Surrounded on every side (Lk 19:43-19:43)

“Indeed,

The days

Will come upon you,

When your enemies

Will set up ramparts

Around you.

They will hem you in

On every side.”

 

ὅτι ἥξουσιν ἡμέραι ἐπὶ σὲ καὶ παρεμβαλοῦσιν οἱ ἐχθροί σου χάρακά σοι καὶ περικυκλώσουσίν σε καὶ συνέξουσίν σε πάντοθεν,

 

Luke indicated that Jesus remarked that bad days were coming to Jerusalem (ὅτι ἥξουσιν ἡμέραι ἐπὶ σὲ).  Jesus said that it would come to them when their enemies would put up a barricade against them (καὶ παρεμβαλοῦσιν οἱ ἐχθροί σου χάρακά σοι).  They would surround them (καὶ περικυκλώσουσίν σε) so that they would be hemmed in on every side (καὶ συνέξουσίν σε πάντοθεν).  This is the only Greek biblical use of the word περικυκλώσουσίν that means to hem them in on every side, encircle, surround, or encompass.  Jesus was using the words and images of the ancient Israelite prophets against Jerusalem.  Isaiah, chapter 29:1-3, called Jerusalem Ariel, a symbolic name for Jerusalem and its altar.  Isaiah, warned Jerusalem about what was going to happen to it.  Yahweh was going to encamp against it and set up siege works against it.  They would be able to speak only from below the earth and the dust.  Their voices would be reduced to a whisper, like a ghost in the middle of this dust pile.  Jeremiah, chapter 6:6-8, warned Jerusalem that its enemies were going to cut down trees in order to make a ramp siege against Jerusalem, because this city needed to be punished.  There was nothing but oppression and wickedness within her.  Jerusalem was a place of violence and destruction with sickness and wounded people all around.  Yahweh was going to turn away in disgust against Jerusalem. Thus, it would become a desolate uninhabited land, if it did not heed his warning.  Ezekiel, chapter 4:1-3, also condemned Jerusalem with Ezekiel’s symbolic action.  A voice told Ezekiel to be an expert model Lego builder of the siege of Jerusalem.  Ezekiel, the son of man, was to take a brick and portray the city of Jerusalem.  He was to put the siege works with a siege wall against this city.  He was to put a ramp and camps against this city with battering rams all around it.  Then he was to take an iron plate and make an iron wall between himself and the city, looking at it.  Thus, there was a state of siege, a sign for the house of Israel.  Ezekiel was part of the exiles from 598 BCE before the taking of Jerusalem and the second captivity in 587 BCE.  Of course, here this was allusion to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE by the Roman soldiers putting down a revolution in Judea.  Luke would have known about this at the time of his writing.  Have you ever seen a city destroyed?

Preaching (Lk 9:2-9:2)

“Jesus sent them out

To preach

The kingdom of God

And to heal.”

 

καὶ ἀπέστειλεν αὐτοὺς κηρύσσειν τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ ἰᾶσθαι,

 

Luke said that Jesus sent these 12 apostles out to preach (καὶ ἀπέστειλεν αὐτοὺς κηρύσσειν) the kingdom of God (τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ) and to heal people (καὶ ἰᾶσθαι).  A Byzantine text added to heal the sick people (τοὺς ἀσθενοῦντας).  There was no exact equivalent in the other synoptic stories.  Mark did not mention anything about preaching, while Matthew, chapter 10:7, mentioned that they should preach the kingdom of heaven to the house of Israel only.  Is preaching important for Christians?

Lamentation for Israel (Am 5:1-5:2)

“Hear this word

That I take up

Over you,

In lamentation!

O house of Israel!

She has fallen.

She will rise no more.

This is the maiden Israel.

She is forsaken

On her land.

There is none

To raise her up.”

Now Amos set out a lamentation for the house of Israel. He wanted them to hear his crying words. The virgin maiden Israel had fallen, but she was not going to get up anymore. She had been forsaken in her own land. There was no one to help her get back on her feet.

The appearance and life style of the Zadok priests (Ezek 44:20-44:22)

“They shall not shave

Their heads.

They shall not

Let their locks

Grow long.

They shall only

Trim the hair

Of their heads.

No priest shall

Drink wine,

When he enters

The inner court.

They shall not marry

A widow,

Or a divorced woman.

They shall marry

Only a virgin

Of the stock

Of the house of Israel,

Or a widow

Who is the widow

Of a priest.”

These Zadok Levitical priests had a look and life style that set them apart. They were not to shave their heads, but they had to trim their hair. They were not allowed to drink wine when they were in the inner court. They could not marry a widow or a divorced woman. However, there was an exception for the widow of a priest. They could only marry a virgin in good standing from the house of Israel.

The conclusion about Yahweh (Ezek 39:28-39:29)

“‘Then they shall know

That I am Yahweh,

Their God.

I sent them

Into exile

Among the nations.

I then gathered them

Into their own land.

I will leave

None of them

Behind.

I will never again

Hide my face

From them.

I will pour out

My Spirit

On the house of Israel.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel summarized his main idea that the house of Israel would now know that Yahweh was their God. He had sent them into exile and now he would gather them back into their own land, with none left behind. Yahweh said that he would never again hide his face from his people. He was going to pour out his Spirit on the house of Israel.

The restoration of Israel (Ezek 39:25-39:25)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Now I will restore

The fortunes of Jacob.

I will have mercy

On the whole house

Of Israel.

I will be jealous

For my holy name.’”

Yahweh God, via Ezekiel, was clear. He was going to restore the fortunes of Jacob. He was going to have mercy on the whole house of Israel. However, he was still going to be jealous about his holy name.

 

The seven-month search and burial (Ezek 39:12-39:16)

“‘The house of Israel

Shall spend

Seven months

Burying them,

In order to cleanse

The land.

All the people

Of the land

Shall bury them.

It will bring them honor

On the day

That I show my glory.’

Says Yahweh God.

‘They will set apart men

To pass through

The land continually.

They will bury

Any invaders who remain

On the face of the land.

It will then be cleansed.

They will make their search.

For seven months.

As the searchers

Pass through the land,

Anyone who sees

A human bone

Shall set up

A sign by it,

Until the buriers

Have buried it

In the Valley of Hamon-gog.

A city Hamonah

Is there also.

Thus,

They shall cleanse

The land.”

The house of Israel was to spend 7 months burying the men with Gog, so that they could cleanse the land of Israel and its people. These grave diggers would gain honor on the day when Yahweh was going to show his glory. These body searchers would be set apart to pass through the land continually. They would bury any remains they found. Anyone who saw a human bone was to set up a sign by it, until these buriers buried them in the Valley of Hamon-gog or the city Hamonah, next to it. Thus, the land would be cleansed by removing these dead bodies in 7 months.