The Christmas scene birth of Jesus (Lk 2:7-2:7)

“Mary gave birth

To her first-born son.

She wrapped him

In bands

Of swaddling cloths.

She laid him

In a manger,

Because there was

No place

For them

In the inn.”

 

καὶ ἔτεκεν τὸν υἱὸν αὐτῆς τὸν πρωτότοκον, καὶ ἐσπαργάνωσεν αὐτὸν καὶ ἀνέκλινεν αὐτὸν ἐν φάτνῃ, διότι οὐκ ἦν αὐτοῖς τόπος ἐν τῷ καταλύματι.

 

Luke explained in great detail about the birth of Jesus, his clothing, and the manger, that has become the famous Christmas scene that most have come to know and love.  Matthew, chapter 2:1, had no details like this in his story about the birth of Jesus, while Mark and John had no infancy narratives at all.  In fact, Matthew said that the Magi visited Mary and the child in a house in chapter 2:11, not a manger.  Luke reported that Mary gave birth to her first-born son (καὶ ἔτεκεν τὸν υἱὸν αὐτῆς τὸν πρωτότοκον).  Did that imply that there were other children?  Within the Jewish tradition, the first-born male child would be dedicated to God with special legal and family rights, as indicated in Exodus, chapter 13:2, where Yahweh got the first-born of everything, as a consecration to God.  In Numbers, chapter 3:12, the Levites take the place of the first born as a dedication to God.  In Deuteronomy, chapter 21:17, the first born had all the rights versus the other children.  Mary wrapped the baby Jesus with bands of cloth or swaddling clothes (καὶ ἐσπαργάνωσεν αὐτὸν), as it is often called.  These tight bands of cloth kept the arms and legs of the newborn from wailing away, while also keeping the child warm.  Then Mary laid him in a manger (καὶ ἀνέκλινεν αὐτὸν ἐν φάτνῃ), because there was no place for them in the lodging inn (διότι οὐκ ἦν αὐτοῖς τόπος ἐν τῷ καταλύματι).  This manger (ἐν φάτνῃ) was a feeding trough for horses and cattle.  Thus, Jesus was born in a place where animals would feed.  He then would offer himself as the bread of life.  Apparently, they were in a barn because there were no appropriate lodging places for a pregnant expecting woman.  There was no indication that Joseph had other relatives in Bethlehem where they might stay.  Just by coincidence, I am posting this blog on December 24, 2018, Christmas Eve.

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The rescue of Samaria (Am 3:12-3:12)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘As the shepherd

Rescues

From the mouth

Of the lion

Two legs,

Or a piece of an ear,

So,

Shall the people of Israel

Who live in Samaria

Be rescued,

With the corner

Of a couch

Or with part of a bed.’”

Amos has a cute little saying of Yahweh that compares him to a shepherd. A shepherd would pick up the pieces after a lion has devoured a sheep. So too, Yahweh would do the same for Samaria. As the shepherd took a couple of legs and an ear or a sheep, so Yahweh would save the corner of a couch or a part of a bed of the people in Samaria.

The description of the man on the banks of the Great River (Dan 10:4-10:6)

“On the twenty-fourth day

Of the first month,

As I was standing

On the bank

Of the great river,

That is the Tigris,

I looked up.

I saw

A man clothed

In linen,

With a belt

Of gold,

From Uphaz,

Around his waist.

His body was

Like beryl.

His face was

Like lightning.

His eyes were

Like flaming torches.

His arms,

As well as his legs,

Were

Like the gleam

Of burnished bronze.

The sound

Of his words were

Like the noise

Of a multitude.”

On the 24th of the 1st month, Daniel was on the banks of the great river, the Euphrates, not the Tigris, since the Tigris does not go through Babylon. Then Daniel looked up. He saw a man dressed in linen clothes with a Uphaz gold belt. Uphaz was another name for Ophir, a large gold mining area. Daniel then described this man’s body as like beryl or emerald looking. His face was like lightning. His eyes were like flaming torches. He almost sounded like Santa Claus. His arms and legs were like burnished bronze, similar to the bronze man at the end of the Book of Ezekiel, chapters 40-47. The sound of his voice was like a large group of people. He was quite unique.

The sea dragon in the wilderness (Ezek 29:5-29:7)

“I will fling you

Into the wilderness.

You!

With all the fish

Of your channels!

You shall fall

In the open field!

You will not be gathered.

You will not be buried.

I have given you

As food

To the animals

Of the earth,

To the birds

Of the air.

Then all the inhabitants

Of Egypt

Shall know

That I am Yahweh.

Because they were

A staff of the reed

To the house of Israel.

When they grasped you

With the hand,

You broke down.

You tore

All their shoulders.

When they leaned

On you,

You broke down.

You made

All their legs

Unsteady.”

Yahweh was going to fling this sea dragon of Pharaoh, with all his fish in the Nile River channels, into the wilderness. They would then fall into an open field, where they would not be gathered or buried. The animals of the earth and the birds of the air would then eat them as food as they lay in the open fields. Then all the inhabitants of Egypt would know that Yahweh was God. They were like a reed to the house of Israel. When they grasped this dragon and his fish with their hands, they broke down. They tore all their shoulders when they leaned on these fish. Their legs became unsteady.

Description of the male lover (Song 5:10-5:16)

Female lover

“My beloved is all radiant.

He is ruddy.

He is distinguished among ten thousand.

His head is the finest gold.

His locks are wavy.

His locks are black as a raven.

His eyes are like doves,

Beside springs of water,

Bathed in milk,

Fitly set.

His cheeks are like beds of spices,

Yielding fragrance.

His lips are lilies,

Distilling liquid myrrh.

His arms are rounded gold,

Set with jewels.

His body is an ivory work,

Encrusted with sapphires.

His legs are alabaster columns,

Set upon bases of gold.

His appearance is like Lebanon,

Choice as the cedars.

His speech is most sweet.

He is altogether desirable.

This is my beloved.

This is my friend.

O daughters of Jerusalem!”

This female lover responded to the daughters of Jerusalem. She explains why her male lover is so special with a long description of him. First of all, he is radiant and ruddy. What does that mean? He is a glowing happy guy with a healthy reddish complexion. He is one in 10,000. He has a golden head with black wavy hair. His eyes are like clean white doves perfectly set in his head. His cheeks are like fragrant spices. His lips are like lilies spreading liquid myrrh. His arms are like rounded gold with jewels set in them. His body is like ivory with sapphires. His legs are like alabaster columns with golden bases as feet. He appears to be like a Lebanon cedar tree. His speech is sweet. He is quite a guy, altogether desirable. He is her beloved and her friend. That is some great description of the perfect man.