O Jerusalem (Mt 23:37-23:37)

“O Jerusalem!

O Jerusalem!

The city

That kills the prophets!

They stone those

Who are sent to it!

How often

Have I desired

To gather

Your children together,

As a hen gathers

Her brood

Under her wings,

But you were not willing!”

 

Ἰερουσαλὴμ Ἰερουσαλήμ, ἡ ἀποκτείνουσα τοὺς προφήτας καὶ λιθοβολοῦσα τοὺς ἀπεσταλμένους πρὸς αὐτήν, ποσάκις ἠθέλησα ἐπισυναγαγεῖν τὰ τέκνα σου, ὃν τρόπον ὄρνις ἐπισυνάγει τὰ νοσσία αὐτῆς ὑπὸ τὰς πτέρυγας, καὶ οὐκ ἠθελήσατε.

 

Both Luke, chapter 13:34, and Matthew here have this lament about Jerusalem, word for word the same, so that this may be a Q source.  Jesus addressed Jerusalem (Ἰερουσαλὴμ Ἰερουσαλήμ), saying that it was the city that killed the prophets (ἡ ἀποκτείνουσα τοὺς προφήτας).  They stoned those prophets who were sent to it (καὶ λιθοβολοῦσα τοὺς ἀπεσταλμένους πρὸς αὐτήν).  God, the Father, or Jesus had often desired to gather her children together (ποσάκις ἠθέλησα ἐπισυναγαγεῖν τὰ τέκνα σου), just like a hen gathers her brood of little chicks under her wings (ὃν τρόπον ὄρνις ἐπισυνάγει τὰ νοσσία αὐτῆς ὑπὸ τὰς πτέρυγας).  However, Jerusalem was not willing to do so (καὶ οὐκ ἠθελήσατε).  This idea of a mother hen gathering her chicks under her wings can be found in Psalm 17:8 that spoke about hiding in the shadow of her wings and Psalm 91:4 that once again spoke about being covered with wings.  The exact incidents of the city of Jerusalem killing prophets are not clear.

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The law about marrying the brother of the dead man (Mt 22:24-22:24)

“The Sadducees said.

‘Teacher!

Moses said.

‘If a man dies

Childless,

His brother

Shall marry

The widow.

He will raise up

Children

For his brother.’”

 

λέγοντες Διδάσκαλε, Μωϋσῆς εἶπεν Ἐάν τις ἀποθάνῃ μὴ ἔχων τέκνα, ἐπιγαμβρεύσει ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀναστήσει σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ

 

Mark, chapter 12:19, and Luke, chapter 20:28, are almost word for word as here in Matthew.  These Sadducees addressed Jesus very respectfully as “Teacher” or “Rabbi (λέγοντες Διδάσκαλε).”  They quoted a Mosaic text, as Moses says (Μωϋσῆς εἶπεν), from Deuteronomy, chapter 25:5-10.  If a man died without any children (Ἐάν τις ἀποθάνῃ μὴ ἔχων τέκνα), his brother should marry the widow (ἐπιγαμβρεύσει ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ).  He would then raise up the descendants for his brother (καὶ ἀναστήσει σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ).  This levirate law goes back as far as Tamar in Genesis, chapter 38:1-30, with the story of Judah’s 3 sons and Tamar, the original wife of Er.  The brother of the deceased was supposed to marry his brother’s widow if he had no sons.  The widow was not to marry outside her family.  It also assumes that the brother lived close by or in the same house as his brother.  There was no indication of whether the brother was married or not, but this seems to assume a younger brother.  This was an attempt to prolong the heritage and name of a person, which was common in ancient times.  The punishment for the brother’s refusal was an insult rather than any physical punishment.

The chief priests were angry (Mt 21:15-21:15)

“The chief priests

And the Scribes

Saw the amazing things

That Jesus did.

The children were crying out

In the Temple.

‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’

They became angry.”

 

ἰδόντες δὲ οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς τὰ θαυμάσια ἃ ἐποίησεν καὶ τοὺς παῖδας τοὺς κράζοντας ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ καὶ λέγοντας Ὡσαννὰ τῷ υἱῷ Δαυείδ, ἠγανάκτησαν,

 

This is unique to Matthew, who said that the chief priests and the scribes saw all the amazing and wonderful things that Jesus did (ἰδόντες δὲ οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς τὰ θαυμάσια ἃ ἐποίησεν).  The children were crying out in the Temple (καὶ τοὺς παῖδας τοὺς κράζοντας ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ).  They were saying to Jesus “Hosanna to the son of David (καὶ λέγοντας Ὡσαννὰ τῷ υἱῷ Δαυείδ)!”  These little children seem to praise Jesus and ask him to save them.  Obviously, this made the priests and scribes angry (ἠγανάκτησαν).  Matthew always pitted the Jewish leaders against Jesus since Jesus seemed to challenge their authority.

The eternal life reward (Mt 19:28-19:29)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Truly!

I say to you!

At the renewal of all things,

When the Son of Man

Is seated on his glorious throne,

You who have followed me

Will also sit on twelve thrones,

Judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Everyone who has left

Houses,

Or brothers,

Or sisters,

Or father

Or mother

Or children

Or lands,

For my name’s sake,

Will receive a hundredfold.

They will inherit eternal life.’”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ὑμεῖς οἱ ἀκολουθήσαντές μοι, ἐν τῇ παλινγενεσίᾳ, ὅταν καθίσῃ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐπὶ θρόνου δόξης αὐτοῦ, καθήσεσθε καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐπὶ δώδεκα θρόνους κρίνοντες τὰς δώδεκα φυλὰς τοῦ Ἰσραήλ.

καὶ πᾶς ὅστις ἀφῆκεν οἰκίας ἢ ἀδελφοὺς ἢ ἀδελφὰς ἢ πατέρα ἢ μητέρα ἢ τέκνα ἢ ἀγροὺς ἕνεκεν τοῦ ἐμοῦ ὀνόματός, πολλαπλασίονα λήμψεται καὶ ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσει.

 

This demanding saying of Jesus, talking about giving up family and land for eternal life, can be found in Mark, chapter 10:29-30, and Luke, chapter 18:29-30, but slightly different.  Jesus then issued a solemn proclamation to his disciples (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).  He told them, if they had followed him (ὅτι ὑμεῖς οἱ ἀκολουθήσαντές μοι), that at the renewal of all things, the rebirth, the end times (ἐν τῇ παλινγενεσίᾳ), the Son of Man would be seated on his glorious throne (ὅταν καθίσῃ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐπὶ θρόνου δόξης αὐτοῦ).  At that same time, his followers, these 12 disciple apostles, would sit on 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel (καθήσεσθε καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐπὶ δώδεκα θρόνους κρίνοντες τὰς δώδεκα φυλὰς τοῦ Ἰσραήλ).  Everyone who has left (καὶ πᾶς ὅστις ἀφῆκεν) houses (οἰκίας), brothers (ἢ ἀδελφοὺς), sisters (ἢ ἀδελφὰς), father (ἢ πατέρα), mother (ἢ μητέρα), children (ἢ τέκνα), or lands (ἢ ἀγροὺς) for his name (ἕνεκεν τοῦ ἐμοῦ ὀνόματός) would receive a hundredfold (πολλαπλασίονα λήμψεται).  They would inherit eternal life (καὶ ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσει).

Four thousand men ate the bread (Mt 15:37-15:38)

“All of them ate.

They were filled.

They took up

The broken pieces left over,

Seven baskets full.

Those who had eaten

Were four thousand men,

Besides women

And children.”

 

καὶ ἔφαγον πάντες καὶ ἐχορτάσθησαν, καὶ τὸ περισσεῦον τῶν κλασμάτων ἦραν ἑπτὰ σπυρίδας πλήρεις.

οἱ δὲ ἐσθίοντες ἦσαν τετρακισχίλιοι ἄνδρες χωρὶς γυναικῶν καὶ παιδίων.

 

Mark, chapter 8:8-9, has a similar statement about how many ate at this multiplication of the bread loaves.  Every one of them ate (καὶ ἔφαγον πάντες) the bread and the fishes, so that they were filled or satisfied (καὶ ἐχορτάσθησαν).  They then collected 7 overflowing full baskets of the fragments or these broken pieces (καὶ τὸ περισσεῦον τῶν κλασμάτων ἦραν ἑπτὰ σπυρίδας πλήρεις).  In comparison with the feeding of the 5,000 earlier in chapter 14:20-21, there were 12 baskets of food left over, while here it is only 7 baskets.  Matthew used a different word for the baskets here as opposed to the preceding chapter.  The “σπυρίδας” here was a very large basket, while the other story had a “κοφίνους”, a smaller wicker basket.  Those who had eaten were 4,000 men (οἱ δὲ ἐσθίοντες ἦσαν τετρακισχίλιοι ἄνδρες), besides the women and the children (χωρὶς γυναικῶν καὶ παιδίων).  The count there was 5,000 men, but here there is only 4,000 men.  Obviously, there was no exact count taken.  Once again, Matthew added the remark about women and children not being part of the semi-official count of the men, because they would have been on the edges of this crowd of men.  Certainly, it was a miraculous feeding of a very large crowd like earlier.  However, there was no mention of anything to drink.  Both Matthew and Mark have this second multiplication of the loaves for the 4,000 people, indicating two separate multiplications of bread.  This does not seem to be the same event described twice.

The leftovers from the large crowd of five thousand (Mt 14:20-14:21)

“They all ate.

They were satisfied.

They took up

What was left over

Of the broken pieces,

Twelve baskets full.

Those who ate

Were about five thousand men,

Besides women

And children.”

 

καὶ ἔφαγον πάντες καὶ ἐχορτάσθησαν, καὶ ἦραν τὸ περισσεῦον τῶν κλασμάτων δώδεκα κοφίνους πλήρεις.

οἱ δὲ ἐσθίοντες ἦσαν ἄνδρες ὡσεὶ πεντακισχίλιοι χωρὶς γυναικῶν καὶ παιδίων.

 

This is the only miracle that is recorded in all four gospels, Mark, chapter 6:42-44, Luke, chapter 9:17, and John, chapter 6:11-13, plus here, but there are slight differences.  All agree that there were 12 baskets of food left over, symbolic of the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles.  They also agree that it was about 5,000 men.  Obviously, there was no exact count taken.  Only Matthew added the remark about the women and the children.  Certainly, it was a miraculous feeding.  Everyone ate some food (καὶ ἔφαγον πάντες).  They were all satisfied or filled (καὶ ἐχορτάσθησαν).  There was no mention of anything to drink.  They took up what was left over of the broken pieces or fragments of food, so that it filled 12 full baskets (αὶ ἦραν τὸ περισσεῦον τῶν κλασμάτων δώδεκα κοφίνους πλήρεις), a very symbolic number.  Those who ate were about 5,000 men (οἱ δὲ ἐσθίοντες ἦσαν ἄνδρες ὡσεὶ πεντακισχίλιοι), not counting the women and the children (χωρὶς γυναικῶν καὶ παιδίων), who would have been on the edges of this large crowd of men.  Without a doubt, this was a very large crowd to feed.

Childish generation (Mt 11:16-11:16)

“But to what

Shall I compare

This generation?

It is

Like children

Sitting in the market places.

They are calling

To one another.”

 

Τίνι δὲ ὁμοιώσω τὴν γενεὰν ταύτην; ὁμοία ἐστὶν παιδίοις καθημένοις ἐν ταῖς ἀγοραῖς ἃ προσφωνοῦντα τοῖς ἑτέροις

 

Then Matthew has Jesus take on the present generation, calling it childish.  Luke, chapter 7:31, has a similar statement, indicating a possible common Q source.  Jesus, via Matthew, wanted to know to what he should compare this generation to (Τίνι δὲ ὁμοιώσω τὴν γενεὰν ταύτην).  He decided that it was like little kids sitting in the market places (ὁμοία ἐστὶν παιδίοις καθημένοις ἐν ταῖς ἀγοραῖς) calling to each other (ἃ προσφωνοῦντα τοῖς ἑτέροις), as if playing games.