“The angel Gabriel
Came to her.
Full of grace!
The Lord is
καὶ εἰσελθὼν πρὸς αὐτὴν εἶπεν Χαῖρε, κεχαριτωμένη, ὁ Κύριος μετὰ σοῦ.
Luke said that this angel Gabriel came to Mary (καὶ εἰσελθὼν πρὸς αὐτὴν). He greeted her with the traditional Greek salutation “Hail” or “I am happy to see you” (Χαῖρε). She was the favored one or the one full of grace (κεχαριτωμένη). The “Lord is with you” (ὁ Κύριος μετὰ σοῦ) is an ancient Hebrew greeting found in Ruth, chapter 2:4, 2 Chronicles, chapter 15:2, Numbers, chapter 14:42, and 1 Samuel, chapter 17:37. The impact of this angelic greeting has had a profound effect on Christian prayer life. The famous simple popular prayer to Mary is often called the “Hail Mary” based on this passage. “Hail Mary! Full of grace! the Lord is with you!” This medieval 11th century Marian Latin prayer “Ave Maria” is the Latin translation of these Greek verses as found in the Latin Vulgate. The second line was “full of grace” or “gratia plena” and the third line was “Dominus vobiscum,” or the “Lord be with you.” This later phrase “Dominus vobiscum,” was and is also part of the ancient and contemporary Roman Catholic Eucharistic Mass service, as a priestly greeting to the congregation. These verses serve as the foundational biblical statements for the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, not Jesus.
“I tell you!
You are Peter!
On this rock
I will build my church.
The gates of Hades
Shall not prevail against it.
I will give you
To the kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind
Shall be bound
Whatever you loose
Shall be loosed
κἀγὼ δέ σοι λέγω ὅτι σὺ εἶ Πέτρος, καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, καὶ πύλαι Ἅιδου οὐ κατισχύσουσιν αὐτῆς.
δώσω σοι τὰς κλεῖδας τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν, καὶ ὃ ἐὰν δήσῃς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἔσται δεδεμένον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, καὶ ὃ ἐὰν λύσῃς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἔσται λελυμένον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς.
This reward bestowal of power on Peter is unique to Matthew. Jesus, via Matthew, asserted the authority of Peter in a very formal way with a solemn pronouncement (κἀγὼ δέ σοι λέγω). Peter (ὅτι σὺ εἶ Πέτρος) was going to be the rock of Jesus’ new church community (καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν). Notice the play on words of Peter “Πέτρος” and rock “πέτρᾳ.” The gates of hell (καὶ πύλαι Ἅιδου) would not prevail (οὐ κατισχύσουσιν αὐτῆς) against this rock of a church, congregation, or assembly “ἐκκλησία.” Matthew is the only biblical writer to use the phrase “gates of hell or Hades” (πύλαι Ἅιδου).” Peter would receive the keys to the kingdom of heaven (δώσω σοι τὰς κλεῖδας τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν), as the gatekeeper of heaven. Whatever he did on earth would be bound (καὶ ὃ ἐὰν δήσῃς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἔσται δεδεμένον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς) or loosed in heaven (καὶ ὃ ἐὰν λύσῃς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἔσται λελυμένον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς). Peter was no longer a mere informal leader, but the true man in charge here on earth with heavenly consequences, much like the Israelite high priests. This of course has led to the so-called Petrine privilege, the power of Peter as handed down via the bishop of Rome. As the first bishop of Rome, the power of Peter passed on to the bishop successors of Peter in Rome. Thus, the bishop of Rome became known as the Pope or papa of the Christian Church in later centuries.
“Do not disobey the fear of the Lord!
Do not approach him with a divided mind!
Do not be a hypocrite before others!
Keep watch over your lips!
Do not exalt yourself!
Otherwise you may fall.
You may bring dishonor upon yourself.
The Lord will reveal your secrets.
He will overthrow you
Before the whole congregation.
You did not come
In the fear of the Lord.
Your heart was full of deceit.”
Now we have a series of reprimands. You were not to disobey the fear of the Lord. You should not have a divided mind. You should not be hypocrites. You should watch your lips. You should not exalt yourself. If you fall, you bring dishonor to yourself. The Lord would reveal your secrets. He would overthrow you before the whole congregation. If your heart is deceitful, you did not come with the fear of the Lord.
“The words of Qoheleth,
The son of David,
King in Jerusalem.”
Who is Qoheleth? At the heart of his biblical book is the question of authorship. This author says that these are the words of Qoheleth, the son of David, who is a King in Jerusalem. The automatic response is, of course, that this is another name for King Solomon, the Jerusalem King who was the son of King David. However, here is the problem. The authorship and themes represent a 3rd century BCE time as probably one of the last books of the Hebrew Bible. Qoheleth, the term that I will use, is a Hebrew word qahal that means something to do with an assembly or congregation. Thus the Greek translation title of έκκλασία was translated into Latin and English Ecclesiastes, refers to one pertaining to a congregation. In this association with an assembly, was this person a preacher or teacher? Many have translated Qoheleth as a teacher. I prefer to use the original Hebrew title as in the Bible of Jerusalem, just as I have done with the term “Yahweh.” Thus we have a 3rd century Jewish individual presenting what he believes to be the words of King Solomon of the 10th century BCE. This book fits in the Bible right behind the Proverbs of Solomon.
“I love Yahweh
Because he has heard my voice.
He has heard my supplications.
Therefore I will call on him
As long as I live,
Because he inclined his ear to me.
The snares of death encompassed me.
The pangs of Sheol laid hold of me.
I suffered distress.
I suffered anguish.
Then I called on the name of Yahweh.
Save my life!’”
Psalm 116 is a thanksgiving psalm without any titles. This psalm begins with the psalmist talking about how he loves Yahweh because Yahweh has heard his voice. Unlike the psalms that ask God to listen, this psalmist has already had his prayers answered. Yahweh heard his voice and supplications because he inclined his ear to him. The result is that he will always call upon Yahweh as long as he lives. He apparently was near his death in great distress and anguish almost near Sheol. Then he called out the name of Yahweh and he was saved. This is like a call to prayer for the others in the congregation.
“From you comes my praise
In the great congregation.
My vows I will pay before those who fear him.
The poor shall eat.
They shall be satisfied.
Those who seek him,
They shall praise Yahweh!
May your hearts live forever!
All the ends of the earth shall remember.
They will turn to Yahweh.
All the families of the nations
Shall worship before him.
Dominion belongs to Yahweh.
He rules over the nations.”
Due to the good results, Yahweh is to be praised both in the great congregation and in his personal vows. The poor have been satisfied with food. All who seek Yahweh praise him. The whole world will soon remember and turn to Yahweh. All the nations of the world will worship him since he has dominion over all the nations.
“You have rescued me
From the horns of the wild oxen.
I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters.
In the midst of the congregation
I will praise you.
You who fear Yahweh!
All you offspring of Jacob!
Stand in awe of him!
All you offspring of Israel!
He did not despise me.
He did not abhor me.
He did not forget the affliction of the afflicted.
He did not hide his face from me.
But he heard,
When I cried to him.”
Apparently things turned out okay because Yahweh rescued David or the psalmist. He now wanted to give praise and thanksgiving. He was rescued from the horns of the wild oxen. Now he wanted to profess the name of Yahweh before his brothers, his sisters, and the whole congregation. He wanted to praise Yahweh, but he also wanted all the offspring of Jacob and Israel to do the same. It is interesting to note that both names are here and they mean the same thing. Yahweh did not despise or abhor him in his affliction. Yahweh never hid his face but in fact heard his call when he cried out to Yahweh.
“The wicked are not so.
They are like chaff
That the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment.
There are not sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
Yahweh watches over the way of the righteous.
However, the way of the wicked will perish.”
The opposite of the happy righteous person is the wicked person. They have chosen the other way, the bad way, not the path of Yahweh and the law. They are like the useless chaff that falls away from the grain. The wind will drive them away. The wicked cannot stand in judgment before Yahweh. Does this mean the last judgment or is this a near term earthly judgment? There will be no sinners in the congregation of the righteous. Yahweh watches over and protects the righteous, but the wicked will perish. There is a self-righteousness about the blessed ones so that they do not allow sinners among them. Yahweh’s protection keeps them from perishing like the wicked ones. The choice of the 2 ways is clear with this parallelism between the righteous and the wicked. The blessed, the righteous, the strong trees, the lovers of the law are with Yahweh. The sinful wicked, on the other hand will be blown away in the threshing floor. They will not be able to stand so that they will perish. The moral choice is yours, righteous or wicked.
“The congregation assembled to be ready for battle. They assembled to pray and ask for mercy and compassion.
‘Jerusalem was uninhabited like a wilderness.
Not one of her children went in or out.
The sanctuary was trampled down.
The sons of aliens held the citadel.
It was a lodging place for the gentiles.
Joy was taken from Jacob,
The flute and the harp ceased to play.’”
The Israelites gathered to pray. As they readied for the battle, they prayed for mercy and compassion. They lamented the situation in Jerusalem which had become a wilderness. No one went in or out as the sanctuary was trampled. The sons of aliens were in the citadel in Jerusalem. There no longer was joy from the land of Jacob as the flute and the harp ceased to play, just like the day the music stopped.