The fruit of the tree (Lk 6:44-6:44)

“Each tree

Is known

By its own fruit.

Figs are not gathered

From thorns.

Grapes are not picked

From a bramble bush.”

 

ἕκαστον γὰρ δένδρον ἐκ τοῦ ἰδίου καρποῦ γινώσκεται· οὐ γὰρ ἐξ ἀκανθῶν συλλέγουσιν σῦκα, οὐδὲ ἐκ βάτου σταφυλὴν τρυγῶσιν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus continued with his metaphor about fruits.  He said that each tree was known by its own fruit (ἕκαστον γὰρ δένδρον ἐκ τοῦ ἰδίου καρποῦ γινώσκεται).  Figs are not gathered from thorn bushes (οὐ γὰρ ἐξ ἀκανθῶν συλλέγουσιν σῦκα).  Neither are grapes picked or gathered from a bramble or thorn bush.  This saying of Jesus was somewhat similar to Matthew, chapter 7:16, perhaps indicating a Q source.  There Jesus told his disciples that they would know or discern people by their fruits.  Then he asked the question whether grapes could be gathered from thorn bushes or figs gathered from thistles?  Certain kinds of fruits only come from certain kinds of trees.  Thus, you can tell what kind of tree it is by its fruit.  The thorn bushes were not going to produce figs or grapes.  What kind of tree are you?

Advertisements

The foolish bridesmaids (Mt 25:3-25:3)

“When the foolish ones

Took their lamps,

They took no oil

With them.”

 

αἱ γὰρ μωραὶ λαβοῦσαι τὰς λαμπάδας οὐκ ἔλαβον μεθ’ ἑαυτῶν ἔλαιον·

 

This parable story is unique to Matthew.  Jesus said that when the foolish ones took their lamps (αἱ γὰρ μωραὶ λαβοῦσαι τὰς λαμπάδας), they did not take any olive oil with them (ὐκ ἔλαβον μεθ’ ἑαυτῶν ἔλαιον).  The foolish bridesmaids acted carelessly by not taking any extra olive oil for their lamps or lanterns.  They would be ill prepared for what was to come.  Oil could be a metaphor for righteousness, since the foolish would not be righteous.

Half wise and half foolish (Mt 25:2-25:2)

“Five of them

Were foolish.

Five of them

Were wise.”

 

πέντε δὲ ἐξ αὐτῶν ἦσαν μωραὶ καὶ πέντε φρόνιμοι.

 

This parable story is unique to Matthew.  Jesus said that 5 of these bridesmaids were foolish or stupid (πέντε δὲ ἐξ αὐτῶν ἦσαν μωραὶ), while 5 were wise, intelligent, sensible or prudent (καὶ πέντε φρόνιμοι).  Thus, we have the wise prudent sensible ones and the foolish or stupid ones, equally split among these maidens.  This was like a metaphor for all humans, since half were good and half were bad.

Different kind of eunuchs (Mt 19:11-19:12)

“But Jesus said to them.

‘Not everyone can accept

This teaching.

But only those

To whom it is given

Can accept it.

There are eunuchs

Who have been so

From birth.

There are eunuchs

Who have been made eunuchs

By other men.

Then there are eunuchs

Who have made themselves eunuchs

For the sake

Of the kingdom of heaven.

Let anyone accept this

Who can.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Οὐ πάντες χωροῦσιν τὸν λόγον τοῦτον ἀλλ’ οἷς δέδοται.

εἰσὶν γὰρ εὐνοῦχοι οἵτινες ἐκ κοιλίας μητρὸς ἐγεννήθησαν οὕτως, καὶ εἰσὶν εὐνοῦχοι οἵτινες εὐνουχίσθησαν ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων, καὶ εἰσὶν εὐνοῦχοι οἵτινες εὐνούχισαν ἑαυτοὺς διὰ τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν. ὁ δυνάμενος χωρεῖν χωρείτω.

 

This section about eunuchs is unique to Matthew.  Jesus seems to imply that there is a place for eunuchs in the kingdom of heaven.  Are these eunuchs a metaphor for celibates or are they really castrated men?  Ancient societies had castrated male eunuchs in important positions.  As Jesus pointed out, some were born that way, others were made that way, or others decided to be that way.  Jesus said to them (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that not everyone can accept this word, statement, or teaching (Οὐ πάντες χωροῦσιν τὸν λόγον τοῦτον), only those who had received this gift can accept it (ἀλλ’ οἷς δέδοται).  First. there were eunuchs born that way from their mother’s womb (εἰσὶν γὰρ εὐνοῦχοι οἵτινες ἐκ κοιλίας μητρὸς ἐγεννήθησαν οὕτως).  Then there were the eunuchs made so by other men (καὶ εἰσὶν εὐνοῦχοι οἵτινες εὐνουχίσθησαν ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων).  Finally, there were the eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs (καὶ εἰσὶν εὐνοῦχοι οἵτινες εὐνούχισαν ἑαυτοὺς).  Why would they do that?  Jesus said that they did it for the sake of the kingdom of heaven (διὰ τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν).  Then Jesus threw down the gauntlet and said that anyone who could, should accept this teaching (ὁ δυνάμενος χωρεῖν χωρείτω).  Jesus seemed to imply that they should make themselves eunuchs or celibates for the kingdom of heaven.

The contamination of the hypocrites (Isa 59:5-59:8)

“The hypocrites hatch adders’ eggs.

They weave spider webs.

Whoever eats their eggs dies.

The crushed egg hatches out a viper.

Their webs cannot serve as clothing.

They cannot cover themselves

With what they make.

Their works are works of iniquity.

The deeds of violence

Are in their hands.

Their feet run to evil.

They rush to shed innocent blood.

Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity.

Desolation is in their highways.

Destruction is in their highways.

They do not know the way of peace.

There is no justice in their paths.

They have made their roads crooked.

No one who walks in them

Knows peace.”

Third Isaiah talks about the contamination among hypocrites in the Israelite community. Using the metaphor of eggs, they hatch adder eggs and have useless spider webs that can make no clothing. Some of these eggs produce vipers when broken. All their works are violent and full of iniquity. They run to evil, so that they can have innocent blood on their hands. They are always thinking about evil deeds and iniquity. Their roads are full of desolation and destruction, since they know nothing about peace and justice. They walk on crooked paths where no one else walks.

The sign for King Hezekiah (Isa 37:30-37:32)

“This shall be the sign for you.

This year,

Eat what grows of itself!

In the second year,

Eat what springs from that!

Then in the third year,

Sow!

Reap!

Plant vineyards!

Then eat their fruit!

The surviving remnant

Of the house of Judah

Shall again take root downward.

Then they will bear fruit upward.

From Jerusalem,

A remnant shall go out.

From Mount Zion,

A band of survivors will go out.            

The zeal of Yahweh of hosts

Will do this.”

Once again, this is almost word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 19. Only a band of survivors, “the remnant” will carry on from Jerusalem. In a metaphor, the first 2 years they will only get what grows wild. However, in the 3rd year, they will plant and sow crops. Then they will eat and have some left over. This seems to indicate that the next few years will be difficult, but then it will get better in the 3rd year.

King Hezekiah sends people to Isaiah (Isa 37:2-37:4)

“The king sent Eliakim,

Who was in charge of the palace,

Shebna the secretary,

With the senior priests,

Covered with sackcloth,

To the prophet Isaiah,

Son of Amoz.

They said to him.

‘Thus says King Hezekiah.

This day is a day of distress.

This day is a day of rebuke.

This day is a day of disgrace.

Children have come to birth.

But there is no strength to bring them forth.

It may be that Yahweh your God

Heard the words of Rabshakeh,

Whom his master,

The king of Assyria,

Has sent to mock the living God.

Will you rebuke the words

That Yahweh your God has heard?

Therefore,

Lift up your prayer

For the remnant that is left.’”

Once again, this is almost word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 19. King Hezekiah decided to send his consultants, Eliakim, Shebnah, and the senior priests to the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amoz. Notice that Joah the recorder did not go, but instead senior priests went. They would all be wearing sackcloth because things were in distress and disgrace. In an interesting metaphor, they say that women are coming to the moment of childbirth, but have no strength to bring their children into the world. They mentioned that perhaps Yahweh had heard the mocking words of Rabshakeh, as the king of Assyria’s representative mocked the living God. How would you rebuke him? They wanted prayers for the “remnant.” This theme of the faithful few left behind occurs quite often in Isaiah.