Camel and the eye of a needle (Lk 18:25-18:25)

“It is easier

For a camel

To go through

The eye of a needle

Than for a rich man

To enter

The kingdom of God.”

 

εὐκοπώτερον γάρ ἐστιν κάμηλον διὰ τρήματος βελόνης εἰσελθεῖν ἢ πλούσιον εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσελθεῖν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that it was easier for a camel (εὐκοπώτερον γάρ ἐστιν κάμηλον) to go through the eye of a needle (διὰ τρήματος βελόνης εἰσελθεῖν) than for a rich man (ἢ πλούσιον) to enter the kingdom of God (εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσελθεῖν).  This saying about wealth and the camel going through the eye of a needle can be found in Mark, chapter 10:25, and Matthew, chapter 19:24, almost word for word.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that it would be easier (εὐκοπώτερόν ἐστιν) for a camel to go or pass through the eye of a needle (κάμηλον διὰ τῆς τρυμαλιᾶς τῆς ῥαφίδος διελθεῖν), that was used for sewing, than for a wealthy rich man to enter the kingdom of God (ἢ πλούσιον εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσελθεῖν).  In Matthew, once again, this was a solemn proclamation of Jesus (πάλιν δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν).  He said that it would be easier (εὐκοπώτερόν ἐστιν) for a camel to go through the eye of a sewing needle (κάμηλον διὰ τρήματος ῥαφίδος εἰσελθεῖν) than for a wealthy rich man to enter the kingdom of God (ἢ πλούσιον εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  This was a follow up to the obstacles of wealth.  Notice that Matthew followed the other two gospels by using kingdom of God (τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ) rather than his usual kingdom of heaven (τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν), as in the preceding verses.  Everyone knew that it would be impossible for a camel to go through a sewing needle eye or a needle opening.  There was no needle gate in Jerusalem, since this was about a sewing needle.  Do you see wealth as a problem?

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Towards Jerusalem (Lk 17:11-17:11)

“On the way to Jerusalem,

Jesus was going through

The region

Between Samaria

And Galilee.”

 

Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ πορεύεσθαι εἰς Ἱερουσαλὴμ, καὶ αὐτὸς διήρχετο διὰ μέσον Σαμαρίας καὶ Γαλιλαίας

 

Only Luke has this story about the curing of the ten lepers.  Luke indicated that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem (Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ πορεύεσθαι εἰς Ἱερουσαλὴμ).  He went through a region between Samaria and Galilee (καὶ αὐτὸς διήρχετο διὰ μέσον Σαμαρίας καὶ Γαλιλαίας).  Jesus continued heading towards Jerusalem so that he had to pass through this Samaritan area that was next to Galilee.  Luke had already shown a greater openness to the Samaritans than the other gospel writers.  Are you open to neighbors who do not think like you do?

Wailing and lamentation (Am 5:16-5:17)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh!

The God of hosts!

The Lord!

‘In all the squares.

There shall be wailing.

In all the streets,

They shall say.

‘Alas!

Alas!’

They shall call

The farmers

To mourning.

They shall call

Those skilled

In lamentation,

To wailing.

In all the vineyards,

There shall be wailing.

I will pass through

The midst of you.’

Says Yahweh.”

Amos has this oracle of Yahweh that talks about the coming wailing and mourning all over the place. Yahweh, the God of the heavenly army or hosts is the Lord who speaks to them. In the streets and the squares of the town, there will be wailing and mourning. They will cry out, “alas, alas.” The farmers will mourn. They will need skilled mourners because of the great grief that they face. The people with vineyards will wail and mourn also. Yahweh was going to pass through them the middle of them.

The seven-month search and burial (Ezek 39:12-39:16)

“‘The house of Israel

Shall spend

Seven months

Burying them,

In order to cleanse

The land.

All the people

Of the land

Shall bury them.

It will bring them honor

On the day

That I show my glory.’

Says Yahweh God.

‘They will set apart men

To pass through

The land continually.

They will bury

Any invaders who remain

On the face of the land.

It will then be cleansed.

They will make their search.

For seven months.

As the searchers

Pass through the land,

Anyone who sees

A human bone

Shall set up

A sign by it,

Until the buriers

Have buried it

In the Valley of Hamon-gog.

A city Hamonah

Is there also.

Thus,

They shall cleanse

The land.”

The house of Israel was to spend 7 months burying the men with Gog, so that they could cleanse the land of Israel and its people. These grave diggers would gain honor on the day when Yahweh was going to show his glory. These body searchers would be set apart to pass through the land continually. They would bury any remains they found. Anyone who saw a human bone was to set up a sign by it, until these buriers buried them in the Valley of Hamon-gog or the city Hamonah, next to it. Thus, the land would be cleansed by removing these dead bodies in 7 months.

The defilement of the people (Ezek 20:30-20:31)

“Therefore say

To the house of Israel!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Will you defile yourselves

After the manner

Of your ancestors?

Will you go astray

After their detestable things?

When you offer

Your gifts,

You defile yourselves.

When you make

Your children

Pass through the fire,

You defile yourselves

With all your idols

To this day.

Shall I be consulted

By you?

O house of Israel!

As I live,

I will not be consulted

By you.’ Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh wanted Ezekiel to say to the house of Israel that they should not defile themselves like their ancestors. They should not go astray after their detestable idols. When they offered gifts to these idols, they defiled themselves. When they made their children pass through fire, they also defiled themselves with all their idols. They had been doing this even until the time of Ezekiel. Yahweh wanted to know if he should be consulted by those from the wicked house of Israel. Yahweh was clear. He did not want to be consulted by those who had defiled themselves.

The new Passover slaughter (Ezek 9:5-9:7)

“To the other executioners

Yahweh said

In my hearing.

‘Pass through the city

After him!

Kill!

Your eye shall not spare!

You shall show no pity!

Cut down old men!

Cut down young men!

Cut down young women!

Cut down little children!

Cut down women!

But touch no one

Who has the mark!

Begin at my sanctuary!’

So they began

With the elders

Who were in front

Of the house.

Then he said

To them.

‘Defile the house!

Fill the courts

With the slain!

Go forth!’

So they went out.

They killed

In the city.”

Yahweh then told the other executioners so that Ezekiel could hear what he was saying. They were to pass through the city after the man with the writing case had marked off those who were to be saved. They were to kill all the others that were not marked with the taw. They were to spare no one. They were not to show any pity. They were to kill the old men, the young men, the young women, the little children, and the other older women. However, those with the mark were not to be touched. These executioners would begin at the sanctuary itself. Thus the first ones killed were the elders around the Temple. The holy house of Yahweh was defiled as the courts were filled with dead bodies. Yahweh told these killers to get going. Thus they went out and killed all the unmarked people in the city.

 

Yahweh is our judge (Isa 33:21-33:22)

“But there Yahweh

In majesty

Will be for us

Like a place of broad rivers,

Like a place of streams.

No galley with oars can go there.

No stately ship can pass.

Yahweh is our judge!

Yahweh is our ruler!

Yahweh is our king!

He will save us.”

Yahweh will rule as king in full majesty. He will be like a broad river or a place where there are many streams. However, no big ship will be able to pass through these waters. Yahweh will be the judge, the ruler, and the king. He will save all the people.