Herod wants to kill Jesus (Lk 13:31-13:31)

“At that very hour.

Some Pharisees came

Near to Jesus.

They said to him.

‘Get away from here!

Herod wants

To kill you.’”

 

Ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ προσῆλθάν τινες Φαρισαῖοι λέγοντες αὐτῷ Ἔξελθε καὶ πορεύου ἐντεῦθεν, ὅτι Ἡρῴδης θέλει σε ἀποκτεῖναι.

 

Luke uniquely indicated that at that very hour (Ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ), some certain Pharisees came near to Jesus (προσῆλθάν τινες Φαρισαῖοι).  They told him (λέγοντες αὐτῷ) to get away from there (Ἔξελθε καὶ πορεύου ἐντεῦθεν) because Herod wanted to kill him (ὅτι Ἡρῴδης θέλει σε ἀποκτεῖναι).  Oddly enough, one of Jesus’ most bitter opponents, these Pharisees, came to Jesus to warn him that the tetrarch Herod Antipas wanted to kill Jesus.  However, in Luke, Jesus ate at the home of a Pharisees on at least 3 occasions.  Somehow these Pharisees had access to Herod, the Roman educated son of Herod the Great, who was the ruler or tetrarch of Galilee and Perea from 4 BCE-39 CE.  As a client ruler, he was part of the Roman Empire.  Thus, he built and named the capital city of Galilee, Tiberias, since the Roman Emperor Tiberius (14-37 CE) was his favorite emperor.  He is sometimes referred to as a king.  Have some of your enemies helped you at some time?

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Possessions (Lk 12:15-12:15)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Take care!

Be on your guard

Against all kinds of greed!

One’s life

Does not consist

In the abundance

Of possessions.’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτούς Ὁρᾶτε καὶ φυλάσσεσθε ἀπὸ πάσης πλεονεξίας, ὅτι οὐκ ἐν τῷ περισσεύειν τινὶ ἡ ζωὴ αὐτοῦ ἐστιν ἐκ τῶν ὑπαρχόντων αὐτῷ.

 

Luke had another unique saying of Jesus about worldly possessions.  Jesus said to them (εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτούς) to take care (Ὁρᾶτε) and guard against all kinds of greed (καὶ φυλάσσεσθε ἀπὸ πάσης πλεονεξίας).  Their life did not consist of merely an abundance of possessions (ὅτι οὐκ ἐν τῷ περισσεύειν τινὶ ἡ ζωὴ αὐτοῦ ἐστιν ἐκ τῶν ὑπαρχόντων αὐτῷ).  Jesus warned them about a life of greed that was only measured by how many things they owned.  This is a particularly good message for a highly technological society where access to wealth is reasonably easy.  Do you judge your life by where you live and what you own?

Medieval approach to the Bible

The Vulgate Bible (382-384 CE) was the inspired true word of God in an incomprehensible Latin, the language of the educated people.  The biblical texts appeared in scarce manuscript form in the Middle Ages.  Few people had access to read the Bible, because most were illiterate.  Most people were content to glean the Bible stories from paintings, stain glass windows, passion plays, and preaching.  There was never any question as to its interpretation since the educated Church leaders, who had studied the Bible, pronounced what the correct traditional understanding of the Bible was.

Walk in the ways of Yahweh (Zech 3:6-3:7)

“Then the angel of Yahweh

Assured Joshua.

‘Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

If you will walk

In my ways,

If you keep my requirements,

Then you shall rule

My house.

You will have charge

Of my courts.

I will give you

The right of access

Among those who are standing here.’”

Then the angel of Yahweh reassured Joshua, the high priest.  The angel said that Yahweh of hosts had said that he would be in charge of the courts and have access to the Temple courts, if he walked in the ways of Yahweh.  If he kept all his requirements and commandments, he would rule the house of Yahweh, the Temple.  Thus, Joshua was reestablished as the actual high priest of the new Temple, but he would have to follow all of Yahweh’s commands.

The intervention of the high priest Alcimus (2 Macc 14:3-14:5)

“A certain Alcimus, who had formerly been high priest but had willfully defiled himself in the times of separation, realized that there was no way for him to be safe or to have access again to the holy altar. He then went to King Demetrius in about the one hundred and fifty-first year, presenting to him a crown of gold and a palm. Besides these things he presented some of the customary olive branches from the temple. During that day he kept quiet. However, he found an opportunity that furthered his mad purpose when he was invited by Demetrius to a meeting of the council. He was asked about the attitude and intentions of the Jews.”

Once again, this is similar to 1 Maccabees, chapter 7. There it was King Demetrius I who made Alcimus the high priest from 162-159 BCE. This Alcimus was also the leader of the renegades in 1 Maccabees. Here he already is the high priest since Menelaus had preceded him as the high priest in Jerusalem before his death in 162 BCE. He had presented the new king with gold and palm branches as well as olive branches from the Temple. He had been quiet during the day, but then he was invited to a meeting with King Demetrius I and his council who wanted to know about the attitude and intentions of the Jews.

The battle at Carnaim with Timothy (2 Macc 12:17-12:23)

“When they had gone ninety-five miles from there, they came to Charax, to the Jews who are called Toubiani. They did not find Timothy in that region, for he had by then left there without accomplishing anything. Although in one place, he had left a very strong garrison. Dositheus and Sosipater, who were the captains under Judas Maccabeus, marched out. They destroyed those whom Timothy had left in the stronghold, more than ten thousand men. However, Judas Maccabeus arranged his army in divisions as he set men in command of these divisions. He hastened after Timothy, who had with him one hundred twenty thousand infantry and two thousand five hundred cavalry. When Timothy learned of the approach of Judas Maccabeus, he sent off the women and the children with the baggage to a place called Carnaim that was hard to besiege. It was difficult to access because of the narrowness of all its approaches. But when Judas Maccabeus’ first division appeared, terror and fear came over the enemy at the manifestation to them of him, who sees all things. They rushed headlong in every direction, so that often they were injured by their own men and pierced by the points of their own swords. Judas Maccabeus pressed the pursuit with the utmost vigor. He put the sinners to the sword. He destroyed as many as thirty thousand men.”

Once again, this is similar to the battles in Gilead in 1 Maccabees, chapter 5. Charax might be present day Kuwait. Apparently they were looking for the elusive Timothy, who had already died in chapter 10 of this book. Dositheus and Sosipater were the captains of Judas Maccabeus on the east side of the Jordan River. They had already destroyed 10,000 of Timothy’s men. However, he had an enormous amount of troops, 125,000 infantry and 2,500 cavalry. Yet he was afraid of Judas Maccabeus. He sent all the women and children with the baggage to Carnaim, because it would be difficult to besiege that place due to its narrow approaches. As usual, the men of Judas Maccabeus pressed after the men of Timothy. Those men were so afraid of the God of Judas Maccabeus and his men that they ran in every which way so that they injured their own troops with their own swords. Nevertheless, Judas Maccabeus and his troops killed 30,000 men. These numbers are enormous here.