The circumcision (Lk 1:59-1: 59)

“On the eighth day,

They came

To circumcise

The child.

 

Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ ὀγδόῃ ἦλθον περιτεμεῖν τὸ παιδίον,

 

Luke explained what happened on the eighth day (Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ ὀγδόῃ) after the birth of the child.  They came to circumcise this child (ἦλθον περιτεμεῖν τὸ παιδίον).  This circumcision, brit milah, or bris was a sign of the covenant with God that goes back to Abraham in Genesis, chapter 17:11-12.  This sacerdotal covenant alliance story emphasized male circumcision as the main part of the Yahweh covenant.  Thus. circumcision became a big deal.  Every male was to be circumcised by removing the flesh of the foreskin of his penis, when he was eight days old.  This also included male slaves born or brought into the house.  An uncircumcised Jewish male would be cut off from his people, because he had broken the covenant with God.  Circumcision has been practiced among many ancient and contemporary groups for either religious or hygienic reasons.  In fact, despite their differences, Islamic males practice circumcision also.  In the USA, most boys born in a hospital are circumcised for hygienic or health purposes.

Peter was confronted a third time (Mk 14:70-14:70)

“Then after a little while,

The bystanders again

Said to Peter.

‘Certainly!

You are one of them!

You are a Galilean!’”

 

καὶ μετὰ μικρὸν πάλιν οἱ παρεστῶτες ἔλεγον τῷ Πέτρῳ Ἀληθῶς ἐξ αὐτῶν εἶ· καὶ γὰρ Γαλιλαῖος εἶ.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 26:73, Luke, chapter 22:59, and John, chapter 18:26, with some changes.  Peter was confronted a 3rd time.  John said that a man recognized, Peter, because he was a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off.  Matthew said that after a little while some of the bystanders approached Peter.  Luke said that it was about an hour later when another person came up to Peter.  Mark, like Matthew, said that that after a little while (καὶ μετὰ μικρὸν), some bystanders again said to Peter (ἔλεγον τῷ Πέτρῳ) that he certainly was one of those followers of Jesus (Ἀληθῶς ἐξ αὐτῶν εἶ), because he was from Galilee (καὶ γὰρ Γαλιλαῖος εἶ), a Galilean.  Matthew added that Peter’s accent in his speech betrayed him as a man from Galilee.  For a 3td time, Peter was accused of being a man from Galilee, a follower of Jesus of Nazareth.  You can never escape your accent.

 

Someone cut the ear of the high priest’s slave (Mk 14:47-14:47)

“But one of those

Who stood nearby

Drew his sword.

He struck

The slave

Of the high priest.

He cut off his ear.”

 

εἷς δέ τις τῶν παρεστηκότων σπασάμενος τὴν μάχαιραν ἔπαισεν τὸν δοῦλον τοῦ ἀρχιερέως καὶ ἀφεῖλεν αὐτοῦ τὸ ὠτάριον.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 26:51.  In Luke, chapter 22:49-51, there was a little discussion before the cutting off of the ear.  Then Jesus healed the ear that was hurt.  John, chapter 18:10-11, explicitly named Peter, not one of those with Jesus, as the one who cut off the ear of the high priest’s slave.  In fact, the slave has the name of Malchus.  Mark said that one of these unnamed apostles was standing nearby Jesus (εἷς δέ τις τῶν παρεστηκότων).  He then drew his sword (σπασάμενος τὴν μάχαιραν) and struck a slave of the high priest (ἔπαισεν τὸν δοῦλον τοῦ ἀρχιερέως).  He cut his ear off (καὶ ἀφεῖλεν αὐτοῦ τὸ ὠτάριον).  Obviously, this could have started a major battle, also indicating that these apostles were armed and ready to do battle, if necessary.

Get rid of idols (Zech 13:2-13:2)

“Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘On that day,

I will cut off

The names

Of the idols

From the land.

Thus,

They shall be remembered

No more.

Also,

I will remove

From the land

The prophets.

I will remove

From the land

The unclean spirit.’”

Yahweh spoke directly to Zechariah.  On that day to come, he was going to cut off the names of the various idols in the land.  Thus, no one would remember them anymore.  He also was going to remove the prophets and unclean spirits.  This will be the end of institutional prophets.

The interpretation of this flying scroll (Zech 5:3-5:4)

“Then the angel said to me.

‘This is the curse

That goes out

Over the face

Of the whole land.

Everyone who steals

Shall be cut off

According to the writing

On one side.

Everyone who swears falsely

Shall be cut off

According to the writing

On the other side.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘I have sent it out.

It shall enter

The house of the thief.

It shall enter

The house of anyone

Who swears falsely

By my name.

It shall abide

In that house.

It shall consume it,

Both timber

With stones.’”

The angel who had been talking to Zechariah interpreted this vision for him.  This flying scroll was a curse that went out over the face of the earth.  On one side of this scroll, it said that everyone who had stolen anything would be cut off, while the other side of the scroll said that anyone who swore falsely in Yahweh’s name would be cut off also.  Thus, this flying scroll would enter the houses of those robbers and perjurers, so that their houses would be destroyed, including all the timber and stones in them.

Against the strange false idol gods (Zeph 1:4-1:6)

“I will cut off

From this place

Every remnant of Baal.

I will cut off

The name

Of the idolatrous priests.

They bow down

On the roofs

To the host

Of the heavens.

They bow down.

They swear

To Yahweh,

But also swear

To Milcom.

They have turned back

From following Yahweh.

They do not seek Yahweh.

They do not inquire of him.”

In Jerusalem and Judah, Yahweh was going to cut off every last remains of the Canaanite god Baal, a very popular Semitic god, who was in charge of fertility and storms as the lord of all.  Thus, the use of the term lord might indicate Baal as well.  Apparently, there were some idolatrous priests in Judah or Jerusalem who worshiped Baal on the roofs of their houses.  On top of that, there was the cult or worship of Milcom or Moloch.  Generally, people would offer up their children as sacrifices to Milcom or Moloch.  Thus, some people were swearing by Yahweh, but also swearing by Milcom at the same time.  In other words, they were not true monotheists.  They had turned away from Yahweh.  They were no longer seeking Yahweh or inquiring about him.

The good news of peace (Nah 1:15-1:15)

To Judah

“Look

On the mountains!

The feet of one

Brings good tidings.

He proclaims peace!

Celebrate your festivals!

O Judah!

Fulfil your vows!

Never again,

Shall the wicked

Invade you!

They are utterly cut off.”

Nahum wanted Judah to look to the mountains, where there was someone bringing good news that there would be peace.  Now, they could celebrate their festivals and fulfill their vows at the Temple.  Never again, would anyone wicked invade them, because all their enemies were cut off.