The Roman soldiers mock Jesus (Mt 27:28-27:30)

“They stripped Jesus.

They put a scarlet robe

On him.

They twisted

Some thorns

Into a crown.

They put it

On his head.

They put a reed

In his right hand.

They knelt

Before him.

They mocked him.

They said.

‘Hail!

King of the Jews!’

They spat

On Jesus.

They took the reed.

They struck him

On the head.”

 

καὶ ἐκδύσαντες αὐτὸν χλαμύδα κοκκίνην περιέθηκαν αὐτῷ,

καὶ πλέξαντες στέφανον ἐξ ἀκανθῶν ἐπέθηκαν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ καὶ κάλαμον ἐν τῇ δεξιᾷ αὐτοῦ, καὶ γονυπετήσαντες ἔμπροσθεν αὐτοῦ ἐνέπαιξαν αὐτῷ λέγοντες Χαῖρε, Βασιλεῦ τῶν Ἰουδαίων,

καὶ ἐμπτύσαντες εἰς αὐτὸν ἔλαβον τὸν κάλαμον καὶ ἔτυπτον εἰς τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 15:17-19, but not in Luke.  In John, chapter 19:2-3, there is something similar.  Matthew said that these Roman soldiers stripped Jesus of his clothes (καὶ ἐκδύσαντες αὐτὸν).  They put a scarlet robe on him (κοκκίνην περιέθηκαν αὐτῷ), a Roman soldier’s tunic.  Thus, he might have looked like a king in a purple robe.  Then they twisted some thorns into a crown (καὶ πλέξαντες στέφανον ἐξ ἀκανθῶν).  They put this crown on his head (πέθηκαν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ) like a Roman laurel or gold crown.  They put a reed in his right hand (καὶ κάλαμον ἐν τῇ δεξιᾷ αὐτοῦ) like a royal scepter.  Then these Roman soldiers knelt before him (καὶ γονυπετήσαντες ἔμπροσθεν αὐτοῦ) as they mocked him, saying “Hail! King of the Jews (ἐνέπαιξαν αὐτῷ λέγοντες Χαῖρε, Βασιλεῦ τῶν Ἰουδαίων)!”  Then they spat on Jesus (καὶ ἐμπτύσαντες).  They took the reed from his hand (εἰς αὐτὸν ἔλαβον τὸν κάλαμον) and struck him on the head (καὶ ἔτυπτον εἰς τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ).  They were mocking this pretended king of the Jews.

Put on the robe of glory (Bar 5:1-5:4)

“Take off the garment

Of your sorrow!

Take off the garment

Of your affliction!

O Jerusalem!

Put on forever

The beauty

Of the glory

From God!

Put on the robe

Of the righteousness

From God!

Put on your head

The diadem

Of the glory

Of the Everlasting One!

God

Will show

Your splendor

Everywhere under heaven!

God

Will give you forever

The name

‘Righteousness peace!

Godly glory!’”

The author of this book told Jerusalem to take off its garments of sorrow and distress. Jerusalem was to put on the beauty of the glorious God, the robe of the righteousness of God. Jerusalem was to wear a diadem crown to show the glory of the Everlasting One. Once again, God is no longer called Yahweh. God was going to show the splendor of this great city to everyone in the world. Now Jerusalem had a new name, “righteous peace and Godly glory”. There would be a great turn around in Jerusalem.

The unique ornamented vestments of Aaron (Sir 45:10-45:13)

“The sacred vestments were

Gold,

Violet,

And purple.

They were the work of an embroiderer.

Aaron had the oracle of judgment,

The Urim and the Thummim.

They had twisted crimson,

The work of a craftsman.

There were precious stones

Engraved like signet seals.

There was a setting of gold,

The work of a jeweler.

This was a commemoration

In engraved letters,

Of each of the tribes of Israel.

He had a gold crown upon his turban.

This was inscribed

Like a signet seal with

‘Holiness.’

This was a distinction to be prized.

This was the work of an expert.

This was the delight for the eyes,

As this was richly adorned.

Before him,

Such beautiful things did not exist.

No outsider ever put them on.

Only his sons put this on.

Only his descendants perpetually put this on.”

The colorful vestments of Aaron were made of embroidered gold, violet, and purple. The artisans had made these crimson yarns. The Urim and Thummim were sacred oracles, in the pouch of the breastplate of judgment, according to Exodus, chapter 28. Aaron would carry the names of the Israelites and the judgment of the Israelites, when he went into the holy place. This unmentioned breastplate had precious stones engraved seals of the 12 tribes in settings of gold. He had a gold crown on his head that was on the top of his turban with gold flower designs. On the top of it was engraved “holiness” or as in Exodus, “Holy to Yahweh.” These highly artistic works were a delight to the eye since nothing like it existed anywhere before. Nobody, but Aaron and his sons could wear these vestments. Eventually, these became the sacred vestments of the Temple high priest.

The value of old people (Sir 25:3-25:6)

“If you have gathered nothing

In your youth,

How can you find anything

In your old age?

How attractive is sound judgment

In gray-haired people?

The aged possess good counsel.

How attractive is wisdom

In the aged?

There is understanding

In the venerable people.

There is counsel

In honorable persons.

Rich experience

Is the crown of the aged.

Their boast

Is the fear of the Lord.”

If you have not gathered anything in your youth, you might have a hard time in your old age. However, sound judgment is attractive in gray-haired people. The aged have good counsel. Wisdom, understanding, and counsel make old people attractive and honorable. The crown of the aged old folks is the rich experience of their life. They can boast in their fear of the Lord.

Wisdom and the fear of the Lord (Sir 1:14-1:20)

“To fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

She is created with the faithful in the womb.

She made an eternal foundation among human beings.

Among their descendants

She will abide faithfully.

To fear the Lord is fullness of wisdom.

She inebriates mortals with her fruits.

She fills their whole house with desirable goods.

She fills their storehouses with her produce.

The fear of the Lord is the crown of wisdom.

She makes peace.

She makes perfect health to flourish.

She rained down knowledge.

She rained down discerning comprehension.

She heightened the glory of those who held her fast.

To fear the Lord is the root of wisdom.

Her branches are a long life.”

After explaining the importance of the fear of the Lord, now Sirach makes a clear connection with wisdom. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. The faithful have wisdom from their time in the womb. Wisdom is an eternal foundation that abides faithfully. If you fear God, you are full of wisdom since she inebriates mortals with her fruits. The wise will have desirable goods and produce. The fear of God is the crown of wisdom. She makes peace and brings perfect health. Wisdom brings knowledge and comprehension. Glory will come to those who hold fast to wisdom because their fear of God is the root of wisdom with its branches a long life.

 

Virtue (Wis 4:1-4:2)

“Childlessness is better

With virtue.

In the memory of virtue

Is immortality.

Because it is known

By God.

It is known

By mortals.

When it is present,

People imitate it.

They long for it

When it has gone.

Throughout all time

It marches

Crowned in triumph.

It is the victor in the contest for prizes

That are undefiled.”

Once again, we return to the concept of childless people who are virtuous. The memory of their virtues (ἀρετῆς) will live on in immortality (ἀθανασία) before God (παρὰ Θεῷ) and among humans (παρὰ ἀνθρώποις). People will imitate virtue because they long for it. In fact, when it is gone, it still marches with a crown, just like in the Greek Olympic Games. They would wear this crown of virtue, since they were undefiled.

Take care of your farm animals (Prov 27:23-27:27)

“Know well the condition of your flocks.

Give attention to your herds.

Riches do not last forever.

A crown does not endure for all generations.

When the grass is gone,

The new growth appears.

The herbage of the mountains is gathered.

The lambs will provide your clothing.

The goats provide the price of a field.

There will be enough goats’ milk for your food.

This is the food of your household.

This will nourish your servant-girls.”

You have to take good care of your farm animals. You should know the condition of your flock and your herds. Wealth, like the crown of a king, does not last forever. When the grass is gone, a new growth will appear. The vegetables or herbage of the mountains will be gathered. The lamb’s wool will be made into clothing. The goat’s milk will provide you with food. There will be enough food for your household and your servants. This is a warning to the rich not to take their situation too lightly since things could change.