The governor was going to release one prisoner (Mt 27:15-27:15)

“Now at the festival time,

The governor

Was accustomed

To release

A prisoner

To the crowd,

Anyone whom they wanted.”

 

Κατὰ δὲ ἑορτὴν εἰώθει ὁ ἡγεμὼν ἀπολύειν ἕνα τῷ ὄχλῳ δέσμιον ὃν ἤθελον

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 15:6.  In John, chapter 18:39, there is something similar about the custom of releasing prisoners, but there is nothing in Luke about this custom.  Matthew and Mark said that at the festival time, the Roman governor had the custom (Κατὰ δὲ ἑορτὴν εἰώθει ὁ ἡγεμὼν) to release one of the many prisoners to the crowd (ἀπολύειν ἕνα τῷ ὄχλῳ δέσμιον), usually it was not a criminal facing the death penalty.  This crowd could pick anyone that they wanted (ὃν ἤθελον), so that this kept the local folks happy.

The life and curriculum of the young students (Dan 1:5-1:5)

“The king

Assigned them

A daily portion

Of the royal rations

Of food,

As well as wine.

They were to be educated

For three years.

At the end

Of that time,

They could be stationed

In the king’s court.”

This was the common near eastern practice to give young men 3 years to learn how to be a court page. While they were learning, they were able to eat and drink what the royal family was having. Thus, they would become accustomed to the royal habits.

The reading of the book (Bar 1:3-1:4)

“Baruch read

The words

Of this book

To King Jeconiah,

The son of King Jehoiakim,

King of Judah.

He read it

To all the people

Who came

To hear the book.

He read it

To the nobles,

To the princes,

To the elders,

To all the people,

Small and great,

All who lived

In Babylon

By the river Sud.”

Baruch was accustomed to reading aloud as he had done in Jeremiah, chapter 36. Here he is reading his book to King Jeconiah (598 BCE) in exile in 582 BCE, and not King Zedekiah (598-587 BCE). King Jeconiah was also known as King Coniah or King Jehoiachin, who ruled for less than a year after the death of his father King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE). As in Jeremiah, Baruch read this book publically to anyone who wanted to hear it. He also read it to all the important people in Babylon that included the nobles, the princes, and the elders, those great and small. There was no mention of the Babylonian king here. As for the Sud River, no one seems to know where that was.

The scattering of the evil ones (Jer 13:22-13:24)

“If you say in your heart,

‘Why have these things

Come upon me?’

It is for the greatness

Of your iniquity.

Thus your skirts are lifted up.

You are violated.

Can Ethiopians change their skin?

Can leopards change their spots?

You!

Can you do good

Since you are so accustomed to do evil?

I will scatter you

Like chaff driven by the wind

From the desert.’”

Yahweh was concerned that they did not realize what was going to happen to them. Was it their iniquity that led them to this point? Yes, they would be ashamed, because their skirts would be lifted up, as they will be sexually violated. The problem is that they cannot change their ways. Just like the Ethiopians with their dark skin cannot change their skin color, so neither can a leopard change its spots. They had become so accustomed to evil that they could not do any good things anymore. Thus Yahweh will scatter them like useless chaff with a strong desert wind.

The heat (Sir 43:21-43:22)

“The Lord consumes

The mountains.

He burns up

The wilderness.

He withers

The tender grass

Like fire.

A mist quickly

Heals all things.

The falling dew

Gives refreshment

From the heat.”

On the opposite end, the Lord sends heat that burns up the mountains, the wilderness, and the tender grass, almost like a fire. However, the Lord sends a mist or falling dew that gives refreshment from this heat. This middle eastern area was well accustomed to extreme heat. Clearly this is a theocratic sense of the weather and the environment, as God controlled everything.

Careful speech (Sir 23:12-23:15)

“There is a manner of speaking

Comparable to death.

May it never be found

In the inheritance of Jacob.

Such conduct will be far

From the godly.

They will not wallow in sins.

Do not accustom your mouth

To coarse foul language.

This involves sinful speech.

Remember your father!

Remember your mother!

Remember them

When you sit among the great ones!

Otherwise you might forget yourself

In their presence.

You might behave

Like a fool

Through bad habit.

Then you will wish

That you had never been born.

You will curse the day of your birth.

Whoever is accustomed

To use abusive language

Will never become disciplined

As long as they live.”

Sirach warns against the manner of speaking that brings death. This could be blasphemy or some profane sinful language that should never appear among the descendants of Jacob. Notice that is Jacob and not Israel. You should watch your language and not wallow in sin, since this is ungodly. Do not get accustomed to using coarse foul vulgar language. You should remember your parents whenever you are with great people. Otherwise, you might behave like a fool with bad habits. If you do, you will wish that you were never born. You will curse the day of your birth. If you get accustomed to using abusive language, you will never be disciplined in your life, no matter how long you live.

Swearing oaths (Sir 23:9-23:11)

“Do not accustom your mouth

To oaths!

Do not habitually utter

The name of the Holy One!

As a servant,

Who is constantly under scrutiny,

Will not lack bruises,

So also the person

Who always swears,

Who utters the Name of God,

Will never be cleansed from sin.

Whoever swears many oaths

Is full of iniquity.

The scourge will not leave his house.

If he swears in error,

His sin remains on him.

If he disregards it,

He sins doubly.

If he swears a false oath,

He will not be justified.

His house will be filled

With calamities.”

Sirach does not want us to get accustomed to swearing oaths to the Most Holy One. If you swear too much, you are a like a servant under constant scrutiny who gets bruised by his master. So too, anyone who swears by the Name of God will never be cleansed from their sins. If you are always swearing to God for this or that, you will be full on iniquity, since the scourge will never leave your house. You can actually sin by swearing in error. Then you can double you sin by not fulfilling the false oath that you swore. You will never be justified since your house will be filled with calamities.