No more questions for Jesus (Mt 22:46-22:46)

“No one was able

To give him

An answer.

Nor from that day

Did anyone dare

To ask him

Any more questions.”

 

καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐδύνατο ἀποκριθῆναι αὐτῷ λόγον, οὐδὲ ἐτόλμησέν τις ἀπ’ ἐκείνης τῆς ἡμέρας ἐπερωτῆσαι αὐτὸν οὐκέτι.

 

This is a unique saying of Matthew, but in Mark, chapter 12:37, he only remarked that the crowd was delighted about his answer.  Of course, the Pharisees nor anyone was able to give him any kind of verbal response (καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐδύνατο ἀποκριθῆναι αὐτῷ λόγον,).  Matthew remarked that from that day on (ἀπ’ ἐκείνης τῆς ἡμέρας), no one dared to ask him any more questions (οὐδὲ ἐτόλμησέν τις …ἐπερωτῆσαι αὐτὸν οὐκέτι).  Matthew indicated a complete verbal victory for Jesus against the Pharisees.

 

Divine appeal (Mic 7:18-7:20)

“Who is a God

Like you?

You pardon iniquity.

You pass over

The transgressions

Of the remnant

Of your possessions.

He does not retain

His anger forever,

Because he delights

In showing clemency.

He will again have compassion

Upon us.

He will tread

Our iniquities

Under foot.

You will cast all our sins

Into the depths of the sea.

You will show faithfulness

To Jacob.

You will show

Unswerving loyalty

To Abraham,

As you have sworn

To our ancestors,

From the days of old.”

This Book of Micah ends with this psalm of praise to Yahweh, while asking for his mercy.  There is no other God like Yahweh, who has pardoned iniquity.  He has let go of the transgressions of his people.  His anger was short lived, because he delighted in granting clemency, since he had compassion for them.  He has stamped on and thrown out all their sins.  He has shown faithfulness and loyalty to Jacob and Abraham, just as he did to all their ancestors in the good old days.  Notice the change from the descriptive “he” to the more intimate “you”.

The Sabbath (Isa 58:13-58:14)

“‘If you refrain

From trampling the Sabbath,

Then you shall take delight in Yahweh.

If you refrain

From pursing your own interests

On my holy day,

Then you shall take delight in Yahweh.

If you call the Sabbath a delight

Then you shall take delight in Yahweh.

If you call the holy day of Yahweh honorable

Then you shall take delight in Yahweh.

If you honor it,

Not going your own ways,

Nor seeking your own interests,

Nor pursuing your own affairs,

Then you shall take delight in Yahweh.

I will make you ride

Upon the heights of the earth.

I will feed you

With the heritage of your ancestor Jacob.’

The mouth of Yahweh has spoken.”

This chapter of Third Isaiah ends with an oracle from Yahweh about the Sabbath. They had to refrain from trampling the Sabbath and pursuing their own interests on this holy day. If they delighted and honored the Sabbath, they would surely delight in Yahweh. As long as they were not pursuing their own affairs and interests on the Sabbath, Yahweh would make them ride to the heights of the earth. They would be part of the heritage of their ancestor Jacob.

Against the sacred trees (Isa 1:29-1:31)

“You shall be ashamed

Of the oaks In which you delighted.

You shall blush

For the gardens

That you have chosen.

You shall be

Like an oak

Whose leaf withers.

You shall be

Like a garden

Without water.

The strong shall become

Like tinder.

Their work shall become

Like a spark.

They shall burn.

Their work shall burn together

With them.

No one will quench them.”

Here Isaiah attacks the pagan practice as well as the practices in Samaria, outside of Jerusalem. These were the places where people worshiped at sacred trees. He wanted them to be ashamed of their oak trees and their wonderful gardens that so delighted them. These worshipers were like dying trees or gardens without water. Soon there would be no water, as the oak leaves would wither away. These strong trees would be like tinder kindling wood. They and their works would burn together in a fire that could not be put out. Thus he called for the destruction of the oak tree idol worship and their worshipers, preferably by an unquenchable fire.

Let me live (Ps 119:169-119:176)

Tav

“Let my cry come before you!

Yahweh!

Give me understanding

According to your word!

Let my supplication come before you!

Deliver me

According to your word!

My lips will pour forth praise.

Because you teach me your statutes.

My tongue will sing of your promise.

All your commandments are right.

Let your hand be ready to help me!

I have chosen your precepts.

I long for your salvation.

Yahweh!

Your law is my delight!

Let me live!

Thus I may praise you.

Let your ordinances help me!

I have gone astray

Like a lost sheep.

Seek out your servant!

I do not forget your commandments.”

This long psalm concludes with the last or twenty-second consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Tav. This psalmist wanted to live and be saved. He, on his part, would not forget the commandments of Yahweh. He wanted his cry to come before Yahweh. He wanted to understand the word and law of Yahweh. He, on his part, would give praise to Yahweh with his lips and tongue. He will sing of his praises because Yahweh has taught him his statutes and commandments. All he wanted was help in salvation. He delighted in the law. Thus his ordinances would help him. However, the psalmist admitted that even though he had gone astray like a lost sheep, he still had not forgotten Yahweh’s commandments. Thus we have a fitting end to this long psalm about the importance and beauty of the law.

Yahweh is righteous (Ps 119:137-119:144)

Cade

“You are righteous!

Yahweh!

Your judgments are right.

You have appointed your decrees in righteousness.

You have appointed your decrees in all faithfulness.

My zeal consumes me.

Because my foes forget your words.

Your promise is well tried.

Your servant loves it.

I am small.

I am despised.

Yet I do not forget your precepts.

Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness.

Your law is the truth.

Trouble has come upon me.

Anguish has come upon me,

However your commandments are my delight.

Your decrees are righteous forever.

Give me understanding!

Thus I may live.”

The psalmist declared that Yahweh was righteous. His judgments and decrees were righteous and faithful. The zeal of the psalmist consumed him when he found out that his foes had forgotten the words of Yahweh. He, the servant of Yahweh, loved the decrees. Although he was small and despised, he never forgot the precepts of Yahweh. Yahweh’s righteousness was everlasting because his law was the truth. Even though he was in trouble and anguish, the psalmist delighted in Yahweh’s commandments. All he asked for was understanding, so that he might live. So ends this section on the eighteenth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Cade.

The comfort of love (Ps 119:73-119:80)

Yod

“Your hands have made me.

You have fashioned me.

Give me understanding!

Thus I may learn your commandments.

Those who fear you

Shall see me.

They shall rejoice,

Because I have hoped in your word.

Yahweh!

I know that your judgments are right.

In faithfulness,

You have humbled me.

Let your steadfast love become my comfort,

According to your promise

To your servant.

Let your mercy come to me.

Thus I may live.

Your law is my delight.

Let the arrogant be put to shame.

They have subverted me with guile.

As for me,

I will meditate on your precepts.

Let those who fear you

Turn to me.

Thus they may know your decrees.

May my heart be blameless in your statutes.

Thus I may not be put to shame.”

Once again, the steadfast love of Yahweh sustains the psalmist’s love for the law. He recognized that Yahweh had made him. He wanted to gain an understanding of the commandments. Those who fear Yahweh would rejoice. He had hoped in the word of God. Yahweh was faithful. His judgments were right. His steadfast love had become a comfort to this psalmist as he had promised. The psalmist delighted in the law as he expected the mercy of God. The arrogant were to be put to shame because the psalmist was going to meditate on the precepts of Yahweh. In fact, he was going to teach others because his heart was blameless. He was not going to be put to shame. So ends this section on the tenth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Yod.