“As they were listening
To these things,
To tell a parable.
He was near Jerusalem.
That the kingdom of God
Was to appear
Ἀκουόντων δὲ αὐτῶν ταῦτα προσθεὶς εἶπεν παραβολὴν, διὰ τὸ ἐγγὺς εἶναι Ἱερουσαλὴμ αὐτὸν καὶ δοκεῖν αὐτοὺς ὅτι παραχρῆμα μέλλει ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ ἀναφαίνεσθαι·
Only Luke had this unique introduction to this parable. He said that as the disciples were listening to these things (Ἀκουόντων δὲ αὐτῶν ταῦτα), presumably the story about Zacchaeus, Jesus proceeded to tell another parable (προσθεὶς εἶπεν παραβολὴν). He was near his Jerusalem goal (διὰ τὸ ἐγγὺς εἶναι Ἱερουσαλὴμ αὐτὸν), which meant that he was in Jericho or between Jericho and Jerusalem. The disciples supposed or thought (καὶ δοκεῖν αὐτοὺς) that the kingdom of God (ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ) was about to appear immediately or soon (ὅτι παραχρῆμα μέλλει…ἀναφαίνεσθαι). Somehow the disciples assumed that if they got to Jerusalem, the kingdom of God would be revealed to them. They anticipated that the messianic age would happen. Some more revolutionary followers may have even expected a political earthly kingdom to be established, in opposition to the Roman occupation. This parable was meant to tone down their expectations about an earthly kingdom and the immediacy of this new heavenly kingdom. Do you expect the the kingdom of God to come soon?
Textual criticism is the study of the variants in the original Hebrew or Greek texts. This textual criticism attempts to establish the original wording of the biblical texts. There is an attempt to establish the possible formation and transmission of the texts themselves. All the original manuscripts of the Bible have been lost. Thus, the goal of textual criticism is to recover the best critical text possible, given the circumstances of today. Most modern translations are based on various Hebrew and Greek critical texts. These ancient texts were copied by hand with some possible human errors. Many kinds of copying errors have been categorized and classified. Textual criticism is known as lower criticism, because it is the foundation for all of the other kinds of critical study.
The Jesus Seminar was a group of about 150 critical Biblical scholars founded in 1985 by Robert Funk (1926-2005). Although never formally disbanded, the seminar effectively ceased functioning in 2006. Their goal was to reconstruct the historical Jesus and find out what exactly Jesus said. The result was that they portrayed Jesus as an itinerant Hellenistic Jewish sage, a faith-healer, who preached a gospel of liberation from injustice. However, they believed that Jesus did not hold an apocalyptic worldview, as indicated in the canonical writings. The methods and conclusions of the Jesus Seminar came under very harsh criticism by some biblical scholars, historians, and clergy. However, this Jesus Seminar produced a significant number of publications for over 20 years, especially articles about the Gospel of Thomas.
There are many ways to study the Bible, since it is a great book of literature, one of the most studied books of all time. There are Bible study groups all over the world, and throughout the USA. There are many courses on the study of the Bible, from grade school to post graduate classes. Thus, there are a number of technical ways to study the biblical texts. The goal of all critical studies is to discover the meaning and significance of these sacred canonical texts.
“They will be called
Oaks of righteousness.
They will be called
The planting of Yahweh,
To display his glory.
They shall build up the ancient ruins.
They shall raise up the former devastations.
They shall repair the ruined cities.
They shall repair the devastations
Of many generations.”
The goal of this mission was to rebuild Israel. Yahweh would plant trees of righteousness and justice to display his glory. They were to rebuild these ancient ruins. They would repair the many ruined cities. They would repair the former devastations that had been there for many generations.
“Gather all the tribes of Jacob!
Give them their inheritance!
As at the beginning,
On the people called by your name!
Have mercy on Israel!
You have likened them
To your first-born son.
Have pity on the city of your sanctuary!
Have pity on Jerusalem!
The place of your restful dwelling,
Fill Zion with your majesty!
Fill your temple with your glory!
To those whom you created
In the beginning!
Fulfill the prophecies
Spoken in your name!
Reward those who wait for you!
Let your prophets
Be found trustworthy!
The prayer of your servants,
According to your good will
Toward your people!
All who are on the earth
That you are the Lord,
The God of the ages.”
The goal of Sirach and many Israelites was the restoration of Israel, the unification of the tribes of Jacob. They were to get their original inheritance since the Lord had called them as his firstborn son. Jerusalem on Mount Zion was the chosen city for the sanctuary and the temple dwelling of the Lord. Sirach wanted all the trustworthy prophecies fulfilled. The Lord should listen to the prayers of his servants here on earth. They have recognized that the Lord is the God for all ages, but now they want everyone to know this. In this chapter, there is a discrepancy with the numbering of the verses.