Armed strong man (Lk 11:21-11:21)

“When a strong man,

Fully armed,

Guards his castle,

His property

Is safe.”

 

ὅταν ὁ ἰσχυρὸς καθωπλισμένος φυλάσσῃ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ αὐλήν, ἐν εἰρήνῃ ἐστὶν τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ·

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said that when a strong man (ὅταν ὁ ἰσχυρὸς), fully armed (καθωπλισμένος), guarded his castle (φυλάσσῃ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ αὐλήν), his property or possessions would be safe and at peace (ἐν εἰρήνῃ ἐστὶν τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ).  Both Mark and Matthew have the attack on the house that is in the next verse, but without the setup of guarding the castle as here in Luke.  How do you guard your house or castle?

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They taunted Jesus (Mk 14:65-14:65)

“Some began

To spit on Jesus.

They blindfolded him.

They struck him.

They said to him.

‘Prophesy!’

The guards

Also took over him.

They beat him.”

 

Καὶ ἤρξαντό τινες ἐμπτύειν αὐτῷ καὶ περικαλύπτειν αὐτοῦ τὸ πρόσωπον καὶ κολαφίζειν αὐτὸν καὶ λέγειν αὐτῷ Προφήτευσον, καὶ οἱ ὑπηρέται ῥαπίσμασιν αὐτὸν ἔλαβον.

 

This is something similar in Mathew, chapter 26:67-68.  There is nothing like this in Luke, chapter 22, and John, chapter 18.  Mark said that some in this council were not reluctant to abuse him with spitting, punching, slapping, and taunting Jesus.  Thus, they began to spit at him (Καὶ ἤρξαντό τινες ἐμπτύειν αὐτῷ).  They blindfolded him or covered up his face (καὶ περικαλύπτειν αὐτοῦ τὸ πρόσωπον).  Then they struck him (καὶ κολαφίζειν αὐτὸν).  They then told Jesus to prophesize to them (καὶ λέγειν αὐτῷ Προφήτευσον) who had struck him.  Finally, the guards took over and beat and slapped him (καὶ οἱ ὑπηρέται ῥαπίσμασιν αὐτὸν ἔλαβον).  Thus, this secret Jewish leaders’ night trial came to an inglorious end.

Peter followed Jesus (Mk 14:54-14:54)

“Peter had followed Jesus

At a distance,

Right into the courtyard

Of the high priest.

He was sitting

With the guards.

He was warming himself

At the fire.”

 

καὶ ὁ Πέτρος ἀπὸ μακρόθεν ἠκολούθησεν αὐτῷ ἕως ἔσω εἰς τὴν αὐλὴν τοῦ ἀρχιερέως, καὶ ἦν συνκαθήμενος μετὰ τῶν ὑπηρετῶν καὶ θερμαινόμενος πρὸς τὸ φῶς.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 26:58, and Luke, chapter 22:54-55, but Peter was there to warm himself and not see what was happening.  In John, chapter 18:15-16, Peter was with another disciple, who helped him to get into the courtyard.  Here Mark said that Peter had followed Jesus (καὶ ὁ Πέτρος… ἠκολούθησεν αὐτῷ), but at a distance (ἀπὸ μακρόθεν).  Peter even went as far as right into the courtyard of the high priest (ἕως ἔσω εἰς τὴν αὐλὴν τοῦ ἀρχιερέως).  Then he sat with the guards or servants of the high priest (καὶ ἦν συνκαθήμενος μετὰ τῶν ὑπηρετῶν).  Instead of being there to see what was going to happen to Jesus, as Matthew indicated, Mark said that Peter was there to warm himself (καὶ θερμαινόμενος) at the fire (πρὸς τὸ φῶς) in the courtyard.  Thus, Peter was careless in entering the courtyard and sitting with the servants and guards of the high priest, since this might be a problem for him.

The guards were afraid (Mt 28:4-28:4)

“The guards shook

In fear of him.

They became

Like dead men.”

 

ἀπὸ δὲ τοῦ φόβου αὐτοῦ ἐσείσθησαν οἱ τηροῦντες καὶ ἐγενήθησαν ὡς νεκροί.

 

Matthew is the only one who mentioned that these guards were afraid.  In the 3 other gospel stories, there was nothing about the guards at the tomb, even though there was a mention of the other men in the tomb.  Thus, Matthew uniquely said that the guards or those keeping watch over the tomb (οἱ τηροῦντες) shook or trembled in fear (ἀπὸ δὲ τοῦ φόβου αὐτοῦ ἐσείσθησαν) of this angel of the Lord.  These guards became like dead men (καὶ ἐγενήθησαν ὡς νεκροί).  They did not die, however.

Jewish religious leaders want to have the tomb secure (Mt 27:63-27:64)

“They said.

‘Lord!

We remember what

This impostor said

While he was still alive.

‘After three days,

I will rise again.’

Therefore,

Command

That the tomb

Be made secure

Until the third day.

Otherwise,

His disciples may go.

They may steal him away.

Then they will tell

The people.

‘He has risen

From the dead.’

The last deception

Would be worse

Than the first.”

 

λέγοντες Κύριε, ἐμνήσθημεν ὅτι ἐκεῖνος ὁ πλάνος εἶπεν ἔτι ζῶν Μετὰ τρεῖς ἡμέρας ἐγείρομαι.

κέλευσον οὖν ἀσφαλισθῆναι τὸν τάφον ἕως τῆς τρίτης ἡμέρας, μή ποτε ἐλθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ κλέψωσιν αὐτὸν καὶ εἴπωσιν τῷ λαῷ Ἠγέρθη ἀπὸ τῶν νεκρῶν, καὶ ἔσται ἡ ἐσχάτη πλάνη χείρων τῆς πρώτης.

 

This is unique to Matthew, who remarked that this group of high priests and Pharisees called Pilate “Lord (λέγοντες Κύριε)!”  They said that they remembered (ἐμνήσθημεν) what this impostor or deceiver had said (ὅτι ἐκεῖνος ὁ πλάνος εἶπεν), while he was still alive or living (ἔτι ζῶν).  He had said that after three days (Μετὰ τρεῖς ἡμέρας), he would rise up again (ἐγείρομαι).  Thus, they wanted Pilate to command (κέλευσον οὖν) that the tomb be made secure (ἀσφαλισθῆναι τὸν τάφον) until the third day (ἕως τῆς τρίτης ἡμέρας).  Otherwise, Jesus’ disciples might come and steal him away (μή ποτε ἐλθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ κλέψωσιν αὐτὸν).  Then they would tell the people (καὶ εἴπωσιν τῷ λαῷ) that he had risen from the dead (Ἠγέρθη ἀπὸ τῶν νεκρῶν).  Finally, this last deception or sin would be worse than the first deceptions (καὶ ἔσται ἡ ἐσχάτη πλάνη χείρων τῆς πρώτης).  In other words, these Jewish leaders wanted Pilate to have guards around the tomb of Jesus because they remembered that while he was alive he said that he would arise in 3 days.  Mathew has these chief priests and Pharisees predict the resurrection of Jesus.

Measuring the gate and its surroundings (Ezek 40:12-40:16)

There was a barrier

Before the recesses,

One cubit on either side.

The recesses were

Six cubits on either side.

Then he measured the gate

From the back

Of the one recess

To the back of the other.

It was a width

Of twenty-five cubits,

From wall to wall.

He measured also the vestibule,

Twenty cubits.

The gate was

Next to the pilaster

On every side of the court.

From the front of the gate

At the entrance

To the end

Of the inner vestibule

Of the gate was

Fifty cubits.

The recesses

With their pilasters

Had windows

With shutters

On the inside

Of the gateway

All around.

The vestibules also

Had windows on the inside,

All around.

Palm trees were

On the pilasters.”

These recesses, alcoves, or rooms had a barrier on either side of 1 cubit, less than 2 feet. These open-air rooms were 6 cubits on either side of the gate, or about 10 feet. The gate was big and measured 25 cubits wide or about 40 feet wide, while the vestibule was 20 cubits, about 32 feet wide. From the gate to the inner vestibule was about 50 cubits, or 80 feet. These open-air rooms with columns had windows and shutters all around them. The vestibule also had windows on the inside all around. On top of the column pilasters were palm trees. These alcoves may have been some kind of place for guards.

 

Good counselors (Sir 37:12-37:15)

“Associate with a godly person!

Associate with

Someone you know

To be a keeper

Of the commandments!

Associate with

Someone who is like minded

With yourself!

Associate with

Someone who will grieve

With you,

If you fail!

Heed the counsel

Of your own heart!

No one is more faithful

To you than it is.

Our own mind sometimes

Keeps us better informed

Than seven watchmen

Sitting high on a watchtower.

But above all,

Pray to the Most High!

Thus he may direct

Your way in truth.”

Sirach has some positive advice on who to associate with, mainly the godly person who keeps the commandments. In other words, seek counsel and give counsel with those who are like minded people. They will grieve with you if you fail. You should follow your heart, since no one is more faithful to you than your own heart. Your mind is better informed than any guards around the tower. However, the most important thing to do is pray to the Most High God so that he can direct your way truthfully. In the end, the best consultation is between you and God.