The prophet Anna (Lk 2:36-2:36)

“There was a prophet,

Anna,

The daughter of Phanuel,

Of the tribe of Asher.

She was of a great age.

She had lived

With her husband

Seven years

After her marriage.”

 

Καὶ ἦν Ἄννα προφῆτις, θυγάτηρ Φανουήλ, ἐκ φυλῆς Ἀσήρ· αὕτη προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ἡμέραις πολλαῖς, ζήσασα μετὰ ἀνδρὸς ἔτη ἑπτὰ ἀπὸ τῆς παρθενίας αὐτῆς,

 

Next Luke introduced a female prophet, Anna.  There were some female prophets in the biblical literature like Miriam in Exodus, chapter 15:20, the sister of Aaron and Moses, who was called a prophet like her brother Aaron, the first instance of women worshiping God.  Deborah, in Judges, chapter 4:4, was a married woman prophet from the northern tribe of Ephraim who led troops into battle.  Finally, Huddah in 2 Kings, chapter 22:14-20, was one of the few mentioned female prophets.  The elders in Jerusalem consulted her about what to do with a holy book.  Her response led to the religious revival under King Josiah (640-609 BCE).  Like the other Israelite male and female prophets, Anna interpreted God’s will for his people.  Luke said that there was a prophet Anna (Καὶ ἦν Ἄννα προφῆτις), the daughter of Phanuel (θυγάτηρ Φανουήλ), of the northern tribe of Asher (ἐκ φυλῆς Ἀσήρ).  Her father’s name Phanuel was considered to be the fourth of the great archangels with Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel, according to the 3rd century BCE work, the Book of Enoch, but there is no implication here that she was angelic.  Thus, she was not a local Judean, but a northern Galilean Jewish person from Asher.  She was greatly advanced in years (τη προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ἡμέραις πολλαῖς), since she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage (ζήσασα μετὰ ἀνδρὸς ἔτη ἑπτὰ ἀπὸ τῆς παρθενίας αὐτῆς).  She had become a widow.

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The purification (Lk 2:22-2:22)

“When the time came

For their purification,

According to the law

Of Moses,

They brought him up

To Jerusalem

To present him

To the Lord.”

 

Καὶ ὅτε ἐπλήσθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι τοῦ καθαρισμοῦ αὐτῶν κατὰ τὸν νόμον Μωϋσέως, ἀνήγαγον αὐτὸν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα παραστῆσαι τῷ Κυρίῳ,

 

Luke said that when the time or the days were completed (Καὶ ὅτε ἐπλήσθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι) for their purification (τοῦ καθαρισμοῦ αὐτῶν), according to the law of Moses (κατὰ τὸν νόμον Μωϋσέως, Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to Jerusalem (ἀνήγαγον αὐτὸν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα) to present him to the Lord (παραστῆσαι τῷ Κυρίῳ).  What is this purification and is it different than circumcision.  The story of John did not have this purification ritual.  Strictly speaking, this was a purification of the mother to take place 40 days after the birth of a child that had made her unclean as described in Leviticus, chapter 12:1-8.  The presentation of the child and the father were not part of this purification ritual.  There was no law or custom about the presentation of a child, other than the presentation of the first born as in Exodus, chapter 13:2 and 13:16.  Women were considered unclean after childbirth because of the blood discharge that took place with birthing.  If a male was born, the woman was unclean for 7 days, like menstruation, so that on the 8th day the male child could be circumcised.  There were 33 more days of blood purification for the male child.  During her unclean period, this new mother could not touch any holy thing, or go into the sanctuary.  Thus, the purification ritual took place on the 40th day, a symbolic number based on the 40 years of the Israelites in the desert wilderness.

Abraham and the ancestors (Lk 1:55-1:55)

“God had made

Promises

To our ancestors,

To Abraham,

And to his descendants,

Forever.”

 

καθὼς ἐλάλησεν πρὸς τοὺς πατέρας ἡμῶν, τῷ Ἀβραὰμ καὶ τῷ σπέρματι αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα.

 

This canticle of Mary concluded by remembering the promises that God had made to their ancestors, especially to Abraham in Genesis, chapters 12:3, 15:5, 17:7, 18:18, and 22:17. and his eternal descendants.  Notice that there is no mention of Jacob, Moses, or David, but the wider Abraham covenant.  Luke indicated that Mary said that God had spoken (καθὼς ἐλάλησεν) to their ancestors (πρὸς τοὺς πατέρας ἡμῶν), to Abraham (τῷ Ἀβραὰμ), and to his descendants (καὶ τῷ σπέρματι αὐτοῦ) for all time or forever (εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα).

The God of Abraham (Mk 12:26-12:26)

“As for the dead

Being raised,

Have you not read

The book of Moses?

In the story

About the bush,

How God said

To him.

‘I am the God of Abraham.

I am the God of Isaac.

I am the God of Jacob.’”

 

περὶ δὲ τῶν νεκρῶν ὅτι ἐγείρονται, οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε ἐν τῇ βίβλῳ Μωϋσέως ἐπὶ τοῦ Βάτου πῶς εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ Θεὸς λέγων Ἐγὼ ὁ Θεὸς Ἀβραὰμ καὶ Θεὸς Ἰσαὰκ καὶ Θεὸς Ἰακώβ;

 

Jesus continued his explanation that can also be found in Matthew, chapter 22:31-32, and Luke, chapter 20:37.  They all refer to Moses at the burning bush, a mysterious theophany that overwhelmed Moses, but is not explicitly mentioned here.  However, this was implied by the comment about God based on Exodus, chapter 3:6.  Mark said that the dead will rise up (περὶ δὲ τῶν νεκρῶν ὅτι ἐγείρονται).  Jesus reminded the Sadducees that they had not read the correct book of Moses (οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε ἐν τῇ βίβλῳ Μωϋσέως), and not “the sayings of God” as in Matthew.  Jesus then referenced this saying of Yahweh to Moses in Exodus, chapter 3:1-6, about the burning bush (ἐπὶ τοῦ Βάτου).  Yahweh God spoke to Moses saying (πῶς εἶπεν αὐτῷ λέγων) that he was the God of Abraham (Ἐγώ ὁ Θεὸς Ἀβραὰμ), the God of Isaac (καὶ Θεὸς Ἰσαὰκ), and the God of Jacob (καὶ Θεὸς Ἰακώβ).

The brother’s wife (Mk 12:19-12:19)

“‘Teacher!

Moses wrote

For us

That if a man’s brother

Dies,

Leaving a wife,

But no child,

The man shall

Marry the widow

And raise up children

For his brother.’”

 

Διδάσκαλε, Μωϋσῆς ἔγραψεν ἡμῖν ὅτι ἐάν τινος ἀδελφὸς ἀποθάνῃ καὶ καταλίπῃ γυναῖκα καὶ μὴ ἀφῇ τέκνον, ἵνα λάβῃ ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ ἐξαναστήσῃ σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ.  

 

Matthew, chapter 22:24, and Luke, chapter 20:28, are almost word for word as here in MarkMark said that these Sadducees addressed Jesus very respectfully as “Teacher (Διδάσκαλε).”  These Sadducees quoted a Mosaic text that Moses had written for them (Μωϋσῆς ἔγραψεν ἡμῖν), from Deuteronomy, chapter 25:5-10.  If a man’s brother should die (ὅτι ἐάν τινος ἀδελφὸς ἀποθάνῃ) leaving behind a wife (καὶ καταλίπῃ γυναῖκα) without any children (καὶ μὴ ἀφῇ τέκνον), his living brother should take his dead brother’s widow as his wife (ἵνα λάβῃ ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα).  He would then raise up the descendant children or seeds for his brother (καὶ ἐξαναστήσῃ σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ).  This levirate law goes back as far as Tamar in Genesis, chapter 38:1-30, with the story of Judah’s 3 sons and Tamar, the original wife of Er.  The brother of the deceased was supposed to marry his brother’s widow if he had no sons.  The widow was not to marry outside her family.  It also assumes that the brother lived close by or in the same house as his brother.  There was no indication of whether the brother was married or not, but this seems to assume a younger brother.  This was an attempt to prolong the heritage and name of a person, which was common in ancient times.  The punishment for the brother’s refusal was an insult rather than any physical punishment.

Hardness of heart (Mk 10:5-10:5)

“But Jesus

Said to them.

‘Because of your hardness

Of heart.

He wrote

This commandment

For you.’”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Πρὸς τὴν σκληροκαρδίαν ὑμῶν ἔγραψεν ὑμῖν τὴν ἐντολὴν ταύτην.

 

This response of Jesus about divorce can also be found in Matthew, chapter 19:8.  Jesus responded to the Pharisees (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς).  He said that Moses allowed them to divorce their wives, because they were so hard-hearted, perverse, and obstinate (Πρὸς τὴν σκληροκαρδίαν ὑμῶν).  Moses wrote this ordinance or commandment for them (ἔγραψεν ὑμῖν τὴν ἐντολὴν ταύτην).  Jesus had taken the stronger stance of no divorce.  However, in Matthew, there was one exception for divorce, the sexual misconduct of the wife.  Here in Mark, there is no exception, no divorce.

A certificate of divorce (Mk 10:4-10:4)

“They said.

‘Moses allowed

A man

To write

A certificate

Of dismissal.

He could

Divorce her.’”

 

οἱ δὲ εἶπαν· Ἐπέτρεψεν Μωϋσῆς βιβλίον ἀποστασίου γράψαι καὶ ἀπολῦσαι.

 

This answer of the Pharisees about Moses and divorce can also be found in Matthew, chapter 19:7, with some minor changes.  The Pharisees are here responding to the question of Jesus, rather than the other way around, as in MatthewMark indicated that the Pharisees said (οἱ δὲ εἶπαν) that Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce or dismissal (Ἐπέτρεψεν Μωϋσῆς βιβλίον ἀποστασίου γράψαι).  Thus, the man could then divorce her or send her away (καὶ ἀπολῦσαι).  The reference to Moses is from Deuteronomy, chapter 24:1-4, where there was talk about a certificate of divorce, and the possibility of many marriages.  This certificate was called in Hebrew a “get.”  Clearly divorce for a man was okay.  However, after the second marriage there was a defilement.