The twelve-year old (Lk 2:42-2:42

“When Jesus was

Twelve years old,

They went up

As usual

For the festival.”

 

Καὶ ὅτε ἐγένετο ἐτῶν δώδεκα, ἀναβαινόντων αὐτῶν κατὰ τὸ ἔθος τῆς ἑορτῆς,

 

Now we have another unique saying of Luke about the age of Jesus.  When Jesus was 12 years old (Καὶ ὅτε ἐγένετο ἐτῶν δώδεκα), the whole family went up to Jerusalem (ἀναβαινόντων αὐτῶν) as usual for the festival of Passover (κατὰ τὸ ἔθος τῆς ἑορτῆς).  This was not a bar mitzvah or confirmation, since this Jewish practice came later.  However, Jesus would have been on the verge of puberty.  The number 12 would play a major role in the life of Jesus, since he had 12 apostles, who were called the Twelve.  This episode is the only insight into the life of Jesus between his birth and the baptism by John, that can be found in any of the canonical biblical gospel narratives.  There are many stories about the boyhood of Jesus in some apocryphal gospels.  Thus, this story takes on a special canonical importance.

The Babylonian king requests young Israelite students (Dan 1:3-1:4)

“Then the king commanded

His palace master,

Ashpenaz,

To bring

Some of the Israelites

Of the royal family

Or Of the nobility.

These should be

Young men

Without physical defect,

As well as handsome.

These should be

Versed in every branch

Of wisdom,

Endowed

With knowledge,

As well as insight.

These young men

Should be competent

To serve

In the king’s palace.

They were to be taught

The literature,

As well as the language,

Of the Chaldeans.”

King Nebuchadnezzar wanted to have some well-bred Israelites students. He had his palace chief, Ashpenaz, find these young men if they met certain conditions. These young men would have to be in good physical shape, as well as good looking. They had to be from the Israelite royal family or the Israelite nobility. Thus, these young men would not be run of the mill students. On top of that, they had to show some wisdom, knowledge, and insight. They were not going to waste their time on people who did not want to learn. Thus, they would be competent to serve in the king’s palace like a page. They also had to learn the Chaldean or Babylonian culture with its literature and language. This seemed like a good use of smart young men.

 

Apprenticeship of wisdom (Sir 6:32-6:37)

“If you are willing,

My child,

You can be disciplined.

If you apply yourself.

You will become clever.

If you love to listen,

You will pay attention,

You will become wise.

Stand in the assembly of the elders.

Who is wise?

Attach yourself to such a one.

Be ready to listen to every godly discourse.

Let no wise proverbs escape you.

If you see an intelligent person,

Rise early.

Visit him.

Let your foot wear out his doorstep.

Reflect on the statutes of the Lord.

Meditate at all times on his commandments.

It is he who will give insight to your mind.

Your desire for wisdom will be granted.”

Sirach now gives clear directions on how to be wise. You must go through an apprenticeship, just like a Trump apprentice. However, here it is the wisdom apprentice. If you are willing and disciplined, you can become clever and wise. You have to apply yourself and listen attentively. You should stand in the assembly of the elders. You should attach yourself to an intelligent person who has a godly discourse and wise proverbs. You should rise early. Go wear out his doorstep with your many visits to this wise man. If you reflect on the statutes of the Lord and meditate on his commandments, you will gain insight. Wisdom will be granted to you after your time of trial.

Scoffers (Prov 9:7-9:12)

“Whoever corrects a scoffer wins abuse.

Whoever rebukes the wicked gets hurt.

A scoffer who is rebuked,

Will only hate you.

The wise man,

When rebuked,

Will love you.

Give instruction to the wise.

They will become wiser still.

Teach the righteous,

They will gain in learning.

The fear of Yahweh

Is the beginning of wisdom.

The knowledge of the Holy One is insight.

By me,

Your days will be multiplied.

By me,

Years will be added to your life.

If you are wise,

You are wise for yourself.

If you scoff,

You alone will bear it.”

If you mock or deride people as scoffers, there is no sense in rebuking you. You will only get hurt and abused because you are as if rebuking a wicked person. They will hate you. On the other hand, if you give instruction to the wise ones, they will become wiser still. If you teach the righteous, they will gain in learning. The beginning of wisdom is the fear of Yahweh. The knowledge of the Holy One leads to insight. Wisdom will multiple your days and years. If you are wise, it will go well with you. If you are a scoffer or cynic, you will bear the whole burden alone.

The invitation of wisdom to the banquet (Prov 9:1-9:6)

“Wisdom has built her house,

She has set up her seven pillars.

She has slaughtered her animals.

She has mixed her wine.

She has also set her table.

She has sent out her servant girls.

She calls from the highest places in the town.

‘You who are simple!

Turn in here!’

To those without sense

She says.

‘Come!

Eat of my bread!

Drink of the wine I have mixed!

Lay aside immaturity!

Live!

Walk in the way of insight!’”

This chapter is about the house that wisdom built on 7 pillars. She then invited people to come to her house. She had slaughtered animals and prepared wine for the festival at her house. She set her table and sent her maid servants to invite people to come. She called from the highest place in town, ‘Anyone simple, turn in here!’ I guess it either was an insult or she really wanted to help them. She wanted those who were senseless and immature to eat her bread and drink her wine, instead of going to the house of the loose woman. Then they would be able to live and walk with insight. In a certain sense, lady wisdom is trying to compete with the seducing prostitutes to get the simple ones to gain some insight. She too tries to seduce them since that is the only way that the simple ones will follow people.

A description of wisdom (Prov 8:12-8:21)

“I

Wisdom,

I live with prudence.

I attain knowledge.

I attain discretion.

The fear of Yahweh is hatred of evil.

I hate pride.

I hate arrogance.

I hate the way of evil.

I hate perverted speech.         

I have good advice.

I have sound wisdom.

I have insight.

I have strength.

Kings reign by me.

Rulers decree what is just.

Rulers rule by me.

Nobles govern by me.

All who govern rightly rule by me.

I love those who love me.

Those who seek me diligently

Find me.

Riches and honor are with me.

Enduring wealth is with me.

Prosperity is with me.

My fruit is better than gold,

Even fine gold.

My yield is better than choice silver.

I walk in the way of righteousness.

I walk along the paths of justice,

I endow with wealth those who love me.

I fill their treasuries.”

In an interesting use of a literary form, female wisdom describes herself in the first person singular, “I.” She is prudent, knowledgeable, and discreet. As God fearing, she hates evil, pride, arrogance, and perverted speech. On the other hand, she has good advice, sound wisdom, insight, and strength. All the kings, rulers, and nobles govern rightly because of her. She loves those who love her and seek her out diligently. When you have lady wisdom, then you have riches, honor, wealth, and prosperity. The fruit of wisdom is better than fine gold and silver. She walks in the way of righteousness along the paths of justice. Those who love her will be filled with wealth and treasures.

Parental wisdom teaching (Prov 4:1-4:9)

“Children!

Listen to a father’s instruction!

Be attentive!

Thus you may gain insight into truth.

I give you good precepts.

Do not forsake my teaching.

When I was a son with my father,

I was tender.

I was my mother’s favorite.

He taught me.

He said to me.

‘Let your heart hold fast my words.

Keep my commandments.

Thus you will live.

Get wisdom!

Get insight!

Do not forget!

Do not turn away from the words of my mouth!

Do not forsake her!

She will keep you.

Love her!

Thus she will guard you.

The beginning of wisdom is this.

Get wisdom!

Whatever else you get,

Get insight!

Prize her highly!

Thus she will exalt you.

She will honor you

If you embrace her.

She will place on your head

A fair garland.

She will bestow on you

A beautiful crown.’”

Once again, we have paternal instruction. This father wanted his children to be attentive so that they could gain some insight. He wanted them not to forget his good teaching, since he was only doing what his father had done to him. He had been the favorite of his mother. He believed that he should follow his father’s words and commands. If they did the same, they would have a good life. In a tautology, he said that the beginning of wisdom is to get wisdom. Wow! They were to get wisdom and insight, first and foremost. They were not to forsake lady wisdom. If they kept her, she would keep them. If they loved wisdom, she would protect them. If they prized her, she would exalt them. If they embraced her, she would honor them. Thus they would have a wonderful Roman garland and a beautiful crown.