Preaching to the various towns (Mt 11:1-11:1)

“When Jesus

Had finished instructing

His twelve disciples,

He went on from there

To teach,

And to proclaim

His message

In their towns.”

 

Καὶ ἐγένετο ὅτε ἐτέλεσεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς διατάσσων τοῖς δώδεκα μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ, μετέβη ἐκεῖθεν τοῦ διδάσκειν καὶ κηρύσσειν ἐν ταῖς πόλεσιν αὐτῶν.

 

Matthew continued his unique narrative by saying that Jesus had finished instructing and giving orders (Καὶ ἐγένετο ὅτε ἐτέλεσεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς) to his twelve disciples or apostles (τοῖς δώδεκα μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ), so that he left there (μετέβη ἐκεῖθεν τοῦ).  He went about teaching and preaching (διδάσκειν καὶ κηρύσσειν) in their various towns (ἐν ταῖς πόλεσιν αὐτῶν).  Matthew used the term 12 disciples (τοῖς δώδεκα μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ) not apostles for the close followers of Jesus.  He felt that they had been fully instructed or gotten their marching orders, so that now he was going to go around to teach, proclaim, and preach his message to a larger audience, to their various towns and cities in Galilee.

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Offering your gifts at the Temple (Mt 5:23-5:24)

“When you are offering

Your gift

At the altar,

If you remember

That your brother

Has something

Against you,

Leave your gift there

Before the altar!

Go away!

First be reconciled

To your brother!

Then come!

Offer your gift!”

 

ἐὰν οὖν προσφέρῃς τὸ δῶρόν σου ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον κἀκεῖ μνησθῇς ὅτι ὁ ἀδελφός σου ἔχει τι κατὰ σοῦ

ἄφες ἐκεῖ τὸ δῶρόν σου ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου καὶ ὕπαγε πρῶτον διαλλάγηθι τῷ ἀδελφῷ σου, καὶ τότε ἐλθὼν πρόσφερε τὸ δῶρόν σου.

 

Matthew alone continued to point out to these Jewish listeners that they should reconcile with their brothers or sisters, before they presented their gift offerings at the Temple.  This would seem to indicate that the followers of Jesus were still offering sacrifices at the Jerusalem Temple.  This also would assume that the Temple was still standing.  Very clearly, these followers of Jesus, or early Christians, were offering their gifts at the altar (ἐὰν οὖν προσφέρῃς τὸ δῶρόν σου ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον).  If they remembered that their brother had something against them (κἀκεῖ μνησθῇς ὅτι ὁ ἀδελφός σου ἔχει τι κατὰ σοῦ), they should leave their gift offerings there (ἄφες ἐκεῖ τὸ δῶρόν σου ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου).  Then they should go and be first reconciled with their brother (καὶ ὕπαγε πρῶτον διαλλάγηθι τῷ ἀδελφῷ σου), which was a common Jewish custom.  Then they could come back to the Temple and offer their gifts.  All’s well that ends well.  There was no reconciliation with God without being reconciled with your brother first.

The first temptation (Mt 4:3-4:3)

“The tempter came.

He said to Jesus.

‘If you are the Son of God,

Command these stones

To become loaves of bread.’”

 

καὶ προσελθὼν ὁ πειράζων εἶπεν αὐτῷ Εἰ Υἱὸς εἶ τοῦ Θεοῦ, εἰπὲ ἵνα οἱ λίθοι οὗτοι ἄρτοι γένωνται.

 

Once again, this the same as in Luke, chapter 4:3, as they continued with their common source, perhaps Q.  This devil, the tempter, came to Jesus (καὶ προσελθὼν ὁ πειράζων) after his 40 day and night fast.  Jesus was really hungry at this time.  Then this devil, or the tempting one as he is called here, taunted Jesus (εἶπεν αὐτῷ) by telling him that if he was truly the son of God (Εἰ Υἱὸς εἶ τοῦ Θεοῦ), he could just say the word and make these stones turn into loaves of bread (εἰπὲ ἵνα οἱ λίθοι οὗτοι ἄρτοι γένωνται).  Then Jesus could eat these loaves of bread and take away his hunger.  The terminology of the son of God had been used in the Hebrew scriptures, as it indicated a special relationship with God.

The nets of the enemy (Hab 1:14-1:17)

“You have made people

Like the fish of the sea,

Like crawling things

That have no ruler.

The enemy brings

All of them up

With a hook.

He drags them out,

With his net.

He gathers them

In his seine.

Thus,

He rejoices.

He exults.

Therefore,

He sacrifices

To his net.

He makes sacrifices

To his seine.

His portion is lavish

By them.

His food is rich.

Is he then to keep on

Emptying his net?

Will he keep destroying nations

Without mercy?”

This enemy would keep devouring the people.  Yahweh has made people like fish in the sea, since they have no ruler, much like crawling things.  Thus, this enemy has a hook with a net.  He has dragged the people out of the sea, as if they were fish in a net.  He has gathered them in his seine, which is a great big net.  Thus, this enemy is happy and exulted about his big catch of humans, much like a proud fisherman.  Then, this enemy would sacrifice offerings to his big nets, because they have contributed to his lavish life style with rich food.  He has become wealthy by catching all these humans in his big fish nets.  Thus, he kept emptying his nets and catching more humans in them.  He continued to destroy nations and countries without any mercy for anyone.  His evil ways just went on and on.

The bloody city of Nineveh (Nah 3:1-3:3)

“O!

City of bloodshed!

Utterly deceitful!

Full of booty!

There is

No end to their plunder.

There are

The cracks of the whip,

The rumble of the wheel,

The galloping horse,

The bounding chariots,

The horsemen charging,

The flashing swords,

The glittering spears,

The piles of dead people,

The heaps of corpses,

The dead bodies without end.

They stumble over the bodies!”

Nahum continued with his vivid descriptions of the chaos in Nineveh, truly a city of bloodshed.  They had become very deceitful with lots of stolen booty, since they had plundered everywhere.  However, now there were whips cracking, wheels rumbling, horses galloping, chariots bouncing, and charging cavalry with flashing swords and glittering spears.  Of course, there were a lot of dead people all over the place also.  There were piles and heaps of dead corpses without end.  These dead bodies were so numerous that people stumbled over them in the streets.

Yahweh responds to Jonah (Jon 4:9-4:11)

“But God

Said to Jonah.

‘Is it right

For you

To be angry

About the bush?’

Jonah said.

‘Yes,

Angry enough to die.’

Yahweh said.

‘You are concerned

About the bush

For which you did not labor.

You did not grow it.

It came into being

In a night.

It perished

In a night.

Should I not be concerned

About Nineveh,

That great city,

In which there are more

Than a hundred

And twenty thousand persons,

Who do not know

Their right hand

From their left hand.

There are also many animals.”

Thus, the story of Jonah ends with a reprimand for Jonah.  Jonah continued to argue that he had the right to be mad.  At times, he sounded like Job and his complaints.  God, not Yahweh, asked him if he had a right to be angry.  Jonah insisted that he was so angry that he was willing to die.  Then Yahweh asked him about the bush.  It appeared one day and was gone the next day.  Jonah did nothing to make it grow, so why was he so angry about the dead bush.  On the other hand, Yahweh was concerned about the great city of Nineveh with 120,000 people and lots of animals.  Yet, there was a parting shot at the people of Nineveh.  Apparently, they were so dumb that they could not tell their right hand from their left hand.

The holy city is in disgrace (Dan 9:15-9:16)

“Now!

O Lord!

Our God!

You brought

Your people

Out of the land

Of Egypt

With a mighty hand.

You have made

Your name

Renowned

Even to this day.

We have sinned.

We have done wickedly.

O Lord!

In view of your righteous acts,

Let your anger,

Let your wrath,

We pray,

Turn away

From your city Jerusalem,

Your holy mountain.

Because of our sins,

Because of the iniquities

Of our ancestors,

Jerusalem

With your people

Have become a disgrace

Among all our neighbors.”

Daniel continued with this prayer to God, reminding him how he had brought them out of Egypt with a mighty hand. His name was renowned. However, they had sinned and done wicked things. Thus, God, the Lord, had a righteous anger and wrath. Daniel wanted God to turn away from the holy mountain, the city of Jerusalem, because it had become a disgrace to all its neighbors. Their sins and the iniquities of their ancestors have brought disgrace to Jerusalem and its people.