The children in the marketplace (Lk 7:32-7:32)

“This generation

Is like children

Sitting

In the market place.

They call to one another.

‘We played

The flute

For you!

But you did not dance.

We wailed!

But you did not weep.’”

 

ὅμοιοί εἰσιν παιδίοις τοῖς ἐν ἀγορᾷ καθημένοις καὶ προσφωνοῦσιν ἀλλήλοις ἃ λέγει Ηὐλήσαμεν ὑμῖν καὶ οὐκ ὠρχήσασθε· ἐθρηνήσαμεν καὶ οὐκ ἐκλαύσατε.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said this generation was like little children (ὅμοιοί εἰσιν παιδίοις) sitting in the market place (τοῖς ἐν ἀγορᾷ καθημένοις).  They would call to one another (καὶ προσφωνοῦσιν ἀλλήλοις ἃ), saying that they played the flute for them (λέγει Ηὐλήσαμεν ὑμῖν), but they would not dance (καὶ οὐκ ὠρχήσασθε).  They wailed or sang a dirge (ἐθρηνήσαμεν), but they would not weep (καὶ οὐκ ἐκλαύσατε).  Matthew, chapter 11:16-17, had a similar statement, indicating a possible common Q source.  Jesus took on this childish generation, since they were like little kids sitting in the market places calling to each other, as if playing games.  These spoiled little children grumbled about everything.  This childish generation complained that John and Jesus would not dance to their flute playing.  They would not wail and lament when they wanted them to join their dirge.  Jesus and John the Baptist would not play their childish games by dancing and mourning at the drop of a hat.  Are you part of a childish generation?

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The moaning and mourning in Moab (Jer 48:36-48:37)

“Therefore my heart

Moans for Moab,

Like a flute.

My heart moans

Like a flute

For the people

Of Kir-heres.

The riches

That they had gained,

Has perished.

Every head

Is shaved.

Every beard

Is cut off.

On all the hands,

There are gashes.

On the loins,

There are sack cloths.”

Yahweh’s heart moans for Moab like a flute. The same is true of the people of Kir-heres, a major city in Moab, dedicated to the sun. All the richness that Moab had attained has now perished. Their heads are shaven and their beards are cut off. Their hands are all gashed, as they are also wearing sackcloth. These were all the signs of someone in mourning.

A reproach against carousing (Isa 5:11-5:13)

“Woe to you

Who rise early in the morning,

In pursuit of strong drink!

Woe to you

Who linger in the evening

To be inflamed by wine!

These feasts consist of

Lyre,

Harp,

Tambourine,

Flute,

And wine.

They do not regard

The deeds of Yahweh!

They do not see

The work of his hands!

Therefore my people

Go into exile

Without knowledge.

Their nobles

Are dying of hunger.

Their multitude

Is parched with thirst.”

Isaiah turns to those who think only about drinking and carousing around. The first thing they think of in the morning is where their next drink is coming from. At night, they only worry about drinking wine while others played musical instruments like the lyre, harp, tambourine, and the flute. While the Israelites were going into exile, these people had no regard for the work of Yahweh and his deeds since they lacked knowledge. The nobles and the people were dying of malnutrition and thirst. However, these folks continued to play on.

What is better? (Sir 40:21-40:25)

“The flute makes

A sweet melody.

The harp makes

A sweet melody,

But a pleasant voice is

Better than either.

The eye desires grace.

The eye desires beauty.

But the eye desires

Green shoots of grain

More than either.

A friend is always welcome

A companion is always welcome.

But a sensible wife is

Better than either.

Kindred are for a time of trouble.

Helpers are for a time of trouble.

But almsgiving rescues

Better than either.

Gold makes one stand firm.

Silver makes one stand firm.

But good counsel is

Esteemed more than either.”

Sirach continues with his questions about what is better. However, here the answer is not wisdom. While wine and music gladden the heart, the love of friends is actually better for a happy heart. While the flute and the harp make sweet melodies, a pleasant singing voice is sweeter than both. While the eye desires grace and beauty, the eye, especially of a farmer, prefers to see the green sprouts of grain in the fields. Everyone welcomes a friend or companion in their house, but a sensible wife in the house is much better. In troubled times, family members and helpers can be supportive, but actually almsgiving helps you better than both family and friends. While gold and silver can help you stand firm, good counsel is better than both gold and silver.

The payer of the Israelites (1 Macc 3:44-3:45)

“The congregation assembled to be ready for battle.  They assembled to pray and ask for mercy and compassion.

‘Jerusalem was uninhabited like a wilderness.

Not one of her children went in or out.

The sanctuary was trampled down.

The sons of aliens held the citadel.

It was a lodging place for the gentiles.

Joy was taken from Jacob,

The flute and the harp ceased to play.’”

The Israelites gathered to pray.  As they readied for the battle, they prayed for mercy and compassion.  They lamented the situation in Jerusalem which had become a wilderness.  No one went in or out as the sanctuary was trampled.  The sons of aliens were in the citadel in Jerusalem.  There no longer was joy from the land of Jacob as the flute and the harp ceased to play, just like the day the music stopped.