The sinning woman with oil (Lk 7:37-7:37)

“A woman,

Who was a sinner

In that town,

Learned

That Jesus

Was eating

In the Pharisee’s house.

She brought

An alabaster bottle

Of Myron ointment.”

 

καὶ ἰδοὺ γυνὴ ἥτις ἦν ἐν τῇ πόλει ἁμαρτωλός, καὶ ἐπιγνοῦσα ὅτι κατάκειται ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ τοῦ Φαρισαίου, κομίσασα ἀλάβαστρον μύρου

 

Luke said that a woman who was a sinner (καὶ ἰδοὺ γυνὴ…ἁμαρτωλός) in that town (ἦν ἐν τῇ πόλει) learned or knew (καὶ ἐπιγνοῦσα) that Jesus was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house (ὅτι κατάκειται ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ τοῦ Φαρισαίου).  She brought an alabaster bottle of oil, ointment, or Myron (κομίσασα ἀλάβαστρον μύρου).  Her specific sin was not mentioned here, but she might have been a prostitute, since she was publically known in the town as a sinner by many of those there at this dinner party.  However, she brought an elegant alabaster bottle of oil or Myron.   There was a similar story with a sinning woman coming with a jar of oil in Matthew, chapter 26:6, Mark, chapter 14:3, and John, chapter 12:1, but within a different context, at Bethany and nearly right before the crucifixion of Jesus.  John identified this woman as Mary, the sister of Lazarus.  Some have identified this sinning woman as Mary Magdalene.  Here Jesus was at the house of a Pharisee, when this woman also brought an alabaster oil bottle.  Do you know any sinning women?

The widow’s dead son (Lk 7:12-7:12)

“As Jesus approached

The gate of the town,

He saw

A dead man

Being carried out.

He was his mother’s

Only son.

She was also a widow.

A large crowd

From the town

Was with her.”

 

ὡς δὲ ἤγγισεν τῇ πύλῃ τῆς πόλεως, καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐξεκομίζετο τεθνηκὼς μονογενὴς υἱὸς τῇ μητρὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ αὐτὴ ἦν χήρα, καὶ ὄχλος τῆς πόλεως ἱκανὸς ἦν σὺν αὐτῇ.

 

Luke has this unique story about the widow at Nain, since he had a soft spot for widows.  Luke said that as Jesus approached (ὡς δὲ ἤγγισεν) the gate of the town of Nain (ῇ πύλῃ τῆς πόλεως), he saw a dead man being carried out (καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐξεκομίζετο τεθνηκὼς).  He was his mother’s only son (μονογενὴς υἱὸς τῇ μητρὶ αὐτοῦ).  She was also a widow (καὶ αὐτὴ ἦν χήρα).  There was a large crowd of mourners from the town with her (καὶ ὄχλος τῆς πόλεως ἱκανὸς ἦν σὺν αὐτῇ).  They would bury people in cemeteries outside the town gates.  Thus, Jesus and his entourage saw this take place outside the town.  There were many people with his poor widow, mourning his death, as they prepared to bury him.  They must have learned somehow that she was a widow burying her only son.  Is losing an only child that difficult?  Or is losing a husband more difficult?

Pilate gave the body to Joseph (Mk 15:45-15:45)

“When he learned

From the centurion

That Jesus was dead,

He granted

The body

To Joseph.”

 

καὶ γνοὺς ἀπὸ τοῦ κεντυρίωνος ἐδωρήσατο τὸ πτῶμα τῷ Ἰωσήφ.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 27:58.  Luke, chapter 23:52, and John, chapter 19:38, who simply had this short statement, without any comment from Pilate.  Mark said when Pilate learned from the centurion (καὶ γνοὺς ἀπὸ τοῦ κεντυρίωνος) that Jesus was dead, he granted the body to Joseph (ἐδωρήσατο τὸ πτῶμα τῷ Ἰωσήφ).  Thus, the body of Jesus left the control of the Roman and the Jewish authorities.  However, there was no mention of the bodies of the other two robbers who had been crucified with Jesus.

The parable of the fig tree (Mt 24:32-24:32)

“From the fig tree,

Learn its lesson!

As soon as its branch

Becomes tender,

It puts forth its leaves.

Then you know

That summer

Is near.”

 

Ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς συκῆς μάθετε τὴν παραβολήν· ὅταν ἤδη ὁ κλάδος αὐτῆς γένηται ἁπαλὸς καὶ τὰ φύλλα ἐκφύῃ, γινώσκετε ὅτι ἐγγὺς τὸ θέρος

 

This is exactly the same, word for word, in Mark, chapter 13:28, but in Luke, chapter 21:29-30, almost word for word.  Earlier in chapter 21:19-20, Jesus had cursed a fig tree for not having fruit, but here there was a lesson or a little parable to be learned (μάθετε τὴν παραβολήν) from the fig tree (Ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς συκῆς).  As soon as its branches or shoots became tender (ὅταν ἤδη ὁ κλάδος αὐτῆς γένηται ἁπαλὸς), it would put forth its leaves (καὶ τὰ φύλλα ἐκφύῃ).  Then you would know that summer was near (γινώσκετε ὅτι ἐγγὺς τὸ θέρος).  In other words, the early leaves on a tree indicated that summer was coming.  Let’s hope that summer keeps coming.

Herod summoned the Magi (Mt 2:7-2:7)

“Then Herod secretly called

For the Magi.

He learned

From them

The exact time

When the star had appeared.”

 

Τότε Ἡρῴδης λάθρᾳ καλέσας τοὺς μάγους ἠκρίβωσεν παρ’ αὐτῶν τὸν χρόνον τοῦ φαινομένου ἀστέρος

 

Then Herod (Ἡρῴδης) secretly called (λάθρᾳ καλέσας) the magi (τοὺς μάγους).  It is not clear why he had to do this secretly, since they seem to have publicly went to him.  He wanted to know from them (ἠκρίβωσεν παρ’ αὐτῶν) the exact time (τὸν χρόνον) when this star had first appeared (τοῦ φαινομένου ἀστέρος).  This was an attempt by Herod to figure out when this new king was born.

Pride led to his downfall (Dan 5:20-5:21)

“But when his heart

Was lifted up,

His spirit

Was hardened.

Thus,

He acted proudly.

He was deposed

From his kingly throne.

His glory

Was stripped

From him.

He was driven

From human society.

His mind was made

Like that of an animal.

His dwelling was

With the wild asses.

He was fed grass

Like an ox.

His body was bathed

With the dew of heaven.

Finally,

He learned

That the Most High God

Has sovereignty

Over the kingdom

Of mortals.

The Most High God

Sets over it

Whomever he will.”

Daniel reminded this King Belshazzar of what had happened in the preceding chapter of this work to his father or grandfather, King Nebuchadnezzar, with his hard-prideful heart. Thus, the Most High God deposed him of his kingly throne and stripped him of his glory. The king was driven from human society, as his mind was like that of an animal, living among wild asses. He ate grass like an ox. He was bathed with a heavenly dew. He finally learned that the Most High God ruled over the kingdom of mortals, because God decides who will be in charge.

The second young lion (Ezek 19:5-19:6)

“When the lioness saw

That she was thwarted,

That her hope was lost,

She took another

Of her lion cubs.

She made him

A young lion.

He prowled

Among the lions.

He became a young lion.

He learned

To catch prey.

He devoured people.”

With the capture of the first young lion, this lioness tried to develop a second young lion. She had given up hope, but then she found another one of her young lion cubs. She made him into another young lion so that he prowled among the other young lions. He then learned to catch prey and devour humans. Perhaps this lioness is a reference to Hamutal, the wife of King Josiah (640-609 BCE), whose two sons became kings, King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE) and King Zedekiah (598-587 BCE).

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 lack of knowledge (Bar 3:20-3:23)

“Later generations

Have seen

The light of day.

They have lived

Upon this earth.

But they have

Not learned

The way to knowledge.

They have not

Understood her paths.

They have not

Laid hold of her.

Their descendants

Have strayed far

From her way.

She has not been heard of

In Canaan.

She has not been seen

In Teman.

The descendants of Hagar

Seek for understanding

On the earth.

The merchants of Merran,

With the merchants of Teman

Have not learned

The way to wisdom.

The story-tellers,

The seekers for understanding

Have not given thought

To her paths.”

The people living today on this earth have not learned the way to knowledge. They have not understood the various paths to get there. They are unable to grab knowledge. Their descendants have wandered far off the beaten path towards knowledge. Thus they cannot hear or see of knowledge in Canaan or Teman. Canaan was the old name for the land of Israel, while Teman was a city in Edom, south of Israel that was well known for its wisdom. The descendants of Hagar, the concubine of Abraham, or the Ishmaelites, were also seeking understanding. However, the merchants of Midian or Merran with the merchants of Teman in Edom have not learned the various paths to wisdom. The story-tellers and even those seeking understanding have not learned the way or path to wisdom. In fact, they have given little thought to this question.

The judgment on the neighbors (Jer 12:14-12:17)

“Thus says Yahweh

Concerning all my evil neighbors

Who touch the heritage

That I have given

My people Israel to inherit.

‘I am about to pluck them up

From their land.

I will pluck up

The house of Judah

from among them.

After I have plucked them up,

I will again have compassion on them.

I will bring them again

To their heritage,

To their land.

Then if they will diligently learn

The ways of my people,

To swear by my name,

‘As Yahweh lives!’

As they taught my people

To swear by Baal,

Then they shall be built up

In the midst of my people.

But if any nation will not listen,

Then I will completely uproot it.

I will destroy it.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh gave a warning to the evil neighbors of Judah. They were not to touch the inherited land of the Israelite people, despite his anger at them. He was going to pluck up the people of Judah from their land. However, he was going to later have compassion on them, since he was going to bring all of them back to their land and their heritage. This would happen after they had learned the ways of Yahweh, just as they learned the evil ways of Baal. They had to swear by the living God, Yahweh. They would be built up among his people. However, if any nation did not listen, then Yahweh would then uproot and destroy them also. This clearly was an oracle of Yahweh, via Jeremiah, that showed his compassion for Judah, despite everything.