Nothing to eat (Lk 15:16-15:16)

“He would gladly

Have filled himself

With the pods

That the pigs

Were eating.

However,

No one gave him

Anything to eat.”

 

καὶ ἐπεθύμει γεμίσαι τὴν κοιλίαν αὐτοῦ ἐκ τῶν κερατίων ὧν ἤσθιον οἱ χοῖροι, καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐδίδου αὐτῷ.

 

This long parable story about the prodigal son can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that this prodigal son was longing to fill his belly or would have gladly filled himself (καὶ ἐπεθύμει γεμίσαι τὴν κοιλίαν αὐτοῦ) with the pods (ἐκ τῶν κερατίων) that the pigs were eating (ὧν ἤσθιον οἱ χοῖροι).  Once again, this is a unique word of Luke, κερατίων that does not appear in any of the other biblical literature writings that means a dark brown pea pod of the carob tree.  However, no one gave him anything to eat (καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐδίδου αὐτῷ).  This prodigal son was forced to feed the unclean pigs, while he himself was still hungry.  I wonder why he did not eat some of these brown pea pods.  Perhaps, it may have been culturally inappropriate.  Have you ever been really so hungry that you would eat anything?

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The Christmas scene birth of Jesus (Lk 2:7-2:7)

“Mary gave birth

To her first-born son.

She wrapped him

In bands

Of swaddling cloths.

She laid him

In a manger,

Because there was

No place

For them

In the inn.”

 

καὶ ἔτεκεν τὸν υἱὸν αὐτῆς τὸν πρωτότοκον, καὶ ἐσπαργάνωσεν αὐτὸν καὶ ἀνέκλινεν αὐτὸν ἐν φάτνῃ, διότι οὐκ ἦν αὐτοῖς τόπος ἐν τῷ καταλύματι.

 

Luke explained in great detail about the birth of Jesus, his clothing, and the manger, that has become the famous Christmas scene that most have come to know and love.  Matthew, chapter 2:1, had no details like this in his story about the birth of Jesus, while Mark and John had no infancy narratives at all.  In fact, Matthew said that the Magi visited Mary and the child in a house in chapter 2:11, not a manger.  Luke reported that Mary gave birth to her first-born son (καὶ ἔτεκεν τὸν υἱὸν αὐτῆς τὸν πρωτότοκον).  Did that imply that there were other children?  Within the Jewish tradition, the first-born male child would be dedicated to God with special legal and family rights, as indicated in Exodus, chapter 13:2, where Yahweh got the first-born of everything, as a consecration to God.  In Numbers, chapter 3:12, the Levites take the place of the first born as a dedication to God.  In Deuteronomy, chapter 21:17, the first born had all the rights versus the other children.  Mary wrapped the baby Jesus with bands of cloth or swaddling clothes (καὶ ἐσπαργάνωσεν αὐτὸν), as it is often called.  These tight bands of cloth kept the arms and legs of the newborn from wailing away, while also keeping the child warm.  Then Mary laid him in a manger (καὶ ἀνέκλινεν αὐτὸν ἐν φάτνῃ), because there was no place for them in the lodging inn (διότι οὐκ ἦν αὐτοῖς τόπος ἐν τῷ καταλύματι).  This manger (ἐν φάτνῃ) was a feeding trough for horses and cattle.  Thus, Jesus was born in a place where animals would feed.  He then would offer himself as the bread of life.  Apparently, they were in a barn because there were no appropriate lodging places for a pregnant expecting woman.  There was no indication that Joseph had other relatives in Bethlehem where they might stay.  Just by coincidence, I am posting this blog on December 24, 2018, Christmas Eve.

A great crowd was hungry (Mk 8:1-8:1)

“In those days,

There was again

A great crowd

Without anything

To eat.

Jesus called

His disciples.

He said to them.”

 

Ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις πάλιν πολλοῦ ὄχλου ὄντος καὶ μὴ ἐχόντων τί φάγωσιν, προσκαλεσάμενος τοὺς μαθητὰς λέγει αὐτοῖς

 

This second multiplication of loaves is somewhat similar to the earlier first multiplication of loaves that feed over 5,000 people in Mark, chapter 6:33, Matthew, chapter 14:13, Luke, chapter 9:10, and John, chapter 6:1-2.  Here, however, this second multiplication of loaves is only found in 2 of the 4 gospels, Matthew, chapter 15:32, and MarkMatthew had a similar statement about the hungry crowd.  Mark said that in those days (Ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις), there was again a great crowd (πάλιν πολλοῦ ὄχλου ὄντος) without anything to eat (καὶ μὴ ἐχόντων τί φάγωσιν).  Thus, there was a discussion between Jesus and his disciples.  He called his disciples and spoke to them (προσκαλεσάμενος τοὺς μαθητὰς λέγει αὐτοῖς).

The dogs eat crumbs (Mk 7:28-7:28)

“But she answered him.

‘Yes!

Lord!

But even the dogs,

Under the table,

Eat the children’s crumbs.’”

 

ἡ δὲ ἀπεκρίθη καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Ναί, Κύριε· καὶ τὰ κυνάρια ὑποκάτω τῆς τραπέζης ἐσθίουσιν ἀπὸ τῶν ψιχίων τῶν παιδίων.

 

This Canaanite woman responded somewhat like in Matthew, chapter 15:27.  This woman was willing to accept that she was like a despised dog.  Mark said that she responded to Jesus, by calling him Lord and agreeing with him (ἡ δὲ ἀπεκρίθη καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Ναί, Κύριε).  She reminded him that even the dogs (καὶ τὰ κυνάρια), who are under the table (ὑποκάτω τῆς τραπέζης), eat the children’s crumbs (ἐσθίουσιν ἀπὸ τῶν ψιχίων τῶν παιδίων) that fall from the table.  In a wealthy materialistic country, we sometimes forget how our crumbs might feed or help poor people around the world today.

The children’s bread (Mk 7:27-7:27)

“Jesus said to her.

‘Let the children

Be fed first!

It is not fair

To take the children’s bread

And throw it

To the dogs.’”

 

καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτῇ Ἄφες πρῶτον χορτασθῆναι τὰ τέκνα· οὐ γάρ ἐστιν καλόν λαβεῖν τὸν ἄρτον τῶν τέκνων καὶ τοῖς κυναρίοις βαλεῖν.

 

This time Jesus answered her like in Matthew, chapter 15:26.  Mark said that Jesus responded to her (καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτῇ) that the children had to be feed or satisfied first (Ἄφες πρῶτον χορτασθῆναι τὰ τέκνα).  It was not right or fair (οὐ γάρ ἔστιν καλὸν) to take the children’s food or bread (λαβεῖν τὸν ἄρτον τῶν τέκνων) and feed it, throw it, or cast it to the unclean dogs (καὶ τοῖς κυναρίοις βαλεῖν).  His food was for the children of Israel, not for the gentile dogs.

 

They collected the leftovers (Mk 6:43-6:44)

“They took up

Twelve baskets

Full of broken pieces

Of bread

And of the fish.

Those who had eaten

The loaves

Numbered five thousand men.”

 

καὶ ἦραν κλάσματα δώδεκα κοφίνων πληρώματα καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν ἰχθύων.

καὶ ἦσαν οἱ φαγόντες τοὺς ἄρτους πεντακισχίλιοι ἄνδρες.

 

This is the only miracle that is recorded in all four gospels, Matthew, chapter 14:20-21, Luke, chapter 9:17, and John, chapter 6:13, plus here, but there are slight differences.  All agree that there were 12 baskets of food left over, symbolic of the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles.  They also agree that it was about 5,000 men.  Obviously, there was no exact count taken.  Only Matthew added the remark about women and the children.  Mark said that they took up 12 full hand baskets of the broken pieces of bread (καὶ ἦραν κλάσματα δώδεκα κοφίνων πληρώματα), and the pieces of fish (καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν ἰχθύων).  Those who ate the loaves (καὶ ἦσαν οἱ φαγόντες τοὺς ἄρτους) were about 5,000 men (πεντακισχίλιοι ἄνδρες).  Without a doubt, this was a very large crowd to feed.

Should they buy food? (Mk 6:37-6:37)

“But Jesus

Answered them.

‘You give them

Something to eat!’

They said to him.

‘Are we to go

And buy

Two hundred denarii

Worth of bread?

Then give it

To them

To eat.’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Δότε αὐτοῖς ὑμεῖς φαγεῖν. καὶ λέγουσιν αὐτῷ Ἀπελθόντες ἀγοράσωμεν δηναρίων διακοσίων ἄρτους, καὶ δώσομεν αὐτοῖς φαγεῖν;

 

The fact that Jesus wanted to feed everyone is recorded in all four gospels, Matthew, chapter 14:16, Luke, chapter 9:13, and John, chapter 6:5-7, plus here in a more elaborate fashion.  Despite the fact that the disciples wanted to send the crowds home, Jesus wanted to feed them there.  Mark indicated that Jesus answered his disciples (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) telling them to give the people something to eat (Δότε αὐτοῖς ὑμεῖς φαγεῖν).  Only Mark has this response of the disciples asking about buying food.  The disciples said to Jesus (καὶ λέγουσιν αὐτῷ) if they were to go to buy food (Ἀπελθόντες ἀγοράσωμεν), that it would cost about 200 denarii to buy bread enough (δηναρίων διακοσίων ἄρτους) for all these people to eat (καὶ δώσομεν αὐτοῖς φαγεῖν).  A denarius was worth one day’s pay, so that that 200 denarii would be nearly a year’s pay, a large amount of money.  The disciples thought that Jesus wanted them to buy some bread for the crowd.  In John, there was a conversation between Jesus and Philip about this.