The rich man (Lk 16:19-16:19)

There was a rich man,

Who was dressed

In purple

And fine linen.

He feasted sumptuously

Every day.”

 

Ἄνθρωπος δέ τις ἦν πλούσιος, καὶ ἐνεδιδύσκετο πορφύραν καὶ βύσσον εὐφραινόμενος καθ’ ἡμέραν λαμπρῶς.

 

This parable story about the poor man Lazarus and an unnamed rich man is only found in Luke, not in the other gospels.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that there was a rich man or a man with a lot of wealth (Ἄνθρωπος δέ τις ἦν πλούσιος), who was dressed in purple (καὶ ἐνεδιδύσκετο πορφύραν) and fine linen (καὶ βύσσον).  The use of the Greek word βύσσον is unique to Luke among all the biblical writers that means byssus, a form of Egyptian flax or fine linen, very costly, and delicate.  This rich man feasted sumptuously every day (εὐφραινόμενος καθ’ ἡμέραν λαμπρῶς).  Once again, Luke has a unique use of the word λαμπρῶς that means splendidly, magnificently, or sumptuously.  This unidentified rich man had wonderful clothes because purple meant that it had to be dyed and usually represented royal standing, and his linen clothes were not an ordinary line.  Finally, he had a lot of wonderful food to eat.  Clearly, he was a well-off rich wealthy person, but he does not have a name.  Do you personally know a rich person?

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Be ready! (Lk 12:35-12:35)

“Be dressed

For action!

Have your lamps

Lit!”

 

Ἔστωσαν ὑμῶν αἱ ὀσφύες περιεζωσμέναι καὶ οἱ λύχνοι καιόμενοι·

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to them that they should have their clothes dressed for action (Ἔστωσαν ὑμῶν αἱ ὀσφύες περιεζωσμέναι).  They should have their lamps burning with light (καὶ οἱ λύχνοι καιόμενοι).  There was something similar in Matthew chapter 25:1, about having lamps lit.  There Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven would be like 10 bridesmaids, having lamps with them, waiting to meet the bridegroom.  They were to be an escort in a procession to the bride’s house and then to the wedding banquet with their lit candles.  However, there was nothing in Matthew about being dressed for action.  Are you always dressed and ready for action?

What did you go out to see? (Lk 7:25-7:25)

“What then did you go out

To see?

Someone dressed

In soft robes?

Look!

Those who put on

Fine clothing

Live in luxury.

They are in royal palaces.”

 

ἀλλὰ τί ἐξήλθατε ἰδεῖν; ἄνθρωπον ἐν μαλακοῖς ἱματίοις ἠμφιεσμένον; ἰδοὺ οἱ ἐν ἱματισμῷ ἐνδόξῳ καὶ τρυφῇ ὑπάρχοντες ἐν τοῖς βασιλείοις εἰσίν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus asked them what did they go out to see (ἀλλὰ τί ἐξήλθατε ἰδεῖν)?  Did they see someone dressed in fine soft robes (ἄνθρωπον ἐν μαλακοῖς ἱματίοις ἠμφιεσμένον)?  Those who put on fine clothing (ἰδοὺ οἱ ἐν ἱματισμῷ ἐνδόξῳ) live in luxury in royal palaces (καὶ τρυφῇ ὑπάρχοντες ἐν τοῖς βασιλείοις εἰσίν).  These questions are word for word like Matthew, chapter 7:25, indicating a possible Q source.  Why did they go out to see John?  Was he a man dressed in fine clothes or soft robes?  Of course not, since fine clothes or soft robes can only be found in royal palaces.  This seems to be a hit at the royal King Herod Antipas of Galilee.  Do you have soft luxurious clothing?

Those punished on the Day of Yahweh (Zeph 1:8-1:9)

“On the day

Of Yahweh’s sacrifice,

I will punish

The officials,

The king’s sons,

As well as

All those who dress themselves

In foreign attire.

On that day,

I will punish

Everyone

Who leaps over the threshold.

I will punish

All those who fill

Their master’s house

With violence,

With fraud.”

On the day of Yahweh’s punishing sacrifice, he was going to punish all the officials and the sons of the king.  He was going to punish anyone who was dressed in foreign attire, since they were not loyal.  He also was going to punish those who leapt over the threshold, because this was a religious practice among some idolatrous followers.  Of course, he would punish any house where there was violence and fraud in it.

The man with the writing case at his side (Ezek 9:2-9:4)

“Among the executors

Was a man

Clothed in linen,

With a writing case

At his side.

They went in.

They stood beside

The bronze altar.

Now the glory

Of the God of Israel

Had gone up

From the cherubim

On which it rested

To the threshold

Of the house.

Yahweh called

To the man

Clothed in linen,

With the writing case

At his side.

Yahweh said to him.

‘Go through the city,

Through Jerusalem,

Put a mark

On the foreheads

Of those who sigh,

Of those who groan

Over all the abominations

That are committed in it.’”

Now a new character enters the scene. This man dressed in white linen with a writing case at his side was among the 6 executioners from the north. They were all standing at the bronze altar when the glory of the God of Israel left the cherubim where it was resting and went to the threshold of the house. Then Yahweh called to the man, who was clothed in linen, with the writing case at his side. Yahweh told him to go into Jerusalem. He was to find all the people who were sighing and groaning about all the abominations in town. He was to put a taw mark on their forehead, like a mini cross, since taw was the last consonant of the Hebrew alphabet. Thus he acted like the angel of death in the Passover story. He marked those who cared about the situation there, who might be spared.

The useless gods (Bar 6:12-6:18)

“These gods

Cannot save themselves

From rust.

They cannot save themselves

From corrosion.

When they have been dressed

In purple robes,

Their faces are wiped

Because the dust

From the temple

Is thick upon them.

One of them

Holds a scepter

Like a district judge.

But he is unable

To destroy

Anyone who offends him.

Another has a dagger

In his right hand.

Another has an axe.

But these gods cannot

Defend themselves

From war

Or robbers.

From this,

It is evident

That they are not gods.

So do not fear them!

Just as someone’s dish

Is useless

When it is broken,

So are their gods

When they have been

Set up in the temples.

Their eyes are full

Of the dust

Raised by the feet

Of those who enter.”

This author says that these gods cannot save themselves from rust or corrosion. Even when they have been dressed in purple robes, someone has to wipe their faces because of the thick dust from the temple. If they have a scepter like a district judge, they are unable to destroy anyone who offends them. If they have a dagger or an axe, they cannot defend themselves from war or robbers. It is quite evident that these useless colorful idols are not gods at all. So there is nothing to fear from them. They are like useless broken dishes.

Yahweh clothes himself with righteousness (Isa 59:15-59:17)

“Yahweh saw this.

It displeased him

That there was no justice.

He saw that there was no one.

He was appalled

That there was no one to intervene.

Thus his own arm brought him victory.

His righteousness upheld him.

He put on righteousness

Like a breastplate.

He put on a helmet of salvation

Upon his head.

He put on garments of vengeance

For clothing.

He wrapped himself in fury

As a mantle.”

Yahweh saw all this evil. He was displeased since there was no justice. He was appalled that no one had intervened in that situation. Thus he was going to bring victory with his mighty arm. Righteousness would be his breastplate out front. He would wear the helmet of salvation on his head. His garments would be for vengeance. His fury would be in his mantle coat. Yahweh, according to Third Isaiah, was dressed like a warrior ready for battle wearing the proper upright clothes.