The wisdom of God (Lk 11:49-11:49)

“Therefore,

The Wisdom of God said.

‘I will send them

Prophets

And apostles.

They will kill

And persecute

Some of them.’”

 

διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἡ σοφία τοῦ Θεοῦ εἶπεν Ἀποστελῶ εἰς αὐτοὺς προφήτας καὶ ἀποστόλους, καὶ ἐξ αὐτῶν ἀποκτενοῦσιν καὶ διώξουσιν,

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that the Wisdom of God (διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἡ σοφία τοῦ Θεοῦ εἶπεν) said that he would send them prophets (Ἀποστελῶ εἰς αὐτοὺς προφήτας) and apostles (καὶ ἀποστόλους).  However, they would kill (ἀποκτενοῦσιν) and persecute (καὶ διώξουσιν) some of them (καὶ ἐξ αὐτῶν).  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 23:34, perhaps a Q source, about the killing of prophets.  Jesus said, via Matthew, that he was going to send them prophets, sages or wise men, and scribes, the heroes of the Hebrew Scripture and the Mosaic Law.  However, instead of respecting them, they were going to kill some, crucify some, and flog or scourge some in their synagogues.  They were going to go from town to town persecuting some also.  Jesus had mentioned the possibility of death or crucifixion for his followers earlier.  Luke had Jesus slightly more restrained here.  He mentioned the Wisdom of God (ἡ σοφία τοῦ Θεοῦ) as he had done earlier in chapter 7:35, either indicating Holy Scripture or the personification of wisdom.  What do you know about the wisdom of God?

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They will kill the prophets (Mt 23:34-23:34)

“Therefore,

I send you

Prophets,

Sages,

And Scribes.

You will kill some.

You will crucify some.

You will flog some

In your synagogues.

You will persecute some

From town

To town.”

 

διὰ τοῦτο ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω πρὸς ὑμᾶς προφήτας καὶ σοφοὺς καὶ γραμματεῖς· ἐξ αὐτῶν ἀποκτενεῖτε καὶ σταυρώσετε, καὶ ἐξ αὐτῶν μαστιγώσετε ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς ὑμῶν καὶ διώξετε ἀπὸ πόλεως εἰς πόλιν·

 

There is something similar in Luke, chapter 11:49, about the killing of the prophets, but there is nothing about scourging and persecuting them from town to town.  Jesus said, via Matthew, that he was going to send them (διὰ τοῦτο ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω πρὸς ὑμᾶς) prophets (προφήτας), sages or wise men (καὶ σοφοὺς), and scribes (καὶ γραμματεῖς), the heroes of the Old Testament Mosaic Law.  However, instead of respecting them, they were going to kill (ἐξ αὐτῶν ἀποκτενεῖτε) some, crucify (καὶ σταυρώσετε) some, and flog or scourge some in their synagogues (καὶ ἐξ αὐτῶν μαστιγώσετε ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς ὑμῶν).  They were going to go from town to town persecuting (καὶ διώξετε ἀπὸ πόλεως εἰς πόλιν) some also.  Jesus had mentioned the possibility of death or crucifixion for his followers earlier in chapter 16:24-25.

You will be hated (Mt 10:22-10:23)

“You will be hated

By all,

Because of my name.

But the one who endures

To the end

Will be saved.

When they persecute you

In one town,

Flee to the next town.

Truly,

I say to you!

You will not have gone

Through all the towns

Of Israel,

Before the Son of man

Comes.”

 

καὶ ἔσεσθε μισούμενοι ὑπὸ πάντων διὰ τὸ ὄνομά μου· ὁ δὲ ὑπομείνας εἰς τέλος, οὗτος σωθήσεται.

ὅταν δὲ διώκωσιν ὑμᾶς ἐν τῇ πόλει ταύτῃ, φεύγετε εἰς τὴν ἑτέραν· ἀμὴν γὰρ λέγω ὑμῖν, οὐ μὴ τελέσητε τὰς πόλεις τοῦ Ἰσραὴλ ἕως ἔλθῃ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου.

 

Mark 13:13 has a similar saying, word for word, as found in Matthew, verse 22, but Matthew continues alone in verse 23, even though he has something similar in chapter 24:9.  Jesus, via Matthew, told his disciples that they would be hated or detested by everyone (καὶ ἔσεσθε μισούμενοι ὑπὸ πάντων) because of his name (διὰ τὸ ὄνομά μου).  However, those who were able to be endure to the end (ὁ δὲ ὑπομείνας εἰς τέλος), they would be saved, rescued, or healed (οὗτος σωθήσεται).  Whenever they were persecuted in one town, they were to leave or flee that town for the next town (ὅταν δὲ διώκωσιν ὑμᾶς ἐν τῇ πόλει ταύτῃ, φεύγετε εἰς τὴν ἑτέραν).  Then there is the solemn saying of Jesus (ἀμὴν γὰρ λέγω ὑμῖν).  They would not be able to visit all the towns of Israel (οὐ μὴ τελέσητε τὰς πόλεις τοῦ Ἰσραὴλ) before the Son of Man would come (ἕως ἔλθῃ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου).  Although not comforting words, the end times of the judgment, with the Son of Man coming, would save them pretty soon.  They just had to be ready for some rough times.

 

Love your enemy (Mt 5:43-5:44)

“You have heard

That it was said.

‘You shall love

Your neighbor!

You shall hate

Your enemy!’

But I say to you.

Love your enemies!

Pray for those

Who persecute you!’”

 

Ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη Ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου καὶ μισήσεις τὸν ἐχθρόν σου.

ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν διωκόντων ὑμᾶς·

 

Luke has something similar to this in chapter 6:33, but Matthew is more forceful here.  Once again, Matthew begins by asking them to recall what they have heard said (Ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη) about loving their neighbors (Ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου), based on the holiness code in Leviticus, chapter 19:18.  However, the next phrase, about hating your enemies (καὶ μισήσεις τὸν ἐχθρόν σου), cannot be found in any Hebrew biblical texts.  However, the reading of the psalms, and the general attitude prior to the exile indicates that the Israelites did not generally wish well on their enemies.  They often asked Yahweh to come and destroy their enemies.  Hate was not encouraged, it was just there.  Then Matthew has this solemn strong announcement from Jesus (ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν), without ambiguity.  They were to love their enemies (ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν) and even pray for those who were persecuting them (καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν διωκόντων ὑμᾶς).  Perhaps, many of the followers of Jesus at the time of Matthew’s writing were actually being persecuted.  In fact, the Byzantine text added here a couple of phrases to elaborate on this.  These followers of Jesus were asked to bless those cursing them (εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς καταρωμένους ὑμᾶς).  They were to do good to those who were spitefully accusing them, hating them, and persecuting them (καλῶς ποιεῖτε τοῖς μισοῦσιν ὑμᾶς, καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐπηρεαζόντων ὑμᾶς, καὶ διωκόντων ὑμᾶς).  These early Christians were asked to be generous to their enemies and persecutors.

Praise Yahweh (Ps 119:161-119:168)

Shin

“Princes persecute me without cause.

But my heart stands in awe of your words.

I rejoice at your word,

Like one who finds great spoil.

I hate falsehood.

I abhor falsehood.

But I love your law.

Seven times a day,

I praise you

For your righteous ordinances.

Those who love your law have great peace.

Nothing can make them stumble.

I hope for your salvation.

Yahweh!

I fulfill your commandments.

My soul keeps your decrees.

I love them exceedingly.

I keep your precepts.

I keep your decrees.

All my ways are before you.”

Princes persecute the psalmist without cause, but his heart is in awe of Yahweh. He rejoiced at the word of Yahweh like one who had found great spoil after a victory. He loved the law. He hated and abhorred falsehood. He prayed 7 times a day, much like the later Christian choral prayers. He praised God for his righteous ordinances. He wanted peace for those who loved the law because nothing could make them stumble. He fulfilled the commandments of Yahweh. He kept his commandments, decrees, and precepts. Everything was laid out for Yahweh to see. So ends this section on the twenty-first consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Shin.

My troubles (Ps 119:81-119:88)

Kaph

“My soul languishes for your salvation.

I hope in your word.

My eyes fail with watching for your promise.

I ask.

‘When will you comfort me?’

I have become like a wineskin in the smoke.

Yet I have not forgotten your statutes.

How long must your servant endure?

When will you judge those who persecute me?

Arrogant men have dug pitfalls for me.

They flout your law.

All your commandments are enduring.

I am persecuted without cause.

Help me!

They have almost made an end of me on earth.

But I have not forsaken your precepts.

In your steadfast love,

Spare my life!

Thus I may keep the decrees of your mouth.”

This psalmist was in a bad situation. He longed for salvation because he hoped in the word of God. His eyes were failing. He wanted to know when Yahweh would comfort him. Even though he was like a smoking wineskin, he still had not forgotten the statutes of Yahweh. He wanted to know how long he had to wait before God would judge and persecute the arrogant men who were setting pitfalls for him. They were flouting the law so that he was persecuted without any real reason. He cried to God for help. They had almost killed him. Despite all this, the psalmist still had not forsaken the precepts of Yahweh. Yahweh’s steadfast love had spared his life. He had the decrees of Yahweh in his mouth. So ends this section on the eleventh consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Kaph.