or spear in the fight against your enemy.

Paradoxes (Sir 27:25-27:27)

Whoever throws a stone straight up

Throws it on his own head.

A treacherous blow

Opens up many wounds.

Whoever digs a pit

Will fall into it.

Whoever sets a snare

Will be caught in it.

If a person does evil,

It will roll back upon him.

He will not know

Where it came from.”

Sirach then has a series of paradoxes. If you throw a stone straight up in the air, it will land on your head. A treacherous blow opens many wounds. If you dig a pit, you will fall into it. If you set a snare, you will be caught in it. Whenever you do evil, it will roll back on you. However, you will have no idea where it came from.