They have Moses (Lk 16:29-16:29)

“Abraham replied.

‘They have Moses

And the prophets!

They should listen

To them!’”

 

λέγει δὲ Ἀβραάμ Ἔχουσι Μωϋσέα καὶ τοὺς προφήτας· ἀκουσάτωσαν αὐτῶν.

 

This parable story about the poor man Lazarus and an unnamed rich man is only found in Luke, not in the other gospels.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that Abraham replied to this tormented rich man (λέγει δὲ Ἀβραάμ) that his brothers had Moses (Ἔχουσι Μωϋσέα) and the prophets (καὶ τοὺς προφήτας).  Why wouldn’t they listen to them (ἀκουσάτωσαν αὐτῶν).  Abraham had a sharp response to this rich man.  They already had Moses and prophets.  What more do they want?  They, like him, were not listening.  Do you listen to religious authorities?

 

A true family member hears and does the word (Lk 8:21-8:21)

“But Jesus said to them.

‘My mother

And my brothers

Are those

Who hear the word

Of God

And do it.’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς Μήτηρ μου καὶ ἀδελφοί μου οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ ἀκούοντες καὶ ποιοῦντες.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus replied to them (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς) that his mother (Μήτηρ μου) and his brothers (καὶ ἀδελφοί μου) were those who heard (οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ…ἀκούοντες) the word of God (τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ) and did it (καὶ ποιοῦντες).  Mark, chapter 3:33-35, and Matthew, chapter 12:48-50, have something similar, but Matthew was closer to Mark.  Luke had this simple concluding statement that sounded like a repudiation of his biological family.  Mark said that Jesus made a distinction between his biological family and his new spiritual family, as he replied to the person who told him about his relatives.  He asked him who his mother was and who were his brothers?  He looked at those who were sitting around him in a circle.  Then he said that they were his mother and his brothers.  Anyone who did the will of God, would be his brother, his sister, and his mother.  Matthew also said that Jesus asked them who his mother was and who his brothers were?  He stretched out his hand pointing to his disciples and said that they were his mother and his brothers.  Anyone who did the will of his Father in heaven would be his brother, his sister, and his mother.  This idea of a new faith family was common among many religious groups, since their fellow believers were now their new family.  No longer was a biological family important, because there was now a new spiritual family of Jesus believers.  How important is your biological family to you?

The family of Jesus (Mt 13:55-13:56)

“Is not this the carpenter’s son?

Is not his mother

Called Mary?

Are not his brothers

James,

Joseph,

Simon,

And Judas?

Are not all his sisters with us?

Where then did he

Get all this?’”

 

οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τοῦ τέκτονος υἱός; οὐχ ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ λέγεται Μαριὰμ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ Ἰάκωβος καὶ Ἰωσὴφ καὶ Σίμων καὶ Ἰούδας;

καὶ αἱ ἀδελφαὶ αὐτοῦ οὐχὶ πᾶσαι πρὸς ἡμᾶς εἰσιν; πόθεν οὖν τούτῳ ταῦτα πάντα;

 

This story about the relatives of Jesus can be found in Mark, chapter 6:3.  The local people asked, was he not this carpenter’s son (οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τοῦ τέκτονος υἱός)?  Matthew did not use the carpenter’s name, when in the prologue Joseph played a major role.  A carpenter could also mean a builder or artisan.  However, Matthew explicitly mentioned the name of Jesus’ mother, Mary, who played a minor role in the prologue.  Was not his mother called Mary (οὐχ ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ λέγεται Μαριὰμ)?  Were not his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas (καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ Ἰάκωβος καὶ Ἰωσὴφ καὶ Σίμων καὶ Ἰούδας)?  Were not all his sisters there with them also (καὶ αἱ ἀδελφαὶ αὐτοῦ οὐχὶ πᾶσαι πρὸς ἡμᾶς εἰσιν)?  Where then did he get all this  knowledge and power (πόθεν οὖν τούτῳ ταῦτα πάντα)?  Once again there is the question of the brothers and sisters of Jesus as mentioned earlier in chapter 12:46. These brothers and sisters could be biological brothers or sisters, half-brothers and half-sisters from a first marriage of Joseph, or kissing cousins or other close cousins of the family.  The Hebrew and Aramaic language did not have a distinctive word for cousins, so that the word “brother” and “sister” was often used to mean more than a biological brother.  Just as today, people sometimes refers to others as brothers or sisters, when there is no biological link.  Half-brothers often refer to themselves as brothers or sisters today also.  The traditional belief of Christians, even though the Reformation period, has been that Mary was a virgin, so that Jesus was her only son.  However, the Greek language did have a word for cousins.  Here there are explicit names for the brothers of Jesus, James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas, who may have been leaders in the early Christian community but were never mentioned as disciples.  They clearly were relatives of Jesus, exactly how is not clear

The death of King Sennacherib of Assyria (Isa 37:36-37:38)

“Then King Sennacherib of Assyria left.

He went home.

He lived at Nineveh.

While he was worshiping

In the house of his god Nisroch,

His sons

Adrammelech with Sharezer killed him

With a sword.

They escaped

Into the land of Ararat.

Sennacherib’s son,

Esarhaddon,

Succeeded him.”

Once again, this is almost word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 19. As far we know, King Sennacherib died in 681 BCE. Thus it might not have been contemporaneous with his sojourn in Judah. In fact, the text does not indicate that. He was killed by 2 of his sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, but a third son Esarhaddon took over. The god Nisroch was an eagle headed human figure that was a favorite of the Assyrians in Nineveh. Nineveh was on the Tigris River about 250 miles north of Babylon, near the modern day city of Mosul. Esarhaddon was the youngest son of the king’s second wife and ruled from 681-669 BCE, after he defeated his brothers who had killed their father.

The righteous Joseph (Wis 10:13-10:14)

“When a righteous man was sold,

Wisdom did not desert him.

She delivered him from sin.

She descended with him

Into the dungeon.

When he was in prison,

She did not leave him,

Until she brought him

The scepter of a kingdom.

He had authority over his masters.

Those who accused him

She showed to be false.

She gave him everlasting honor.”

Without mentioning his name, this section talks about the righteous Joseph, based on the stories in Genesis, chapters 37-41. Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery. However, wisdom did not abandon this righteous man (δίκαιον). She stayed with him when he was imprisoned in Egypt. However, due to his explanation of dreams, he received a special role in the Egyptian government. Thus he has an everlasting honor or eternal glory (δόξαν αἰώνιον). Of course, all this was accomplished because of wisdom.

Joseph (Ps 105:16-105:22)

“When he summoned a famine against the land,

He broke every staff of bread.

He had sent a man ahead of them,

Joseph.

He was sold as a slave.

His feet were hurt with fetters.

His neck was put in a collar of iron.

His oracle came to pass.

As the word of Yahweh tested him.

The king then sent for him.

The king released him.

The ruler of the peoples

Set him free.

He made him

Lord of his house.

The king made him

Ruler of all his possessions.

Jospeh was to instruct

His officials at his pleasure.

He was to teach his elders wisdom.”

Here we find the story of Joseph as told in Genesis, chapters 37-50, but without the details of how he was betrayed by his brothers. Yahweh brought the famine that led Jacob and his sons to go to Egypt. Joseph hd gone ahead, but not voluntarily. He was sold as a slave or more precisely turned over by his brothers into slavery. While in Egypt, he was in jail. His dreams came through so he was released when they were found to be true. He was tested by Yahweh. Finally the king or pharaoh released him and put him in charge of his household and all his possessions. Jospeh then instructed the other officials in Egypt as he taught them wisdom. He made the correct preparations for the famine to come.

The seventh son speaks out (2 Macc 7:30-7:38)

“While she was still speaking, the young man said.

‘What are you waiting for?

I will not obey the king’s command.

I obey the command of the law

That was given to our ancestors through Moses.

You have contrived all sorts of evil against the Hebrews.

You will certainly not escape the hands of God.

We are suffering because of our own sins.

If our living Lord is angry for a little while,

To rebuke and discipline us,

He will again be reconciled with his own servants.

You are an unholy wretch.

You are the most defiled of all men.

Do not be elated in vain.

Do not be puffed up by uncertain hopes,

When you raise your hand against the children of heaven.

You have not yet escaped

The judgment of the almighty, all-seeing God.

Our brothers,

After enduring a brief suffering.

They have drunk of ever-flowing life,

Under God’s covenant.

But you,

By the judgment of God,

You will receive just punishment for your arrogance.

I, like my brothers,

Give up body and life for the laws of our ancestors.

We, appeal to God,

To show mercy soon to our nation.

By afflictions and plagues,

We will make you confess that he alone is God.

Through me and my brothers

To bring to an end the wrath of the Almighty

That has justly fallen on our whole nation.’”

The last young son finally spoke out. He asked the king what he was waiting for. He was not going to obey the king. He only obeyed the Mosaic laws. In fact, he threatened the king, saying that he would not escape the wrath of God. They were suffering for their sins, being disciplined for a little while. However, King Antiochus IV was an unholy wretch, the most defiled of all humans. The judgment of the almighty God was coming to him. He could not escape from the all seeing God. His brothers would have an ever-flowing life. He would receive an eternal judgment. They were giving up their bodies for the laws of their ancestors, hoping for mercy. Perhaps this would help others to see that God alone was in charge. This was a very strong theological development of about the meaning and person of God.