The banquet is ready (Lk 14:17-14:17)

“At the time

For the dinner banquet,

The host sent

His slave

To say to those

Who had been invited.

‘Come!

Everything

Is ready now.’”

 

καὶ ἀπέστειλεν τὸν δοῦλον αὐτοῦ τῇ ὥρᾳ τοῦ δείπνου εἰπεῖν τοῖς κεκλημένοις Ἔρχεσθε, ὅτι ἤδη ἕτοιμά ἐστιν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that at the time for the dinner banquet (τῇ ὥρᾳ τοῦ δείπνου), this host sent his slave (καὶ ἀπέστειλεν τὸν δοῦλον αὐτοῦ) to say to those who had been invited (εἰπεῖν τοῖς κεκλημένοις).  “Come (Ἔρχεσθε), everything was ready now (ὅτι ἤδη ἕτοιμά ἐστιν).”  This is somewhat similar to Matthew, chapter 22:3, perhaps indicating a Q source.  Matthew had Jesus continue with his parable about the king, not the host, who sent his slaves (καὶ ἀπέστειλεν τοὺς δούλους αὐτοῦ) to call the invited guests (καλέσαι τοὺς κεκλημένους) to the wedding feast or banquet (εἰς τοὺς γάμους).  In either case, there was a specific special invitation via the slaves or servants inviting these people to the great feast or banquet.  Have you ever received a personal invitation to a dinner banquet?

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Diner invitations (Lk 14:12-14:12)

“Jesus said

To the one

Who had invited him.

‘When you give

A luncheon

Or a dinner,

Do not invite

Your friends!

Do not invite

Your brothers!

Do not invite

Your relatives!

Do not invite

Rich neighbors!

Otherwise,

They may invite you

In return.

You would then

Be repaid.’”

 

Ἔλεγεν δὲ καὶ τῷ κεκληκότι αὐτόν Ὅταν ποιῇς ἄριστον ἢ δεῖπνον, μὴ φώνει τοὺς φίλους σου μηδὲ τοὺς ἀδελφούς σου μηδὲ τοὺς συγγενεῖς σου μηδὲ γείτονας πλουσίους, μή ποτε καὶ αὐτοὶ ἀντικαλέσωσίν σε καὶ γένηται ἀνταπόδομά σοι.

 

Finally, Luke uniquely had Jesus turn to his Pharisee host.  Jesus spoke to the one who had invited him (Ἔλεγεν δὲ καὶ τῷ κεκληκότι αὐτόν).  He told him that when he would give a luncheon or dinner (Ὅταν ποιῇς ἄριστον ἢ δεῖπνον), he should not invite (μὴ φώνει) his friends (τοὺς φίλους σου), his brothers (μηδὲ τοὺς ἀδελφούς σου), his relatives (μηδὲ τοὺς συγγενεῖς σου), nor rich neighbors (μηδὲ γείτονας πλουσίους).  Otherwise, they might invite him back in return (μή ποτε καὶ αὐτοὶ ἀντικαλέσωσίν σε), in order to repay him (καὶ γένηται ἀνταπόδομά σοι).  In other words, do not invite your friends or relatives because they would probably invite you back again as a repayment.  That actually is the normal course of things.  Dinner parties usually circulate so that there is no undue burden on any one person.  But Jesus, via Luke, did not like that way of doing things.  Who do you invite to your parties?

The man with dropsy (Lk 14:2-14:2)

“Just then,

There was a man

Who had dropsy

In front of Jesus.”

 

καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄνθρωπός τις ἦν ὑδρωπικὸς ἔμπροσθεν αὐτοῦ.

 

Luke uniquely said that just then, there was a man (καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄνθρωπός τις) who had dropsy (ἦν ὑδρωπικὸς) in front of Jesus (ἔμπροσθεν αὐτοῦ).  How he got into this dinner is not clear.  Dropsy is some kind of disease like edema, a swelling in the body because of fluid retention.  This is the only time in the biblical literature that this word for dropsy ὑδρωπικὸς is mentioned.  Once again, this may be an indication that Luke, the author, was knowledgeable about medical diseases.  Have you ever heard of edema or dropsy?

The Pharisee was amazed (Lk 11:38-11:38)

“This Pharisee

Was amazed

To see

That Jesus did not

First wash

Before dinner.”

 

ὁ δὲ Φαρισαῖος ἰδὼν ἐθαύμασεν ὅτι οὐ πρῶτον ἐβαπτίσθη πρὸ τοῦ ἀρίστου.

 

Luke said that this Pharisee was amazed to see (ὁ δὲ Φαρισαῖος ἰδὼν ἐθαύμασεν) that Jesus did not first wash (ὅτι οὐ πρῶτον ἐβαπτίσθη) before dinner (πρὸ τοῦ ἀρίστου).  There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 7:2-5 and Matthew, chapter 15:2.  However, the complaint there was about the disciples of Jesus, not Jesus himself.  Matthew said that these Pharisees wanted to know why the disciples of Jesus did not wash their hands before they ate bread.  They said that this action was a violation against the tradition of the elders.  Mark said that these Pharisees and Scribes had noticed that the disciples of Jesus were eating bread with defiled hands, because they did not wash their hands.  These Pharisees and Scribes wanted to know why the disciples of Jesus did not live according to the tradition of the elders.  Originally, this practice of washing hands before eating was what the Levites did in the Temple to practice ritual purity as indicated in Exodus, chapter 30:17-21.  Yahweh had told Moses that there should be a bronze basin with a bronze stand for washing.  Thus, Aaron and his sons should wash their hands and feet when they went into the meeting tent or the altar.  The penalty for not washing your hands and feet was death under this perpetual ordinance.  However, the Pharisaic oral tradition, or the tradition of the elders, had extended this practice to individual homes.  Thus, they were violating the tradition of the elders.  Wash your hands!  Do you wash your hands before you eat?

The meal with the tax collectors (Mk 2:15-2:15)

“And as he sat

At dinner

In Levi’s house,

Many tax collectors

And sinners

Were also sitting

With Jesus

And his disciples.

There were many

Who followed him.”

 

Καὶ γίνεται κατακεῖσθαι αὐτὸν ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ αὐτοῦ, καὶ πολλοὶ τελῶναι καὶ ἁμαρτωλοὶ συνανέκειντο τῷ Ἰησοῦ καὶ τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ, ἦσαν γὰρ πολλοὶ καὶ ἠκολούθουν αὐτῷ.

 

Luke, chapter 5:29, and Matthew, chapter 9:10, are similar to Mark, so that Mark might be the source of this event.  Here and in Luke, it was explicitly mentioned that Jesus was having a meal in the house of Levi (Καὶ γίνεται κατακεῖσθαι αὐτὸν ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ αὐτοῦ).  As Levi was a tax collector, other tax collectors (καὶ πολλοὶ τελῶναι) were there also.  Was this a farewell meal for Levi as he was about to set out as a disciple of Jesus?  Jesus sat or reclined at the dining table in this house.  However, besides the tax collectors, a lot of sinners came to sit down or recline (καὶ ἁμαρτωλοὶ συνανέκειντο) with Jesus and his disciples (τῷ Ἰησοῦ καὶ τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ).  The tax collectors were collecting money or tolls for the Roman Empire, so that they could hardly be called model Jewish citizens.  The sinners (ἁμαρτωλοὶ), on the other hand, could either be non-Jewish gentiles or other public immoral Jewish men, who were unclean.  In general, tax collectors and sinners were lumped together, since neither cared much for following the Jewish law, unlike the Pharisees.  However, many people were already followers of Jesus (ἦσαν γὰρ πολλοὶ καὶ ἠκολούθουν αὐτῷ).  How were these followers different from his disciples?

Tobit returns to Nineveh (Tob 2:1-2:8)

“Then during the reign of King Esarhaddon I returned home. My wife Anna and my son Tobias were restored to me. At our festival of Pentecost, which is the sacred festival of the weeks, a good dinner was prepared for me. I reclined to eat. When the table was set for me and an abundance of food placed before me, I said to my son Tobias.

‘Go, my child!

Bring whatever poor person you may find of our people,

Among the exiles in Nineveh,

Who is wholeheartedly mindful of God.

He shall eat together with me.

I will wait for you until you come back.’

When he returned, he said. ‘Father!’ I replied. ‘Here I am, my child.’ Then he went on to say.

‘Look, father!

One of our people has been murdered

He has been thrown into the market place.

Now he lies there strangled.’

Then I sprang up. I left the dinner before ever tasting it. I removed the body from the square. I laid it in one of the rooms until sunset when I might bury it. When I returned, I washed myself and ate my food in sorrow. Then I remembered the prophecy of Amos, how he said against Bethel.

‘Your festivals shall be turned into mourning.

All your songs into lamentation.’

I wept. When the sun had set, I went and dug a grave. I buried him. My neighbors laughed at me. They said.

‘Is he still not afraid?

He has already been hunted down

To be put to death for doing this.

Yet here he is again burying the dead!’”

Tobit had been on the run. With the coming of King Esarhaddon (681-669 BCE) he returned home to Nineveh to be with his wife and son. They celebrated the festival of weeks, 50 days after Passover. Tobit asked his son to invite one of the Israelite exiles to come to eat with them since they had so much food. However, his son Tobias reported back that one of their kinsmen Israelite had been killed. His strangled body was lying in the town square. Tobit immediately got up and removed the body from the square into a room nearby. He then ate his meal, but he remembered the prophecy of Amos about festivals turned into mourning. The citation is from the Book of Amos, chapter 8, who lived around 750 BCE, so that Tobit might have known him. After eating and weeping, Tobit went out, dug a grave, and buried the body. Meanwhile his neighbors were laughing at him for doing the same thing that he hunted own for, burying the dead.

The meeting with Joseph (Gen 43:15-43:34)

“So the men took the present, and they took double the money with them, as well as Benjamin.  Then they went on their way down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph.  When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, ‘Bring the men into the house, and slaughter an animal and make it ready, for these men are to dine with me at noon.’  The man did as Joseph said, and brought these men to Joseph’s house.  Now these men were afraid because they were brought to Joseph’s house, and they said, ‘It is because of the money, replaced in our sacks the first time, that we have been brought in, so that he may have an opportunity to fall upon us, to make slaves of us and take our donkeys.’  So they went up to the steward of Joseph’s house, and spoke with him at the entrance to the house.  They said, ‘Oh, my lord, we came down the first time to buy food.   When we came to the lodging place we opened our sacks, and there was each one’s money in the top of his sack, our money in full weight.   So we have brought it back with us.   Moreover we have brought down with us additional money to buy food.  We do not know who put our money in our sacks.’   He replied, ‘Rest assured, do not be afraid.   Your God and the God of your father must have put treasure in your sacks for you.  I received your money.’  Then he brought Simeon out to them.  When the steward had brought the men into Joseph’s house, he gave them water, and they had washed their feet.  When he had given their donkeys fodder, they made the present ready for Joseph’s coming at noon for they heard that they would dine there.”

So the sons of Jacob left with double the money, the presents, and Benjamin.  When Joseph saw Benjamin, he told his servants to prepare a great meal for his brothers. Now the brothers were afraid when they went into the house of Joseph.  Perhaps they will take their donkeys and make them slaves.  They admitted that there was money in their sacks, but the guy in charge said he had received their money.  Simeon was released.  They fed their donkeys and had their feet washed as they prepared for a noon dinner with Joseph.

“When Joseph came home, they brought him the present that they had carried into the house, and bowed to the ground before him.   He inquired about their welfare, and said, ‘Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke?  Is he still alive?’  They said, ‘Your servant, our father is well.  He is still alive.’  They bowed their heads and did obeisance.  Then he looked up and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, ‘Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me?  God be gracious to you, my son!’ With that Joseph hurried out, because he was overcome with affection for his brother, and he was about to weep.  So he entered his private chamber and wept there.  Then he washed his face and came out.  Controlling himself he said, ‘Serve the meal.’  They served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians ate by themselves, because the Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians.   When they were seated before him, the first born according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth, the men looked at one another in amazement.   Portions were taken to them from Joseph’s table, but Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as any of theirs.  So they drank and were merry with him.”

When Joseph came, they gave their presents and bowed down before him.  Joseph inquired about their family, and especially their father, until finally he saw Benjamin.  He suddenly left when he was overcome with affection for his brother and wept.  He washed his feet, came out and said serve the meal.  They each ate separately because Egyptians and Hebrews did not eat together.  Benjamin got five times as much as the others.  Then they drunk and were merry with him.  This is a very poignant scene when Joseph sees Benjamin.  However, he does not show his emotions.