The blood of Abel (Lk 11:51-11:51)

“From the blood

Of Abel

To the blood

Of Zechariah,

Who perished

Between the altar

And the sanctuary.

Yes!

I tell you!

It will be charged

Against this generation.”

 

ἀπὸ αἵματος Ἄβελ ἕως αἵματος Ζαχαρίου τοῦ ἀπολομένου μεταξὺ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου καὶ τοῦ οἴκου· ναί, λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐκζητηθήσεται ἀπὸ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said with a solemn proclamation (ναί, λέγω ὑμῖν) that from all the blood of Abel (ἀπὸ αἵματος Ἄβελ) to the blood of Zechariah (ἕως αἵματος Ζαχαρίου), who perished between the altar and the sanctuary (τοῦ ἀπολομένου μεταξὺ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου καὶ τοῦ οἴκου) would be charged against this generation (ἐκζητηθήσεται ἀπὸ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης).  Matthew, chapter 23:35 is similar to this, perhaps a Q source.  Jesus said this bloodshed would be charged to the Pharisees and Scribes from the blood of the righteous Abel (ἀπὸ τοῦ αἵματος Ἅβελ τοῦ δικαίου) to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Barachiah (ἕως τοῦ αἵματος Ζαχαρίου υἱοῦ Βαραχίου).  He was murdered between the Temple sanctuary and the sacrificial altar (ὃν ἐφονεύσατε μεταξὺ τοῦ ναοῦ καὶ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου).  Abel was the brother that Cain killed in Genesis, chapter 4:8.  His just blood would cry out from the ground.  This Zechariah was a little more complicated.  2 Chronicles, chapter 24:20-22, has a Zechariah, the son of the priest Jehoiada who was stoned to death in the Temple courtyard.  As he was dying, he asked God to avenge his death.  However, Zechariah, the son of Barachiah in Zechariah, chapter 1:1, was a 6th century BCE prophet from a priestly family.  Genesis was the first book of the Hebrew Bible and 2 Chronicles was considered the last book of the Hebrew Bible.  Thus, all the innocent blood from the beginning of the world throughout Israelite history would be upon these Pharisees or this generation.  There would be a continuation of this innocent blood with Jesus himself.  How are you responsible for the death of Jesus?

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The Pharisee was amazed (Lk 11:38-11:38)

“This Pharisee

Was amazed

To see

That Jesus did not

First wash

Before dinner.”

 

ὁ δὲ Φαρισαῖος ἰδὼν ἐθαύμασεν ὅτι οὐ πρῶτον ἐβαπτίσθη πρὸ τοῦ ἀρίστου.

 

Luke said that this Pharisee was amazed to see (ὁ δὲ Φαρισαῖος ἰδὼν ἐθαύμασεν) that Jesus did not first wash (ὅτι οὐ πρῶτον ἐβαπτίσθη) before dinner (πρὸ τοῦ ἀρίστου).  There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 7:2-5 and Matthew, chapter 15:2.  However, the complaint there was about the disciples of Jesus, not Jesus himself.  Matthew said that these Pharisees wanted to know why the disciples of Jesus did not wash their hands before they ate bread.  They said that this action was a violation against the tradition of the elders.  Mark said that these Pharisees and Scribes had noticed that the disciples of Jesus were eating bread with defiled hands, because they did not wash their hands.  These Pharisees and Scribes wanted to know why the disciples of Jesus did not live according to the tradition of the elders.  Originally, this practice of washing hands before eating was what the Levites did in the Temple to practice ritual purity as indicated in Exodus, chapter 30:17-21.  Yahweh had told Moses that there should be a bronze basin with a bronze stand for washing.  Thus, Aaron and his sons should wash their hands and feet when they went into the meeting tent or the altar.  The penalty for not washing your hands and feet was death under this perpetual ordinance.  However, the Pharisaic oral tradition, or the tradition of the elders, had extended this practice to individual homes.  Thus, they were violating the tradition of the elders.  Wash your hands!  Do you wash your hands before you eat?

The tradition of the elders (Mk 7:3-7:3)

“The Pharisees,

And all the Jews,

Do not eat

Unless they wash

Their hands.

Thus,

They observe

The tradition

Of the elders.”

 

οἱ γὰρ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ πάντες οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι ἐὰν μὴ πυγμῇ νίψωνται τὰς χεῖρας οὐκ ἐσθίουσιν, κρατοῦντες τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν πρεσβυτέρων,

 

There is nothing like this elsewhere, because Mark was explaining this Jewish practice to his gentile Christian readers.  Mark said that the Pharisees (οἱ γὰρ Φαρισαῖοι) and all the Jews (καὶ πάντες οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι) did not eat. unless they had washed their hands (μὴ πυγμῇ νίψωνται τὰς χεῖρας οὐκ ἐσθίουσιν).  Not washing hands was considered to be not upholding or a violation against the Jewish tradition of the elders or priests (κρατοῦντες τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν πρεσβυτέρων).  The importance of this tradition was clearly seen in Matthew, chapter 15:2, in this more Jewish Christian writing.  It is not clear that all Jews followed this tradition, but the Pharisees certainly did.  Originally, this practice of washing hands before eating was what the priestly Levites did in the Temple to practice ritual purity as indicated in Exodus, chapter 30:17-21.  Yahweh had told Moses that there should be a bronze basin with a bronze stand for washing.  Thus, Aaron and his sons should wash their hands and feet when they went into the meeting tent or the altar.  The penalty for not washing your hands and feet was death under this perpetual ordinance.  However, the Pharisaic oral tradition, or the tradition of the elders, had extended this practice to individual and their own homes.

Swear by heaven (Mt 23:20-23:22)

“Whoever swears

By the altar,

Swears by it

And everything on it.

Whoever swears

By the Temple,

Swears by it

And the one

Who dwells in it.

Whoever swears

By heaven,

Swears by the throne

Of God

And by the one

Who sits upon it.”

 

ὁ οὖν ὀμόσας ἐν τῷ θυσιαστηρίῳ ὀμνύει ἐν αὐτῷ καὶ ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς ἐπάνω αὐτοῦ·

καὶ ὁ ὀμόσας ἐν τῷ ναῷ ὀμνύει ἐν αὐτῷ καὶ ἐν τῷ κατοικοῦντι αὐτόν·

καὶ ὁ ὀμόσας ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ ὀμνύει ἐν τῷ θρόνῳ τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ ἐν τῷ καθημένῳ ἐπάνω αὐτοῦ

 

This is unique to Matthew.  Jesus remarked that whoever swore by the altar (ὁ οὖν ὀμόσας ἐν τῷ θυσιαστηρίῳ), also swore by it and everything on it (ὀμνύει ἐν αὐτῷ καὶ ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς ἐπάνω αὐτοῦ).  Whoever swore by the Temple (καὶ ὁ ὀμόσας ἐν τῷ ναῷ), also swore by it and the one who dwelt in the Temple (ὀμνύει ἐν αὐτῷ καὶ ἐν τῷ κατοικοῦντι αὐτόν).  Whoever swore by heaven (καὶ ὁ ὀμόσας ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ), swore by the throne of God (ὀμνύει ἐν τῷ θρόνῳ τοῦ Θεοῦ) and God himself who sits on it (καὶ ἐν τῷ καθημένῳ ἐπάνω αὐτοῦ).  Thus, Jesus pulled together the fact that the altar, the Temple, and heaven itself were related to the presence of God.

The cooking pots are holy (Zech 14:20-14:21)

“On that day,

There shall be inscribed

On the bells

Of the horses.

‘Holy to Yahweh.’

The cooking pots

In the house of Yahweh

Shall be as holy

As the bowls

In front of the altar.

Every cooking pot

In Jerusalem,

As well as in Judah

Shall be sacred

To Yahweh of hosts.

Thus,

All who sacrifice

May come.

They may use them

To boil the flesh

Of the sacrifice.

There shall no longer

Be traders

In the house

Of Yahweh of hosts,

On that day.”

On this glorious day, the bells of the horses will have the inscription that Yahweh is holy.  The cooking pots in the house of Yahweh would be as holy as the bowls on the altar in front of the holy of holies.  In fact, all the cooking pots in Judah and Jerusalem would be sacred to Yahweh.  The sacrifices could then be boiled in any kind of pot because they were all holy.  They would no longer need to depend on the traders at the Temple selling them special holy pots.

The call to God (Joel 2:17-2:17)

“Between the vestibule

And the altar,

Let the priests,

The ministers of Yahweh,

Weep!

Let them say!

‘Spare your people!

O Yahweh!

Do not make your heritage

A mockery!

Do not let it be

A byword among the nations!

Why should it be said

Among the people?

‘Where is their God?’”

Joel wanted the temple priests, the minister of Yahweh, to deliver a prayer to Yahweh between the altar and the vestibule, in the open court. They were to weep and ask God to spare them. They did not want the heritage of Yahweh to be a mockery or a byword among the various countries. There should never be a question about their God. Yahweh should show himself during this time of the locust plagues.

The seven days of sin offerings (Ezek 43:25-43:27)

“‘For seven days,

You shall provide daily

A goat

For a sin offering.

Also,

A bull

With a ram

From the flock,

Without blemish,

Shall be provided.

Seven days

Shall they make atonement

For the altar.

They will cleanse it.

They will so consecrate it.

When these days

Are over,

Then from the eighth day

Onward,

The priests shall offer

Upon the altar

Your burnt offerings

With your peace offerings.

Then I will accept you.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh gave Ezekiel this first week of instructions about the altar. During this week, each day they had to provide an unblemished goat, bull, and ram from their flock. During these 7 days, they were to make atonement for the altar, by cleansing and consecrating it. After these 7 days were over, the priests would then be able to offer their burnt offerings and peace offerings on this altar at any time.  Yahweh said that he would then accept these offerings.