Scribes and Pharisees complained (Mk 2:16-2:16)

“When the Scribes

And the Pharisees,

Saw

That he was eating

With sinners

And tax collectors,

They said

To his disciples.

‘Why does he eat

With tax collectors

And sinners?’”

 

καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς τῶν Φαρισαίων ἰδόντες ὅτι ἐσθίει μετὰ τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν καὶ τελωνῶν, ἔλεγον τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ Ὅτι μετὰ τῶν τελωνῶν καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν ἐσθίει;

 

Luke, chapter 5:30, and Matthew, chapter 9:11, are similar to Mark, so that Mark might be the source of this incident.  In Matthew, it is only the Pharisees and not the Scribes who are complaining.  These Pharisees and Scribes saw this dinner party (καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς τῶν Φαρισαίων ἰδόντες) from the outside.  They saw that Jesus was eating with sinners and tax collectors (ὅτι ἐσθίει μετὰ τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν καὶ τελωνῶν).  Then they asked the disciples of Jesus (ἔλεγον τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ), and not Jesus himself, why was Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners (Ὅτι μετὰ τῶν τελωνῶν καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν ἐσθίει)?  The Pharisees were a political party, a social movement, and a religious school of thought that became the basis for later Rabbinic Judaism.  They had they own expert explanations of Jewish law that sometimes appeared to be hypocritical or arrogant, with the letter of the law above its spirit.  They had a form of Judaism that extended beyond the Temple.  The Pharisees in the New Testament engaged in conflicts with Jesus and his disciples, as here.  However, Paul the Apostle may have been a Pharisee before his conversion.  Maybe Jesus and some of his followers were Pharisees, so that these arguments with the Pharisees may have been internal arguments.  Or is this portrait of the Pharisees in the New Testament a caricature, since the late first century Christians were fighting with the emerging Rabbinic Pharisees?  Their position towards the Scribes was a mixed bag.  These Scribes were religious experts who determined the traditions to be followed, as professional copiers of manuscript documents, although they had a wider role in Jewish society.

The Pharisees question the power of Jesus (Mt 9:34-9:34)

“But the Pharisees said.

‘He casts out demons

By the leader of demons.’”

 

οἱ δὲ Φαρισαῖοι ἔλεγον Ἐν τῷ ἄρχοντι τῶν δαιμονίων ἐκβάλλει τὰ δαιμόνια.

 

There is something similar to this in chapter 12:24 of Matthew and Luke, chapter ll:15.  The Pharisees complained (οἱ δὲ Φαρισαῖοι ἔλεγον) that Jesus was casting out demons or evil spirits (ἐκβάλλει τὰ δαιμόνια) because he was the leader or the prince of these demons or evil spirits (Ἐν τῷ ἄρχοντι τῶν δαιμονίων).  These Pharisees did not say that Jesus did’t have power over these evil spirits.  Quite the opposite, they said that he got his power from evil spirits or demons themselves because he was their leader.  The Pharisees were a political party, a social movement, and a religious school of thought that became the basis for later Rabbinic Judaism.  They had they own expert explanations of Jewish law that sometimes appeared to be hypocritical or arrogant, with the letter of the law above its spirit.  They had a form of Judaism that extended beyond the Temple.  The Pharisees in the New Testament, engaged in conflicts with Jesus and his disciples, as here.  However, Paul the Apostle may have been a Pharisee before his conversion.  Maybe Jesus and some of his followers were Pharisees, so that these arguments with the Pharisees may have been internal arguments.  Or is this portrait of the Pharisees in the New Testament a caricature, since the late first century Christians were fighting with the emerging Rabbinic Pharisees?

The Pharisees complain (Mt 9:11-9:11)

“When the Pharisees

Saw this,

They said

To his disciples.

‘Why does your teacher

Eat

With tax collectors

And sinners?’”

 

καὶ ἰδόντες οἱ Φαρισαῖοι ἔλεγον τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ Διὰ τί μετὰ τῶν τελωνῶν καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν ἐσθίει ὁ διδάσκαλος ὑμῶν;

 

This story about the Pharisees complaining about this dinner party is similar to Mark, chapter 2:16, and Luke, chapter 5:30, but here it is only the Pharisees speaking out, since there is no mention of scribes here, as in the other two stories.  These Pharisees saw this dinner party (καὶ ἰδόντες οἱ Φαρισαῖοι) from the outside.  Then they asked the disciples of Jesus (ἔλεγον τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ), and not Jesus himself, why was Jesus, their teacher (ὁ διδάσκαλος ὑμῶν), eating with tax collectors and sinners (Διὰ τί μετὰ τῶν τελωνῶν καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν ἐσθίει).  The Pharisees were a political party, a social movement, and a religious school of thought that became the basis for later Rabbinic Judaism.  They had they own expert explanations of Jewish law that sometimes appeared to be hypocritical or arrogant, with the letter of the law above its spirit.  They had a form of Judaism that extended beyond the Temple.  The Pharisees in the New Testament, engaged in conflicts with Jesus and his disciples, as here.  However, Paul the Apostle may have been a Pharisee before his conversion.  Maybe Jesus and some of his followers were Pharisees, so that these arguments with the Pharisees may have been internal arguments.  Or is this portrait of the Pharisees in the New Testament a caricature, since the late first century Christians were fighting with the emerging Rabbinic Pharisees?

Yahweh on the Mount of Olives (Zech 14:3-14:4)

“Then Yahweh will go forth.

He will fight

Against those nations,

As when he fights

On a day of battle.

On that day,

His feet shall stand

On the Mount of Olives,

Which lies before Jerusalem

On the east.

The Mount of Olives

Shall be split

In two,

From east to west

By a very wide valley.

Thus,

One half of the Mount

Shall withdraw northward.

The other half

Shall withdraw southward.”

After starting the war, Yahweh was going to defend the Israelites, by fighting against the other countries.  Yahweh was going to stand on the Mount of Olives, just east of Jerusalem.  He would split this mountain in two, so that half the mountain would be on the north and the other half on the south with a valley in between these two half mountains.

The new covenant (Hos 2:18-2:18)

“On that day,

I will make

For you

A covenant

With the wild animals,

The birds of the air,

The creeping things

Of the ground.

I will abolish

The bow,

The sword,

War from the land.

I will make you

Lie down in safety.”

On that day to come, Yahweh said that he was going to make a new covenant with the wild animals, the birds, and the creeping things. He was going to abolish the bow, the sword, and even fighting in general. War would be no more. This futuristic peace time would mean that they could lie down in safety. Was this the messianic age to come with worldwide peace?

Yahweh has brought destruction (Lam 2:5-2:5)

He

“Yahweh has become

Like an enemy.

He has destroyed

Israel.

He has destroyed

All its palaces.

He has laid in ruins

Its strongholds.

He has multiplied

Mourning

In daughter Judah.

He has multiplied

Lamentations.”

Yahweh has become the enemy of Israel. He has destroyed it, with all its palaces, with all its fortresses. Among Judah and Judeans, he has multiplied mourning and lamentations. It is as if Yahweh was fighting against Israel. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter He. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

The fight in the fortified cities of Judah (Jer 34:6-34:7)

“Then the prophet Jeremiah

Spoke all these words

To King Zedekiah

Of Judah,

In Jerusalem.

Meanwhile the army

Of the king of Babylon

Was fighting

Against Jerusalem.

They were also fighting

Against all the cities

Of Judah

That were left.

Lachish,

With Azekah

Were the only fortified cities

Of Judah

That remained.”

As usual, Jeremiah had done what Yahweh wanted him to do. He repeated all the words that Yahweh had told him to say to King Zedekiah. At the same time, that the Babylonian army was attacking Jerusalem, they were also fighting against the only two other remaining fortified cities in Judah, Lachish, about 23 miles southwest of Jerusalem, and Azekah, about 11 miles north of Lachish. Everything else had already been conquered by the Babylonians except for these two cities and Jerusalem.

The battle with King Nebuchadnezzar (Jer 34:1-34:1)

“The word

That came to Jeremiah

From Yahweh,

When King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon,

With all his army,

As well as all

The kingdoms of the earth,

All the people

Under his dominion,

Were fighting

Against Jerusalem

With all of its cities.”

Once again, the word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah, but there is a different setting, the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem in 588 BCE. King Nebuchadnezzar was going to fight against Jerusalem, as well as the towns and cities around it. At this point, the Babylonian king had a lot of people under him with a huge army. Besides his own army, other kingdoms under his control were also fighting with him against Jerusalem. Like the preceding chapter, this is a different numbered chapter in the Greek translation of the Septuagint, chapter 41, not chapter 34 as here.

The Chaldeans take Jerusalem (Jer 32:26-32:29)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to Jeremiah.

‘See!

I am Yahweh!

The God of all flesh!

Is anything too hard for me?’

Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh.

‘I am going to give this city

Into the hands of the Chaldeans.

I am going to give this city

Into the hand of King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon.

He shall take it.

The Chaldeans,

Who are fighting against this city,

Shall come.

They will set this city on fire.

They will burn it.

They will burn the houses

On whose roofs

Offerings were made

To Baal,

Where libations

Have been poured out

To other gods.

They did these sacrifices

To provoke me to anger.’”

Yahweh once again has an oracle for Jeremiah. Yahweh was the God of all flesh. There was nothing too hard for him. He was going to give Jerusalem over to the Chaldeans who were fighting there. He was going to hand the city over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The Babylonians and the Chaldeans were going to set the city on fire and burn it down. Thus the houses with the roof tops that had made offerings to Baal or libations to the other gods would be destroyed. These Israelites had offered these sacrifices to provoke Yahweh to anger. They had succeeded.

Yahweh will rescue Jerusalem (Isa 29:5-29:8)

“But the multitude of your foes

Shall be like small dust.

The multitude of tyrants

Shall be like passing chaff.

In an instant,

Suddenly,

You will be visited by Yahweh of hosts.

He will come with thunder.

He will come with an earthquake.

He will come with a great noise.

He will come with a whirlwind.

He will come with a tempest.

He will come with the flame of a devouring fire.

The multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel,

All that fight against her,

All that had a stronghold,

All that distress her

Shall be like a dream.

They shall be like a vision of the night.

Just as when a hungry man dreams of eating,

Yet wakes up still hungry.

Or when a thirsty man dreams he is drinking,

Yet wakes up faint,

Still thirsty.

So shall the multitude of all the nations be.

All those that fight against Mount Zion

Shall be like that.”

Despite the earlier warnings, Yahweh will rescue Jerusalem, as her many enemies will become like dust. The tyrants against her will be like passing chaff. Suddenly, there will a visit from Yahweh with thunder, earthquakes, strong storms, and devouring flames. All her enemies who distressed Jerusalem will be like a bad dream. All those nations fighting against Jerusalem will be faint and weak. They will be like those who dream of food and drink, yet wake up still hungry and thirsty.