Can you heal on the Sabbath? (Mt 12:10-12:10)

“A man was there

With a withered hand.

They asked Jesus.

‘Is it lawful to heal

On the Sabbath?’

Thus,

They might accuse him.”

 

καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄνθρωπος χεῖρα ἔχων ξηράν· καὶ ἐπηρώτησαν αὐτὸν λέγοντες Εἰ ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν θεραπεῦσαι; ἵνα κατηγορήσωσιν αὐτοῦ.

 

Matthew has the discussion about the Sabbath continue in the local synagogue.  This is similar to Mark, chapter 3:1-2, and Luke, chapter 6:6-7.  In this synagogue, there was a man with a withered or dried out hand (καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄνθρωπος χεῖρα ἔχων ξηράν).  They, the Pharisees, asked, inquired, or interrogated Jesus (καὶ ἐπηρώτησαν αὐτὸν λέγοντες) whether it was lawful to heal, cure, or serve anyone on the Sabbath (Εἰ ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν θεραπεῦσαι).  They were trying to see if they could accuse or charge Jesus of breaking the Sabbath (ἵνα κατηγορήσωσιν αὐτοῦ).  Jewish law allowed people to help in cases of distress on the Sabbath.  Clearly, this was a trap question.

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The centurion at Capernaum (Mt 8:5-8:5)

“When Jesus entered

Capernaum,

A centurion

Came to him.

He appealed to Jesus.”

 

Εἰσελθόντος δὲ αὐτοῦ εἰς Καφαρναοὺμ προσῆλθεν αὐτῷ ἑκατόνταρχος παρακαλῶν αὐτὸν

 

This story about Jesus going into Capernaum can be found in Luke, chapter 7:1-2, and Mark chapter 2:1.  Jesus went back to Capernaum (Εἰσελθόντος δὲ αὐτοῦ εἰς Καφαρναοὺμ) that was now his home, as indicated in chapter 4:13 of this work.  Capernaum (Καφαρναοὺμ) was a fishing village of about 1.500 people, on the northwest seaside corner of the Sea of Galilee.  This non-Jewish Roman centurion came to him (προσῆλθεν αὐτῷ ἑκατόνταρχος) beseeching, imploring, asking, or appealing to Jesus (παρακαλῶν αὐτὸν).  Thus, this centurion (ἑκατόνταρχος) was a Roman soldier in charge of 100 men, who also may have had more authority, as part of the Roman occupying troops of Galilee.

The rewards for Daniel and his friends (Dan 2:48-2:49)

“Then the king

Promoted Daniel.

He gave him

Many great gifts.

He made him ruler

Over the whole province

Of Babylon.

He became

The chief prefect

Over all the wise men

Of Babylon.

Daniel made a request

Of the king.

He appointed

Shadrach,

Meshach,

With Abednego,

Over the affairs

Of the province

Of Babylon.

But Daniel remained

At the king’s court.”

Much like Joseph in Egypt in Genesis, chapters 40-41, Daniel received a reward in the government of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar made him the ruler over the whole province of Babylon, as well as the chief prefect in charge of all the wise men in Babylon. In other words, Daniel was running Babylon. He then had his 3 companions, named to the various Babylonian provinces. This was a complete takeover of the Babylonian government by these 4 Judeans. However, they may have lost some of their beliefs, since they now had the 3 Babylonian names of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that were given to them, not their Judean names. Notice that Daniel stayed at the king’s court.

The unjust king and his house (Jer 22:13-22:14)

“Woe to him

Who builds his house

With unrighteousness!

Woe to him

Who builds his upper rooms

With injustice!

Woe to him

Who makes his neighbors

Work for nothing!

Woe to him

Who does not give them

Their wages!

Woe to him

Who says

‘I will build myself

A spacious house

With large upper rooms.’

He cuts out windows for it.

He panels it with cedar.

He paints it with vermilion.”

This seems to be a swipe at King Jehoiakim or King Eliakim (609-598 BCE) who was put in charge by the Egyptian king. Apparently, he decided to expand the palace using Egyptian styles, like large upper rooms, lots of windows, paneled cedar, and vermilion paint. Jeremiah seems to censure him for building this great palace with injustice and unrighteousness, since he did not correctly pay the people who did the work.

Your duty to your parents (Sir 3:1-3:9)

“Listen to me!

Your father!

O children!

Act accordingly!

Thus you may be kept in safety.

The Lord honors a father above his children.

The Lord confirms a mother’s right over her children.

Whoever honors their father

Atones for sins.

Whoever respects their mother is

Like one who lays up treasure.

Whoever honors their father

Will have joy in their own children.

When one prays

They will be heard.

Whoever respects their father

Will have a long life.

Whoever honors their mother

Obeys the Lord.

They will serve their parents as masters.

Honor your father by word.

Honor your father by deed.

Thus his blessing may come upon you.

A father’s blessing

Strengthens the houses of the children.

But a mother’s curse

Uproots their foundations.”

Now Sirach asks children to listen to their fathers. If they do so, they will be safe. The Lord has placed the father in charge of the children, so the children should respect their fathers. If they do, they will atone for their sins. They should respect their mothers because she is like an important treasure. If you honor your father, you will have joy in your own children. Their prayers will be heard. They will have a long life. If you honor your mother, you obey God. You should honor your parents by word and deed as if they were your masters. This is like the divine right of parents. Blessings will come upon you to strengthen the house of your children. However, watch out for the curse of your mother, which could uproot everything.

The power of God (Ps 74:12-74:17)

“Yet God!

My King is from of old.

He is working salvation in the earth.

You divided the sea by your might.

You broke the heads of the dragons in the waters.

You crushed the heads of Leviathan.

You gave him as food

For the creatures of the wilderness.

You cut openings for springs and torrents.

You dried up ever-flowing streams.

Yours is the day.

Yours also is the night.

You have established the luminaries.

You have established the sun.

You have fixed all the bounds of the earth.

You have made summer and winter.”

This is a prayer to God about his creative power. God had been an old fashioned king for a long time. He brought salvation to the earth. He divided the seas to produce the earth. He had to defeat the sea monsters, particularly the mythical Leviathan, the great beast that was so important in Job, chapter 41. However, God was able to defeat Leviathan and feed his body to the wild animals. God definitely controlled the water ways, big and small. He was in charge of day and night as well as all the heavenly lights, including the sun. He set up the boundaries of the earth. He had control of the seasons of the year with its various climate changes of summer and winter. God was the powerful creator of heaven and earth as well as the water and the land.

Yahweh controls all (Ps 33:10-33:17)

“Yahweh brings the counsel of the nations to nothing.

He frustrates the plans of the peoples.

The counsel of Yahweh stands forever.

The thoughts of his heart go to all generations.

Happy is the nation whose God is Yahweh!

Happy are the people

That he has chosen as his heritage!

Yahweh looks down from heaven.

He sees all humankind.

From where he sits enthroned,

He watches.

He watches all the inhabitants of the earth.

He fashions the hearts of them all.

He observes all their deeds.

A king is not saved by his great army.

A warrior is not delivered by his great strength.

The war horse is a vain hope for victory.

By its great might it cannot save anyone.”

Yahweh controls everything. The various nations cannot counsel together without his approval. He frustrates the plans of men. His counsel stands forever and for all generations. Luckily the nation that has Yahweh as its God will be happy and blessed. Yahweh has chosen them as his heritage. Yahweh sees all things from heaven where he sits on his throne looking at all the inhabitants of the earth. He knows their hearts and watches all their deeds. A king, a warrior, or a great war horse does not gain victory without him. Yahweh is the one in charge of everything.