Jesus grew (Lk 2:40-2:40)

“The child grew.

He became strong.

Filled with wisdom.

The grace of God

Was upon him.”

 

Τὸ δὲ παιδίον ηὔξανεν καὶ ἐκραταιοῦτο πληρούμενον σοφίᾳ, καὶ χάρις Θεοῦ ἦν ἐπ’ αὐτό.

 

Interesting enough, Luke has Jesus grow in wisdom in the same way that John had done earlier in chapter 1:80.  Growth implies movement from an inferior stage to a higher stage.  Clearly, this was an important part of showing the human side of Jesus.  Luke said that the child Jesus grew (Τὸ δὲ παιδίον ηὔξανεν).  He became a strong person (καὶ ἐκραταιοῦτο), filled with wisdom (πληρούμενον σοφίᾳ), because the grace or favor of God (καὶ χάρις Θεοῦ) was upon him (ἦν ἐπ’ αὐτό).  This also implies that God the Father favored or graced him, showing the distinction between God the Father and God the Son.  Jesus was a special child.

 

The return of the evil spirits (Mt 12:44-12:45)

“Then this unclean spirit says.

‘I will return

To my house,

From which I came.’

When he comes,

This spirit finds it empty.

It is swept.

It is put in order.

Then the unclean spirit goes

And brings along

Seven other spirits

More evil than itself.

They enter there.

They live there.

The last state of that person

Is worse than the first.

Thus,

It will it be also

With this evil generation.”

 

τότε λέγει Εἰς τὸν οἶκόν μου ἐπιστρέψω ὅθεν ἐξῆλθον· καὶ ἐλθὸν εὑρίσκει σχολάζοντα καὶ σεσαρωμένον καὶ κεκοσμημένον.

τότε πορεύεται καὶ παραλαμβάνει μεθ’ ἑαυτοῦ ἑπτὰ ἕτερα πνεύματα πονηρότερα ἑαυτοῦ, καὶ εἰσελθόντα κατοικεῖ ἐκεῖ· καὶ γίνεται τὰ ἔσχατα τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐκείνου χείρονα τῶν πρώτων. οὕτως ἔσται καὶ τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ τῇ πονηρᾷ.

 

This saying about the returning unclean spirit can also be found word for word in Luke, chapter 11:25-26, indicating a Q source.  This implies a failed exorcism or a failed healing, so that the evil unclean spirit would return with more evil spirits.  Thus, the final state of that person would be worse than it was in the beginning.  This unclean spirit said to itself that it would return to its house or the place or person that it had come from (τότε λέγει Εἰς τὸν οἶκόν μου ἐπιστρέψω ὅθεν ἐξῆλθον).  Nothing had been put in its place, because this unclean spirit found it empty or unoccupied (καὶ ἐλθὸν εὑρίσκει σχολάζοντα), swept clean (καὶ σεσαρωμένον) and in order, newly decorated (καὶ κεκοσμημένον).  Thus, the unclean spirit went and brought 7 more evil spirits (τότε πορεύεται καὶ παραλαμβάνει μεθ’ ἑαυτοῦ ἑπτὰ ἕτερα πνεύματα πονηρότερα ἑαυτοῦ).  All these evil spirits entered and lived there (καὶ εἰσελθόντα κατοικεῖ ἐκεῖ·).  Finally, the last state of that person would be worse than the original situation (καὶ γίνεται τὰ ἔσχατα τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐκείνου χείρονα τῶν πρώτων).  Thus, it would be the same for this evil generation (οὕτως ἔσται καὶ τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ τῇ πονηρᾷ).  Jesus had just called this generation evil in chapter 12:19.

Is the Bible Jewish or Christian?

The inspired Christian Bible actually is 2/3rd inspired Hebrew writings, so that actually Christians and Jews share 2/3rd of the inspired Bible.  However, I do not know if we can break the habit of calling the inspired Greek writings of the first century followers of Jesus, the Christ, anything other than a New Testament.  Traditions, both old and new, are hard to break.  Calling it “New” obviously implies an old or outdated classical antique Testament.  Can we change it to read the later first century canonically inspired Greek Christian writings?  Or is that too clumsy?

Wisdom and incarnation (Bar 3:35-3:37)

“This is our God!

No other can be

Compared to him!

He found the whole way

To knowledge.

He gave her

To his servant

Jacob.

He gave her

To Israel

Whom he loved.

Afterward she appeared

On earth.

She lived

With humans.”

This section of Baruch indicates that wisdom became human in some sense, like an incarnation. Surely God, and not Yahweh, was the creator of the world. Thus no other god or person could compare with him. He had full knowledge of everything. He was omniscient. Thus he gave wisdom to his servant Jacob. He also gave wisdom to Israel, whom he loved. The use of both Jacob and Israel is interesting, since it implies that Jacob was a person and Israel was a name of all his descendants. Then there is the final intriguing comment about how she, wisdom, appeared on earth and lived with humans. Some Christians see this as a hint about the incarnation of Jesus. However, it should be noted that the reference is to a she, a female. Wisdom was generally seen as feminine, not masculine like Jesus. Finally, she has already appeared, so that this is not a future aspirational comment. Wisdom is already living among humans. You just have to find this personification of wisdom here on earth.

The exact number of the third captivity (Jer 52:30-52:30)

“In the twenty-third year

Of King Nebuchadnezzar,

Nebuzaradan,

The captain of the guard,

Took into exile

Seven hundred forty-five persons.

Of the Judeans.

All the persons included were

Four thousand six hundred.”

This final captivity appears to be around 587 BCE, but it implies that this was 582 BCE. The mention of Nebuzaradan would seem to indicate that it might be 587 BCE. However, here the number was only 745 people. In fact, the total Judeans brought into captivity was only 4,600. This seems to contradict what was said in 2 Kings, chapter 24, where 10,000 were taken in the first deportation with the capture of King Jehoiachin in 598 BCE. There was no number given in 2 Kings, chapter 25, for the deportation in 587 BCE, but it seems to imply a large number. Here the numbers are relatively small, less than 5,000 people total who went into exile.

The speech of Rabshakeh (Isa 36:4-36:7)

“Rabshakeh said to them.

‘Say to King Hezekiah.

Thus says the great king of Assyria.

On what do you base this confidence of yours?

Do you think that mere words are strategy?

Do you think that power is for war?

On whom do you now rely?

You have rebelled against me.

See!

You are relying on Egypt,

That broken reed of a staff,

That will pierce the hand

Of any man who leans on it.

Such is the Pharaoh King of Egypt

To all who rely on him.

But you say to me.

‘We rely on Yahweh our God.’

Is it not he whose high places

That King Hezekiah has removed?

Is it not he whose altars

King Hezekiah has removed?”

In words that are word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 18, Isaiah presents this speech from Rabshakeh meant for King Hezekiah of Judah (716-687 BCE). His diatribe, in the name of King Sennacherib of Assyria (706-681 BCE), implies that King Hezekiah had rebelled against the King of Assyria, since he now had a treaty with the Egyptian Pharaoh. Rabshakeh maintained that Judah had to be with either Assyria or Egypt. Rabshakeh told them not to be tricked by Egypt since they were a broken reed that would pierce their hands. He mocked the Israelites for saying that they relied on Yahweh, since King Hezekiah had torn down all the idol shrines during his religious reforms. However, there was no mention of the altar at Jerusalem here.

Children (Sir 26:19-26:21)

My child!

Keep sound

The bloom of your youth!

Do not give your strength

To strangers.

Seek a fertile field

Within the whole plain.

Sow it

With your own seed.

Trust in your fine stock.

Your offspring will prosper.

Have confidence

In their good descent.

They will grow great.”

This section does not appear in some editions. Sirach wants you to remember your great youth. Do not give your strength to strangers. When you sow, you should use your own seed on a fertile plain. Apparently he is talking about producing children with sexual interactions. He then implies that you should trust your fine stock. You should have confidence that your offspring will prosper because they come from good descendants so that they will become great.