Where will the Passover be? (Mt 26:17-26:17)

“On the first day

Of Unleavened Bread,

The disciples

Came to Jesus.

They said.

‘Where do you want us

To make the preparations

For you

To eat

The Passover?’”

 

Τῇ δὲ πρώτῃ τῶν ἀζύμων προσῆλθον οἱ μαθηταὶ τῷ Ἰησοῦ λέγοντες Ποῦ θέλεις ἑτοιμάσωμέν σοι φαγεῖν τὸ πάσχα;

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 14:12, and Luke, chapter 22:7-9, but in Luke, Jesus was speaking to Peter and John explicitly.  All three synoptic gospel writers said that this was the 1st day of the Unleavened Bread (Τῇ δὲ πρώτῃ τῶν ἀζύμων).  Mark and Luke explained that this was the Passover (τὸ πάσχα), but Matthew did not feel the need to explain that to his Jewish Christian readers.  Some unnamed disciples came to Jesus (προσῆλθον οἱ μαθηταὶ τῷ Ἰησοῦ).  They wanted to know where Jesus wished them to make preparations to eat the Passover (λέγοντες Ποῦ θέλεις ἑτοιμάσωμέν σοι φαγεῖν τὸ πάσχα).  At that time, it was the custom to go to Jerusalem to eat the Passover (φαγεῖν τὸ πάσχα), not in their homes as later, after the destruction of the Temple.  The question of whether this was the Passover or the day before the Passover seems somewhat moot, since this was the 1st day of the Unleavened Bread, when they ate the matzah bread, the Hebrew word for unleavened.  The Passover meal itself usually included a lamb.

 

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The gold statue (Dan 3:1-3:1)

“King Nebuchadnezzar

Made a golden statue.

Its height was sixty cubits.

Its width was six cubits.

He set it up

On the plain of Dura,

In the province of Babylon.”

King Nebuchadnezzar decided to make a large golden statue of himself. This golden statue was very tall, 60 cubits or about 90 feet tall, 30 yards high, disproportionally high, since the width was a mere 6 cubits or 9 feet wide or 3 yards wide. Perhaps, this height included the pedestal. He put this statue on the plain of Dura, some unknown place close to the city of Babylon. It is not clear how soon after the events in chapter 2, that this took place. In the king’s dream, Daniel had described him as the golden head. However, the Septuagint mentions the 18th year of his rule, or about 587 BCE, around the time of the siege of Jerusalem.

Ezekiel’s bread (Ezek 4:9-4:10)

“You take wheat.

You take barley.

You take beans.

You take lentils.

You take millet.

You take spelt.

Put them into

One vessel!

Make bread

For yourself!

During the number of days

That you lie

On your side,

Three hundred ninety days,

You shall eat it.

The food

That you eat

Shall be twenty shekels

A day,

By weight.

You shall eat it

At fixed times.”

The voice of Yahweh continued telling Ezekiel how to make his bread. It will be a combination of wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and spelt. These last two were grains and flours. This sounds more like a stew or a soup, than rich bread. Ezekiel was to be put this combination of ingredients into one pot or vessel to make bread for himself. He was to eat this bread while he was laying on his side for the 390 days. He could eat 20 shekel weight of food daily at specific times, maybe once a day. It is not clear who was preparing his food.

 

The great conversion to Yahweh (Jer 16:19-16:20)

“Yahweh!

My strength!

My stronghold!

My refuge in the day of trouble!

The nations shall come to you

From the ends of the earth.

They will say.

‘Our fathers have inherited

Nothing but lies,

Worthless things,

In which there is no profit.

Can mortals make for themselves gods?

Such are not gods!’”

Jeremiah in this passage, which is probably from the exilic time, talks about Yahweh being his strength and stronghold, his refuge in the time of trouble. All the countries of the world would come from the ends of the flat earth to Yahweh. They were going to say that their fathers inherited nothing but useless lies that did not lead to any gain. How could mortals make gods for themselves? Truly, they were not gods at all. This is the universal appeal of Yahweh that does not appear until the exilic times.

The Lord does make sinners (Sir 15:11-15:13)

“Do not say.

‘It was the Lord’s doing

That I fell away.’

He does not do

What he hates.

Do not say.

‘It was he who led me astray.’

He has no need of the sinful people.

The Lord hates all abominations.

Such things are not loved

By those who fear him.”

Sirach reminds us that God does make us sin. We should not say that it was the Lord’s fault that made us fall away. The Lord does not do what he hates. We should not say that it was the Lord who led us astray. The Lord does not need sinners. In fact, he hates all these abominations of sinfulness. Those who fear the Lord would not say such things, because they do not like sin and sinners.

Vows (Eccl 5:4-5:6)

“When you make a vow to God,

Do not delay fulfilling it.

God has no pleasure in fools.

Fulfill what you vow!

It is better that you should not vow

Than that you should vow

Yet not fulfill it.

‘Do not let your mouth

Lead you into sin!

Do not say before the messenger

That it was a mistake!

Why should God be angry

At your words?

Why should he destroy

The work of your hands?’”

If you make a vow, fulfill it! Quite often, these vows were Temple payments. God does not take pleasure in fools. It is better not to make a vow that you were not able to fulfill. Don’t let your mouth lead you into sin! Don’t blame the messenger! God can be angry at your words. He could destroy your work.

Hard working wife (Prov 31:24-31:25)

Samek

“She makes linen garments.

She sells them.

She supplies the merchants with sashes.

Ain

Strength and dignity are her clothing.

She laughs at the time to come.”

Not only does this good wife make fine linen garments for herself, she also sells these sashes to the various merchants. Because she has such strength and dignity, she is not afraid of the future. She can laugh about things to come.