The prayer of Mary (Lk 1:46-1:46)

“Mary said.

‘My soul

Magnifies

The Lord!’”

 

Καὶ εἶπεν Μαριάμ Μεγαλύνει ἡ ψυχή μου τὸν Κύριον,

 

Next Luke has a series of canticles or songs.  This first canticle of Mary is modeled on that of Hannah in 1 Samuel, chapter 2:1-10, that praised Yahweh. Hannah had prayed for a son.  Thus, she had a semi-miracle son called Samuel.  She wanted him to be dedicated like a Nazirite.  This prayer of Hannah took place after she had dedicated her 3-year-old son to Yahweh.  Thus, Samuel grew up with the prophet Eli.  Hannah and Samuel then became the prototypes for Mary and Jesus.  Luke indicated that Mary said (Καὶ εἶπεν Μαριάμ) that her soul magnified, extended, or enlarged the Lord (ἡ ψυχή μου τὸν Κύριον).  Thus, this Marian canticle became known as the “Magnificat,” after the Latin translated word used here.

What the Pharisees wear (Mt 23:5-23:5)

“The Pharisees

And Scribes

Do all their deeds

To be seen by other men.

They make

Their phylacteries broad.

Their fringes

Are long.”

 

πάντα δὲ τὰ ἔργα αὐτῶν ποιοῦσιν πρὸς τὸ θεαθῆναι τοῖς ἀνθρώποις· πλατύνουσιν γὰρ τὰ φυλακτήρια αὐτῶν καὶ μεγαλύνουσιν τὰ κράσπεδα,

 

This is unique to Matthew.  Jesus said that these Pharisees and Scribes did all their deeds to be seen by other men (πάντα δὲ τὰ ἔργα αὐτῶν ποιοῦσιν πρὸς τὸ θεαθῆναι τοῖς ἀνθρώποις).  They broadened their phylacteries (πλατύνουσιν γὰρ τὰ φυλακτήρια αὐτῶν) and enlarged their long fringes or tassels (καὶ μεγαλύνουσιν τὰ κράσπεδα) on their clothes.  Thus, they had distinctive garments that they wore.  These phylacteries were leather boxes that contained scriptural passages.  They would wear them on their forearms or head as indicated in Exodus, chapter 13:9-16.  and Deuteronomy, chapter 6:4-9, that was closely tied to the “Shema.”  They were to write these biblical sayings of the law on their hands and forehead.  On the other hand, the fringes or tassels on the bottom of their clothing was based on Numbers, chapter 15:37-41.  They made the tassels on the four corners of their garments, with a blue chord on the fringe of each corner.  This was to remember all the commandments of Yahweh, a nice little reminder about their obligations.  Ever today, some Jewish groups wear these tassels called the tzitzit.  The same command about tassels can be found in Deuteronomy, chapter 22:12.  Apparently, the Pharisees may have been the only ones wearing these larger tassels and large prayer boxes.

The attack of the south (Dan 11:11-11:13)

“Then the king of the south,

Moved with rage,

Shall go out.

He shall do battle

Against

The king of the north.

He mustered

A great multitude,

That was defeated

By his enemy.

When the multitude

Has been carried off,

His heart shall be exalted.

He shall overthrow

Tens of thousands.

But he shall not prevail.

The king of the north

Shall again raise a multitude,

Larger than the former.

After some years,

He shall advance

With a great army,

With abundant supplies.”

The king of the south was King Ptolemy IV (221-204 BCE). He had a number of battles with the northern King Antiochus III (222-187 BCE). King Ptolemy IV won at Raphia (217 BCE), when he took over the Palestine Judean area. However, he lost other battles. The northern King Antiochus III enlarged his empire on all sides. later. He gathered together a great army with a lot of supplies, as he also made a pact with Philip V of Macedonia (221-179 BCE).

The dead (Isa 26:14-26:15)

“The dead do not live.

Shades do not rise.

You have punished them.

You have destroyed them.

You have wiped out

All memory of them.

But you have increased the nation!

O Yahweh!

You have increased the nation!

You are glorified!

You have enlarged

All the borders of the land.”

The dead do not live and will not rise again where there is no shade. Yahweh has punished and destroyed them. He has wiped them out so that all memory of them has been lost. On the other hand, the glorified Yahweh has increased his beloved land, the nation of Israel, and enlarged its borders. It is difficult to place this prayer at a specific time.