The chief priests and the elders gather (Mt 26:3-26:3)

“Then the chief priests

And the elders

Of the people

Gathered

In the palace court

Of the high priest,

Who was called Caiaphas.”

 

Τότε συνήχθησαν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι τοῦ λαοῦ εἰς τὴν αὐλὴν τοῦ ἀρχιερέως τοῦ λεγομένου Καϊάφα,

 

This is somewhat similar to Mark, chapter 14:1, and to Luke, chapter 22:2.  Matthew said that the chief priests (οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς) and the elders or the presbyters of the people (καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι τοῦ λαοῦ) gathered together (Τότε συνήχθησαν) in the palace or court of the Jewish high priest (εἰς τὴν αὐλὴν τοῦ ἀρχιερέως), called Caiaphas (τοῦ λεγομένου Καϊάφα).  This Caiaphas was the son in law of the former high priest Annas.  Since Caiaphas was the high priest or chief Jewish religious person in Jerusalem from 18-36 CE, this would fit within this time frame of Jesus.  These chief priests and the elders of the people seem to consult with the high priest Caiaphas.  There was no mention of the Pharisees, Scribes, or Sadducees here.  This is no longer a theological argument, but a life and death issue.  The role of authority will be the key issue here.

The prostitution of Israel (Hos 4:10-4:12)

“They shall eat,

But not be satisfied.

They shall play the prostitute,

But not multiply.

They have forsaken

Yahweh

To cherish prostitution.

Wine,

With new wine,

Takes away

Understanding.

My people consult

A piece of wood.

Their divining rod

Gives them oracles.

A spirit of prostitution

Has led them astray.

They have left

Their God

To play the prostitute.”

These northern Israelites would eat, but not be satisfied or full. They played the prostitute. They did not increase or multiply. They have cherished prostitution rather than Yahweh. All kinds of wine, new and old, take away understanding. Thus, the Israelite people consult with pieces of wood, the wooden idol gods. Their oracles or sayings come from their magical divining rods or sticks. This concept of prostitution has led them astray. They have left God to be prostitutes to other gods. Obviously, this was an allusion to the prostitution fertility rites and the fact that they were turning to other wooden idol gods, rather than being faithful to Yahweh.

Yahweh will not consult with the elders (Ezek 20:2-20:3)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Speak to the elders

Of Israel!

Say to them!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Why are you coming?

Are you coming

To consult with me?

As I live!

I will not be consulted

By you.’

Says Yahweh God.”

As usual, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. Yahweh told him what to tell the elders of Israel. Yahweh wanted to know why they were coming to consult with him. Yahweh clearly maintained that he did not want to consult with them.

Certain elders of Israel come to Ezekiel (Ezek 14:1-14:3)

“Certain elders of Israel

Came to me.

They sat down

Before me.

The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

These men have taken

Their idols

Into their hearts.

They placed their iniquity

As a stumbling block

Before them.

Shall I let myself

Be consulted

By them?’”

Apparently, certain elders of Israel came to Ezekiel to sit in front of him. While they were there, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel. Yahweh told him, the son of man, that these men had taken idols to heart. They had placed their iniquity as a stumbling block. Why would Yahweh or Ezekiel consult with them?

The priests and the idols (Bar 6:48-6:52)

“When war

Or calamity

Comes upon them,

The priests consult together

As to where

They can

Hide themselves

With their gods.

How then can anyone

Fail to see

That these are not gods?

They cannot save themselves

From war

Or calamity.

They are made of wood,

Overlaid

With gold

Or silver.

It will afterward

Be known

That they are false.

It will be manifest

To all the nations,

To all the kings,

That they are not gods

But the work of human hands.

There is no work

Of God

In them.

Who then can fail

To know

That they are not gods?”

What happens when war or calamity comes to these priests and their idol gods? The priests consult together on where they can hide themselves with their gods. All can see that these are not gods. They cannot save themselves from either war or calamity, since they are made of wood, overlaid with gold or silver. Afterwards, everyone will know that these were false gods. It is will be clear to all the nations and all the kings that they are not gods. As they were the work of human hands, there is no work of God in them. This author asked the question, who would not recognize that these idols are not gods?

False worship (Isa 65:3-65:5)

“A people provoke me

To my face continually.

They sacrifice in gardens.

They offer incense on bricks.

They sit inside tombs.

They spend the night in secret places.

They eat swine’s flesh.

They have broth of abominable things

In their vessels.

They say.

‘Keep to yourself.

Do not come near me.

I am too holy for you.’

These are a smoke

In my nostrils.

They are a fire

That burns all the day.”

These Israelites were practicing false worship right in front of Yahweh, instead of the true Yahweh worship. They were sacrificing in the gardens in some sort of a nature cult. They burned incense on bricks that was both a pagan and Israelite practice. Sitting inside tombs was an attempt to consult with the dead. If they spent the night in a secret place they were trying to conjure up a vision. Obviously eating pork was forbidden to the Israelites. Others drank some kind of terrible abominable broth. Some even wanted to keep Yahweh away because they were already part of some unknown rite or cult that made them holy. They were like smoke in Yahweh’s nose. They were like a continually burning fire. They really bothered Yahweh with their false worship practices.

Against those who trust in Egypt (Isa 31:1-31:1)

“Woe to those

Who go down to Egypt

For help!

They rely on horses!

They trust in chariots

Because they are many!

They trust in horsemen

Because they are very strong!

But they do not look

To the Holy One of Israel!

They do not consult Yahweh!”

Isaiah has another strong warning about going to Egypt to get help. Those who go to Egypt will be cursed. They want help from horses, chariots, and cavalry horsemen because there are many strong ones in Egypt. However, they did not look to the Holy One of Israel. They did not consult with Yahweh before they set out on this mission. Besides many of this help would have been useless on the Israelite terrain.