The reaction of Jesus’ family (Mk 3:21-3:21)

“When his family

Heard it,

They went out

To restrain Jesus.

People were saying.

‘He has gone

Out of his mind.’”

 

καὶ ἀκούσαντες οἱ παρ’ αὐτοῦ ἐξῆλθον κρατῆσαι αὐτόν· ἔλεγον γὰρ ὅτι ἐξέστη.

 

This is another unique saying of Mark.  He said that when the family of Jesus, without being specific about which members of this family, heard about the crowds and Jesus (καὶ ἀκούσαντες οἱ παρ’ αὐτοῦ), they went out to restrain or get hold of him (ἐξῆλθον κρατῆσαι αὐτόν).  People were saying that Jesus had gone out of his mind or was astonishing (ἔλεγον γὰρ ὅτι ἐξέστη).  There is always a fine line between genius and madness.  His family must have felt that Jesus had gone too far.  In general, gospel writers indicate that the relatives and family of Jesus, seem to have misunderstood what his role was.

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The problem of Judah (Zech 12:4-12:5)

“On that day,

Says Yahweh.

‘I will strike every horse

With panic.

I will strike its rider

With madness.

But upon the house of Judah,

I will keep a watchful eye,

When I strike every horse

Of the people

With blindness.

Then the clan leaders of Judah

Shall say to themselves.

‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem

Have strength

Through Yahweh of hosts,

Their God.’”

Once again, Yahweh declared, via Zechariah, that he was going to strike panic among the horses and their riders, who would be struck with madness.  However, the exception would be the house of Judah, because Yahweh kept a watchful eye on them.  When many of the people would be struck blind, then the various clan leaders of Judah would realize that the people of Jerusalem had great strength through Yahweh, their God.

The response of the unjust (Wis 5:3-5:8)

“They will say.

‘These are persons

Whom we once held in derision.

We made them a byword of reproach.

We were fools!

We thought that their lives were madness.

Their end was without honor.

Why have they been numbered

Among the children of God?

Why is their lot among the saints?

So it was we

Who strayed from the way of truth.

The light of righteousness did not shine on us.

The sun did not rise upon us.

We took our fill of the paths of lawlessness.

We took our fill of the paths of destruction.

We journeyed through trackless deserts.

But the way of the Lord

We have not known.

What has our arrogance profited us?

What good has our boasted wealth brought us?’”

The unjust laid out their complaint. They said that they derided and reproached these people. They thought that their lives were madness and without honor. It turns out that they are the fools, because the righteous are numbered among the sons or children of God (υἱοῖς Θεοῦ), the holy ones (ἁγίοις), not them. The unjust suddenly realized that they had strayed from the truth (ἀληθείας). The light of righteousness and the sun were not going to shine on them. They had followed the path of lawlessness and destruction through trackless deserts. They did not know the way of the Lord (ὁδὸν Κυρίου). Their arrogance and wealth became useless.

The search for wisdom (Eccl 7:23-7:25)

“All this I have tested by wisdom.

I said.

‘I will be wise.’

But it was far from me.

It is far off.

It is deep.

It is very deep.

Who can find it out?

I turned my mind to know it.

I turned my mind to search it out.

I turned to seek wisdom.

I turned to seek the sum of things.

I know that wickedness is folly.

I know that foolishness is madness.”

Qoheleth was tested by wisdom. He wanted to be wise, but it was far away and too deep for him. He wanted to know who was able to find wisdom. Unlike the psalms, where the beginning of wisdom was simply fear of Yahweh, Qoheleth has a hard time finding wisdom, since he does not make the connection here with the fear of God. He wanted to know about wisdom and calculations. He knew that wickedness and foolishness were folly and madness.

The importance of wisdom (Eccl 2:12-2:14)

“So I turned to consider wisdom.

I considered madness.

I considered folly.

What can one do

Who comes after the king?

Only what has already been done.

Then I saw that wisdom excels folly

As light excels darkness.

‘The wise have eyes in their head.

But fools walk in darkness.’”

Now Qoheleth considered, wisdom, madness, and folly again. What happens when a king dies? The next king will pretty much do what the preceding king had done. Finally, he saw the light. He realized that wisdom exceeds folly just like light exceeds darkness. Wisdom is light while folly is darkness. This picks up the main theme of Proverbs again. The wise have eyes in their head, but the fools are blind, walking in darkness.

The wise Qoheleth (Eccl 1:15-1:18)

“‘What is crooked cannot be made straight.

What is lacking cannot be counted.’

I said to myself.

‘I have acquired great wisdom.            

My wisdom surpasses all

Who were over Jerusalem before me.

My mind has had great experience of wisdom.

My mind has had great experience of knowledge.

I applied my mind to know wisdom.

I applied my mind to know madness.

I applied my mind to know folly.

I perceived that this also is but a chasing after wind.

In much wisdom

Is much vexation.

Those who increases knowledge

Increase sorrow.’”

This book once again has the first person singular of Qoheleth speaking. He points out, quite correctly, that the crooked cannot be made straight. However, you can come close. On the other hand, there is no doubt that you cannot count something that is not there. Then Qoheleth gets quite personal. He explains that he has great wisdom and knowledge, greater than anyone whoever was in Jerusalem before him. He knows the difference between wisdom, madness, and folly. In a kind of reversal of the Proverbs, he seems to imply that that with all this wisdom, he is still like chasing after the wind. More problems and vexation come with wisdom. There is an increase in sorrow that comes with more knowledge. Wisdom is not the be all and end all like in Proverbs.