A spirit seized him (Lk 9:39-9:39)

“Suddenly,

A spirit seized

The boy.

All at once,

He cried out.

This evil spirit

Convulsed him

Until he was foaming.

It bruised him.

It would scarcely

Leave him.”

 

καὶ ἰδοὺ πνεῦμα λαμβάνει αὐτόν, καὶ ἐξαίφνης κράζει καὶ σπαράσσει αὐτὸν μετὰ ἀφροῦ, καὶ μόλις ἀποχωρεῖ ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ συντρῖβον αὐτόν

 

Luke said that, a spirit seized this young boy (καὶ ἰδοὺ πνεῦμα λαμβάνει αὐτόν).  All at once (καὶ ἐξαίφνης), he shrieked or cried out (κράζει).  This evil spirit convulsed him (καὶ σπαράσσει αὐτὸν) until he was foaming (μετὰ ἀφροῦ,).  It bruised him (συντρῖβον αὐτόν), so that it would scarcely leave him alone (καὶ μόλις ἀποχωρεῖ ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ).  This story of the man with the incurable epileptic son can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 17:15, Mark, chapter 9:18, and here in Luke, but there are differences in all 3 accounts.  Apparently, this man’s son was an epileptic, possessed by the devil.  This description of the young man’s suffering in Mark and Luke differed from Matthew, who had the child suffer very badly, falling into fire and water.  However, Mark had even a more descriptive narrative of what was happening to this young man.  He said that whenever the spirit seized him, it dashed or threw him down.  This young boy would foam at the mouth.  He would grind or gnash his teeth.  He would become rigid as he was wasting or withering away.  This sounded worse than Luke.  Have you ever seen a person in an epileptic seizure?

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The wounded society (Isa 1:5-1:6)

“Why do you seek further beatings?

Why do you continue to rebel?

The whole head is sick.

The whole heart is faint.

From the sole of the foot

Even to the head,

There is no soundness in it.

There are only bruises.

There are only sores.

There are bleeding wounds.

These have not been drained.

These have not been bound up.

These have not been softened with oil.”

The oracle of Yahweh, via Isaiah, continued with a comparison of this society to a sick or injured rebel. Why would they want to receive more whippings? Why did they continue to rebel against Yahweh? Their heads are sick and their hearts are weak. There is no health in them, from the soles of their feet to the tip of their head. They are bruised, with sores and bleeding wounds that have not been drained, bounded up, or cared for with oil. They are just plain suffering from head to toe.

Swearing oaths (Sir 23:9-23:11)

“Do not accustom your mouth

To oaths!

Do not habitually utter

The name of the Holy One!

As a servant,

Who is constantly under scrutiny,

Will not lack bruises,

So also the person

Who always swears,

Who utters the Name of God,

Will never be cleansed from sin.

Whoever swears many oaths

Is full of iniquity.

The scourge will not leave his house.

If he swears in error,

His sin remains on him.

If he disregards it,

He sins doubly.

If he swears a false oath,

He will not be justified.

His house will be filled

With calamities.”

Sirach does not want us to get accustomed to swearing oaths to the Most Holy One. If you swear too much, you are a like a servant under constant scrutiny who gets bruised by his master. So too, anyone who swears by the Name of God will never be cleansed from their sins. If you are always swearing to God for this or that, you will be full on iniquity, since the scourge will never leave your house. You can actually sin by swearing in error. Then you can double you sin by not fulfilling the false oath that you swore. You will never be justified since your house will be filled with calamities.