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?

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The disciples who fast (Lk 5:33-5:33)

“Then they said to Jesus.

‘John’s disciples,

Like the disciples

Of the Pharisees,

Frequently fast

And pray.

However,

Your disciples

Eat

And drink.’”

 

Οἱ δὲ εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτόν Οἱ μαθηταὶ Ἰωάνου νηστεύουσιν πυκνὰ καὶ δεήσεις ποιοῦνται, ὁμοίως καὶ οἱ τῶν Φαρισαίων, οἱ δὲ σοὶ ἐσθίουσιν καὶ πίνουσιν.

 

Luke used the ambiguous “they” to lodge a complaint against the disciples of Jesus.  They said to Jesus (Οἱ δὲ εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτόν) that John’s disciples (Οἱ μαθηταὶ Ἰωάνου) frequently fasted (νηστεύουσιν πυκνὰ) and often made prayers (καὶ δεήσεις ποιοῦνται).  Likewise, the disciples of the Pharisees also fasted and prayed (ὁμοίως καὶ οἱ τῶν Φαρισαίων).  However, the disciples of Jesus ate and drank (οἱ δὲ σοὶ ἐσθίουσιν καὶ πίνουσιν), since they did not fast.  Apparently, fasting was a unique Jewish practice in ancient times.  However, most religions of the world today have some kind of fasting or not eating certain foods or drinks for a specific amount of time.  Mark, chapter 2:18, and Matthew, chapter 9:14, are similar to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this incident, although there are some differences.  Mark had the disciples of John the Baptist acting together with the Pharisees, as they both agreed about fasting.  They wanted to know why the disciples of Jesus did not fast.  The disciples of John seemed to be on the side of the Pharisees, and not with the followers of Jesus.  Matthew had only the disciples of John the Baptist, without the Pharisees, show up wanting to know why the disciples of Jesus did not fast.  These disciples of John came to Jesus, since John was in jail.  They may have remained a separate group, since some people have traced followers of John the Baptist to the Mandaeans along the Iraq-Iran border.

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 law about marrying the brother of the dead man (Mt 22:24-22:24)

“The Sadducees said.

‘Teacher!

Moses said.

‘If a man dies

Childless,

His brother

Shall marry

The widow.

He will raise up

Children

For his brother.’”

 

λέγοντες Διδάσκαλε, Μωϋσῆς εἶπεν Ἐάν τις ἀποθάνῃ μὴ ἔχων τέκνα, ἐπιγαμβρεύσει ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀναστήσει σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ

 

Mark, chapter 12:19, and Luke, chapter 20:28, are almost word for word as here in Matthew.  These Sadducees addressed Jesus very respectfully as “Teacher” or “Rabbi (λέγοντες Διδάσκαλε).”  They quoted a Mosaic text, as Moses says (Μωϋσῆς εἶπεν), from Deuteronomy, chapter 25:5-10.  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.

Yahweh controls the future (Isa 46:8-46:10)

“Remember this!

Consider this!

Recall it to mind!

You transgressors!

Remember the former things of old!

I am God!

There is no other!

I am God!

There is no one like me!

I declare the end

From the beginning,

From ancient times,

Things not yet done.”

Second Isaiah has Yahweh remind people about his ability to see the future. He wants them to remember and consider that they are transgressors. He is God and there is no other like him. He has declared from the beginning, in ancient times, things that had not yet happened. He knew the future.

Do not judge on appearances (Sir 11:2-11:4)

“Do not praise individuals

For their good looks!

Do not loathe anyone

Because of appearance alone.

The bee is small

Among flying creatures.

But what it produces

Is the best of sweet things.

Do not boast

About wearing fine clothes!

Do not exalt yourself

When you are honored.

The works of the Lord

Are wonderful.

His works

Are concealed from humankind.”

You should not praise people because of their good looks. On the other hand, you should not hate anyone based on their appearances alone. Take the small bee, for example. This small flying creature produces honey, the sweetest of all things. There was a premium on honey in ancient times. You should not boast about wearing fine clothes. Do not exalt yourself when you are honored. The works of the Lord are wonderful, but he has concealed them from most humans.

Help us, Yahweh (Ps 89:49-89:51)

“Yahweh!

Where is your steadfast love of old?

By your faithfulness,

You swore to David.

Remember!

Yahweh!

How your servant is taunted!

I bear in my bosom

The insults of the peoples.

Your enemies taunt us!

Yahweh!

They taunt the footsteps of your anointed!”

The psalmist has a cry to Yahweh to remind him of his famous steadfast love from ancient times. He had sworn to help David. Did Yahweh forget? His servant has been taunted and insulted. They have taunted the footsteps of the anointed one David. This is a final plea to this psalm, probably at the time of the captivity.