House of prayer (Lk 19:46-19:46)

“Jesus said.

‘It is written,

‘My house

Shall be

A house of prayer.’

But you have made it

A den of robbers.’”

 

λέγων αὐτοῖς Γέγραπται Καὶ ἔσται ὁ οἶκός μου οἶκος προσευχῆς· ὑμεῖς δὲ αὐτὸν ἐποιήσατε σπήλαιον λῃστῶν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to them (λέγων αὐτοῖς) that it was written (Γέγραπται) that my house shall be a house of prayer (Καὶ ἔσται ὁ οἶκός μου οἶκος προσευχῆς).  However, they had made it into a den or hideout of robbers or thieves (ὑμεῖς δὲ αὐτὸν ἐποιήσατε σπήλαιον λῃστῶν).  This first citation about the house of prayer is from 3rd Isaiah, chapter 56:7, while the second citation about how they have made his Temple into a den of robbers is from Jeremiah, chapter 7:11.  These biblical citations of Jesus in the Temple can also be found in Matthew, chapter 21:13, and Mark, chapter 11:17, almost word for word.  John, chapter 2:16-17, was slightly different, since he used a citation from Psalm 69:9, where the Psalmist or David had great zeal for the house of Yahweh that he was about to construct.  Mark said that Jesus was teaching (καὶ ἐδίδασκεν).  He asked them if they knew where it was written in Scripture (καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς Οὐ γέγραπται) that his house shall be called a house of prayer (ὅτι Ὁ οἶκός μου οἶκος προσευχῆς κληθήσεται) for all the nations (πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν).  Matthew and Luke did not mention all the nations.  However, the Temple functionaries were making it into a den or hideout of robbers or bandits (ὑμεῖς δὲ πεποιήκατε αὐτὸν σπήλαιον λῃστῶν).  Likewise, Matthew said that Jesus told them that it was written in Scripture (καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς Γέγραπται) that his house shall be called a house of prayer (Ὁ οἶκός μου οἶκος προσευχῆς κληθήσεται).  However, they were making it into a den or hideout of robbers or bandits (ὑμεῖς δὲ αὐτὸν ποιεῖτε σπήλαιον λῃστῶν).  In all cases, Jesus was upset that the Jerusalem Temple house of prayer had been hijacked by a bunch of thieves and robbers.  What kind of house of prayer do you pray in?

The prophecy of Jeremiah (Mt 27:9-27:10)

“Then was fulfilled

What had been spoken

Through the prophet Jeremiah.

‘They took

The thirty pieces of silver,

The price of the one

On whom

A price had been set,

On whom

Some of the people of Israel

Had set a price.

They gave it

For the potter’s field,

As the Lord

Commanded me.”

 

τότε ἐπληρώθη τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Ἱερεμίου τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος Καὶ ἔλαβον τὰ τριάκοντα ἀργύρια, τὴν τιμὴν τοῦ τετιμημένου ὃν ἐτιμήσαντο ἀπὸ υἱῶν Ἰσραήλ

καὶ ἔδωκαν αὐτὰ εἰς τὸν ἀγρὸν τοῦ κεραμέως, καθὰ συνέταξέν μοι Κύριος.

 

This is unique to Matthew, who said that this happened to fulfill (τότε ἐπληρώθη) what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah (τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Ἱερεμίου τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος).  Unfortunately, this is from the prophet Zechariah, chapter 11:12-13, not Jeremiah.  He had said that they took 30 pieces of silver (Καὶ ἔλαβον τὰ τριάκοντα ἀργύρια).  This was the specific set price (τὴν τιμὴν τοῦ τετιμημένου) that the people or sons of Israel had established (ὃν ἐτιμήσαντο ἀπὸ υἱῶν Ἰσραήλ).  They gave it for a potter’s field (καὶ ἔδωκαν αὐτὰ εἰς τὸν ἀγρὸν τοῦ κεραμέως) because the Lord had commanded it (καθὰ συνέταξέν μοι Κύριος).  In the original text from Zechariah, he was told to throw 30 shekels of silver into the Temple treasury.  Like all good prophets, Zechariah did what Yahweh asked him to do.  He threw the 30 silver shekels into the treasury in the house of Yahweh.  There was no mention of a potter’s field.  That might be allusion to Jeremiah who visited a potter’s house in chapter 18:1-6.  However, here that second verse is an addition by Matthew, not in the original Old Testament verse of Zechariah.

The wages of thirty silver shekels (Zech 11:12-11:13)

“Then I said to them.

‘If it seems right to you,

Give me my wages.

But if not,

Keep them.’

Thus,

They weighed out,

As my wages,

Thirty shekels of silver.

Then Yahweh said to me.

‘Throw it into the treasury.’

This is the lordly price

At which I was valued

By them.

Thus,

I took the thirty shekels

Of silver.

I threw them

Into the treasury

In the house of Yahweh.”

Zechariah asked the sheep merchants whether he would he be paid any wages.  Then they weighted out 30 silver shekels, the price of a slave.  This insult was added to injury.  Next Yahweh told Zechariah to throw this money, the lordly price of a slave, into the Temple treasury.  They obviously had not understood his value.  Like all good prophets, Zechariah did what Yahweh asked him to do.  He threw the 30 silver shekels into the treasury in the house of Yahweh.

The fast (Joel 1:14-1:14)

“Sanctify a fast!

Call a solemn assembly!

Gather the elders!

Gather all the inhabitants

Of the land

To the house of Yahweh,

Your God!

Cry out to Yahweh!”

Joel’s response is to gather the elders and all the people of the land for a solemn assembly and fast in the house of Yahweh, in the Temple. There, they would cry out to Yahweh, their God. Joel sought a cultic worship response to this locust crisis.

Mourn for your lost fields (Joel 1:8-1:10)

“Lament!

Like a virgin

Dressed in sackcloth

For the husband

Of her youth!

The grain offering,

The drink offering,

Are cut off

From the house

Of Yahweh.

The priests mourn.

The ministers of Yahweh

Mourn.

The fields are devastated.

The ground mourns.

The grain is destroyed.

The wine dries up.

The oil fails.”

The people should go into mourning. They should lament like a virgin who had lost the husband of her youth, dressed in sackcloth. There was not going to be any grain or drink offerings in the house of Yahweh. The priests and the ministers should mourn because the fields were devastated. The ground itself mourned because the grain was destroyed. The wine had dried up. The oil had failed. There was good reason to go into mourning.

Sound the alarm trumpet (Hos 8:1-8:3)

“Set the trumpet

To your lips!

A vulture is over

The house of Yahweh.

They have broken

My covenant.

They have transgressed

My law.

Israel cries to me!

‘My God!

We!

Israel!

Know you!’

Israel has spurned

The good.

The enemy

Shall pursue him.”

Yahweh, via Hosea, told the Israelites to sound the alarm with a trumpet. The vulture or the Assyrian army was coming to the house of Yahweh. These Israelites had broken his covenant. They had transgressed his law. Yet they came crying to him, since they knew Yahweh. However, it was too late. They knew that they had turned away from the good Yahweh. Now their enemy, the Assyrians, would pursue them.

The scorned altar (Lam 2:7-2:7)

Zayin

“Yahweh has scorned

His altar.

He has disowned

His sanctuary.

He has delivered

The walls

Of her palaces

Into the hand

Of the enemy.

A clamor was raised

In the house

Of Yahweh

As on a day

Of festival.”

Yahweh has scorned his own altar in the Temple at Jerusalem. He has disowned his own sanctuary. The enemies have taken over the palaces and its walls. There are now clamorous battle cries in the house of Yahweh, as if it was a festival day, but without anyone there. The house of Yahweh has been destroyed. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Zayin. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

The deliberations about Jeremiah (Jer 26:10-26:11)

“When the officials of Judah

Heard these things,

They came up

From the king’s house

To the house of Yahweh.

They took their seat

In the entry of the New Gate

Of the house of Yahweh.

Then the priests,

With the prophets,

Said to the officials,

As wells as to all the people.

‘This man deserves

The sentence of death.

Because he has prophesied

Against this city,

As you have heard

With your own ears.’”

Next the officials of Judah heard what was going on, so they came from the king’s residence to the Temple. Then they took their seat at the entry to the New Gate, which was near the Temple or house of Yahweh. All official deliberations took place at the gate. The priests and the prophets made their presentation. They said that Jeremiah should be sentenced to death because he had prophesied against the city of Jerusalem. They had all heard it with their own ears.

Prayer of thanksgiving (Isa 38:16-38:20)

“O Lord!

By these things

People live.

In all these is

The life of my spirit.

Restore me to health!

Make me live!

Surely it was for my welfare

That I had great bitterness.

But you held back my life

From the pit of destruction.

You have cast all my sins

Behind your back.

Sheol cannot thank you.

Death cannot praise you.

Those who go down to the pit

Cannot hope for your faithfulness.

The living,

The living,

They thank you,

As I do this day.

The father makes known to the children

Your faithfulness.

Yahweh will save me.

We will sing to stringed instruments

All the days of our lives,

At the house of Yahweh.”

Second Isaiah has King Hezekiah happy that his ordeal is over. However, he recognized that these difficulties are part of life. Once restored to health and life, he realizes that these things happened for his own good, even if he was a little bitter. Yahweh had his back, so that he never met the pit of destruction. All his sins were forgotten. Sheol and death were not able to grab him because there he would not have been able to praise or give thanks to Yahweh. There they lose all hope and faithfulness. However, it is the living ones who give praise and thanksgiving to Yahweh, as he did this day. Children learn from their fathers about faithfulness, so too Yahweh has saved him. Thus he and his friends will sing with stringed instruments at the house of Yahweh all the days of their lives.

The holy cry (Isa 6:3-6:4)

“One seraph called to another.

They said.

‘Holy,

Holy,

Holy

Is Yahweh of hosts!

The whole earth

Is full of his glory.’

The foundation pivots

On the thresholds

Shook at the voices

Of those who called.

The house was filled

With smoke.”

Now the seraphs cried out about the holiness of Yahweh, the Lord. The whole earth is full of his glory. This simple phrase of triple holiness became part of the introduction to the later Christian or Roman Catholic consecration at the Liturgy of the Eucharist with its famous “Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus.” Emphasizing the holiness of Yahweh was a major theme of the biblical writings. These voices were so strong that they shook the foundation pivots of the threshold to the Temple. On top of that, the whole Temple or house of Yahweh was filled with smoke.