Jesus was disappointed (Mk 6:5-6:6)

“Jesus could do

No deed of power there,

Except that he laid his hands

On a few sick people.

He cured them.

He was amazed

At their unbelief.

Then he went

Among the villages

Teaching.”

 

καὶ οὐκ ἐδύνατο ἐκεῖ ποιῆσαι οὐδεμίαν δύναμιν, εἰ μὴ ὀλίγοις ἀρρώστοις ἐπιθεὶς τὰς χεῖρας ἐθεράπευσεν.

καὶ ἐθαύμασεν διὰ τὴν ἀπιστίαν αὐτῶν. Καὶ περιῆγεν τὰς κώμας κύκλῳ διδάσκων.

 

This is like Matthew, chapter 13:58, but there is nothing like this in the elaborate story of Luke, chapter 4:23-30.  Mark said that Jesus was not able to do any powerful deeds there (καὶ οὐκ ἐδύνατο ἐκεῖ ποιῆσαι οὐδεμίαν δύναμιν).  Nevertheless, he laid his hands on a few sick people (εἰ μὴ ὀλίγοις ἀρρώστοις ἐπιθεὶς τὰς χεῖρας), who were cured (ἐθεράπευσεν).  He was amazed at their unbelief (καὶ ἐθαύμασεν διὰ τὴν ἀπιστίαν αὐτῶν).  However, then he went among the villages (Καὶ περιῆγεν τὰς κώμας κύκλῳ) teaching (διδάσκων).  Jesus did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief, yet he kept on teaching.

 

Against Capernaum (Mt 11:23-11:24)

“You!

Capernaum!

Will you be exalted

To heaven?

No!

You will be brought down

To Hades.

If the deeds of power

Done in you

Had been done in Sodom,

It would have remained

Until this day.

But I tell you!

On the day of judgment

That it shall be more tolerable

For the land of Sodom

Than for you.”

 

καὶ σύ, Καφαρναούμ, μὴ ἕως οὐρανοῦ ὑψωθήσῃ; ἕως Ἅιδου καταβήσῃ· ὅτι εἰ ἐν Σοδόμοις ἐγενήθησαν αἱ δυνάμεις αἱ γενόμεναι ἐν σοί, ἔμεινεν ἂν μέχρι τῆς σήμερον.

πλὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι γῇ Σοδόμων ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως ἢ σοί.

 

Then Matthew has Jesus take on his own new home town of Capernaum.  Luke, chapter 10:15, has a similar statement, word for word, indicating a possible common Q source.  However, the second verse is unique to Matthew.  Jesus, turned to his home town of Capernaum (καὶ σύ, Καφαρναούμ), as mentioned in chapter 4:13.  He questioned them.  Would they be exalted or raised up to heaven (μὴ ἕως οὐρανοῦ ὑψωθήσῃ)?  No!  In fact, they would be cast down to the unseen world of Hades (ἕως Ἅιδου καταβήσῃ), the traditional Greek word for hell.  If the mighty miracles that were done in Capernaum were done in Sodom (ὅτι εἰ ἐν Σοδόμοις ἐγενήθησαν αἱ δυνάμεις αἱ γενόμεναι ἐν σοί), Sodom might have remained until the present day (ἔμεινεν ἂν μέχρι τῆς σήμερον).  This refers to the story in Genesis, chapter 19:1-29.  Then Jesus gave a solemn pronouncement “I say to you” (πλὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) that on the day of judgment (ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως ἢ σοί) it would be more tolerable for the land of Sodom than for the people of Capernaum (ὅτι γῇ Σοδόμων ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται).  Thus, Jesus had warned these three towns within 10 miles of each other, because they had not repented despite his many miracles there.

Joshua (Sir 46:1-46:6)

“Joshua

Son of Nun

Was mighty in war.

He was the successor of Moses

In the prophetic office.

He became,

As his name implies,

A great savior of God’s elect.

He took vengeance

On the enemies

That rose against them.

Thus he might give Israel

Its inheritance.

How glorious he was

When he lifted his hands.

He brandished his sword

Against the cities.

Who before him,

Ever stood so firm?

He waged the wars of the Lord.

Was it not through him

That the sun stood still?

Did not one day

Become as long as two?

He called upon the Most High,

The Mighty One,

When enemies pressed him on every side.

The great Lord answered him

With hailstones of mighty power.

He overwhelmed that nation in battle.

On the slope

He destroyed his opponents.

Thus the nations might know his armament.

He was fighting

In the sight of the Lord.

He was a devoted follower of the Mighty One.”

Of course, there was a whole biblical book named after Joshua. Sirach lists him as a warrior and a prophet, who succeeded Moses. This son of Nun was a great savior of God’s people. He wiped out the enemies of Israel so that they might have their inheritance. He lifted up his hand as he swung his sword. Before him, no one had ever waged wars for the Lord like him. He stood firm and created miracles with the sun. He called upon the Most High God, the mighty one, when enemies were all around him. The Lord heard his cry so that his enemies were destroyed. Thus all the countries came to know about his fighting strength for the Lord, as a devoted follower of the Mighty one.

Moses and the plagues (Ps 105:26-105:36)

“Yahweh sent his servant Moses whom he had chosen.

He sent Aaron whom he had chosen.

They performed his signs among them.

They performed miracles in the land of Ham.

He sent darkness.

He made the land dark.

They rebelled against his words.

He turned their waters into blood.

He caused their fish to die.

Their land swarmed with frogs,

Even in the chambers of their kings.

He spoke.

Then there came swarms of flies.

There were gnats throughout their country.

He gave them hail for rain.

He gave them lightning that flashed through their land.

He struck their vines.

He struck their fig trees.

He shattered the trees of their country.

He spoke.

Then the locusts came.

There were young locusts without number.

They devoured all the vegetation in their land.

They ate up the fruit of their ground.

He struck down the entire first born in their land.

He struck down the first issue of all their strength.”

This section is based on Exodus, chapters 3-10. First, Yahweh chose Moses and Aaron. Then he performed signs and miracles in the land of Ham, Egypt. He sent darkness. He turned waters into blood so that the fish died. He sent swarms of frogs, flies, and gnats throughout the country, even in the royal chambers. He sent hail and lightning instead of gentle rain. He struck down the vines, fig trees, and shattered all the trees. He then sent numerous locusts that ate all the vegetation and fruits of the land. Finally, he struck down the first born through the country, both among humans and animals. This was just about total destruction to the land of Ham, the Egyptians.

The power of God in Egypt (Ps 78:42-78:51)

“They did not keep in mind his power.

They did not remember

The day when he redeemed them from their foe.

He displayed his signs in Egypt.

He displayed his miracles in the fields of Zoan.

He turned their rivers to blood.

They could not drink of their streams.

He sent swarms of flies among them.

The flies devoured them.

He sent frogs among them,

The frogs destroyed them.

He gave their crops to the caterpillar.

He gave the fruit of their labor to the locust.

He destroyed their vines with hail.

He destroyed their sycamores with frost.

He gave over their cattle to the hail.

He gave their flocks to thunderbolts.

He let loose on them his fierce anger.

He let loose on them his wrath.

He let loose on them his indignation.

He let loose on them his distress.

He let loose a company of destroying angels.

He made a path for his anger.

He did not spare them from death.

He gave their lives over to the plague.

He struck all the first-born in Egypt.

He stuck the first issue of their strength

In the tents of Ham.”

Here the psalmist recalls the powerful acts recorded in Exodus, chapters 7-12, about the great plagues in Egypt. He wanted to recall the great events that God did in Egypt for them against their foes. He lists the various signs or miracles that took place in the Egyptian fields of Zoan or Ramses in order to save them and bring them out of Egypt. First he turned all their streams to blood. Then he let loose swarms of flies, frogs, caterpillars, and locusts that destroyed their crops. Then he let loose with hail and thunder that destroyed their cattle and herds. He then let loose the destroying angels that brought death. They struck down all the first born people and animals that were living in Ham, another word for Egypt based on Genesis. Clearly the plagues of Egypt were part of Israelite folklore built into the Israelite psyche.

Moses’ first miracles (Ex 4:1-4:9)

“Then Moses answered, ‘But suppose they do not believe me or listen to me, but say, `Yahweh did not appear to you.’  Yahweh said to him, ‘What is that in your hand?’  He said, ‘a staff.’   Yahweh said, ‘throw it on the ground.’  So he threw the staff on the ground, and it became a snake.  Moses drew back from it.  Then Yahweh said to Moses, ‘Reach out your hand, and seize it by the tail.’  So he reached out his hand and grasped it, and it became a staff in his hand.  ‘So that they may believe that Yahweh, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.’”

Moses still had his doubts, since he was not sure that anyone would listen to him.  Yahweh told Moses to take the staff in his hand and throw it on the ground.  So Moses threw the staff on the ground and it became a snake and he backed off from it.  Then Yahweh told him to touch it again and the snake became a stick.   Try this trick if they do not believe you.

“Again, Yahweh said to him, ‘Put your hand inside your cloak.’  He put his hand into his cloak.  When he took it out, his hand was leprous, as white as snow.  Then God said, ‘Put your hand back into your cloak.’   So he put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored like the rest of his body.  ‘If they will not believe you or heed the first sign, they may believe the second sign.  If they will not believe even these two signs or heed you, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground.  The water that you shall take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.’”

Then Yahweh told Moses to put his hand inside his cloak.  He did that and when he took it out, his hand was leprous.  When he put his hand back into his cloak and took it out, it was restored like the rest of his body.  Yahweh said if they don’t believe after these two miracles then, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the ground and it will become blood.  Now Moses will become the master magician with his magic wand, his staff.  Moses has at least three magic tricks as he becomes a master illusionist.