The graves (Lk 11:44-11:44)

“Woe to you!

You are

Like unmarked graves.

People walk

Over them

Without realizing it.”

 

οὐαὶ ὑμῖν, ὅτι ἐστὲ ὡς τὰ μνημεῖα τὰ ἄδηλα, καὶ οἱ ἄνθρωποι οἱ περιπατοῦντες ἐπάνω οὐκ οἴδασιν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus continued to pick on his dinner guests, the Pharisees.  Jesus cursed these Pharisees without naming them.  He said woe to them (οὐαὶ ὑμῖν) because they were like unmarked graves (ὅτι ἐστὲ ὡς τὰ μνημεῖα τὰ ἄδηλα) that people or men would walk over without realizing it (καὶ οἱ ἄνθρωποι οἱ περιπατοῦντες ἐπάνω οὐκ οἴδασιν).  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 23:27, where Jesus continued to curse the Pharisees and the Scribes.  There was no doubt that Jesus was cursing the Scribes and the Pharisees because of their false hearts.  They were like whitewashed tombs, that looked outwardly beautiful.  However, the inside of these unmarked tombs was full of the bones of dead people and other kinds of filth or impure things.  Thus, the Pharisees appear to look righteous on the outside to others.  However, on the inside, in their hearts, they were full of hypocrisy, iniquity, and lawlessness.  Matthew went into more detail than Luke did here, sitting with them at dinner.  Have you ever complained directly to people at a dinner party?

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The bloody city of Nineveh (Nah 3:1-3:3)

“O!

City of bloodshed!

Utterly deceitful!

Full of booty!

There is

No end to their plunder.

There are

The cracks of the whip,

The rumble of the wheel,

The galloping horse,

The bounding chariots,

The horsemen charging,

The flashing swords,

The glittering spears,

The piles of dead people,

The heaps of corpses,

The dead bodies without end.

They stumble over the bodies!”

Nahum continued with his vivid descriptions of the chaos in Nineveh, truly a city of bloodshed.  They had become very deceitful with lots of stolen booty, since they had plundered everywhere.  However, now there were whips cracking, wheels rumbling, horses galloping, chariots bouncing, and charging cavalry with flashing swords and glittering spears.  Of course, there were a lot of dead people all over the place also.  There were piles and heaps of dead corpses without end.  These dead bodies were so numerous that people stumbled over them in the streets.

Introduction to this wisdom poem (Bar 3:9-3:14)

“Hear the commandments of life!

O Israel!

Give ear!

Learn wisdom!

Why is it?

O Israel!

Why is it

That you are

In the land

Of your enemies?

Why are you growing old

In a foreign country?

Why are you defiled

With the dead?

Why are you counted

Among those in Hades?

You have forsaken

The fountain of wisdom.

If you had walked

In the way of God,

You would be living

In peace forever.

Learn

Where there is wisdom!

Learn

Where there is strength!

Learn

Where there is understanding!

Thus you may

At the same time

Discern!

Where is there length of days?

Where is there life?

Where is there light for the eyes?

Where is there peace?”

Now we have an introduction to a poem about wisdom. Israel was to hear about the commandments of life. They were to listen to learn about wisdom. Why were they growing old in the land of their enemies? Why were they defiled like dead people in Hades. Why were they forgotten, when they could have had wisdom if they had walked in the ways of God. They could be living in everlasting peace. They had to learn where wisdom, strength, and understanding were. Thus they could have a peaceful long life, with light for their eyes.

A lamentation about the moral corruption of Judah (Jer 9:1-9:3)

“‘O that my head were a spring of water!

O that my eyes were a fountain of tears!

Thus I might weep day and night

For the slain of my poor people!

O that I had in the desert

A traveler’s lodging place!

Thus I might leave my people!

Thus I might go away from them!

They are all adulterers.

They are a band of traitors.

They bend their tongue

Like bows.

They have grown strong in the land

Because of falsehood,

Not because of truth.

They proceed from evil to evil.

They do not know me.’

Says Yahweh.”

Jeremiah has another oracle of Yahweh that speaks out about his lament over the corruption in Judah. Yahweh wished that he had a head with a spring of water or fountain of tears in his eyes, so that he could weep all day and night for the dead people of Judah. He wished that he had a lodging place in the desert so that he could get away from his poor people. They were all adulterers and traitors. They bent their tongues like bows with all their falsehood, instead of truth. They simply went from one evil to another evil. They did not even know Yahweh. It was a terrible scene. There is a slight discrepancy of the verse numbers since this first verse in the Jerusalem Bible is the last of the preceding chapter. However, I will follow the Revised Standard edition numbering for this chapter.

Blind darkness (Isa 59:9-59:11)

“Therefore justice is far from us.

Righteousness does not reach us.

We look for light.

See!

There is darkness.

We look for brightness.

But we walk in gloom.

We grope along the wall

Like the blind.

We grope

Like those who have no eyes.

We stumble at noon

As in the twilight.

Among the vigorous,

We are like dead.

We all growl like bears.

We moan mournfully like doves.

We wait for justice,

But there is none.

We wait for salvation,

But it is far from us.”

Third Isaiah paints the Israelite community as in a blind darkness. There was no justice or righteousness. They were waiting for light, but there was only darkness. They wanted brightness, but they only had gloom. They were like blind people groping along a wall, as if they had no eyes. They stumbled at noon as if it was twilight. They were like dead people among vigorous live people. They were growling like bears and mourning like doves. They were waiting for justice and salvation, but there was nothing near, only far away things. They were in a dark place.