The children of Abraham should not be presumptuous (Mt 3:8-3:10)

“Bear fruit

Worthy of repentance!

Do not presume

To say to yourselves.

‘We have Abraham

As our ancestor!’

I tell you

That God is able

To raise up children

To Abraham

From these stones.

Even now,

The axe is lying ready

At the root

Of the trees.

Every tree therefore

That does not bear good fruit

Is cut down.

It is thrown into the fire.’”

 

ποιήσατε οὖν καρπὸν ἄξιον τῆς μετανοίας·καὶ μὴ δόξητε λέγειν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς Πατέρα ἔχομεν τὸν Ἀβραάμ· λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν ὅτι δύναται ὁ Θεὸς ἐκ τῶν λίθων τούτων ἐγεῖραι τέκνα τῷ Ἀβραάμ. ἤδη δὲ ἡ ἀξίνη πρὸς τὴν ῥίζαν τῶν δένδρων κεῖται· πᾶν οὖν δένδρον μὴ ποιοῦν καρπὸν καλὸν ἐκκόπτεται καὶ εἰς πῦρ βάλλεται.

 

Here is the first of the sayings from the so-called Q source. Both Matthew and Luke have the exact same pronouncement of John to the people, who presumed that they were saved by being the children of Abraham. Instead of just the Pharisees and Sadducees, Luke, chapter 3:7, had John address this to all the people coming to be baptized. This saying emphasized deeds, rather than relying on ancestry. They were to produce fruit that was worthy of repentance (ποιήσατε οὖν καρπὸν ἄξιον τῆς μετανοίας). They had to perform good deeds. They should not presume that because they have had Abraham as their father, as the privileged chosen ones (καὶ μὴ δόξητε λέγειν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς Πατέρα ἔχομεν τὸν Ἀβραάμ), that all would go well for them. Then John pointedly said to them (λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν) that God had the power (ὅτι δύναται ὁ Θεὸς) to change stones and rocks into the children of Abraham (ἐκ τῶν λίθων τούτων ἐγεῖραι τέκνα τῷ Ἀβραάμ). This was a Hebrew play on words translated into Greek. The axe was already lying at the foot of the trees, ready to go to work (ἤδη δὲ ἡ ἀξίνη πρὸς τὴν ῥίζαν τῶν δένδρων κεῖται). Every tree that was not bearing or producing good fruit would be cut down (πᾶν οὖν δένδρον μὴ ποιοῦν καρπὸν καλὸν ἐκκόπτεται). Then they would be thrown into the fire (καὶ εἰς πῦρ βάλλεται).

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Everyone listens to Jeremiah (Jer 26:7-26:7)

“The priests,

The prophets,

All the people

Heard Jeremiah speaking

These words

In the house of Yahweh.”

There is no doubt that both the priests and prophets gathered to hear Jeremiah speak these words in the Temple of Yahweh. The real problem is with all the people. Where would they fit all the people of Judah in this relatively small house of Yahweh? Thus it might have been a sample of all these people.

Jeremiah is sent to the king of Judah (Jer 22:1-22:2)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘Go down to the house

Of the king of Judah!

Speak there this word!’

Say!

‘Hear the word of Yahweh!

O King of Judah!

Sitting on the throne

Of David!

You!

Your servants!

Your people

Who enter these gates!’”

Yahweh sends Jeremiah to the king of Judah. He was to speak these words of Yahweh to the king who sat on the throne of David. The king, his servants, and all the people in Jerusalem were to listen to God’s word as proclaimed by Jeremiah. Jeremiah was to speak truth to power. This is more or less a reinforcement of the preceding chapter.

The letter of the Spartans (1 Macc 14:20-14:23)

“This is a copy of the letter that the Spartans sent.

‘The rulers and the city of the Spartans

To the high priest Simon

And the elders

And the priests

And the rest of the Jewish people,

Our brothers,

Greetings!

The envoys you sent to our people

They have told us about your glory and honor.

We rejoiced at their coming.

We have recorded in our public decrees,

As follows.

‘Numenius son of Antiochus

And Antipater son of Jason,

Envoys of the Jews,

They have come to us

To renew their friendship with us.

It has pleased our people to receive these men with honor.

We put a copy of their words in the public archives,

So that the people of the Spartans may have a record of them.

They have sent a copy of this to the high priest Simon.’”

Once again like the letter in chapter 12, it is the leader and all the people who are involved in this letter writing. The envoys of Numenius and Antipater are mentioned by name. They spoke highly of Simon. They wanted to renew their friendship so that that their words were put in the public archives.