What can you do on the Sabbath? (Lk 6:9-6:9)

“Then Jesus

Said to them.

‘I ask you!

Is it lawful

To do good

Or to do evil

On the Sabbath?

Is it lawful

To save life

Or to destroy life

On the Sabbath?’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς πρὸς αὐτούς Ἐπερωτῶ ὑμᾶς εἰ ἔξεστιν τῷ σαββάτῳ ἀγαθοποιῆσαι ἢ κακοποιῆσαι, ψυχὴν σῶσαι ἢ ἀπολέσαι;

 

Luke indicated that Jesus asked them (εἶπεν δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς πρὸς αὐτούς Ἐπερωτῶ ὑμᾶς), using the second person plural, if it was lawful (εἰ ἔξεστιν) to do good (ἀγαθοποιῆσαι) or sin, do harm, or evil (ἢ κακοποιῆσαι) on the Sabbath (τῷ σαββάτῳ)?  Was it lawful to save a life (ψυχὴν σῶσαι) or destroy a life (ἢ ἀπολέσαι) on the Sabbath?  This was based on Mark chapter 3:4, where Jesus asked the same questions.  Mark added that they were silent and did not respond, but Luke did not say that.  Jesus wanted to know what were the exceptions to the Sabbath restrictions.  Meanwhile, Matthew, chapter 12:11-12, had Jesus speak about saving sheep on the Sabbath.

Jesus escaped (Lk 4:30-4:30)

“Jesus

Passed through

The midst of them.

Jesus

Went on his way.”

 

αὐτὸς δὲ διελθὼν διὰ μέσου αὐτῶν ἐπορεύετο.

 

Luke uniquely said that nothing happened to Jesus.  He said that Jesus passed through them (αὐτὸς δὲ διελθὼν) in their midst (διὰ μέσου αὐτῶν) and went on his way (ἐπορεύετο).  No harm, no foul.  They did not do anything to Jesus as he escaped from there, without saying how it happened.

What can you do on the Sabbath? (Mk 3:3-3:4)

“Jesus said to the man

Who had the withered hand.

‘Come here!’

Then he said to them.

‘Is it lawful

To do good

Or to do harm,

On the Sabbath?

Is it lawful

To save life

Or to kill?’

But they were silent.”

 

καὶ λέγει τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ τῷ τὴν χεῖρα ἔχοντι ξηράν Ἔγειρε εἰς τὸ μέσον.

καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς Ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν ἀγαθὸν ποιῆσαι ἢ κακοποιῆσαι, ψυχὴν σῶσαι ἢ ἀποκτεῖναι; οἱ δὲ ἐσιώπων.

 

This is similar to Luke, chapter 6:8-9, while Matthew, chapter 12:11-12, had Jesus go on to talk about saving lost sheep on the Sabbath.  Mark indicated that Jesus said to the man with the withered hand (καὶ λέγει τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ τῷ τὴν χεῖρα ἔχοντι ξηράν) to come to him (Ἔγειρε εἰς τὸ μέσον).  Then he asked “them” (καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς) if it was lawful to do good or harm or evil, on the Sabbath (Ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν ἀγαθὸν ποιῆσαι ἢ κακοποιῆσαι)?  Was it lawful to save life or kill on the Sabbath (ψυχὴν σῶσαι ἢ ἀποκτεῖναι)?  However, the “they” were silent (οἱ δὲ ἐσιώπων).  Jesus wanted to know what were the exceptions to the Sabbath restrictions.

The second curse against their evil gains (Hab 2:9-2:11)

“Woe to you!

You get evil gain

For your houses!

You set your nest

On high,

To be safe

From the reach of harm.

You have devised shame

For your house,

By cutting off many people.

You have forfeited

Your life.

The very stones

Will cry out

From the wall.

The plaster

Will respond

From the woodwork.”

Habakkuk’s 2nd woe or curse against the Chaldeans was about their house or dynasty.  They had gathered evil things, so that they could build up their dynasty or houses.  They set their houses on high perches, safe from the reach of any harm.  By cutting off so many people to protect their own lives, they have brought shame to their dynasty.  Thus, the very stones and the plaster of their walls and woodwork would respond and cry out to them.

The bad situation will come to ruin (Mic 3:9-3:12)

“Hear this!

You rulers

Of the house of Jacob!

You chiefs

Of the house of Israel!

You abhor justice!

You pervert all equity!

You build Zion

With blood!

You build Jerusalem

With wrong!

Its rulers give judgment

For a bribe!

Its priests teach

For a price!

Its prophets give oracles

For money!

Yet they lean

Upon Yahweh.

They say.

‘Surely Yahweh is

With us.

No harm shall come

Upon us.’

Therefore,

Because of you,

Zion shall be plowed

As a field.

Jerusalem shall become

A heap of ruins.

The mountain of the house

Shall become a wooded height.”

Yahweh, via Micah, called out the rulers in northern Israel and southern Judah.  These rulers and chiefs had abhorred justice and perverted equity in Jerusalem and on Mount Zion.  Everything was done for money.  The rulers wanted a bribe for their judgment.  The priests had a price for their teaching.  The prophets only gave an oracle when money was supplied to them.  However, they all felt that Yahweh was on their side, so that he would protect them from any harm.  However, the response was quite different.  Mount Zion was going to be plowed like a field, while Jerusalem would become a heap of ruins.  The Temple mountain would become a pile of wood.  This specific prophecy of Micah was explicitly cited in Jeremiah, chapter 26, at the trial of Jeremiah.

The false visions of the prophets (Lam 2:14-2:14)

Nun

“Your prophets

Have seen

False visions

For you.

They have seen

Deceptive visions.

They have not exposed

Your iniquity

In order to restore

Your fortunes.

But they have seen

False oracles,

Misleading oracles

For you.”

Now we have an element of guilt. This author blames their situation in Jerusalem on the false and deceptive visions of Yahweh’s prophets. Jeremiah often called them the happy prophets, who saw no harm coming. These prophets never challenged the people and their iniquity. They kept talking about restoration with their false and misleading oracles. It almost seems like this is an attempt to say that the prophets had the wrong visions or oracles from Yahweh, rather than the prophets misunderstood these visions or oracles of Yahweh. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Nun. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

The punishment for the Judeans in Egypt (Jer 44:26-44:28)

“Therefore,

Hear the word of Yahweh!

All you Judeans

Who live in the land of Egypt!

‘See!

I swear

By my great name!’

Says Yahweh.

‘My name shall no longer

Be pronounced

On the lips

Of any of the people of Judah

In all the land of Egypt.’

Saying.

‘As Yahweh God lives,

I am going to watch

Over them

For harm,

Not for good.

All the people of Judah

Who are in the land of Egypt

Shall perish

By the sword

By famine,

Until no one is left.

Those who escape the sword

Shall return

From the land of Egypt

To the land of Judah,

Few in number.

All the remnant of Judah,

Who came to the land of Egypt

To settle,

Shall know

Whose words will stand,

Mine or theirs!’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, lets the Judeans in Egypt know about their punishment. They will no longer call Yahweh, their God. Yahweh was going to bring them harm, not good things. They were all going to die by the sword or famine, until no one was left there. Then there was a caveat, if some did escape from the wrath of Yahweh, they would be very few in number. They were going to know whose words had more power. Yahweh made it very personal with the taunt about which word was going to stand, theirs or his.

The discussion about Jeremiah (Jer 38:4-38:5)

“Then the officials said

To the king.

‘This man ought

To be put to death.

Because he is discouraging

The soldiers

Who are left in this city.

He is discouraging

All the people,

By speaking such words

To them.

This man is not seeking

The welfare of this people,

But their harm.’

King Zedekiah said.

‘Here he is.

He is in your hands.

The king is powerless

Against you.’”

These four royal officials went to the king and said that Jeremiah ought to be put to death. They said that Jeremiah was discouraging the soldiers who were left in the city, since so many had died already. He was, in fact, discouraging everyone by talking the way he does about the fall of Jerusalem. He was not seeking to help the people, but to harm them. Then King Zedekiah said okay. He left all this in their hands. He would not object to anything that they did. However, he did not say that Jeremiah should die.

The good future plans (Jer 29:11-29:11)

“Yahweh says.

‘Surely I know the plans

I have for you.

These are plans

For your welfare,

Not for your harm.

I want

To give you

A future with hope.”

Once again, Yahweh, via the letter of Jeremiah, said that he would take care of their future, since he had plans for them.   He would not harm them, but rather watch out for their welfare. He wanted to give them a future with hope.

The message of Yahweh’s prophets (Jer 25:5-25:7)

“They said.

‘Every one of you!

Turn now

From your evil ways!

Turn now

From wrong doings!

You will remain

Upon the land

That Yahweh has given

To you

As well as your ancestors

From of old

And forever.

Do not go

After other gods

To serve them,

To worship them!

Do not provoke me to anger

With the work of your hands!

Then I will do you no harm.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Yet you did not listen to me.

Thus you have provoked me

To anger

With the work of your hands

To your own harm.’”

Jeremiah says that Yahweh’s prophets had told all of them to turn away from their evil ways and wicked doings. If they had done that, they would remain in the land that Yahweh gave to them and their ancestors forever. However, they were not to go after other gods, serving and worshipping them. Thus they should not provoke Yahweh to anger with their own hands. Yahweh was not going to harm them. However, they did not listen. They had to provoke him to anger with the works of their own hands that only brought harm to them.