The famine at the time of Elijah (Lk 4:25-4:26)

“In truth!

I say to you!

There were many widows

In Israel

At the time of Elijah.

The heavens

Were shut closed for

Three years and six months.

There came

A great famine

Over all the land.

Yet Elijah was sent

To none of them,

Except to a widow

At Zarephath,

In Sidon.”

 

ἐπ’ ἀληθείας δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, πολλαὶ χῆραι ἦσαν ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Ἡλείου ἐν τῷ Ἰσραήλ, ὅτε ἐκλείσθη ὁ οὐρανὸς ἐπὶ ἔτη τρία καὶ μῆνας ἕξ, ὡς ἐγένετο λιμὸς μέγας ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν

καὶ πρὸς οὐδεμίαν αὐτῶν ἐπέμφθη Ἡλείας εἰ μὴ εἰς Σάρεπτα τῆς Σιδωνίας πρὸς γυναῖκα χήραν.

 

There are no similar stories in Mark and Matthew.  Luke uniquely had Jesus tell this story about Elijah as found in 1 Kings, chapter 17:1-16.  John the Baptist had been compared to Elijah, a major almost romantic 9th century BCE prophet, whose name appears more than 100 times in the biblical literature.  Elijah also appeared with Moses in the transfiguration of Jesus mentioned later in this work.  Elijah’s influence on the evangelical authors was very important, just like here.  There were a series of stories about Elijah when King Ahab (874-853 BCE) was king of Israel.  Elijah, commanded by Yahweh, went to a northern town near Sidon, probably a Phoenician town.  He provided a widow and her family with a never-ending jar and jug that provided meal and oil for her and her household until the drought came to an end.  Luke pointed out with a solemn pronouncement (ἐπ’ ἀληθείας δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν) that there were many widows (πολλαὶ χῆραι ἦσαν) at the time of Elijah (ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Ἡλείου), in Israel (ἐν τῷ Ἰσραήλ).  The heavens were closed or shut down (ὅτε ἐκλείσθη ὁ οὐρανὸς) for 3 ½ years (ἐπὶ ἔτη τρία καὶ μῆνας ἕξ).  Thus, there was a great drought across the whole land (ὡς ἐγένετο λιμὸς μέγας ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν).  However, Yahweh sent Elijah to none of the Israelite widows (καὶ πρὸς οὐδεμίαν αὐτῶν ἐπέμφθη Ἡλείας).  Instead Elijah was sent to a widow at Zarephath, in Sidon (εἰ μὴ εἰς Σάρεπτα τῆς Σιδωνίας πρὸς γυναῖκα χήραν).

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They led Jesus to a Jewish assembly (Mk 14:53-14:53)

“They took Jesus

To the high priest.

All the chief priests,

The elders,

And the Scribes

Were assembled.”

 

Καὶ ἀπήγαγον τὸν Ἰησοῦν πρὸς τὸν ἀρχιερέα, καὶ συνέρχονται πάντες οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 26:57, but there is no mention of the house of Caiaphas here as there was in Matthew.  In Luke, chapter 22:54, Jesus was simply brought to the high priest’s house, which would have been Caiaphas.  In John, chapter 18:13-14, they brought Jesus to the house of the father-in-law of Caiaphas, Annas, who had been the high priest of Jerusalem from 6-15 CE, before he was removed by the Romans at the age of 36, even though he lived to the age of 61.  Thus, he had a lot of influence on things.  John remarked that Caiaphas had said it was better for one person to die for the people.  Caiaphas was the high priest from 18-36 CE since he had married the daughter of Annas.  Mark simply said that they took Jesus to the high priest (Καὶ ἀπήγαγον τὸν Ἰησοῦν πρὸς τὸν ἀρχιερέα), without mentioning his name or saying it was his house.  Apparently, the chief priests (οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς), the elder presbyters (καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι), and the Scribes (καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς) had all gathered or assembled there (καὶ συνέρχονται πάντες).  Was this an official meeting of the Jerusalem Sanhedrin?  Probably not, because these official meetings could not be held during the festival days or during the Passover.  On the other hand, some kind of informal meeting was possible.  However, there was no mention of any Pharisees or Sadducees being there either.

Jesus goes before Caiaphas the high priest (Mt 26:57-26:57)

“Those

Who had arrested Jesus

Took him

To Caiaphas,

The high priest.

There

The Scribes

And the elders

Had gathered.”

 

Οἱ δὲ κρατήσαντες τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἀπήγαγον πρὸς Καϊάφαν τὸν ἀρχιερέα, ὅπου οἱ γραμματεῖς καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι συνήχθησα

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 14:53, but Caiaphas was not mentioned there.  In Luke, chapter 22:54, Jesus was simply brought to the high priest’s house, while in John, chapter 18:13-14, they brought Jesus to the house of the father-in-law of Caiaphas, Annas, who had been a high priest. from 6-15 CE, before he was removed by the Romans at the age of 36, even though he lived to the age of 61.  Thus, he had a lot of influence on things.  John remarked that Caiaphas had said it was better for one person to die for the people.  Caiaphas was the high priest from 18-36 CE since he had married the daughter of Annas.  Matthew said that those who had seized, arrested, or captured Jesus (Οἱ δὲ κρατήσαντες τὸν Ἰησοῦν) took him to the house of Caiaphas, the high priest (ἀπήγαγον πρὸς Καϊάφαν τὸν ἀρχιερέα).  Apparently, the Scribes and the elder presbyters had gathered or assembled there (ὅπου οἱ γραμματεῖς καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι συνήχθησα).  Was this an official meeting of the Jerusalem Sanhedrin?  Probably not, because these official meetings could not be held during the festival days or during the Passover.  On the other hand, some kind of informal meeting was possible.  However, there was no mention of the Pharisees and the Sadducees being there either.

Joseph goes to Galilee (Mt 2:22-2:22)

“But when Joseph heard

That Archelaus

Was ruling over Judea,

In place of his father,

King Herod,

He was afraid

To go there.

After being warned

In a dream,

He went away

To the district of Galilee.”

 

ἀκούσας δὲ ὅτι Ἀρχέλαος βασιλεύει τῆς Ἰουδαίας ἀντὶ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ Ἡρῴδου ἐφοβήθη ἐκεῖ ἀπελθεῖν· χρηματισθεὶς δὲ κατ’ ὄναρ ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὰ μέρη τῆς Γαλιλαίας

 

Once again, Joseph was warned in a dream (χρηματισθεὶς δὲ κατ’ ὄναρ), without the explicit mention of the angel of the Lord. Joseph found out that the son of King Herod (ἀντὶ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ Ἡρῴδου), Archelaus, (23 BCE-16 CE) was now in charge in Judea (ἀκούσας δὲ ὅτι Ἀρχέλαος βασιλεύει τῆς Ἰουδαίας). He was afraid to go back there (ἐφοβήθη ἐκεῖ ἀπελθεῖν) to Judea, since maybe King Herod’s son would be after his child just like his father. Actually, Herod Archelaus only lasted about 10 years before the Romans took the title away from him in 6 CE. Thus, Joseph decided to withdraw to the district of Galilee (ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὰ μέρη τῆς Γαλιλαίας), without explicitly being told to do so. Galilee was a rocky terrain region in northern Israel. Originally, it was part of the tribal regions of Naphtali, Dan, and Asher, but later it was part of the northern kingdom of Israel, with a Phoenician presence and influence. In the Roman times, Galilee was clearly separate from Judea. Many of the events in the life of Jesus would take place there, even though Herod Antipas, the other son of King Herod, ruled Galilee from 4 BCE-39 CE.

Limitations of the Bible

The difficulty with all these interpretations hangs on the question whether this is the word of God or man’s word?  Every reading of the Bible is an interpretation.  Who decided which books belong in the bible?  This was not decided until over 300 hundred years after Christ.  Many of the Christian churches have different books in the Old Testament.  How can you have justification from the texts themselves?  There have many weird interpretations of the Bible.  The Bible has had a history under the influence of God’s Spirit.  The Bible should not be watered down.

The twelve Minor Prophets

The twelve minor writing prophets have shorter books than the major prophets.  These writing prophets range from the 8th to the 5th century BCE.  These include Hosea from the 8th century BCE, Joel from the 8th -5th century BCE, Amos from the 8th century BCE, Obadiah and Jonah from the 6th century BCE, Micah and Nahum from the 8th century BCE, Habakkuk and Zephaniah from the 7th century BCE, Haggai and Zechariah from the 6th century BCE, and Malachi from the 5th century BCE.  Some of these prophets had an influence on New Testament Christian writers.

Rachel laments her children (Jer 31:15-31:17)

“Thus says Yahweh.       

‘A voice is heard in Ramah.

There is lamentation.

There is bitter weeping.

Rachel is weeping

For her children.

She refuses to be comforted

For her children.

Because they are no more.’

Thus says Yahweh.

‘Keep your voice

From weeping!

Keep your eyes

From tears!

There is a reward

For your work.’

Says Yahweh.

‘They shall come back

From the land of the enemy.

There is hope for your future.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Your children shall come back

To their own country.’”

Jeremiah seems to have a dialogue with Rachel, the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, and Yahweh. Rachel has been dead and buried for a long time at Ramah, during the time of Jacob as in Genesis, chapter 35. However, there the resting place was called Bethlehem. Here it is Ramah, someplace in Benjamin that makes more sense. The prophet Samuel may have lived in this place as in 1 Samuel, chapter 25. However, here Rachel is lamenting from her grave. She is weeping bitterly for her lost children. She refuses to be comforted because they too are dead and gone. This passage had an influence on the later Gospel of Matthew, chapter 2, where he used this saying to apply to the innocent children killed by Herod. However, Yahweh tells her to stop weeping and dry her tears, because she was going to be rewarded. The descendants of her children were going to come back to their country from the land of their enemies. Thus the northern tribes would be restored.