Eating with a sinner (Lk 19:7-19:7)

“All who saw it

Began to grumble.

They said.

‘Jesus has gone

To be the guest,

Of one who is a sinner.’”

 

καὶ ἰδόντες πάντες διεγόγγυζον λέγοντες ὅτι Παρὰ ἁμαρτωλῷ ἀνδρὶ εἰσῆλθεν καταλῦσαι.

 

Luke indicated that everyone who saw this (καὶ ἰδόντες πάντες) began to grumble (διεγόγγυζον).  They said (λέγοντες) that Jesus had gone to stay with a sinful man (ὅτι Παρὰ ἁμαρτωλῷ ἀνδρὶ εἰσῆλθεν καταλῦσαι).  Luke was the only Greek biblical writer to use the term διεγόγγυζον, that means to murmur among themselves, murmur greatly, or continue murmuring.  All the people knew that Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector and thus working with and for the foreign governing Romans.  These tax collectors were more political and distained because of their corruption and wealth.  Now Jesus was going to stay with what many considered a public sinner, a tax collector.  Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector.  Would you stay with someone who was a known public sinner?

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Tring to find complaints against Daniel (Dan 6:4-6:5)

“Then the presidents,

As well as the satraps,

Tried to find

Grounds

For complaint

Against Daniel,

In connection

With the kingdom.

But they could not find

Any grounds

For complaint

Or any corruption,

Because he was faithful.

No negligence,

No corruption,

Could be found

In him.

Then these men said.

‘We shall not find

Any ground

For complaint

Against this Daniel.

Unless we find it

In connection

With the law

Of his God.’”

Apparently, the other presidents and satraps were not happy about Daniel. They tried to find grounds to complain against Daniel in connection with his rulings in the kingdom. However, they were not able to find any grounds for complaints because of corruption or negligence, because Daniel was a faithful servant of the kingdom. Finally, they said, they might complain about his connection to the law of God, rather than the kingdom.

Divine commands (Sir 28:6-28:7)

“Remember the end of your life!

Set enmity aside!

Remember corruption!

Remember death!

Be true to the commandments!

Remember the commandments!

Do not be angry with your neighbor!

Remember the covenant of the Most High!

Overlook faults!”

Sirach then reminds us of things to do with a series of divine commands. You have to remember a lot of things, especially the end of your lives with death. You ought to remember that there is corruption in this life. You should not have any hostility or antagonism towards others. You have to remember and be true to the commandments of the Lord. You should not be angry with your neighbor. Instead overlook their faults. You should remember the covenant with the Most High God.

Evil consequences of the worship of false idols (Wis 14:22-14:26)

“Then it was not enough for them to err

About the knowledge of God,

But they lived in great strife due to ignorance.

They called such great evils peace.

Whether they killed children in their initiations,

Or celebrated secret mysteries,

Or held frenzied revels with strange customs,

They no longer keep

Either their lives pure

Or their marriages pure.

But they either treacherously killed one another,

Or grieved one another by adultery.

All was a raging riot

Of blood,

Of murder,

Of theft,

Of deceit,

Of corruption,

Of faithlessness,

Of tumult,

Of perjury.

There was confusion over what was good.

There was forgetfulness of favors.

There was pollution of souls.

There was sex perversion.

There was disorder in marriage.

There was adultery.

There was debauchery.”

What happens to those who worship false idols? They were ignorant of God (περὶ τὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ γνῶσιν). However, they lived in great strife and called it peace. They killed their children in strange initiation ceremonies. They celebrated secret mysteries (μυστήρια) with strange customs. Their lives and marriages were no longer pure. They killed each other. They committed adultery among themselves. They ended up in a riot of blood and murder. There was theft, deceit, corruption, faithfulness, tumult, perjury, sexual perversion, adultery, and debauchery. They did not know what was good.   They forgot favors. They defiled their souls.

Origin of the worship of idols (Wis 14:12-14:14)

“The idea of making idols

Was the beginning of fornication.

The invention of them

Was the corruption of life.

They did not exist from the beginning.

Nor will they last forever.

Through human vanity

They entered the world.

Therefore their speedy end

Has been planned.”

According to this author, fornication or prostitution (πορνείας) began when they started making idols (εἰδώλων). Their invention led to the corruption of life (ζωῆς) since they did not exist at the beginning (ἀρχῆς) of time. However, they will not last forever. They entered the world (εἰς κόσμον) through human vanity so that they will have a speedy end. Clearly sexual activity was tied to these idols, but they had an uncertain future.

Jason, the high priest tales over (2 Macc 4:7-4:10)

“When King Seleucus died, King Antiochus, who was called Epiphanes, succeeded to the kingdom. Then Jason, the brother of Onias, obtained the high priesthood by corruption. He promised the king at an interview three hundred sixty talents of silver and, from another source of revenue, eighty talents. In addition to this, he promised to pay one hundred fifty more if permission were given to establish by his authority a gymnasium and a body of youth for it. He wanted to enroll the men of Jerusalem as citizens of Antioch. When the king assented, Jason came to office. He at once shifted his countrymen over to the Greek way of life.”

By the time that Onias arrived in Antioch, Heliodorus had already assassinated King Seleucus IV (187-175 BCE). Now King Antiochus IV (175-164 BCE), the son of King Antiochus III who had ruled from 222-187 BCE, became king. He was the brother of King Seleucus IV. Jason was the brother of the high priest Onias, so that he was a Levite. He obtained the high priesthood by corruption. I still think that it is strange that the Syrian king had the right to name the Jewish high priest. Jason has promised the new king about 440 talents of silver, the equivalent of a quarter million $USA. He wanted a Greek gymnasium in Jerusalem that would become the center of political and cultural education. He also wanted all the men of Jerusalem to be citizens of Antioch. The new King Antiochus IV said fine. Thus Jason took over as the new high priest of Jerusalem. He wanted to shift his countrymen to the new Greek way of life. Unlike in 1 Maccabees, chapter 1, where the movement to the Greek way was led by the generic renegades, here it is explicitly assigned to Jason, the new high priest. Despite his protestations of not getting into details, this biblical author explained the role of the high priest Onias and his brother Jason in great detail.