‘I have kept
Since my youth.’”
ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Ταῦτα πάντα ἐφύλαξα ἐκ νεότητος.
Luke indicated that this ruler replied (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν) that he had kept all these commandments (Ταῦτα πάντα ἐφύλαξα) since his youth (ἐκ νεότητος). This comment can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:20, and Matthew, chapter 19:20, but slightly different, with Luke closer to Mark, who indicated that this man responded to Jesus (ὁ δὲ ἔφη αὐτῷ). Once again, he called Jesus “Teacher (Διδάσκαλε).” He said that he had kept or observed all these commandments (ταῦτα πάντα ἐφυλαξάμην) from his youth (ἐκ νεότητός μου). In Matthew, this person was identified as a young man, who responded to Jesus (λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ νεανίσκος). He said that he had kept or observed all these commandments (Ταῦτα πάντα ἐφύλαξα). Mark and Luke added “from his youth,” but in Matthew he was still a young man. What was he still lacking (τί ἔτι ὑστερῶ)? This seems like a very forthright righteous person who was trying to do the best that he could. Have you been a faithful commandment follower since your youth?
“The young man
Said to Jesus.
‘I have kept all these commandments.
What do I still lack?’”
λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ νεανίσκος Ταῦτα πάντα ἐφύλαξα· τί ἔτι ὑστερῶ;
This comment by the young man can be found in Mark, chapter 10:20, and Luke, chapter 18:21, but slightly different. This person is identified here as a young man, who responded to Jesus (λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ νεανίσκος). He said that he had kept or observed all these commandments (Ταῦτα πάντα ἐφύλαξα). Mark and Luke added “from his youth”, but here he was a young man. What was he still lacking (τί ἔτι ὑστερῶ)? This seems like a very forthright righteous person who was trying to do the best that he could.
“The Queen of the South
Will rise up
At the judgment
With this generation.
She will condemn it.
Because she came
From the ends of the earth
To the wisdom of Solomon.
Than Solomon is here.”
βασίλισσα νότου ἐγερθήσεται ἐν τῇ κρίσει μετὰ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης καὶ κατακρινεῖ αὐτήν· ὅτι ἦλθεν ἐκ τῶν περάτων τῆς γῆς ἀκοῦσαι τὴν σοφίαν Σολομῶνος, καὶ ἰδοὺ πλεῖον Σολομῶνος ὧδε.
This saying about the Queen of Sheba can also be found in Luke, chapter 11:31, so that perhaps this is a Q source. However, in Luke, it preceded the comments about the men of Nineveh. Why was this unnamed Queen of Sheba able to give a judgment on this generation? She was not even Jewish. However, she visited King Solomon in 1 Kings, chapter 10:1-13, with the same story repeated in 2 Chronicles, chapter 9:1-12. This mythical mysterious woman came from Sheba, but no one knows exactly where that was or her specific name. She might have been from around the gold mines at Ophir, wherever that might be. This might explain her wealth in spices, gold, and precious stones. Anyway, King Solomon answered all her questions with great wisdom. She observed all his wisdom, plus his house, his food, his clothing, and his servants. She praised King Solomon, the son of King David, because his wisdom exceeded what she had anticipated and his prosperity exceeded her expectations. Here she is called the Queen of the South (βασίλισσα νότου). She would rise up at the judgment time against this generation (ἐγερθήσεται ἐν τῇ κρίσει μετὰ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης). Just like the men of Nineveh, she would condemn them (καὶ κατακρινοῦσιν αὐτήν). She had come from the ends of the earth (ὅτι ἦλθεν ἐκ τῶν περάτων τῆς γῆς) to hear the wisdom of Solomon (ἀκοῦσαι τὴν σοφίαν Σολομῶνος). Now, Matthew reminded them that something or someone greater than King Solomon was there among them (καὶ ἰδοὺ πλεῖον Σολομῶνος ὧδε), Jesus himself.
“The Magi asked.
‘Where is the child
Who has been born
King of the Jews?
We have observed
At its rising
In the east.
We have come
To pay him homage.’”
λέγοντες Ποῦ ἐστιν ὁ τεχθεὶς βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων; εἴδομεν γὰρ αὐτοῦ τὸν ἀστέρα ἐν τῇ ἀνατολῇ καὶ ἤλθομεν προσκυνῆσαι αὐτῷ.
These magi, because it was more than one, wanted to know where the new born child was (Ποῦ ἐστιν ὁ τεχθεὶς) who was going to be the King of the Jews (βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων). They had observed his star rising in the east (εἴδομεν γὰρ αὐτοῦ τὸν ἀστέρα ἐν τῇ ἀνατολῇ). They had come to pay homage or worship this new king (ἤλθομεν προσκυνῆσαι αὐτῷ). These seem like legitimate questions from these eastern magi for King Herod. They might have assumed that this new king would be the child of the current king, since King Herod had the title of King of the Jews. As astrologers, they had seen this special star in the east. They were outsiders, not Jewish, so that their insertion into this story indicated a universal appeal to the infant Jesus, who was to be ruler of the Jews.
The guard agreed
To this proposal.
He tested them
For ten days.
At the end of ten days,
It was observed
That they appeared better,
As well as fatter,
Than all the young men
Who had been eating
The royal rations.
The guard continued
Their royal rations.
He took away
That they were to drink.
He gave them vegetables.”
The guard agreed to Daniel’s request for 10 days. Then after 10 days, he observed that they were fatter and in better shape than the other young men who had been eating and drinking the royal food and wine. Thus, the guard continued to give them only vegetables instead of the rich royal food and wine.
“Every matter has its time,
Every matter has its way,
Even though the troubles of mortals
Lie heavy upon them.
Indeed they do not know
What is to be.
Who can tell him
How it will be?
No one has power over the wind,
To restrain the wind.
No one has power over the day of death.
There is no discharge from the battle.
Wickedness does not deliver
Those who practice it.
All this I observed.
I applied my mind to all
That is done
Under the sun.
One person exercises authority over another
To the other’s hurt.”
You have to know the right time and the correct way to do things. Those with wisdom will be able to do these things. No knows how to stop the wind or the day of their death. You cannot be excused from the battle. Wickedness has its own reward. Qoheleth knows all about these things because he observed them. He saw how one person exercised authority over another that caused harm. That is our way of life under the sun.
“When all were now looking forward to the coming issue, the enemy was already close at hand with their army drawn up for battle. The elephants were strategically stationed. The cavalry were deployed on the flanks. Judas Maccabeus, observed the masses that were in front of him. He saw the varied supply of arms and the savagery of the elephants. He then stretched out his hands toward heaven. He called upon the Lord who works wonders. He knew that it is not by arms, but as the Lord decides, that he would gain the victory for those who deserve it.”
Judas Maccabeus knew that the enemy was close at hand. They were ready for the battle with elephants, cavalry, and all the infantry in front of him. Then he stretched out his hands to heaven. He knew that he would not win this battle with superior weapons that he did not have. He knew that the victory would come from the Lord, who would work wonders to give victory to the ones who deserved it.
“Then both sides attacked as five thousand of the army of Lysias fell in action. Lysias saw the rout of his troops. He observed the boldness which inspired those troops of Judas. He saw how ready they were either to live or to die nobly. Then he withdrew to Antioch. There he enlisted mercenaries in order to invade Judea again with an even larger army.”
Both sides attacked. However, the army of Lysias lost 5,000 men. Lysias, the Syrian general saw how bold the men of Judas were since they were ready to die nobly. Then he withdrew to Antioch to enlist more mercenaries for a larger invasion of Judea.
“Queen Esther daughter of Abihail, along with the Jew Mordecai, were given full written authority. They confirmed this second letter about Purim. Letters were sent wishing peace and security to all the Jews, to the one hundred twenty-seven provinces of the kingdom of King Artaxerxes. This letter gave orders that these days of Purim should be observed at their appointed seasons. The Jew Mordecai and Queen Esther enjoined on all the Jews, just as they had for themselves and for their descendants, regulations concerning their fasts and their lamentations. The command of Queen Esther fixed these practices of Purim. It was recorded in writing.”
Not only was there an explanation by Mordecai, the queen herself sent out a letter to the 127 provinces pertaining to all the Jews. Purim was to be observed at the appointed times. She laid out the regulations concerning this feast, with fasting, and lamentations. All of this was in writing. Once again there was an insistence that this was written down. The feast of Purim would become an important post-exilic feast day, a time of great rejoicing, drinking and eating.
“Haman went out that day from the king happy and in good spirits. But when he saw Mordecai the Jew in the courtyard, and observed that he neither rose nor trembled before him, he was infuriated with Mordecai. Nevertheless Haman restrained himself. He went home. Then he sent and called for his friends and his wife Zeresh. Haman recounted to them the splendor of his riches and the number of his sons. He told them about all the promotions with which the king had honored him. He explained how he had advanced above the officials and ministers of the king. Haman added.
‘Even Queen Esther let no one but me
Come with the king to the banquet that she prepared.
Tomorrow also I am invited by her,
Together with the king.
Yet all this does me no good,
As long as I see the Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate.’”
Haman was very happy as he left the king and Queen Esther. However, when he saw Mordecai in the courtyard, he was angry. Mordecai would not recognize his authority, but Haman remained calm and went home. Once at home, he called his friends and wife and told them how wonderful things were going. Haman was a rich man with many sons. He had been promoted and honored by the king. He was the second in command in the kingdom. In fact, he had been the only one invited to a dinner with the king and his wife that day and once again he was invited tomorrow. There was only one thing that really bothered him, the Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate.