The second son (Mt 21:30-21:30)

“The father went

To the second son.

He said the same thing.

The second son answered.

‘I will go!’

But he did not go.”

 

προσελθὼν δὲ τῷ δευτέρῳ εἶπεν ὡσαύτως. ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Οὐ θέλω, ὕστερον μεταμεληθεὶς ἀπῆλθεν.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew, somewhat like the parable of the day laborers in the vineyard in chapter 20:1-16.  Jesus continued his parable story with the father landowner going to his second son (προσελθὼν δὲ τῷ δευτέρῳ).  He told this second son the same thing (εἶπεν ὡσαύτως) that he had said to his first son.  He wanted him to go out and work in the vineyard today.  The second son answered (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν) that he was willing to go (Οὐ θέλω) into the vineyard and work that day.  However, afterwards, he changed his mind.  He did not go to work in the vineyard.  The “οὐκ” or “not” is missing in a lot of the Greek manuscripts.

The first son (Mt 21:28-21:29)

“What do you think?

A man had two sons.

He went to the first one.

He said.

‘Son!

Go!

Work

In the vineyard today.’

He answered.

‘I will not!’

But later

He changed his mind.

He went out to work.”

 

Τί δὲ ὑμῖν δοκεῖ; ἄνθρωπος εἶχεν τέκνα δύο· προσελθὼν τῷ πρώτῳ εἶπεν Τέκνον, ὕπαγε σήμερον ἐργάζου ἐν τῷ ἀμπελῶνι.

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Ἐγὼ κύριε, καὶ οὐκ ἀπῆλθεν.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew and is reminiscent of the parable of the day laborers in the vineyard in chapter 20:1-16.  Jesus was still talking with the chief priests and elders.  Jesus continued with another parable by asking them what did they think (Τί δὲ ὑμῖν δοκεῖ)?  In this parable story, a man had two sons (ἄνθρωπος εἶχεν τέκνα δύο).  He went to the first one (προσελθὼν τῷ πρώτῳ).  He told this first son to go and work in his vineyard that day (εἶπεν Τέκνον, ὕπαγε σήμερον ἐργάζου ἐν τῷ ἀμπελῶνι).  However, this first son answered (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν) that he was not going to go out into the vineyard to work (Ἐγὼ κύριε, καὶ οὐκ ἀπῆλθεν).  Interesting enough, most of the Greek manuscript texts do not have the last phrase that this son changed his mind.  However, the explanations assume this verse that the first son later or afterwards changed his mind and went out to work in the vineyard (ὕστερον δὲ μεταμεληθεὶς ἀπῆλθεν).

Joseph wakes up from his dream (Mt 1:24-1:24)

“When Joseph awoke

From his sleep,

He did

As the angel of the Lord

Commanded him.

He accepted Mary

As his wife.”

 

ἐγερθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰωσὴφ ἀπὸ τοῦ ὕπνου ἐποίησεν ὡς προσέταξεν αὐτῷ ὁ ἄγγελος Κυρίου, καὶ παρέλαβεν τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ·

 

Joseph woke up from his sleep (ἐγερθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰωσὴφ ἀπὸ τοῦ ὕπνου), when he had this dream about the angel of the Lord. Then he did (ἐποίησεν) what the angel of the Lord (ὁ ἄγγελος Κυρίου) had told him or commanded him (ὡς προσέταξεν αὐτῷ) to do. Joseph took the word of the Lord’s messenger angel very seriously. He saw it as a command, something that he must do. Thus, he changed his mind about his future engaged wife. He was going to receive or accept Mary as his wife (παρέλαβεν τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ), despite his previous misgivings. Clearly, Joseph was a man of faith who trusted in the words of the unnamed angel of the Lord that he had heard in his dream.

Jonah wants to die (Jon 4:3-4:3)

“Therefore now,

O Yahweh!

Please take my life

From me!

It is better for me

To die

Than to live!”

Jonah was a little down on himself.  He knew that he had originally refused this mission.  Then he had done it, only to find out that Yahweh had changed his mind about destroying Nineveh.  Now he just wanted to die, since he had no desire to live.  This is a strong suicidal plea.

The reaction of Yahweh to the rebellious children (Ezek 20:21-20:24)

“Then I thought

I would pour out

My wrath upon them.

I would spend

My anger

Against them

In the wilderness.

But I withheld

My hand.

I acted for the sake

Of my name.

Thus it should not be

Profaned

In the sight

Of the nations,

In whose sight

I had brought them out.

Moreover,

I swore to them

In the wilderness

That I would scatter them

Among the nations.

I would disperse them

Through the countries.

Because they had not

Executed

My ordinances.

They had rejected

My statutes.

They had profaned

My Sabbath.

Their eyes

Were set

On their ancestor’s idols.”

Yahweh’s reaction was pretty much the same as in the former rebellions. Yahweh immediately thought about destroying them in his anger. However, as earlier, he changed his mind for the sake of his name that he did not want profaned in the sight of all the other countries that had seen him bring them out of Egypt. Thus he swore to them in the wilderness that he would scatter them among the nations, instead of refusing to take them out of Egypt or refusing to take them to the Promise Land. This was a prediction of the exile that was due to their failure to keep his statutes, ordinances, and the Sabbath. They also still yearned for their ancestor’s idols.

The example of the prophet Micah (Jer 26:17-26:19)

“Some of the elders

Of the land

Arose.

They said

To all the assembled people.

‘Micah of Moresheth prophesied

During the days of King Hezekiah

Of Judah.

He said to all the people

Of Judah.

‘Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

Zion shall be plowed

As a field. Jerusalem shall become

A heap of ruins.

The mountain of the house

Will be a wooded height.’

Did King Hezekiah

Of Judah,

With all Judah,

Put him to death?

Did he not fear Yahweh?

Did he not entreat

The favor of Yahweh?

Did not Yahweh change

His mind

About the disaster

That he had pronounced

Against them?

But we are about

To bring great disaster

On ourselves.’”

Some of the elders reminded the assembly that at the time of King Hezekiah of Judah (716-687 BCE), about a hundred years previously, that the prophet Micah (737-696 BCE) from Moresheth, in southwestern Judah, had made some disturbing prophecies. Micah was considered one of the Minor Prophets with his own biblical book. During his day, he told King Hezekiah that Judah would be plowed like a field, while Jerusalem would become a ruined heap, as found in chapter 3 of Micah. King Hezekiah did not put him to death. Just the opposite, the king feared Yahweh and asked Yahweh for favors. Thus Yahweh changed his mind at that time, since he did not send a disaster to them. This was right after the fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 714 BCE. If they kill Jeremiah, they might bring a great disaster on themselves. Thus a little history lesson helps Jeremiah.