The fall of Jerusalem (Lk 21:24-21:24)

“They will fall

By the edge

Of the sword.

They will be

Taken away

As captives

Among all the gentile nations.

Jerusalem

Will be trampled on

By the gentiles,

Until the time

Of the gentiles

Was fulfilled.”

 

καὶ πεσοῦνται στόματι μαχαίρης καὶ αἰχμαλωτισθήσονται εἰς τὰ ἔθνη πάντα, καὶ Ἱερουσαλὴμ ἔσται πατουμένη ὑπὸ ἐθνῶν, ἄχρι οὗ πληρωθῶσιν καιροὶ ἐθνῶν.

 

Only Luke has this unique saying of Jesus.  Jesus said that these people would fall by the edge of their swords (καὶ πεσοῦνται στόματι μαχαίρης).  They would be taken away as captives among all the gentile nations (καὶ αἰχμαλωτισθήσονται εἰς τὰ ἔθνη πάντα).  Jerusalem would be trampled on by the gentiles (καὶ Ἱερουσαλὴμ ἔσται πατουμένη ὑπὸ ἐθνῶν), until the time of the gentiles was completed (ἄχρι οὗ πληρωθῶσιν καιροὶ ἐθνῶν).  Falling by the edge of the sword meant death.  It is not clear what is meant by this time of the gentiles.  Perhaps this was when the foreign armies, the Roman army invaded and overwhelmed Jerusalem in 70 CE.  Luke seemed to tie the end times to the fall of Jerusalem.  What do you think the end of the world will be like?

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The citation from Isaiah (Lk 4:18-4:19)

“The Spirit of the Lord

Is upon me.

Because

He has anointed me

To bring good news

To the poor.

He has sent me

To proclaim release

To the captives.

He has sent me

To give recovery

Of sight

To the blind.

He has sent me

To let the oppressed

Go free.

He has sent me

To proclaim the year

Of the Lord’s favor.’”

 

Πνεῦμα Κυρίου ἐπ’ ἐμέ, οὗ εἵνεκεν ἔχρισέν με εὐαγγελίσασθαι πτωχοῖς, ἀπέσταλκέν με κηρῦξαι αἰχμαλώτοις ἄφεσιν καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν, ἀποστεῖλαι τεθραυσμένους ἐν ἀφέσει,

κηρῦξαι ἐνιαυτὸν Κυρίου δεκτόν.

 

This is unique to Luke, who used this citation from Isaiah, chapter 61:1.  Jesus read or said that the Spirit of the Lord was upon him (Πνεῦμα Κυρίου ἐπ’ ἐμέ), because God had anointed him (ὗ εἵνεκεν ἔχρισέν με) to bring good news to the poor or oppressed (εὐαγγελίσασθαι πτωχοῖς).  Some Orthodox texts have the healing of the brokenhearted (συντετριμμένους τὴν καρδίαν) also.  God has sent him (ἀπέσταλκέν με) to proclaim the release to the captives (κηρῦξαι αἰχμαλώτοις ἄφεσιν).  He has sent him to give recovery or sight to the blind (καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν), although there was no mention of the blind in Isaiah.  He has sent him to let the oppressed go free (ἀποστεῖλαι τεθραυσμένους ἐν ἀφέσει).  He has sent him to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (κηρῦξαι ἐνιαυτὸν Κυρίου δεκτόν), which is exactly the same as Isaiah, chapter 61:2.  The Spirit of Yahweh was upon him, who had been anointed, either like a priestly or a royal anointing.  However, the primary mission was not cultic, but rather social in nature, what we might call social justice.  Having been called by the Spirit and anointed by Yahweh, he was sent out with a simple generic mission.  Bring good news to the oppressed.  This good news concept was later adapted by the early followers of Jesus who talked about the good news of the gospel.  This basic mission included binding up the broken hearted and freeing prisoners.  This servant or prophet was sent out to proclaim a year of Yahweh’s favor.

Yahweh’s response (Mic 2:3-2:4)

“Therefore thus,

Says Yahweh.

‘Now!

I am devising

Against this family

An evil,

From which you cannot

Remove your necks.

You shall not walk haughtily!

It will be an evil time!

On that day,

They shall take up

A taunt song

Against you.

They will wail

With bitter lamentation.

They will say.

‘We are utterly ruined.

Yahweh alters

The inheritance

Of my people.

He removes it from me!

Among our captors,

He divides our fields.’”

Yahweh responded that he was devising some evil against these wicked people.  They would wear a yoke on their necks, so that they could not walk around in a haughty manner.  There would be an evil time for them on Yahweh’s appointed day.  People would sing a taunting song against them as they would be wailing in a lamentation.  They would admit that they would be ruined, because Yahweh had altered their inheritance.  He had sent them off as captives, so that their fields would be divided up among other people.  Yahweh’s response to these evil doers was an exile captivity with the loss of their land.

The fear of captivity (Ezek 32:9-32:10)

“I will trouble

The hearts

Of many people.

I will carry you

Captive

Among the nations,

Into the countries,

That you have not known.

I will make many people

Appalled at you.

Their kings

Shall shudder

Because of you.

I will brandish

My sword

Before them.

They shall tremble

Every moment,

For their lives,

Every one of them,

On the day

Of your downfall.”

Yahweh was going to trouble many people because he was going to carry them off as captives to various nations and countries that they did not know. Other people would be appalled at them. Their kings would shudder because of what was happening. Yahweh was going to show his sword. They would tremble all the time, all of them. They would be afraid for their lives on the day of Egypt’s downfall.

The captivity of Jerusalem (Lam 1:5-1:5)

He

“Her foes have become

The masters.

Her enemies prosper.

Because Yahweh has

Made her suffer

For the multitude

Of her transgressions.

Her children

Have gone away,

Captives,

Before the foe.”

The foes of Zion have now become the masters of Jerusalem. Her enemies prosper. Zion was suffering because of her many transgressions. Her children have been taken away as captives by their former enemies. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter He. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem

The captives and the poor (Jer 52:15-52:16)

Nebuzaradan,

The captain of the guard,

Carried into exile

Some of the poorest

Of the people.

He took into exile

The rest of the people

Who were left in the city,

He took into exile

The deserters

Who had defected

To the king of Babylon,

Together with the rest

Of the artisans.

But Nebuzaradan,

The captain of the guard,

Left some of the poorest people

Of the land,

To be vinedressers

Or tillers of the soil.”

Once again, this is very close to 2 Kings, chapter 25. The king of Babylon did not come himself, but he sent the captain of his bodyguard, Nebuzaradan, to take all the people as captives. This included those who had deserted to the Chaldeans as well as those left in the city. However, he gave some poor people the vineyards and fields to work. This might be a problem when the exiles return. However, here, unlike the 2 Kings narrative and the earlier Jeremiah story of chapter 39, he also took the some of the poor people. This seems odd, since the next sentence talks about leaving the poor people to take care of the vineyards and till the soil. There was no mention of them getting fields and vineyards as in the earlier Jeremiah story. Also here there is a mention of artisans that was lacking in the other presentations.

King Nebuchadnezzar will come to Egypt (Jer 43:11-43:13)

“‘King Nebuchadnezzar

Shall come.

He shall ravage

The land of Egypt.

Giving those who are doomed

For pestilence,

To pestilence.

Giving those who are destined

For captivity.

To captivity.

Giving those who are doomed

For the sword

To the sword.

He shall kindle a fire

In the temples

Of the gods of Egypt.

He shall burn them.

He shall carry them away captive.

He shall pick clean

The land of Egypt,

As a shepherd picks

His cloaks clean of vermin.

He shall depart

From there safely.

He shall break

The obelisks of Heliopolis

That is in the land of Egypt.

He shall break the temples

Of the gods of Egypt.

He shall burn them with fire.’”

Jeremiah described what was going to happen when King Nebuchadnezzar would come to Egypt, which he did around 568 BCE. The Babylonian king was going to ravage the land of Egypt. Those who were destined for pestilence got pestilence. Those destined for the sword, got the sword. Those destined for famine, got a famine. This was real simple, but who decided who was destined for what? King Nebuchadnezzar was going to burn down the Egyptian temples and make the Judeans captives. He was going to pick the land clean in the same way that shepherds pluck bugs off their cloaks or coats. He would come and go safely. However, he would also break the ornate pillars or obelisks in the town of Heliopolis, the city of the sun worshipers, which was about 25 miles east of Memphis, 6 mile northeast of Cairo. He would also burn down the Egyptian temples and their gods, as well as tear down other pillars throughout the land of Egypt.