The lilies (Lk 12:27-12:27)

“Consider the lilies!

They neither toil

Nor spin.

Yet I tell you!

Even Solomon,

In all his glory,

Was not clothed

Like one of these.”

 

κατανοήσατε τὰ κρίνα, πῶς οὔτε νήθει οὔτε ὑφαίνει· λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν, οὐδὲ Σολομὼν ἐν πάσῃ τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ περιεβάλετο ὡς ἓν τούτων.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that they should consider the lilies (κατανοήσατε τὰ κρίνα).  They neither toil (πῶς οὔτε νήθει) nor spin (οὔτε ὑφαίνει).  Yet, Jesus said, with a solemn pronouncement (λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν), that not even Solomon (οὐδὲ Σολομὼν) in all his glory (ἐν πάσῃ τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ), was clothed like one of these flowers (περιεβάλετο ὡς ἓν τούτων).  Once again, Matthew, chapter 6:28-29, had a similar Jesus saying, almost word for word, indicating a common Q source, about the lilies.  Matthew indicated that Jesus wanted to know why they were worried about their clothes (καὶ περὶ ἐνδύματος τί μεριμνᾶτε).  He wanted them to look and consider the lilies of the field (καταμάθετε τὰ κρίνα τοῦ ἀγροῦ).  This is the only time that the word “καταμάθετε” appears in the New Testament writings.  It means to understand, take in a fact, consider carefully.  These lilies grew without any weary work in the field or any spinning (πῶς αὐξάνουσιν· οὐ κοπιῶσιν οὐδὲ νήθουσιν).  The verb to spin, “νήθουσιν” is unique to Matthew among all the New Testament writings.  Matthew also had Jesus utter his solemn saying (λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν) that King Solomon in all his glory (ὅτι οὐδὲ Σολομὼν ἐν πάσῃ τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ) did not have better looking clothing than these field flowers (περιεβάλετο ὡς ἓν τούτων).  In 1 Kings, chapter 10:1-5, the Queen of Sheba remarked about the wonderful clothes of King Solomon and his palace. Thus, the lilies of the field looked great without any work or care.  Do you look good without any care or work?

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Not bread alone (Lk 4:4-4:4)

“Jesus

Answered him.

‘It is written.

‘One does not live

By bread alone.’”

 

καὶ ἀπεκρίθη πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς Γέγραπται ὅτι Οὐκ ἐπ’ ἄρτῳ μόνῳ ζήσεται ὁ ἄνθρωπος.

 

Once again, this is the same as Matthew, chapter 4:3, nearly word for word.  Luke said that Jesus responded to the devil (καὶ ἀπεκρίθη πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς) by citing a Septuagint written phrase (Γέγραπται) from Deuteronomy, chapter 8:3, about the fact that man does not live by bread alone (ὅτι Οὐκ ἐπ’ ἄρτῳ μόνῳ ζήσεται ὁ ἄνθρωπος).  Luke did not finish this phrase the way that Matthew did by saying that man lives by all the words that come from the mouth of God.  In Deuteronomy, Yahweh had reminded the Israelites that they had been tested for 40 years with hunger.  Then came this saying about not living by bread alone, but by every word that came from the mouth of Yahweh, an anthropomorphism for Yahweh’s law.  The Book of Deuteronomy was the most quoted book of the Torah in these New Testament writings.

Lilies of the field (Mt 6:28-6:28)

“Why do you worry

About clothing?

Consider the lilies

Of the field!

How do they grow?

They do not toil.

They do not spin.”

 

καὶ περὶ ἐνδύματος τί μεριμνᾶτε; καταμάθετε τὰ κρίνα τοῦ ἀγροῦ πῶς αὐξάνουσιν· οὐ κοπιῶσιν οὐδὲ νήθουσιν·

 

Once again, Luke, chapter 12:27, has a similar Jesus saying, almost word for word, indicating a common Q source, about the lilies.  Jesus wanted to know why they were worried about their clothes (καὶ περὶ ἐνδύματος τί μεριμνᾶτε).  He wanted them to look and consider the lilies of the field (καταμάθετε τὰ κρίνα τοῦ ἀγροῦ).  This is the only time that the word “καταμάθετε” appears in the New Testament writings.  It means to understand, take in a fact, consider carefully.  These lilies grew without any weary work in the field or any spinning (πῶς αὐξάνουσιν· οὐ κοπιῶσιν οὐδὲ νήθουσιν).  The verb to spin, “νήθουσιν” is unique to Matthew among all the New Testament writings.  Thus, the lilies of the field looked great without any work or cares.

The response of Jesus (Mt 4:4-4:4)

“But Jesus answered.

‘It is written.

One does not live

By bread alone,

But by every word

That comes

From the mouth of God.’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Γέγραπται Οὐκ ἐπ’ ἄρτῳ μόνῳ ζήσεται ὁ ἄνθρωπος, ἀλλ’ ἐπὶ παντὶ ῥήματι ἐκπορευομένῳ διὰ στόματος Θεοῦ.

 

Once again, Matthew and Luke, chapter 4:4 shared a common source, perhaps Q.  Jesus responded (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς) to the tempter by citing a written phrase (εἶπεν Γέγραπται) from Deuteronomy, chapter 8:3, about the fact that man does not live by bread alone (Οὐκ ἐπ’ ἄρτῳ μόνῳ ζήσεται ὁ ἄνθρωπος,), but rather man lives by all the words that come from the mouth of God (ἀλλ’ ἐπὶ παντὶ ῥήματι ἐκπορευομένῳ διὰ στόματος Θεοῦ.).  Actually, the Book of Deuteronomy was the most quoted book of the Torah in these New Testament writings.  In Deuteronomy, Yahweh had reminded the Israelites that they had been tested for 40 years with hunger.  Then came this saying about not living by bread alone, but by every word that came from the mouth of Yahweh.  The mouth of God was an anthropomorphism for Yahweh’s law.

 

Pseudo epigrams or anonymous writings

The question of authorship or attribution is important.  Like many of the books of the Old Testament, some of the books attributed to some authors in the New Testament writings are not the persons mentioned.  Moses did not write all the Torah.  Paul did not write all the letters attributed to him.  The technical scholarly name for this is pseudo epigrams.  Sometimes, they are forgeries.  These false attributions exist for a number of biblical books.  Since we do not know the names of many of the writers of these books in the Bible, we can say that anonymous people wrote these works.  However, I have decided to use the traditional attributed names that have been associated with these pseudo epigram works to better identify them.

The inspired Scriptures

The Old Testament or Hebrew scriptures were the scriptures mentioned in the New Testament writings.  In what sense are these inspired writings?  There have been a number of theories to explain this.  Were these writers possessed by God in a hypnotic state?  Did God verbally dictate every word?  Did God provide negative assistance to make sure that the writer did not make an error?  Is this inspiration retroactive?  Every word in the Bible is true if we understand the literary form.  There was a divine influence on the minds and wills of the biblical writers, but they lived and wrote in a specific time and place.

Enoch (Sir 49:14-49:14)

“Few have ever been created

On earth

Like Enoch.

He was taken up

From the earth.”

Sirach ends his tribute to the honorable famous holy men by repeating what he had said about Enoch, in chapter 44, 5 chapters earlier, the first famous holy man mentioned. Enoch was the lucky 7th among the 12 patriarchs before the flood, the great grandfather of Noah. What made Enoch unique among these early patriarchs was that he does not seem to die, as he was taken up from the earth. There were also 3 apocryphal books about Enoch written from the 3rd century BCE to after the time of Jesus Christ. Thus his fascinating popularity was enormous. In fact, there are even a few mentions of Enoch in the New Testament writings.