What did Moses say? (Mk 10:3-10:3)

“Jesus answered them.

‘What did Moses

Command you?’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Τί ὑμῖν ἐνετείλατο Μωϋσῆς;

 

This questioning and answering of the Pharisees about divorce can also be found in Matthew, chapter 19:3-9, particularly 7-8.  However, it was the Pharisees who brought up Moses, not Jesus there.  Here, Mark said that Jesus answered them (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς), by asking his own question about Moses.  What did Moses command or instruct them to do (Τί ὑμῖν ἐνετείλατο Μωϋσῆς)?

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Do not tell anyone (Mk 7:36-7:36)

“Jesus ordered them

To tell no one.

But the more

He ordered them,

The more zealously

They proclaimed it.”

 

καὶ διεστείλατο αὐτοῖς ἵνα μηδενὶ λέγωσιν· ὅσον δὲ αὐτοῖς διεστέλλετο, αὐτοὶ μᾶλλον περισσότερον ἐκήρυσσον.

 

Once again, this unique saying of Mark had Jesus order or instruct this man and the crowd with him (καὶ διεστείλατο αὐτοῖς) not to tell anyone about it (ἵνα μηδενὶ λέγωσιν).  However, the more he ordered or instructed them to be quiet (ὅσον δὲ αὐτοῖς διεστέλλετο,), the more zealously they proclaimed it (αὐτοὶ μᾶλλον περισσότερον ἐκήρυσσον).  This was the strange Messianic secret that no one could keep secret.  The ironic twist was that the crowds saw what was happening, yet Jesus was trying not to let people tell others.  On the other hand, he would send his apostles out to preach.  What did he expect to happen?

Moses and divorce (Mt 19:7-19:7)

“The Pharisees said

To Jesus.

‘Why then did Moses

Command us

To give

A certificate of dismissal?

To divorce her?’”

 

έγουσιν αὐτῷ Τί οὖν Μωϋσῆς ἐνετείλατο δοῦναι βιβλίον ἀποστασίου καὶ ἀπολῦσαι;

 

This questioning and answering of the Pharisees about divorce can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:3-4, almost word for word, with some minor changes, where Jesus asked this question instead of the Pharisees.  Here the Pharisees asked Jesus (έγουσιν αὐτῷ) why did Moses command or instruct them (Τί οὖν Μωϋσῆς ἐνετείλατο) to give a certificate of dismissal or divorce (δοῦναι βιβλίον ἀποστασίου καὶ ἀπολῦσαι)?  The reference to Moses here is from Deuteronomy, chapter 24:1-4, where there was talk about a certificate of divorce, and the possibility of many marriages.  This certificate was called in Hebrew a “get.”  Clearly divorce for a man was okay.  However, after the second marriage there was a defilement.  This command or instruction of Moses would appear to contradict what Jesus had said about the Genesis story and marriage.

The distress of everybody (Ezek 7:25-7:27)

“When anguish comes,

They will seek peace.

But there shall be none.

Disaster comes

Upon disaster.

Rumor follows

Rumor.

They shall keep

Seeking a vision

From the prophet.

Instruction shall perish

From the priest.

Counsel shall fail

From the elders.

The king mourns.

The prince shall be

Wrapped in despair.

The hands

Of the people

Of the land

Shall tremble.

According to their way,

I will deal with them.

According to their own judgments

I will judge them.

They shall know

That I am Yahweh.”

Yahweh concluded this oracle or vision to Ezekiel. In these times of trouble, they would seek peace, but there would be none. Disaster would come upon disaster. Rumor would follow rumor. They would keep looking for a vision from their prophets, but none would come. The priests would fail to instruct them. Counsel from the elders would fail. The king would mourn. The princes would be in despair. The hands of the land people would tremble. According to their ways, Yahweh would deal with them. According to their own judgments, Yahweh would judge them. They would know that Yahweh God was in charge. He was Yahweh.

The plot against Jeremiah (Jer 18:18-18:18)

“Then they said.

‘Come!

Let us make plots against Jeremiah!

Instruction shall not perish

From the priest.

Counsel shall not perish

From the wise.

The word shall not perish

From the prophet.

Come!

Let us bring charges against him!

Let us not heed any of his words!’”

This unidentified they, maybe the people of Anathoth mentioned in chapter 11, are making a plot against Jeremiah. This is Jeremiah reporting about a plot against himself. These people said, that if they got rid of Jeremiah, the priests would still instruct, the wise would still counsel people, and the prophets would still prophesize. Thus they decided to bring charges against him. They were not going to listen to his words anymore.

Conclusion (Sir 50:27-50:29)

“I have written

In this book about

Instruction in understanding.

I have written about knowledge.

I am

Jesus son of Eleazar,

Son of Sirach,

Of Jerusalem.

My mind poured forth wisdom.

Happy are those

Who concerns themselves

With these things.

Those who lay them to heart

Will become wise.

If they put them into practice,

They will be equal to anything.

The fear of the Lord is their path.”

This appears to be the original ending of this book as Jesus son of Eleazar, son of Sirach, explains who he is and why he wrote this book. He wrote this work to instruct people in understanding. He wanted to give them more knowledge. He has poured out his wisdom. Now he would be happy if anyone concerned themselves about these things. Let them take these things to heart and become wise also. So much the better, if they put these things into practice. If they do, the fear of the Lord will be their path.

The truly wise person (Sir 37:22-37:26)

“If a person is wise

To his own advantage, T

he fruits of his good sense

Will be praiseworthy.

They will be trustworthy.

A wise person

Instructs his own people.

The fruits of his good sense

Will endure.

A wise person

Will have praise heaped upon him.

All those who see him

Will call him happy.

The days of a person’s life

Are numbered.

But the days of Israel

Are without number.

Whoever is wise

Among his people

Will inherit honor.

His name will live forever.”

Sirach now points out who the truly wise person is. The wise ones work to their own advantage. They have good sense that is praiseworthy, trustworthy, and honored. The truly wise ones instruct their own people. The fruits of these happy wise people will endure with praise. Although the days of everyone are numbered and limited, that is not true about Israel since its days are not numbered. So too, the honorable wise person will have his name last forever. This hyperbolic use of forever indicates a long time, rather than eternity.