The excuse of new property (Lk 14:18-14:18)

“But they all alike

Began

To make excuses.

The first said to him.

‘I have bought

A piece of land.

I must go out

To see it.

Please!

Accept my regrets!”

 

καὶ ἤρξαντο ἀπὸ μιᾶς πάντες παραιτεῖσθαι. ὁ πρῶτος εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ἀγρὸν ἠγόρασα, καὶ ἔχω ἀνάγκην ἐξελθὼν ἰδεῖν αὐτόν· ἐρωτῶ σε, ἔχε με παρῃτημένον.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that they all began to make excuses, to excuse themselves (καὶ ἤρξαντο ἀπὸ μιᾶς πάντες παραιτεῖσθαι).  The first one said to the slave (ὁ πρῶτος εἶπεν αὐτῷ) that he had just bought a piece of land (Ἀγρὸν ἠγόρασα).  Thus, he had to go out to see it (καὶ ἔχω ἀνάγκην ἐξελθὼν ἰδεῖν αὐτόν).  Therefore, he politely (ἐρωτῶ σε) wanted to be excused from going to the banquet (ἔχε με παρῃτημένον).  Matthew, chapter 22:3-5, said that they would not come or did not wish to come (καὶ οὐκ ἤθελον ἐλθεῖν), without giving excuses.  Now, this was a problem.  They have refused an invitation to the wedding banquet of God, the Father, the king.  He had sent his slaves, the prophets or the apostles, to call them, but they still did not want to come to the wedding feast.  In fact, Matthew said that the invitees made light of these inviting slaves.  They disregarded or disrespected (οἱ δὲ ἀμελήσαντες) the invitation.  They simply went on with their daily lives.  They went (ἀπῆλθον) either to their own farm field (ὃς μὲν εἰς τὸν ἴδιον ἀγρόν), or to their trading business (ὃς δὲ ἐπὶ τὴν ἐμπορίαν αὐτοῦ).  They were too busy to go to a wedding feast.  Have you ever been too busy to go to a wedding reception?

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Joseph puts the body of Jesus in a tomb (Mk 15:46-15:46)

“Then Joseph bought

A linen cloth.

He took the body down.

He wrapped it

In the linen cloth.

He laid it

In a tomb

That had been hewn

Out of the rock.

He then rolled

A stone

Against the door

Of the tomb.”

 

καὶ ἀγοράσας σινδόνα καθελὼν αὐτὸν ἐνείλησεν τῇ σινδόνι καὶ κατέθηκεν αὐτὸν ἐν μνήματι ὃ ἦν λελατομημένον ἐκ πέτρας, καὶ προσεκύλισεν λίθον ἐπὶ τὴν θύραν τοῦ μνημείου.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 27:59-60, and Luke, chapter 23:53, almost word for word.  John, chapter 19:38-41 introduced Nicodemus into this burial ritual.  Mark said that Joseph brought a clean linen cloth (καὶ ἀγοράσας σινδόνα).  He took the body down from the cross (καθελὼν αὐτὸν).  These biblical texts do not explain if he needed help with this task.  Then he wrapped the body in the linen cloth (ἐνείλησεν τῇ σινδόνι).  Finally, he laid Jesus’ body in his own new tomb (καὶ κατέθηκεν αὐτὸν ἐν μνήματι), that he had carved or hewn in a rock (ὃ ἦν λελατομημένον ἐκ πέτρας).  He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb (καὶ προσεκύλισεν λίθον ἐπὶ τὴν θύραν τοῦ μνημείου).  This seemed like a private one-person burial ritual.

The selling of the sheep (Zech 11:4-11:5)

“Thus said Yahweh my God.

‘Be a shepherd

For the flock doomed to slaughter!

Those who buy them,

Kill them.

They go unpunished.’

Those who sell them say.

‘Blessed be Yahweh!

I have become rich!’

Their own shepherds

Have no pity on them.’”

Yahweh, via Zechariah, seems to say that this flock of sheep was doomed to slaughter.  The people who bought the sheep, killed them, but they would go unpunished.  Meanwhile, the sellers of the sheep were praising Yahweh, because they had become rich.  The original shepherds had no pity on the sheep.  Sheep by their very nature would be killed for eating, but not before their wool was sheared.  This may be an allusion to the Ptolemaic rule (305-275 BCE) with their Israelite appointees.

Hosea buys a prostitute (Hos 3:2-3: 3)

“So,

I bought her

For fifteen shekels

Of silver,

As well as a homer

Of barley,

With a measure

Of wine.

I said to her.

‘You must dwell

As mine

For many days.

You shall not play

The prostitute.

You shall not have

Intercourse

With a man.

Nor will I have

Intercourse with you.’”

Is Hosea buying back Gomer or another woman? The assumption is that this is Gomer, the original prostitute. He purchased her like a slave. It is not clear who he bought her from. Nevertheless, he paid 15 silver shekels, approximately a little over $3,000.00 for her, as well as some barley and wine. Hosea laid down some conditions for his newly purchased sex slave. She could not be a prostitute. She would not have intercourse with any man, not even himself. This would seem to indicate that women needed to control their sexual urges more than men, which seems unrealistic.

The restoration of good fields (Jer 32:43-32:44)

“‘Fields shall be bought

In this land

Of which you are saying.

‘It is a desolation!

It is without humans!

It is without animals!

It has been given

Into the hands

Of the Chaldeans.’

Fields shall be bought

For money.

Deeds shall be signed,

Sealed,

As well as witnessed

In the land of Benjamin,

In the places about Jerusalem,

In the towns of Judah,

In the towns of the hill country,

In the towns of the Shephelah,

In the towns of the Negeb.

I will restore their fortunes.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh said, via Jeremiah, that the time of the desolation of the land was over. Fields were going to be bought and sold. It is not clear who owned some of these fields, since they might have changed hands a few times, since the beginning of the exile. However, the land was desolate, since there were no humans or animals on them after the Chaldeans took over. Who was going to sell this land? However, there would be a legal process. Money would exchange hands with deeds signed, sealed, and witnessed. The example of Jeremiah buying a field in the preceding chapter may be an example of how things would operate. Now this restoration would take place in the Benjamin territory, around the city of Jerusalem, and the towns of Judah. However, there are places mentioned, like the towns in the hill country of Judah, the Shephelah, the old Dan territory next to Benjamin, as well as the Negeb, the semi arid land southeast of Jerusalem near the Dead Sea. There was no mention of the northern territory from the old northern Israelite kingdom and their tribal territory.

The purchase of the field (Jer 32:9-32:11)

“I bought the field

At Anathoth

From my cousin Hanamel.

I weighed out

The money to him,

Seventeen shekels of silver.

I signed the deed.

I sealed it.

I got witnesses.

I weighed the money on scales.

Then I took

The sealed deed of purchase,

That contained the terms

With the conditions,

As well as the open copy.”

This is a very unusual section that contains explicit first person details of this property field sale. However, there is no indication of the exact size of this field. Nowhere else in the biblical works is there such a specific indication of how financial transactions took place. First, Jeremiah bought the land. Most times, there would be no more details other than that. However, here Jeremiah next weighs out the money, 17 silver shekels, which was not a lot of money, about a couple of hundred USA dollars. Where he got the money is not indicated here. Then he signed the deed, probably on papyrus, sealed it, and had witnesses also sign it. There must have been some kind of official seal used here, but we do not know what kind. Finally there seems to be 2 copies of this transaction. The sealed deed contained all the terms and conditions of the sale, while the open copy or city file copy might just have the statement that the sale was made, much like current open records in USA, which generally adds the dollar amount of the sale. Thus these transactions were stored or kept in jars of some kind.

Euphrates or Parah (Jer 13:3-13:5)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me a second time.

Saying.

‘Take the loincloth

That you bought,

Since you are now wearing it.

Go now to the Euphrates!

Hide it there

In a cleft of the rock.’

So I went.

I hid it by the Euphrates,

As Yahweh commanded me.”

A second time, Yahweh came to Jeremiah and told him to take the linen loincloth that he had bought, and was wearing, to a place called Euphrates. Apparently, this was not the Euphrates River. There seems to be an error in the Hebrew, since he meant a place near his home town called Parah. This word is similar to the Hebrew word for the Euphrates River, Perath. Anyway, Jeremiah went there wearing this loincloth. Yahweh told him to hide his loincloth in a cleft or a gap in the rocks there. Jeremiah, as usual, did as he was commanded. He hid his linen loincloth in a gap in the rocks at this place called Parah or Euphrates.