The man with the unclean spirit (Mk 5:2-5:3)

“When Jesus

Stepped out of the boat,

Immediately,

A man

Out of the tombs,

With an unclean spirit,

Met him.

He lived

Among the tombs.

No one could restrain him

Any more,

Even with chains.”

 

καὶ ἐξελθόντος αὐτοῦ ἐκ τοῦ πλοίου, εὐθὺς ὑπήντησεν αὐτῷ ἐκ τῶν μνημείων ἄνθρωπος ἐν πνεύματι ἀκαθάρτῳ,

ὃς τὴν κατοίκησιν εἶχεν ἐν τοῖς μνήμασιν, καὶ οὐδὲ ἁλύσει οὐκέτι οὐδεὶς ἐδύνατο αὐτὸν δῆσαι

 

All three synoptic gospels. Matthew, chapter 8:28 and Luke, chapter 8:26-27, have Jesus travel to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.  Mark, like Luke, said that Jesus met a man as he stepped out of the boat (καὶ ἐξελθόντος αὐτοῦ ἐκ τοῦ πλοίου).  Matthew had Jesus meet 2 people possessed by the devil, who were menacing people as they passed by.  Here Mark has Jesus immediately meet one person coming out of the tombs (εὐθὺς ὑπήντησεν αὐτῷ ἐκ τῶν μνημείων ἄνθρωπος) with an unclean spirit (ἐν πνεύματι ἀκαθάρτῳ).  This demonic person lived among the tombs (ὃς τὴν κατοίκησιν εἶχεν ἐν τοῖς μνήμασιν).  No one could restrain or bind him (οὐδεὶς ἐδύνατο αὐτὸν δῆσαι), even with chains (καὶ οὐδὲ ἁλύσει οὐκέτι).  This was a strong violent possessed person.

Throw him out of the feast (Mt 22:12-22:13)

“The king said to him.

‘Friend!

How did you get in here

Without a wedding garment?’

He was speechless.

Then the king said

To the attendants,

‘Bind him

Hand and foot!

Throw him

Into the outer darkness.

There will be weeping.

There will be gnashing

Of teeth.’”

 

καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Ἑταῖρε, πῶς εἰσῆλθες ὧδε μὴ ἔχων ἔνδυμα γάμου; ὁ δὲ ἐφιμώθη.

τότε ὁ βασιλεὺς εἶπεν τοῖς διακόνοις Δήσαντες αὐτοῦ πόδας καὶ χεῖρας ἐκβάλετε αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ σκότος τὸ ἐξώτερον· ἐκεῖ ἔσται ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων.

 

This is unique to Matthew.  Jesus said that the king addressed this man (καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ) without a wedding garment with a sarcastic greeting of “Friend (Ἑταῖρε).”  How had he gotten into the wedding banquet without a wedding garment (ὧδε μὴ ἔχων ἔνδυμα γάμου)?  The man without the wedding robe was speechless or silent (ὁ δὲ ἐφιμώθη).  Then the king told his serving attendants (ότε ὁ βασιλεὺς εἶπεν τοῖς διακόνοις) to tie him up hand and foot (Δήσαντες αὐτοῦ πόδας καὶ χεῖρας) and throw him into the extreme darkness (ἐκβάλετε αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ σκότος τὸ ἐξώτερον).  There would be weeping gnashing of teeth out there in this darkness (ἐκεῖ ἔσται ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων), the traditional way of mourning.  The moral of this parable was always wear the right clothes for every occasion.

Jesus rewards Peter for his response (Mt 16:18-16:19)

“I tell you!

You are Peter!

On this rock

I will build my church.

The gates of Hades

Shall not prevail against it.

I will give you

The keys

To the kingdom of heaven.

Whatever you bind

On earth

Shall be bound

In heaven.

Whatever you loose

On earth

Shall be loosed

In heaven.”

 

κἀγὼ δέ σοι λέγω ὅτι σὺ εἶ Πέτρος, καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, καὶ πύλαι Ἅιδου οὐ κατισχύσουσιν αὐτῆς.

δώσω σοι τὰς κλεῖδας τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν, καὶ ὃ ἐὰν δήσῃς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἔσται δεδεμένον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, καὶ ὃ ἐὰν λύσῃς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἔσται λελυμένον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς.

 

This reward bestowal of power on Peter is unique to Matthew.  Jesus, via Matthew, asserted the authority of Peter in a very formal way with a solemn pronouncement (κἀγὼ δέ σοι λέγω).  Peter (ὅτι σὺ εἶ Πέτρος) was going to be the rock of Jesus’ new church community (καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν).  Notice the play on words of Peter “Πέτρος” and rock “πέτρᾳ.”  The gates of hell (καὶ πύλαι Ἅιδου) would not prevail (οὐ κατισχύσουσιν αὐτῆς) against this rock of a church, congregation, or assembly “ἐκκλησία.”  Matthew is the only biblical writer to use the phrase “gates of hell or Hades” (πύλαι Ἅιδου).”  Peter would receive the keys to the kingdom of heaven (δώσω σοι τὰς κλεῖδας τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν), as the gatekeeper of heaven.  Whatever he did on earth would be bound (καὶ ὃ ἐὰν δήσῃς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἔσται δεδεμένον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς) or loosed in heaven (καὶ ὃ ἐὰν λύσῃς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἔσται λελυμένον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς).  Peter was no longer a mere informal leader, but the true man in charge here on earth with heavenly consequences, much like the Israelite high priests.  This of course has led to the so-called Petrine privilege, the power of Peter as handed down via the bishop of Rome.  As the first bishop of Rome, the power of Peter passed on to the bishop successors of Peter in Rome.  Thus, the bishop of Rome became known as the Pope or papa of the Christian Church in later centuries.

Separate at harvest time (Mt 13:28-13:30)

“The householder answered.

‘An enemy has done this.’

The slaves or servants said to him.

`Then do you want us to go

And gather them?’

But he replied.

‘No!

In gathering the weeds,

You would uproot the wheat

Along with them.

Let both of them grow together

Until the harvest.

At harvest time,

I will tell the reapers,

‘Collect the weeds first!

Bind them in bundles to be burned!

But gather the wheat into my barn.’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἔφη αὐτοῖς Ἐχθρὸς ἄνθρωπος τοῦτο ἐποίησεν. οἱ δὲ δοῦλοι αὐτῷ λέγουσιν Θέλεις οὖν ἀπελθόντες συλλέξωμεν αὐτά;

ὁ δέ φησιν Οὔ, μή ποτε συλλέγοντες τὰ ζιζάνια ἐκριζώσητε ἅμα αὐτοῖς τὸν σῖτον·

ἄφετε συναυξάνεσθαι ἀμφότερα ἕως τοῦ θερισμοῦ· καὶ ἐν καιρῷ τοῦ θερισμοῦ ἐρῶ τοῖς θερισταῖς Συλλέξατε πρῶτον τὰ ζιζάνια καὶ δήσατε αὐτὰ εἰς δέσμας πρὸς τὸ κατακαῦσαι αὐτά, τὸν δὲ σῖτον συναγάγετε εἰς τὴν ἀποθήκην μου.

 

There is no equivalent to this parable in the other synoptic gospels.   Only Matthew has this parable about the good seed and the weeds.  The head of the house answered his slaves or servants (ὁ δὲ ἔφη αὐτοῖς).  He said that an unnamed enemy had done this (Ἐχθρὸς ἄνθρωπος τοῦτο ἐποίησεν).  The slaves or servants wanted to know what to do (οἱ δὲ δοῦλοι αὐτῷ λέγουσιν Θέλεις).  Did he want them to gather up the weeds (οὖν ἀπελθόντες συλλέξωμεν αὐτά)?  The head of the house said no (ὁ δέ φησιν Οὔ).  He was afraid that they would uproot the wheat along with the weeds (μή ποτε συλλέγοντες τὰ ζιζάνια ἐκριζώσητε ἅμα αὐτοῖς τὸν σῖτον).  Instead he wanted both of them to grow together until the harvest time (ἄφετε συναυξάνεσθαι ἀμφότερα ἕως τοῦ θερισμοῦ).  Then he would tell the harvest reapers to collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned (καὶ ἐν καιρῷ τοῦ θερισμοῦ ἐρῶ τοῖς θερισταῖς Συλλέξατε πρῶτον τὰ ζιζάνια καὶ δήσατε αὐτὰ εἰς δέσμας πρὸς τὸ κατακαῦσαι αὐτά).  Then, they were to gather the wheat grains into his barn (τὸν δὲ σῖτον συναγάγετε εἰς τὴν ἀποθήκην μου).  There was no explanation of this parable, but the sense is that the good and bad should live together until the harvest end times, when the bad would be burned.

Return to Yahweh (Hos 6:1-6:3)

“Come!

Let us return to Yahweh!

He has torn us.

He will heal us.

He has struck us down.

He will bind us up.

After two days,

He will revive us.

On the third day,

He will raise us up,

That we may live

Before him.

Let us know!

Let us press on

To know Yahweh!

His appearing is

As sure

As the dawn.

He will come to us

Like the showers,

Like the spring rains

That water the earth.”

Hosea asked his listeners to return to Yahweh. Although, Yahweh had torn them down, now he would heal them. He had struck them down. Now he would bind them up. After 2 days, he would revive them. On the 3rd day, he would raise them up, a theme of the early Christian writers. Thus, they might live in the sight of Yahweh. They would want to know Yahweh, since his appearance was as sure as the daily dawn of the sun. He would come to them, like a soft shower or spring rain that waters the earth and makes it grow. So, the same thing would happen to these Israelites.

Daniel repeats the dream wish of the holy watcher (Dan 4:23-4:23)

“The king saw

A holy watcher

Coming down

From heaven.

He said.

‘Cut down the tree!

Destroy it!

But leave its stump!

Leave its roots

In the ground!

Let it be bound

With a band

Of iron,

As well as bronze,

In the grass

Of the field!

Let him be bathed

With the dew of heaven!

Let his lot be

With the animals

Of the field,

Until seven times

It passes over him!’”

Daniel then repeated the dream wish of the holy watcher or the angel from heaven. The tree had to be cut down and destroyed. However, this holy watcher or angel told the king to leave its stump and its roots in the ground. They were to bind this stump with an iron and bronze band in the grassy field, so that heavenly dew would fall on it. This tree has suddenly become a ‘he,’ a masculine personality that will have to suffer like the animals of the grassy field. This was to last at least 7 years or pass over him 7 times.

Save the stump (Dan 4:15-4:16)

“‘But leave its stump!

Leave its roots

In the ground!

Let it be bound

With a band

Of iron,

As well as bronze,

In the tender grass

Of the field.

Let him be bathed

With the dew of heaven!

Let his lot be

With the animals

Of the field

In the grass

Of the earth!

Let his mind

Be changed

From that of a human!

Let the mind

Of an animal

Be given to him!

Let seven times

Pass over him!’”

This holy watcher or angel told the king to leave the stump of the tree with its roots in the ground. They were to bind this stump with an iron and bronze band in a grassy field, so that heavenly dew would fall on it. This tree has suddenly become a ‘he,’ a masculine personality, that will have to suffer like the animals of the grass fields. The human mind of this tree stump was to be changed to that of an animal. This was to last at least 7 years or pass over him 7 times.