Darkness over the land (Mt 27:45-27:45)

“Now from noon on,

The sixth hour,

Darkness

Came over

The whole land

Until three

In the afternoon,

The ninth hour.”

 

Ἀπὸ δὲ ἕκτης ὥρας σκότος ἐγένετο ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν ἕως ὥρας ἐνάτης.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 15:33, and in Luke, chapter 23:44, while in John, chapter 19, there is no indication about this darkness.  Now from noon on, the sixth hour (Ἀπὸ δὲ ἕκτης ὥρας), darkness came (σκότος ἐγένετο) over the whole land, the whole region, or the whole country (ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν), until three in the afternoon, the ninth hour (ἕως ὥρας ἐνάτης).  There was some kind of darkness over the whole region, country, or area for about 3 hours, while Jesus was hanging on the cross.  All 3 of the synoptic gospel writers mentioned this, but John did not.

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The third and fourth group of laborers (Mt 20:5-20:5)

“When the landowner

Went out again

About noon,

The sixth hour,

And about three o’clock,

The ninth hour,

He did the same.”

 

πάλιν δὲ ἐξελθὼν περὶ ἕκτην καὶ ἐνάτην ὥραν ἐποίησεν ὡσαύτως.

 

Jesus continued with this parable that is unique to Matthew.  This landowner needed more workers so that every 3 hours, he went into the marketplace to see if there were any day workers available.  Thus, this landowner of the vineyards went out again (πάλιν δὲ ἐξελθὼν) about noon, the sixth hour (περὶ ἕκτην), and about 3:00 PM, the ninth hour (καὶ ἐνάτην ὥραν).  He did the same (ἐποίησεν ὡσαύτως) as he had done at the third hour or 9 AM.  He asked them to work in the vineyard and he would pay them whatever was right, fair or just, without a specific agreed wage.

Jeremiah curses the day he was born (Jer 20:14-20:18)

“Cursed be the day

On which I was born!

The day

When my mother bore me,

Let it not be blessed!

Cursed be the man

Who brought the news to my father!

‘A child is born to you,

A son.’

This made him very glad.

Let that man be

Like the cities

That Yahweh overthrew without pity!

Let him hear a cry in the morning!

Let him hear an alarm at noon!

Because he did not kill me

In the womb.

Thus my mother would have been

My grave.

Her womb would be forever great.

Why did I come forth

From the womb?

To see toil?

To see sorrow?

Why do I spend my days in shame?”

It is an unusual idea to curse one’s own existence. The only comparable thought would have been in Job, chapter 3, where he cursed the day he was conceived and the day he was born. This is a lament about the personal problems in the life of the prophet Jeremiah. He wanted the day of his birth not to be a celebration or blessing, but a cursed day. He even wanted the man who told his father about the birth of his son to be cursed also. Jeremiah wanted that man to be like Yahweh’s destroyed cities. He wanted him to hear cries in the morning and at noon. They should have killed him in the womb so that his mother’s womb would have been his grave. This is an interesting thought for many anti-abortionists. Jeremiah wondered why he had come forth from the womb only to have a life of toils and sorrow, filled with shame. This is a very depressing idea, much like the poor depressed Job.

Blind darkness (Isa 59:9-59:11)

“Therefore justice is far from us.

Righteousness does not reach us.

We look for light.

See!

There is darkness.

We look for brightness.

But we walk in gloom.

We grope along the wall

Like the blind.

We grope

Like those who have no eyes.

We stumble at noon

As in the twilight.

Among the vigorous,

We are like dead.

We all growl like bears.

We moan mournfully like doves.

We wait for justice,

But there is none.

We wait for salvation,

But it is far from us.”

Third Isaiah paints the Israelite community as in a blind darkness. There was no justice or righteousness. They were waiting for light, but there was only darkness. They wanted brightness, but they only had gloom. They were like blind people groping along a wall, as if they had no eyes. They stumbled at noon as if it was twilight. They were like dead people among vigorous live people. They were growling like bears and mourning like doves. They were waiting for justice and salvation, but there was nothing near, only far away things. They were in a dark place.

The sun (Sir 43:1-43: 5)

“The pride of the higher realms

Is the clear vault of the sky.

As glorious to behold

As the sight of the heavens.

The sun,

When it appears,

Proclaims as it rises.

What a marvelous instrument!

It is the work of the Most High.

At noon,

It parches the land.

Who can withstand its burning heat?

A man tending a furnace

Works in burning heat.

But the sun scorches the mountains

Three times as hot.

It breathes out fiery vapors.

Its bright rays

Blind the eyes.

Great is the Lord

Who made it!

At his orders

It hurries on its course.”

Sirach points out the beauty and utility of the sun in the sky. The rising sun proclaims what a marvelous instrument it is of the Most High God. We have all seen the beauty of the rising morning sun as it proclaims the glory of God. At noon, the sun parches the land, scorching the mountains with its burning heat. Sirach says that the sun is 3 times as hot as a blast furnace. That may be true for somewhere along the line as sun rays head to earth, but here on earth, it is not quite as hot as a burning fire. However, it is true that its bright rays can blind you if you look right into the sun. Certainly the Lord, who made the sun, is to be glorified, as we see the sun move around the earth until sunset. Oh, oh, it is the earth moving around the sun, and not the other way around. However, it still is a lovely poetic thought of sunrise and sunset.

The two ways (Prov 4:18-4:19)

“The path of the righteous is

Like the light of dawn.

It shines brighter and brighter until full day.

The way of the wicked is

Like deep darkness.

They do not know what they stumble over.”

There are classic two ways that you can go. One is the path of righteousness and the other is the way of the wicked. The righteous path is like the light of dawn that grows brighter until it reaches its height at noon. The way of the wicked is like stark darkness so that you do not know what you are stumbling over. The choice is yours.

Call upon God (Ps 55:16-55:19)

However I call upon God.

Yahweh will save me.

Evening and morning,

And at noon,

I utter my complaint.

I moan.

He will hear my voice.

He will redeem me unharmed,

From the battle that I wage.

Many are arrayed against me.

God will hear.

God will humble them.

God is enthroned from of old.

Because they do not change.

They do not fear God.”

Selah

David’s response to this problem was to call on God.  Yahweh would  save him.  He uttered his complaint, morning, noon, and evening.  He was confident that he would be saved and remain unharmed in the battle.  Even though a lot of people were against him, God would hear and humble them.  God sat on his old throne.  They would lose because they would not change.  They did not fear God.  Once again there is a musical interlude meditative pause, Selah.