“When the festival
To return home.
The boy Jesus
But his parents
Did not know it.”
καὶ τελειωσάντων τὰς ἡμέρας, ἐν τῷ ὑποστρέφειν αὐτοὺς ὑπέμεινεν Ἰησοῦς ὁ παῖς ἐν Ἱερουσαλήμ, καὶ οὐκ ἔγνωσαν οἱ γονεῖς αὐτοῦ.
Luke continued this story. When the days of the festival were ended (καὶ τελειωσάντων τὰς ἡμέρας), Mary and Joseph started to return home (ἐν τῷ ὑποστρέφειν αὐτοὺς). However, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem (ὑπέμεινεν Ἰησοῦς ὁ παῖς ἐν Ἱερουσαλήμ,), but his parents did not know it (καὶ οὐκ ἔγνωσαν οἱ γονεῖς αὐτοῦ). This poses a problem. How alert were these parents? On the one hand, a 12-year-old would have a little freedom, but to leave without him seems a little odd.
“When Jesus was
Twelve years old,
They went up
For the festival.”
Καὶ ὅτε ἐγένετο ἐτῶν δώδεκα, ἀναβαινόντων αὐτῶν κατὰ τὸ ἔθος τῆς ἑορτῆς,
Now we have another unique saying of Luke about the age of Jesus. When Jesus was 12 years old (Καὶ ὅτε ἐγένετο ἐτῶν δώδεκα), the whole family went up to Jerusalem (ἀναβαινόντων αὐτῶν) as usual for the festival of Passover (κατὰ τὸ ἔθος τῆς ἑορτῆς). This was not a bar mitzvah or confirmation, since this Jewish practice came later. However, Jesus would have been on the verge of puberty. The number 12 would play a major role in the life of Jesus, since he had 12 apostles, who were called the Twelve. This episode is the only insight into the life of Jesus between his birth and the baptism by John, that can be found in any of the canonical biblical gospel narratives. There are many stories about the boyhood of Jesus in some apocryphal gospels. Thus, this story takes on a special canonical importance.
“Now every year,
His parents went
For the festival
Of the Passover.”
Καὶ ἐπορεύοντο οἱ γονεῖς αὐτοῦ κατ’ ἔτος εἰς Ἱερουσαλὴμ τῇ ἑορτῇ τοῦ πάσχα.
Luke alone continued to show how Jesus and Mary followed the Torah or Jewish law, since every year (κατ’ ἔτος), the parents of Jesus went (Καὶ ἐπορεύοντο οἱ γονεῖς αὐτοῦ) to Jerusalem (εἰς Ἱερουσαλὴμ) for the festival of Passover (τῇ ἑορτῇ τοῦ πάσχα). Passover was one of the 3 major festivals, and the most important, when observant Jewish people went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Luke put a lot of emphasis on Jerusalem, the Temple, and the Law.
“Now at the festival,
Pilate used to release
For whom they asked.”
Κατὰ δὲ ἑορτὴν ἀπέλυεν αὐτοῖς ἕνα δέσμιον ὃν παρῃτοῦντο.
This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 27:15. In John, chapter 18:39, there is something similar about the custom of releasing prisoners, but there is nothing in Luke about this custom. Mark said that at the festival time (Κατὰ δὲ ἑορτὴν), the Roman governor used to release one of the many prisoners to the Jewish people (ἀπέλυεν αὐτοῖς ἕνα δέσμιον), usually not a criminal facing the death penalty. This crowd could request the one that they wanted (παρῃτοῦντο), so that this kept the local folks happy. It is not clear how much this custom took place. Who would you ask for?
“It was two days
Before the Passover,
Of Unleavened Bread.”
Ἦν δὲ τὸ πάσχα καὶ τὰ ἄζυμα μετὰ δύο ἡμέρας
There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 26:2, and in Luke, chapter 22:1, where there was talk of the Passover in 2 days. There were 3 major annual pilgrimage festivals in Jerusalem, Pentecost, Booths, and Passover, with Passover the most popular. This Passover feast celebrated the Israelite Exodus from Egypt. Therefore, this festival reminded the Jewish people of their escape from a foreign country. Thus, the Roman leaders had a heightened alert with more troops in Jerusalem. Mark indicated that Jesus said to his disciples that it was 2 days (μετὰ δύο ἡμέρας), before the Passover (Ἦν δὲ τὸ πάσχα), the festival of Unleavened Bread (καὶ τὰ ἄζυμα) that lasted a whole week. Passover and Unleavened bread were one festival, not 2 separate ones.
“In the seventh month,
On the fifteenth day
Of the month,
For the seven days
Of the festival,
The prince shall make
The same provision
For sin offerings,
As well as for the oil.”
The only other 7-day festival mentioned here is the festival of Tents that was on the 15th day in the 7th month of the year, 6 months after Passover. Once again, the prince was to provide the same provisions as at Passover. He had to provide all those animals and grains for the 7-day sin offerings, the burnt offerings, and the grain offerings, including the oil with the grain offerings.
“But the workers are not concerned
That mortals are destined to die.
Their life is brief.
But they compete with workers
They compete with workers
They imitate workers
They count it as a glorious thing
To mold counterfeit gods.
Their heart is ashes.
Their hope is cheaper than dirt.
Their lives are of less worth than clay.
Because they failed to know
The one who formed them.
They failed to know
Who inspired them with active souls.
They failed to know
Who breathed a living spirit into them.
They considered our existence an idle game.
They considered our life a festival held for profit.
They say one must get money
However one can,
Even by base means.
For these persons,
More than all others,
Know that they sin
When they make from earthy matter fragile vessels,
When they make graven images.”
These idol makers do not care about their short lives. They are competing with other artisans making gold, silver, and copper molded items. They are making counterfeit gods. They have hearts (καρδία αὐτοῦ) like ashes and hope cheaper than dirt (γῆς). Their lives are less worthy than their own clay images. They do not know the one who formed them. They do not know the one who inspired them with a living soul (ψυχὴν). They do not know that their living spirit (πνεῦμα ζωτικόν) came from God. They consider life to be an idle game or a festival played for profit. They maintain that they need money, so that even a low base means (πορίζειν) is okay. More than others, they know that they are sinning. They make these vessels and carved images from mere earth.
“Wisdom has built her house,
She has set up her seven pillars.
She has slaughtered her animals.
She has mixed her wine.
She has also set her table.
She has sent out her servant girls.
She calls from the highest places in the town.
‘You who are simple!
Turn in here!’
To those without sense
Eat of my bread!
Drink of the wine I have mixed!
Lay aside immaturity!
Walk in the way of insight!’”
This chapter is about the house that wisdom built on 7 pillars. She then invited people to come to her house. She had slaughtered animals and prepared wine for the festival at her house. She set her table and sent her maid servants to invite people to come. She called from the highest place in town, ‘Anyone simple, turn in here!’ I guess it either was an insult or she really wanted to help them. She wanted those who were senseless and immature to eat her bread and drink her wine, instead of going to the house of the loose woman. Then they would be able to live and walk with insight. In a certain sense, lady wisdom is trying to compete with the seducing prostitutes to get the simple ones to gain some insight. She too tries to seduce them since that is the only way that the simple ones will follow people.
“Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, ‘Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, Let my people go, so that they may celebrate a festival to me in the wilderness.’ But Pharaoh said, ‘Who is Yahweh that I should heed him and let Israel go? I do not know Yahweh, and I will not let Israel go.’ Then they said, ‘The God of the Hebrews has revealed himself to us. Let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness to sacrifice to Yahweh our God, or he will fall upon us with pestilence or the sword.’ But the king of Egypt said to them, ‘Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their work? Get to your labors.’ Pharaoh continued, ‘Now they are more numerous than the people of the land and yet you want them to stop working!’”
Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh to ask him to let the Israelites go, so that they might celebrate a festival. Pharaoh responded that he did not know Yahweh, and he was not going to let the Israelites go. Moses and Aaron wanted a three day festival to adore Yahweh in the wilderness. They warned Pharaoh that trouble lie ahead for him if he did not let them go. Pharaoh replied that the Israelites were a large group. He just wanted them to work, not take days off. Okay, this is not too bad for a first meeting.