Jesus rewards Peter for his response (Mt 16:18-16:19)

“I tell you!

You are Peter!

On this rock

I will build my church.

The gates of Hades

Shall not prevail against it.

I will give you

The keys

To the kingdom of heaven.

Whatever you bind

On earth

Shall be bound

In heaven.

Whatever you loose

On earth

Shall be loosed

In heaven.”

 

κἀγὼ δέ σοι λέγω ὅτι σὺ εἶ Πέτρος, καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, καὶ πύλαι Ἅιδου οὐ κατισχύσουσιν αὐτῆς.

δώσω σοι τὰς κλεῖδας τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν, καὶ ὃ ἐὰν δήσῃς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἔσται δεδεμένον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, καὶ ὃ ἐὰν λύσῃς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἔσται λελυμένον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς.

 

This reward bestowal of power on Peter is unique to Matthew.  Jesus, via Matthew, asserted the authority of Peter in a very formal way with a solemn pronouncement (κἀγὼ δέ σοι λέγω).  Peter (ὅτι σὺ εἶ Πέτρος) was going to be the rock of Jesus’ new church community (καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν).  Notice the play on words of Peter “Πέτρος” and rock “πέτρᾳ.”  The gates of hell (καὶ πύλαι Ἅιδου) would not prevail (οὐ κατισχύσουσιν αὐτῆς) against this rock of a church, congregation, or assembly “ἐκκλησία.”  Matthew is the only biblical writer to use the phrase “gates of hell or Hades” (πύλαι Ἅιδου).”  Peter would receive the keys to the kingdom of heaven (δώσω σοι τὰς κλεῖδας τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν), as the gatekeeper of heaven.  Whatever he did on earth would be bound (καὶ ὃ ἐὰν δήσῃς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἔσται δεδεμένον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς) or loosed in heaven (καὶ ὃ ἐὰν λύσῃς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἔσται λελυμένον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς).  Peter was no longer a mere informal leader, but the true man in charge here on earth with heavenly consequences, much like the Israelite high priests.  This of course has led to the so-called Petrine privilege, the power of Peter as handed down via the bishop of Rome.  As the first bishop of Rome, the power of Peter passed on to the bishop successors of Peter in Rome.  Thus, the bishop of Rome became known as the Pope or papa of the Christian Church in later centuries.

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Pearls and the kingdom of heaven (Mt 13:45-13:46)

“Again,

The kingdom of heaven is

Like a merchant

In search of fine pearls.

On finding one pearl

Of great value,

He went

And sold

All that he had.

Then he bought it.”

 

Πάλιν ὁμοία ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν ἐμπόρῳ ζητοῦντι καλοὺς μαργαρίτας·

εὑρὼν δὲ ἕνα πολύτιμον μαργαρίτην ἀπελθὼν πέπρακεν πάντα ὅσα εἶχεν καὶ ἠγόρασεν αὐτόν.

 

Again, only Matthew has this parable about the pearl merchant and the kingdom of heaven (Πάλιν ὁμοία ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν).  This kingdom was like a precious pearl, like a merchant in search of fine pearls (ἐμπόρῳ ζητοῦντι καλοὺς μαργαρίτας).  If this pearl expert found one precious pearl of great value (εὑρὼν δὲ ἕνα πολύτιμον μαργαρίτην), he would go away and sell all that he had (ἀπελθὼν πέπρακεν πάντα ὅσα εἶχεν).  Then, he would buy this precious pearl (καὶ ἠγόρασεν αὐτόν).  There was also a play on words, since in Jewish society, pearls often meant piety and study of the Torah.  Once again, you would sell everything you had, and give up everything, just so that you can have the great precious pearl of the kingdom of heaven.

Against the small towns in Judah (Mic 1:10-1:12)

“Tell it not in Gath!

Weep not at all

In Beth-leaphrah!

Roll yourselves in the dust!

Inhabitants of Shaphir!

Pass on your way

In nakedness and shame!

The inhabitants of Zaanan

Do not come forth

From their town.

Beth-ezel is wailing.

They shall remove its support

From you.

The inhabitants of Maroth

Wait anxiously

For good.

Yet disaster has come down

From Yahweh

To the gates of Jerusalem.”

In a play on words, Micah wailed against 10 small Judean towns near where he lived.  One of the largest towns mentioned was the old Philistine town of Gath that King Uzziah (781-740 BCE) had conquered.  Micah used the same terminology as in 2 Samuel, chapter 1, about Gath, since there should be no weeping for that town.  Then Micah turned to 5 small towns that are difficult to determine where they were.  Beth-leaphrah literally means rolling around in dust.  Shaphir literally means the fair one.  Thus, the good-looking people of this town of Shaphir should keep going in their naked shame.  On the other hand, the people of Zaanan did not come out to fight from their town.  Beth-ezel was mourning and not supporting Yahweh.  The people of Maroth were waiting anxiously for something good to happen.  Yet Yahweh sent a disaster that went as far as the gates of Jerusalem.

The final days (Joel 1:15-1:15)

“O!

What a day!

The day of Yahweh

Is near!

Destruction

Comes

From the Almighty One!”

The final days or the great day of Yahweh was near. Destruction from the almighty one, El Shaddai, is a play on words since the Hebrew word for destruction is similar to the Hebrew name for the almighty one.

The names are reversed (Hos 2:1-2:1)

“Say to your brother!

‘Ammi!”

My people!

Say to your sister!

‘Ruhamah!

Pity!”

In a play on words, the Hebrew text drops the “Lo” or “not” in front of the names of the brother and sister. Lo-ammi has become Ammi. Lo-ruhamah has become Ruhamah. Jezreel remained the same. Thus, the brother and sister now represent pity, love, and my people, instead of the negative connotation, as in the first chapter. Now, all is well.

The idol sacrifices in high places (Ezek 20:28-20:29)

“I had brought them

Into the land

That I swore

To give them.

Then wherever they saw

Any high hill

Or any leafy tree,

There they offered

Their sacrifices.

They presented

The provocation

Of their offering.

There they sent up

Their pleasing odors.

There they poured out

Their drink offerings.

I said to them.

What is the high place

To which you go?

It is called Bamah

To this day.”

Now Yahweh reminded them, via Ezekiel, that when he brought them into the land that he swore to give to their ancestors, they ran to every high hill or leafy tree. There they set up altars of sacrifice. They provoked Yahweh with their sacrifices. They presented their offerings with sweet smelling incense and drink offerings. This may have been some sort of Canaanite or Egyptian fertility rite, since they had not given up their old ways. There is a play on words as Yahweh wanted to know what this high place was called. Bamah meant a high place of worship that had been used by the Canaanites, but still existed at the time of Ezekiel.