The earthquake (Mt 28:2-28:2)

“Suddenly,

There was a great earthquake.”

 

καὶ ἰδοὺ σεισμὸς ἐγένετο μέγας·

 

Matthew is the only one who has any activity at the tomb.  In the 3 other gospel stories, the woman or women found that the tomb was empty.  Thus, Matthew uniquely said that suddenly there was a great seismic earthquake (καὶ ἰδοὺ σεισμὸς ἐγένετο μέγας).  Matthew also uniquely had an earthquake at the death of Jesus, chapter 27:54.  Now he had another earthquake at the resurrection of Jesus.  These earthquakes symbolized that something important was happening.

A cry to Yahweh for help (Lam 2:20-2:20)

Resh

“Look!

Yahweh!

Consider!

To whom have

You done this?

Should women

Eat their offspring?

Should they eat

The children

That they have borne?

Should priests

With prophets

Be killed In the sanctuary

Of Yahweh?”

This author continued to remind people to turn to Yahweh. He wanted Yahweh to consider what was happening there. Yahweh should have pity on the left over people in Jerusalem. Women were so hungry that they were eating their new born children, practicing cannibalism. This was also mentioned in Jeremiah, chapter 19. Priests and prophets were being killed in the sanctuary of Yahweh. However, the sanctuary was already destroyed. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Resh. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

Moab is destroyed (Jer 48:18-48:20)

“Come down from glory!

Sit on the parched ground!

Enthroned daughter Dibon!

The destroyer of Moab

Has come up

Against you!

He has destroyed

Your strongholds.

Stand by the road!

Watch!

You inhabitants of Aroer!

Ask the man fleeing!

Ask the woman escaping!

Say!

‘What has happened?’

Moab is put to shame.

Moab is broken down.

Wail!

Cry!

Tell it by the Arnon,

That Moab is laid waste.”

Moab was going to come down from its glory days to the parched land. They had their Dibon River with its capital city of Dibon. However their strong fortresses were destroyed. Jeremiah wanted them to stand by the road at Aroer, on the banks of the Arnon River. There they were to ask the simple question to both the men and women who were escaping and fleeing. What was going on? What was happening? The response was simple and direct. Moab was put to shame and broken down, as it was laid waste. All they could do now by the banks of the Arnon River was to wail and cry for their lost country of Moab.

 

The death of the righteous ones (Isa 57:1-57:2)

“The righteous perish.

No one takes it to heart.

The devout ones are taken away,

While no one understands.

The righteous ones

Are taken away from calamity.

They enter into peace.

Those who walk uprightly

Will rest on their couches.”

Third Isaiah seems to think that the no one seems to care about the death of the righteous Israelites. No one takes it to heart or understands what is happening. The righteous will be taken away from this present calamity. Those who walk upright will enter into peace, so that they can rest in their couch graves.

A cry to Yahweh (Ps 35:22-35:24)

“You have seen!

Yahweh!

Do not be silent!

Yahweh!

Do not be far from me!

Wake up!

Bestir yourself for my defense!

For my cause,

My God!

My Lord!

Vindicate me!

Yahweh!

My God!

According to your righteousness,

Do not let them rejoice over me!”

David’s cry to Yahweh wants Yahweh to wake up and see what is going on. Yahweh had seen what was happening to David, and yet he was silent. David wanted Yahweh close to him as his defense. He wanted his righteousness to be vindicated. He did not want others to rejoice over his misfortunes.