The problem of the Sabbath (Lk 14:5-14:5)

“Then Jesus

Said to them.

‘If one of you

Has a child

Or an ox

That has fallen

Into a well,

Will you not

Immediately

Pull him out

On a Sabbath day?’”

 

καὶ πρὸς αὐτοὺς εἶπεν Τίνος ὑμῶν υἱὸς ἢ βοῦς εἰς φρέαρ πεσεῖται, καὶ οὐκ εὐθέως ἀνασπάσει αὐτὸν ἐν ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ σαββάτου;

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said to the lawyers and the Pharisees (καὶ πρὸς αὐτοὺς εἶπεν) that if anyone of them had a child or an ox (Τίνος ὑμῶν υἱὸς ἢ βοῦς) that had fallen into a well or pit (εἰς φρέαρ πεσεῖται), would they not immediately pull him out (καὶ οὐκ εὐθέως ἀνασπάσει αὐτὸν) even on a Sabbath day (ἐν ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ σαββάτου)?  Jesus turned the question of the Sabbath around.  He wondered what these lawyers and Pharisees would do if their son or their ox fell into a pit or well.  He pointed out that they would immediately pull him out of the well, no matter what day of the week it was.  Would you help someone in distress on Sunday?

Lamentation for Israel (Am 5:1-5:2)

“Hear this word

That I take up

Over you,

In lamentation!

O house of Israel!

She has fallen.

She will rise no more.

This is the maiden Israel.

She is forsaken

On her land.

There is none

To raise her up.”

Now Amos set out a lamentation for the house of Israel. He wanted them to hear his crying words. The virgin maiden Israel had fallen, but she was not going to get up anymore. She had been forsaken in her own land. There was no one to help her get back on her feet.

The assassinations of the Israelite kings (Hos 7:5-7:7)

“On the day of our king,

The officials

Became sick

With the heat of wine.

He stretched out his hand

With mockers.

They are kindled

Like an oven.

Their hearts

Burn with intrigue.

All night,

Their anger smolders.

In the morning,

It blazes

Like a flaming fire.

All of them are hot

As an oven.

They devour their rulers.

All their kings have fallen.

None of them calls upon me.”

Yahweh was upset about the northern Israelite kingdom. Even at the enthronement of the king, some conspirators, drunk with wine, were plotting an overthrow of the new king. This intrigue burned in their hearts. Finally, this smoldering anger would blaze into a flaming fire. They devoured their own rulers. Many kings had fallen. Thus, one of the wicked deeds of the northern kingdom of Israel was their various assassination plots that changed kings. At least 7 kings were murdered in this northern territory. King Pekah (737-732 BCE) had murdered King Pekahiah (7378-737 BCE), the son of King Menahem (743-738 BC). However, the worst crime of all was that no one called on Yahweh for help.

No more idol worship (Ezek 37:23-37:23)

“They shall never again

Defile themselves

With their idols,

With their detestable things,

Or with any

Of their transgressions.

But I will save them

From all the apostasies

Into which they have fallen.

I will cleanse them.

They shall be

My people.

I will be their God.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, laid down the law. There was to be no more idol worship. They were never again to defile themselves with all these detestable things. There would be no more transgressions. Yahweh was going to save them from the various evil ways or apostasies that they had fallen into. Yahweh was going to cleanse them. Thus, they might be truly his people. Yahweh was going to be their God. There would not be any questions about this.

The joy is gone (Lam 5:15-5:16)

“The joy

Of our hearts

Has ceased.

Our dancing

Has been turned

To mourning.

The crown

Has fallen

From our head.

Cursed be us!

We have sinned!”

Happiness has left the people of Jerusalem. The joy of their hearts is now gone. They have stopped dancing. They now turn to mourning. The crown of Jerusalem has fallen. They are now cursed because they were sinners.

The punishment for Bel (Jer 51:44-51:44)

“I will punish Bel

In Babylon.

I will make him

Disgorge

What he has swallowed.

The nations shall no longer

Stream to him.

The wall of Babylon

Has fallen.”

Yahweh says that he was going to punish Bel, the god of Mesopotamia. Thus with the defeat of Babylon, the god Bel was also defeated. The punishment was that Bel had to throw up what he had eaten. All those nations where Bel was their god would no longer stream to his temple, because Babylon had fallen.

The fall of Babylon (Jer 51:7-51:10)

“Babylon was a

Golden cup

In Yahweh’s hand.

It made all the earth

Drunk.

The nations drank

Of her wine.

So that the nations

Went mad.

Suddenly Babylon

Has fallen.

It is shattered.

Wail for her!

Take balm

For her wound!

Perhaps she may be healed.

We tried

To heal Babylon.

But she could not be healed.

Forsake her!

Let each of us go

To our own country!

Her judgment has reached

Up to heaven.

Her judgment

Has been lifted up

Even to the skies.

Yahweh has brought forth

Our vindication.

Come!

Let us declare in Zion

The work of Yahweh

Our God.”

Babylon was like a golden cup of God’s wrath. The various nations drank this wrath from this golden cup. Thus they got drunk and went mad. Now suddenly Babylon has fallen and fell into many pieces. You can cry for her. You can try to heal her wounds, in hopes that she would be healed. Everyone tried to heal Babylon, but nothing worked. Then Yahweh said that you could cry and wail for her. Nevertheless, everyone should go to their own country. The judgment against Babylon has reached to the high heavens. Yahweh has enacted his vengeance and vindication. They were now to return to Zion, Jerusalem, to declare the works of Yahweh, their God. Bye-bye Babylon!

The sentinel announces the attack (Isa 21: 6-21:10)

“Thus Yahweh said to me.

‘Go!

Post a lookout!

Let him announce

What he sees!

When he sees riders,

Horsemen in pairs,

Riders on donkeys,

Riders on camels,

Let him listen diligently,

Very diligently!’

Then the watcher cried out.

‘Upon a watchtower

I stand!

O Lord!

Continually by day!

At my post

I am stationed

Throughout the night.

Look!

There they come

Riders,

Horsemen in pairs!’

Then he responded.

‘Fallen!

Fallen is Babylon!

He has shattered on the ground

All the images of her gods!’

O my threshed one!

O my winnowed one!

What I have heard

From Yahweh of hosts,

The God of Israel,

I announce to you.”

Isaiah continues with what Yahweh had said to him. Yahweh wanted a lookout posted so that he could announce what he saw coming. This lookout person was to watch for riders on horses, camels, and donkeys as well as listen very carefully. He was to stand there during the day and the night. Then he saw the riders coming, as Babylon had fallen with all its gods shattered on the ground. This is what Isaiah had heard from Yahweh in his vision, as he announced this to all. The sentinel watchtower man was a main theme of the later 20th century Jehovah’s Witnesses with their Watchtower magazine.

Anarchy at Jerusalem (Isa 3:4-3:8)

“I will make boys

Their princes.

Babes shall rule

Over them.

The people will be oppressed.

Everyone will oppress another person.

Everyone will oppress his neighbor.

The youth will be insolent

To the elders.

The base fellows will be insolent

To the honorable ones.

Someone will even seize a relative,

A member of their clan.

Saying.

‘You have a cloak.

You shall be our leader.

This heap of ruins

Shall be under your rule.’

But the other will cry out.

Saying.

‘I will not be a healer.

In my house,

There is

Neither bread

Nor cloak.

You shall not make me

Leader of the people.’

Jerusalem has stumbled.

Judah has fallen.

Because their speech was

Against Yahweh.

Their deeds were

Against Yahweh.

They defied his glorious presence.”

Jerusalem will become a place of anarchy. Boys will be princes. Babies will be rulers. Everyone will oppress their neighbors with violence and civil unrest. The young people will not listen to their elders. Low life people will be insolent to the honorable ones. They will try to make leaders from their own clans. However, no one will want to be a leader because they do not have anything to eat or wear. Jerusalem has stumbled.  Judah has fallen. This is obviously the time of the Exile. All this has happened because their speech and deeds were against Yahweh. They defied his glorious presence among them.

The blow of the tongue (Sir 28:17-28:21)

“The blow of a whip

Raises a welt.

But a blow of the tongue

Crushes the bones.

Many have fallen

By the edge of the sword.

But not as many as have fallen

Because of the tongue.

Happy is the one

Who is protected from it.

Happy is the one

Who has not been exposed to its anger.

Happy is the one

Who has not borne its yoke.

Happy is the one

Who has not been bound

With its fetters.

Its yoke is

A yoke of iron.

Its fetters are

Fetters of bronze.

Its death is an evil death.

Hades is preferable to it.”

A blow of the tongue is worse than a blow from a whip because the blow from the tongue crushes your bones, not merely a welt on your skin. This blow of the tongue is something that somebody has said that ruins your life. More people have fallen from this blow of the tongue than from the sword. You will be happy if you are protected from this blow from the tongue. If you have not been exposed to its anger or yoke, consider yourself happy. The blow of the tongue is like being put in bronze chains with an iron yoke on your neck. Hades would be preferable to the slow evil death from a blow of the tongue. Be careful when you say things about others.