Mary ponders this (Lk 2:19-2:19)

“But Mary

Treasured

All these words.

She pondered them

In her heart.”

 

ἡ δὲ Μαρία πάντα συνετήρει τὰ ῥήματα ταῦτα συνβάλλουσα ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτῆς.

 

Luke said that Mary (ἡ δὲ Μαρία) treasured all these words or matters about Jesus (συνετήρει τὰ ῥήματα ταῦτα).  She pondered (συνβάλλουσα) them in her heart (ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτῆς).  Mary was very self-reflective on what was going on around her.  How would Luke know this?  Apparently, this infancy story was around before the time of Luke’s writing.  There is no question that this infancy story is written from the perspective of Mary.

 

The absentee land owner of the vineyard (Mt 21:33-21:33)

“Listen to another parable!

There was a landowner

Who planted a vineyard.

He put a fence around it.

He dug a wine press in it.

He built a watchtower.

Then he leased it

To tenants.

He went away

To another country.”

 

Ἄλλην παραβολὴν ἀκούσατε. Ἄνθρωπος ἦν οἰκοδεσπότης ὅστις ἐφύτευσεν ἀμπελῶνα, καὶ φραγμὸν αὐτῷ περιέθηκεν καὶ ὤρυξεν ἐν αὐτῷ ληνὸν καὶ ᾠκοδόμησεν πύργον, καὶ ἐξέδετο αὐτὸν γεωργοῖς, καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν.

 

This parable of the absentee landowner can be found in Mark, chapter 12:1, word for word, and Luke, chapter 20:9, almost word for word.  Jesus wanted them to listen to another parable or story (Ἄλλην παραβολὴν ἀκούσατε) about a male landowner (Ἄνθρωπος ἦν οἰκοδεσπότης), who planted a vineyard (ὅστις ἐφύτευσεν ἀμπελῶνα).  He then put a fence around it (καὶ φραγμὸν αὐτῷ περιέθηκεν) and dug a wine press in it (καὶ ὤρυξεν ἐν αὐτῷ ληνὸν).  He even built a fortified watchtower (καὶ ᾠκοδόμησεν πύργον).  This seemed like a very nice vineyard.  This was reminiscent of the allegory of the vineyard of Isaiah, chapter 5:1-2.  Isaiah had a song about a friend’s fertile field.  He also dug out stones and planted choice vines.  He put a tower in the middle to look over the vineyard with a carved wine vat there also.  However, he got bad grapes instead of good grapes.  Clearly, he did not get what he expected.  However, this landowner here leased his land or rented it to farmer tenants (καὶ ἐξέδετο αὐτὸν γεωργοῖς).  Then he left that region and went away to another country (ἀπεδήμησεν).  These last two things, renting and leaving the land will cause him a problem.

Ezekiel builds a model of Jerusalem unde siege (Ezek 4:1-4:3)

“You!

O son of man!

Take a brick!

Set it before you!

Portray a city on it,

Jerusalem!

Put the siege works

Against it!

Build a siege wall

Against it!

Cast up a ramp

Against it!

Set camps also

Against it!

Plant battering rams

Against it all around!

Then take an iron plate!

Place it

As an iron wall

Between you

And the city!

Set your face

Toward it!

Let it be

In a state of siege!

Press the siege

Against it!

This is a sign

For the house of Israel.”

Here we have the one of the many symbolic actions by Ezekiel. A voice, either Yahweh or his Spirit, told Ezekiel to be an expert model Lego builder of the siege of Jerusalem. Ezekiel, the son of man, was to take a brick and portray the city of Jerusalem. He was to put the siege works with a siege wall against this city. He was to put a ramp and camps against this city with battering rams all around it. Then he was to take an iron plate and make an iron wall between himself and the city, looking at it. Thus there was a state of siege, a sign for the house of Israel. Ezekiel was part of the exiles from 598 BCE before the taking of Jerusalem and the second captivity in 587 BCE.

The darkness (Isa 8:21-8:22)

“They will pass through the land.

They will be greatly distressed.

They will be hungry.

When they are hungry,

They will be enraged.

They will curse their king.

They will curse their gods.

They will turn their faces upward.

Or they will look to the earth.

But they will see only distress.

They will see only darkness.

They will see only the gloom of anguish.

They will be thrust into thick darkness.”

Isaiah has some kind of dark night march. These soldiers were greatly distressed, as they passed through some unnamed land. They were hungry. Thus they were mad at their king and their gods. Whether they looked up or just around them on earth, they could only see distress, darkness, gloom, and anguish. They seemed to be in some kind of thick darkness.

The earth around us (Eccl 1:4-1:7)

“A generation goes.

A generation comes.

But the earth remains forever.

The sun rises.

The sun goes down.

The sun hastens to the place

Where it rises.

The wind blows to the south.

The wind goes around to the north.

Round and round goes the wind.

On its circuits

The wind returns.

All streams run to the sea.

But the sea is not full.

They continue to flow

To the place where the streams flow.

There they continue to flow.”

This is a stunning appreciation of creation. Generations of humans come and go, but the earth remains forever in a static flat world concept. The sun rises and sets every day. There was no thought that the earth was moving around a static sun. The wind blew in from the north to south and then around and around again. The wind, as we know, blows in various directions. The streams do run to the sea, and not vice versa. However, the seas never seem to fill up because there is osmosis. No matter what, the streams continue to flow to where they want to go, usually downhill because of gravity. Thus this poetic expression of creation uses the scientific assumptions of its day, not those of the later scientific age.

The importance of paternal commandments (Prov 6:20-6:22)

“My child!

Keep your father’s commandment!

Do not forsake your mother’s teaching!

Bind them upon your heart always!

Tie them around your neck!

When you walk,

They will lead you.

When you lie down,

They will watch over you.

When you awake,

They will talk with you.

The commandment is a lamp.

The teaching is a light.

The reproofs of discipline are the way of life.”

Now we are back at parental advice and the importance of fatherly commandments and motherly teachings. The opening phrases are a repeat from chapters 1 and 3 of these Proverbs. You were to keep these commandments in your heart. You were to tie them around your neck. Thus whenever you were walking, these teachings would lead you. When you would lie down, these teachings would watch over you. When you were awake, these teachings would speak with you. These commandments would be a constant reminder in your life, whether you were awake or not, whether you were moving or not. The paternal commandment was like a lamp, while the maternal teaching was like a light. Both of them lit up your life. They provided you the corrective discipline to guide you in your way of life.

Sing to Yahweh in the Temple (Ps 27:6-27:6)

“Now my head is lifted up above.

My enemies are all around me.

I will offer in his tent

Sacrifices with shouts of joy.

I will sing.

I will make melody to Yahweh.”

David’s head was lifted above all his enemies who were all around him. He was going to offer sacrifices in the tent or Temple of Yahweh. He was going to sing and make melody to Yahweh. However, the problem was that only the Levites and priests could make the sacrifices in the Temple. David was not a Levite.