Whether the light
Is not darkness!”
σκόπει οὖν μὴ τὸ φῶς τὸ ἐν σοὶ σκότος ἐστίν.
Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus asked them to consider or take heed (σκόπει οὖν) whether or not the light (μὴ τὸ φῶς) in them (τὸ ἐν σοὶ) was or becoming darkness (σκότος ἐστίν). In other words, how bright was their light? Was it getting dim? Was the evil dark over taking them? Jesus warned them about bad darkness gaining on the good light in them. Do you have bright eyes?
Of his face
Became dazzling white.”
καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ προσεύχεσθαι αὐτὸν τὸ εἶδος τοῦ προσώπου αὐτοῦ ἕτερον καὶ ὁ ἱματισμὸς αὐτοῦ λευκὸς ἐξαστράπτων.
Luke said that while Jesus was praying (καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ προσεύχεσθαι αὐτὸν), the appearance of his face changed or altered (τὸ εἶδος τοῦ προσώπου αὐτοῦ ἕτερον). Also, his clothes became dazzling white (καὶ ὁ ἱματισμὸς αὐτοῦ λευκὸς ἐξαστράπτων). This description of the face and clothing of Jesus can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 17:2, Mark, chapter 9:3, and here in Luke, but there are minor differences in all 3 accounts. Mark said that Jesus was transfigured in front of the 3 apostles. There was a metamorphosis, as the appearance of Jesus changed right before their very eyes. There was no mention of the face of Jesus changing, as in Matthew and Luke. However, Mark indicated that Jesus’ clothes or garments became a dazzling white, so white that not even any cleaner on earth could bleach them any whiter. Matthew also said that Jesus was transfigured in front of the 3 apostles. He said that Jesus’ face was shining like the sun, just like what happened to Moses, in Exodus, chapter 34:35. There the face of Moses was so bright that he had to put a veil on after talking to Yahweh, before he could talk to Aaron, his brother. Jesus’ clothes or garments also became a dazzling white, like a bright light or white snow. Suddenly, the human Jesus seemed more brightly divine. White and light were good, while black and darkness were bad. What is the whitest white that you have seen?
“Jesus was transfigured
His face shone
Like the sun.
Became dazzling white.”
καὶ μετεμορφώθη ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν, καὶ ἔλαμψεν τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ὡς ὁ ἥλιος, τὰ δὲ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο λευκὰ ὡς τὸ φῶς.
This transfiguration can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 9:2-3, Luke, chapter 9:29, and here in Matthew, but there are minor differences in all 3 accounts. Jesus was transfigured in front of the 3 apostles (καὶ μετεμορφώθη ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν). There was a metamorphism, as the appearance of Jesus changed right before their very eyes. His face was shining like the sun (καὶ ἔλαμψεν τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ὡς ὁ ἥλιος,), just like what happened to Moses, in Exodus, chapter 34:35. There the face of Moses was so bright that he had to put a veil on after talking to Yahweh, before he could talk to Aaron, his brother. Jesus’ clothes or garments became a dazzling white, like a bright light or white snow (τὰ δὲ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο λευκὰ ὡς τὸ φῶς). Suddenly, the human Jesus seemed more brightly divine. White and light were good, while black and darkness were bad.
To do a service,
They are obedient.
So also the lightning.
When it flashes,
It is widely seen.
The wind likewise blows
In every land.
When God commands
The clouds to go
Over the whole world,
They carry out
The fire sent from above
To consume mountains
Does what it is ordered.
But these idols
Are not to be
Compared with them
Must not think
That they are gods.
They are not called gods.
They are not able
Either to decide a case
Or to do good to anyone.
Since you know then
That they are not gods,
Do not fear them!”
This author notes that the sun, the moon, and the stars are bright. However, they do what they are told to do. The same is true about lightning flashes and the wind. It blows wherever God commands it. The clouds go all over the whole world as they carry out God’s commands also. Fire does what it is ordered to do. How can you compare these great works of obedient nature to these false idol gods, since they have no power. They cannot solve cases or do good for any humans. How can you call them gods, since you know that they are not gods? Thus there is no need to fear them.
“The sun shall no longer be
Your light by day.
The moon shall give
Light to you by night,
But not for brightness.
Yahweh will be
Your everlasting light.
Your God will be your glory.
Your sun shall no more go down.
Your moon will not withdraw itself.
Yahweh will be your everlasting light.
Your days of mourning shall be ended.”
You will not need the sun or the moon because the everlasting light of Yahweh will be bright enough. There still will be a sun during the day and a moon at night, but the brightness would come from Yahweh. He will be your everlasting light and your glory. This sun of Yahweh will never set. The moon of Yahweh will never hide itself. The days of mourning are over, because Yahweh is the new everlasting light.
“Therefore thus says Yahweh,
Who redeemed Abraham,
Concerning the house of Jacob.
‘No longer shall Jacob be ashamed.
No longer shall his face grow pale.
When he sees his children,
The work of my hands,
In his midst,
They will sanctify my name.
They will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob.
They will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
Those who err in spirit
Will come to understanding.
Those who grumble
Will accept instruction.’”
Yahweh, via Isaiah, presents an oracle about the future of the house of Jacob. Yahweh has redeemed Abraham and his family. In the future, the house of Jacob will not be ashamed or have a pale face. Just the opposite, their children will sanctify the name of the Holy One of Jacob, Yahweh. They will stand in awe of the God of Israel, Yahweh. Those who make a mistake will understand what happened to them. Those who grumbled will then accept instruction on how to improve. The future looks bright for the house of Jacob.
“Look at the rainbow!
Who made it!
It is exceedingly beautiful
In its brightness.
It encircles the sky
With its glorious arc.
The hands of the Most High
Have stretched it out.”
Sirach now points out the beauty of the rainbow, after a rainfall. He wants us to look at it. He wants us think about who made it, since it is exceeding beautiful and bright. The half circle arc seems to go into the sky. If you were in Ireland you might go look for some gold at the end of the rainbow. There have been popular songs about rainbows. Sirach indicates that the hands of the Most High God have stretched it out. In fact, it was considered a sign of the covenant between Yahweh and Noah, after the flood in Genesis, chapter 9, but that is not mentioned here. Neither is there any indication of the various colors that reflect the sun’s rays through the rain clouds that has become a symbol of diversity.
“No one can look on the light
When it is bright in the skies,
When the wind has passed and cleared them.
Out of the north comes golden splendor.
Around God is awesome majesty.
The Almighty Shaddai!
We cannot find him.
He is great in power and justice.
He is great in abundant righteousness.
He will not violate.
Therefore mortals fear him.
He does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit.”
The light of the sun is like God, we cannot look at it directly when it is bright in the sky. The wind and the clouds help us to see it. The almighty Shaddai comes in his awesome majesty from the north. This was a common Canaanite theory that God came from the north. We cannot find him. He is great in power, justice, and righteousness. He will never violate justice so that mortals fear him. However, beware of the people who think that they are wise and conceited in their own eyes.
“Then Bildad the Shuhite answered.
‘Dominion and fear are with God.
He makes peace in his high heaven.
Is there any number to his armies?
Upon whom does his light not arise?
How then can a mortal be righteous before God?
How can one born of woman be pure?
If even the moon is not bright,
If the stars are not pure in his sight,
How much less a mortal,
A human being,
This is a very short chapter with only 6 verses. This is clearly the response of Bildad. He said that dominion and fear come with God since he had made peace in the high heavens. No one could number or count God’s armies or his angels because they were so numerous. His light shines on all. How could a mortal man be righteous before God? No one born of a woman can be pure or clean. Event the moon and the stars are not totally bright. Mortals are like maggots, worms or just plain humans.