The Roman soldiers mock Jesus (Mt 27:28-27:30)

“They stripped Jesus.

They put a scarlet robe

On him.

They twisted

Some thorns

Into a crown.

They put it

On his head.

They put a reed

In his right hand.

They knelt

Before him.

They mocked him.

They said.

‘Hail!

King of the Jews!’

They spat

On Jesus.

They took the reed.

They struck him

On the head.”

 

καὶ ἐκδύσαντες αὐτὸν χλαμύδα κοκκίνην περιέθηκαν αὐτῷ,

καὶ πλέξαντες στέφανον ἐξ ἀκανθῶν ἐπέθηκαν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ καὶ κάλαμον ἐν τῇ δεξιᾷ αὐτοῦ, καὶ γονυπετήσαντες ἔμπροσθεν αὐτοῦ ἐνέπαιξαν αὐτῷ λέγοντες Χαῖρε, Βασιλεῦ τῶν Ἰουδαίων,

καὶ ἐμπτύσαντες εἰς αὐτὸν ἔλαβον τὸν κάλαμον καὶ ἔτυπτον εἰς τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 15:17-19, but not in Luke.  In John, chapter 19:2-3, there is something similar.  Matthew said that these Roman soldiers stripped Jesus of his clothes (καὶ ἐκδύσαντες αὐτὸν).  They put a scarlet robe on him (κοκκίνην περιέθηκαν αὐτῷ), a Roman soldier’s tunic.  Thus, he might have looked like a king in a purple robe.  Then they twisted some thorns into a crown (καὶ πλέξαντες στέφανον ἐξ ἀκανθῶν).  They put this crown on his head (πέθηκαν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ) like a Roman laurel or gold crown.  They put a reed in his right hand (καὶ κάλαμον ἐν τῇ δεξιᾷ αὐτοῦ) like a royal scepter.  Then these Roman soldiers knelt before him (καὶ γονυπετήσαντες ἔμπροσθεν αὐτοῦ) as they mocked him, saying “Hail! King of the Jews (ἐνέπαιξαν αὐτῷ λέγοντες Χαῖρε, Βασιλεῦ τῶν Ἰουδαίων)!”  Then they spat on Jesus (καὶ ἐμπτύσαντες).  They took the reed from his hand (εἰς αὐτὸν ἔλαβον τὸν κάλαμον) and struck him on the head (καὶ ἔτυπτον εἰς τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ).  They were mocking this pretended king of the Jews.

The sheep and the goats (Mt 25:32-25:33

“All the nations

Will be gathered

Before him.

He will separate people,

One from another.

Just as a shepherd

Separates

The sheep

From the goats,

He will place

The sheep

At his right hand.

He will place

The goats

At his left side.”

 

καὶ συναχθήσονται ἔμπροσθεν αὐτοῦ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη, καὶ ἀφορίσει αὐτοὺς ἀπ’ ἀλλήλων, ὥσπερ ὁ ποιμὴν ἀφορίζει τὰ πρόβατα ἀπὸ τῶν ἐρίφων,

καὶ στήσει τὰ μὲν πρόβατα ἐκ δεξιῶν αὐτοῦ, τὰ δὲ ἐρίφια ἐξ εὐωνύμων.

 

This last judgment section is unique to Matthew.  Jesus said that all the gentile nations would be gathered before him (καὶ συναχθήσονται ἔμπροσθεν αὐτοῦ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη).  Then he would separate them from each other (καὶ ἀφορίσει αὐτοὺς ἀπ’ ἀλλήλων).  Just like a shepherd separated the sheep from the goats (ὥσπερ ὁ ποιμὴν ἀφορίζει τὰ πρόβατα ἀπὸ τῶν ἐρίφων), he would place the sheep at his right hand (καὶ στήσει τὰ μὲν πρόβατα ἐκ δεξιῶν αὐτοῦ).  Then he would place the goats at his left hand (τὰ δὲ ἐρίφια ἐξ εὐωνύμων).  The divine judgment of Yahweh was a common biblical theme.  Here it is the Son of Man who judges everyone.  On the right side are the just righteous sheep, while on the left side are the wild or bad goats, a common generic theme.  Good is to the right, just as right-handed people are good.  Left-handed people are looked at with suspicion, as are left leaning policies.

The fall of Gog (Ezek 39:3-39:5)

“‘I will strike

Your bow

From your left hand.

I will make

Your arrows

Drop out

Of your right hand.

You shall fall

Upon the mountains

Of Israel.

You!

All your troops!

The people

That are with you!

I will give you

To the birds

Of prey

Of every sort.

I will give you

To the wild animals

To be devoured.

You shall fall

In the open field.

I have spoken.’

Says Yahweh God!”

Suddenly, after enticing Gog to attack the Israelite mountains, Yahweh struck back at him. Yahweh was going to knock the bow out of his left hand and, at the same time, he was going to have him drop the arrows from his right hand. Gog and his army were then going to fall in the mountains of Israel. Not just Gog, but all his troops and all the people with them would be given over to the birds of prey and the wild animals to be devoured in the open fields. There should be no doubt, because Yahweh God has spoken.

The king of Babylon chooses the way to go (Ezek 21:21-21:23)

“The king of Babylon

Stands

At the parting of the way,

At the fork

In the two roads.

He uses divination.

He shakes the arrows.

He consults the teraphim.

He inspects the liver.

Into his right hand

Comes the lot

For Jerusalem,

To set battering rams,

To call out

For slaughter,

For raising

The battle cry,

To set battering rams

Against the gates,

To cast up ramps,

To build siege towers.

But to them

It will seem

Like a false divination.

They have sworn

Solemn oaths.

But he brings

Their guilt

To remembrance,

Bringing about

Their captive.”

The king of Babylon stood at the fork in the road. He decided to use his forecasting skills of divination by shaking arrows, consulting the ancient household teraphim gods, and looking at sheep livers. Finally the lot of Jerusalem came into his right hand as he chose the road to Jerusalem. There he would call out for slaughter, raise the battle cry, set the battering rams against the gates, cast up ramps, and build siege towers. It might have seemed like a false divination for the people of Jerusalem. They had sworn solemn oaths. They had brought their guilt remembrance. They were about to be captured.

Cyrus the Anointed Messiah Christ (Isa 45:1-45:1)

“Thus says Yahweh

To his anointed,

To Cyrus.

I have grasped his right hand,

To subdue nations before him,

To strip kings of their robes,

To open doors before him.

The gates shall not be closed.”

Second Isaiah calls Cyrus the anointed one, in Hebrew the Messiah, or in Greek the Christ. This is the only reference of an anointed person or a messiah who was not an Israelite. Cyrus, the King of Persia from 559-530 BCE, more than two centuries after the lifetime of Isaiah, was really a favorite of both Yahweh and the author of Second Isaiah. Cyrus the Great created the largest empire in the world with present day Iran the last vestige of that empire as he took over many countries. Second Isaiah continually insisted that Yahweh was behind Cyrus as he is clearly the anointed one of Yahweh. Yahweh has grasped his right hand, so that he could subdue various nations. Yahweh would help Cyrus strip kings of their robes. He would open doors for him, since no gates would be closed to Cyrus.

The steadfast love of Yahweh (Ps 138:7-138:8)

“Even though I walk

In the midst of trouble,

You preserve me

Against the wrath of my enemies.

You stretch out your hand.

Your right hand delivers me.

Yahweh will fulfill his purpose for me.

Yahweh!

Your steadfast love endures forever!

Do not forsake the work of your hands.”

This short psalm ends with a beautiful expression of faith. David believed that even though he walked in the middle of trouble, Yahweh would protect him from his enemies. Yahweh would stretch out his right hand to deliver and save him. Yahweh would fulfill his promises with David because his steadfast love endures forever. David believed that Yahweh would not forsake the work of his hands.

Let me never forget Jerusalem (Ps 137:4-137:6)

“How could we sing Yahweh’s song

In a foreign land?

If I forget you,

O Jerusalem!

Let my right hand wither!

Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,

If I do not remember you,

If I do not set Jerusalem

Above my highest joy.”

The psalmist asked how he could sing a song about Yahweh when he was in a foreign land. If he had forgotten Jerusalem, his right hand should wither. His tongue should stick to the roof of his mouth. He was always going to remember Jerusalem as his greatest joy. He would never forget that wonderful place.

Yahweh speaks (Ps 110:1-110:1)

A psalm of David

“Yahweh says to my lord.

‘Sit at my right hand.

I will make your enemies your footstool.’”

Psalm 110 is a short psalm of David, where Yahweh speaks directly to the king. This psalm has had a Christian messianic interpretation as the king is also a priest and a judge. Certain verses were often repeated in the New Testament writings. Yahweh says to the lord or king to sit at his right hand. Yahweh was going to make his enemies into his footstool.

The cause of truth (Ps 45:4-45:5)

“In your majesty

Ride on victoriously!

Defend the cause of truth!

Defend the right!

Let your right hand

Teach you dread deeds!

Your arrows are sharp

In the heart of the king’s enemies.

The peoples fall under you.”

This majestic king must ride on to victory. He must defend the cause of truth and the rights of all. His right hand does dreaded deeds. His sharp arrows are in the hearts of his enemies. Many people fall under him. He is a good looking dude who fights for justice and wins.

The murder of the high priest Onias (2 Macc 4:30-4:34)

“While such was the state of affairs, it happened that the people of Tarsus and of Mallus revolted because their cities had been given as a present to Antiochis, the king’s concubine. So the king went hurriedly to settle the trouble. He left Andronicus, a man of high rank, to act as his deputy. But Menelaus, thinking he had obtained a suitable opportunity, stole some of the gold vessels of the temple. He gave them to Andronicus. As it happened, he had sold other vessels to Tyre and the neighboring cities. When Onias became fully aware of these acts he publicly exposed them. He had first withdrawn to a place of sanctuary at Daphne near Antioch. Therefore Menelaus, taking Andronicus aside, urged him to kill Onias. Andronicus came to Onias. Resorting to treachery, he offered him sworn pledges and gave him his right hand. He persuaded Onias, though still suspicious, to come out from the place of sanctuary. Then, with no regard for justice, he immediately put him out of the way.”

When there was a revolt in Tarsus and Mallus because of a present to his concubine, King Antiochus IV had to go there to settle the problem. He left Andronicus as his deputy in charge. Menelaus then stole some gold vessels from the Temple and gave them to Andronicus. Menelaus then sold other vessels to Tyre and the neighboring seacoast towns. When deposed high priest Onias III heard about this he first went to an Apollo sanctuary in Daphne about 5 miles from Antioch. There he publically exposed the actions of Menelaus. Menelaus then persuaded the deputy of the king, Andronicus, to kill Onias. Andronicus tricked Onias when he swore not to hurt him, but when he came out of the sanctuary, he killed him. There was no regard for justice.