The priest went by (Lk 10:31-10:31)

“Now by chance,

A priest

Was going down

That road.

When he saw him,

He passed by

On the other side.”

 

κατὰ συγκυρίαν δὲ ἱερεύς τις κατέβαινεν ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ ἐκείνῃ, καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτὸν ἀντιπαρῆλθεν.

 

Luke uniquely continued this story or parable about who is my neighbor.  Jesus said that by chance (κατὰ συγκυρίαν), a certain Jewish priest (δὲ ἱερεύς τις) was going down (κατέβαινεν) this same road (ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ ἐκείνῃ).  He saw the badly wounded man (καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτὸν), but he passed by on the other side of the road (ἀντιπαρῆλθεν).  There is a lot of speculation on why this priest did not help this man.  Was it because of ritual purity?  Was he in a hurry, so that he did not have time to stop?  Did he simply not care?  Was it too much of a bother?  Certainly, a Jewish priest had standing in the Jewish community.  Other than the high priest, he represented the most important level of Jewish society.  What is certain is that this high-ranking religious leader did not engage in any way with the afflicted man on the other side of the road.  He clearly saw him, as he specifically crossed over to the other side, so as not to be bothered by him.  The ritual purity argument has been raised since a priest could not touch a corpse.  However, there was no mention of a dead body.  Do you always have an excuse on why you do not help other wounded people?

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The cruel capture and death of the Pharaoh (Ezek 32:3-32:6)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I will throw my net

Over you

In an assembly

Of many people.

I will haul you up

In my dragnet.

I will throw you

On the ground.

I will fling you

On the open field.

I will cause

All the birds

Of the air

To settle on you.

I will let

The wild animals

Of the whole earth

Gorge themselves

With you.

I will strew

Your flesh

On the mountains.

I will fill the valleys

With your carcass.

I will drench

The land

With your flowing blood,

Up to the mountains.

The watercourses

Will be filled

With you.’”

Yahweh was very explicit about what he was going to do to the Pharaoh. He was going to throw his fishing net over him in front of many people. He was then going to drag this net to some open field. There he was going to fling him to the ground, so that the birds of the air and the wild animals would settle on him and gorge themselves. Yahweh was going to spread the Pharaoh’s flesh on the mountains and the valleys. Parts of his dead body and his flowing blood would drench the land in the streams and on the mountains.

The coming punishment for the king and his family (Jer 36:30-36:31)

“Therefore thus says Yahweh                           

Concerning King Jehoiakim

Of Judah.

‘He shall have no one

To sit upon the throne

Of David.

His dead body

Shall be cast out

To the heat

By day

As well as the frost

By night.

I will punish him,

His offspring,

As well as his servants

For their iniquity.

I will bring

On them,

On the inhabitants of Jerusalem,

On the people of Judah,

All the disasters

With which I have threatened them.

But they would not hear.’”

Yahweh delivered his judgment against King Jehoiakim and his royal family. No one in his family will ever sit on the throne of David. Actually, at his death, his son Coniah, King Jehoiachin ruled for a couple of months before King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon put his uncle King Zedekiah on the throne in 598 BCE. King Jehoiakim’s dead body would lie out in the cold night and the hot day. The king, his children, and his servants would suffer for their iniquity. On top of that, Yahweh was going to bring disasters to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. This will all happen because they had not listened to Yahweh.

The death of the prophet Uriah (Jer 26:21-26:23)

“When King Jehoiakim,

With all his warriors,

With all his officials,

Heard his words,

The king sought

To put him to death.

When Uriah heard this,

He was afraid.

He fled.

He escaped to Egypt.

Then King Jehoiakim sent

Elnathan,

The son of Achbor,

With other men with him,

To Egypt.

They took Uriah

From Egypt.

They brought him

To King Jehoiakim.

He struck him down

With the sword.

They threw his dead body

Into the burial place

Of the common people.”

King Jehoiakim or King Eliakim (609-598 BCE), the same king as when Jeremiah was prophesying, heard about the prophecies of Uriah. He had an immediate reaction as he with his warriors and officials wanted to kill Uriah for his prophecy about the demise of Judah and Jerusalem. This prophet Uriah then fled to Egypt. However, the king of Egypt had put King Jehoiakim on the throne. Elnathan, the son of Achbor, may have been the father-in-law of the king of Judah. Achbor had helped King Josiah in his religious reforms. Thus when he showed up with some men in Egypt, they were able to bring him back to the king of Judah. There they killed Uriah with a sword. Then they threw his dead body in the common burial place. Uriah did not have a happy ending. He was one of the few prophets to be killed.

The Twelve prophets (Sir 49:10-49:10)

“May the bones

Of the twelve prophets

Send forth new life

From where they lie.

They comforted

The people of Jacob.

They delivered them

With confident hope.”

Finally we have the 12 prophets without mentioning their specific names. Just as there were 12 tribes so there also were 12 prophets. Sometimes they are referred to as the 12 Minor Prophets, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. They were important enough for Sirach to mention them so that this book of 12 or series of books about 12 prophets might have been considered canonical by the time of the writing of Sirach. Sirach wanted them to be like Elisha, whose dead body revived another dead person. These prophets gave comfort to the people of Jacob. They gave the Israelites hope.

The acts of charity of Tobit (Tob 1:15-1:18)

“When King Shalmaneser died, his son King Sennacherib reigned in his place. The highways into Media became unsafe, so that I could no longer go into Media. In the days of King Shalmaneser, I performed many acts of charity to my kindred. I would give my food to the hungry. I would give my clothing to the naked. If I saw the dead body of any of my people thrown out behind the wall of Nineveh, I would bury it. I also buried anyone that King Sennacherib put to death, in those days of judgment, when they came fleeing from Judea because of his blasphemies. In his anger, King Sennacherib put to death many Israelites, but I would secretly remove the bodies and bury them. So when King Sennacherib looked for them, he could not find them.”

Apparently, things were pretty good when King Shalmaneser (727-722 BCE) was in charge. When he died, things deteriorated so that the roads were not safe. When King Shalmaneser was alive, Tobit was active in charitable works of feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. He also began burying the dead outside the walls of Nineveh. However, things changed under King Sennacherib (689-681 BCE). He was killing Israelites when he was angry. Tobit began burying the dead Israelites.