The house with no foundation (Lk 6:49-6:49)

“But he who hears,

And does not act,

Is like a man

Who built a house

On the ground

Without a foundation.

When the river burst

Against it,

Immediately,

It fell.

Great was the ruin

Of that house.”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀκούσας καὶ μὴ ποιήσας ὅμοιός ἐστιν ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδομήσαντι οἰκίαν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν χωρὶς θεμελίου, ᾗ προσέρηξεν ὁ ποταμός, καὶ εὐθὺς συνέπεσεν, καὶ ἐγένετο τὸ ῥῆγμα τῆς οἰκίας ἐκείνης μέγα.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that the one who heard (ὁ δὲ ἀκούσας) the word of Jesus, but did not act on it (καὶ μὴ ποιήσας), was like a man (ὅμοιός ἐστιν ἀνθρώπῳ) who built a house (οἰκοδομήσαντι οἰκίαν) on ground (ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν) without a foundation (χωρὶς θεμελίου).  When the river streams burst against it (ᾗ προσέρηξεν ὁ ποταμός), immediately (καὶ εὐθὺς), it fell (συνέπεσεν).  Great was the ruin of that house (καὶ ἐγένετο τὸ ῥῆγμα τῆς οἰκίας ἐκείνης μέγα).  This is just like Matthew, chapter 7:26-27, which might indicate a Q source.  The opposite of the preceding verses was present here.  Everyone who heard these words of Jesus, but did nothing about them, as opposed to those who acted upon them, were like a foolish or stupid person.  These foolish people built a house on a sand foundation, sandy ground, or no foundation, not a rock foundation.  It is interesting to note that these must have been former followers of Jesus, since they had heard his words, not people who had never heard about Jesus, indicating a rift among the followers of Jesus.  The rains fell and the floods came.  The winds would blow and beat against this house also.  However, there was a different result here.  This house fell, because it was built on a weak foundation.  The rock foundation was those who had followed the words of Jesus.  The sand foundation was those who heard the words of Jesus but did not follow it.  Their house would suffer not just a fall, but a great fall.  It was not good enough to hear the words of Jesus, you had to act on them.  Is your house built on a weak foundation with no follow through on the words of Jesus?

Build well!

“That one

Who heard his word

And acted on it is

Like a man

Building a house.

He dug deeply.

He laid the foundation

On a rock.

When a flood came,

The river burst

Against that house.

However,

It could not shake it,

Because it had been

Well built.”

 

ὅμοιός ἐστιν ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδομοῦντι οἰκίαν, ὃς ἔσκαψεν καὶ ἐβάθυνεν καὶ ἔθηκεν θεμέλιον ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν· πλημμύρης δὲ γενομένης προσέρηξεν ὁ ποταμὸς τῇ οἰκίᾳ ἐκείνῃ, καὶ οὐκ ἴσχυσεν σαλεῦσαι αὐτὴν διὰ τὸ καλῶς οἰκοδομῆσθαι αὐτήν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said the one who had heard his word and acted on it was like a man building a house (ὅμοιός ἐστιν ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδομοῦντι οἰκίαν).  He dug deeply (ὃς ἔσκαψεν καὶ ἐβάθυνεν).  He laid the foundation on a rock (καὶ ἔθηκεν θεμέλιον ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν).  When a flood came (πλημμύρης δὲ γενομένης), the streams of the river burst against that house (ροσέρηξεν ὁ ποταμὸς τῇ οἰκίᾳ ἐκείνῃ).  However, they could not shake it (καὶ οὐκ ἴσχυσεν σαλεῦσαι αὐτὴν), because it had been well built (διὰ τὸ καλῶς οἰκοδομῆσθαι αὐτήν).  This is just like Matthew, chapter 7:24-25, which might indicate a Q source.  Jesus said there that these wise people built a house on a rock foundation or solid rocky ground.  The rains fell and the floods came.  The winds would blow and beat against this house, but it did not fall, because it was built on a strong foundation.  This rock foundation was the words of Jesus carried out in daily life.  The fairy tale story of the 3 pigs with the brick, straw, and grass houses is similar to this saying about the stone foundation that could not be destroyed.  How have you built your house?

The day of Yahweh is coming (Joel 2:1-2:1)

“Blow the trumpet

In Zion!

Sound the alarm

On my holy mountain!

Let all the inhabitants

Of the land

Tremble!

The day of Yahweh

Is coming!

It is near!”

The day of Yahweh was coming to Zion. Thus, they had to blow the ram’s horn or the trumpet. They had to sound the alarm on the holy mountain in Jerusalem. Everyone in the land should tremble, because the day of Yahweh was coming. In fact, the day was near.

The melting in the furnace of Jerusalem (Ezek 22:19-22:22)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Because you have all become

Worthless dross,

I will gather you

Into the midst of Jerusalem.

As one gathers

Silver,

Bronze,

Iron,

Lead,

Tin,

Into a smelter furnace,

To blow the fire

Upon them,

In order

To melt them.

So I will gather you

In my anger,

In my wrath.

I will put you in

The furnace of Jerusalem.

I will melt you.

I will gather you

I will blow upon you

With the fire

Of my wrath.

You shall be melted

Within it.

As silver is melted

In a smelter furnace,

So you shall be melted

In it.

You shall know

That I,

Yahweh,

Have poured out

My wrath

Upon you.’”

Yahweh said that they all had become worthless dross in Jerusalem. Just like one gathers silver, bronze, iron, lead, and tin to put into a smelter furnace, so too the anger and wrath of Yahweh would gather them together. He would put them into Jerusalem to melt them with the fire of his wrath. He was going to blow fire on them, just like fire on metals in a smelter furnace. Thus they would know that Yahweh had poured out his fiery wrath upon them.

The final punishment (Ezek 21:29-21:32)

“They offer false visions

For you.

They divine lies

For you.

They place you

Over the necks

Of the vile wicked ones.

Their day has come.

The time of final punishment

Has come.

Return it to its sheath!

In the place

Where you were created,

In the land of your origin,

I will judge you.

I will pour out

My indignation

Upon you,

With the fire

Of my wrath.

I will blow

Upon you.

I will deliver you

Into brutish hands,

Those skilful to destroy.

You shall be fuel

For the fire.

Your blood

Shall enter the earth.

You shall be remembered

No more.

I,

Yahweh,

Have spoken.”

These unfaithful ones offer false visions and lies. The vile wicked ones will be over their necks. The day of final punishment has come. They have returned their swords to their sheaths. Yahweh was going to judge them in the place where they were created, the land of their origins. Yahweh was going to pour out his indignation upon them with the fire of his wrath. He was going to blow upon them. He was going to deliver them into skilful brutish hands that would destroy them, so that they would become fuel for the fire. Their blood would fall on the earth. No one would remember them. Yahweh has spoken clearly.

The blow of the tongue (Sir 28:17-28:21)

“The blow of a whip

Raises a welt.

But a blow of the tongue

Crushes the bones.

Many have fallen

By the edge of the sword.

But not as many as have fallen

Because of the tongue.

Happy is the one

Who is protected from it.

Happy is the one

Who has not been exposed to its anger.

Happy is the one

Who has not borne its yoke.

Happy is the one

Who has not been bound

With its fetters.

Its yoke is

A yoke of iron.

Its fetters are

Fetters of bronze.

Its death is an evil death.

Hades is preferable to it.”

A blow of the tongue is worse than a blow from a whip because the blow from the tongue crushes your bones, not merely a welt on your skin. This blow of the tongue is something that somebody has said that ruins your life. More people have fallen from this blow of the tongue than from the sword. You will be happy if you are protected from this blow from the tongue. If you have not been exposed to its anger or yoke, consider yourself happy. The blow of the tongue is like being put in bronze chains with an iron yoke on your neck. Hades would be preferable to the slow evil death from a blow of the tongue. Be careful when you say things about others.

Quarrels (Sir 28:8-28:12)

“Refrain from strife.

Your sins will be fewer.

The hot tempered kindle strife.

The sinner disrupts friendships.

The sinner sows discord

Among those who are at peace.

In proportion to the fuel,

So will the fire burn.

In proportion to the obstinacy,

So will strife increase.

In proportion to a person’s strength,

So will be his anger.

In proportion to his wealth,

So he will increase his wrath.

A hasty quarrel kindles a fire.

A hasty dispute sheds blood.

If you blow on a spark,

It will glow.

If you spit on it,

It will be put out.

Yet both come out of your mouth.”

Sirach reminds us of the problems with quarrels and arguments. If you refrain from conflicts, your sins will be less. Usually it is the hot tempered people who start disputes. Sinners disrupt friendships. They sow discord among peacemakers. Then Sirach has a number of proportional examples. The more fuel you have, the more the fire burns. The more stubborn you are, the more disagreements you create. The stronger you are, the more you will be angry. The more wealth that you have, the more fury you will have. Sometimes it is a hasty quarrel that starts a fire that leads to bloodshed. However, you have control with your mouth. You can either blow on the spark to increase the flame or spit on the spark to put it out. The choice is yours, spit or blow on the spark of a fire to increase or decrease the argument.

Her response (Song 4:16-4:16)

Female lover

“Awake!

O north wind!

Come!

O south wind!

Blow upon my garden!

Let its fragrance be wafted abroad.

Let my beloved come to his garden.

Let him eat its choicest fruits.”

The female lover wants the winds, both north and south, to blow on her garden so that the fragrance would go out. Thus her male lover would smell this and come to the garden to eat her choicest fruits. There may be sexual overtures in this metaphor. However, this is one of the biblical passages that puts an emphasis on the sense of smell.

The cruel painful illness of King Antiochus IV (2 Macc 9:5-9:10)

“But the all-seeing Lord, the God of Israel, struck him an incurable and unseen blow. As soon as he stopped speaking he was seized with a pain in his bowels with sharp internal tortures, for which there was no relief. That was very just, for he had tortured the bowels of others with many and strange inflictions. Yet he did not in any way stop his insolence. He was even more filled with arrogance, breathing fire in his rage against the Jews. He gave orders to drive even faster. So it came about that he fell out of his chariot as it was rushing along. The fall was so hard as to torture every limb of his body. Thus only a little while before, he had thought in his super human arrogance that he could command the waves of the sea. He imagined that he could weigh the high mountains in a balance. Finally, he was brought down to earth. He was carried in a litter, making the power of God manifest to all. Worms swarmed all over the ungodly man’s body. While he was still living in anguish and pain, his flesh rotted away. Because of the stench, the whole army felt revulsion at his decay. Because of his intolerable stench, no one was able to carry the man who a little while before had thought that he could touch the stars of heaven.”

Here the cause of the illness of King Antiochus IV was not depression but the God of Israel who struck him down. Notice that it is the God of Israel not the almighty Shaddai God who struck him down. This biblical author went into great detail about his illness. The king had a bowel problem because he had tortured others with infliction of various stomach disorders. He still wanted to get to Jerusalem so he asked his chariot to go faster. However, then he fell out of the chariot causing him even more pain. King Antiochus IV had been arrogant so that he thought that he could command the sea waves, measure the height of mountains, and touch the stars. However, his body swarmed with worms as it rotted away. There was a terrible smell about him that kept people away from him. The great king was reduced to a smelly sick pain filled old man.

What to do with the fish gall, heart, and liver (Tob 6:6-6:9)

“The two continued on their way together until they were near Media. Then the young man questioned the angel.

‘Brother Azariah,

What medicinal value is there in the fish’s heart, liver and gall?’

He replied.

‘As for the fish’s heart and liver,

You must burn them to make smoke

In the presence of a man or woman afflicted by a demon or evil spirit. Every affliction will flee away

And never remain with that person any longer.

As for the gall,

Anoint a person’s eyes where white films have appeared on them. Blow upon them,

Upon the white films,

And the eyes will be healed.’”

As they approached Media, Tobias asked the angel what kind of medicinal value was the fish’s heart, liver, and gall. He always called him Azariah. The angel explained that the heart and liver had to be burned to make smoke in the presence of anyone who was afflicted with an evil spirit or demon. Done properly, all the evil spirit afflictions will flee and never return. The fish gall, on the other hand, should be put on the eyes of a man who has white film on his eyes. This fish gall anointing would heal the eyes after you blow on it. Thus the fish parts are a key to this story as it unfolds.