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?

The parable of the vineyard (Mk 12:1-12:1)

“Jesus began

To speak to them

In parables.

‘A man planted

A vineyard.

He put a fence

Around it.

He dug a pit

For the wine press.

He built

A watchtower.

Then he leased it

To tenants.

He went away

To another country.”

 

Καὶ ἤρξατο αὐτοῖς ἐν παραβολαῖς λαλεῖν. ἀμπελῶνα ἄνθρωπος ἐφύτευσεν, καὶ περιέθηκεν φραγμὸν καὶ ὤρυξεν ὑπολήνιον καὶ ᾠκοδόμησεν πύργον, καὶ ἐξέδετο αὐτὸν γεωργοῖς, καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν.

 

This parable of the absentee vineyard landowner can be found in Matthew, chapter 21:33, and Luke, chapter 20:9, almost word for word.  Mark said that Jesus began to speak to them in parables or stories (Καὶ ἤρξατο αὐτοῖς ἐν παραβολαῖς λαλεῖν).  This story was about a male landowner who planted a vineyard (ἀμπελῶνα ἄνθρωπος ἐφύτευσεν).  He then put a fence around this vineyard (καὶ περιέθηκεν φραγμὸν).  Then he dug a wine press (καὶ ὤρυξεν ὑπολήνιον).  He even built a fortified watchtower (καὶ ᾠκοδόμησεν πύργον), so that it was a very nice vineyard.  This story is reminiscent of the allegory of the vineyard from Isaiah, chapter 5:1-2.  Isaiah had a song about a friend’s fertile field.  He also dug out stones and planted choice vines.  He put a tower in the middle to look over the vineyard with a carved wine vat there also.  However, he got bad grapes instead of good grapes.  Clearly, he did not get what he expected.  However, this landowner here leased his land or rented it to farmer tenants (καὶ ἐξέδετο αὐτὸν γεωργοῖς).  Then he left that region and went away to another country (καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν).  These last two things, renting and leaving the land, will cause him a problem.

The anointed king (Lam 4:20-4:20)

Resh

“Yahweh’s anointed,

The breath

Of our life,

Was taken

In their pits.

This is the one

Of whom

We said.

‘Under his shadow

We shall live

Among the nations.’”

Using the first personal plural, they extol Yahweh’s anointed one, the king of Judah, King Zedekiah. He was the breath of their life, but he fell into a pit and was captured. They had agreed to live under his shadow, but now he was no more. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Resh in this acrostic poem.

Yahweh will help (Ps 94:12-94:15)

“Happy are those

Whom you discipline!

Yahweh!

Happy are those

Whom you teach

Out of your law.

Give them respite from days of trouble,

Until a pit is dug for the wicked.

Yahweh will not forsake his people.

He will not abandon his heritage.

Justice will return to the righteous.

All the upright in heart will follow it.”

Everyone should be happy to be disciplined by Yahweh. When Yahweh teaches them out of the law, they should be happy. They will get rest from their troubled days when the pit for the wicked is finally dug. Yahweh will not abandon his people or his heritage. Justice will come to the righteous. The upright in heart will follow. There is no need to worry. Yahweh will come through for them.

At the doorstep of death (Ps 88:3-88:7)

“My soul is full of troubles.

My life draws near to Sheol.

I am counted

Among those who go down to the Pit.

I am like

Those who have no strength.

I am like

Those forsaken among the dead.

I am like

Those slain that lie in the grave.

I am like

Those whom you remember no more.

Thus they are cut off from your hand.

You have put me

In the depths of the Pit.

You have put me

In the regions dark and deep.

Your wrath lies heavy upon me.

You overwhelm me with all your waves.”

Selah

This psalmist is in bad shape, near death. He was full of troubles. He was counted as dead already. He was like a dead man with no one to help him. He was like a forsaken dead person that nobody cared about. No one remembered him. He sounds a little like Job. He was cut off from the hand of God as if he were already in the deepest pit in some dark area. God’s wrath had come upon him as he was overwhelmed with the waves. This section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause of Selah.

Praise to Yahweh (Ps 30:1-30:3)

A psalm of David, a song at the dedication of the Temple

I will extol you!

Yahweh!

You have drawn me up!

You did not let my foes rejoice over me!

Yahweh!

My God!

I cried to you for help!

You have healed me!

Yahweh!

You have brought up my soul from Sheol!

You restored me to life

From among those gone down to the pit!”

Psalm 30 is another psalm of David, but explicitly mentioned as from the dedication of the Temple. However, the Temple was not completed until the time of King Solomon his son. Thus it is a thanksgiving psalm for the great works of Yahweh. David or this psalmist wanted to extol Yahweh. There was a specific reason for this thanksgiving. David had been healed in some way because his foes or enemies could not rejoice. He had cried for help and Yahweh healed him. He must have been on his death bed because he was brought back from Sheol or the pit, the underworld of death. He was restored to life, almost like a resurrection. He was saved from death.

All the things that God does (Job 33:29-33:33)

“God indeed does all these things.

He does it twice or three times, with mortals.

He brings back their souls from the pit.

Thus they see the light of life.

Pay heed!

O Job!

Listen to me!

Be silent!

I will speak.

If you have anything to say,

Answer me.

Speak!

I desire to justify you!

If not,

Listen to me!

Be silent!

I will teach you wisdom.”

Elihu then turned more arrogant. He told Job that God could do all these things for him. He has done it 2 or 3 times for other mortals. He has brought them back from the precipice of the pit or death. He will see the light. All Job had to do was listen to him and be silent. If Job had anything to say he should respond to Elihu. If he wanted it, Elihu could teach him all about wisdom, as if to say that Job did not understand anything.