The disciples who fast (Lk 5:33-5:33)

“Then they said to Jesus.

‘John’s disciples,

Like the disciples

Of the Pharisees,

Frequently fast

And pray.

However,

Your disciples

Eat

And drink.’”

 

Οἱ δὲ εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτόν Οἱ μαθηταὶ Ἰωάνου νηστεύουσιν πυκνὰ καὶ δεήσεις ποιοῦνται, ὁμοίως καὶ οἱ τῶν Φαρισαίων, οἱ δὲ σοὶ ἐσθίουσιν καὶ πίνουσιν.

 

Luke used the ambiguous “they” to lodge a complaint against the disciples of Jesus.  They said to Jesus (Οἱ δὲ εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτόν) that John’s disciples (Οἱ μαθηταὶ Ἰωάνου) frequently fasted (νηστεύουσιν πυκνὰ) and often made prayers (καὶ δεήσεις ποιοῦνται).  Likewise, the disciples of the Pharisees also fasted and prayed (ὁμοίως καὶ οἱ τῶν Φαρισαίων).  However, the disciples of Jesus ate and drank (οἱ δὲ σοὶ ἐσθίουσιν καὶ πίνουσιν), since they did not fast.  Apparently, fasting was a unique Jewish practice in ancient times.  However, most religions of the world today have some kind of fasting or not eating certain foods or drinks for a specific amount of time.  Mark, chapter 2:18, and Matthew, chapter 9:14, are similar to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this incident, although there are some differences.  Mark had the disciples of John the Baptist acting together with the Pharisees, as they both agreed about fasting.  They wanted to know why the disciples of Jesus did not fast.  The disciples of John seemed to be on the side of the Pharisees, and not with the followers of Jesus.  Matthew had only the disciples of John the Baptist, without the Pharisees, show up wanting to know why the disciples of Jesus did not fast.  These disciples of John came to Jesus, since John was in jail.  They may have remained a separate group, since some people have traced followers of John the Baptist to the Mandaeans along the Iraq-Iran border.

The wicked slave (Mt 24:48-24:51)

“But if that wicked slave

Says to himself.

‘My master is delayed.’

He begins to beat

His fellow slaves.

He eats

And drinks

With drunkards.

The master

Of that slave

Will come

On a day

When he does not expect him,

At an hour

That he does not know.

He will beat him severely

He will put him

With the hypocrites.

There will be weeping

And gnashing of teeth.”

 

ἐὰν δὲ εἴπῃ ὁ κακὸς δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ Χρονίζει μου ὁ κύριος,

καὶ ἄρξηται τύπτειν τοὺς συνδούλους αὐτοῦ, ἐσθίῃ δὲ καὶ πίνῃ μετὰ τῶν μεθυόντων,

ἥξει ὁ κύριος τοῦ δούλου ἐκείνου ἐν ἡμέρᾳ ᾗ οὐ προσδοκᾷ καὶ ἐν ὥρᾳ ᾗ οὐ γινώσκει,

καὶ διχοτομήσει αὐτὸν καὶ τὸ μέρος αὐτοῦ μετὰ τῶν ὑποκριτῶν θήσει· ἐκεῖ ἔσται ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων.

 

This parable about the wicked slave is similar to Luke, chapter 12:44-47, with a little more elaboration in Luke, where the good slave became the wicked slave.  Jesus said that this wicked slave thought in his heart (ἐὰν δὲ εἴπῃ ὁ κακὸς δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ) that his master was delayed (Χρονίζει μου ὁ κύριος).  Then he began to beat up his fellow slaves (καὶ ἄρξηται τύπτειν τοὺς συνδούλους αὐτοῦ).  He ate and drank with the drunkards (ἐσθίῃ δὲ καὶ πίνῃ μετὰ τῶν μεθυόντων).  Then the master of this slave came on a day when he was not expecting him, at an unknown hour (ἥξει ὁ κύριος τοῦ δούλου ἐκείνου ἐν ἡμέρᾳ ᾗ οὐ προσδοκᾷ καὶ ἐν ὥρᾳ ᾗ οὐ γινώσκει).  This master would beat him severely (καὶ διχοτομήσει αὐτὸν) and put him with the hypocrites (καὶ τὸ μέρος αὐτοῦ μετὰ τῶν ὑποκριτῶν θήσει), where there would be weeping (ἐκεῖ ἔσται ὁ κλαυθμὸς) and gnashing of teeth (καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων).  The non-vigilant slave would suffer disaster, not like the good slave.

Jeremiah responds to all the Judeans (Jer 44:24-44:25)

“Jeremiah said

To all the people

Including all the women.

‘Hear the word of Yahweh!

All you Judeans

Who are in the land of Egypt!

Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

‘You

With your wives

Have accomplished in deeds,

What you declared in words,

Saying.

‘We are determined

To perform the vows

That we have made.

We will make offerings

To the queen of heaven.

We will pour out libations

To her.’

By all means,

Keep your vows!

Make your libations!’”

Jeremiah addressed all the people of Judah and then added all the women, as if they were not people. Jeremiah wanted them to hear the word of Yahweh that he was interpreting. He said that they and their wives had accomplished what they said that they were going to do. They were going to make offerings and libations to the “Queen of heaven,” the Canaanite goddess of fertility, Astarte. Jeremiah’s response to them was to go ahead and keep your vows with your sacrifices and drinks. Just see what happens to you!

The invitation of wisdom (Sir 24:18-24:22)

“‘I am the mother of beautiful love.

I am the mother of fear.

I am the mother of knowledge.

I am the mother of holy hope.

Being eternal,

I am given to

All my children.

I am given to

Those who are named by him.

Come to me!

You who desire me!

Eat your fill of my fruits!

The memory of me

Is sweeter than honey.

The possession of me

Is sweeter than the honeycomb.

Whoever eats me

Will hunger for more.

Whoever drinks me

Will thirst for more.

Whoever obeys me

Will not be put to shame.

Whoever works with me

Will not sin.’”

Sirach has wisdom extend an invitation to all people to come to her.   Wisdom is the mother of beautiful love, fear, knowledge, and holy hope. She has been given to all her children. She invites all who desire her to come to her. Thus they may eat the full of her fruits. Her memory and the possession of her is sweeter than honey and honeycombs. Anyone who eats and drinks of her will want more. Whoever obeys her will not be put to shame. They will not sin. She is a great female intercessor with God, much like the later Christian Virgin Mary. At the same time, she sometimes has qualities that were later attributed to the Christian Holy Spirit.

Mt terrible life (Ps 102:3-102:11)

“My days pass away like smoke.

My bones burn like a furnace.

My heart is stricken.

My heart is withered like grass.

I am too wasted to eat my bread.

Because of my loud groaning

My bones cling to my flesh.

I am like an owl of the wilderness.

I am like a little owl of the waste places.

I lie awake.

I am like a lonely bird on the housetop.

All day long my enemies taunt me.

Those who deride me

Use my name for a curse.

I eat ashes like bread.

I mingle tears with my drink.

Because of your indignation and anger,

You have lifted me up,

You have thrown me aside.

My days are like an evening shadow.

I wither away like grass.”

This psalmist is in a terrible situation. His days are passing away like smoke. His bones are burning. His heart is broken and withering like grass. He cannot even eat. His bones are clinging to his skin since he is all skin and bones. He is like an owl or a lonely bird since he cannot sleep. His enemies taunt him every day as they use his name as a curse word. He eats ashes instead of bread. He drinks his own tears. Yahweh seems to be angry and indignant as he has been thrown aside. His days are like evening shadows and withering grass. He is in over all bad shape.