Judas Iscariot (Mk 3:19-3:19)

“There was Judas Iscariot,

Who betrayed him.”

 

καὶ Ἰούδαν Ἰσκαριώθ, ὃς καὶ παρέδωκεν αὐτόν.

 

Judas Iscariot can be found in all the lists of the apostles in Matthew, chapter 10:3-4, and in Luke, chapter 6:14-16.  However, Mark gave him special attention at the end.  He named him (καὶ Ἰούδαν Ἰσκαριώθ).  Then he said that he was the one who betrayed Jesus (ὃς καὶ παρέδωκεν αὐτόν).  The list was now complete.

The sons of Zebedee (Mk 3:17-3:17)

“There was

James,

The son of Zebedee,

And John,

The brother of James.

Jesus named them

Boanerges,

That means

The sons of thunder.”

 

καὶ Ἰάκωβον τὸν τοῦ Ζεβεδαίου καὶ Ἰωάνην τὸν ἀδελφὸν τοῦ Ἰακώβου, καὶ ἐπέθηκεν αὐτοῖς ὄνομα Βοανηργές, ὅ ἐστιν Υἱοὶ Βροντῆς·

 

Then there were the 2 sons of Zebedee (τὸν τοῦ Ζεβεδαίου), James (καὶ Ἰάκωβον) and John the brother of James (καὶ Ἰωάνην τὸν ἀδελφὸν τοῦ Ἰακώβου).  James was always listed first.  However, Mark had a longer explanation about them, calling them the sons of thunder (ὅ ἐστιν Υἱοὶ Βροντῆς).  He used the Aramaic name for thunder, Boanerges (καὶ ἐπέθηκεν αὐτοῖς ὄνομα Βοανηργές), and then explained it.  Clearly, these 3 apostles were considered the most important with Peter at the top of this group and James second here.  In all the listings, they are always first.  However, Andrew, the brother of Peter comes after James and John here in Mark and in the Acts of the Apostles.  Somehow, he must have been downgraded.

First there was Peter (Mk 3:16-3:16)

“Thus,

Jesus appointed

The Twelve.

There was Simon

Whom he named Peter.”

 

καὶ ἐποίησεν τοὺς δώδεκα, καὶ ἐπέθηκεν ὄνομα τῷ Σίμωνι Πέτρον·

 

This section about the names of the 12 apostles is similar to Mathew, chapter 10:2-4 and Luke, chapter 6:13-16.  This list can also be compared to the list in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 1:13.  Mark said that Jesus appointed these 12 disciples as apostles (καὶ ἐποίησεν τοὺς δώδεκα).  First of all, there was Simon, known as Peter (καὶ ἐπέθηκεν ὄνομα τῷ Σίμωνι Πέτρον).  Mark indicated that Simon’s name of Peter came from Jesus.  It is interesting that his brother Andrew was not listed here as in in the other listings in Matthew and Luke, since his calling was linked with his brother Simon in Mark, chapter 1:16-17.  Instead, he was listed with the other apostles later.  Why did Andrew not make the cut with his brother Simon here?

Jesus takes his three favorite apostles (Mt 26:37-26:38)

“Jesus took with him

Peter

And the two sons

Of Zebedee.

He began

To be grieved

And agitated.

Then he said to them.

‘I am deeply sorrowful,

Even to death.

Remain here!

Stay awake

Watching with me!’”

 

καὶ παραλαβὼν τὸν Πέτρον καὶ τοὺς δύο υἱοὺς Ζεβεδαίου ἤρξατο λυπεῖσθαι καὶ ἀδημονεῖν.

τότε λέγει αὐτοῖς Περίλυπός ἐστιν ἡ ψυχή μου ἕως θανάτου· μείνατε ὧδε καὶ γρηγορεῖτε μετ’ ἐμοῦ.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 14:33-34, but James and John are named rather than called the sons of Zebedee.  In Luke, chapter 22, and in John, chapter 18, there is no mention of these 3 apostles being separated from the others.  Matthew and Mark said that Jesus took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee (καὶ παραλαβὼν τὸν Πέτρον καὶ τοὺς δύο υἱοὺς Ζεβεδαίου), that is James and John.  Jesus began to be grieved, pained, sorrowful, troubled, distressed, and agitated (ἤρξατο λυπεῖσθαι καὶ ἀδημονεῖν).  Both these gospel writers showed the vulnerability of Jesus in his suffering.  Then Jesus said to these 3 apostles (τότε λέγει αὐτοῖς) that his soul was very sorrowful, deeply grieved (Περίλυπός ἐστιν ἡ ψυχή μου), even unto death (ἕως θανάτου).  He wanted them to stay there (μείνατε ὧδε) to watch or remain vigilant with him (καὶ γρηγορεῖτε μετ’ ἐμοῦ).  Thus, began the so-called agony of Jesus in the garden.

The special child Jesus (Mt 1:21-1:21)

“Mary will bear a son.

You are to name him

Jesus.

He will save

His people

From their sins.”

 

τέξεται δὲ υἱὸν καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν·αὐτὸς γὰρ σώσει τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν αὐτῶν.

 

This angel of the Lord proclaimed that Mary would give birth to a son (τέξεται δὲ υἱὸν). He was to be called by the name of Jesus (καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν). Jesus, Ἰησοῦν, was a Greek name, but implied the Aramaic or Hebrew name of Joshua, Jeshua, Yeshua, Yehoshua, or Yeshu. This angel gave a command to Joseph concerning the name of the child to be born. In the Old Testament, important people were named before they were born. Thus, in Judean society, the father had the right to name the child. The literal interpretation of this name would have been savior. This phrase about the name of Jesus is exactly the same as found in Luke, chapter 1, (καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν), where the angel Gabriel was talking to Mary about not being afraid because of the child she was bearing. Jesus was called by this name because he was going to save his people (αὐτὸς γὰρ σώσει τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ) from their sins (ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν αὐτῶν). He was not yet seen as a universal savior, but only saving the Israelite people from their own sins.

The north side gates of the city (Ezek 48:30-48:31)

“These shall be

The exits of the city.

On the north side,

It shall be

Four thousand five hundred cubits

By measure.

These gates

Shall be named

After the tribes

Of Israel.

The three gates are

The gate of Reuben,

The gate of Judah,

The gate of Levi.”

There were to be 3 north side gates to the city, at the 4,500 cubits point. All the gates would be named after the various tribes of Israel. Two of these northside gates were important tribes, Judah and Levi, while the tribe of Reuben had less importance.

Gedaliah is the governor of Judah (Jer 40:7-40:7)

“All the leaders

Of the forces

In the open country,

With their troops,

Heard

That the king of Babylon

Had appointed Gedaliah,

The son of Ahikam,

Governor in the land.

The Babylonians had

Commanded that all the

Men,

Women,

With their children

Listen to Gedaliah.

These were

The poorest of the land

Who had not been taken

Into exile to Babylon.”

Now we see that many of the Judean country fighters were not all captured. Some of them were fighting in the hillsides or the open country, not in Jerusalem. Thus these leaders were not sure of what to do. They had heard that Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam from a prominent Jerusalem family, had been named governor by the king of Babylon, so that they seemed less afraid. The Babylonians had commanded that all the men, women, and children listen to Gedaliah. These were the poorest people of the land who had not been taken to Babylon in this Babylonian captivity.

Jeremiah is sent to Gedaliah (Jer 39:13-39:14)

“So Nebuzaradan,

The captain of the guard,

Nebu-shazban the Rabsaris,

Nergal-sharezer the Rabmag,

With all the chief officers

Of the king of Babylon

Sent for Jeremiah.

They took him

From the court of the guard.

They entrusted him

To Gedaliah,

The son of Ahikam,

The son of Shaphan.

They brought him home.

So he stayed

With his own people.”

Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, and presumably the man in charge on the ground in Jerusalem, gathered the other Babylonian officials together. Two are named here. One is the same as mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, Nergal-sharezer the Rabmag, who was in charge of the Assyrian priests or religious element of Babylon. On the other hand, Nebu-shazban the Rabsaris has the same title as Sarsechim, Rabsaris, earlier in this chapter. The Rabsaris was in charge of the eunuchs, but the name is different here. Are they the same people with different names or two different people? Anyway, they take Jeremiah from the royal prison, presumably before they burn the royal palace down. They hand him over to Gedaliah. His father and grandfather, Ahikam and Shaphan had been loyal to the various prophets. Shaphan went back to the days of King Josiah (640-609 BCE) and his religious reform. Ahikam had protected Jeremiah during the reign of King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE) as in chapter 26 of this book. His brother Gemariah had helped Jeremiah in chapter 36. Thus Ahikam’s son Gedaliah seemed like the right person to protect Jeremiah.

The Babylonian officials in Jerusalem (Jer 39:3-39:3)

“When Jerusalem was taken,

All the officials

Of the king of Babylon

Came into Jerusalem.

They sat in the middle gate.

There was

Nergal-sharezer,

Samgar-nebo,

Sarsechim the Rabsaris,

Nergal-sharezer the Rabmag,

With all the rest

Of the officers

Of the king of Babylon.”

On this same day that the Babylonian officials took over Jerusalem, they sat at the Middle Gate. Although these officials and generals were not named in 2 Kings, chapter 25, they are mentioned here. Nergal-sharezer was some kind of hero general. There was also someone with the same name that had the title Rabmag that indicates that he was chief of the Assyrian priests. Samgar-nebo may have been the famous cup bearer for the king or the name of some Babylonian deity.   Sarsechim was the Rabsaris, the chief of the eunuchs. These are the only people mentioned, but there were other officials there, after they had conquered the lower part of Jerusalem.

Birth of a son to Isaiah (Isa 8:1-8:4)

“Then Yahweh said to me.

‘Take a large tablet.

Write on it

In common characters,

‘Belonging to Maher-shalal-hash-baz.’

‘The spoil speeds.

The prey hastens.’

Have it attested for me

By reliable witnesses,

The priest Uriah,

And Zechariah

Son of Jeberechiah.’

I went to the prophetess.

She conceived.

She bore a son.

Then Yahweh said to me.

‘Name him

Maher-shalal-hash-baz.

Before the child knows how to cry

‘My father’ or

‘My mother,’

The wealth of Damascus

With the spoil of Samaria

Will be carried away

By the king of Assyria.’”

Once again, we have a conversation between Yahweh and Isaiah directly. Yahweh told him to write down on a large wooden tablet, the letters Maher-shalal-hash-bar, which means spoil spreads and prey hastens. Then Isaiah had to go to the priest Uriah, mentioned in 2 Kings, chapter 16, as well as Zechariah, probably the father of the wife of Ahaz, to have it attested. Next he went to the prophetess, probably his wife, who then conceived and bore a son that was to be named after the word on the large tablet. Before this boy would be able to utter the words father or mother, the wealth of Damascus in Syria and the spoils of Samaria in Ephraim would be carried away by the king of Assyria. This alliance of King Ahaz of Judah with the King of Assyria can also be found in 2 Kings, chapter 16. Thus the name of the child was really talking about what was about to happen to Syria and Ephraim.