Wait a year (Lk 13:8-13:8)

“The gardener replied.

‘Sir!

Let it alone

For one more year,

Until I dig

Around it.

I will put

Manure on it.’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς λέγει αὐτῷ Κύριε, ἄφες αὐτὴν καὶ τοῦτο τὸ ἔτος, ἕως ὅτου σκάψω περὶ αὐτὴν καὶ βάλω κόπρια,

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus continued with his parable of the fig tree with no fruit.  Jesus said that the gardener replied respectfully (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς λέγει αὐτῷ), calling him lord (Κύριε).  He wanted the owner to let the tree alone for one more year (ἄφες αὐτὴν καὶ τοῦτο τὸ ἔτος).  He was going to dig around it (ἕως ὅτου σκάψω περὶ αὐτὴν) and put manure on it (καὶ βάλω κόπρια).  There would be one more chance.  Maybe a little fertilizer would help.  Have you ever used fertilizers?

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The priest went by (Lk 10:31-10:31)

“Now by chance,

A priest

Was going down

That road.

When he saw him,

He passed by

On the other side.”

 

κατὰ συγκυρίαν δὲ ἱερεύς τις κατέβαινεν ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ ἐκείνῃ, καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτὸν ἀντιπαρῆλθεν.

 

Luke uniquely continued this story or parable about who is my neighbor.  Jesus said that by chance (κατὰ συγκυρίαν), a certain Jewish priest (δὲ ἱερεύς τις) was going down (κατέβαινεν) this same road (ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ ἐκείνῃ).  He saw the badly wounded man (καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτὸν), but he passed by on the other side of the road (ἀντιπαρῆλθεν).  There is a lot of speculation on why this priest did not help this man.  Was it because of ritual purity?  Was he in a hurry, so that he did not have time to stop?  Did he simply not care?  Was it too much of a bother?  Certainly, a Jewish priest had standing in the Jewish community.  Other than the high priest, he represented the most important level of Jewish society.  What is certain is that this high-ranking religious leader did not engage in any way with the afflicted man on the other side of the road.  He clearly saw him, as he specifically crossed over to the other side, so as not to be bothered by him.  The ritual purity argument has been raised since a priest could not touch a corpse.  However, there was no mention of a dead body.  Do you always have an excuse on why you do not help other wounded people?

Zechariah’s turn to burn incense (Lk 1:9-1:9)

“Zechariah

Was chosen by lot,

According to the custom

Of the priesthood.

He was to enter

The sanctuary

Of the Lord

To burn incense.”

                                                                     

κατὰ τὸ ἔθος τῆς ἱερατείας ἔλαχε τοῦ θυμιᾶσαι εἰσελθὼν εἰς τὸν ναὸν τοῦ Κυρίου,

 

Luke pointed out that not only was his group of priests on duty, Zechariah was also chosen by lot (ἔλαχε), as was the priestly custom (κατὰ τὸ ἔθος τῆς ἱερατείας), to enter the sanctuary of the Lord (εἰσελθὼν εἰς τὸν ναὸν τοῦ Κυρίου) to burn incense (τοῦ θυμιᾶσαι).  Apparently, as mentioned elsewhere, choosing by lot or chance was a fairly common way to make decisions, since God would guide the choice.  This Levite priestly custom meant that Zechariah got to enter the holy of holies, the inner sanctuary of the Temple, where he would burn incense, a big honor.

They divided his garments (Mk 15:24-15:24)

“They crucified him.

They divided

His clothes

Among themselves.

They cast lots

To decide

What each should take.”

 

καὶ σταυροῦσιν αὐτὸν, καὶ διαμερίζονται τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ, βάλλοντες κλῆρον ἐπ’ αὐτὰ τίς τί ἄρῃ.

 

The first verse is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 27:35.  Luke, chapter 23:34, mentioned the dividing of Jesus’ garments by chance.  John, chapter 19:23-25, has a longer detailed description about the division of the garments of JesusThe first cinemascope movie in 1953 was called the “The Robe,” based on a 1942 novel with the same name that got its inspiration from this biblical passage.  Mark said that they crucified Jesus (καὶ σταυροῦσιν αὐτὸν).  Then they divided his garments or clothes among themselves (καὶ διαμερίζονται τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ), by casting lots for them (βάλλοντες κλῆρον ἐπ’ αὐτὰ).  That is how they decided what each person would take for themselves (τίς τί ἄρῃ), which was a common practice among the Roman soldiers.

Return to Yahweh (Hos 14:1-14:2)

“O Israel!

Return

To Yahweh!

Your God!

You have stumbled

Because of your iniquity.

Take words with you!

Return

To Yahweh!

Say to him!

‘Take away all guilt!

Accept that which is good!

We will offer

The fruit of our lips.’”

Hosea remined them that there was still hope. If they returned to Yahweh, their God, there might be a chance. They had stumbled because of their iniquity. They had to take back their own words. They had to return to Yahweh. They should ask God to take away all their guilt. They should have a change of heart. They should change the words that they say. They should be more careful in how they talk.

Powerful Yahweh (Jer 50:44-50:44)

“Like a lion

Coming up

From the thickets

Of the Jordan River

Against a perennial pasture,

I will suddenly

Chase them

Away from her.

I will appoint over her

Whomever I choose.

Who is like me?

Who can summon me?

Who is the shepherd

That can stand before me?”

Interesting enough, this section is almost word for word what Yahweh said against the Edomites in the preceding chapter. These Babylonians would be like lions that come out of the thickets on the Jordan River to find a beautiful pasture land. Suddenly, Yahweh would chase them away from this perennial green field. There is no one like Yahweh. Who could oppose him? The shepherds had no chance against Yahweh.

The plan of Yahweh for Edom (Jer 49:19-49:20)

“Like a lion

Coming up

From the thickets

Of the Jordan River

Against a perennial pasture,

I will suddenly

Chase Edom

Away from it.

I will appoint over it

Whomever I choose.

Who is like me?

Who can summon me?

Who is the shepherd

That can stand before me?

Therefore hear the plan

That Yahweh has made

Against Edom!

Hear the purposes

That he has formed

Against the inhabitants

Of Teman!

Surely the little ones

Of the flock

Shall be dragged away.

Surely their fold

Shall be appalled

At their fate.”

Yahweh has a precise plan for Edom. These Edomites were like lions that come out of the thickets on the Jordan River to find a beautiful pasture land. Suddenly Yahweh would chase Edom away from this perennial green field. There is no one like Yahweh. Who could oppose him? The shepherds had no chance against Yahweh. He clearly wants to get rid of the town of Teman, the Edomite clan around the southern Edomite town of Petra. Even the little ones would be dragged away. The shepherds and the sheep would be appalled at what was happening. Clearly the power of Yahweh was apparent.