The problem of the Sabbath (Lk 14:5-14:5)

“Then Jesus

Said to them.

‘If one of you

Has a child

Or an ox

That has fallen

Into a well,

Will you not

Immediately

Pull him out

On a Sabbath day?’”

 

καὶ πρὸς αὐτοὺς εἶπεν Τίνος ὑμῶν υἱὸς ἢ βοῦς εἰς φρέαρ πεσεῖται, καὶ οὐκ εὐθέως ἀνασπάσει αὐτὸν ἐν ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ σαββάτου;

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said to the lawyers and the Pharisees (καὶ πρὸς αὐτοὺς εἶπεν) that if anyone of them had a child or an ox (Τίνος ὑμῶν υἱὸς ἢ βοῦς) that had fallen into a well or pit (εἰς φρέαρ πεσεῖται), would they not immediately pull him out (καὶ οὐκ εὐθέως ἀνασπάσει αὐτὸν) even on a Sabbath day (ἐν ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ σαββάτου)?  Jesus turned the question of the Sabbath around.  He wondered what these lawyers and Pharisees would do if their son or their ox fell into a pit or well.  He pointed out that they would immediately pull him out of the well, no matter what day of the week it was.  Would you help someone in distress on Sunday?

Hypocrites (Lk 13:15-13:15)

“Then the Lord

Answered him.

‘You hypocrites!

Does not each of you,

On the Sabbath,

Untie his ox

Or his donkey

From the stall?

Do you not

Lead it away

To give it water?’”

 

ἀπεκρίθη δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ Κύριος καὶ εἶπεν Ὑποκριταί, ἕκαστος ὑμῶν τῷ σαββάτῳ οὐ λύει τὸν βοῦν αὐτοῦ ἢ τὸν ὄνον ἀπὸ τῆς φάτνης καὶ ἀπαγαγὼν ποτίζει;

 

Luke uniquely said that the Lord, not Jesus, answered this synagogue leader (ἀπεκρίθη δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ Κύριος).  He called them hypocrites (καὶ εἶπεν Ὑποκριταί) in the second person plural.  He asked each of them (ἕκαστος ὑμῶν) whether they had untied their ox (οὐ λύει τὸν βοῦν αὐτοῦ) or donkey (ἢ τὸν ὄνον) from the stall or manger (ἀπὸ τῆς φάτνης) and led them away (καὶ ἀπαγαγὼν) to give them water (ποτίζει) on the Sabbath (τῷ σαββάτῳ)?  Despite the sacredness of the Sabbath, they took care of their farm animals by providing water for them, as Jesus questioned how they handled their animals on the Sabbath.  What are you Sabbath practices?

The king leaves his throne immediately (Dan 4:33-4:33)

“Immediately,

The sentence

Was fulfilled

Against King Nebuchadnezzar.

He was driven away

From human society.

He ate grass

Like an ox.

His body was bathed

With the dew of heaven.

His hair grew

As long

As eagles’ feathers.

His nails became

Like birds’ claws.”

The result happened immediately in a very descriptive way. As soon as the words were spoken, the sentence was fulfilled against King Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from human society to eat grass like an ox. His body bathed in the heavenly dew. This text explains that his hair grew as long as eagle feathers and his finger nails became like bird claws.

The cherubim and the living creatures of the River Chebar (Ezek 10:14-10:15)

“Each one had four faces.

The first face was

That of the cherub.

The second face was

That a human being.

The third face was

That of a lion.

The fourth face was

That of an eagle.           

The cherubim rose up.

These were

The living creatures

That I saw

By the river Chebar.”

Each one of the cherubim had 4 faces like the living creatures at the River Chebar as in chapter 1.   There was no mention of sides or fronts here. Three of the faces were exactly the same, a human face, a face of a lion, and the face of an eagle. However, the fourth face was that of a cherub here, while in chapter 1, it was an ox. Here the comparison to the cherubim in Assyrian and Babylonian times is more explicit. Thus the connection between this section and chapter 1 is very specific, since Ezekiel mentions the River Chebar.

The peaceful saving Spirit of Yahweh (Isa 32:15-32:20)

“A Spirit from on high is

Poured out on us.

The wilderness becomes a fruitful field.

The fruitful field is deemed a forest.

Then justice will dwell in the wilderness.

Righteousness will abide in the fruitful field.

The effect of righteousness will be peace.

The result of righteousness is quietness.

The result of righteousness is trust forever.

My people will abide

In a peaceful habitation,

In secure dwellings,

In quiet resting places.

The forest will disappear.

The city will be utterly laid low.

Happy will you be

Who sow beside every stream.

You will let the ox range freely.

You will let the donkey range freely.”

Into this desolate situation, Isaiah inserts a ray of hope. The Spirit of Yahweh will descend on his people. The wilderness will become a fruitful field, almost like a forest. Justice shall dwell in the wilderness, while righteousness will be in the fruitful fields. This righteousness will bring peace, quiet, and everlasting trust. You will live peacefully in secure houses with quiet resting places. The city and the forest will disappear. You will lead a happy life sowing along streams and letting your ox and donkeys graze freely. This will be the ideal time of peaceful farmers.

Rebuke against rebellion (Isa 1:2-1:3)

“Hear!

O heavens!

Listen!

O earth!

Yahweh has spoken.

‘I reared children.

I brought them up.

But they have rebelled

Against me.

The ox knows its owner.

The donkey knows its master’s crib.

But Israel does not know.

My people do not understand.’”

Isaiah begins with an oracle that comes from Yahweh. He asks heaven and earth to listen to him. Yahweh says that he reared and brought up his children. However, these children have rebelled against him. As an ox knows its owner and a donkey knows where his home is, the people of Israel are just the opposite. They do not know or understand anything. This is the tone to many of the oracles of Yahweh via Isaiah. It is not clear whether this oracle is against just the northern Israelites or also includes the people of Judah. Sometimes the term “Israel” is used for both and sometimes just for the northern Israelites.

Numerical blessings (Sir 25:7-25:12)

“I can think of nine

Whom I should call blessed.

My tongue proclaims a tenth.

A blessed man can rejoice

In his children.

A blessed man lives

To see the downfall of his foes.

Happy the man

Who lives With a sensible wife.

Happy is the one

Who does not plow

With an ox and donkey together.

Happy is the one

Who does not sin with his tongue.

Happy is the one

Who has not served an inferior.

Happy is the one

Who finds a friend.

Happy is the one

Who speaks to attentive listeners.

How great is the one

Who finds wisdom!

But none is superior to the one

Who fears the Lord.

Fear of the Lord

Surpasses everything.

To whom can we compare

To the one who has it?

The fear of the Lord

Is the beginning of love

For him.

Faith is the beginning

Of clinging to him.”

Once again, Sirach has a numerical proverb. There are 9 kinds of blessed people and a 10th that is even better. He would consider you a blessed happy person if you rejoiced in your children (1). You would be blessed happy if you see your foes fail (2). You are blessed happy, if you live with a sensible wife (3). You are blessed happy, if you plow your field without mixing up your ox and your donkey (4). You should be blessed happy, if you never sin with your tongue (5). You should be blessed happy, if you never have to serve an inferior (6). You are blessed happy, if you have found a friend (7) and people willing to listen to you (8). However, you the great ones are blessed happy when you find wisdom (9). You are the people who fear the Lord (10), since that surpasses everything. Nothing can compare to you, the ones who have the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of love for the Lord. It is the beginning of faith in the Lord.

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