The rumors of wars (Mt 24:6-24:6)

“You will hear

Of wars

And rumors of wars.

See that you are not alarmed!

This must take place.

But the end is not yet.”

 

μελλήσετε δὲ ἀκούειν πολέμους καὶ ἀκοὰς πολέμων· ὁρᾶτε, μὴ θροεῖσθε· δεῖ γὰρ γενέσθαι, ἀλλ’ οὔπω ἐστὶν τὸ τέλος.

 

There is something similar in Mark, chapter 13:7, and in Luke, chapter 21:9, almost word for word.  Jesus told them that they would hear about wars or battles (μελλήσετε δὲ ἀκούειν πολέμους) and rumors of wars (καὶ ἀκοὰς πολέμων).  They should not be alarmed (ὁρᾶτε, μὴ θροεῖσθε).  This was going to happen (δεῖ γὰρ γενέσθαι), but the end was not near (ἀλλ’ οὔπω ἐστὶν τὸ τέλος).  The idea of strife and rumors of violence and wars was a great prophetic theme with Isaiah, chapter 19:1-4, and Jeremiah, chapter 51:46.

Advertisements

The absentee land owner of the vineyard (Mt 21:33-21:33)

“Listen to another parable!

There was a landowner

Who planted a vineyard.

He put a fence around it.

He dug a wine press in it.

He built a watchtower.

Then he leased it

To tenants.

He went away

To another country.”

 

Ἄλλην παραβολὴν ἀκούσατε. Ἄνθρωπος ἦν οἰκοδεσπότης ὅστις ἐφύτευσεν ἀμπελῶνα, καὶ φραγμὸν αὐτῷ περιέθηκεν καὶ ὤρυξεν ἐν αὐτῷ ληνὸν καὶ ᾠκοδόμησεν πύργον, καὶ ἐξέδετο αὐτὸν γεωργοῖς, καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν.

 

This parable of the absentee landowner can be found in Mark, chapter 12:1, word for word, and Luke, chapter 20:9, almost word for word.  Jesus wanted them to listen to another parable or story (Ἄλλην παραβολὴν ἀκούσατε) about a male landowner (Ἄνθρωπος ἦν οἰκοδεσπότης), who planted a vineyard (ὅστις ἐφύτευσεν ἀμπελῶνα).  He then put a fence around it (καὶ φραγμὸν αὐτῷ περιέθηκεν) and dug a wine press in it (καὶ ὤρυξεν ἐν αὐτῷ ληνὸν).  He even built a fortified watchtower (καὶ ᾠκοδόμησεν πύργον).  This seemed like a very nice vineyard.  This was reminiscent of the allegory of the vineyard of Isaiah, chapter 5:1-2.  Isaiah had a song about a friend’s fertile field.  He also dug out stones and planted choice vines.  He put a tower in the middle to look over the vineyard with a carved wine vat there also.  However, he got bad grapes instead of good grapes.  Clearly, he did not get what he expected.  However, this landowner here leased his land or rented it to farmer tenants (καὶ ἐξέδετο αὐτὸν γεωργοῖς).  Then he left that region and went away to another country (ἀπεδήμησεν).  These last two things, renting and leaving the land will cause him a problem.

The difficulties (Mt 20:22-20:22)

“But Jesus answered.

‘You do not know

What you are asking.

Are you able to drink

The cup

That I am about to drink?’

They said to him.

‘We are able.’”

 

ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν Οὐκ οἴδατε τί αἰτεῖσθε. δύνασθε πιεῖν τὸ ποτήριον ὃ ἐγὼ μέλλω πίνειν; λέγουσιν αὐτῷ Δυνάμεθα.

 

There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 10:38-39, but slightly different.  Jesus answered her by asking (ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν) if she knew what she was asking (Οὐκ οἴδατε τί αἰτεῖσθε.).  Were her two sons able to drink the cup (δύνασθε πιεῖν τὸ ποτήριον) that he was about to drink (ὃ ἐγὼ μέλλω πίνειν)?  They, her sons, responded themselves that they were able to do so (λέγουσιν αὐτῷ Δυνάμεθα).  The idea of a cup as suffering or the cup of wrath could be found among the major prophets in Isaiah, chapter 51:17, Jeremiah, chapter 25:15, and Ezekiel, chapter 23:31.  There is an addition from the Greek Orthodox text where Jesus asked them if they were ready to be baptized with the baptism that he was going to under go (ἢ τὸ βάπτισμα ὃ ἐγὼ βαπτίζομαι βαπτισθῆναι)?  Of course, the brothers said that they would be able to do that as well as drink from the suffering cup.

Healing the crowds of people (Mt 15:30-15:31)

“Great crowds

Came to him.

They brought with them

The lame,

The maimed,

The blind,

The mute,

And many others.

They put them

At his feet.

Jesus healed them.

Thus,

The crowd was amazed

When they saw

The mute speaking,

The maimed whole,

The lame walking,

And the blind seeing.

They praised

The God of Israel.”

 

καὶ προσῆλθον αὐτῷ ὄχλοι πολλοὶ ἔχοντες μεθ’ ἑαυτῶν χωλούς, κυλλούς, τυφλούς, κωφούς, καὶ ἑτέρους πολλούς, καὶ ἔριψαν αὐτοὺς παρὰ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ· καὶ ἐθεράπευσεν αὐτούς·

ὥστε τὸν ὄχλον θαυμάσαι βλέποντας κωφοὺς λαλοῦντας κυλλοὺς ὑγιεῖς καὶ χωλοὺς περιπατοῦντας καὶ τυφλοὺς βλέποντας· καὶ ἐδόξασαν τὸν Θεὸν Ἰσραήλ.

 

This seems to be unique to Matthew, with his emphasis on the great crowds of people and mass healings.  In chapter 8:17, He had talked about these healing actions as a fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah, but here this prophet is not mentioned.  As usual, great crowds came out to see Jesus (καὶ προσῆλθον αὐτῷ ὄχλοι πολλοὶ).  They brought with them (ἔχοντες μεθ’ ἑαυτῶν) the lame (χωλούς), the maimed (κυλλούς), the blind (τυφλούς), the mute (κωφούς), and many other sick people (, καὶ ἑτέρους πολλούς).  They were all placed at the feet of Jesus (καὶ ἔριψαν αὐτοὺς παρὰ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ).  Then he healed them (καὶ ἐθεράπευσεν αὐτούς), so that the crowd was amazed or marveled at what they saw (ὥστε τὸν ὄχλον θαυμάσαι βλέποντας).  The mute people were able to speak (κωφοὺς λαλοῦντας).  The maimed people were made sound or whole (κυλλοὺς ὑγιεῖς).  The lame people were able to walk (καὶ χωλοὺς περιπατοῦντας).  The blind people were able to see (καὶ τυφλοὺς βλέποντας).  They all praised or honored the God of Israel (καὶ ἐδόξασαν τὸν Θεὸν Ἰσραήλ), and not Jesus.

Jesus goes to the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon (Mt 15:21-15:21)

“Jesus left that place.

He went away

To the district

Of Tyre

And Sidon.”

 

Καὶ ἐξελθὼν ἐκεῖθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὰ μέρη Τύρου καὶ Σιδῶνος.

 

Mark, chapter 7:24, has something similar but only mentions Tyre, not Sidon.  Jesus left the area (Καὶ ἐξελθὼν ἐκεῖθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς) around the Sea of Galilee.  He went to the district of Tyre and Sidon (ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὰ μέρη Τύρου καὶ Σιδῶνος).  Tyre was a Phoenician coastal island city that still exists in southern Lebanon.  Known for its maritime trade and purple dye, it was actually originally in the Israelite territory of Asher.  The Mediterranean ports at both Sidon and Tyre. were commercial trading partners.  Tyre was a great ancient city with many merchant princes, while Sidon was also a maritime Phoenician city about 25 miles north of Tyre, mostly known for its fishing and trade.  Sidon was also the name of the grandson of Noah, and thus older than Tyre.  Traditionally, Isaiah, chapter 23, and the other prophets were against these two wealthy coastal towns.  It is not clear why Jesus went to this coastal region, except that the Pharisees were not there.

Tradition and hypocrisy (Mt 15:6-15:7)

“Thus,

They do not honor

Their father

Or their mother

For the sake

Of their tradition.

You have made void

The word of God.

You hypocrites!

Isaiah prophesied of you,

When he said.”

 

οὐ μὴ τιμήσει τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ ἢ τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ· καὶ ἠκυρώσατε τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ διὰ τὴν παράδοσιν ὑμῶν.

ὑποκριταί, καλῶς ἐπροφήτευσεν περὶ ὑμῶν Ἡσαΐας λέγων

 

There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 7:6.  Jesus pointed out that for the sake of their traditions (διὰ τὴν παράδοσιν ὑμῶν), they did not honor their father or their mother (οὐ μὴ τιμήσει τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ ἢ τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ).  They have made void or cancelled out the word of God (καὶ ἠκυρώσατε τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ).  These Pharisees were the kind of hypocrites that Isaiah, chapter 29:3, had prophesied about (ὑποκριταί, καλῶς ἐπροφήτευσεν περὶ ὑμῶν Ἡσαΐας λέγων).  This was a favorite term of Matthew for these Pharisees, hypocrites, people who play a part in a drama, but who are not sincere.

The prophecy of Isaiah (Mt 13:14-13:15)

“With them indeed is fulfilled

The prophecy of Isaiah

That says.

‘You will indeed listen,

But never understand!

You will indeed see,

but never perceive!

This people’s heart

Has grown dull.

Their ears are

Hard of hearing.

They have shut their eyes,

So that they might not look

With their eyes.

So that they do not listen

With their ears.

So that they do not understand

With their hearts.

They should return.

I would heal them.’”

 

καὶ ἀναπληροῦται αὐτοῖς ἡ προφητεία Ἡσαΐου ἡ λέγουσα Ἀκοῇ ἀκούσετε καὶ οὐ μὴ συνῆτε, καὶ βλέποντες βλέψετε καὶ οὐ μὴ ἴδητε.

ἐπαχύνθη γὰρ ἡ καρδία τοῦ λαοῦ τούτου, καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν βαρέως ἤκουσαν, καὶ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν ἐκάμμυσαν· μή ποτε ἴδωσιν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν ἀκούσωσιν καὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ συνῶσιν καὶ ἐπιστρέψωσιν, καὶ ἰάσομαι αὐτούς.

 

This prophecy of Isaiah is based on chapter 6:9-10, where Isaiah told the people that they were listening without comprehending.  They were looking without understanding.  Their hearts were dull.  Their eyes and ears were closed.  He wanted them not to look with their own eyes, but he wanted them to turn to Yahweh, so that they would be healed.  Only Matthew, among the synoptics, saw the fulfillment of this Isaiah prophecy in Jesus (καὶ ἀναπληροῦται αὐτοῖς ἡ προφητεία Ἡσαΐου ἡ λέγουσα).  They would listen and hear, but not understand (Ἀκοῇ ἀκούσετε καὶ οὐ μὴ συνῆτε).  They would see, but not perceive (καὶ βλέποντες βλέψετε καὶ οὐ μὴ ἴδητε).  Their hearts had grown dull or unfeeling (ἐπαχύνθη γὰρ ἡ καρδία τοῦ λαοῦ τούτου).  Their ears were hard of hearing, as they could barely hear (καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν βαρέως ἤκουσαν).  They have shut their eyes (καὶ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν ἐκάμμυσαν), so that they might not see with their eyes (μή ποτε ἴδωσιν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς).  Thus, they did not hear with their ears (καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν ἀκούσωσιν).  Thus, they did not understand with their hearts (καὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ συνῶσιν).  They should return (καὶ ἐπιστρέψωσιν).  Yahweh or now Jesus would heal them (καὶ ἰάσομαι αὐτούς).