They spread garments and branches on the road (Mk 11:8-11:8)

“Many people

Spread their garments

On the road.

Others spread

Leafy branches

That they had cut

In the fields.”

 

καὶ πολλοὶ τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτῶν ἔστρωσαν εἰς τὴν ὁδόν, ἄλλοι δὲ στιβάδας, κόψαντες ἐκ τῶν ἀγρῶν.

 

Both Matthew, chapter 21:8, and Luke, chapter 19:36, are similar but with slight differences.  Mark said that instead of crowds, it was many people (καὶ πολλοὶ) that spread out their outer garments, cloaks, or coats on the road (τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτῶν ἔστρωσαν εἰς τὴν ὁδόν).  Meanwhile, others were cutting down leafy branches from the surrounding fields (ἄλλοι δὲ στιβάδας, κόψαντες ἐκ τῶν ἀγρῶν), also spreading out these branches on the road.  This event has become the great Palm Sunday celebration, the triumphant entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem.  Actually, only John, chapter 12:13, called these palm branches.  This idea of laying garments on the road can be found in 2 Kings, chapter 9:13, to protect the feet of the king.  Clearly, this was an attempt to connect Jesus with the Davidic kingship.  Was Jesus to be the new king of Israel as a son of David?

Assurances to Judah (Nah 1:12-1:13)

To Judah

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘Though they are

At full strength,

Although they are

Many,

They will be cut off.

They will pass away.

Even though I have afflicted you,

I will afflict you no more.

Now I will break off

His yoke

From you.

I will snap

The bonds

That bind you.’”

In a classical prophetic phrase, “thus says Yahweh,” Nahum issued this oracle of Yahweh to Judah to reassure them.  Although their enemies were strong and many, Yahweh was not going to cut the people of Judah off.  This affliction was going to pass, because Yahweh was not going to afflict them anymore.  Instead, he was going to break their yoke from around their necks.  He was going to snap the bonds that had bound them.

The fall of the tall cedar tree (Ezek 31:10-31:12)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘The cedar tree

Towered high.

It set its top

Among the clouds.

Its heart

Was proud

Of its height.

I will give it

Into the hand

Of the prince

Of the nations.

He has dealt

With it,

As its wickedness deserves.

I have cast it out.

Foreigners,

From the most terrible

Of the nations,

Have cut it down.

They have left it.

Its branches

Have fallen

On the mountains.

In all the valleys.

Its boughs

Lie broken

In all the watercourses

Of the land.

All the people

Of the earth

Went away

From its shade.

They left it.’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that this great cedar tree towered high, with its tree top in the clouds. This tree was proud in its heart of its height. Yahweh gave it to the prince of the nations, probably the king of Babylon, who dealt with it because of its wickedness. Yahweh was going to cast it out. Foreigners from the worst nations came and cut it down. They left it lying on the mountains and in the valleys. The fallen broken branches were on the ground and in small streams of water. Everybody went away from its shade, as they left this fallen tree alone.

The difficult day of your birth (Ezek 16:4-16:5)

“As for your birth,

On the day

You were born

Your navel cord

Was not cut.

You were not washed

With water

To cleanse you.

You were not rubbed

With salt.

You were not wrapped

In clothes.

No eye pitied you.

No one did

Any of these things

For you

Out of compassion

For you.

But you were

Thrown out

In the open field.

You were abhorred

On the day

You were born.”

Apparently when Jerusalem was born, she did not have the usual amenities of child birth. The following things seemed to have happened at child birth at that time. Obviously, the navel cord, which would normally have been cut, was not done so. There was no washing of the child, nor the rubbing with salt as a protective element, nor being wrapped in clothing. No one pitied Jerusalem or had compassion for this city. She was simply thrown out into the open field to fend for herself.  She was abhorred from the day of her birth. She had a difficult first day.

The three separate disasters for the people of Jerusalem (Ezek 5:11-5:12)

“Says Yahweh God!

‘Surely as I live,

Because you have defiled

My sanctuary

With all your detestable things,

With all your abominations,

Therefore I will cut you down.

My eye will not spare.

I will have no pity.

One third of you

Shall die

Of pestilence,

Or be consumed

By famine among you.

One third of you

Shall fall

By the sword

Around you.

One third of you,

I will scatter

To every wind.

I will unsheathe

The sword

After them.”

The God Yahweh was mad at the people of Jerusalem. They had defiled his sanctuary. They had brought in all those detestable abominations into the Temple. Thus Yahweh was not going to spare them, but cut them down. He was not going to show any pity. Using language similar to Jeremiah, there were three main options for dying. However, Ezekiel was more precise. One third of them would die from pestilence or famine. Another third would fall by the sword. The final third would be scattered to the winds in every direction. Yahweh was going to let his sword loose on them.

Yahweh and the battle in Babylon (Jer 51:11-51:14)

“Sharpen the arrows!

Fill the quivers!

Yahweh has stirred up

The spirit of the kings

Of the Medes.

His purpose concerning Babylon

Is to destroy it.

That is the vengeance of Yahweh,

That is the vengeance

For his temple.

Raise a standard

Against the walls of Babylon!

Make the watch strong!

Post sentinels!

Prepare the ambushes!

Yahweh has both planned

As well as done

What he spoke

Concerning the inhabitants

Of Babylon.

You who live

By mighty waters,

Rich in treasures,

Your end has come.

The thread of your life

Is cut.

Yahweh of hosts

Has sworn by himself.

Surely I will fill you

With troops,

Like a swarm of locusts.

They shall raise

A shout of victory

Over you.”

Here there is a serious of commands from Yahweh, via Jeremiah. The warriors were to have their quivers ready full of arrows. Yahweh has stirred up the Medes, the people to the north of Babylon with the Persians. They were going to destroy Babylon because of Yahweh’s vengeance for what the Babylonians had done to his temple in Jerusalem. There was going to be an invasion of Babylon with wise watchmen and sentinels as well as strong ambushes. Yahweh had planned and carried out his word against Babylon, the land of mighty waters such as the Euphrates and the Tigris, with all their treasures. Their end has come. The thread of their life has been cut. There will be troops in Babylon, like swarms of locusts, shouting about victory.

The reading of the scroll to the king (Jer 36:21-36:23)

“Then King Jehoiakim

Sent Jehudi

To get the scroll.

He took it

From the chamber

Of Elishama the secretary.

Jehudi read it to the king

With all the officials

Who stood beside the king.

The king was sitting

In his winter apartment.

It was the ninth month.

There was a fire burning

In the brazier before him.

As Jehudi read

Three or four columns,

The king would cut them off

With a penknife.

He would then throw them

Into the fire

In the brazier,

Until the entire scroll

Was consumed in the fire

That was in the brazier.”

The king was not satisfied with a mere report about the scroll. He wanted the scroll itself. Thus he sent Jehudi to get the scroll and read it to them. Jehudi went back to the chamber of the secretary, Elishama, where the scroll was. He got it and came back to the king. There he read it to the king and all the royal officials. Since the king was at his winter home, there was a fire in the brazier or the fireplace, a brass coal burning stove. Thus as Jehudi read the scroll, King Jehoiakim would take 3 or 4 columns of it, cut them with a small knife that they used for the trimming of writing reeds. Then he would throw these pieces of the scroll into the fire, until they were all burned up. Thus you get some idea of the king’s opinion about the writings of Jeremiah via Baruch.