The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew had 3 chapters devoted to Jesus and his preaching on the mount or hill.  This Sermon on the Mount is a collection of sayings and teachings of Jesus that emphasize his moral teaching, the first of his 5 discourses. early in the ministry of Jesus.  Luke had something similar in his sermon on the plain.  This sermon is the longest continuous section of Jesus speaking in the New Testament, containing the central tenets of Christian discipleship.  Thus, it had become the most widely quoted and best known of the teachings of Jesus, with the Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer.  These Jesus sayings echo the highest ideals of Jesus’ teachings on spirituality and compassion with acts of mercy, providing both temporal and spiritual benefits.  Jesus also used many metaphors in his sermon.  He reinterpreted the Ten Commandments, particularly about lying, killing and adultery.  The teachings of this sermon have been a key element of Christian ethics with its demanding high moral standards.  Christians were to be perfect with a Christian righteousness.  There have been many different interpretations of this demanding ethical life.  Was this only for clergy and monks?  Is it only an impossible ideal?  Should we take this literally?  Is this only an interim ethic or a future ethic?  Is this the basis of the social gospel and Christian existentialism?  What value do these ideals have for our lives today?

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Jeremiah and Baruch write a new scroll (Jer 36:32-36:32)

“Then Jeremiah

Took another scroll.

He gave it

To his secretary Baruch,

The son of Neriah.

He wrote on it,

At Jeremiah’s dictation,

All the words of the scroll

That King Jehoiakim

Of Judah

Had burned in the fire.

Many similar words

Were added to them.”

Jeremiah took a new scroll and gave it to his secretary Baruch. While Jeremiah dictated, Baruch wrote on this scroll all the things that were in the first scroll that King Jehoiakim of Judah had burned. However, they also added more similar words. Many believe that this is the scroll that comes down to us as the first 25 chapters of the current Book of Jeremiah.

The restoration of joy and worship (Jer 33:11-33:11)

“There shall once more

Be heard

The voice of mirth,

The voice of gladness,

The voice of the bridegroom,

The voice of the bride,

The voices of those who sing,

As they bring thank offerings

To the house of Yahweh.

‘Give thanks

To Yahweh of hosts!

Yahweh is good!

His steadfast love

Endures forever!’

I will restore the fortunes

Of the land

As at first.’

Says Yahweh.”

However, there would be a total reversal of fortune. One of the favorite remarks about the desolation, as found in chapters 7, 16, and 25 of this work, was about no more voices of rejoicing with mirth or gladness when the voice of the bride, the bridegroom, and those singing would not be heard. Here it is the restoration of these merry making activities. They will have weddings and singing as they bring their offerings to the Temple, the house of Yahweh. Because Yahweh is good, his steadfast love endures forever. Thus he will restore the fortunes of this land to the way that it was.

Yahweh is against all countries (Jer 25:13-25:14)

“Jeremiah prophesied

Against all the nations.

Many nations

With great kings

Shall make slaves of them also.

I will repay them

According to their deeds

With the work of their hands.”

Yahweh wanted Jeremiah to prophesize against all the countries. Many nations and kings would make the Babylonians slaves. They would be repaid according to their deeds and the works of their hands. In the following chapters there are different numbers in the Greek translation of the Septuagint. This section is equivalent to chapter 32 of the Septuagint.

The end of happiness (Jer 25:10-25:13)

“‘I will banish from them

The voice of mirth,

The sound of gladness,

The voice of the bridegroom,

The voice of the bride,

The sound of the millstones,

The light of the lamp.

This whole land shall become

A ruin,

A waste.

These nations

Shall serve the king of Babylon

Seventy years.

Then after seventy years are completed,

I will punish the king of Babylon

With that nation,

The land of the Chaldeans,

For their iniquity.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Make the land

An everlasting waste!

I will bring upon that land

All the words

That I have uttered against it,

Everything written in this book.’”

This section begins with a reference to what Jeremiah had said in chapters 7 and 16. In the cities of Judah and on the streets of Jerusalem, there would be no longer the voice of mirth or gladness. In fact, the voice of the bride and bridegroom would be banished, also hinting at no more weddings. There would be no more millstones or light. The land would become a ruined wasteland. The Babylonian king would rule them for 70 years. However, after 70 years, Yahweh would punish Babylon and the Chaldeans, by making them an everlasting wasteland because of their iniquity. Everything that was written in this book of Jeremiah would come to pass upon them.

 

The day of destruction of Yahweh (Isa 24:1-24:3)

“Now Yahweh is about

To lay waste the earth.

He will make it desolate.

He will twist its surface.

He will scatter its inhabitants.

It shall be,

As with the people,

So with the priest.

It shall be,

As with the slave,

So with his master.

It shall be,

As with the maid,

So with her mistress.

It shall be,

As with the buyer,

So with the seller.

It shall be,

As with the lender,

So with the borrower.

It shall be

As with the creditor,

So with the debtor.

The earth shall be utterly laid waste

It shall be utterly despoiled.

Yahweh has spoken this word.”

These next few chapters are sometimes referred to as the Isaiah Apocalypse. This section, like the other sections, is a hodgepodge of oracles and ideas, but these oracles are about the judgment at the end of the world. On this apocalyptic judgment day, much like the flood of Noah, destruction was to come upon the whole world, like in later eschatological works. The twisted earth was to be made desolate. All the inhabitants on earth would be wiped out, whether it is regular people, priests, slaves, masters, maids, mistresses, buyers, sellers, lenders, borrowers, debtors, or creditors. No one would be saved. The earth would be utterly ruined, because Yahweh has spoken.