Seek the kingdom first (Mt 6:31-6:33)

“Therefore,

Do not be anxious!

Saying.

‘What will we eat?

What will we drink?

What will we wear?’

The gentiles

Strive for all these things.

Your heavenly Father

Knows

That you need

All these things.

But strive first

For the kingdom!

Strive

For his righteousness!

Then all these things

Will be given

To you as well.”

 

μὴ οὖν μεριμνήσητε λέγοντες· Τί φάγωμεν; ἤ· Τί πίωμεν; ἤ· Τί περιβαλώμεθα;

πάντα γὰρ ταῦτα τὰ ἔθνη ἐπιζητοῦσιν· οἶδεν γὰρ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος ὅτι χρῄζετε τούτων ἁπάντων.

ζητεῖτε δὲ πρῶτον τὴν βασιλείαν καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ, καὶ ταῦτα πάντα προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν.

 

Once again, Luke, chapter 12:29-31, has a similar Jesus saying, indicating a common Q source.  The same theme continues.  They should not be worried or anxious (μὴ οὖν μεριμνήσητε λέγοντες).  Why are they anxious about what to eat (Τί φάγωμεν), to drink (ἤ Τί πίωμεν), or to wear (ἤ·Τί περιβαλώμεθα)?  Those are the kind of questions that gentiles ask about (πάντα γὰρ ταῦτα τὰ ἔθνη ἐπιζητοῦσιν).  Matthew continued his attack on the gentile, non-Jewish people.  Their heavenly Father knew about everything that they needed (οἶδεν γὰρ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος ὅτι χρῄζετε τούτων ἁπάντων).  Thus, they should seek or strive first (ζητεῖτε δὲ πρῶτον) for the kingdom (τὴν βασιλείαν) and his righteousness (καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ).  Then all these other things would be taken care of for them (καὶ ταῦτα πάντα προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν).  A couple of manuscripts say kingdom of God (βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ), instead of just the kingdom, but that is not in the main manuscripts.  Matthew always used the kingdom of heaven, not the kingdom of God.

The judgment of the righteous and the wicked (Ezek 33:18-33:20)

“When the righteous ones

Turn

From their righteousness,

When they commit

Iniquity,

They shall die for it.

When the wicked ones

Turn

From their wickedness,

When they do

What is lawful,

What is right,

They shall live by it.

Yet you say.

‘The way of Yahweh

Is not just.’

O house of Israel!

I will judge

All of you

According to your ways.”

Yahweh said that he was going to make his judgment based on what they do. If the righteous one turned away from his righteousness by committing iniquity, he was going to die for it. On the other hand, if a wicked person turned from his wickedness by doing what was lawful and right, he would live. However, they complained by saying that Yahweh was not just. Yahweh reiterated that he was going to judge all of them according to their own ways and deeds. Actions speak louder than words.

Supreme power of Yahweh (Isa 45:11-45:13)

“Thus says Yahweh!

The Holy One of Israel!

It’s Maker!

‘Will you question me

About my children?

Will you command me

Concerning the work of my hands?

I made the earth.

I created humankind upon it.

It was my hands

That stretched out the heavens.

I commanded their entire host.

I have aroused Cyrus in righteousness.

I will make all his paths straight.

He shall build my city.

He shall set my exiles free,

Not for a price or a reward.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.”

There is no doubt that this is an oracle of Yahweh, the Most Holy One of Israel, and its maker, here in Second Isaiah. Yahweh was defending his choice of Cyrus. Why would any of his children question him? Why should they say anything about how he is doing things? Yahweh has made the heavens and the earth with all the humans that live here. Thus he has appointed Cyrus in his righteousness. Yahweh is going to level the ground in front of him. In turn, Cyrus was going to build a city and set his exiles free, but he would not receive any money or reward for this action.

The announcement of the ruin (Isa 10:22-10:23)

“Though your people Israel were

Like the sand of the sea,

Only a remnant of them

Will return.

Destruction is decreed,

overflowing with righteousness.

Yahweh,

God of hosts,

Will make a full end,

As decreed,

In all the earth.”

The answer is simple. Although Israel would have been as numerous as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return from the Exile. Yahweh has decreed destruction in his righteousness. The God of many armies will put an end here on earth. The ruin of Israel is coming. Perhaps it already had come by the time of this writing. In fact, the Israelites were never a large amount of people like the sands of the seas.

Job (Sir 49:9-49:9)

“God also

Remembered Job.

He held fast

To all the ways of justice.”

It is fascinating to note that Sirach made mention of Job, who was not even an Israelite, but was the main character in the biblical Book of Job. This would indicate that this book was considered a canonical book by the time of this writing. God remembered Job for his righteousness and his justice. In spite of all his trials, he never turned on God.

Yahweh is powerful (Ps 145:4-145:7)

Dalet

“One generation shall laud your works to another.

One generation shall declare your mighty acts.

He

I will meditate

On the glorious splendor of your majesty.

I will meditate.

On your wondrous works.

Vav

The might of your awesome deeds

Shall be proclaimed.

I will declare your greatness.

Zain

They celebrate the fame

Of your abundant goodness.

They shall sing aloud

Of your righteousness.”

Each generation will declare the mighty acts and works of Yahweh. David will meditate on the splendor of the majesty of Yahweh and his wonderful works. His awesome deeds should be proclaimed because he is great. They should celebrate the abundant goodness of Yahweh. They should sing about his righteousness. The next 4 letters of the Hebrew alphabet are found here in italic.

Hymn of praise for the works of Yahweh (Ps 111:1-111:4)

“Praise Yahweh!

Aleph 

I will give thanks to Yahweh,

With my whole heart,

Bet      

In the company of the upright,

In the congregation.

Gimel

Great are the works of Yahweh,

Dalet  

Studied by all who delight in them.

He      

Full of honor and majesty is his work.

Vav     

His righteousness endures forever.

Zain   

He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds.”

Psalm 111 is a hymn of praise to Yahweh because he has kept his covenant with Israel. Although there is no title, this fairly short acrostic or Hebrew alphabet psalm has a letter for every line. Like the next 2 psalms, it starts with the refrain “Praise Yahweh” or the Alleluia cry, which is the Hebrew word “Hallelujah.” The psalmist will give thanks to Yahweh with his whole heart at the congregational meeting. He talked about the great works of Yahweh that delights those who study them. Yahweh is full of honor and majesty in his work. Of course, his righteousness lasts forever because he has become well known by his wonderful actions.