One hundred sheep (Lk 15:4-15:4)

“Which one of you

Having a hundred sheep,

And losing

One of them,

Does not leave

The ninety-nine

In the wilderness?

You would

Go after the one

That was lost,

Until you found it.”

 

Τίς ἄνθρωπος ἐξ ὑμῶν ἔχων ἑκατὸν πρόβατα καὶ ἀπολέσας ἐξ αὐτῶν ἓν οὐ καταλείπει τὰ ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ καὶ πορεύεται ἐπὶ τὸ ἀπολωλὸς ἕως εὕρῃ αὐτό;

 

Luke indicated that Jesus questioned them whether anyone of them (Τίς ἄνθρωπος ἐξ ὑμῶν) who had 100 sheep (ἔχων ἑκατὸν πρόβατα), but lost one of them (καὶ ἀπολέσας ἐξ αὐτῶν ἓν), would then not leave the 99 in the open field wilderness (οὐ καταλείπει τὰ ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ)?  He would go after the one that was lost (καὶ πορεύεται ἐπὶ τὸ ἀπολωλὸς), until he found it (ἕως εὕρῃ αὐτό).  This parable of the lost sheep can also be found in Matthew, chapter 18:12, with some minor changes, perhaps a Q source.  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that this person, man, or shepherd had 100 sheep (ἐὰν γένηταί τινι ἀνθρώπῳ ἑκατὸν πρόβατα).  One of these sheep wandered away from the rest of them and was lost (καὶ πλανηθῇ ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν).  Thus, would he not leave the other 99 sheep in the mountains (οὐχὶ ἀφήσει τὰ ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα ἐπὶ τὰ ὄρη)?  He would then search for the lost sheep that had wandered away (καὶ πορευθεὶς ζητεῖ τὸ πλανώμενον).  This was a simple question.  Would you leave 99 sheep to search for one lost sheep?

Jesus takes his three trusted apostles to pray (Lk 9:28-9:28)

“Now about eight days

After these sayings,

Jesus took with him

Peter,

John,

And James.

They went up

On a mountain

To pray.”

 

Ἐγένετο δὲ μετὰ τοὺς λόγους τούτους ὡσεὶ ἡμέραι ὀκτὼ, καὶ παραλαβὼν Πέτρον καὶ Ἰωάνην καὶ Ἰάκωβον ἀνέβη εἰς τὸ ὄρος προσεύξασθαι.

 

Luke said that about 8 days (ὡσεὶ ἡμέραι ὀκτὼ), after these sayings (Ἐγένετο δὲ μετὰ τοὺς λόγους τούτους), Jesus took with him (καὶ παραλαβὼν) Peter (Πέτρον), John (καὶ Ἰωάνην), and James (καὶ Ἰάκωβον), his 3 favorite apostles.  They went up on a mountain (ἀνέβη εἰς τὸ ὄρος) to pray (προσεύξασθαι).  Going to a special mountain after these sayings can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 17:1, Mark, chapter 9:2, and here in LukeMark and Matthew are exactly the same, almost word for word, but Luke talked about 8 days and going to pray on a mountain.  Mark said that this activity took place 6 days later, probably after the proclamation of Peter about Jesus being the Christ messiah.  Jesus took with him Peter, and the 2 sons of Zebedee, James and John.  There was no mention of Peter’s brother Andrew.  Jesus brought these 3 disciples to an unnamed high mountain, presumably near the Sea of Galilee.  There was no mention of any prayer.  Matthew, like Mark, said that this activity took place 6 days later, not 8 days as in Luke.  Jesus took with him Peter, James, and his brother John.  Jesus brought these 3 disciples to an unnamed high mountain, presumably near the Sea of Galilee, probably Mount Tabor in lower Galilee or Mount Hermon near Caesarea Philippi, much further north.  They were alone by themselves, not with any of the other apostles or disciples.  Going up on a high mountain was an attempt to have a special communication with God, just as Moses had done in the Torah.  Jesus was transfigured or transformed in front of these 3 apostles.  Was this a foretaste of the resurrected Jesus Christ?  Do you expect to see a transfigured Jesus Christ?

Prediction about the death and resurrection (Lk 9:22-9:22)

“Jesus said.

‘The Son of Man

Must undergo

Great suffering.

He will be rejected

By the elders,

By the chief priests,

And by the Scribes.

He will be killed.

On the third day,

He will be raised up.’”

 

εἰπὼν ὅτι Δεῖ τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου πολλὰ παθεῖν καὶ ἀποδοκιμασθῆναι ἀπὸ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων καὶ ἀρχιερέων καὶ γραμματέων καὶ ἀποκτανθῆναι καὶ τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ ἐγερθῆνα

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to his disciples (εἰπὼν) that the Son of Man had to undergo great suffering (ὅτι Δεῖ τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου πολλὰ παθεῖν).  He would be rejected (καὶ ἀποδοκιμασθῆναι) by the elders or presbyters (ἀπὸ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων), the chief priests (καὶ ἀρχιερέων), and by the Scribes (καὶ γραμματέων).  He would be killed (καὶ ἀποκτανθῆναι), but on the third day (καὶ τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ), he would be raised up (ἐγερθῆνα).  Jesus began to talk about his future suffering that can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 16:21-23, Mark, chapter 8:31-33, and here.  All this took place right after Peter’s strong profession of faith.  Notice that the synoptics gospel writers did not blame the Pharisees or the Sadducees for the suffering and death of Jesus.  There also was no mention of the Roman authorities.  Mark said that Jesus began to teach them that it was necessary that the Son of Man undergo many great sufferings.  Jesus used the term “Son of Man” in Luke and Mark to refer to himself not “Jesus Christ,” as in Matthew.  He was going to be rejected by the elders or presbyters, the chief priests, and the Scribes.  Eventually, he would be killed.  There was no mention of Jesus going to Jerusalem here.  After 3 days, he would rise again.  Matthew disliked Jerusalem with everything and everybody attached to it.  For the first time he used the full name of Jesus Christ (Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς).  From that time on, after Jesus had put Peter in charge, Jesus Christ began to show or let his disciples know that he had to go to Jerusalem.  There he would undergo great suffering from the Israelite Jerusalem elders or presbyters, the chief priests, and the Scribes.  Eventually, he would be killed, but he would be raised up on the 3rd day.  Clearly, this was a prediction about the future suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  Whom do you blame for the death of Jesus Christ?

Tell no one (Lk 9:21-9:21)

“Jesus sternly ordered them.

He commanded them

Not to tell anyone.”

 

ὁ δὲ ἐπιτιμήσας αὐτοῖς παρήγγειλεν μηδενὶ λέγειν τοῦτο,

 

Luke said that Jesus sternly ordered them (ὁ δὲ ἐπιτιμήσας αὐτοῖς) and commanded them (παρήγγειλεν) not to tell anyone (μηδενὶ λέγειν τοῦτο).  This warning about the messianic secret can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 16:20, Mark, chapter 8:30, and here.  However, this warning came right after Peter’s response in Mark and Luke, since they did not have the unique Matthew comment about the reward for Peter.  Jesus, in some ironic way, did not want the people to know that he was the Messiah or the Christ.  Thus, the name “Jesus Christ” did not take hold until after his death and resurrection.  Mark simply said that Jesus sternly ordered, instructed, or charged his disciples that they were not to tell anyone that Jesus was the Christ or the Israelite Messiah.  Matthew also said that Jesus sternly ordered, instructed, or charged his disciples so that they were not to tell anyone that he was the Christ or the Israelite Messiah, just like he had done earlier.  This messianic secret was even stronger in Mark.  Only the elite followers of Jesus knew that he was the Christ messiah, much like a gnostic special knowledge.  How much knowledge do you have about Jesus?

This is my blood (Mk 14:24-14:24)

“Jesus said to them.

‘This is my blood

Of the covenant.

It is poured out

For many.’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ αἷμά μου τῆς διαθήκης τὸ ἐκχυννόμενον ὑπὲρ πολλῶ

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 26:28, but Matthew added “the forgiveness of sins” at the end.  Luke, chapter 22:20, has a blessing cup before the bread and one after the bread and the supper.  Paul spoke about a “new covenant” in I Corinthians, chapter 11:25.  In John, chapter 13:53-58, Jesus was preaching about eating and drinking the body and blood of the Son of Man, since there was no institution narrative.  Mark indicated that Jesus said to them (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that this was his blood of the covenant (Τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ αἷμά μου τῆς διαθήκης), that was to be poured out for many people (τὸ ἐκχυννόμενον ὑπὲρ πολλῶ).  This blood poured out for many may be an allusion to Isaiah, chapter 53:12.  This blessing of the wine had a more elaborate narrative than the bread.  However, both would become part of the new developing Christian Eucharistic Communion worship service.  Notice that Mark has this statement about the blood of Jesus after they had already drunk the cup.  The same could be implied from Matthew also.

During the reign of Darius (Dan 9:1-9:1)

“In the first year

Of Darius,

Son of Ahasuerus,

By birth

A Mede.

He became king

Over the realm

Of the Chaldeans.”

Here is the problem with Darius the Mede, the son of Ahasuerus. As far as we can tell, there was no such person. Somehow, he comes between the Babylonian King Belshazzar and the Persian Cyrus the Great. Perhaps, he was the first Persian general who entered Babylon after its fall in 539 BCE, but there are no indications of that. He appears to be a literary fiction, perhaps based on the later King Darius I, the 3rd ruler after Cyrus, from 522-486 BCE, who acted very favorably towards the returning Jews to Jerusalem.

The explanation of the allegory of the vine (Ezek 15:6-15:8)

“Therefore thus says Yahweh God.

‘Like the wood

Of the vine

Among the trees

Of the forest,

That I have given

To the fire

For fuel,

So I will give up

The inhabitants

Of Jerusalem.

I will set my face

Against them.

Although they escape

From the fire,

The fire shall still

Consume them.

You shall know

That I am Yahweh,

When I set

My face

Against them.

I will make

The land desolate,

Because they have acted

Faithlessly.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh then explained this allegory or parable. Just as Yahweh had given the wood of the vine as fuel to the fire, so he has done the same to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.   Even if they escaped from this fire, the fire would still consume them. They would know that he was Yahweh, their God. He was going to make the land desolate, because they have acted faithlessly. The people of Jerusalem were strong special wood, like the vine wood. However, they were useless before the fire, and they are now even more useless after the fire. They had lost faith in Yahweh. What good were they?

The sacred vessels (Bar 1:8-1:9)

“At the same time,

On the tenth day

Of Sivan,

Baruch took

The vessels

Of the house

Of the Lord.

They had been carried away

From the temple.

He wanted

To return them

To the land

Of Judah.

These were

The silver vessels

That King Zedekiah,

The son of King Josiah,

King of Judah,

Had made.

This was done

After King Nebuchadnezzar,

The king of Babylon,

Had carried them away

From Jerusalem

With King Jeconiah,

With the princes,

With the prisoners,

With the nobles,

With the people of the land.

He brought them

To Babylon.”

Sivan was the 3rd month of the year, so that this was the 10th of that month. Baruch had somehow gotten hold of the sacred vessels from the Temple in Jerusalem that had been carried away with King Zedekiah (598-587 BCE) in 587 BCE. He had made these sacred vessels after the original sacred vessels had been taken away in 598 BCE when King Jeconiah (598 BCE) was taken captive. King Jeconiah had been taken captive with the princes, prisoners, nobles, and land owners to Babylon. Baruch wanted to return these sacred vessels to Jerusalem. Once again, it is not clear how this was going to happen.

The wise ones and the fools both die (Eccl 2:14-2:17)

“Yet I perceived

That one fate befalls all of them.

Then I said to myself.

‘What happens to the fool

Will happen to me also.

Why then have I been so very wise?’

I said to myself

That this also is vanity.

There is no enduring remembrance

Of the wise

Or of the fools.

In the days to come,

All will have been long forgotten.

How can the wise die just like fools?

So I hated life,

Because what is done under the sun

Was grievous to me.

All is vanity.

All is a chasing after wind.”

Having accepted the importance of wisdom, Qoheleth then realizes that he, the wise one, and the fools also will both die. They share the same fate. What then is the advantage to being a wise person? No one remembers the fools, but everyone will also forget about the wise ones. Even this wise life is in vain. Why do they both share the same result as dead forgotten people? Now he begins to hate life itself, as an element of despair like Job. He thought that this was injurious to him, since all was futile. He and the wise ones were just chasing after that unattainable wind.

King Demetrius I allows all the Jewish feast days (1 Macc 10:34-10:35)

“All the festivals, Sabbaths, new moons, appointed days,

The three days before a festival

And the three after a festival

All these days will be days of immunity and release

For all the Jews who are in my kingdom.

No one shall have authority to exact anything from them

Or annoy any of them about any matter.”

All the Jewish people could celebrate their festivals, Sabbath days, new moons or other appointed days with full immunity. In fact, they could have 3 days before and 3 days after the festival to be released from work. This applied to all the Jews in the kingdom, not just those in Judea. No one would have any authority over these festivals. No one should annoy them about these feast days. This was total religious freedom, as had been common in the empire prior to King Antiochus IV.