They all sat down (Lk 9:15-9:15)

“They did so.

They made them

All sit down.”

 

καὶ ἐποίησαν οὕτως καὶ κατέκλιναν ἅπαντας.

 

Luke uniquely said that the crowds followed orders (καὶ ἐποίησαν οὕτως), as they all sat down (καὶ κατέκλιναν ἅπαντας).  In the other gospel stories, Jesus ordered them to sit down in groups, but only Luke said that they actually did what Jesus asked them to do.  Do you actually follow through on what people ask you to do?

They bring the head of John the Baptist (Mk 6:27-6:28)

“Immediately,

The king

Sent a soldier

Of the guard.

He gave orders

To bring John’s head.

He went.

He beheaded him

In the prison.

He brought

His head

On a platter.

He gave it

To the girl.

Then the girl

Gave it

To her mother.”

 

καὶ εὐθὺς ἀποστείλας ὁ βασιλεὺς σπεκουλάτορα ἐπέταξεν ἐνέγκαι τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ. καὶ ἀπελθὼν ἀπεκεφάλισεν αὐτὸν ἐν τῇ φυλακῇ,

καὶ ἤνεγκεν τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ πίνακι καὶ ἔδωκεν αὐτὴν τῷ κορασίῳ, καὶ τὸ κοράσιον ἔδωκεν αὐτὴν τῇ μητρὶ αὐτῆς.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 14:10-11.  Mark said that King Herod immediately sent out one of his guard to be an executioner (καὶ εὐθὺς ἀποστείλας ὁ βασιλεὺς σπεκουλάτορα).  He commanded him to bring back the head of John the Baptist (ἐπέταξεν ἐνέγκαι τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ).  He sent his executioner guard to behead John in the prison at Machaerus, about 5 miles east of the Dead Sea.  This guard beheaded John in the prison (καὶ ἀπελθὼν ἀπεκεφάλισεν αὐτὸν ἐν τῇ φυλακῇ).  It is not clear whether they waited around for the head of John to come back.  Beheading was one of the ways to make sure a person was dead.  Then John’s head was brought on a platter or dish to Herod (καὶ ἤνεγκεν τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ πίνακι).  He then gave it to the girl (καὶ ἔδωκεν αὐτὴν τῷ κορασίῳ), who then gave it to her mother (καὶ τὸ κοράσιον ἔδωκεν αὐτὴν τῇ μητρὶ αὐτῆς), Herodias.  This was her revenge against John the Baptist, because he had criticized her marriage to Herod.  Off with his head!

Food and drink (Ezek 4:11-4:13)

“‘You shall drink

Water

By measure,

One-sixth of a hin.

You shall drink

At fixed times.

You shall eat it

As a barley cake.

You will bake it

In their sight

On human dung.’

Yahweh said.

‘Thus shall

The people of Israel

Eat their bread unclean,

Among the nations

To which I will drive them.’”

Yahweh clearly gave orders about food and drink. Ezekiel had to measure his water.   A hin is about 5 quarts, so that 1/6th of a hin would be a little less than a quart of water, which is a reasonable amount of water. Once again, Ezekiel was to drink it at fixed times. Then he was to eat barley cakes that were baked on human dung. This seems odd. Here, Yahweh seems to say that the people of Israel should eat unclean bread, as long as they were living among strangers in various countries.

Nicanor as the governor of Judea (2 Macc 14:11-14:14)

“When Alcimus had said this, the rest of the king’s friends, who were hostile to Judas Maccabeus, quickly inflamed King Demetrius still more. He immediately chose Nicanor, who had been in command of the elephants. He appointed him governor of Judea. He sent him off with orders to kill Judas Maccabeus and scatter his troops. He was to install Alcimus as high priest of the great temple. The gentiles throughout Judea, who had fled before Judas Maccabeus, flocked to join Nicanor. They thought that the misfortunes and calamities of the Jews would mean prosperity for themselves.”

Once again, this is similar but not quite the same as 1 Maccabees, chapter 7. There is no mention of Bacchides here. Instead the leader of the troops and the governor of Judea was Nicanor. Apparently, Nicanor had been in charge of the elephants that seem to have been a big deal in the Syrian army. He may also have been with King Demetrius I when he was in jail in Rome. Now this meant that there was a separate governor for Judea whose sole purpose was to kill Judas Maccabees and disperse his troops. Alcimus was officially made the high priest. The gentiles in the area were happy so that they eagerly joined with Nicanor. The assumption of the gentiles was a zero sum game that if the Jews were in trouble, it would be better for them.

Judas Maccabeus attacks Joppa and Jamnia (2 Macc 12:5-12:9)

“When Judas Maccabeus heard of the cruelty visited on his compatriots, he gave orders to his men, calling upon God the righteous judge, to attack the murderers of his kindred. He set fire to the harbor by night. He burned the boats. He massacred those who had taken refuge there. Then, because the city’s gates were closed, he withdrew, intending to come again and root out the whole community of Joppa. But learning that the people in Jamnia meant in the same way to wipe out the Jews who were living among them, he attacked the people of Jamnia by night. He also set fire to the harbor and the fleet, so that the glow of the light was seen in Jerusalem, thirty miles distant.”

Judas Maccabeus gave orders to his men to attack the murders of his compatriots and relatives. This was after he called upon the righteous God to help him. He burned the harbor and the boats there with the people in them. He was not able to get into the city because the city gates were locked. However, he heard that the people of Jamnia were about to drown the people there. Jamnia was about 12 miles south of Joppa on the Mediterranean coast. Thus he went there where he once again set fire to the boats in the harbor. The fire was so great that you could see it in Jerusalem some 30 miles away. The motto of this story was “do not try to drown Jews.”

The cruel painful illness of King Antiochus IV (2 Macc 9:5-9:10)

“But the all-seeing Lord, the God of Israel, struck him an incurable and unseen blow. As soon as he stopped speaking he was seized with a pain in his bowels with sharp internal tortures, for which there was no relief. That was very just, for he had tortured the bowels of others with many and strange inflictions. Yet he did not in any way stop his insolence. He was even more filled with arrogance, breathing fire in his rage against the Jews. He gave orders to drive even faster. So it came about that he fell out of his chariot as it was rushing along. The fall was so hard as to torture every limb of his body. Thus only a little while before, he had thought in his super human arrogance that he could command the waves of the sea. He imagined that he could weigh the high mountains in a balance. Finally, he was brought down to earth. He was carried in a litter, making the power of God manifest to all. Worms swarmed all over the ungodly man’s body. While he was still living in anguish and pain, his flesh rotted away. Because of the stench, the whole army felt revulsion at his decay. Because of his intolerable stench, no one was able to carry the man who a little while before had thought that he could touch the stars of heaven.”

Here the cause of the illness of King Antiochus IV was not depression but the God of Israel who struck him down. Notice that it is the God of Israel not the almighty Shaddai God who struck him down. This biblical author went into great detail about his illness. The king had a bowel problem because he had tortured others with infliction of various stomach disorders. He still wanted to get to Jerusalem so he asked his chariot to go faster. However, then he fell out of the chariot causing him even more pain. King Antiochus IV had been arrogant so that he thought that he could command the sea waves, measure the height of mountains, and touch the stars. However, his body swarmed with worms as it rotted away. There was a terrible smell about him that kept people away from him. The great king was reduced to a smelly sick pain filled old man.

The mutilation and killing of the spokesman for the sons (2 Macc 7:3-7:6)

“The king fell into a rage. He gave orders to have pans and caldrons heated. These were heated immediately. He commanded that the tongue of their spokesman be cut out. They were to scalp him. Then they were to cut off his hands and feet, while the rest of the brothers and the mother looked on. When he was utterly helpless, the king ordered them to take him to the fire, still breathing, and to fry him in a pan. The smoke from the pan spread widely, but the brothers and their mother encouraged one another to die nobly. They said.

‘The Lord God is watching over us.

In truth he has compassion on us.

As Moses declared in his song

That bore witness against the people to their faces,

When he said,

He will have compassion on his servants.’”

The king seems to be personally present at this torture, even though his representatives carry out the action, either in Jerusalem or Antioch. This story of the 7 sons was the principal subject of the later 4 Maccabees, but there was no mention of it 1 Maccabees. This is a particularly brutal story. First they heated up the pans. Then they cut the tongue, the scalp, the hands, and the feet of the spokesperson, while the others looked on. They then fried him on the heated pan while he was still breathing. However, the brothers encouraged each other. They knew the Lord would have compassion on them, based on the Canticle of Moses in Deuteronomy, chapter 32.