Ask for a fish (Lk 11:11-11:11)

“Is there anyone

Among you

Who is a father?

If your son

Asks for a fish,

Will you give

A snake

Instead of a fish?”

 

τίνα δὲ ἐξ ὑμῶν τὸν πατέρα αἰτήσει ὁ υἱὸς ἰχθύν, μὴ ἀντὶ ἰχθύος ὄφιν αὐτῷ ἐπιδώσει;

 

Luke indicated that Jesus asked them if there was anyone among them who was a father (τίνα δὲ ἐξ ὑμῶν τὸν πατέρα).  If their son asked for a fish (αἰτήσει ὁ υἱὸς ἰχθύν), would they give their son (αὐτῷ ἐπιδώσει) a snake (ὄφιν), instead of a fish (μὴ ἀντὶ ἰχθύος)?  The answer was obvious, of course not.  Matthew, chapter 7:10, had a similar saying of Jesus, indicating a common Q source.  If the son asked for a fish (ἢ καὶ ἰχθὺν αἰτήσει), would be give him a snake or a serpent (μὴ ὄφιν ἐπιδώσει αὐτῷ)?  The answer was that no father would be that cruel to his son.  Thus, the heavenly Father will listen to their requests.  What do you ask God the Father for?

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The two sticks (Ezek 37:15-37:17)

The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Take a stick!

Write on it!

‘For Judah,

With the Israelites

Associated with him.’

Then take another stick!

Write on it!

‘For Joseph,

The stick of Ephraim,

With all

The house of Israel

Associated with it.’

Join them together

Into one stick.

Thus,

They may become

One

In your hand.’”

As usual, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. Yahweh wanted Ezekiel to take two sticks and join them together. Ezekiel was to write on the first stick Judah and everyone associated with him. This was an obvious reference to Judah and the collapsed kingdom of the south. The second stick was a reference to the Israelite kingdom of the north that fell in 721 BCE, a couple of centuries earlier. However, the written title on the second stick was Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, one of Joseph’s sons. All those associated with the northern kingdom were included with the house of Israel. Ezekiel was then to take these two sticks and put them together in his hand, so that they would become one stick. This was an obvious reference that Yahweh wanted the people of both the old northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah to come together, just like what had happened in Ezekiel’s hand.

Freedom for Jeremiah (Jer 40:2-40:4)

“The captain of the guard

Took Jeremiah.

He said to him.

‘Yahweh your God

Threatened this place

With this disaster.

Now Yahweh

Has brought it about.

He has done

As he said.

Because all of you

Sinned against Yahweh.

You did not obey his voice.

Therefore this thing

Has come upon you.

Now look!

I have just released you today

From the fetters

On your hands.

If you wish

To come with me

To Babylon,

Come!

I will take good care of you.

But if you do not wish

To come with me

To Babylon,

You need not come!

See!

The whole land is before you.

Go wherever

You think it good

Or right to go!’”

Jeremiah is finally recognized by Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, who took him aside. He said to Jeremiah that his God Yahweh had threatened this place and made that threat come true. This happened because they were sinning in Jerusalem and Judah. They had not obeyed their God. This Babylonian captain then released Jeremiah from the chains around his hands. Here is where it gets interesting. He offers Jeremiah a choice. He could go to Babylon, where he would be taken care of, or he could stay in Judah, where the whole land would be his. The captain of the guard told Jeremiah to decide on what was right and good for him. The choice was up to Jeremiah, but it seemed obvious that Jeremiah would stay.

Secrets (Sir 8:17-8:19)

“Do not consult with fools!

They cannot keep a secret.

In the presence of strangers,

Do nothing that is to be kept secret!

You do not know

What they will divulge.

Do not reveal your thoughts to anyone!

You may drive away your happiness.”

Sirach’s recommendations continue with some words about secrets. Do not consult with fools, which is obvious. They cannot keep a secret. Do not let strangers know what you are doing. You have no idea who or what they will tell about your actions. Do not let anyone know your thoughts because that could lead to your unhappiness.

Family life (Sir 7:26-7:28)

“If you have a wife

Who pleases you,

Do not divorce her.

But do not trust yourself to one

Whom you detest.

With all your heart

Honor your father.

Do not forget

The birth pangs of your mother.

Remember that it was of your parents

You were born.

How can you repay

What they have given you?”

Sirach has some recommendations about family life. You should not divorce a pleasing wife, which makes sense. However, the same is not true about anyone whom you do not trust or whom you detest. This seems to indicate that a man could divorce a woman if he did not like her. On the other hand, you should honor your father, but not forget about your mother’s labor pains at your birth. Stating the obvious, you were born to your parents. He asked the question about what you owe to your parents. In a more absolute statement, he said that you can never repay them for all that they have done for you.