The prayer of Elizabeth (Lk 1:25-1:25)

“Elizabeth said.

‘This is what

The Lord

Has done to me.

He looked on me.

He took away

The disgrace

That I have endured

Among my people.’”

 

λέγουσα

ὅτι Οὕτως μοι πεποίηκεν Κύριος ἐν ἡμέραις αἷς ἐπεῖδεν ἀφελεῖν ὄνειδός μου ἐν ἀνθρώποις.

 

Luke has this prayer of Elizabeth.  She said that the Lord had done this to her (ὅτι Οὕτως μοι πεποίηκεν Κύριος).  Many believed that only God could help people get pregnant, since he controlled the opening and closing of the womb, as indicated in Genesis, chapter 16:2, about Sarah and being barren.  That was the reason that there were so many pagan fertility gods, rites, and rituals, since giving birth was considered to be some kind of magical or divine action.  Also, contemporary political gesturing around reproductive rights has its basis in religious beliefs.  Elizabeth said that in those days (ἐν ἡμέραις), the Lord had looked on her (αἷς ἐπεῖδεν), since he took away her disgrace or reproach (ἀφελεῖν ὄνειδός) that she had endured among her people or other men (ἐν ἀνθρώποις).  Being barren or sterile was considered a punishment from God.  The prime example of a happiness at birth would have been in Genesis, chapter 29:31-30:23, where Rachel finally had a son, Joseph.  Elizabeth understood her pregnancy as a personal vindication or reward for her righteousness.  She did not seem to understand the wider consequences of her pregnancy.

 

My people will have love and pity (Hos 2:21-2:23)

“Says Yahweh.

‘On that day,

I will answer

The heavens.

They shall answer

The earth.

The earth shall answer

The grain,

The wine,

The oil.

They shall answer

Jezreel.

I will sow him

For myself

In the land.

I will have pity

On Lo-ruhamah.

I will say to

Lo-ammi.

‘You are my people.’

He shall say.

‘You are my God.’”

Yahweh was very clear. On that day, he was going to respond to the heavens, just as the heavens would respond to earth. The earth would respond to the grain, wine, and oil. They would answer to Jezreel, that had been the residence of the kings of the northern kingdom of Israel. Yahweh was going to sow in the land itself. Finally, he would have pity and love for Lo-ruhamah, the not pitied one. He too would rename Lo-ammi, from not my people to you are my people. He was going to be their God. Thus, all would end well.

The names are reversed (Hos 2:1-2:1)

“Say to your brother!

‘Ammi!”

My people!

Say to your sister!

‘Ruhamah!

Pity!”

In a play on words, the Hebrew text drops the “Lo” or “not” in front of the names of the brother and sister. Lo-ammi has become Ammi. Lo-ruhamah has become Ruhamah. Jezreel remained the same. Thus, the brother and sister now represent pity, love, and my people, instead of the negative connotation, as in the first chapter. Now, all is well.

The evildoers (Ps 53:4-53:4)

“Have they no knowledge?

Those evildoers

Who eat up my people

As they eat bread.

Why do they not call upon Yahweh?”

Once again this is exactly like Psalm 14.  The evildoers are stupid.  They have no knowledge.  They eat up Yahweh’s people.  This metaphor seems to indicate what the evildoers were trying to do to Yahweh’s people.  Why are they not calling on Yahweh?  Here the term used is Yahweh and not merely God.

The seventh plague – hail and thunderstorm (Ex 9:13-9:35)

 

“Then Yahweh said to Moses, ‘Rise up early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh, and say to him, thus says Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may worship me.  For this time I will send all my plagues upon you yourself, and upon your officials, and upon your people, so that you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth.  But this is why I have let you live to show you my power, and to make my name resound through all the earth.  You are still exalting yourself against my people, and will not let them go. Tomorrow at this time I will cause the heaviest hail to fall that has ever fallen in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. Send, therefore, and have your livestock and everything that you have in the open field brought to a secure place.  Every human or animal that is in the open field and is not brought under shelter will die when the hail comes down upon them.’  Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of Yahweh hurried their slaves and livestock off to a secure place.    Those who did not regard the word of Yahweh left their slaves and livestock in the open field.”

Yahweh said that he was going to deliver the plague himself.   There is a warning about a severe hail and thunderstorm that will come tomorrow.  Some people heeded the warning.  Interesting enough, there are some Egyptian officials who fear the word of Yahweh.  They protected their livestock and slaves.  Others did not put their livestock and slaves under cover.

“Yahweh said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward heaven, so that hail may fall on the whole land of Egypt, on humans and animals and all the plants of the field in the land of Egypt.’  Then Moses stretched out his staff toward heaven, and Yahweh sent thunder and hail, and fire came down on the earth.  Yahweh rained hail on the land of Egypt.  There was hail with fire flashing continually in the midst of it, such heavy hail as had never fallen in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. The hail struck down everything that was in the open field throughout all the land of Egypt, both human and animal.  The hail also struck down all the plants of the field, and shattered every tree of the field.  Only in the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were, there was no hail.”

This is basis of the fire and brimstone sermons.  Then Moses by himself stretched out his staff toward heaven, and Yahweh sent thunder, large hail stones, and lightening.  Fire came down on the earth, probably lightening.  All the humans, animals, trees, and plants in the open fields were destroyed.   However, there was no hail in the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were.

“Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron, and said to them, ‘This time I have sinned.  Yahweh is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong.  Pray to Yahweh!  Enough of Yahweh’s thunder and hail!  I will let you go.  You need stay no longer.’  Moses said to him, ‘As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will stretch out my hands to Yahweh.  The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth is Yahweh’s.  But as for you and your officials, I know that you do not yet fear Yahweh our God.’  Now the flax and the barley were ruined, for the barley was in the ear and the flax was in bud.   But the wheat and the spelt were not ruined, for they are late in coming up.  So Moses left Pharaoh, went out of the city, and stretched out his hands to Yahweh.  Then the thunder and the hail ceased, and the rain no longer fell down on the earth.  But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned once more and hardened his heart, he and his officials.  So the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let Israelites go, just as Yahweh had spoken through Moses.”

Now, we have a change of heart, Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron, and told them that he had sinned.  Yahweh is in the right.  I and my people are in the wrong.  Pray to Yahweh!  Enough of Yahweh’s thunder and hail!   Pharaoh will let them go.  Game over, let’s get out of here.  However, Moses, always the skeptic said that he did not think that Pharaoh feared Yahweh.  The late harvesting wheat included spelt, a hardy kind of wheat.  Moses, however, went out and stopped the hail and thunderstorms.  But you guessed it, Pharaoh hardened his heart.  Let’s get on to the next plague.