The mother of the sons of Zebedee (Mt 20:20-20:20)

“Then the mother

Of the sons of Zebedee

Came up to Jesus,

With her sons.

She knelt before him.

She asked a favor

Of him.”

 

Τότε προσῆλθεν αὐτῷ ἡ μήτηρ τῶν υἱῶν Ζεβεδαίου μετὰ τῶν υἱῶν αὐτῆς προσκυνοῦσα καὶ αἰτοῦσά τι ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ.

 

There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 10:35, but there the brothers, rather than their mother approached Jesus.  Was she with them on this trip to Jerusalem, or did this take place earlier?  The mother of the sons of Zebedee (ἡ μήτηρ τῶν υἱῶν Ζεβεδαίου), or the wife of Zebedee, came to Jesus (Τότε προσῆλθεν αὐτῷ) with her sons (μετὰ τῶν υἱῶν αὐτῆς), James and John, who were part of the 12 leaders of Jesus.  She knelt before Jesus (προσκυνοῦσα) and made a request to him for a favor (καὶ αἰτοῦσά τι ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ).

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The attack of the angry lovers (Ezek 23:25-23:26)

“I will direct

My indignation

Against you.

Thus they may deal

With you

In fury.

They shall cut off

Your nose.

They shall cut off

Your ears.

Your survivors

Shall fall

By the sword.

They shall seize

Your sons.

They shall seize

Your daughters.

Your survivors

Shall be devoured

By fire.

They shall also strip you

Of your clothes.

They will take away

Your fine jewels.”

Yahweh was going to let his indignation against Jerusalem be dealt out by the angry former lovers of Jerusalem. They would deal with her in all their anger. They would cut off her nose and ears. Anyone that survived would be killed by the sword. They were going to seize her sons and daughters. Anyone who survived all this would be devoured by fire. Finally, they would strip Jerusalem of all her clothes and fine jewels. These angry former lovers would carry out Yahweh’s will.

The Assyrian conquerors (Ezek 23:8-23:10)

“She did not give up
Her prostitution activities.
She had practiced them
Since her days
In Egypt.
In her youth,
Men had lain
With her.
They had fondled
Her virgin bosom.
They had poured out
Their lust
Upon her.
Therefore I delivered her
Into the hands
Of her lovers,
Into the hands
Of the Assyrians.
She had lusted
After them.
These Assyrians
Uncovered her nakedness.
They seized her sons.
They seized her daughters.
They killed her
With the sword.
Judgment was executed
Upon her.
She became a byword
Among women.”
Yahweh, via Ezekiel, told the story of Samaria, Oholah. She had practiced prostitution since her youth, when she had played the whore with Egypt. She slept and had sex with the Egyptians. She let them fondle her virgin breasts, so that they poured out their lust on her. Thus Yahweh decided to deliver Oholah into the hand of her Assyrian lovers, since she had lusted after them. Thus Assyria uncovered her nakedness. Then they seized her sons and daughters. Finally, they killed her with the sword, as judgment was executed upon her. She became a byword among women. This is obviously an allusion to the end of the northern kingdom of Israel at Samaria in 724, when the Assyrian King Shalmaneser V conquered and took over northern Israel. Thus the kingdom of Israel at Samaria came to an end.

The grieving widow Jerusalem (Bar 4:9-4:12)

“Jerusalem saw

The wrath

That came

Upon you

From God.

She said.

‘Listen!

You neighbors of Zion!

God has brought

Great sorrow

Upon me!

I have seen

The exile

Of my sons.

I have seen

The captivity

Of my daughters,

The Everlasting one

Brought this

Upon them.

With joy,

I nurtured them.

But I sent them away

Weeping

With sorrow.

Let no one rejoice

Over me!

A widow!

I am bereaved of many.

I was left desolate

Because of the sins

Of my children.

Because they turned away

From the law of God.’”

The author of Baruch points out that Jerusalem saw the wrath of God that came upon them first hand. This personified city of Jerusalem said that the neighbors of Zion should listen. God had brought great sorrow on Jerusalem, since her sons and daughters were captured and exiled. The Everlasting One, the name of God used here instead of Yahweh, brought this exile on them. Jerusalem had nurtured them, but she sent them away weeping and in sorrow. No one should rejoice about this situation, since Jerusalem was now a widow, grieving over many people. She had become desolate because of the sins of her children. They had turned away from the law of God.