The cured Samaritan leper (Lk 17:16-17:16)

“He prostrated himself

At Jesus’ feet.

He thanked Jesus.

He was a Samaritan.”

 

καὶ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον παρὰ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ εὐχαριστῶν αὐτῷ· καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν Σαμαρείτης.

 

Only Luke has this story about the curing of the ten lepers.  Luke indicated that this one cured leper prostrated himself or fell on his face (καὶ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον) at Jesus’ feet (παρὰ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ).  He thanked Jesus (εὐχαριστῶν αὐτῷ).  It turns out that he was a Samaritan (καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν Σαμαρείτης).  As this town was on the border between Galilee and Samaria, one of these lepers was a Samaritan.  Luke once again emphasized the role of a Samaritan.  In fact, this Samaritan leper was the only cured leper to return and prostrate himself at the feet of Jesus, thanking him.  The others went on their way to see the Jewish priests in Jerusalem for the ritual cleansing.  Was this cured leper Samaritan not going to go to the Judean priest for a cleansing anyway, since he would have gone to Mt. Gerizim?  Have you ever felt not like part of the group?

 

The capture and killing of the Judean leaders (Jer 52:25-52:27)

“From the city,

Nebuzaradan

Took an officer,

Who had been in command

Of the soldiers.

He took

Seven men

Of the king’s council

Who were found in the city.

He took the secretary,

Of the commander of the army,

Who mustered the people

Of the land.

He also took sixty men

Of the people

Of the land

Who were found

Inside the city.

Then Nebuzaradan,

The captain of the guard,

Brought them

To the king of Babylon

At Riblah.

The king of Babylon

Struck them down.

He put them

To death

At Riblah

In the land of Hamath.”

This section is practically word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 25. Nebuzaradan, the Babylonian captain of the guard, took the commander of the army, the men of the king’s council, the secretary of the army, and anyone still left in Jerusalem. Here it is 7 men, while in 2 Kings, it was only 5 men. He brought them to Riblah, a city in Syria, in the land of Hamath, that was on the border with Palestine on the main route from Syria. There the king of Babylon killed them.

Against the cities of Ammon (Jer 49:2-49:3)

“Says Yahweh.

‘Therefore,

The time is surely coming,

When I will sound

The battle alarm

Against Rabbah

Of the Ammonites.

It shall become

A desolate mound.

Its villages

Shall be burned

With fire.

Then Israel shall dispossess

Those who dispossessed him.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Wail!

O Heshbon!

Ai is laid waste!

Cry out!

O daughters of Rabbah!

Put on sackcloth!

Lament!

Slash yourselves

With whips!

Milcom shall go

Into exile,

With his priests,

With his attendants.’”

Yahweh spoke about the destruction of the major cities in Ammon. Rabbah was the capital city of Ammon that would become a desolate mound with its various villages around it. They would be burned to the ground. Thus the dispossessed Israelites would be able to re-possess it. However, it is not the Israelites who are invading, but the Babylonians. Heshbon was the ancient city of King Sihon that had been captured by the Israelites. It was part of the Reuben territory and then Gad territory, since it was almost on the border between Moab and Ammon. The city of Ai was near Bethel in the Benjamin territory on the west side of the Jordan River. However, here this is another otherwise unknown city named Ai near Heshbon. All of these cities were going to lament their situation with mourning and sack cloth. Their god Milcom with his priests and attendants would also go into exile.

The gathering from all over (Isa 49:12-49:12)

“Look!

These shall come from far away.

Look!

These shall come from the north.

These shall come from the west.

These shall come from the land of Syene.”

The new Israelites would come from all over. Second Isaiah has them come from the north and the west. There is also a special mention of the city of Syene, which is on the border of Egypt and Ethiopia, what is now called Assouan. The book of Ezekiel, the prophet, also mentions this town in chapters 29-30, but there is no other mention of it in the biblical literature.

The mighty Bashan Mountains (Ps 68:15-68:16)

“O mighty mountain!

Mountain of Bashan!

O many-peaked mountain!

Mountain of Bashan!

O many-peaked mountain!

Why do you look with envy

At the mount that God desired for his abode?

Yahweh will reside there forever.”

The mighty Bashan Mountains, east of the Sea of Galilee, today are called the Golan Heights, the border between Israel and Syria. These peaked mountains were a place of dispute in the biblical times, and even today. These mountains looked with envy on the mountain that Yahweh chose to abide, which would be Mount Zion in Jerusalem. Thus we have the personification of mountains.