Gennesaret (Lk 5:1-5:1)

“Once while Jesus

Was standing beside

The lake of Gennesaret,

The crowd

Was pressing in

On him

To hear

The word of God.”

 

Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν τῷ τὸν ὄχλον ἐπικεῖσθαι αὐτῷ καὶ ἀκούειν τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν ἑστὼς παρὰ τὴν λίμνην Γεννησαρέτ,

 

This verse of Luke is unique but not inconsistent with the other gospel stories.  Luke said that Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret (καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν ἑστὼς παρὰ τὴν λίμνην Γεννησαρέτ).  Gennesaret was another name for the Sea of Galilee or Lake Tiberias.  Then the crowd was pressing in on him (Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν τῷ τὸν ὄχλον ἐπικεῖσθαι αὐτῷ) to hear the word of God (καὶ ἀκούειν τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Jesus was standing there as a crowd gathered around him.  They wanted to hear the word of God, as if Jesus were somehow qualified to present this word of God.

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The Holy One of God (Lk 4:34-4:34)

“‘Let us alone!

What have you

To do with us?

Jesus of Nazareth!

Have you come

To destroy us?

I know

Who you are!

The Holy One of God!’”

 

Ἔα, τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί, Ἰησοῦ Ναζαρηνέ; ἦλθες ἀπολέσαι ἡμᾶς; οἶδά σε τίς εἶ, ὁ Ἅγιος τοῦ Θεοῦ.

 

Matthew, chapter 8:29, has something similar, but it was not in a Capernaum synagogue, but in Gadarenes and it was 2 demonic spirits, not one as here.  Mark, chapter 1:24 is similar to here, word for word.  On the other hand, Mark, chapter 5:7, as well as Luke, chapter 8;28 had these demoniacs speak to Jesus with somewhat similar words.  Here Luke said that the evils spirits in this man spoke to Jesus.  He asked Jesus of Nazareth (Ἰησοῦ Ναζαρηνέ) what he had to do with them (Ἔα, τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί).  Had Jesus come to destroy or kill them (ἦλθες ἀπολέσαι ἡμᾶς)?  He said that he knew who he was (οἶδά σε τίς εἶ), the Holy One of God (ὁ Ἅγιος τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Matthew had them say that Jesus had come to torment them, not destroy them, since the time of the final judgment day had not arrived.  This unclean spirit world was alive and active in first century Israelite culture.  The term “Holy One of God” had been applied to the prophet Elisha in 2 Kings, chapter 4:9, as another name for a prophet, which was not as strong as the “Son of God,” a more powerful term.  Thus, the evil spirits were able to recognize Jesus of Nazareth as a special person.

The Scribes claim that Jesus was possessed by Beelzebul (Mk 3:22-3:22)

“The Scribes,

Who came down

From Jerusalem,

Said.

‘He has Beelzebul.

By the ruler

Of demons,

He casts out the demons.’”

 

καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς οἱ ἀπὸ Ἱεροσολύμων καταβάντες ἔλεγον ὅτι Βεελζεβοὺλ ἔχει, καὶ ὅτι ἐν τῷ ἄρχοντι τῶν δαιμονίων ἐκβάλλει τὰ δαιμόνια.

 

This is similar to Luke, chapter 11:15 and Matthew, chapter 12:24.  Beelzebul was an ancient Canaanite god known as the “Lord of the flies,” but had become another name for the devil or demons in early Christianity and late Judaism.  Mark said that the Scribes came down from Jerusalem (καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς οἱ ἀπὸ Ἱεροσολύμων καταβάντες), and not the Pharisees, as in Matthew.  They said (ἔλεγον) or accused Jesus of being in cahoots with Beelzebul.  He had Beelzebul in him (ὅτι Βεελζεβοὺλ ἔχει).  Thus, as the leader or ruler of the demons (καὶ ὅτι ἐν τῷ ἄρχοντι τῶν δαιμονίων), he was casting out demons (ἐκβάλλει τὰ δαιμόνια).  Jesus was working with the devil, the leader of the demons, the ancient Canaanite god, Beelzebul.

Against Mount Seir (Ezek 35:1-35:2)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

Son of man!

Set your face

Against Mount Seir!

Prophesy

Against it!’”

Once again, there was an oracle of Yahweh to Ezekiel, the son of man. This time, Ezekiel was to face and prophesize against Mount Seir. Where and what was Mount Seir? Mount Seir was between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, on the southeastern border of Judah with Edom. In fact, this is a diatribe against the country of Edom. Quite often, Mount Seir was another name for Edom. Mount Seir was named after Seir, the Horite, in Genesis, chapter 14. The children of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, defeated the Horites, to take possession of this land.

Zerubbabel (Sir 49:11-49:11)

“How shall

We magnify Zerubbabel?

He was

Like a signet ring        

On the right hand.”

Zerubbabel was the governor of Judah appointed by the Persian King Darius I, thus ending the Babylonian captivity, sometime between 538-520 BCE. He was the grandson of one of the last kings of Judah, King Jehoiachin. In this new role, he was actually an official governor in the Persian state for the area of Judah, but he was born and raised in Babylon. He along with Jeshua began to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. There is some confusion with the name of Sheshbazzar, who either was his uncle or another name for him. Some hold that Sheshbazzar was appointed by King Cyrus as the governor of Judah in 538 BCE. Then King Darius I named Zerubbabel. Both are mentioned in the Book of Ezra, chapter 2. Zerubbabel was also mentioned by the Minor Prophets, Haggai and Zechariah. Finally, there is the idea of the signet ring. Does it apply to temporal power or the restored power of Yahweh? Interesting enough, Sirach does not mention Ezra at all among his famous men.