“But when the disciples
They were angry.
‘Why this waste?
Could have been sold
For a large sum.
The money could have been
Given to the poor.’”
ἰδόντες δὲ οἱ μαθηταὶ ἠγανάκτησαν λέγοντες Εἰς τί ἡ ἀπώλεια αὕτη;
ἐδύνατο γὰρ τοῦτο πραθῆναι πολλοῦ καὶ δοθῆναι πτωχοῖς.
This is similar to Mark, chapter 14:4-5, and somewhat similar to John, chapter 12:4-6, where Judas Iscariot complained about wasting money and John made derogatory remarks about Judas. Matthew said that these unnamed disciples saw what had happened (ἰδόντες δὲ οἱ μαθηταὶ), so that they were angry, incensed, or indignant (ἠγανάκτησαν). They complained that this was a waste of this precious oil (λέγοντες Εἰς τί ἡ ἀπώλεια αὕτη). It could have been sold for a large sum (ἐδύνατο γὰρ τοῦτο πραθῆναι πολλοῦ), without mentioning the amount of 300 denarii (about $450.00 US), as did Mark and John, for this was very expensive oil. Then that large sum of money obtained from the sale of this ointment could have been given to the poor (καὶ δοθῆναι πτωχοῖς). Giving to the poor at the time of Passover was a common custom.
“Whoever loves discipline
But those who hate to be rebuked
Discipline is at the root of knowledge. If you love knowledge you realize that it can only be obtained with self discipline. However, if you hate to be criticized that you are just plain stupid. So now you have a definition of stupidity as not accepting criticism.
“I was pushed hard,
So that I was falling.
But Yahweh helped me.
Yahweh is my strength!
Yahweh is my might!
He has become my salvation.
There are glad songs of victory
In the tents of the righteous.
‘The right hand of Yahweh does valiantly!
The right hand of Yahweh is exalted!
The right hand of Yahweh does valiantly!’
I shall not die.
But I shall live.
I shall recount the deeds of Yahweh.
Yahweh has punished me severely.
But he did not give me over to death.”
Apparently the psalmist was pushed very hard on all sides. However, Yahweh had helped him since Yahweh was his strength, his might, and his salvation. Once the victory was obtained there were songs of victory. Within the tents of the righteous you could hear the chant about the right hand of Yahweh that had been valiant and exalted. The psalmist did not die, but lived. Therefore he was going to recount the great deeds of Yahweh his whole entire life. Yahweh had punished him severely, but he did not die. He was grateful for that.
“When King Seleucus died, King Antiochus, who was called Epiphanes, succeeded to the kingdom. Then Jason, the brother of Onias, obtained the high priesthood by corruption. He promised the king at an interview three hundred sixty talents of silver and, from another source of revenue, eighty talents. In addition to this, he promised to pay one hundred fifty more if permission were given to establish by his authority a gymnasium and a body of youth for it. He wanted to enroll the men of Jerusalem as citizens of Antioch. When the king assented, Jason came to office. He at once shifted his countrymen over to the Greek way of life.”
By the time that Onias arrived in Antioch, Heliodorus had already assassinated King Seleucus IV (187-175 BCE). Now King Antiochus IV (175-164 BCE), the son of King Antiochus III who had ruled from 222-187 BCE, became king. He was the brother of King Seleucus IV. Jason was the brother of the high priest Onias, so that he was a Levite. He obtained the high priesthood by corruption. I still think that it is strange that the Syrian king had the right to name the Jewish high priest. Jason has promised the new king about 440 talents of silver, the equivalent of a quarter million $USA. He wanted a Greek gymnasium in Jerusalem that would become the center of political and cultural education. He also wanted all the men of Jerusalem to be citizens of Antioch. The new King Antiochus IV said fine. Thus Jason took over as the new high priest of Jerusalem. He wanted to shift his countrymen to the new Greek way of life. Unlike in 1 Maccabees, chapter 1, where the movement to the Greek way was led by the generic renegades, here it is explicitly assigned to Jason, the new high priest. Despite his protestations of not getting into details, this biblical author explained the role of the high priest Onias and his brother Jason in great detail.