The paralytic (Mt 9:2-9:2)

“Then some people

Were carrying

A paralyzed man,

Lying on a bed.

When Jesus saw

Their faith,

He said

To the paralytic.

‘Take heart!

My son!

Your sins are forgiven!’”

 

Καὶ ἰδοὺ προσέφερον αὐτῷ παραλυτικὸν ἐπὶ κλίνης βεβλημένον. καὶ ἰδὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὴν πίστιν αὐτῶν εἶπεν τῷ παραλυτικῷ Θάρσει, τέκνον, ἀφίενταί σου αἱ ἁμαρτίαι.

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 2:2-5, and Luke, chapter 5:18-20, about curing this paralytic.  In both Mark and Luke, they lower the paralytic through the roof of the house, but here there is no mention of that.  Some people brought this paralyzed man to Jesus (Καὶ ἰδοὺ προσέφερον αὐτῷ), since he was lying on a bed (παραλυτικὸν ἐπὶ κλίνης βεβλημένον).  Jesus noticed them and their faith (καὶ ἰδὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὴν πίστιν αὐτῶν).  He then told the paralytic (εἶπεν τῷ παραλυτικῷ) to take heart or have courage (Θάρσει), because his sins were forgiven or taken away (ἀφίενταί σου αἱ ἁμαρτίαι).  The idea that sickness and sin had a common connection was prevalent.  In fact, Jesus called this paralyzed man son (τέκνον).  Faith and healing seemed to go hand in hand.

The second part of the Lord’s prayer (Mt 6:11-6:13)

“Give us

Our daily bread

Today!

Forgive us

Our debts!

We also have forgiven

Our debtors.

Do not bring us

Into the time of trial!

Rescue us

From the evil one!

 

Τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον

καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν, ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀφήκαμεν τοῖς ὀφειλέταις ἡμῶν·

καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν, ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ.

 

In the second part of the “Lord’s Prayer,” “The Our Father,” Matthew and Luke, chapter 11:3-4, have the 4 human petitions, perhaps indicating a common Q source.  We should ask the Father to give us (δὸς ἡμῖν) our daily bread or sustenance to sustain our human life (Τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον) today (σήμερον).  Every day, even today, we need our daily nutrition to live.  The hope is that God the Father will provide for us.  We should ask the Father to forgive our debts (καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν).  This includes whatever we owe to God, because our sins that have put us in debt with God.  If we ask for forgiveness, that assumes that we have forgiven our debtors (ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀφήκαμεν τοῖς ὀφειλέταις ἡμῶν).  We ask the Father not to lead us into temptation or be tested in a trial (καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν).  Finally, we ask the Father to rescue or deliver us from painful evil or the evil one (ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ).  A Byzantine manuscript has an addition here that has become popular as the ending of the Lord’s Prayer because it has an “Amen” at the end of it.  “For the kingdom (Ὅτι σοῦ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία) and the power (καὶ ἡ δύναμις) and the glory (καὶ ἡ δόξα) are yours forever. Amen (εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας. Ἀμήν).”  This would have fit in better after the first 3 petitions about God the Father, since these 4 petitions are about us here on earth.

Chant of thanksgiving (Zeph 3:14-3:15)

“Sing aloud!

O daughter of Zion!

Shout!

O Israel!

Rejoice!

Exult

With all your heart!

O daughter of Jerusalem!

Yahweh

Has taken away

The judgments

Against you.

He has turned away

Your enemies.

The king of Israel,

Yahweh,

Is in your midst.

You shall fear disaster

No more.”

Zephaniah has this chant of thanksgiving.  The daughters of Zion were to sing out loud.  The daughters of Jerusalem were to rejoice and exult with their whole hearts.  Yahweh had taken away his judgments against them, since he had forgiven them.  On top of that, Yahweh had turned away all their enemies.  Yahweh was now the new king of Israel in their midst.  Thus, they had no reason to fear any disasters anymore.

Temporary gifts to the servants (Ezek 46:17-46:17)

“But if the prince

Makes a gift,

Out of his inheritance,

To one of his servants,

It shall be his

Until the year of liberty.

Then it shall revert

To the prince.

Only his sons

May keep a gift

From his inheritance.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, pointed out that the prince could give gifts to his servants out of his own inheritance. However, it would not be a permanent gift, since it would have to be returned in the year of liberty or the Jubilee year. Every 50 years was a Jubilee year, so that debts were forgiven then. In this case, the gift given to a servant had to be returned, because only the sons of the prince could keep inheritance gifts on a permanent basis.

The proclamation of guilt (Lam 3:40-3:42)

Nun

“Let us test

Our ways!

Let us examine

Our ways!

Let us return

To Yahweh!

Let us lift up

Our hearts!

Let us lift up

Our hands To God

In heaven!

We have transgressed!

We have rebelled!

You have not

Forgiven us.”

This author admits his sinfulness. He wanted to examine and test all their ways of doing things. He and his friends wanted to return to Yahweh. Thus everyone should lift up their hearts and hands to the heavenly God. He and his comrades had transgressed and rebelled against Yahweh, their God in heaven. Thus Yahweh had not yet forgiven them. These three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Nun in this acrostic poem.

Forgiveness for all (Isa 33:23-33:24)

“Your riggings hangs loose.

It cannot hold the mast firm in its place.

It cannot keep the sail spread out.

Then prey in abundance will be divided.

Spoil in abundance will be divided.

Even the lame will fall to plundering.

No inhabitant will say.

‘I am sick.’

The people who live there

Will be forgiven their iniquity.”

Isaiah remarks that despite the fact that the ship is not in good shape since the riggings are loose, the mast is not firm, and the sail is not spread out, you will not have to worry. There will be enough prey to be divided up. There will be so much spoil that even the lame will be able to plunder the area. No one will be sick in this utopian time. In fact, all their iniquity will be forgiven so that they do not have to be anxious or troubled.

The call of Yahweh (Isa 22:12-22:14)

“In that day,

Yahweh,

God of hosts,

Called for weeping.

He called for mourning.

He called for baldness.

He called for putting on sackcloth.

But instead

There was joy.

There was festivity.

They killed oxen.

They slaughtered sheep.

They were eating meat.

They were drinking wine.

‘Let us eat!

Let us drink!

For tomorrow we die!’

Yahweh of hosts

Has revealed himself

In my ears.

‘Surely

This iniquity

Will not be forgiven you

Until you die.’

Says Yahweh,

God of hosts.”

On that day, Yahweh called on his people to weep and mourn. He wanted them to shave their heads and put on sackcloth because of the impending disaster. Instead, the people of Jerusalem decided to have a joyous festival. They killed oxen and sheep for their celebration, as they drank wine and ate meat. Then we have the famous saying that has endured through time. They cried out, “Let us eat and drink because tomorrow we die.” Yahweh of hosts was not pleased at this response. In fact, he told Isaiah explicitly that their iniquity would not be forgiven as long as they lived.

The day of the exaltation of God (Isa 2:9-2:11)

“People are humbled.

Everyone is brought low.

Do not forgive them!

Enter into the rocks

From the terror of Yahweh!

Hide in the dust

From the glory of his majesty!

The haughty eyes of people

Shall be brought low.

The pride of everyone

Shall be humbled.

Yahweh alone

Will be exalted On that day.”

Isaiah warned that there would come a day when Yahweh, the Lord would be exalted. Then on that day the people would be humbled and brought low. Their sins would not be forgiven. They might try to hide behind rocks or in the ground, but the terror of Yahweh would find them. The glory of his majesty would overtake them. The haughty eyes of everyone would be humbled. Only Yahweh would remain alone and exalted.

Betraying secrets (Sir 27:16-27:21)

“Whoever betrays secrets

Destroys confidence.

He will never find

A congenial friend.

Love your friend.

Keep faith with him.

But if you betray his secrets,

Do not follow after him.

As a person destroys

His enemy,

So you have destroyed

The friendship of your neighbor.

As you allow a bird to escape

From your hand,

So you have let your neighbor go.

You will not catch him again.

Do not go after him.

He is too far off.

He has escaped

Like a gazelle from a snare.

A wound may be bandaged.

There is reconciliation after abuse.

But whoever has betrayed secrets

Is without hope.”

Sirach is very harsh against those who betray secrets. When you betray a secret you destroy any confidence that another person has in you. You can never be their friend again. If you love your friend, you will not betray his secrets. Once you betray him, do not follow after him. Your friendship is destroyed. You have let the bird out of your hand that will never return. So too, your friendly neighbor is gone for good. He is like a gazelle that has escaped from a trap. You will never get him back. Then Sirach indicated how strong he felt about this. He said that it was easier to have a wound bandaged, and abusive behavior forgiven than making up after betraying a secret. There was no hope for the betrayer. Wow! Be careful when someone tells you a secret.

The father of the world (Wis 10:1-10:2)

“Wisdom protected

The first-formed father of the world.

He alone had been created.

She delivered him

From his transgression.

She gave him strength

To rule all things.”

Now this author traces the role of God and wisdom in the history of mankind. Interesting enough, this section starts with wisdom, she and not God. She protected the one (μόνον) first father of the world (πρωτόπλαστον πατέρα κόσμου), who is not explicitly given a name. However, this is clearly based on the first chapter of Genesis. She delivered this first formed man from his transgression. It seems that he was already forgiven. In fact, wisdom gave him dominion over all things.