The demons did not want to go into the abyss (Lk 8:31-8:31)

“The demons

Begged Jesus

Not to order them

To go away

Into the abyss.”

 

καὶ παρεκάλουν αὐτὸν ἵνα μὴ ἐπιτάξῃ αὐτοῖς εἰς τὴν ἄβυσσον ἀπελθεῖν.

 

Luke indicated that these unclean spirits or demons in the possessed man begged Jesus (καὶ παρεκάλουν αὐτὸν) not to order them (ἵνα μὴ ἐπιτάξῃ αὐτοῖς) to go away into the abyss (εἰς τὴν ἄβυσσον ἀπελθεῖν), the home of the dead or evil spirits.  There was something similar in Mark, chapter 5:10, but not in MatthewMark said that this demoniac begged, entreated, or beseeched Jesus many times not to send them, the evil unclean spirits, away to another country or out of this country.  Luke said that these evil spirits did not want to go anywhere.  These evil spirits wanted to remain where they were, since they were content there.  Are you content where you are today?

Soldiers (Lk 3:14-3:14)

“Soldiers

Also asked him.

‘What shall we do?’

John said to them.

‘Do not intimidate

People!

Do not falsely

Accuse people!

Be content

With your wages!’”

 

ἐπηρώτων δὲ αὐτὸν καὶ στρατευόμενοι λέγοντες Τί ποιήσωμεν καὶ ἡμεῖς; καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Μηδένα διασείσητε μηδὲ συκοφαντήσητε, καὶ ἀρκεῖσθε τοῖς ὀψωνίοις ὑμῶν.

 

This final unique saying of Luke about John and his preaching was a dialogue with some soldiers, that is not found elsewhere in the biblical writings.  Luke said that some soldiers also asked John (ἐπηρώτων δὲ αὐτὸν καὶ στρατευόμενοι λέγοντες) what they should do (Τί ποιήσωμεν καὶ ἡμεῖς).  John told them (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) not to intimidate people or use false accusations (Μηδένα διασείσητε μηδὲ συκοφαντήσητε).  They should be content with their wages (καὶ ἀρκεῖσθε τοῖς ὀψωνίοις ὑμῶν).  Once again Luke has John respond with a call for justice, fairness, and honesty.  These Jewish soldiers of Herod Antipas were perhaps a little cruel or crude in their everyday life activities.

The demoniac wanted to stay there (Mk 5:10-5:10)

“The demoniac

Begged him earnestly

Not to send them

Out of the country.”

 

καὶ παρεκάλει αὐτὸν πολλὰ ἵνα μὴ αὐτὰ ἀποστείλῃ ἔξω τῆς χώρας.

 

This is something similar to Luke, chapter 8:31.  Mark indicated that the demoniac begged, entreated, or beseeched Jesus many times (καὶ παρεκάλει αὐτὸν πολλὰ) not to send them (ἵνα μὴ αὐτὰ ἀποστείλῃ), the evil unclean spirits, away to another country, out of this country (ἔξω τῆς χώρας).  Luke said that these evil spirits did not want to be sent into the abyss.  They did not want to go anywhere.  These evil spirits wanted to remain where they were, since they were content there.

Fasting (Mt 6:16-6:16)

“When you fast,

Do not look gloomy,

Like the hypocrites!

They disfigure

Their faces

So as to show others

That they are fasting.

Truly,

I say to you!

‘They have received

Their reward.’”

 

Ὅταν δὲ νηστεύητε, μὴ γίνεσθε ὡς οἱ ὑποκριταὶ σκυθρωποί· ἀφανίζουσιν γὰρ τὰ πρόσωπα αὐτῶν ὅπως φανῶσιν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις νηστεύοντες· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀπέχουσιν τὸν μισθὸν αὐτῶν.

 

Once again, this saying of Jesus is unique to Matthew.  The phraseology and content are similar to the earlier comments on almsgiving.  When you fast (Ὅταν δὲ νηστεύητε), you should not be like the hypocrites (ὡς οἱ ὑποκριταὶ).  The Greek word “οἱ ὑποκριταὶ” originally meant actors or someone who sought praise, while acting deceitfully.  According to Matthew, these hypocrites were usually the enemies of Jesus.  In this case they looked sad, dismal or gloomy (σκυθρωποί) since they were deliberately disfiguring their faces (ἀφανίζουσιν γὰρ τὰ πρόσωπα αὐτῶν).  Thus, other people could see that they were fasting (ὅπως φανῶσιν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις νηστεύοντες).  Some pious Jews would fast twice a week.  Jesus also fasted for 40 days, so his followers could fast also.  As usual, Matthew has Jesus give a solemn saying (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) concluding that these men who sought human approval have already received their reward here on earth (ἀπέχουσιν τὸν μισθὸν αὐτῶν).

Inspiration

These human authors worked under the influence of God’s Spirit.  Yet at the same time, they were under the influence of their community and culture.  Why were these stories and words used?  Christians believe that the biblical phrases are God’s words in human terms in content and message.  These writers believed that what they were writing was inspired by God.

Human Authors

The Bible is the record of the Hebrew people and early Christians.  These human authors worked under the influence of God’s Spirit and at the same time under the influence of their community and culture.  Why these words?  Christians believe that this is God’s meaning in human words in content and message.  The cultural history and empirical science was true for their particular time.  History is always an interpretation.  Science is always experimenting finding new ways to do things.  The divine message of God transcends time and space, since it has an eternal ring to it that goes beyond the human authors and their words.

Necessities of life (Sir 29:21-29:24)

“The necessities of life are

Water,

Bread,

And Clothing.

You also need a house

To assure privacy.

Better is the life

Of the poor,

Under their own crude roof,

Than sumptuous food

In the house of others.

Be content with little or much.

It is a miserable life

To go from house to house.

As a guest,

You should not open your mouth.”

Sirach indicates the necessities of life are water, bread, and clothing, something to eat, drink, and wear. However, he adds a fourth, a place to live, that is a house that will assure your privacy. He points out that it is better to be in your own crude house than have wonderful food in someone else’s house. You should be content with your life, whether you have much or little. It is a miserable way to live in moving from house to house without a permanent residence. If you are a guest, you should keep your mouth shut.