Another dream for Joseph (Mt 2:13-2:13)

“Now after the Magi

Had left,

An angel of the Lord

Appeared to Joseph

In a dream.

He said.

‘Get up!

Take the child

With his mother!

Flee to Egypt!

Remain there

Until I tell you!

Herod is about

To search for the child.

He wants to destroy him.’”

 

Ἀναχωρησάντων δὲ αὐτῶν, ἰδοὺ ἄγγελος κυρίου φαίνεται κατ’ ὄναρ τῷ Ἰωσὴφ λέγων Ἐγερθεὶς παράλαβε τὸ παιδίον καὶ τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ καὶ φεῦγε εἰς Αἴγυπτον, καὶ ἴσθι ἐκεῖ ἕως ἂν εἴπω σοι· μέλλει γὰρ Ἡρῴδης ζητεῖν τὸ παιδίον τοῦ ἀπολέσαι αὐτό.

 

After the magi had departed (Ἀναχωρησάντων δὲ αὐτῶν), once again, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream (ἰδοὺ ἄγγελος κυρίου φαίνεται κατ’ ὄναρ τῷ Ἰωσὴφ), just like he had before when Joseph accepted Mary as his wife in chapter 1:20-24.  This time, the angel told Joseph to get up (λέγων Ἐγερθεὶς).  He was to take his child with the child’s mother (παράλαβε τὸ παιδίον καὶ τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ) in order to flee to Egypt (φεῦγε εἰς Αἴγυπτον), the typical place in the Old Testament, where people fled to avoid problems.  They were supposed to stay there in Egypt (ἐκεῖ ἕως ἂν εἴπω σοι), until this angel of the Lord told them it was okay to return.  The main reason for this trip to Egypt, without saying a specific place, was to avoid King Herod who was trying to find and destroy Joseph’s child (μέλλει γὰρ Ἡρῴδης ζητεῖν τὸ παιδίον τοῦ ἀπολέσαι αὐτό).  Just like the infant Moses, in Exodus, chapters 1:15-2-10, Jesus would be saved from death as an infant also.

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The wicked ones (Ezek 3:18-3:19)

“‘If I say

To the wicked ones,

‘You shall surely die.’

Then they shall die.

If you give them

No warning,

If you did not speak

To warn

The wicked ones

From their wicked way,

In order

To save their lives,

Those wicked people

Shall die

For their iniquity.

But I will require

Their blood

At your hand.

However,

If you did warn

The wicked ones,

But they did not turn

From their wickedness,

Or from

Their wicked ways,

They shall die

For their iniquity.

But you will have saved

Your life.’”

Yahweh told Ezekiel what would happen to him and the wicked people. If Yahweh said that a wicked person would die, they would die. However, if Ezekiel had not warned them to avoid their wicked ways to make them safe, then not only would the wicked ones die, because they deserved to die due to their iniquity, then Ezekiel would also have their blood on his hands. On the other hand, if Ezekiel warned the wicked ones, but they did not turn from their wickedness, they would die, but Ezekiel would save his life.

The fear in southern Egypt (Jer 46:15-46:16)

“Why has Apis fled?

Why did your bull

Not stand?

Because Yahweh

Thrust him down.

Your multitude stumbled.

They fell.

They said to one another.

‘Come!

Let us go back

To our own people,

To the land of our birth,

Because of the destroying sword.’”

Apis, the sacred bull god of Memphis and southern Egypt, has fled because Yahweh threw him down. Why was he not able to stand up against Yahweh? All the people stumbled around as they fell. They said to one another that they should go back to their own people, where they were born. They wanted to avoid the destroying sword of the king of Babylon.

Baruch was to read from the scroll (Jer 36:5-36:7)

“Jeremiah ordered Baruch!

Saying!

‘I am prevented

From entering

The house of Yahweh.

So you go yourself!

On a fast day,

In the hearing

Of the people,

In Yahweh’s house,

You shall read

The words of Yahweh

From the scroll

That you have written

At my dictation.

You shall read them also

In the hearing

Of all the people of Judah

Who come up

From their towns.

It may be

That their plea

Will come before Yahweh.

It may be

That all of them

Will turn

From their evil ways.

Great is the anger.

Great is the wrath

That Yahweh

Has pronounced

Against this people.’”

Jeremiah told Baruch to go the Temple, since he was not allowed there. However, there was no reason given why Jeremiah could not go to the Temple. Baruch was to go there when they were fasting, probably to pray to stop King Nebuchadnezzar from advancing into the Judah territory. Jeremiah wanted Baruch to read the scroll that he had written from his dictation about the words that Yahweh had spoken to him. This is a glimpse on how some of the Bible was written. Thus, in the hearing of the people of Judah, who would have come from the various towns, Baruch was to read this scroll. The reading of the biblical scroll was to become a staple of later Jewish worship. Yahweh once again hoped, as earlier, that the people of Judah might turn from their evil ways. Thus they could avoid Yahweh’s anger and wrath that he had pronounced against them, his people.

We are sinners (Isa 64:5-64:7)

“But you were angry.

We sinned!

Because you hid yourself,

We transgressed.

We have all become

Like one who is unclean.

All our righteous deeds are

Like a filthy cloth.

We all fade

Like a leaf.

Our iniquities are

Like the wind.

They take us away.

There is no one

Who calls on your name.

No one attempts

To take hold of you.

You have hidden your face

From us.

You have delivered us

Into the hand of our iniquities.”

Then the prophet proclaimed that he and his people were sinners. Once again, he tried to mitigate this sinfulness by saying that God was angry at them and hid his face. This made it easier to be a transgressor. They all became unclean, so that even their good deeds were like filthy cloths. They faded like a leaf into their iniquities. They were like the wind, blown away. No one called the name of Yahweh or tried to contact him, because Yahweh had hidden his face from them. Once again, in an attempt to avoid responsibility, the prophet said that he was delivered into the hands of iniquity, as if he could not refrain from it.

The young widows at Jerusalem (Isa 4:1-4:1)

“Seven women

Shall take hold of one man

In that day.

Saying.

‘We will eat our own bread.

We will wear our own clothes.

Just let us be called by your name.

Take away our disgrace.’”

In order to avoid dishonor and disgrace, seven young widows would join a harem so that they can have something to eat and clothes to wear. They will even take the name of their new protector or husband. They do not want to be reproached for being celibate or sterile, since the single woman was considered outside the pale of society.

Stay away from these consultants (Sir 37:10-37:11)

“Do not consult anyone

Who regards you with suspicion!

Hide your intentions

From those who are jealous of you!

Do not consult with

A woman about her rival!

Do not consult with

A coward about war!

Do not consult with

A merchant about business!

Do not consult with

A buyer about selling!

Do not consult with

A miser about generosity!

Do not consult with

A merciless person about kindness!

Do not consult with

An idler about any work!

Do not consult with

A seasonal laborer about completing his work!

Do not consult with

A lazy servant about a big task!

Pay no attention

To any advice they give!”

Now Sirach is specific about whom you should avoid as counselors. Avoid anyone who is suspicious or jealous of you. Don’t consult with a woman about her rivals, a coward about war, a merchant or a buyer about business selling, a miser about generosity, a merciless person about kindness, an idler, seasonal laborers, or lazy servants about completing big work tasks. Pay no attention to any of these people and their advice.