The slave with five talents (Mt 25:20-25:20)

“The one who had received

The five talents

Came forward,

He brought

Five more talents.

He said.

‘Master!

You handed over

To me

Five talents.

See!

I have made

Five more talents.”

 

καὶ προσελθὼν ὁ τὰ πέντε τάλαντα λαβὼν προσήνεγκεν ἄλλα πέντε τάλαντα λέγων Κύριε, πέντε τάλαντά μοι παρέδωκας· ἴδε ἄλλα πέντε τάλαντα ἐκέρδησα.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew, but there is an equivalent in Luke, chapter 19:16, where the 1st slave had made 10 times more than what he had originally.  Here the first slave only doubles his investment.  Jesus said that the one slave who had received the five talents (καὶ προσελθὼν ὁ τὰ πέντε τάλαντα λαβὼν) came forward with 5 more talents (προσήνεγκεν ἄλλα πέντε τάλαντα).  He explained to his lord and master (λέγων Κύριε) that he had given him 5 talents (πέντε τάλαντά μοι παρέδωκας), but now he had made, acquired, or gained 5 more talents (ἴδε ἄλλα πέντε τάλαντα ἐκέρδησα).  He had doubled his $20,000,000 US into $40,000,000 US, as a wise trader.

The master settles accounts (Mt 25:19-25:19)

“After a long time,

The master

Of those slaves

Came back.

He settled accounts

With them.”

 

μετὰ δὲ πολὺν χρόνον ἔρχεται ὁ κύριος τῶν δούλων ἐκείνων καὶ συναίρει λόγον μετ’ αὐτῶν.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew, but there is an equivalent in Luke, chapter 19:15, where the nobleman wanted to settle his accounts after being away for a time.  Jesus said that after a long time (μετὰ δὲ πολὺν χρόνον), the master or lord of these slaves came back (ἔρχεται ὁ κύριος τῶν δούλων ἐκείνων).  He then wanted to settle his accounts with his slaves (καὶ συναίρει λόγον μετ’ αὐτῶν).

The work of the apostles (Mt 10:8-10:8)

“Cure the sick!

Raise the dead!

Cleanse the lepers!

Cast out demons!

You received

Without paying.

Give without payment!”

 

ἀσθενοῦντας θεραπεύετε, νεκροὺς ἐγείρετε, λεπροὺς καθαρίζετε, δαιμόνια ἐκβάλλετε· δωρεὰν ἐλάβετε, δωρεὰν δότε.

 

There is no exact equivalent to this passage in the other gospels.  Jesus, via Matthew, laid out what the work of an apostle of Jesus should be.  These apostles were to do what Jesus had been doing.  They were to heal or cure the sick or ailing people (ἀσθενοῦντας θεραπεύετ).  They were to raise up the dead (νεκροὺς ἐγείρετε), a difficult task.  They were to cleanse the lepers (λεπροὺς καθαρίζετε) and cast out the demons (δαιμόνια ἐκβάλλετε).  As they had not paid to get this gift to be an apostle (δωρεὰν ἐλάβετε), so thus they should not receive any payment (δωρεὰν δότε) for their work as an apostle.  They should give freely of their time since this was not a money-making project.

The seventh beatitude on peacemakers (Mt 5:9-5:9)

“Blessed are

The peacemakers!

They shall be called

Children of God.”

 

μακάριοι οἱ εἰρηνοποιοί, ὅτι αὐτοὶ υἱοὶ Θεοῦ κληθήσονται.

 

The happy, blessed, and fortunate ones (μακάριοι) would be those who made peace (οἱ εἰρηνοποιοί).  The reward for these peacemakers would be that they would be called children or sons of God (ὅτι αὐτοὶ υἱοὶ Θεοῦ κληθήσονται).  It was not enough to be a peaceful person, you had to make or be an artisan of peace, not just let it happen.  These peacemakers would be like the sons or children of God.  This comment about peacemakers was unique to Matthew since there is no equivalent in Luke.  In fact, this is the only place in the Bible where there is any mention of peacemakers at all.

The sermon on the mount (Mt 5:1-5:2)

“Jesus saw the crowds.

He went up the mountain.

After he sat down,

His disciples came to him.

He began to speak.

He taught them.”

 

δὼν δὲ τοὺς ὄχλους ἀνέβη εἰς τὸ ὄρος· καὶ καθίσαντος αὐτοῦ προσῆλθαν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ

καὶ ἀνοίξας τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ ἐδίδασκεν αὐτοὺς λέγων

 

This Sermon on the Mount contains the main themes of Jesus’ teaching.  There is an equivalent in Luke, chapter 6:20-26, but there is nothing like this in Mark or John.  This sermon is one of the great examples of the common Q source.  How did Luke and Matthew use this source differently?  Matthew has 8 blessings, but Luke has 4 blessings and 4 curses.  Matthew continued with his theme about large crowds.  Jesus saw that he had a large crowd (δὼν δὲ τοὺς ὄχλους).  What exactly is a large crowd?  Jesus went up to a mountain (ἀνέβη εἰς τὸ ὄρος), probably some rolling hill near Capernaum.  Matthew has another echo of Moses, as someone who escaped death as a child, left Egypt, went into the wilderness for 40 days, and now goes up the mountain.  In Luke, Jesus was on a level plain.  Right from the start, there are two different perspectives.  Jesus sat down (καὶ καθίσαντος αὐτοῦ), which was the common position of Jewish teaching rabbis.  Of course, his followers or disciples came to him (προσῆλθαν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ).  Obviously, there were now more than the two sets of two brothers.  Jesus then opened his mouth (καὶ ἀνοίξας τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ) to teach them with his words (ἐδίδασκεν αὐτοὺς λέγων).  If he was seated, in order to be heard, the crowd could not have been more than a couple of hundred people, if that, maybe even less than 100.

Get ready for the battle (Nah 2:1-2:1)

“The one who shatters

Has come up

Against you.

Guard the ramparts!

Watch the road!

Gird your loins!

Collect all your strength.”

Nahum warned that they should get ready for the battle in very descriptive language.  A shattering foe was to come up against them.  They were to guard the ramparts leading up to their town.  They were to watch the road.  They were to gird their loins, that meant that they would tuck in their robes around their waist for better leg movement.  Today’s equivalent would be roll up your selves.  They were to collect all their strength for the battle to come.

They refuse to accept the words of Jeremiah (Jer 43:1-43:3)

“Thus Jeremiah finished speaking

To all the people

All these words

Of Yahweh their God,

With which Yahweh their God

Had sent him to them.

Then Azariah,

The son of Hoshaiah,

Johanan,

The son of Kareah,

With all the other insolent men,

Said to Jeremiah.

‘You are telling a lie.

Yahweh our God

Did not send you

To say.

‘Do not go to Egypt

To settle there!’

But Baruch,

The son of Neriah,

Is inciting you

Against us.

He wants to hand us over

To the Chaldeans.

Thus they may kill us.

Or they may take us

Into exile in Babylon.’”

During the 10 days that Jeremiah waited for Yahweh, there must have been a change of heart in the camp. Some people think that this section should have been in the preceding chapter. This chapter equivalent in the Greek Septuagint is chapter 50, not chapter 43 as here. So once that Jeremiah had finished speaking the words that Yahweh, their God, gave him, both the leaders of this insolent remnant group, Azariah and Johanan, called into question Jeremiah’s veracity. They said that Jeremiah was lying. Yahweh did not say to him that they should not settle in Egypt. It must have been his secretary Baruch who incited Jeremiah against the main group. They said that Baruch wanted them to be captured or killed by the Chaldeans, if they stayed in this Judean territory. They might he sent into captivity in Babylon, if they were caught there. Basically, it was a fight between the interests of Egypt versus the interests of Babylon.

Yahweh is against all countries (Jer 25:13-25:14)

“Jeremiah prophesied

Against all the nations.

Many nations

With great kings

Shall make slaves of them also.

I will repay them

According to their deeds

With the work of their hands.”

Yahweh wanted Jeremiah to prophesize against all the countries. Many nations and kings would make the Babylonians slaves. They would be repaid according to their deeds and the works of their hands. In the following chapters there are different numbers in the Greek translation of the Septuagint. This section is equivalent to chapter 32 of the Septuagint.

Seek God (Wis 1:1-1:5)

“Love righteousness!

You rulers of the earth!

Think of the Lord in goodness!

Seek him with sincerity of heart!

Because he is found

By those who do not put him to the test.

He manifests himself

To those who do not distrust him.

Perverse thoughts separate people from God.

When his power is tested,

It exposes the foolish.

Wisdom will not enter a deceitful soul.

Wisdom will not dwell in a body enslaved to sin.

A Holy Spirit will flee from deceit.

A disciplined spirit will flee from deceit.

The Spirit will leave foolish thoughts behind.

The Spirit will be ashamed

At the approach of unrighteousness.”

This book is set in poetic verses just like Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and The Song of Solomon. This author wants the rulers of the earth to seek God with a sincere heart. Only those who are not testing him will find him. God will manifest himself to those who do not distrust him. Perverse thoughts will separate them from God. If they test his power, he will expose their foolishness. Wisdom will not enter a deceitful soul nor dwell in a body enslaved in sin. The Holy Spirit, who is disciplined, will flee from deceit. He will leave foolish thoughts behind because he is ashamed of the approach of the unrighteousness ones. Here we have a more developed theology of God. He is no longer Yahweh since this is a Greek Septuagint work. He is the Greek Lord (τοῦ Κυρίου). Wisdom (σοφία) is almost equivalent to God (Θεοῦ). Notice also the use of the Holy Spirit (ἅγιον γὰρ πνεῦμα), even if not too specific. The Spirit of God will not stay with the deceitful and unrighteous. The concept of soul (ψυχὴν) also fits in nicely. I will be using the Greek Septuagint to highlight certain words and concepts in this Greek work.

The comparisons of a fool (Prov 26:4-26:12)

“Do not answer fools according to their folly.

Otherwise you will be a fool yourself.

Answer fools according to their folly.

Otherwise they will be wise in their own eyes.

To send a message by a fool is

Like cutting off one’s foot,

Like drinking down violence.

A proverb in the mouth of a fool is

Like legs of a disabled person that hang limp.

To give honor to a fool is

Like binding a stone in a sling.

A proverb in the mouth of a fool is

Like a thorn bush brandished

By the hand of a drunkard.

Whoever hires a passing fool is

Like an archer who wounds everybody

Whoever hires a drunkard is

Like an archer who wounds everybody.

A fool that reverts to his folly is

Like a dog that returns to its vomit.

Do you see persons wise in their own eyes?

There is more hope for fools than for them.”

This passage begins with two contradictory phrases about treating fools. The first sentence says not to answer them, but the second says to answer them. In the first instance you become a fool, while in the second case the fools will appear to become wise in their own eyes. If you send a message with a fool, you are like cutting your own foot. You are drinking violence. A proverb in the mouth of a fool is like the limp leg of a disabled person or a thorn bush in the hand of a drunkard. If you honor a fool, you are like tying a stone in a sling. If you hire a passing fool or a drunkard, you are like an archer wounding everyone in sight. Notice that the fool and the drunkard are almost equivalent. The fool reverts to his folly like a dog to its vomit. Anyone who thinks that they are wise in their own eyes is worse than a fool.