You are the witnesses (Lk 11:48-11:48)

“Thus,

You are witnesses.

You approve

Of the deeds

Of your ancestors.

They killed them.

But you built

Their tombs.”

 

ἄρα μάρτυρές ἐστε καὶ συνευδοκεῖτε τοῖς ἔργοις τῶν πατέρων ὑμῶν, ὅτι αὐτοὶ μὲν ἀπέκτειναν αὐτοὺς, ὑμεῖς δὲ οἰκοδομεῖτε.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus continued this same idea.  Jesus said that the Pharisees and lawyers were witnesses (ἄρα μάρτυρές ἐστε).  They approved of the deeds of their fathers or ancestors (καὶ συνευδοκεῖτε τοῖς ἔργοις τῶν πατέρων ὑμῶν), who killed the prophets (ὅτι αὐτοὶ μὲν ἀπέκτειναν αὐτοὺς), by building their tombs (ὅτι αὐτοὶ μὲν ἀπέκτειναν αὐτοὺς).  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 23:31.  Jesus said that these Pharisees and Scribes testified or witnessed against themselves, since they admitted that they were the descendants or sons of those people who murdered the prophets.  Jesus then told them to finish up their work, using the measuring rod of their ancestors.  Thus, they had the same attitude as their ancestors.  However, there was very little evidence of Jewish prophets being killed.  Do you have the same attitudes of your parents and grandparents?

 

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They build the tombs (Lk 11:47-11:47)

“Woe to you!

You build

The tombs

Of the prophets,

Whom your ancestors

Killed.”

 

οὐαὶ ὑμῖν, ὅτι οἰκοδομεῖτε τὰ μνημεῖα τῶν προφητῶν, οἱ δὲ πατέρες ὑμῶν ἀπέκτειναν αὐτούς.

 

Luke once again had Jesus curse (οὐαὶ ὑμῖν) the Pharisees, because they built the tombs of the prophets (ὅτι οἰκοδομεῖτε τὰ μνημεῖα τῶν προφητῶν), whom their ancestors or fathers killed (οἱ δὲ πατέρες ὑμῶν ἀπέκτειναν αὐτούς).  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 23:29, where Jesus continued to curse the Pharisees and the Scribes.  This diatribe against the hypocritical Scribes and Pharisees was how they and their ancestors had treated the prophets of Israel.  They built the tombs of the prophets and decorated the graves or these tombs of the righteous.  These Pharisees said that if they had lived in the days of their ancestors or fathers, they would not have participated in the shedding of the blood of these prophets.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that the present-day Pharisees participated in the murder of the righteous prophets by decorating the graves of these holy men.  The problem was that there were not that many prophets murdered.  Do you visit cemeteries much?

Remember the covenant (Lk 1:72-1:72)

“Thus,

God has shown

The mercy

That he promised

To our ancestors.

He has remembered

His holy covenant.”

 

ποιῆσαι ἔλεος μετὰ τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν καὶ μνησθῆναι διαθήκης ἁγίας αὐτοῦ,

 

Luke continued Zechariah’s canticle with an instance on the holy covenant with their ancestors.  Zechariah said that God has shown or fulfilled his mercy or compassion (ποιῆσαι ἔλεος) that he had promised to their ancestors or fathers (μετὰ τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν).  God has remembered his ancient holy covenant with his people (καὶ μνησθῆναι διαθήκης ἁγίας αὐτοῦ).

The tombs of the prophets (Mt 23:29-23:30)

“Woe to you!

Scribes!

Woe to you!

Pharisees!

Hypocrites!

You build the tombs

Of the prophets.

You decorate the graves

Of the righteous.

You say.

‘If we had lived

In the days

Of our ancestors,

We would not have taken part

With them

In shedding the blood

Of the prophets.’”

 

Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν, γραμματεῖς καὶ Φαρισαῖοι ὑποκριταί, ὅτι οἰκοδομεῖτε τοὺς τάφους τῶν προφητῶν καὶ κοσμεῖτε τὰ μνημεῖα τῶν δικαίων,

καὶ λέγετε Εἰ ἤμεθα ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν, οὐκ ἂν ἤμεθα αὐτῶν κοινωνοὶ ἐν τῷ αἵματι τῶν προφητῶν.

 

There is something similar in Luke, chapter 11:47-48.  Jesus continued to curse the Pharisees and the Scribes, much like earlier in verses 13, 14, 15, 25, and 27.  The first part of this diatribe is exactly the same as those earlier verses.  Woe to you (Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν)!  Scribes (γραμματεῖς)!  Woe to you!  Pharisees (καὶ Φαρισαῖοι)!  Hypocrites (ὑποκριταί)!  This time it was how they and their ancestors had treated the prophets of Israel.  They built the tombs of the prophets (ὅτι οἰκοδομεῖτε τοὺς τάφους τῶν προφητῶν) and decorated the graves or tombs of the righteous (καὶ κοσμεῖτε τὰ μνημεῖα τῶν δικαίων).  These Pharisees said that if they had lived in the days of their ancestors or fathers (καὶ λέγετε Εἰ ἤμεθα ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν), they would not have participated in the shedding of the blood of these prophets (οὐκ ἂν ἤμεθα αὐτῶν κοινωνοὶ ἐν τῷ αἵματι τῶν προφητῶν).  The problem is that there were not that many prophets murdered.

The failure of the future false prophets (Zech 13:3-13:6)

“If any prophets appear again,

Their fathers,

With their mothers who bore them,

Will say to them.

‘You shall not live.

You speak lies

In the name of Yahweh!’

Their fathers,

With their mothers who bore them,

Shall pierce them through

When they prophesy.

On that day,

The prophets,

Every one of them,

Will be ashamed

Of their visions

When they prophesy.

They will not put on

A hairy mantle

In order to deceive.

But each of them will say.

‘I am no prophet.

I am a tiller of the soil.

The land has been my possession

Since my youth.’

If anyone asks them.

‘What are these wounds

On your chest?’

The answer will be.

‘I received

These wounds

In the house of my friends.’”

Yahweh warned, via Zechariah, that future prophets would not fare well.  Fathers and mothers who had children who wanted to become prophets were told to tell them that they are lying in the name of Yahweh.  In fact, these young men were not to live, since their parents would kill them with a sword.  All the prophets would be ashamed.  They would not wear their normal prophetic hairy coats.  Instead, they would pretend to be farmers.  If anyone wanted to know why they had cuts on their chests like prophets, they would say that their friends had done it.  Clearly, this was the end of institutional prophecy.  The very few remaining prophets would be afraid to be pointed out, since they might be put to death.

The bad people in Jerusalem (Ezek 22:6-25:9)

“The princes of Israel

In you,

Everyone

According to his power,

Has been bent

On shedding blood.

Fathers are treated

With contempt.

Mothers are treated

With contempt

In you.

The alien,

Residing within you,

Suffers extortion.

The orphans

Are wronged

In you.

The widows

Are wronged

In you.

You have despised

My holy things.

You have profaned

My Sabbath.

There are men

In you

Who slander

To shed blood.

There are men

In you

Who eat

Upon the mountains.

Men commit lewdness

In your midst.”

A lot of bad things were happening in Jerusalem. The princes of Israel had been shedding blood. Parents, both mothers and fathers, were treated with contempt. The alien residents suffered extortion. The orphans and the widows were wronged. The people of Jerusalem have despised Yahweh’s holy things and profaned his Sabbath. They slander and shed blood. They eat on the mountains. They commit lewd actions in their midst.

Orphans and widows (Lam 5:3-5:4)

“We have become

Orphans!

We are fatherless!

Our mothers are

Like widows!

We must pay

For the water

We drink!

The wood

We get

Must be bought.”

Assuming the first person plural, this author laments the situation of him and his friends left in Jerusalem. They have become orphans, without fathers. Their mothers have become widows. They have to pay for the water and the wood for their existence. Life is tough.