The Jewish religious leaders mock Jesus (Mt 27:41-27:43)

“In the same way,

The chief priests also,

Along with the scribes

And the elders,

Were mocking him.

They said.

‘He saved others.

He cannot save himself.

He is the King of Israel!

Let him come down

From the cross now!

Then we will believe

In him.

He trusts in God!

Let God

Deliver him now!

If he wants to!

He said.

‘I am the God’s Son.’”

 

ὁμοίως οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς ἐμπαίζοντες μετὰ τῶν γραμματέων καὶ πρεσβυτέρων ἔλεγον

Ἄλλους ἔσωσεν, ἑαυτὸν οὐ δύναται σῶσαι· Βασιλεὺς Ἰσραήλ ἐστιν, καταβάτω νῦν ἀπὸ τοῦ σταυροῦ καὶ πιστεύσομεν ἐπ’ αὐτόν.

πέποιθεν ἐπὶ τὸν Θεόν, ῥυσάσθω νῦν εἰ θέλει αὐτόν· εἶπεν γὰρ ὅτι Θεοῦ εἰμι Υἱός.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 15:31-32, although Mark did not mention the elders nor the last verse about the Son of God.  In Luke, chapter 23:35, there is only a mention of leaders, without any specific indication of which leaders, while there is nothing similar in John.  Matthew said that the chief priests (οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς), the scribes (μετὰ τῶν γραμματέων), and the presbyter elders (καὶ πρεσβυτέρων) mocked Jesus in the same way as those passing by (ὁμοίως…ἐμπαίζοντες…ἔλεγον).  These religious leaders said that Jesus had saved others (Ἄλλους ἔσωσεν).  Why could he not save himself (ἑαυτὸν οὐ δύναται σῶσαι)?  If he was the King of Israel (Βασιλεὺς Ἰσραήλ ἐστιν), let him come down or descend from the cross now (καταβάτω νῦν ἀπὸ τοῦ σταυροῦ).  Then they would believe in him. (καὶ πιστεύσομεν ἐπ’ αὐτόν).  Jesus trusted God (πέποιθεν ἐπὶ τὸν Θεόν), so let God deliver or rescue him, if he wanted to (ῥυσάσθω νῦν εἰ θέλει αὐτόν), since he said that he was the Son of God (εἶπεν γὰρ ὅτι Θεοῦ εἰμι Υἱός).  However, Matthew never had Jesus say anything.  These ironic mocking comments from the Jewish religious leaders indicate Matthew’s dislike for them.

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The fears of a father for his daughter (Sir 42:9-42:10)

“A daughter is a secret anxiety

To her father.

Worry over her robs him of sleep.

When she is young,

He fears that she may not marry.

If married,

He fears that she may be disliked.

While a virgin,

He fears that she may be seduced.

He fears that she may become pregnant

In her father’s house.

Or having a husband,

He fears that she may go astray.

Though married,

He fears that she may be barren.”

Sirach lists all the fears that a father has for his daughter. He has a secret anxiety about her that robs him of sleep. When she is young, he is afraid that she will never marry. He is also afraid that she may be seduced and have a child in his house. If she gets married, he is afraid that her new husband will dislike her. He also is afraid that she may go astray from her new husband. Finally, he worries whether she might be sterile and have no children. He seems like an over protective concerned father who does not have the same concern about his sons.

Humble work (Sir 7:15-7:17)

“Do not hate hard labor.

Do not hate farm work.

These were created by the Most High.

Do not enroll in the ranks of sinners.

Remember that retribution does not delay.

Humble yourself to the utmost.

The punishment of the ungodly is fire and worms.”

These Sirach recommendations continue. You should not dislike hard labor or farm work since they were created by the Most High God. Do not hang out with sinners because retribution will not be delayed. Humble yourself. The punishment for the ungodly is both fire and worms.

Job’s days are numbered (Job 9:25-9:35)

“My days are swifter than a runner.

They flee away.

They see no good.

They go by like skiffs of reed.

They go by like an eagle swooping on the prey.

If I say.

‘I will forget my complaint.

I will put off my sad countenance

I will be of good cheer.’

I become afraid of all my suffering.

I know that you will not hold me innocent.

I shall be condemned.

Why then do I labor in vain?

If I wash myself with snow,

And cleanse my hands with lye,

Yet you will plunge me into filth.

My own clothes will abhor me.

God is not a mortal,

As I am.

I cannot answer him.

We cannot come to trial together.

There is no umpire between us.

There is no one who might lay his hand upon us both.

Let him take his rod away from me.

Let not dread of him terrify me.

Then I would speak without fear of him,

I know that I am not what I am thought to be.”

Job believes that his days are numbered since they go quicker than a runner, a reed, or an eagle. Was he supposed to forget the complaint and all his sufferings? He would still suffer and be considered guilty. Why should he labor in vain, by washing with snow and lye? He will be sent back into filth, so that his own clothes will still dislike him? God is not a mortal like him. They are not equals. There is no umpire to say who is right. Just let God take his stick away from him. He wanted this dread to leave him so that he could speak freely. He realized that he was not perfect. Job could not forget about his circumstances. He could not cleanse himself. He could not call in a fair referee to solve his problems.