Mosaic law of taking a dead man’s wife (Lk 20:28-20:28)

“These Sadducees

Asked him a question.

‘Teacher!’

Moses wrote for us

That if a man’s brother dies,

Leaving a wife childless,

The man shall marry

The widow.

He will raise up children

For his brother.’”

 

λέγοντες Διδάσκαλε, Μωϋσῆς ἔγραψεν ἡμῖν, ἐάν τινος ἀδελφὸς ἀποθάνῃ ἔχων γυναῖκα, καὶ οὗτος ἄτεκνος ᾖ, ἵνα λάβῃ ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ ἐξαναστήσῃ σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ.

 

Luke said that these Sadducees asked Jesus a question (λέγοντες), respectfully calling him “Teacher (Διδάσκαλε)!”  They said that Moses wrote for them (Μωϋσῆς ἔγραψεν ἡμῖν) in Deuteronomy, chapter 25:5-10, that if a man’s brother dies (ἐάν τινος ἀδελφὸς ἀποθάνῃ), leaving a wife childless (ἔχων γυναῖκα, καὶ οὗτος ἄτεκνος ᾖ), that man should marry the widow (ἵνα λάβῃ ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα) to raise up children or seed for his brother (καὶ ἐξαναστήσῃ σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ).  Luke was the only Greek biblical writer to use this word ἄτεκνος, that means childless.  Matthew, chapter 22:24, and Mark, chapter 12:19, are almost word for word as here in LukeMark said that these Sadducees addressed Jesus very respectfully as “Teacher (Διδάσκαλε).”  They quoted a Mosaic text that Moses had written for them (Μωϋσῆς ἔγραψεν ἡμῖν),  If a man’s brother should die (ὅτι ἐάν τινος ἀδελφὸς ἀποθάνῃ) leaving behind a wife (καὶ καταλίπῃ γυναῖκα) without any children (καὶ μὴ ἀφῇ τέκνον), his living brother should take his dead brother’s widow as his wife (ἵνα λάβῃ ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα).  He would then raise up the descendant children or seeds for his brother (καὶ ἐξαναστήσῃ σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ).  Matthew indicated that these Sadducees also addressed Jesus very respectfully as “Teacher” or “Rabbi (λέγοντες Διδάσκαλε).”  They quoted a Mosaic text, as Moses said (Μωϋσῆς εἶπεν).  If a man died without any children (Ἐάν τις ἀποθάνῃ μὴ ἔχων τέκνα), his brother should marry the widow (ἐπιγαμβρεύσει ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ).  He would then raise up the descendants for his brother (καὶ ἀναστήσει σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ).  This levirate law goes back as far as Tamar in Genesis, chapter 38:1-30, with the story of Judah’s 3 sons and Tamar, the original wife of Er.  The brother of the deceased was supposed to marry his brother’s widow if he had no sons.  The widow was not to marry outside her family.  It also assumes that the brother lived close by or in the same house as his brother.  There was no indication of whether the brother was married or not, but this seems to assume a younger brother.  This was an attempt to prolong the heritage and name of a person, which was common in ancient times.  The punishment for the brother’s refusal was an insult, rather than any physical punishment.  Would you marry the wife or husband or your dead brother or sister?

Teach us to pray! (Lk 11:1-11:1)

“Jesus was praying

In a certain place.

After he had finished,

One of his disciples

Said to him.

‘Lord!

Teach us

To pray,

As John taught

His disciples.’”

 

Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ εἶναι αὐτὸν ἐν τόπῳ τινὶ προσευχόμενον, ὡς ἐπαύσατο, εἶπέν τις τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ πρὸς αὐτόν Κύριε, δίδαξον ἡμᾶς προσεύχεσθαι, καθὼς καὶ Ἰωάνης ἐδίδαξεν τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ

 

Luke has this unique introduction to the Lord’s Prayer or the Our Father.  Luke said that Jesus was praying (προσευχόμενον) in a certain place (Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ εἶναι αὐτὸν ἐν τόπῳ τινὶ).  After he had finished or ceased praying (ὡς ἐπαύσατο), one of his disciples addressed him as ‘Lord’ (εἶπέν τις τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ πρὸς αὐτόν Κύριε).  Could Jesus teach them how to pray (δίδαξον ἡμᾶς προσεύχεσθαι)?  Afterall, John had taught his disciples to pray (καθὼς καὶ Ἰωάνης ἐδίδαξεν τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ).  After Jesus had finished his usual praying, one of Jesus’ unnamed disciples wanted to know if the Lord could teach them to pray also, like John had done to his disciples.  We do not have any prayers from John.  Nevertheless, some or one of the disciples of Jesus may have been a disciple of John the Baptist, who had taught them how to pray.  Once again, there is a connection with John the Baptist and his disciples and Jesus with his disciples.  When did you learn to pray?

Look at my son (Lk 9:38-9:38)

“Just then,

A man

From the crowd

Shouted out.

‘Teacher!

I beg you

To look at my son!

He is my only child.’”

 

καὶ ἰδοὺ ἀνὴρ ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου ἐβόησεν λέγων Διδάσκαλε, δέομαί σου ἐπιβλέψαι ἐπὶ τὸν υἱόν μου, ὅτι μονογενής μοί ἐστιν,

 

Luke said that just then a man from the crowd shouted out (ἰδοὺ ἀνὴρ ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου ἐβόησεν λέγων) “Teacher (Διδάσκαλε)!”  He begged Jesus to look at his son (δέομαί σου ἐπιβλέψαι ἐπὶ τὸν υἱόν μου) who was his only child (ὅτι μονογενής μοί ἐστιν).  Jesus and Luke had an affection for only children.  This story of the man with the incurable son can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 17:15, Mark, chapter 9:17-18, and here in Luke, but there are minor differences in all 3 accounts.  Mark said that it was someone from the crowd who spoke to Jesus, not a kneeling man as in Matthew.  This man addressed Jesus as “Teacher (Διδάσκαλε),” like Luke, and not as “Lord (Κύριε)” as in Matthew.  He had brought his son to Jesus because his son had a spirit that made him unable to speak.  He was not immediately identified as an epileptic, but as a mute person.  Matthew said that a man approached Jesus and knelt before him.  Only Matthew has this man kneel in front of Jesus.  Thus, this was a kneeling man, not someone from the crowd yelling out to Jesus.  This man addressed Jesus as the Lord (Κύριε).  He wanted Jesus to have mercy on his son, who was an epileptic, not mute.  Epileptics were often considered to be possessed by the devil.  Even today, we are still unsure of the exact cause of epilepsy seizures.  This man’s son suffered very badly.  He often fell into a fire and into water.  Have you ever known a chronically sick child?

Peter was one of them (Mk 14:69-14:69)

“The servant-girl,

On seeing him,

Began again

To say

To the bystanders.

‘This man is

One of them.’”

 

καὶ ἡ παιδίσκη ἰδοῦσα αὐτὸν ἤρξατο πάλιν λέγειν τοῖς παρεστῶσιν ὅτι Οὗτος ἐξ αὐτῶν ἐστιν.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 26:71, Luke, chapter 22:58, and John, chapter 18:25, with some minor changes.  In Mark, it is the same servant-girl rather than a different one as in Matthew.  In John, it was a group of people rather than one individual who addressed Peter.  Mark said that this young servant girl or maid saw Peter again (καὶ ἡ παιδίσκη ἰδοῦσα αὐτὸν).  She then began to say to the bystanders there (ἤρξατο πάλιν λέγειν τοῖς παρεστῶσιν) that this man was one of them with Jesus (Οὗτος ἐξ αὐτῶν ἐστιν).  The message is not to hang around if someone is harassing you.

 

The brother’s wife (Mk 12:19-12:19)

“‘Teacher!

Moses wrote

For us

That if a man’s brother

Dies,

Leaving a wife,

But no child,

The man shall

Marry the widow

And raise up children

For his brother.’”

 

Διδάσκαλε, Μωϋσῆς ἔγραψεν ἡμῖν ὅτι ἐάν τινος ἀδελφὸς ἀποθάνῃ καὶ καταλίπῃ γυναῖκα καὶ μὴ ἀφῇ τέκνον, ἵνα λάβῃ ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ ἐξαναστήσῃ σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ.  

 

Matthew, chapter 22:24, and Luke, chapter 20:28, are almost word for word as here in MarkMark said that these Sadducees addressed Jesus very respectfully as “Teacher (Διδάσκαλε).”  These Sadducees quoted a Mosaic text that Moses had written for them (Μωϋσῆς ἔγραψεν ἡμῖν), from Deuteronomy, chapter 25:5-10.  If a man’s brother should die (ὅτι ἐάν τινος ἀδελφὸς ἀποθάνῃ) leaving behind a wife (καὶ καταλίπῃ γυναῖκα) without any children (καὶ μὴ ἀφῇ τέκνον), his living brother should take his dead brother’s widow as his wife (ἵνα λάβῃ ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα).  He would then raise up the descendant children or seeds for his brother (καὶ ἐξαναστήσῃ σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ).  This levirate law goes back as far as Tamar in Genesis, chapter 38:1-30, with the story of Judah’s 3 sons and Tamar, the original wife of Er.  The brother of the deceased was supposed to marry his brother’s widow if he had no sons.  The widow was not to marry outside her family.  It also assumes that the brother lived close by or in the same house as his brother.  There was no indication of whether the brother was married or not, but this seems to assume a younger brother.  This was an attempt to prolong the heritage and name of a person, which was common in ancient times.  The punishment for the brother’s refusal was an insult rather than any physical punishment.

The voice from heaven (Mk 1:11-1:11)

“A voice

Came from heaven.

‘You are my Son!

The Beloved one!

With you

I am well pleased.’”

 

καὶ φωνὴ ἐγένετο ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν Σὺ εἶ ὁ Υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, ἐν σοὶ εὐδόκησα.

 

This voice from the heavens addressed Jesus personally, as in Luke, chapter 3:22.  However, in Matthew, chapter 3:17, the voice was not directed at Jesus, while John had no mention of a voice from heaven.  Mark said that a voice came from the heavens (καὶ φωνὴ ἐγένετο ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν) that said that Jesus was his beloved son (Σὺ εἶ ὁ Υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός) with whom he was well pleased (ἐν σοὶ εὐδόκησα).  The idea of a heavenly voice had a very strong tradition in the Jewish writings of the Hebrew Bible, especially among the prophets.  The gospel writers did not clarify whether others saw or heard these things.  In fact, this saying and incident after the baptism of Jesus might have been the basis for a Subordinationschristologie that Jesus the Son was somehow subordinate to the Father.  According to this adoption theory, God the Father had to send his Spirit to anoint and empower Jesus in this concrete event, before he could begin his public ministry.  This adoptionist theory, and the Christological disputes of the later 4th century CE, led to the diminution of this baptismal event within later patristic and medieval theological circles.  Nevertheless, the baptism of Jesus has become the starting point for any theological reflection about early Christian initiation practices.  It is not clear whether all the primitive Christian communities linked the baptism of Jesus with the baptism of the new followers of Christ, despite the fact that many post-apostolic Christians did so.

 

The second denial (Mt 26:71-26:72)

“When he went out

To the porch,

Another servant girl

Saw him.

She said

To the bystanders.

‘This man was

With Jesus of Nazareth.’

Again,

He denied it

With an oath.

‘I do not know

The man.’”

 

ἐξελθόντα δὲ εἰς τὸν πυλῶνα εἶδεν αὐτὸν ἄλλη καὶ λέγει τοῖς ἐκεῖ Οὗτος ἦν μετὰ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ Ναζωραίου.

καὶ πάλιν ἠρνήσατο μετὰ ὅρκου ὅτι Οὐκ οἶδα τὸν ἄνθρωπον.

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 14:69-70, Luke, chapter 22:58, and John, chapter 18:25, with some minor changes, as all 4 gospels have this 2nd denial of Peter.  In Mark, it is the same servant-girl rather than a different one.  In John, it was a group of people rather than one individual who addressed Peter.  Matthew said that Peter went out to the porch area of the courtyard (ἐξελθόντα δὲ εἰς τὸν πυλῶνα).  Another young servant girl or maid saw him (εἶδεν αὐτὸν ἄλλη).  She then said to the bystanders there (καὶ λέγει τοῖς ἐκεῖ) that this man was with Jesus of Nazareth (Οὗτος ἦν μετὰ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ Ναζωραίου).  Again, Peter denied it with an oath (καὶ πάλιν ἠρνήσατο μετὰ ὅρκου).  He said that he did not know this man (ὅτι Οὐκ οἶδα τὸν ἄνθρωπον).  Peter, the great defender of Jesus, again denied him in public with a solemn oath for a 2nd time, something he said that he would never do.  Jesus had warned them about swearing oaths in chapter 5:33-37.