Common relatives in the Babylonian captivity (Lk 3:27-3:27)

“The son of Joanan,

The son of Rhesa,

The son of Zerubbabel,

The son of Shealtiel,

The son of Neri.”

 

τοῦ Ἰωανὰν τοῦ Ῥησὰ τοῦ Ζοροβάβελ τοῦ Σαλαθιὴλ τοῦ Νηρεὶ

 

Finally, we find 2 common names from Matthew, chapter 1:12, when he was describing people during the Babylonian captivity.  Here Matthew and Luke have an agreement on 2 people, Zerubbabel and Shealtiel.  These 2 individuals can be found in 1 Chronicles, chapter 3:10-20, after the Israelites from Judah and Jerusalem were deported to Babylon, Jechoniah became the father of Salathiel (Σαλαθιήλ).  Jechoniah was the son of King Jehoiakim and grandson of King Josiah who had ruled Judah in 598 BCE.  Jechoniah was exiled for 37 years as indicated in 2 Kings, chapter 25.  Salathiel or Shealtiel was his oldest son, but he had at least 5 other brothers.  According to 1 Chronicles, Salathiel had no children, so that his brother Pedaiah was the father of Zerubbabel (Ζοροβαβέλ), not him.  Zerubbabel was the leader of the tribe of Judah at the time of their return from captivity, as his name appears over 25 times in the scriptural writings.  The Persian king appointed Zerubbabel the governor of Judah, where he rebuilt the Jerusalem Temple.  He also had a Persian name of Sheshbazzar as described in 1 Esdras, chapters 1-3.  Here Luke said, without any comment, that the son of Joanan (τοῦ Ἰωανὰν), the son of Rhesa (τοῦ Ῥησὰ), the son of Zerubbabel (τοῦ Ζοροβάβελ), the son of Shealtiel (τοῦ Σαλαθιὴλ), the son of Neri (τοῦ Νηρεὶ).

The prophet Anna (Lk 2:36-2:36)

“There was a prophet,

Anna,

The daughter of Phanuel,

Of the tribe of Asher.

She was of a great age.

She had lived

With her husband

Seven years

After her marriage.”

 

Καὶ ἦν Ἄννα προφῆτις, θυγάτηρ Φανουήλ, ἐκ φυλῆς Ἀσήρ· αὕτη προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ἡμέραις πολλαῖς, ζήσασα μετὰ ἀνδρὸς ἔτη ἑπτὰ ἀπὸ τῆς παρθενίας αὐτῆς,

 

Next Luke introduced a female prophet, Anna.  There were some female prophets in the biblical literature like Miriam in Exodus, chapter 15:20, the sister of Aaron and Moses, who was called a prophet like her brother Aaron, the first instance of women worshiping God.  Deborah, in Judges, chapter 4:4, was a married woman prophet from the northern tribe of Ephraim who led troops into battle.  Finally, Huddah in 2 Kings, chapter 22:14-20, was one of the few mentioned female prophets.  The elders in Jerusalem consulted her about what to do with a holy book.  Her response led to the religious revival under King Josiah (640-609 BCE).  Like the other Israelite male and female prophets, Anna interpreted God’s will for his people.  Luke said that there was a prophet Anna (Καὶ ἦν Ἄννα προφῆτις), the daughter of Phanuel (θυγάτηρ Φανουήλ), of the northern tribe of Asher (ἐκ φυλῆς Ἀσήρ).  Her father’s name Phanuel was considered to be the fourth of the great archangels with Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel, according to the 3rd century BCE work, the Book of Enoch, but there is no implication here that she was angelic.  Thus, she was not a local Judean, but a northern Galilean Jewish person from Asher.  She was greatly advanced in years (τη προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ἡμέραις πολλαῖς), since she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage (ζήσασα μετὰ ἀνδρὸς ἔτη ἑπτὰ ἀπὸ τῆς παρθενίας αὐτῆς).  She had become a widow.

The genealogy during the Babylonian captivity (Mt 1:12-1:12)

“After the deportation to Babylon,

Jechoniah was

The father of Salathiel.

Salathiel was

The father of Zerubbabel.”

 

Μετὰ δὲ τὴν μετοικεσίαν Βαβυλῶνος Ἰεχονίας ἐγέννησεν τὸν Σαλαθιήλ, Σαλαθιὴλ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ζοροβαβέλ,

 

Based on the text in 1 Chronicles, chapter 3, after the Israelites from Judah and Jerusalem were deported to Babylon (Μετὰ δὲ τὴν μετοικεσίαν Βαβυλῶνος), Jechoniah (Ἰεχονίας) became the father of Salathiel (Σαλαθιήλ).  Jechoniah was the son of King Jehoiakim and grandson of King Josiah who had ruled Judah in 598 BCE.  Jechoniah was exiled for 37 years as indicated in 2 Kings, chapter 25.  Salathiel or Shealtiel was his oldest son, but he had at least 5 other brothers.  According to 1 Chronicles, Salathiel had no children, so that his brother Pedaiah was the father of Zerubbabel (Ζοροβαβέλ), not him.  Zerubbabel was the leader of the tribe of Judah at the time of their return from captivity, as his name appears over 25 times in the scriptural writings.  The Persian king appointed Zerubbabel the governor of Judah, where he rebuilt the Jerusalem Temple.  He also had a Persian name of Sheshbazzar as described in 1 Esdras, chapters 1-3.  This Greek text used the term “begat” (ἐγέννησεν) to represent the relationships between these men.  However, it seems perfectly acceptable to simply call them the father instead of saying “fathered them.”

Title (Zeph 1:1-1:1)

“The word of Yahweh

That came to Zephaniah,

Son of Cushi,

Son of Gedaliah,

Son of Amariah,

Son of Hezekiah,

In the days

Of King Josiah,

Son of Amon,

Of Judah.”

As with many other prophets, the word of Yahweh came to Zephaniah.  However, there is a long description of his lineage.  He was the son of a Cushi that could mean a Cushite, an Ethiopian, or a dark-skinned person.  There was a Gedaliah who was a governor of Israel after the exile, but the setting is earlier here.  There 9 different people with the name of Amariah mentioned in the biblical literature.  This one could have been the son of King Hezekiah of Judah who ruled from 716-687 BCE.  That is quite possible since Zephaniah was a prophet during the reign of King Josiah (640-609 BCE) who was the son of King Amon (642-640 BCE).  Thus, Zephaniah may have been a prophet with royal blood.

The allegory of the young lion (Ezek 19:1-19:4)

“As for you!

Raise up

A lamentation

For the princes of Israel!

Say!

‘What a lioness

Was your mother

Among lions!

She lay down

Among young lions,

Rearing her cubs.

She raised up

One of her cubs.

He became

A young lion.

He learned

To catch prey.

He devoured humans.

The nations sounded

An alarm

Against him.

He was caught

In their pit.

They brought him

With hooks

To the land of Egypt.”

Now Ezekiel has an allegorical poetic lamentation for the officials and princes of Israel. There was a lioness mother who took care of her cubs. Apparently this is an allusion to Judah, the lioness. One of them became a young lion who learned how to catch prey. In fact, he devoured some humans. Other countries got upset. They then caught him in a pit. They hooked him and brought him to Egypt. Who is this young lion that was brought to Egypt? This may be a reference to King Jehoahaz (609 BCE) who was captured, after the death of his father, King Josiah (640-609 BCE).

The time and place of Ezekiel’s first vision (Ezek 1:1-1:3)

“In the thirtieth year,

In the fourth month,

On the fifth day

Of the month,

As I was among the exiles

By the river Chebar,

The heavens

Were opened.

I saw visions

Of God.

This was the fifth day

Of the month

Of the fifth year

Of the exile

Of King Jehoiachin.

The word of Yahweh

Came to

The priest Ezekiel,

The son of Buzi,

In the land

Of the Chaldeans

By the river Chebar.

The hand

Of Yahweh

Was on me there.”

The dating is very precise here. This is the 30th year, probably from his birth around 623 BCE during the reign of King Josiah. Ezekiel writes in the first person singular. He said that he was among the exiles at the Chebar River, a small canal near Erech that ran into the Euphrates River in northern Babylon. On the 5th day of the 4th month the heavens opened to provide visions of God to him.  Once again, there is precise information about the date, as this was the 5th year of the exile of King Jehoiachin that had occurred in 598 BCE. Thus this year would have been 593 BCE. Ezekiel’s father was Buzi, a Jerusalem priest, so that he was from a family of priests. The word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar. Yahweh put his hand on him. Thus the opening scene is set with this 30 year old exiled Jerusalem priest by a river bank with the rest of the exiles, when a heavenly vision appeared to him.

The evil King Zedekiah (Jer 52:2-52:3)

“King Zedekiah

Did what was evil

In the sight of Yahweh,

Just as King Jehoiakim

Had done.

Indeed,

Jerusalem

With Judah

So angered Yahweh

That he expelled them

From his presence.

However,

King Zedekiah

Rebelled

Against the king of Babylon.”

This is word for word the same as the opening of 2 Kings, chapter 25. Yahweh was angry with King Zedekiah, since he walked in the evil ways of his brother King Jehoiakim, and not in the good ways of his father, King Josiah. However, King Zedekiah also rebelled against the king of Babylon, which was not always a good idea since the king of Babylon had put him on the throne.

Jeremiah stays in Judah (Jer 40:5-40:6)

“‘If you remain,

Then return to Gedaliah,

The son of Ahikam,

The son of Shaphan.

The king of Babylon

Has appointed him governor

Of the towns of Judah.

Stay with him

Among the people!

Or go wherever

You think it right to go.’

So the captain of the guard

Gave him an allowance

Of food

With a present.

He let him go.

Then Jeremiah went

To Gedaliah,

The son of Ahikam,

At Mizpah.

He stayed with him

Among the people

Who were left in the land.”

Nebuzaradan, the captain of the troops, told Jeremiah that if he stayed in Judah that he would be better off with Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam. The King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah the governor for the towns of Judah, since there was no longer a king. As mentioned in the previous chapter, Gedaliah’s father and grandfather, Ahikam and Shaphan had been loyal to the various prophets. Shaphan went back to the days of King Josiah (640-609 BCE) and his religious reform. Ahikam had protected Jeremiah during the reign of King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE) as in chapter 26 of this book. His brother Gemariah had helped Jeremiah in chapter 36. Thus Ahikam’s son Gedaliah seemed like the right person to protect Jeremiah. Still Jeremiah was free to go wherever he wanted. The captain of the troops gave Jeremiah some food and a present, maybe some money. Jeremiah then went to Gedaliah, who was at Mizpah, about 6 miles north of Jerusalem, in the Benjamin territory. Thus Jeremiah stayed with all these people who were left in Israel. These were either the so-called poor people or collaborators with the Babylon king and his emissaries.

Jeremiah is sent to Gedaliah (Jer 39:13-39:14)

“So Nebuzaradan,

The captain of the guard,

Nebu-shazban the Rabsaris,

Nergal-sharezer the Rabmag,

With all the chief officers

Of the king of Babylon

Sent for Jeremiah.

They took him

From the court of the guard.

They entrusted him

To Gedaliah,

The son of Ahikam,

The son of Shaphan.

They brought him home.

So he stayed

With his own people.”

Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, and presumably the man in charge on the ground in Jerusalem, gathered the other Babylonian officials together. Two are named here. One is the same as mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, Nergal-sharezer the Rabmag, who was in charge of the Assyrian priests or religious element of Babylon. On the other hand, Nebu-shazban the Rabsaris has the same title as Sarsechim, Rabsaris, earlier in this chapter. The Rabsaris was in charge of the eunuchs, but the name is different here. Are they the same people with different names or two different people? Anyway, they take Jeremiah from the royal prison, presumably before they burn the royal palace down. They hand him over to Gedaliah. His father and grandfather, Ahikam and Shaphan had been loyal to the various prophets. Shaphan went back to the days of King Josiah (640-609 BCE) and his religious reform. Ahikam had protected Jeremiah during the reign of King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE) as in chapter 26 of this book. His brother Gemariah had helped Jeremiah in chapter 36. Thus Ahikam’s son Gedaliah seemed like the right person to protect Jeremiah.

The new king (Jer 37:1-37:1)

“King Zedekiah,

The son of King Josiah,

Whom King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon

Made king

In the land of Judah,

Succeeded King Coniah,

The son of King Jehoiakim.”          

This is a clear statement that the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar (605-562 BCE) put King Zedekiah on the throne of David in Judah in 598 BCE. The Babylonian king got rid of King Coniah or King Jehoiachin, who was the son of King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE), who had just died. There is no doubt that King Zedekiah or King Mattaniah (598-587 BCE), the son of King Josiah (640-609 BCE) and brother of King Jehoiakim, was the favorite of the Babylonian king. Like the preceding chapter, this is a different numbered chapter in the Greek translation of the Septuagint, chapter 44, not chapter 37 as here.