No fasting with the bridegroom present (Mt 9:15-9:15)

“Jesus said to them.

‘The wedding guests

Cannot mourn

As long as

The bridegroom

Is with them.

The days will come,

When the bridegroom

Is taken away

From them,

Then they will fast.’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς Μὴ δύνανται οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ νυμφῶνος πενθεῖν ἐφ’ ὅσον μετ’ αὐτῶν ἐστιν ὁ νυμφίος; ἐλεύσονται δὲ ἡμέραι ὅταν ἀπαρθῇ ἀπ’ αὐτῶν ὁ νυμφίος, καὶ τότε νηστεύσουσιν.

 

This bridegroom story is almost the same as in Mark, chapter 2:19-20, and Luke, chapter 5:34-35.  Jesus spoke directly in response to the disciples of John (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  He compared himself to a bridegroom (ὁ νυμφίος).  The wedding guests or the sons of the bride chamber were not able to mourn (Μὴ δύνανται οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ νυμφῶνος πενθεῖν), while the bridegroom, Jesus, was with them (ἐφ’ ὅσον μετ’ αὐτῶν ἐστιν ὁ νυμφίος).  However, when the days came when the bridegroom of Jesus was taken away from them (ἐλεύσονται δὲ ἡμέραι ὅταν ἀπαρθῇ ἀπ’ αὐτῶν ὁ νυμφίος,), after his death, then they would fast (καὶ τότε νηστεύσουσιν).  Fasting would come when Jesus was gone.

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The second beatitude about mourning (Mt 5:4-5:4)

“Blessed are

Those who mourn!

They shall be comforted.”

 

μακάριοι οἱ πενθοῦντες, ὅτι αὐτοὶ παρακληθήσονται.

 

Once again, Matthew and Luke are not in agreement.  Matthew wanted the mourners (οἱ πενθοῦντες) to be comforted (ὅτι αὐτοὶ παρακληθήσονται), while Luke, chapter 6:21, talked about the hungry, that will be a later spiritual beatitude in Matthew, chapter 5:6.  These humble righteous ones who suffer now in their mourning will be comforted or strengthened.  Thus, they are the blessed or fortunate ones (μακάριοι).  For some reason the Bible of Jerusalem has this beatitude the 3rd instead of the 2rd beatitude.

Compassion (Zech 12:10-12:10)

“I will pour out

A spirit of compassion,

A spirit of supplication

On the house of David,

On the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Thus,

When they look on the one

Whom they have pierced,

They shall mourn for him,

Like for an only child.

They shall weep bitterly

Over him,

Like one weeps

Over a first-born.”

The house of David and the people of Jerusalem would have a spirit of compassion and supplication that came from Yahweh.  When they killed anyone with the sword, they would mourn for them, as if they were their own first born only child.  Unlike most warriors, Yahweh’s people would have compassion and mourn for their dead enemies.

The shame of Samaria (Hos 10:5-10:6)

“The inhabitants of Samaria

Tremble

Before the calf of Beth-aven.

Its people shall mourn

For it.

Its idolatrous priests

Shall wail over it.

Its glory

Has departed from it.

The thing itself

Shall be carried

To Assyria,

As tribute

To the great king.

Ephraim

Shall be put to shame.

Israel

Shall be ashamed

Of his idol.”

Hosea said that the people of Samaria would tremble before the idol calf at Beth-aven, the house of wickedness, that was close to Ai and Bethel. Maybe it was Bethel itself. However, the people and its priests would mourn for the soon to be departed glorious calf. What happened to it? Assyrians would take it as a tribute to their great king. Thus, Ephraim and Israel would be ashamed of this lost idol.

No children for Ephraim (Hos 9:11-9:14)

“Ephraim’s glory

Shall fly away,

Like a bird.

There will be

No birth,

No pregnancy,

No conception!

Even if they bring up children,

I will bereave them

Until no one is left.

Woe to them indeed!

I will depart from them!

Once I saw Ephraim

As a young palm

Planted in a lovely meadow.

But now Ephraim

Must lead out

His children for slaughter.

Give them!

O Yahweh!

What will you give them?

Give them

A miscarrying womb,

With dry breasts.”

Ephraim was singled out, since it was where the capital of northern Israel was. Their glory would simply fly away like a bird. There would be no more births, pregnancies, or even conceptions in Ephraim. If they would bring up children, they would mourn for them, until no one was left. Yahweh was going to leave Ephraim. They would be cursed and on their own. Thus, this young palm tree in a lovely meadow would cease to grow. Ephraim would lead out its children for slaughter. What should you give the people of Ephraim? Yahweh, in very descriptive language, was going to give them miscarrying wombs and dry breasts. No more children for Ephraim.

Daniel is safe (Dan 14:40-14:42)

“On the seventh day,

The king came

To mourn

For Daniel.

When he came

To the den,

He looked in.

There sat Daniel.

The king shouted

With a loud voice.

‘You are great!

O Lord!

God of Daniel!

There is no other

Besides you!’

Then he pulled

Daniel out.

He threw into the den

Those who had attempted

His destruction.

They were instantly eaten

Before his eyes.”

Thus, ends the great story of Daniel. On the 7th day, the king came to mourn the death of Daniel. Instead, he was surprised to see Daniel sitting in the den of lions. Then the king shouted out his praise for the God of Daniel, the Lord. There were no other gods like him. Next, he pulled Daniel out of the den. Finally, he threw those who had attempted the destruction of Daniel into the lion’s den. The lions immediately ate these men right before the eyes of the king.

The restoration in Israel (Ezek 36:9-36:12)

“See now,

I am for you.

I will turn to you.

You shall be tilled.

You shall be sown.

I will multiply

Your population,

The whole house

Of Israel,

All of it.

The towns

Shall be inhabited.

The waste places

Rebuilt.

I will multiply

Human beings,

As well as animals

Among you.

They shall increase.

They shall be fruitful.

I will cause you

To be inhabited,

As in your former times.

I will do more good

To you

Than ever before.

Then you will know

That I am Yahweh.

I will lead people

Upon you,

My people Israel.

They shall possess you.

You shall be

Their inheritance.

No longer shall you

Bereave their children.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, told the mountains of Israel that he was for them. He was going to turn their land into a place that was tilled and sown with crops. He was going to multiply the population of the whole house of Israel. The towns would be inhabited and the ruined places rebuilt. Humans and animals would multiply, as the land would be occupied again. Yahweh was going to do more good than ever before. They would know that he was Yahweh, their God. There would be new leaders in this inherited land, so that they would no longer mourn for their lost children. His land and his people would be reunited again.