Pilate gave the body to Joseph (Mk 15:45-15:45)

“When he learned

From the centurion

That Jesus was dead,

He granted

The body

To Joseph.”

 

καὶ γνοὺς ἀπὸ τοῦ κεντυρίωνος ἐδωρήσατο τὸ πτῶμα τῷ Ἰωσήφ.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 27:58.  Luke, chapter 23:52, and John, chapter 19:38, who simply had this short statement, without any comment from Pilate.  Mark said when Pilate learned from the centurion (καὶ γνοὺς ἀπὸ τοῦ κεντυρίωνος) that Jesus was dead, he granted the body to Joseph (ἐδωρήσατο τὸ πτῶμα τῷ Ἰωσήφ).  Thus, the body of Jesus left the control of the Roman and the Jewish authorities.  However, there was no mention of the bodies of the other two robbers who had been crucified with Jesus.

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Tombs opened (Mt 27:52-27:52)

“The tombs also

Were opened.

Many bodies

Of the saints,

Who had fallen asleep.

Were raised.”

 

καὶ τὰ μνημεῖα ἀνεῴχθησαν καὶ πολλὰ σώματα τῶν κεκοιμημένων ἁγίων ἠγέρθησαν·

 

This is unique to Matthew, since the other 3 gospels do not mention anything about tombs, bodies, or saints being raised.  However, Matthew clearly said that the tombs were also opened (καὶ τὰ μνημεῖα ἀνεῴχθησαν), so that many bodies of the holy saints, who had fallen asleep (καὶ πολλὰ σώματα τῶν κεκοιμημένων ἁγίων), arose or were raised up (ἠγέρθησαν).  It was the general Jewish expectation that at the end times, the Day of Yahweh, that the dead would rise, especially among the Pharisees.  The holy ones or saints were the righteous ones who had died before Jesus.

The strange creatures in the foreign temples (Bar 6:20-6:23)

“The idols are just

Like a beam

In the temple.

It is said

That their hearts

Are eaten away,

When crawling creatures

From the earth

Devour them,

Along with their robes.

They do not notice

When their faces

Have been blackened

By the smoke

Of the temple.

Bats,

Swallows,

Birds,

As well as cats

Alight on their bodies

As well as their heads.

From this

You will know

That they are not gods.

So do not fear them!”

This author elaborates about the conditions that idols have in the foreign temples. They are just like wooden beams in the temple. Their hearts are being eaten away by crawling creatures that devour them along with their precious robes. These false idols do not even notice when their faces become blackened by the smoke in the temple. There are all kinds of creatures all over them. Bats, cats, swallows, and other birds have landed on their heads and bodies. Thus they should know that these are not really gods. Thus, there is nothing to fear from them.

Filling the large cistern pit with dead people (Jer 41:9-41:9)

“Now the cistern

Into which Ishmael

Had thrown

All the bodies

Of the men

Whom he had struck down

Was the large cistern

That King Asa

Had made for defense

Against King Baasha

Of Israel.

Ishmael,

The son of Nethaniah,

Filled that cistern

With those

Whom he had killed.”

Jeremiah explains that this big cistern was able to hold 80 bodies because this cistern was more like a pit or a trench that King Asa of Judah (911-870 BCE) had built over 300 years earlier. At that time he was having a war standoff with King Baasha of Israel (909-886 BCE) about Ramah. Thus, he built the city of Mizpah according to 1 Kings, chapter 15. This was then some kind of large trench pit rather than a simple well, so that it was able to hold all these bodies. There was no mention of the bodies of the other Judeans and Chaldeans who had been killed a couple of days earlier.

Religious vows (Prov 20:25-20:30)

“It is a snare for one to say rashly.

‘It is holy.’

Then only begin to reflect after making a vow.

A wise king winnows the wicked.

He drives the wheel over them.

The human spirit is the lamp of Yahweh.

It searches every innermost part.

Loyalty and faithfulness preserve the king.

His throne is upheld by righteousness.

The glory of young men is their strength.

The beauty of the aged is their gray hair.

Blows that wound

Cleanse away evil.

Strokes make clean the innermost parts.”

Watch out for snares or traps. When someone thinks that something is holy and then makes a vow, they might be caught because only later do they think about what they just agreed to do. A wise king winnows or gets rid of the wicked ones. Then he drives a wheel over them. The human spirit is like God’s lamp that searches his most inner part. If the king is loyal and faithful he will preserve himself. Righteousness keeps the king on his throne. The glory of young people is their strength. However, the aged are beautiful because of their wonderful gray hair. Any blows that wound people clean up any evil in them. These strokes clean the innermost parts of their human bodies. This seems like an argument for corporal punishment.

National lament (Ps 79:1-79:4)

A psalm of Asaph

“O God!

The nations have come into your inheritance.

They have defiled your holy temple.

They have laid Jerusalem in ruins.

They have given the bodies of your servants

To the birds of the air for food.

The flesh of your faithful has been given

To the wild animals of the earth.

They have poured out their blood like water,

All around Jerusalem.

There was no one to bury them.

We have become a taunt to our neighbors.

We are mocked.

We are derided

By those around us.”

Psalm 79 is another psalm of Asaph. This national lamentation deplores the defeat and ruin of Jerusalem and its Temple, probably at the time of the captivity around 587 BCE. The bodies of the faithful were given over to the birds of the air and the wild animals. Their blood was all around Jerusalem. No one was there to bury them. The Israelites had become a taunt to their neighbors. They were mocked and derided by everybody around them.

Zophar responded about the wicked ones (Job 20:1-20:11)

“Then Zophar the Naamathite answered.

‘Pay attention!

My thoughts urge me to answer,

Because of the agitation within me.

I hear censure that insults me.

A spirit beyond my understanding answers me.

Do you not know this from of old?

Ever since man was placed on earth,

The exulting of the wicked is short.

The joy of the godless is but for a moment.

Even though they mount up high as the heavens,

Even if their head reaches to the clouds,

They will perish forever like their own dung.

Those who have seen them will say.

‘Where are they?’

They will fly away like a dream.

They will not be found.

They will be chased away like a vision of the night.

The eye that saw them will see them no more.

Their place will not behold them anymore.

Their children will seek the favor of the poor.

Their hands will give back their wealth.

Their bodies,

Once full of youthful vigor,

Will lie down in the dust with them.’”

Zophar said that he could not restrain himself anymore since he was so agitated about this matter. He maintained that since the beginning of man on earth, the wicked have tried to succeed. However, they have been unsuccessful. Their joy is fleeting, even though they have tried to reach the heavens. The wicked would perish like their own dung. They will seem to vanish as if they were never here. Eyes will not seem them anymore. Their children will be like the poor as their wealth will be dissipated. Their bodies would return to dust.