The importance of Daniel (Mt 24:15-24:15)

“When you see

The desolating sacrilege

Standing in the holy place,

As was spoken of

By the prophet Daniel,

Let the reader understand!”

 

Ὅταν οὖν ἴδητε τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Δανιὴλ τοῦ προφήτου ἑστὸς ἐν τόπῳ ἁγίῳ, ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοείτω,

 

There is something similar in Mark, chapter 13:14, and in Luke, chapter 21:20, but only Matthew specifically mentioned the prophet Daniel.  Jesus warned that when they saw the desolating sacrilege or cursed devastation (Ὅταν οὖν ἴδητε τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως) standing in the holy place (ἑστὸς ἐν τόπῳ ἁγίῳ), they would understand (ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοείτω) what was happening.  Matthew explicitly named the prophet Daniel (τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Δανιὴλ τοῦ προφήτου), chapter 9:27 and chapter 11:31, talking about the desolating abomination in the Temple.  In 175 BCE, the prince coming to destroy the high priest Onias III was probably King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who came to destroy the city of Jerusalem and the sanctuary during the war against the Maccabees uprising.  During this time, the sacrifices and offerings ceased in the Temple.  Instead, they had these terrible abominations and desolations of the false idols.  Thus, the reference to Daniel is both eschatological about the end times as well as a reference to the political religious revolt of the Maccabees nearly 2 centuries earlier.

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The serpents (Mt 23:33-23:33)

“You snakes!

You brood of vipers!

How can you

Escape

Being sentenced

To Gehenna?”

 

ὄφεις, γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν, πῶς φύγητε ἀπὸ τῆς κρίσεως τῆς γεέννης;

 

This attack on the Pharisees and Scribes is somewhat similar to the attack that John the Baptist had against the Pharisees and Sadducees earlier in Matthew, chapter 3:7.  When they came to be baptized by John, he was critical of both the Pharisees and the Sadducees.  He told them that they were like a group of vipers or poisonous snakes (Γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν), who would kill young people.  Here there is no mention of the Sadducees.  But the Pharisees and Scribes are called snakes (ὄφεις) and a brood of vipers or a group of poisonous snakes (γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν).  Jesus wanted to know how they could escape (πῶς φύγητε) being sentenced to Gehenna or hell (ἀπὸ τῆς κρίσεως τῆς γεέννης).  The Greek word for hell “γέενναν” or the English Gehenna was based on the Hebrew word Gehinnom that was the name of the valley south of Jerusalem where burning child sacrifices would take place.

The tenants kill the landowner’s son (Mt 21:37-21:39)

“Finally,

The landowner sent

His son

To them.

He said.

‘They will respect

My son.’

But when the tenants

Saw the son,

They said to themselves.

‘This is the heir!

Come!

Let us kill him!

We will get

His inheritance!’

They seized him.

They cast him out

Of the vineyard.

They killed him.”

 

ὕστερον δὲ ἀπέστειλεν πρὸς αὐτοὺς τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ λέγων Ἐντραπήσονται τὸν υἱόν μου.

οἱ δὲ γεωργοὶ ἰδόντες τὸν υἱὸν εἶπον ἐν ἑαυτοῖς Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ κληρονόμος· δεῦτε ἀποκτείνωμεν αὐτὸν καὶ σχῶμεν τὴν κληρονομίαν αὐτοῦ·

καὶ λαβόντες αὐτὸν ἐξέβαλον ἔξω τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος καὶ ἀπέκτειναν.

 

This parable of the killing of the landowner’s son can be found in Mark, chapter 12:6-8, and Luke, chapter 20:13-15, almost word for word.  Finally, this landowner sent his own son to these wicked tenants (ὕστερον δὲ ἀπέστειλεν πρὸς αὐτοὺς τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ).  He said to himself that they would respect his son (Ἐντραπήσονται τὸν υἱόν μου).  Instead, when the tenants saw the son of the landowner (οἱ δὲ γεωργοὶ ἰδόντες τὸν υἱὸν), they said to themselves (εἶπον ἐν ἑαυτοῖς) that he was the heir (Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ κληρονόμος).  They were going to kill him (δεῦτε ἀποκτείνωμεν αὐτὸν), thinking that they would get his inheritance (καὶ σχῶμεν τὴν κληρονομίαν αὐτοῦ).  They were really dumb.  Thus, they seized his son (καὶ λαβόντες αὐτὸν) and cast him out of the vineyard (ἐξέβαλον ἔξω τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος), where they killed him (καὶ ἀπέκτειναν).  The meaning of this parable was becoming clearer.  The landowner was God the Father.  The tenants were the Jewish religious leaders.  The slaves were the Israelite prophets.  Jesus was the son of the Father.  He was killed outside of Jerusalem, the vineyard.  Clearly, Jesus would not have to explain this parable to his disciples and apostles.

Jesus was hungry (Mt 21:18-21:18)

“In the morning,

When Jesus returned

To the city,

He was hungry.”

 

Πρωῒ δὲ ἐπαναγαγὼν εἰς τὴν πόλιν ἐπείνασεν.

 

This story about Jesus being hungry in the morning can be found in Mark, chapter 11:12, almost word for word.  In the morning (Πρωῒ δὲ), when Jesus returned from Bethany to the city of Jerusalem (ἐπαναγαγὼν εἰς τὴν πόλιν), he was hungry (ἐπείνασεν).  This simple statement starts an interesting story, but also shows an interesting human trait of Jesus.  Like many other humans, he was hungry in the morning.

Jesus goes to Bethany (Mt 21:17-21:17)

“Jesus left them.

He went out of the city.

He went to Bethany.

He spent the night there.”

 

Καὶ καταλιπὼν αὐτοὺς ἐξῆλθεν ἔξω τῆς πόλεως εἰς Βηθανίαν, καὶ ηὐλίσθη ἐκεῖ.

 

Mark, chapter 11:11, also talked about Jesus going to Bethany.  Jesus left the chief priests and the Scribes (Καὶ καταλιπὼν αὐτοὺς).  He went out of the city of Jerusalem (ἐξῆλθεν ἔξω τῆς πόλεως).  Thus, he went to Bethany (εἰς Βηθανίαν), where he spent the night (καὶ ηὐλίσθη ἐκεῖ).  This would make sense, as it was about a mile and a half east of Jerusalem.  This was the same city of Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha.  However, Matthew never mentioned Mary, Martha, or Lazarus.

The cures in the Temple (Mt 21:14-21:14)

“The blind

Came to him.

The lame

Came to him

In the Temple.

Jesus healed them.”

 

Καὶ προσῆλθον αὐτῷ τυφλοὶ καὶ χωλοὶ ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ, καὶ ἐθεράπευσεν αὐτούς.

 

This is unique to Matthew.  He said that Jesus actually healed and cured (καὶ ἐθεράπευσεν αὐτούς) the blind people (τυφλοὶ) and the lame people (καὶ χωλοὶ) in the Jerusalem Temple itself (ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ).  These people had come to him there (Καὶ προσῆλθον αὐτῷ).  These actions with the cleansing of the Temple might have upset the Jewish religious leaders in Jerusalem.

Who is this man? (Mt 21:10-21:11)

“When Jesus

Entered Jerusalem,

The whole city

Was in turmoil.

Asking.

‘Who is this?’

The crowds were saying.

‘This is the prophet Jesus

From Nazareth

Of Galilee.’”

 

καὶ εἰσελθόντος αὐτοῦ εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα ἐσείσθη πᾶσα ἡ πόλις λέγουσα Τίς ἐστιν οὗτος;

οἱ δὲ ὄχλοι ἔλεγον Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ προφήτης Ἰησοῦς ὁ ἀπὸ Ναζαρὲθ τῆς Γαλιλαίας.

 

Only Matthew has these remarks about what happened to Jesus as he entered the city of Jerusalem (καὶ εἰσελθόντος αὐτοῦ εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα).  Matthew said that the whole city was in turmoil or stirred up wondering (ἐσείσθη πᾶσα ἡ πόλις) who was this man entering the city (Τίς ἐστιν οὗτος).  The crowds (οἱ δὲ ὄχλοι), a favorite theme of Matthew, said that this was the prophet Jesus (ἔλεγον Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ προφήτης Ἰησοῦς), from Nazareth in Galilee (ὁ ἀπὸ Ναζαρὲθ τῆς Γαλιλαίας).  How the crowds could speak with one voice was not explained.  However, there was no messianic overtone here, but merely Jesus as a northern prophet.  Also note that the emphasis was on Jesus from Galilee, the north, rather than a Judean or a southerner.