The traditions of men (Mk 7:8-7:9)

“‘You abandon

The commandments

Of God!

You hold

To human tradition!’

Then he said to them.

‘You have a fine way

Of rejecting

The commandment

Of God,

In order

To keep

Your tradition!’”

 

ἀφέντες τὴν ἐντολὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ κρατεῖτε τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν ἀνθρώπων.

καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς Καλῶς ἀθετεῖτε τὴν ἐντολὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἵνα τὴν παράδοσιν ὑμῶν τηρήσητε.

 

There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 15:3.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that they had abandoned or neglected the commandments of God (ἀφέντες τὴν ἐντολὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Instead, they followed or kept their own human traditions or instructions (κρατεῖτε τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν ἀνθρώπων).  This is a question that many Evangelical Christians ask about mainline Christian Churches, especially Catholics and Orthodox, that have strong Christian traditions.  However, sometimes, new traditions are hard to break also.  This seems to set a dichotomy against God’s commandments and human religious traditions.  Some ancient manuscripts added the section that was in chapter 7:4 here.  There are many other traditions that they hold or observe (καὶ ἄλλα πολλά ἐστιν ἃ παρέλαβον κρατεῖν) about washing cups (βαπτισμοὺς ποτηρίων), pots (καὶ ξεστῶν), and bronze plates (καὶ χαλκίων).  Then Jesus said to them (καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς) that they had a fine honorable way of rejecting the commandments of God (Καλῶς ἀθετεῖτε τὴν ἐντολὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ), in order to keep their own traditions (ἵνα τὴν παράδοσιν ὑμῶν τηρήσητε).  This last saying was not in Matthew.  This is a very strong rejection of Jewish traditional religious practices.

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The testimony of the elders (Dan 13:36-13:41)

“The elders said.

‘While we were walking

In the garden alone,

This woman came in

With two maids.

She shut

The garden doors.

She dismissed

The maids.

Then a young man,

Who was hiding there,

Came to her.

He lay with her.

We were in a corner

Of the garden.

When we saw

This wickedness,

We ran to them.

Although we saw them

Embracing,

We could not hold the man.

He was stronger than we.

He opened the doors.

He got away.

We did,

However,

Seize this woman.

We asked her

Who the young man was.

But she would not tell us.

These things we testify.’”

The two old judges testified about their story. They were simply walking in the garden together alone. Then, this young woman with two maids came into the garden. Next, she locked the garden doors and sent the two maids away. Suddenly, a young man who had been hiding in the garden appeared. The two of them, Susanna and this young man, got together and had sex with each other. The two old judges were in a corner of the garden. They then ran over to them as they were still embracing. However, they were not strong enough to hold the young man. Instead, they were able to grab the woman, Susanna. They asked her who the young man was, but she would not tell them. Thus, the two judges finished their testimony.

Both arms of Pharaoh broken (Ezek 30:22-29:22)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I am against Pharaoh,

King of Egypt.

I will break

His arms,

Both the strong arm

With the one

That was broken.

I will make

The sword

Fall

From his hand.’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, was clearly against Pharaoh. He was going to break both his arms, the one already broken as well as the good one. Thus the king of Egypt would not be able to hold a sword in his hand since he would become ineffective.

The meeting of King Zedekiah and Jeremiah (Jer 38:14-38:14)

“King Zedekiah sent

For the prophet Jeremiah.

He received him

At the third entrance

Of the temple of Yahweh.

The king said to Jeremiah.

‘I have something to ask you.

Do not hide anything from me!’”

Now that Jeremiah was back in the royal prison, King Zedekiah sent for him. He then received him at the 3rd entrance to the Temple, but it is not clear where this was. The king then told Jeremiah that he had something to ask him, but he did not want Jeremiah to hold or hide anything back in his answer.

The two evils (Jer 2:13-2:13)

“My people have committed two evils.

They have forsaken me.

I am the fountain of living waters.

They dug out cisterns for themselves.

These broken cisterns cannot hold water.”

The Israelites had committed two evils. First, they gave up on the living fountain of water, Yahweh, in forsaking him. Then secondly, they relied on their own dug out wells or cisterns for water. But their leaky cisterns could not even hold stagnant water in them. They gave up on God and relied on themselves, but even that was not successful.

The judgments of the Holy One of Israel (Isa 30:12-30:14)

“Therefore thus says

The Holy One of Israel.

‘Because you reject this word,

You put your trust in oppression.

You put your trust in deceit.

You rely on oppression.

You rely on perverseness.

Therefore this iniquity

Shall become for you

Like a break in a high wall.

It will bulge out,

About to collapse.

The crash comes suddenly,

In an instant.

Its breaking is

Like that of a potter’s vessel.

It is smashed so ruthlessly

That among its fragments

Not a shred is found

For taking fire from the hearth,

Or dipping water out of the cistern.’”

The Holy One of Israel, not Yahweh, delivers this oracle, via Isaiah, in the second person plural. The Israelites have rejected the word of God. Instead they have relied on deceit, oppression, and perversion to get things done. Thus they will be punished. They are like a high wall with bulges in it about to collapse. Suddenly, in an instant, the whole wall will come crashing down like a potter’s vessel. This wall will be smashed so badly, that not a shred will be found. They will be like a broken vase that will not be able to be brought back to the fire to be reformed. This broken container will not be able to hold any water at all from the cistern well.

The negative power of gold (Sir 31:5-31:7)

“Whoever loves gold

Will not be justified.

Whoever pursues money

Will be led astray by it.

Many have come to ruin

Because of gold.

Their destruction has met them

Face to face.

It is a stumbling block

To those who are avid for it.

Every fool

Will be taken captive by it.”

Sirach warns that those who love gold will not be justified. Pursuing money will simply lead you astray. A lot of lives have been ruined over gold. Destruction has come to many, since gold is a stumbling block for those who seek it. Every fool seems to be captivated by a gold rush or the search for gold. Don’t fall in love with gold since it will take hold of you.