Soldiers (Lk 3:14-3:14)

“Soldiers

Also asked him.

‘What shall we do?’

John said to them.

‘Do not intimidate

People!

Do not falsely

Accuse people!

Be content

With your wages!’”

 

ἐπηρώτων δὲ αὐτὸν καὶ στρατευόμενοι λέγοντες Τί ποιήσωμεν καὶ ἡμεῖς; καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Μηδένα διασείσητε μηδὲ συκοφαντήσητε, καὶ ἀρκεῖσθε τοῖς ὀψωνίοις ὑμῶν.

 

This final unique saying of Luke about John and his preaching was a dialogue with some soldiers, that is not found elsewhere in the biblical writings.  Luke said that some soldiers also asked John (ἐπηρώτων δὲ αὐτὸν καὶ στρατευόμενοι λέγοντες) what they should do (Τί ποιήσωμεν καὶ ἡμεῖς).  John told them (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) not to intimidate people or use false accusations (Μηδένα διασείσητε μηδὲ συκοφαντήσητε).  They should be content with their wages (καὶ ἀρκεῖσθε τοῖς ὀψωνίοις ὑμῶν).  Once again Luke has John respond with a call for justice, fairness, and honesty.  These Jewish soldiers of Herod Antipas were perhaps a little cruel or crude in their everyday life activities.

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Tax collectors (Lk 3:12-3:12)

“Even tax collectors

Came to be baptized.

They asked him.

‘Teacher!

What shall we do?’”

 

ἦλθον δὲ καὶ τελῶναι βαπτισθῆναι καὶ εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτόν Διδάσκαλε, τί ποιήσωμεν;

 

This is another one of the unique sayings of Luke about John and his preaching that is not found elsewhere in the biblical writings.  Luke said that even tax collectors came to be baptized (ἦλθον δὲ καὶ τελῶναι βαπτισθῆναι).  They asked John (καὶ εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτόν), as their teacher (Διδάσκαλε), what they should do (τί ποιήσωμεν).  Tax collectors had a special role in the biblical writings as they were considered like traitors to the Jewish people, since these were Jewish people who collected the Roman tax from the local people.  However, they seemed capable of repentance, as here they were seeking baptism from John.

Sharing (Lk 3:11-3:11)

“In reply,

John said to them.

‘Whoever has two coats,

Must share

With anyone

Who has none.

Whoever has food,

Must do likewise.’”

 

ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς Ὁ ἔχων δύο χιτῶνας μεταδότω τῷ μὴ ἔχοντι, καὶ ὁ ἔχων βρώματα ὁμοίως ποιείτω.

 

Luke continued with his unique sayings about John and his preaching that are not found elsewhere in the biblical writings.  Luke said that John responded to them (ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς) that whoever had two coats or tunics (Ὁ ἔχων δύο χιτῶνας) must share with someone who has none (μεταδότω τῷ μὴ ἔχοντι).  Whoever has food (καὶ ὁ ἔχων βρώματα), must likewise share their food (ὁμοίως ποιείτω).  John was preaching the idea of sharing clothing and food as a primary action for those who followed John and his teachings about repentance.

What shall we do? (Lk 3:10-3:10)

“The crowds

Asked him.

‘What then should we do?’”

 

Καὶ ἐπηρώτων αὐτὸν οἱ ὄχλοι λέγοντες Τί οὖν ποιήσωμεν;

 

Now there are a series of unique sayings of Luke about John and his preaching that are not found elsewhere in the biblical writings.  Apparently, there were a number of questions that people were asking John.  Luke said that the crowds asked him (Καὶ ἐπηρώτων αὐτὸν οἱ ὄχλοι λέγοντες) what should they do (Τί οὖν ποιήσωμεν)?  John was considered to be a moral teacher.  Thus, the crowds of people who came to repent with baptism wanted to know what were they to do now that they were baptized.  What did repentance look like?

The future resurrection (Dan 12:2-12:3)

“Many of those

Who sleep

In the dust

Of the earth

Shall awake.

Some shall awake

To everlasting life.

Some shall awake

To shame,

To everlasting contempt.

Those who are wise

Shall shine

Like the brightness

Of the sky.

Those who lead many

To righteousness,

Shall shine

Like the stars

Forever and ever.”

Here is the first explicit mention of an afterlife resurrection in the Biblical writings.  Once again, Gabriel was explaining to Daniel what the end times would be like.  Notice that not all people would raise from the dead, only many.  Some will awake to an everlasting life, while others will awaken to shame and everlasting contempt.  The wise ones and the righteous ones would shine like the brightness of the sky and the stars, forever and ever.  Perhaps, this is an indication of a glorified shinny body.

Daniel’s accusers were put in the lion’s den (Dan 6:24-6:24)

“The king

Gave a command.

Those men,

Who had accused Daniel,

Were brought to him.

He threw them

Into the den of lions.

He not only threw them,

But their children,

With their wives.

Before they reached

The bottom

Of the den,

The lions

Overpowered them.

The lions broke

All their bones

Into pieces.”

In a reversal of fortunes, which is common among the biblical writings, like in Esther, chapter 6, the conspirators and their families were put into the lion’s den. Before they hit the bottom of the den, the lions had overpowered them, their children, and their wives. All their bones were broken into pieces. The moral of the story is not to be a conspirator.

The book of Jeremiah in the Euphrates River (Jer 51:63-51:64)

“When you finish

Reading this scroll,

Tie a stone to it.

Throw it into

The middle

Of the Euphrates River.

Say.

‘Thus shall Babylon sink.

It will rise no more,

because of the disasters

That I am bringing on her.’”

When Seraiah had finished reading the scroll, he was to tie a stone to it and throw it into the middle of the Euphrates River. This symbolic act was to show that just as the words in this scroll sank with the stone, so would Babylon sink also. It would never rise again, because of all the disasters that Yahweh was going to bring to Babylon. Thus we have another example of biblical writings and how they were used.