Tower of Siloam (Lk 13:4-13:4)

“Or those eighteen,

Who were killed

When the tower

Of Siloam

Fell on them,

Do you think

That they were

Worse offenders

Than all the others

Living in Jerusalem?”

 

ἢ ἐκεῖνοι οἱ δέκα οκτὼ ἐφ’ οὓς ἔπεσεν ὁ πύργος ἐν τῷ Σιλωὰμ καὶ ἀπέκτεινεν αὐτούς, δοκεῖτε ὅτι αὐτοὶ ὀφειλέται ἐγένοντο παρὰ πάντας τοὺς ἀνθρώπους τοὺς κατοικοῦντας Ἱερουσαλήμ;

 

Luke uniquely had Jesus present another contemporary event that is not attested elsewhere.  This time it was about a difficult to ascertain tower of Siloam in the old southern part of Jerusalem that accidently killed 18 people.  Jesus wanted to know if these 18 people (ἢ ἐκεῖνοι οἱ δέκα οκτὼ) upon whom the tower of Siloam fell and killed (ἐφ’ οὓς ἔπεσεν ὁ πύργος ἐν τῷ Σιλωὰμ καὶ ἀπέκτεινεν αὐτούς) were worse sinners (δοκεῖτε ὅτι αὐτοὶ ὀφειλέται ἐγένοντο) than all the other people living in Jerusalem (παρὰ πάντας τοὺς ἀνθρώπους τοὺς κατοικοῦντας Ἱερουσαλήμ)?  Did this accidental death mean that these people were sinners?  Are people who die an accidental death worse than people who die at home in bed?  Do you know anyone who died in an accident?

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Cannibalism (Ezek 5:10-5:10)

“Surely,

Parents shall eat

Their children

In your midst.

The children shall eat

Their parents.

I will execute judgments

On you.

Any of you

Who survive,

I will scatter

To every wind.”

This ideal of cannibalism in Jerusalem was attested by Jeremiah, chapter 19, and Lamentations, chapters 2 and 4, and now here in Ezekiel. Parents would eat their children, while children would eat their parents in this situation of starvation in Jerusalem. Yahweh was going to execute his judgments on those who survived. These survivors would be scattered to the four winds in every direction.

Birth of a son to Isaiah (Isa 8:1-8:4)

“Then Yahweh said to me.

‘Take a large tablet.

Write on it

In common characters,

‘Belonging to Maher-shalal-hash-baz.’

‘The spoil speeds.

The prey hastens.’

Have it attested for me

By reliable witnesses,

The priest Uriah,

And Zechariah

Son of Jeberechiah.’

I went to the prophetess.

She conceived.

She bore a son.

Then Yahweh said to me.

‘Name him

Maher-shalal-hash-baz.

Before the child knows how to cry

‘My father’ or

‘My mother,’

The wealth of Damascus

With the spoil of Samaria

Will be carried away

By the king of Assyria.’”

Once again, we have a conversation between Yahweh and Isaiah directly. Yahweh told him to write down on a large wooden tablet, the letters Maher-shalal-hash-bar, which means spoil spreads and prey hastens. Then Isaiah had to go to the priest Uriah, mentioned in 2 Kings, chapter 16, as well as Zechariah, probably the father of the wife of Ahaz, to have it attested. Next he went to the prophetess, probably his wife, who then conceived and bore a son that was to be named after the word on the large tablet. Before this boy would be able to utter the words father or mother, the wealth of Damascus in Syria and the spoils of Samaria in Ephraim would be carried away by the king of Assyria. This alliance of King Ahaz of Judah with the King of Assyria can also be found in 2 Kings, chapter 16. Thus the name of the child was really talking about what was about to happen to Syria and Ephraim.