Joseph of Arimathea (Mt 27:57-27:57)

“When it was evening,

There came a rich man

From Arimathea,

Named Joseph,

He was also

A disciple of Jesus.”

 

Ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης ἦλθεν ἄνθρωπος πλούσιος ἀπὸ Ἀριμαθαίας, τοὔνομα Ἰωσήφ, ὃς καὶ αὐτὸς ἐμαθητεύθη τῷ Ἰησοῦ·

 

There is less confusion about this Joseph since he is mentioned in all 4 gospel stories.  This text is similar to Mark, chapter 15:43.  Luke, chapter 23:50-51, mentioned that Joseph was a member of the elder’s council in Jerusalem who had not voted for the plan to destroy Jesus.  John, chapter 19:38, said that Joseph was a secret disciple of Jesus.  Matthew said that when it was evening (Ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης), a rich man from Arimathea (ἦλθεν ἄνθρωπος πλούσιος ἀπὸ Ἀριμαθαίας), named Joseph (τοὔνομα Ἰωσήφ), who was also a disciple of Jesus (ὃς καὶ αὐτὸς ἐμαθητεύθη τῷ Ἰησοῦ) came forward.  Notice that it was evening since no burials were permitted on the Sabbath or feast days.  Many legends have developed around this wealthy Joseph from Arimathea, a town in Judea near Jerusalem.

Pay the day laborers (Mt 20:8-20:8)

“When evening came,

The owner of the vineyard

Said to his manager.

‘Call the laborers!

Give them their pay!

Begin with the last.

Then go to the first.’”

 

ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης λέγει ὁ κύριος τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος τῷ ἐπιτρόπῳ αὐτοῦ Κάλεσον τοὺς ἐργάτας καὶ ἀπόδος τὸν μισθόν, ἀρξάμενος ἀπὸ τῶν ἐσχάτων ἕως τῶν πρώτων.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew.  When evening came (ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης), the owner or the lord of the vineyard told his manager, steward, or foreman (λέγει ὁ κύριος τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος αὐτοῦ) to call the laborers in (Κάλεσον τοὺς ἐργάτας) from the vineyard.  He was to pay them their day’s pay that day (καὶ ἀπόδος τὸν μισθόν).  Based on the Jewish Mosaic law in Leviticus, chapter 19:13, they were not to keep for themselves the wages of a laborer until the next morning.  The same can be found in Deuteronomy, chapter 24:14-15, but with a little more elaboration.  Poor laborers were to get their pay immediately every day before sunset.  Otherwise guilt would come upon the land owner.  There was a sense of justice that people who lived day to day should get their daily pay.  Thus, the manager was to pay the day laborers beginning with the last ones hired and work his way up to the first ones hired (ἀρξάμενος ἀπὸ τῶν ἐσχάτων ἕως τῶν πρώτων).

The weather signs (Mt 16:2-16:3)

“Jesus answered them.

‘When it is evening,

You say.

‘It will be fair weather

Because the sky is red.’

In the morning,

You say.

‘It will be stormy today

Because the sky is red

And threatening.’

You know how to interpret

The appearance of the sky.

But you cannot interpret

The signs of the times.”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ὀψίας γενομένης λέγετε Εὐδία, πυρράζει γὰρ ὁ οὐρανός·

καὶ πρωΐ Σήμερον χειμών, πυρράζει γὰρ στυγνάζων ὁ οὐρανός. τὸ μὲν πρόσωπον τοῦ οὐρανοῦ γινώσκετε διακρίνειν, τὰ δὲ σημεῖα τῶν καιρῶν οὐ δύνασθε;

 

Matthew is the only one who has this weather saying of Jesus, although Luke, chapter 12:54-56, has Jesus issue some weather commentary about northern and southern winds and rain.  Jesus told the Pharisees and Sadducees that they could read the signs in the sky about weather and storms, but they were unable to recognize the signs in their own world.  Most farmers are aware of the red sky in the morning was a warning, while the red sky at night was a delight.  Jesus answered them (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that at evening time, people would say that there would be good or fair weather if the setting sun in the sky was red (Ὀψίας γενομένης λέγετε Εὐδία, πυρράζει γὰρ ὁ οὐρανός).  On the other hand, if the sky was red today in the morning, they thought that it would be a stormy day (καὶ πρωΐ Σήμερον χειμών, πυρράζει γὰρ στυγνάζων ὁ οὐρανός).  Then he asked them how come they were so good at discerning the overcast stormy weather signs in the heavens (τὸ μὲν πρόσωπον τοῦ οὐρανοῦ γινώσκετε διακρίνειν), but they were unable to interpret the signs of the times (τὰ δὲ σημεῖα τῶν καιρῶν οὐ δύνασθε), since the weather signs were in the heavenly skies.

Jesus prays alone (Mt 14:23-14:23)

“After he had dismissed

The crowds,

Jesus went up the mountain

By himself

To pray.

When evening came,

He was there alone.”

 

καὶ ἀπολύσας τοὺς ὄχλους ἀνέβη εἰς τὸ ὄρος κατ’ ἰδίαν προσεύξασθαι. ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης μόνος ἦν ἐκεῖ.

 

This incident about Jesus praying alone can be found in Mark, chapter 6:46.  After he had dismissed the crowds (καὶ ἀπολύσας τοὺς ὄχλους), Jesus went up the mountain (ἀνέβη εἰς τὸ ὄρος) by himself (κατ’ ἰδίαν) to pray (προσεύξασθαι).  Thus, when evening came (ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης), he was there alone (μόνος ἦν ἐκεῖ).  Jesus wanted to be alone with his Father to pray.  It is not clear where this mountain was.

The disciples complain about the crowds (Mt 14:15-14:15)

“When it was evening,

The disciples came to him.

They said.

‘This is a deserted place.

The hour is now late.

Send the crowds away

So that they may

Go into the villages.

They can buy food

For themselves’”

 

ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης προσῆλθον αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ λέγοντες Ἔρημός ἐστιν ὁ τόπος καὶ ἡ ὥρα ἤδη παρῆλθεν· ἀπόλυσον οὖν τοὺς ὄχλους, ἵνα ἀπελθόντες εἰς τὰς κώμας ἀγοράσωσιν ἑαυτοῖς βρώματα.

 

This is an indication about the crowds needing to eat in all four gospels, Mark, chapter 6:35-36, Luke, chapter 9:12-13, and John, chapter 6:5, plus here.  The disciples wanted to send the crowds home.  After all, there were no fast food places to get something to eat.  However, there were some places in the near by villages where you could buy some food.  When it was evening (ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης), the disciples came to Jesus (προσῆλθον αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ).  They told him that there were in a deserted place (λέγοντες Ἔρημός ἐστιν ὁ τόπος).  Besides the hour was late (καὶ ἡ ὥρα ἤδη παρῆλθεν).  They wanted to send the crowds away (ἀπόλυσον οὖν τοὺς ὄχλους) so that they could go into the nearby villages (ἵνα ἀπελθόντες εἰς τὰς κώμας) to buy food for themselves (ἵνα ἀπελθόντες εἰς τὰς κώμας).  This seemed like a good plan.

Healing the sick and possessed (Mt 8:16-8:16)

“That evening,

They brought to him

Many who were possessed

With demons.

Jesus cast out

The spirits

With a word.

He cures all

Who were sick.”

 

Ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης προσήνεγκαν αὐτῷ δαιμονιζομένους πολλούς· καὶ ἐξέβαλεν τὰ πνεύματα λόγῳ, καὶ πάντας τοὺς κακῶς ἔχοντας ἐθεράπευσεν·

 

There are similar generic statements about healing sick and chasing out demons in Mark, chapter 1:32-34, and Luke, chapter 4:40-41.  When evening came (Ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης), they brought many people who were possessed with demons or under the power of evil spirits (προσήνεγκαν αὐτῷ δαιμονιζομένους πολλούς).  He cast out these demons with merely a word (καὶ ἐξέβαλεν τὰ πνεύματα λόγῳ).  He cured or healed all the sick people (καὶ πάντας τοὺς κακῶς ἔχοντας ἐθεράπευσεν) around there without indicating how this was done.  Apparently, during biblical times, there were a lot of people who were possessed by the devil.  Jesus was also a daring faith healer.

Daniel gets the answer to the dream problem (Dan 2:19-2:19)

“Then the mystery

Was revealed

To Daniel

In a vision

Of the night.

Then Daniel

Blessed

The God of heaven.”

That evening, Daniel went to bed. In a vision that night, the mystery of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was revealed to Daniel. He then blessed the God of heaven, not the God of Israel, who is a more universal God.

The prince makes his offerings (Ezek 46:2-46:2)

“The prince shall enter

By the vestibule

Of the gate

From outside.

He shall take

His stand

By the post

Of the gate.

The priests shall offer

His burnt offering,

As well as his peace offerings.

He shall bow down

At the threshold

Of the gate.

Then he shall go out.

But the gate shall

Not be closed

Until evening.”

The prince seemed to be allowed to enter into the vestibule by the eastern gate. He stood at a post near the gate, while the priests offered up his burnt offerings and peace offerings. The prince would bow down at the threshold of the gate. Then he would go out the eastern gate, since it would not be closed until evening came.

What is the meaning of Ezekiel’s reaction? (Ezek 24:18-24:19)

“So I spoke

To the people

In the morning.

At evening,

My wife died.

On the next morning,

I did

As I was commanded.

Then the people

Said to me.

‘Will you not tell us

What these things

Mean for us?

Why are you acting

This way?’”

Ezekiel then went in the morning to tell the people with him in Babylon what Yahweh had said to him. That very evening, his wife died. The next day, he did exactly what Yahweh had told him to do. He did not seem upset. However, the people were confused. They wanted to know what this non-mourning attitude meant. Why was he acting so strange, as if nothing had happened to him in his life? His young wife had died, yet he seemed unperturbed.

Go into exile with your baggage (Ezek 12:4-12:6)

“You shall bring out

Your baggage,

By day,

In their sight,

As baggage for exile.

You shall go out yourself

At evening,

In their sight,

As those do

Who go into exile.

Dig through the wall

In their sight.

Carry the baggage

Through it.

In their sight

You shall lift

The baggage

On your shoulder.

You shall carry it out

In the dark.

You shall cover

Your face.

Thus you may not see

The land.

I have made you

A sign

For the house of Israel.”

There is a great emphasis on the baggage during this symbolic exilic story, since it assumes that Ezekiel was still in Jerusalem. Everything was to be done in plain sight of everyone. Thus the baggage was prepared during the day so that everyone could see him getting ready to leave. However, Ezekiel was to leave in the evening, but in plain sight. He was to dig a hole in the wall, reminiscent of what King Zedekiah had done. He was to carry his baggage on his shoulder in the dark through the hole in the wall. He had to cover his face, so that he could not see the land he was leaving. Thus his action would become a sign for the house of Israel to see.