Next year cut it down (Lk 13:9-13:9)

“If it bears fruit

Next year,

Well and good!

But if not,

You can cut it down.”

 

κἂν μὲν ποιήσῃ καρπὸν εἰς τὸ μέλλον· εἰ δὲ μήγε, ἐκκόψεις αὐτήν.

 

Luke concluded this unique parable story.  This gardener told his owner that if this fig tree would bear fruit during this time (κἂν μὲν ποιήσῃ καρπὸν εἰς τὸ), then well and good (μέλλον).  However, if it did not (εἰ δὲ μήγε), that they would cut it down (ἐκκόψεις αὐτήν).  There was one more chance, but only one more.  Have you ever given anyone an extra chance?

The god and bad trees (Lk 6:43-6:43)

“No good tree

Bears bad fruit.

Nor again,

Does a bad tree

Bear good fruit.”

 

Οὐ γάρ ἐστιν δένδρον καλὸν ποιοῦν καρπὸν σαπρόν, οὐδὲ πάλιν δένδρον σαπρὸν ποιοῦν καρπὸν καλόν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that no good tree bears bad fruit (Οὐ γάρ ἐστιν δένδρον καλὸν ποιοῦν καρπὸν σαπρόν).  Nor does a bad tree bear good fruit (οὐδὲ πάλιν δένδρον σαπρὸν ποιοῦν καρπὸν καλόν).  This is a basic common-sense statement.  There was something similar to this in the preaching of John the Baptist earlier in chapter 3:9 and Matthew, chapter 7:17-18, and chapter 12:33, perhaps from the Q source.  The good tree produces good fruit.  The bad tree produces bad fruit.  The good tree is not able to produce evil fruit, while the evil tree is not able to produce good fruit.  Either a tree is good or rotten.  Simply stated, a good or bad tree will only produce what it is.  There will be no mixing of the good and the bad fruits.  Good fruit only comes from good trees, while rotten fruits only come from rotten trees.  You can tell what kind of a tree it is by its fruits.  Do you produce good or bad fruit?

The sound tree (Mt 7:17-7:18)

“Every good tree

Bears good fruit.

But the bad tree

Bears bad fruit.

A good tree

Cannot bear

Bad fruit.

A bad tree

Cannot bear

Good fruit.”

 

οὕτως πᾶν δένδρον ἀγαθὸν καρποὺς καλοὺς ποιεῖ, τὸ δὲ σαπρὸν δένδρον καρποὺς πονηροὺς ποιεῖ·

οὐ δύναται δένδρον ἀγαθὸν καρποὺς πονηροὺς ἐνεγκεῖν, οὐ δύναται δένδρον ἀγαθὸν καρποὺς πονηροὺς ἐνεγκεῖν

 

This saying of Jesus is somewhat similar to Luke, chapter 6:42, perhaps from the Q source.  This is a basic common-sense statement.  The good tree produces good fruit (οὕτως πᾶν δένδρον ἀγαθὸν καρποὺς καλοὺς ποιεῖ).  The bad or evil tree produces bad or evil fruit (τὸ δὲ σαπρὸν δένδρον καρποὺς πονηροὺς ποιεῖ).  The good tree is not able to produce bad or evil fruit (οὐ δύναται δένδρον ἀγαθὸν καρποὺς πονηροὺς ἐνεγκεῖν), while the bad or evil tree is not able to produce good fruit (οὐ δύναται δένδρον ἀγαθὸν καρποὺς πονηροὺς ἐνεγκεῖν).  Simply stated, a good or bad tree will only produce what it is.  There will be no mixing of the good and the bad fruits.  Good fruit only comes from good trees, while bad fruits only come from bad trees.

Blind darkness (Isa 59:9-59:11)

“Therefore justice is far from us.

Righteousness does not reach us.

We look for light.

See!

There is darkness.

We look for brightness.

But we walk in gloom.

We grope along the wall

Like the blind.

We grope

Like those who have no eyes.

We stumble at noon

As in the twilight.

Among the vigorous,

We are like dead.

We all growl like bears.

We moan mournfully like doves.

We wait for justice,

But there is none.

We wait for salvation,

But it is far from us.”

Third Isaiah paints the Israelite community as in a blind darkness. There was no justice or righteousness. They were waiting for light, but there was only darkness. They wanted brightness, but they only had gloom. They were like blind people groping along a wall, as if they had no eyes. They stumbled at noon as if it was twilight. They were like dead people among vigorous live people. They were growling like bears and mourning like doves. They were waiting for justice and salvation, but there was nothing near, only far away things. They were in a dark place.

The suffering servant and the will of Yahweh (Isa 53:10-53:12)

“Yet it was the will of Yahweh

To crush him with pain.

When you make his life

An offering for sin,

He shall see his offspring.

He shall prolong his days.

Through him

The will of Yahweh shall prosper.

Out of his anguish,

He shall see light.

He shall find satisfaction

Through his knowledge.

The righteous one,

My servant,

Shall make many righteous.

He shall bear their iniquities.

Therefore I will allot him

A portion with the great.

He shall divide the spoil

With the strong.

Because he poured out himself

To death.

He was numbered with the transgressors.

Yet he bore the sin of many.

He made intercession for the transgressors.”

Yahweh willed to crush his servant with pain. His life was an offering for sin, so that he would see his offspring and prolong his life. The will of Yahweh would see that he prospered. He would see the light and gain satisfaction from his knowledge. The ending for the suffering servant is that his life is prolonged with offspring, which seems different than the death with the wicked and the rich above. This righteous one would make others righteous people because he bears their iniquities. Thus he will be considered with the great ones. He will get the spoil because he gave of himself even to death. Although he was considered a transgressor, he bore the sins of many. He made intercession for the transgressors. The suffering servant seems to have a happy ending.

The servant of Yahweh suffers for us (Isa 53:4-53:6)

“Surely he has borne our infirmities.

He has carried our diseases.

Yet we accounted him stricken.

He was struck down by God.

He was afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions.

He was crushed for our iniquities.

Upon him

Was the punishment

That made us whole.

By his bruises

We are healed.

All of us

Like sheep

Have gone astray.

We have turned

To our own way.

Yahweh has laid on him

The iniquity of us all.”

According to Second Isaiah, this suffering servant has become a scapegoat for all of us, at least the Israelites. He bears their infirmities and diseases. He suffers their illness for them. God has stricken and afflicted him. He was wounded for their transgressions and crushed for their sins. His punishment made them whole. His bruises healed them. They were like sheep that had gone astray. He carries the iniquity of all of them. Who is this servant? How can it be Israel saving Israel? You can see why the early Christian writers applied these same ideas about this suffering servant in Second Isaiah to Jesus Christ in a more universal appeal.

The legend of King David (Sir 47:2-47:5)

“As the fat is set apart

From the offering of well-being,

So David was set apart

From the Israelites.

He played with lions

As though they were young goats.

He played with bears

As though they were lambs of the flock.

In his youth

Did he not kill a giant?

Did he take away the people’s disgrace?

Did he not whirl the stone in the sling?

Did he not strike down

The boasting Goliath?

He called on the Lord,

The Most High.

He gave him strength

To his right hand.

He struck down a mighty warrior.

He exalted the power of his people.”

Sirach sets out to portray David as a super hero, not just a holy famous man. He was set apart from all Israelites, like the fat at a sacrificial offering. As a young boy, he played with lions and bears as if they were goats and lambs. Then he killed the giant Goliath with his sling shot as found in 1 Samuel, chapter 17. He did this because he had called on the name of the Lord, the Most High God. Thus he exalted the power of his people with all these exploits. This was super David. It is interesting to note that Sirach did not consider the first king of Israel, King Saul, as a famous holy man, only this second king of Israel, the super hero King David.