Follow me! (Lk 18:22-18:22)

“When Jesus

Heard this,

He said to him.

‘There is one thing

Still lacking.

Sell all

That you own!

Distribute

The money

To the poor!

You will have treasure

In heaven.

Then come!

Follow me!’”

 

ἀκούσας δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ἔτι ἕν σοι λείπει· πάντα ὅσα ἔχεις πώλησον καὶ διάδος πτωχοῖς, καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι.

 

Luke indicated that when Jesus heard this (ἀκούσας δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς), he said to this ruler (εἶπεν αὐτῷ) that there was only one thing still lacking (Ἔτι ἕν σοι λείπει).  He should go and sell all that he owned (πάντα ὅσα ἔχεις πώλησον) and distribute this money to the poor (καὶ διάδος πτωχοῖς).  Thus, he would have treasure in heaven (καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς).  Then he should come and follow Jesus (καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι).  This call to perfection can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:21, and Matthew, chapter 19:21, but slightly different.  Mark said that Jesus looked at this man (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἐμβλέψας αὐτῷ) and loved him (ἠγάπησεν αὐτὸν).  Jesus said to him (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ) that he only lacked one thing or he fell short in one area (Ἕν σε ὑστερεῖ).  This man would have to go (ὕπαγε) and sell his possessions or whatever he had (ὅσα ἔχεις πώλησον).  Then he should give this money or the proceeds to the poor or destitute people (καὶ δὸς πτωχοῖς).  He no longer would have earthly wealth, but he would then have a treasure in heaven (καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν οὐρανῷ).  Finally, he could become a follower or accompany Jesus (καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι).  In Matthew, Jesus issued his ultimatum (ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς) on how to be perfect or complete (Εἰ θέλεις τέλειος εἶναι).  The young man would have to sell his possessions (ὕπαγε πώλησόν σου τὰ ὑπάρχοντα).  Then he would have to give the money proceeds to the poor or destitute people (καὶ δὸς πτωχοῖς).  He no longer would have earthly wealth, but he would then have a treasure in heaven (καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν οὐρανοῖς).  Finally, he could become a follower or accompany Jesus (καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι).  Like many of these sayings, Jesus had very high standards and difficult demands.  There was no equivocation.  Are you willing to sell everything and follow Jesus?

Did all that (Lk 18:21-18:21)

“He replied.

‘I have kept

All these

Since my youth.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Ταῦτα πάντα ἐφύλαξα ἐκ νεότητος.

 

Luke indicated that this ruler replied (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν) that he had kept all these commandments (Ταῦτα πάντα ἐφύλαξα) since his youth (ἐκ νεότητος).  This comment can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:20, and Matthew, chapter 19:20, but slightly different, with Luke closer to Mark, who indicated that this man responded to Jesus (ὁ δὲ ἔφη αὐτῷ).  Once again, he called Jesus “Teacher (Διδάσκαλε).”  He said that he had kept or observed all these commandments (ταῦτα πάντα ἐφυλαξάμην) from his youth (ἐκ νεότητός μου).  In Matthew, this person was identified as a young man, who responded to Jesus (λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ νεανίσκος).  He said that he had kept or observed all these commandments (Ταῦτα πάντα ἐφύλαξα).  Mark and Luke added “from his youth,” but in Matthew he was still a young man.  What was he still lacking (τί ἔτι ὑστερῶ)?  This seems like a very forthright righteous person who was trying to do the best that he could.  Have you been a faithful commandment follower since your youth?

No problem there (Mt 19:20-19:20)

“The young man

Said to Jesus.

‘I have kept all these commandments.

What do I still lack?’”

 

λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ νεανίσκος Ταῦτα πάντα ἐφύλαξα· τί ἔτι ὑστερῶ;

 

This comment by the young man can be found in Mark, chapter 10:20, and Luke, chapter 18:21, but slightly different.  This person is identified here as a young man, who responded to Jesus (λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ νεανίσκος).  He said that he had kept or observed all these commandments (Ταῦτα πάντα ἐφύλαξα).  Mark and Luke added “from his youth”, but here he was a young man.  What was he still lacking (τί ἔτι ὑστερῶ)?  This seems like a very forthright righteous person who was trying to do the best that he could.

Offerings to the queen of heaven (Jer 44:17-44:18)

“Instead,

We will do everything

That we have vowed.

We will make offerings

To the queen of heaven.

We will pour out libations

To her.

Just as we,

Our ancestors,

Our kings,

Our officials

Did

In the towns of Judah,

In the streets of Jerusalem.

We used to have

Plenty of food.

We prospered.

We saw no misfortune.

But from the time

We stopped making offerings

To the queen of heaven

And pouring out libations

To her,

We have lacked everything.

We have perished

By the sword

And by famine.”

The Judean refugees insisted that they would complete their vows to the queen of heaven. They would make offerings and libations to her just as their ancestors, their kings, and their officials had done in Judah and Jerusalem. When they were making these sacrifices, they had plenty of food and prospered. Since they stopped, they have been lacking everything. They have been dying by the sword and famine. Who then was this queen of heaven? For many Catholics, this might be a veiled reference to Mary, the mother of Jesus, since there are some Catholic churches with that name, Queen of Heaven. However, this is a clear reference to a popular goddess of fertility since Jeremiah had already mentioned this queen in chapter 7. In both places, here and there, this queen of heaven is a reference to the Babylonian and Assyrian goddess Ishtar, or the Canaanite goddess Astarte, the wife of the god Baal. The Greek equivalent would have been the goddess Aphrodite or the Roman goddess Venice, the goddess of love. Thus the practice of worshipping to this fertility “Queen of heaven” was quite popular already in Judah and Jerusalem, before they came to Egypt.

The people in Jerusalem (Jer 29:16-29:16)

“Thus says Yahweh

Concerning the king

Who sits

On the throne of David.

This concerns

All the people

Who live in this city.

This concerns

Your kinsmen

Who did not go out

With you into exile.”

This and the following verses are lacking in the Greek Septuagint translation, since they are like a comment on Jeremiah’s letter. Yahweh seems to be talking about the king in Jerusalem as well as the people who were not sent into captivity. These are the people who were left behind in Jerusalem, their relatives. They were the people favored by the Babylonians, since they were not sent to Babylon in the first purge and captivity of 598 BCE.

The teacher of wisdom (Sir 51:31-51:36)

“Draw near to me!

You!

Who are uneducated!

Lodge in the home of instruction!

Why do you say

That you are lacking in these things?

Why do you endure such great thirst?

I opened my mouth.

I said.

Acquire wisdom for yourselves

Without money.

Put your neck under her yoke.

Let your souls receive instruction.

It is to be found close by.

See with your own eyes.

I have labored but little.

I found for myself much serenity.

Hear but a little of my instruction!

You will acquire silver.

You will gain much gold.”

Now this author or Sirach assumes a teaching mode. He wants the uneducated to come to his house of instruction. If you admit that you are lacking something, then maybe you can learn a thing or two. You have to thirst for knowledge in order to drink from the fountain of knowledge. He wanted them to acquire knowledge without any charges. However, they would have to put their neck under the yoke of wisdom in order to receive this instruction. You can see how much serenity Sirach has achieved. If you listen to a little of his instruction, you will make a lot of money by acquiring silver and gold.

The useless tongue (Sir 37:16-37:21)

“Discussion

Is at the beginning of every work.

Counsel precedes every undertaking.

The mind

Is the root of all conduct.

It sprouts four branches,

Good and evil,

Life and death.

The tongue continually rules them.

Some people may be

Clever enough to teach many.

Yet they may be

Useless to themselves.

A skilful speaker may be hated.

He will be destitute of all food.

The Lord has withheld

The gift of charm.

He is lacking in all wisdom.”

Sirach points out that some discussion precedes all actions. Thus counsel and advice precede any undertaking. The mind is the source of all conduct. There are 4 branches to the mind, good, evil, life, and death. This is hard to figure out. I am not sure how the mind controls life and death, except spiritually. Good and evil are easy to see. The tongue rules over all 4 branches. Once again, it is hard to see how the tongue controls life and death other than in a spiritual way. Some people are clever enough to teach others, but not worth much to themselves. You can be a skilled but hated speaker, so that you might end up with not much food. The Lord may have withheld charm from this speaker, since he is lacking in wisdom.