The good and bad things (Lk 16:25-16:25)

“But Abraham said.

‘Son!

Remember

That during

Your lifetime,

You received

Your good things!

Lazarus,

In like manner,

Received

His evil things.

But now he is

Comforted here.

You are in agony!’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ Ἀβραάμ Τέκνον, μνήσθητι ὅτι ἀπέλαβες τὰ ἀγαθά σου ἐν τῇ ζωῇ σου, καὶ Λάζαρος ὁμοίως τὰ κακά· νῦν δὲ ὧδε παρακαλεῖται σὺ δὲ ὀδυνᾶσαι.

 

This parable story about the poor man Lazarus and an unnamed rich man is only found in Luke, not in the other gospels.  Luke indicated that Jesus remarked that Abraham said (εἶπεν δὲ Ἀβραάμ) to the rich man, calling him son (Τέκνον) that he should remember (μνήσθητι) that during his lifetime he had received good things (ὅτι ἀπέλαβες τὰ ἀγαθά σου ἐν τῇ ζωῇ σου).  Lazarus, however, had received evil things (καὶ Λάζαρος ὁμοίως τὰ κακά).  Thus, now he was being comforted here (νῦν δὲ ὧδε παρακαλεῖται) with Abraham, while he, the rich man, was in agony (σὺ δὲ ὀδυνᾶσαι).  Abraham spoke to the rich man telling him that he had a good time during his lifetime, while Lazarus had not.  Now the tables were turned, Lazarus would live in comfort, but he would be tormented.  This was a clear sign of an afterlife with consequences based on current lifestyles.  Which lifestyle would you prefer?

The second beatitude about mourning (Mt 5:4-5:4)

“Blessed are

Those who mourn!

They shall be comforted.”

 

μακάριοι οἱ πενθοῦντες, ὅτι αὐτοὶ παρακληθήσονται.

 

Once again, Matthew and Luke are not in agreement.  Matthew wanted the mourners (οἱ πενθοῦντες) to be comforted (ὅτι αὐτοὶ παρακληθήσονται), while Luke, chapter 6:21, talked about the hungry, that will be a later spiritual beatitude in Matthew, chapter 5:6.  These humble righteous ones who suffer now in their mourning will be comforted or strengthened.  Thus, they are the blessed or fortunate ones (μακάριοι).  For some reason the Bible of Jerusalem has this beatitude the 3rd instead of the 2rd beatitude.

The fulfillment of the prophecy of Jeremiah (Mt 2:17-2:18)

“Then was fulfilled

What had been spoken

Through the prophet Jeremiah.

‘A voice is heard

In Ramah.

Wailing

With loud lamentation.

Rachel is weeping

For her children.

She refuses to be consoled,

Because they are no more.’”

 

τότε ἐπληρώθη τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Ἰερεμίου τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος

Φωνὴ ἐν Ῥαμὰ ἠκούσθη, κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὀδυρμὸς πολύς·

Ῥαχὴλ κλαίουσα τὰ τέκνα αὐτῆς, καὶ οὐκ ἤθελεν παρακληθῆναι ὅτι οὐκ εἰσίν.

 

Matthew once again has a prophetic citation, but this time explicitly from the prophet Jeremiah, chapter 31:15. He said that the prophecy of Jeremiah was fulfilled here (τότε ἐπληρώθη τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Ἰερεμίου τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος). In the Jeremiah prophecy, Yahweh talked about Rachel, one of the wives of Jacob and the mother of Joseph and Benjamin. At the time of Jeremiah, Rachel had been dead and buried for a long time at Ramah, about 6 miles north of Jerusalem in the former Benjamin territory. Thus, Rachel (Ῥαχὴλ) was loudly lamenting from her grave. Jeremiah said that a voice from Ramah was heard (Φωνὴ ἐν Ῥαμὰ ἠκούσθη). She was weeping bitterly and mourning (κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὀδυρμὸς πολύς) for her lost children (κλαίουσα τὰ τέκνα αὐτῆς). She refused to be comforted (οὐκ ἤθελεν παρακληθῆναι), because they were dead and gone. They were no more (ὅτι οὐκ εἰσίν). Here Matthew, used this saying to apply to the innocent male children that Herod had killed. In the follow up to the Rachel story in Jeremiah, Yahweh told her to stop weeping and dry her tears, because she was going to be rewarded with descendants. There is no indication of that here in this text.

The enemies of Jerusalem (Bar 4:30-4:35)

“Take courage!

O Jerusalem!

The one who named you

Will comfort you.

Wretched will be

Those who mistreated you!

They rejoiced at your fall.

Wretched will be

The cities

That your children

Served as slaves!

Wretched will be

The city

That received your offspring!

She rejoiced

At your fall.

She was glad

For your ruin.

Now she will be grieved

At her own desolation.

I will take away her pride

In her great population.

Her insolence

Will be turned to grief.

Fire will come upon her

from the Everlasting One

For many days.

For a long time,

She will be inhabited

By demons.”

Now there is a turn, as this author speaks directly to Jerusalem instead of Jerusalem herself complaining. Jerusalem was encouraged to be courageous. She would be comforted. However, those who mistreated her and rejoiced at her fall will be miserable. The cities where the children of Jerusalem served as slaves would be miserable also. The city of Babylon, that received the children of Jerusalem, rejoiced and was glad at the downfall and ruin of Jerusalem. Now they will be grieved at their own desolation. The pride of those people and their insolence will be turned to grief. The Everlasting One, not Yahweh, will bring fire upon it for many days. For a long time it will be inhabited by demons.

The happy enemies (Lam 1:21-1:21)

Shin

“They heard

How I was groaning.

There is no one

To comfort me.

All my enemies

Heard of my trouble.

They are glad

That you have done it.

Bring on the day

You have announced!

Let them be as I am!”

Once again, we are back to a personal lament from Jerusalem as she complained about her groaning, since no one comforted her. Her enemies knew all about the troubles in Jerusalem, but they were glad that Yahweh had done this to her. However, Jerusalem was not going to take this sitting down. She wanted the day to come when her enemies would suffer as she was suffering now. This verse starts with the Hebrew letter Shin. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

No one to comfort Zion (Lam 1:17-1:17)

Phe

“Zion stretches out

Her hands.

But there is no one

To comfort her.

Yahweh has commanded

Against Jacob.

His neighbors should

Become his foes.

Jerusalem has become

A filthy thing

Among them.”

Now we are back to a description about Zion, rather than a first person lament from Jerusalem. Zion wanted to be comforted, but there was no one to reach out to her outstretched hands. Yahweh had commanded that the neighbors of Jacob should become his enemies. Jerusalem itself has become a filthy useless thing among its neighbors. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Phe. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

Rachel laments her children (Jer 31:15-31:17)

“Thus says Yahweh.       

‘A voice is heard in Ramah.

There is lamentation.

There is bitter weeping.

Rachel is weeping

For her children.

She refuses to be comforted

For her children.

Because they are no more.’

Thus says Yahweh.

‘Keep your voice

From weeping!

Keep your eyes

From tears!

There is a reward

For your work.’

Says Yahweh.

‘They shall come back

From the land of the enemy.

There is hope for your future.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Your children shall come back

To their own country.’”

Jeremiah seems to have a dialogue with Rachel, the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, and Yahweh. Rachel has been dead and buried for a long time at Ramah, during the time of Jacob as in Genesis, chapter 35. However, there the resting place was called Bethlehem. Here it is Ramah, someplace in Benjamin that makes more sense. The prophet Samuel may have lived in this place as in 1 Samuel, chapter 25. However, here Rachel is lamenting from her grave. She is weeping bitterly for her lost children. She refuses to be comforted because they too are dead and gone. This passage had an influence on the later Gospel of Matthew, chapter 2, where he used this saying to apply to the innocent children killed by Herod. However, Yahweh tells her to stop weeping and dry her tears, because she was going to be rewarded. The descendants of her children were going to come back to their country from the land of their enemies. Thus the northern tribes would be restored.