Storage space (Lk 12:17-12:17)

“He thought to himself.

‘What shall I do?

I have no place

To store my crops.’”

 

καὶ διελογίζετο ἐν ἑαυτῷ λέγων Τί ποιήσω, ὅτι οὐκ ἔχω ποῦ συνάξω τοὺς καρπούς μου;

 

Luke uniquely continued this parable about the rich man.  Jesus said that this rich man thought or was reasoning to himself (καὶ διελογίζετο ἐν ἑαυτῷ λέγων) what should I do (Τί ποιήσω)?  He had no place to store his crops (ὅτι οὐκ ἔχω ποῦ συνάξω τοὺς καρπούς μου).  This seems like a legitimate concern.  His harvest had been so abundant that he no place to put all his harvested crops.  Do you worry about a place to put all your stuff?

Not lawful on the Sabbath (Mk 2:24-2:24)

“The Pharisees

Said to Jesus.

‘Look!

Why are they doing

What is not lawful

On the Sabbath?’”

 

καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι ἔλεγον αὐτῷ Ἴδε τί ποιοῦσιν τοῖς σάββασιν ὃ οὐκ ἔξεστιν;

 

Matthew, chapter 12:2, and Luke, chapter 6:2, are similar to Mark, who may be the source of this incident.  The Pharisees reacted to the disciples of Jesus plucking grain on the Sabbath.  Deuteronomy, chapter 25:24-25, stated that it was okay to pluck the ears with your hand, but you could not put a sickle to your neighbor’s standing grain or carry it away in a container.  However, Exodus, chapter 34:21, explicitly said that you could not harvest grain on the Sabbath, but did not mention any hand picking.  Thus, the Pharisees said to Jesus (καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι ἔλεγον αὐτῷ) that his disciples were doing unlawful things on the Sabbath by plucking the grain (Ἴδε τί ποιοῦσιν τοῖς σάββασιν ὃ οὐκ ἔξεστιν).

The birds do not worry (Mt 6:26-6:27)

“Look at the birds

Of the air!

They do not sow.

They do not reap.

They do not gather

Into barns.

Yet your heavenly Father

Feeds them.

Are you not

Of more value than they?

Can any of you,

By worrying,

Add a single hour

To your life span?”

 

ἐμβλέψατε εἰς τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, ὅτι οὐ σπείρουσιν ὅτι οὐ σπείρουσιν οὐδὲ συνάγουσιν εἰς ἀποθήκας, καὶ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος τρέφει αὐτά· οὐχ ὑμεῖς μᾶλλον διαφέρετε αὐτῶν;

τίς δὲ ἐξ ὑμῶν μεριμνῶν δύναται προσθεῖναι ἐπὶ τὴν ἡλικίαν αὐτοῦ πῆχυν ἕνα;

 

Once again, Luke, chapter 12:24-26, has a similar Jesus saying, almost word for word, indicating a common Q source.  Luke called the birds ravens.  Matthew has Jesus tell his disciples to look and see the birds of the heavenly skies (ἐμβλέψατε εἰς τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ).  The word “οὐρανοῦ” means heaven, sky, or air.  These birds do not sow or scatter (ὅτι οὐ σπείρουσιν), reap or harvest (ὅτι οὐ σπείρουσιν), or gather crops (οὐδὲ συνάγουσιν) into a granary or barn (εἰς ἀποθήκας).  They are freeloaders.  Yet they are able to eat off the land, because the heavenly Father feeds them (καὶ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος τρέφει αὐτά).  Are the disciples or followers of Jesus not more valuable than these birds (οὐχ ὑμεῖς μᾶλλον διαφέρετε αὐτῶν)?  Is worrying going to add one cubit or one hour to your life span or age (τίς δὲ ἐξ ὑμῶν μεριμνῶν δύναται προσθεῖναι ἐπὶ τὴν ἡλικίαν αὐτοῦ πῆχυν ἕνα).  Probably, the opposite is true.  Don’t worry!  Be happy!

Lamentation over Judah (Jer 8:18-8:20)

“My joy is gone.

Grief is upon me.

My heart is sick.

Hark!

The cry of my poor people

From far and wide in the land!

‘Is Yahweh not in Zion?

Is her King not in her?’

‘Why have they provoked me to anger?

They have their images.

They have their foreign idols?’

‘The harvest is past.

The summer is ended.

We are not saved.’

Jeremiah laments the situation in Judah. His joy is gone. His grief has made him heartsick. The cry of the poor people can be heard far and wide all over the land. Why hasn’t Yahweh helped? Why is the king gone? They have provoked Yahweh to anger with their images of foreign idols. The harvest has past as summer has ended. They are not saved. What can he do?

Against the complacent women in Jerusalem (Isa 32:9-32:14)

“Rise up!

You women who are at ease!

Hear my voice!

You complacent daughters!

Listen to my speech!

In little more than a year

You will shudder!

You complacent ones!

The vintage will fail!

The fruit harvest will not come!

Tremble!

You women who are at ease!

Shudder!

You complacent ones!

Strip!

Make yourselves bare!

Put sackcloth on your loins!

Beat upon your breasts

For the pleasant fields,

For the fruitful vine,

For the soil of my people,

Growing up in thorns,

Growing up in briers!

All the joyous houses

In the joyful city

Will be no more.

The palace will be forsaken.

The populous city will be deserted.

The watchtower will become a den.

The hills will become a den forever

For the joy of wild donkeys,

As a pasture for flocks.”

Isaiah attacks the easy going complacent Jerusalem women. Apparently this was a year before the attack on Jerusalem around 703 BCE. Isaiah always wanted people to listen to him, since they appear to be not listening. He reminded the complacent women that next year the vintage would fail and there would not be any fruit harvest. Isaiah wanted these complacent women to take off their clothes and go into mourning for their city. They should put on sackcloth and beat their breasts for the coming death of the pleasant fields and fruit vines that were about to be turned into thorns and briers. The joyful houses, the city, and the palace would be abandoned. This heavily populated city would be deserted. The towers and the hills would become a den for wild donkeys and a grazing area for animals.

The city in chaos (Isa 24:7-24:13)

“The wine dries up.

The vine languishes.

All the merry hearted sigh.

The mirth of the timbrels is stilled.

The noise of the jubilant has ceased.

The mirth of the lyre is stilled.

No longer do they drink wine

With singing.

Strong drink is bitter

To those who drink it.

The city of chaos is broken down.

Every house is shut up

So that none can enter.

There is an outcry in the streets

For lack of wine.

All joy has reached its eventide.

The gladness of the earth is banished.

Desolation is left in the city.

The gates are battered into ruins.

Thus it shall be on the earth.

Thus it shall be among the nations.

It will be

Like a beaten olive tree,

Like the gleaning

When the grape harvest is ended.”

Isaiah points out that without wine, there is no joy, just sighing. The vines and the wine have languished and dried up. The sound of the jubilant musical instruments of the timbrels and lyre was no more. There were no more drinking and singing. Strong drink had become bitter, like raw alcohol. The city of chaos broke down. It is difficult to figure out whether this was a specific city or the symbolic end of the world chaos. All the houses were closed, so that no one could come in or go out. People complained about the lack of wine with no joy in this city, since gladness had been banished. It was now a desolate chaotic city with broken down gates. This felt like the time after the olive trees and vines had been harvested with nothing left to do, even though there was no harvest. The vines and trees were empty and barren.

A message for everyone (Isa 18:3-18:6)

“All you inhabitants of the world!

You who live on the earth!

When a signal is raised

On the mountains!

Look!

When a trumpet is blown!

Hear!

Thus Yahweh said to me.

‘I will quietly look

From my dwelling

Like clear heat in sunshine,

Like a cloud of dew

In the heat of harvest.

Before the harvest,

When the blossom is over,

The flower becomes

A ripening grape.

He will then cut off the shoots

With pruning hooks.

He will hew away

The spreading branches.

They shall all be left

To the birds of prey

Of the mountains.

They shall all be left

To the animals

Of the earth.

The birds of prey

Will summer on them.

All the animals of the earth

Will winter on them.”

Now Isaiah delivers a more universal message since this is for everyone living on earth, not just the Israelites. Yahweh had spoken to him. The example that he used was the harvest of vineyards, a fairly common biblical theme. Yahweh looked out from his dwelling, as on a clear sunny day or an overcast day at harvest time. He explained that the vine first had a blossom, a flower. Finally the ripened grape was ready for harvest. Along the way, he used pruning shears to cut back shoots and wandering branches. He left these for the birds and animals to use as food, sometimes storing them up for winter or summer. It is not clear whether this is an allusion to battles between the Assyrians and the Egyptians and Ethiopians. However, it is the story of the growth of a grape, if nothing else.