The good news (Lk 16:16-16:16)

“The law

And the prophets

Were in effect

Until John came.

Since then,

The good news

Of the kingdom of God

Is proclaimed.

Everyone

Tries to enter it

By force.”

 

Ὁ νόμος καὶ οἱ προφῆται μέχρι Ἰωάνου· ἀπὸ τότε ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ εὐαγγελίζεται καὶ πᾶς εἰς αὐτὴν βιάζεται.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that the law (Ὁ νόμος) and the prophets (καὶ οἱ προφῆται) were in effect until John came (μέχρι Ἰωάνου).  Since then (ἀπὸ τότε), the good news has been proclaimed (εὐαγγελίζεται) about the kingdom of God (ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Everyone tries to enter it by force (καὶ πᾶς εἰς αὐτὴν βιάζεται).  The law and the prophets were the two major parts of the Hebrew Bible.  John the Baptist represented some sort of turning point.  His preaching about the kingdom of God meant that the days of the law and prophets were numbered.  There is something similar, but in a different context with a different meaning in Matthew, chapter 11:12-13.  There Jesus talked about the days of John the Baptist until the present (ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν ἡμερῶν Ἰωάνου τοῦ Βαπτιστοῦ ἕως ἄρτι), not a very long time.  The kingdom of heaven has suffered violence (ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν βιάζεται).  What kind of violence was taking place in the heavenly kingdom?  Did this mean that so many people were violently seeking the kingdom of heaven that John was talking about?  Is this some kind of violence within the kingdom of heaven?  Were these violent people trying to get into the kingdom of heaven?  The next sentence seems to support this idea that violent people wanted to seize the kingdom of heaven by force (καὶ βιασταὶ ἁρπάζουσιν αὐτήν).  In Matthew, chapter 17:11-13, Jesus compared John to Elijah.  Like here in Luke, all the prophets and the law had prophesied until the time of John the Baptist (πάντες γὰρ οἱ προφῆται καὶ ὁ νόμος ἕως Ἰωάνου ἐπροφήτευσαν).  Then Jesus said that John was the new Elijah (αὐτός ἐστιν Ἡλείας), the one who was to come (ὁ μέλλων ἔρχεσθαι).  However, they had to be willing to accept this (καὶ εἰ θέλετε δέξασθαι).  Anyone who had ears to hear should listen to this (ὁ ἔχων ὦτα ἀκουέτω).  Clearly, something fundamental changed with John the Baptist and his proclamation of the kingdom of God.  How were John and Jesus connected in their preaching?  What is your opinion about John the Baptist?

They collected the leftovers (Mk 6:43-6:44)

“They took up

Twelve baskets

Full of broken pieces

Of bread

And of the fish.

Those who had eaten

The loaves

Numbered five thousand men.”

 

καὶ ἦραν κλάσματα δώδεκα κοφίνων πληρώματα καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν ἰχθύων.

καὶ ἦσαν οἱ φαγόντες τοὺς ἄρτους πεντακισχίλιοι ἄνδρες.

 

This is the only miracle that is recorded in all four gospels, Matthew, chapter 14:20-21, Luke, chapter 9:17, and John, chapter 6:13, plus here, but there are slight differences.  All agree that there were 12 baskets of food left over, symbolic of the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles.  They also agree that it was about 5,000 men.  Obviously, there was no exact count taken.  Only Matthew added the remark about women and the children.  Mark said that they took up 12 full hand baskets of the broken pieces of bread (καὶ ἦραν κλάσματα δώδεκα κοφίνων πληρώματα), and the pieces of fish (καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν ἰχθύων).  Those who ate the loaves (καὶ ἦσαν οἱ φαγόντες τοὺς ἄρτους) were about 5,000 men (πεντακισχίλιοι ἄνδρες).  Without a doubt, this was a very large crowd to feed.

The value of sparrows (Mt 10:29-10:31)

“Are not two sparrows

Sold for a penny?

Yet not one of them

Will fall to the ground

Without your Father’s will.

But even the hairs

Of your head

Are all numbered.

Do not be afraid!

You are of more value

Than many sparrows.”

 

οὐχὶ δύο στρουθία ἀσσαρίου πωλεῖται; καὶ ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν οὐ πεσεῖται ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν ἄνευ τοῦ Πατρὸς ὑμῶν.

ὑμῶν δὲ καὶ αἱ τρίχες τῆς κεφαλῆς πᾶσαι ἠριθμημέναι εἰσίν.

μὴ οὖν φοβεῖσθε· πολλῶν στρουθίων διαφέρετε ὑμεῖς.

 

This verse of Matthew is similar to Luke, chapter 12:6-7, indicating a Q source.  Jesus, via Matthew, compared human life to 2 sparrows.  He asked whether 2 sparrows (οὐχὶ δύο στρουθία) that sold for a penny or a Greek “assarion” (ἀσσαρίου πωλεῖται), worth about 2 cents. were more valuable than humans.  Not one of these sparrows would fall to the ground without the heavenly Father (καὶ ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν οὐ πεσεῖται ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν ἄνευ τοῦ Πατρὸς ὑμῶν).  God, the Father, could number all the hairs on their head (μῶν δὲ καὶ αἱ τρίχες τῆς κεφαλῆς πᾶσαι ἠριθμημέναι εἰσίν.).  They should not be afraid (μὴ οὖν φοβεῖσθε), because they are more valuable that many sparrows (πολλῶν στρουθίων διαφέρετε ὑμεῖς).  If God the Father cares for these insignificant birds, how much more is he concerned about humans.  There was a continual theme about not being afraid.

The interpretation of Mene (Dan 5:26-5:26)

“This is the interpretation

Of the matter.

‘Mene means

God has numbered

The days

Of your kingdom.

It will be brought

To an end.’”

Daniel then gave his official interpretation of the Arabic Mene. This meant that God had numbered the days King Belshazzar’s kingdom, because it would come to an end. This should not be shocking, since all things come to an end.

There is no comparison (Isa 40:25-40:26)

“‘To whom then

Will you compare me?

Who is my equal?’

Says the Holy One.

Lift up your eyes on high!

See!

Who created these?

He brings out their host.

He numbers them.

He calls them all by name.

Because he is great in strength,

Because he is mighty in power,

Not one is missing.”

Second Isaiah wants to know who you can compare to God. There is no one equal to him. He created everything. He has numbered everything. He knows the name of everything because he has great strength and power. He never misses anything.

The destroyer (Isa 33:1-33:1)

“Woe to you!

Destroyer!

You yourself have not been destroyed!

You treacherous one!

With whom no one has dealt treacherously!

When you have ceased to destroy,

You will be destroyed.

When you have stopped dealing treacherously,

You will be dealt with treacherously.”

This section seems to be a later addition of prayers led by a prophet in the various religious services. The prophetic term destroyer here refers to Babylon. Although it has not yet been destroyed, it will be. No has dealt treacherously with them, but they have dealt treacherously with others. The destroying days of Babylon are numbered. They will be dealt with treacherously.

The truly wise person (Sir 37:22-37:26)

“If a person is wise

To his own advantage, T

he fruits of his good sense

Will be praiseworthy.

They will be trustworthy.

A wise person

Instructs his own people.

The fruits of his good sense

Will endure.

A wise person

Will have praise heaped upon him.

All those who see him

Will call him happy.

The days of a person’s life

Are numbered.

But the days of Israel

Are without number.

Whoever is wise

Among his people

Will inherit honor.

His name will live forever.”

Sirach now points out who the truly wise person is. The wise ones work to their own advantage. They have good sense that is praiseworthy, trustworthy, and honored. The truly wise ones instruct their own people. The fruits of these happy wise people will endure with praise. Although the days of everyone are numbered and limited, that is not true about Israel since its days are not numbered. So too, the honorable wise person will have his name last forever. This hyperbolic use of forever indicates a long time, rather than eternity.