A description of his illness (Mk 9:18-9:18)

“Whenever it seizes him,

It dashes him down.

He foams.

He grinds his teeth.

He becomes rigid,

Wasting away.”

 

καὶ ὅπου ἐὰν αὐτὸν καταλάβῃ, ῥήσσει αὐτόν, καὶ ἀφρίζει καὶ τρίζει τοὺς ὀδόντας καὶ ξηραίνεται·

 

The story of the man with the incurable son can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 17:15, Luke, chapter 9:39, and here in Mark, but there are minor differences in all 3 accounts.  Apparently, this son was an epileptic, who was often considered to be possessed by the devil.  Even today, we are still unsure of the exact cause of epilepsy seizures.  This description of the young man’s suffering differed from Matthew who had the child suffer very badly, falling into fire and water.  Luke had a description similar to Mark.  However, this was a very descriptive narrative of what was happening to this young man.  Mark said that whenever the spirit seized him (καὶ ὅπου ἐὰν αὐτὸν καταλάβῃ), it dashed or threw him down (ῥήσσει αὐτόν).  This young boy would foam (καὶ ἀφρίζει) at the mouth.  He would grind or gnash his teeth (αὶ τρίζει τοὺς ὀδόντας).  He would become rigid as he was wasting or withering away (καὶ ξηραίνεται).

The brood of vipers (Mt 12:34-12:34)

“You brood of vipers!

How can you speak

Good things,

When you are evil?

Out of the abundance

Of the heart,

The mouth speaks.”

 

γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν, πῶς δύνασθε ἀγαθὰ λαλεῖν πονηροὶ ὄντες; ἐκ γὰρ τοῦ περισσεύματος τῆς καρδίας τὸ στόμα λαλεῖ.

 

This saying seems to be unique to Matthew.  Earlier in this work, he had John the Baptist call the Pharisees and Sadducees a blood of vipers or snakes in chapter 3:7.  In chapter 23:33, once again he referred to the Scribes and Pharisees as vipers or snakes.  Was he referring to the Pharisees here?  Jesus addressed these people as a brood or offspring of vipers or snakes (γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν).  How could they speak good things (πῶς δύνασθε ἀγαθὰ λαλεῖν), when they were evil (πονηροὶ ὄντες)?  Their mouths spoke (τὸ στόμα λαλεῖ) out of the abundance or overflow of their hearts (ἐκ γὰρ τοῦ περισσεύματος τῆς καρδίας).  They could not fool anyone.  Their evil hearts showed up in their speech, even if they tried to be good.

The future just king (Isa 11:3-11:5)

“He shall not judge

By what his eyes see.

He shall not decide

By what his ears hear.

He shall judge

With righteousness.

He shall judge the poor.

He shall decide with equity

For the meek of the earth.

He shall strike the earth

With the rod of his mouth.

With the breath of his lips,

He shall kill the wicked.

Righteousness shall be the belt

Around his waist.

Faithfulness shall be the belt

Around his loins.”

Isaiah points out that not only would this future king have Davidic roots and be filled with the Spirit of Yahweh, he would be righteous and just. He would not merely judge on what he sees and hears, but with righteousness. He would judge the poor and the meek with equity. His mouth and lips would even kill the wicked ones. Righteousness and faithfulness would be his belts. Thus this future ideal king would be just and fair to all, no matter what their status was.

Necessities of life (Sir 29:21-29:24)

“The necessities of life are

Water,

Bread,

And Clothing.

You also need a house

To assure privacy.

Better is the life

Of the poor,

Under their own crude roof,

Than sumptuous food

In the house of others.

Be content with little or much.

It is a miserable life

To go from house to house.

As a guest,

You should not open your mouth.”

Sirach indicates the necessities of life are water, bread, and clothing, something to eat, drink, and wear. However, he adds a fourth, a place to live, that is a house that will assure your privacy. He points out that it is better to be in your own crude house than have wonderful food in someone else’s house. You should be content with your life, whether you have much or little. It is a miserable way to live in moving from house to house without a permanent residence. If you are a guest, you should keep your mouth shut.

Love prologue (Song 1:2-1:4)

Female lover

“Let him kiss me

With the kisses of his mouth!

Your love is better than wine.

Your anointing oils are fragrant.

Your name is perfume poured out.

Therefore the maidens love you.

Draw me after you.

Let us make haste.

The king has brought me

Into his chambers.

We will exult in you.

We will rejoice in you.

We will extol your love

More than wine.

Rightly do they love you.”

The opening prologue to this poetic love song is uttered by the female lover. These few verses are assigned to a female writer. This woman longs for her male lover. She wants him to kiss her on the mouth. His love is greater than wine. His oils are fragrant, sweet smelling. His name is like a poured out perfume. Obviously then, many maidens love him. However, she wants him to hurry up and bring her to his royal chambers because he seems to be the king or at least a prince. Together they would exult and rejoice in him. Once again, his love was greater than wine. It was obvious why the young girls loved him. This romantic love tale has been interpreted as an allegorical love between Yahweh and Israel, or later by the Christians as Christ and his church. However, the basic story is what it is.

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.

Good conduct at the Temple (Eccl 5:1-5:3)

“Guard your steps

When you go

To the house of God.

To draw near

To listen is better

Than to offer the sacrifice of fools.

They do not know

How to keep from doing evil.

‘Never be rash with your mouth!

Do not let your heart be quick

To utter a word before God.

God is in heaven.

You are on earth.

Therefore let your words be few!

Dreams come with many cares.

A fool’s voice comes with many words.’”

Be careful when you go up to the house of God, the Temple. It is better to listen than to offer the sacrifice of fools. These sacrificing fools do not know how to keep from doing evil. This appears to be a little bit against the sacrifices at the Temple. Then there is the stern warning of Qoheleth. Don’t be rash with your mouth. Don’t be quick to utter words before God. He reminded everyone that there was a difference between heaven and earth. God is in heaven and you are not. Therefore, you do not need to use a lot of words in your prayer. Dreams make us worry. A fool uses many words, so do not be like a fool. There is a discrepancy of one verse between the Bible of Jerusalem and the Oxford Bible for the next few verses. The phrasing is the same but verse 1 of chapter 5 is verse 17 of the Bible of Jerusalem.