Only the foreigner returned (Lk 17:18-17:18)

“None of them

Returned

To give praise

To God

Except this foreigner.”

 

οὐχ εὑρέθησαν ὑποστρέψαντες δοῦναι δόξαν τῷ Θεῷ εἰ μὴ ὁ ἀλλογενὴς οὗτος;

 

Only Luke has this story about the curing of the ten lepers.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that none of the others could be found (οὐχ εὑρέθησαν) to return (ὑποστρέψαντες) and give glory or praise (δοῦναι δόξαν) to God (τῷ Θεῷ), except this foreigner (εἰ μὴ ὁ ἀλλογενὴς οὗτος).  Luke was the only biblical writer to use this word ἀλλογενὴς, that means of another race or another nation, a foreigner.  Clearly, Luke indicated that Jesus was steeped in racial animosity, since he considered these Samaritans as foreigners, another race of people.  However, Jesus had more compassion for them in the stories of Luke than in the other gospel stories, where they are ignored.  The prophet Elisha in 2 Kings, chapter 5, had also cured a foreign leper, Naaman, the commander of the Aramean army in a fairly complicated story.  Do you have racial animosity towards those not of your culture?

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Troubles ahead (Mk 13:8-13:8)

“Nation will rise

Against nation!

Kingdom will rise

Against kingdom!

There will be earthquakes

In various places!

There will be famines!

This is but the beginning

Of the birth-pangs.”

 

ἐγερθήσεται γὰρ ἔθνος ἐπ’ ἔθνος καὶ βασιλεία ἐπὶ βασιλείαν. ἔσονται σεισμοὶ κατὰ τόπους, ἔσονται λιμοί· ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων ταῦτα.

 

There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 24:7-8, and in Luke, chapter 21:10-11, almost word for word at times.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that the gentile nations would rise up against other gentile nations (ἐγερθήσεται γὰρ ἔθνος ἐπ’ ἔθνος).  Kingdoms would rise up against other kingdoms (καὶ βασιλεία ἐπὶ βασιλείαν).  There would be earthquakes in various places (ἔσονται σεισμοὶ κατὰ τόπους) and famines (ἔσονται λιμοί).  All of this was the mere beginning of the end, the birth-pangs (ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων ταῦτα).  These comments and the idea of birth pains were in the Old Testament prophetic tradition of the Day of Yahweh, the judgment day.  Jesus was speaking like many of the ancient Israelite prophets who warned about the coming of the divine judgment at the end of days, the end times.

The shameful sinful behavior (Bar 2:3-2:5)

“Some of us

Ate the flesh

Of their sons.

Others

Ate the flesh

Of their daughters.

He made us subject

To all the kingdoms

Around us.

We were

An object of scorn.

We were a desolation among

All the surrounding people,

Where the Lord

Has scattered us.

We were brought down.

We were not raised up.

Because our nation

Sinned

Against the Lord,

Our God,

In not heeding

His voice.”

Once again, there is allusion to the cannibalism of people, eating their sons and daughters as food because of the famine in Jerusalem, as was mentioned in Lamentations, chapters 2 and 4, as well as Jeremiah, chapter 19. They were no longer a nation, because now they obeyed all the other countries around them. They had become an object of scorn and a desolation among all the people and the countries where they were scattered into. They were brought down, not raised up. They had sinned as a nation. Thus they were punished as a nation. They had not listened to the voice of God, their Lord.

The good future of Israel (Jer 33:23-33:26)

“The word of Yahweh

came to Jeremiah.

‘Have you not observed

How these people say?

‘The two families

That Yahweh chose

Have been rejected

By him.’

They hold my people

In such contempt

That they no longer

Regard them as a nation.’

Thus says Yahweh.

‘Only if I had not established

My covenant

With day and night,

With the ordinances

Of heaven and earth,

Would I reject

The offspring

Of Jacob,

Or my servant David.

Then I would not choose

Any of his descendants

As rulers

Over the offspring

Of Abraham,

Isaac,

Or Jacob.

I will restore their fortunes.

I will have mercy upon them.’”

Yahweh once again uttered an oracle to Jeremiah. People were saying that Yahweh had rejected the two families that he had chosen, Judah and Israel. Thus these people held his people in contempt. They did not consider them to be a nation or a country. Yahweh responded that as long as there was a day and a night, as well as heaven and earth, he would not reject the offspring of David. He has chosen them to be the rulers of the descendents of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He was going to restore their fortunes and have mercy on them.

The power of Yahweh is like a potter (Jer 18:7-18:10)

“At any moment,

I may declare

Concerning a nation

Or a kingdom,

That I will pluck it up.

I will break it down.

I will destroy it.

But if that nation,

Concerning which I have spoken,

Turns from its evil,

I will change my mind

About the disaster

That I intended to bring on it.

At another moment,

I may declare

Concerning a nation

Or a kingdom

That I will build it up.

I will plant it.

But if it does evil in my sight,

Not listening to my voice,

Then I will change my mind

About the good

That I had intended to do to it.”

Yahweh proclaimed, via Jeremiah, that at any time he could pluck up, break down, and destroy any nation or kingdom that he wanted to, since he was like the clay potter. All the countries in the world were like clay in his hands. If a country changed from its evil ways, he could change his mind about their impending disaster. Yahweh could also do the same for any nation or kingdom that he was trying to build up or plant. If they did evil in his sight by not listening to him, then Yahweh could change his mind about the good that he had intended to do for them. Thus Yahweh was like a potter who could destroy or mold as he saw fit the various countries and their people.

How could God pardon them? (Jer 5:7-5:9)

“How can I pardon you?

Your children have forsaken me.

They have sworn by those

Who are not gods.

When I fed them to the full,

They committed adultery.

They trooped to the houses of prostitutes.

They were well-fed lusty stallions.

Each was neighing for his neighbor’s wife.

Shall I not punish them for these things?

Shall I not bring retribution

On a nation such as this?’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh wanted to know from Jeremiah how he could pardon the people of Jerusalem. Their children had given up on Yahweh. They were swearing to things that were not gods at all. Even after he had fed them to the full, they went and committed adultery. They ran off to the houses of prostitution with their full bellies, like lusty stallions. They were always seeking their neighbor’s wife, like a horse neighing after them. Should they not be punished for such things? This nation deserves retribution.

The sudden birth of a nation (Isa 66:7-66:9)

“‘Before she was in labor,

She gave birth.

Before her pain came upon her,

She delivered a son.

Who has heard of such a thing?

Who has seen such things?

Shall a land be born in one day?

Shall a nation be delivered in one moment?

Yet as soon as Zion was in labor

She delivered her children.

Shall I open the womb?

Shall I not deliver?’

Says Yahweh.

‘Shall I,

The one who delivers,

Shut the womb?’

Says your God.”

The birth or rebirth of Jerusalem will be miraculous. It will be like a woman who gives birth to a son before she has labor pains. Has anyone heard or seen such a thing? Can a country or nation come into existence in a moment? Yet Zion will deliver her children. Who would open her womb? Who would try to shut her womb? Yahweh, the great deliverer, will not shut the womb, but deliver Jerusalem and Israel in a new birth.