The salt loses its taste (Lk 14:34-14:34)

“Salt is good.

But if salt

Has lost its taste,

How can its saltiness

Be restored?”

 

Καλὸν οὖν τὸ ἅλας· ἐὰν δὲ καὶ τὸ ἅλας μωρανθῇ, ἐν τίνι ἀρτυθήσεται;

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that salt was good (Καλὸν οὖν τὸ ἅλας).  But if the salt has lost its taste (ἐὰν δὲ καὶ τὸ ἅλας μωρανθῇ), how can its saltiness be restored or re-seasoned (ἐν τίνι ἀρτυθήσεται)?  This saying of Jesus can be found in Mark, chapter 9:50, and Matthew, chapter 5:13.  Salt was important not just as a spice and preservative, but it represented wisdom and purity in the ancient world and Judaism.  Matthew had Jesus turn to his disciples to remind them that they were the salt of the earth or the land (Ὑμεῖς ἐστε τὸ ἅλας τῆς γῆς).  The other two gospel writers just had statements about salt, rather than speaking explicitly to the disciples.  Matthew switched to the 3rd person from the 2nd person, when he explained about salt losing its taste (ἐὰν δὲ τὸ ἅλας μωρανθῇ).  How can that taste be restored to the salt (ἐν τίνι ἁλισθήσεται)?  Mark indicated that Jesus said that salt was good (καλὸν τὸ ἅλας).  However, if the salt has lost its taste or saltiness (ἐὰν δὲ τὸ ἅλας ἄναλον γένηται), if it is insipid, how can the taste be restored to the salt (ἐν τίνι αὐτὸ ἀρτύσετε)?  How can you season the salt?

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The parable of the rich man (Lk 12:16-12:16)

“Then he told them

A parable.

He said.

‘The land

Of a rich man

Produced abundantly.”

 

Εἶπεν δὲ παραβολὴν πρὸς αὐτοὺς λέγων Ἀνθρώπου τινὸς πλουσίου εὐφόρησεν ἡ χώρα

 

Next Luke uniquely had Jesus say that he was going to tell them a parable (Εἶπεν δὲ παραβολὴν πρὸς αὐτοὺς λέγων) about a certain rich man (Ἀνθρώπου τινὸς πλουσίου) who had land that produced abundantly (εὐφόρησεν ἡ χώρα).  Luke was the strongest synoptic against wealth and reliance on it.  Here the story is about a rich land owner with a fertile farm.  What do you know about farms?

The demoniac from the tombs (Lk 8:27-8:27)

“As he stepped out

On the land,

A man from the city,

Who had demons,

Met Jesus.

For a long time,

He had worn

No clothes.

He did not live

In a house,

But in the tombs.”

 

ἐξελθόντι δὲ αὐτῷ ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν ὑπήντησεν ἀνήρ τις ἐκ τῆς πόλεως ἔχων δαιμόνια, καὶ χρόνῳ ἱκανῷ οὐκ ἐνεδύσατο ἱμάτιον, καὶ ἐν οἰκίᾳ οὐκ ἔμενεν ἀλλ’ ἐν τοῖς μνήμασιν.

 

Luke said that as Jesus stepped out on the land (ἐξελθόντι δὲ αὐτῷ ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν), a certain man from the city (ἀνήρ τις ἐκ τῆς πόλεως), who had demons (ἔχων δαιμόνια), met Jesus (ὑπήντησεν).  For a long time (καὶ χρόνῳ ἱκανῷ), this man had worn no clothes (οὐκ ἐνεδύσατο ἱμάτιον).  He did not live in a house (καὶ ἐν οἰκίᾳ οὐκ ἔμενεν), but in the tombs (ἀλλ’ ἐν τοῖς μνήμασιν).  All three synoptic gospels. Matthew, chapter 8:28, Mark, chapter 5:2-3, and Luke here, had Jesus travel to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.  Mark, like Luke, said that Jesus met a man as he stepped out of the boat.  This person came from the tombs, where he lived.  No one could restrain him, even with chains, so that this was a strong violent possessed person.  Matthew had Jesus meet 2 people possessed by the devil, who were menacing people as they passed by.  They too also were coming out of the tombs.  These two demonic people were so extremely violent or fierce, that no one could pass by them on their way.  Only Luke, who had just one possessed man, said that this man was naked.  Does clothing matter to you?

 

They follow Jesus (Lk 5:11-5:11)

“When they had brought

Their boats

To land,

They left everything.

They followed Jesus.”

 

καὶ καταγαγόντες τὰ πλοῖα ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν, ἀφέντες πάντα ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ.

 

Luke has a simple statement compared to Mark and Matthew.  He said that when these fishermen had brought their boats to land (καὶ καταγαγόντες τὰ πλοῖα ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν), they left everything (ἀφέντες πάντα).  They followed Jesus (ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ).  This is like Mark, chapter 1:19-20, or Matthew, chapter 4:19-20.  There Jesus said to them to come and follow after him, since he was going to make them fishers of human people.  They immediately left their nets and followed or accompanied Jesus, like an Israelite prophetic call, since Jesus had spoken directly to these two men.  He issued an invitation that seemed like a command at the same time.  They followed after Jesus, no matter what.  Like the Hebrew prophets, their response was immediate, without any hesitation.  They left their fishing nets, as both Simon Peter and Andrew, his brother, became disciples of Jesus.  The other two brothers, James and John left both their boat and also their father Zebedee.  However, in Luke, there was no mention of Andrew, the brother of Simon, or any direct formal call to these fishermen.  The results were the same.  There were either 3 or 4 new full disciples of Jesus.

The famine at the time of Elijah (Lk 4:25-4:26)

“In truth!

I say to you!

There were many widows

In Israel

At the time of Elijah.

The heavens

Were shut closed for

Three years and six months.

There came

A great famine

Over all the land.

Yet Elijah was sent

To none of them,

Except to a widow

At Zarephath,

In Sidon.”

 

ἐπ’ ἀληθείας δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, πολλαὶ χῆραι ἦσαν ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Ἡλείου ἐν τῷ Ἰσραήλ, ὅτε ἐκλείσθη ὁ οὐρανὸς ἐπὶ ἔτη τρία καὶ μῆνας ἕξ, ὡς ἐγένετο λιμὸς μέγας ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν

καὶ πρὸς οὐδεμίαν αὐτῶν ἐπέμφθη Ἡλείας εἰ μὴ εἰς Σάρεπτα τῆς Σιδωνίας πρὸς γυναῖκα χήραν.

 

There are no similar stories in Mark and Matthew.  Luke uniquely had Jesus tell this story about Elijah as found in 1 Kings, chapter 17:1-16.  John the Baptist had been compared to Elijah, a major almost romantic 9th century BCE prophet, whose name appears more than 100 times in the biblical literature.  Elijah also appeared with Moses in the transfiguration of Jesus mentioned later in this work.  Elijah’s influence on the evangelical authors was very important, just like here.  There were a series of stories about Elijah when King Ahab (874-853 BCE) was king of Israel.  Elijah, commanded by Yahweh, went to a northern town near Sidon, probably a Phoenician town.  He provided a widow and her family with a never-ending jar and jug that provided meal and oil for her and her household until the drought came to an end.  Luke pointed out with a solemn pronouncement (ἐπ’ ἀληθείας δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν) that there were many widows (πολλαὶ χῆραι ἦσαν) at the time of Elijah (ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Ἡλείου), in Israel (ἐν τῷ Ἰσραήλ).  The heavens were closed or shut down (ὅτε ἐκλείσθη ὁ οὐρανὸς) for 3 ½ years (ἐπὶ ἔτη τρία καὶ μῆνας ἕξ).  Thus, there was a great drought across the whole land (ὡς ἐγένετο λιμὸς μέγας ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν).  However, Yahweh sent Elijah to none of the Israelite widows (καὶ πρὸς οὐδεμίαν αὐτῶν ἐπέμφθη Ἡλείας).  Instead Elijah was sent to a widow at Zarephath, in Sidon (εἰ μὴ εἰς Σάρεπτα τῆς Σιδωνίας πρὸς γυναῖκα χήραν).

The disciples at sea (Mk 6:47-6:47)

“When evening came,

The boat was out

In the middle

Of the sea.

Jesus was alone

On the land.”

 

καὶ ὀψίας γενομένης ἦν τὸ πλοῖον ἐν μέσῳ τῆς θαλάσσης, καὶ αὐτὸς μόνος ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς.

 

This incident about the disciples in the boat at sea can also be found in Matthew, chapter 14:24, and John, chapter 6:18.  When evening came (καὶ ὀψίας γενομένης), the boat with the disciples was far from the land, out in the middle of the sea (ἦν τὸ πλοῖον ἐν μέσῳ τῆς θαλάσσης).  However, Jesus was alone on the land (καὶ αὐτὸς μόνος ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς).

Against the seacoast people (Zeph 2:5-2:7)

“Woe to you!

Inhabitants of the seacoast!

You nation of the Cherethites!

The word of Yahweh

Is against you!

O Canaan!

Land of the Philistines!

I will destroy you

Until no inhabitant is left.

You,

O seacoast,

Shall be pastures,

Shall be meadows for shepherds,

Shall be folds for flocks.

The seacoast

Shall become the possession

Of the remnant

Of the house of Judah.

They shall pasture

In the houses of Ashkelon.

They shall lie down at evening.

Yahweh,

Their God,

Will be mindful of them.

He will restore

Their fortunes.”

Yahweh, via Zephaniah, rebuked the whole seacoast area of the Philistines, about 32 miles along the Mediterranean coast line and about 10-16 miles wide inland in southwestern Canaan.  They were called Cherethites, since they may have had some connection to the island of Crete.  Yahweh was against them, so that he was going to destroy them until there was nothing left of them.  They would become a possession of the remnants of Judah.  Their land would become like meadows for sheep.  Their houses in Ashkelon would become pastures.  Yahweh was going to restore the fortunes of the Israelites.