Samaritan village (Lk 9:52-9:52)

“Jesus sent messengers

Ahead of him.

On their way,

They entered

A village

Of the Samaritans,

To make things

Ready for him.”

 

καὶ ἀπέστειλεν ἀγγέλους πρὸ προσώπου αὐτοῦ. καὶ πορευθέντες εἰσῆλθον εἰς κώμην Σαμαρειτῶν, ὥστε ἑτοιμάσαι αὐτῷ·

 

Luke uniquely had this story about the Samaritan villages, since Mark and Matthew had Jesus not go into Samaria, but pass over to the other side of the Jordan on the east bank of the Jordan River.  Luke said that Jesus sent messengers (καὶ ἀπέστειλεν ἀγγέλους) ahead of him or before his face (πρὸ προσώπου αὐτοῦ), that would have been normal for a traveling large group.  On their way (καὶ πορευθέντες), they entered (εἰσῆλθον) a village of the Samaritans (εἰς κώμην Σαμαρειτῶν), to make things ready for Jesus (ὥστε ἑτοιμάσαι αὐτῷ).  The Samaritans were part of the former northern kingdom of Israel with Samaria their capital.  However, over time, since the 8th century BCE, they had become a distinct ethnic group that was in dispute with the Judean Jews, since the territory of Samaria was between Judea and Galilee.  Luke, like here, showed Jesus interacting with the Samaritans more than any of the other gospel writers.  Have you ever told people that you were just passing by on your way to some place else?

The wicked deeds of Ephraim and Samaria (Hos 7:1-7:2)

“When I would heal Israel,

The corruption of Ephraim

Is revealed.

The wicked deeds

Of Samaria

Is revealed.

They deal falsely.

The thief breaks in.

The bandits raid without.

But they do not consider

That I remember

All their wickedness.

Now their deeds

Surround them.

They are before my face.”

Even after Israel would be healed, the corruption of Ephraim and the wickedness of Samaria would be revealed. Samaria had been the capital of the northern Israelite kingdom across the border from Ephraim in the Manasseh tribal territory. They dealt with each other falsely. The thieves would break into houses. The robbers would raid those who were passing by. They did not think that Yahweh would remember all their wicked deeds. Now their bad deeds surrounded them. Yahweh always remembered.

The prostitute spirit In Ephraim (Hos 5:3-5:4)

“I know Ephraim!

Israel is not hidden

From me.

For now,

O Ephraim!

You have played

The prostitute.

Israel is defiled.

Their deeds

Do not permit them

To return

To their God.

The spirit of prostitution

Is within them.

They do not know

Yahweh.”

Yahweh, via Hosea, is particularly hard on the tribe of Ephraim, which was just north of Benjamin, with the capital of the northern Israelite kingdom there. Israel could not hide from Yahweh. Ephraim had played the prostitute role. Thus, Israel had defiled itself. By their deeds, they could not return to God. The spirit of prostitution had overtaken them. They no longer knew Yahweh. They had abandoned him.

Jerusalem’s sisters (Ezek 16:46-16:47)

“Your elder sister

Is Samaria.

She lived

With her daughters

To the north of you.

Your younger sister

Is Sodom.

She lived

With her daughters

To the south of you.

You not only

Followed their ways,

But you acted according

To their abominations.

Within a very little time

You were more corrupt

Than they

In all your ways.”

Jerusalem had an elder sister to the north with her children in Samaria. She also had a younger sister to the south with her children in Sodom. Samaria was the ruined people and capital of the old northern kingdom of Israel. Sodom was the place of infamy in Genesis. Not only did Jerusalem follow their terrible ways, she was even worse. She became more corrupt than they were.

The Babylonians took the large ornate pillars (Jer 52:20-52:23)

“The bronze

Of all these things

Was beyond weighing.

This included the two pillars.

The one was the bronze sea,

With the twelve bronze bulls

Under the sea.

King Solomon

Had made these

For the house of Yahweh.

As for the pillars,

The height of the one pillar

Was eighteen cubits.

Its circumference was twelve cubits.

It was hollow.

Its thickness was four fingers.

Upon it was a capital of bronze.

The height of the capital

Was five cubits.

Lattice work

With pomegranates,

All of bronze,

Encircled the top of the capital.

The second pillar

Had the same thing

With pomegranates.

There were ninety-six pomegranates

On the sides.

All the pomegranates

Encircling the lattice work

Numbered one hundred.”

This is an expanded version of what appeared in 2 Kings, chapter 25. The Babylonians took the two large pillars that were about 27 feet high (18 cubits) and 18 feet (12 cubits) around. The bronze was about 4 inches thick. There is a very precise description of one pillar, while the second pillar was similar to it. Apparently these pillars were around the bronze sea with the 12 bronze bulls that King Solomon had made. These hollow pillars had a column or capital at the top that had lattice work with about 24 pomegranates on each of the 4 sides with 4 in each corner totally 100 pomegranates around it.

 

The Moabites seek refuge in Judah (Isa 16:1-16:2)

“Send lambs

To the ruler of the land,

From Sela,

By way of the desert,

To the mount

Of the daughter of Zion.

Like fluttering birds,

Like scattered nestlings,

So are the daughters of Moab

At the fords of the Arnon.”

The Moabites were going to send lambs to the ruler of Judah at Mount Zion. They were going to send these lambs from Sela, the capital of Edom, another country south of Moab that was supposedly descended from Lot’s daughters. These lambs would go via the desert. Meanwhile, the daughters or women of Moab were at the banks of the Arnon River that was on the borders between Moab and the Reuben territory. There they were like fluttering birds or young nestling birds waiting for help or a place to land. The Moabites were appealing to Judah and Jerusalem.

The oracle against Babylon (Isa 13:1-13:1)

“The oracle

Concerning Babylon

That Isaiah

Son of Amoz

Saw.”

Now begins a series of divine oracles against foreign countries. Obviously despite the title indicating that Isaiah, the son of Amoz, saw this, the Babylonian captivity did not happen in the 8th century BCE, but in the 6th and 7th century BCE. Babylon was the largest city in the world with over 200,000 people, probably the first city to have this many people living in one place during the 18th century BCE (Hammurabi, 1792–1750 BCE), and 6th-7th century BCE (Nebuchadnezzar II, 604–561 BC). This city was located about 50 miles south of present day Baghdad, in present day Hillah, Iraq, between the Tigris River and the Euphrates River, but mostly on the Euphrates River. Babylon was the capital city of the Assyrian Empire from around 911-609 BCE. In 539 BCE, the Persians put an end to the Assyrians after a century of disputes. In the 4th century BCE the Greeks under Alexander the Great took over Babylon. Babylon may have been the inspiration for the story about the Tower of Babel in Genesis, chapter 11.