Rejoice in the Holy Spirit (Lk 10:21-10:21)

“At that same hour,

Jesus rejoiced

In the Holy Spirit.

He said.

‘I thank you!

Father!

Lord of heaven

And earth!

Because you have

Hidden these things

From the wise

And the intelligent.

You have revealed them

To infants.

Yes!

Father!

It was pleasing in your sight.”

 

Ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ ἠγαλλιάσατο τῷ Πνεύματι τῷ Ἁγίῳ καὶ εἶπεν Ἐξομολογοῦμαί σοι, Πάτερ, Κύριε τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ τῆς γῆς, ὅτι ἀπέκρυψας ταῦτα ἀπὸ σοφῶν καὶ συνετῶν, καὶ ἀπεκάλυψας αὐτὰ νηπίοις· ναί, ὁ Πατήρ, ὅτι οὕτως εὐδοκία ἐγένετο ἔμπροσθέν σου.

 

Luke said that at the same time or hour (Ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ), Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit (ἠγαλλιάσατο τῷ Πνεύματι τῷ Ἁγίῳ).  Jesus said (καὶ εἶπεν) that he acknowledged and thanked (Ἐξομολογοῦμαί σοι) his Father (Πάτερ,), the Lord of heaven and earth (Κύριε τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ τῆς γῆς), using the second person singular.  This was a strong personal Trinitarian theological statement about the relationship between God, the Father, and the Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  This was like eavesdropping on a conversation between Jesus and his heavenly Father, who had hidden these things (ὅτι ἀπέκρυψας ταῦτα) from the wise (ἀπὸ σοφῶν) and the intelligent (καὶ συνετῶν).  However, he had revealed them to the infants (καὶ ἀπεκάλυψας αὐτὰ νηπίοις).  Yes (ναί, ὁ Πατήρ), this was the gracious will of the Father, well pleasing in his sight (ὅτι οὕτως εὐδοκία ἐγένετο ἔμπροσθέν σου).  This theological statement about the relationship between Jesus and his heavenly Father was also found in Matthew, chapter 11:25, indicating a possible common Q source.  Matthew also indicated that Jesus said that the unlearned little one had received revelation, but the wise and intelligent ones did not understand it.  Jesus said thank you to his Father, the Lord of heaven and earth, because he had hidden these things from the wise and intelligent ones.  However, he revealed them to the unlearned little ones.  Somehow, the unwise ones were the ones who got God’s revelation, while the wise and intelligent ones did not understand it, because God had hidden it from them.  Both Luke and Matthew are in agreement on that.  They also agreed that Jesus had a special relationship to God, the Father, and the Holy Spirit.  Do you understand the Trinity?

Wisdom is in the Law of God (Bar 4:1-4:4)

“Wisdom is the book

Of the commandments

Of God.

Wisdom is

The law

That endures forever.

All who hold her fast

Will live.

Those who forsake her

Will die.

Turn!

O Jacob!

Take her!

Walk toward

The shining of her light!

Do not give

Your glory

To another!

Do not give

Your advantages

To an alien people!

Happy are we!

O Israel!

We know

What is pleasing

To God.”

The author of Baruch clearly states that wisdom is the book of the commandments of God, the law that endures forever. There is an equivalency between wisdom and the commandments of God since they are one and the same. Thus the beginning of wisdom is following God’s law. Everyone who holds fast to wisdom will live, while those who forsake her will die. Jacob was to turn and take wisdom. They were to walk towards the shining light of wisdom. They were not to give glory to anyone else. They were not to give their advantages to an alien people. Israel was happy, because they knew what was pleasing to God.

The useless sacrifices (Jer 6:20-6:21)

“‘Of what use to me

Is frankincense

That comes from Sheba?

Of what use to me

Is sweet cane

From a distant land?

Your burnt offerings are not acceptable.

Your sacrifices are not pleasing to me.’

Therefore thus says Yahweh.

‘See!

I am laying before this people

Stumbling blocks

Against which they shall stumble.

Parents shall perish.

Children with them shall perish.

Neighbors shall perish.

Friends shall perish.’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, rejects their sacrificial offerings. What good is that precious frankincense from Sheba or the sweet cane from other far away countries? These rich burnt offerings are still unacceptable and not pleasing to Yahweh since they were no substitute for faithfulness. Yahweh was going to be a stumbling block for all of them. Parents, children, neighbors, and friends will all perish, nice and simple, no questions asked.

King Hezekiah (Sir 48:17-48:22)

“King Hezekiah fortified his city.

He brought water into its midst.

He tunneled the sheer rock

With iron tools.

He built cisterns for the water.

In his days,

Sennacherib invaded the country.

He sent his commander from Lachish.

He departed.

He shook his fist against Zion.

He made great boasts in his arrogance.

Then their hearts were shaken.

Their hands trembled.

They were in anguish,

Like women in labor.

But they called upon the Lord

Who is merciful.

They spread out their hands

Toward him.

The Holy One quickly heard them

From heaven.

He delivered them

Through Isaiah.

The Lord struck down

The camp of the Assyrians.

His angel wiped them out.

King Hezekiah did

What was pleasing to the Lord.

He kept firmly to the ways

Of his ancestor King David.”

Of all the kings from King Solomon to the captivity, Sirach singled out King Hezekiah (716-687 BCE) of Judah, based on the stories in 2 Kings, chapters 18-20, and 2 Chronicles, chapters 29-32. He was the king who followed Yahweh’s commandments, during the time of the prophet Isaiah. Just before his reign, the northern kingdom of Israel at Samaria fell to the Assyrians. During his reign the population grew from 5,000 at the time of King Solomon to about 25,000 people because of the many migrant Israelites from the north. Thus King Hezekiah fortified Jerusalem by building walls around it with tunnels to get water that has been verified by archeological discoveries. Ten years later, King Sennacherib decided to invade Judah. He sent his general Rabshakeh from Lachish to negotiate a deal, but King Hezekiah went to the prophet Isaiah for advice. Despite the fears of the folks in Jerusalem, Isaiah said not to yield. King Hezekiah prayed to Yahweh. King Sennacherib of Assyria decided not to invade the city, but 185,000 of his troops were wiped out by an angel of the Lord. Thus King Hezekiah was pleasing to the Lord like King David.

Law and sacrifice (Sir 35:1-35:5)

“Whoever keeps the law,

Makes many offerings.

Whoever heeds the commandments

Makes an offering of well-being.

Whoever returns a kindness

Offers choice fine flour.

Whoever gives alms

Sacrifices a thank offering.

To keep from wickedness

Is pleasing to the Lord.

To forsake unrighteousness

Is atonement.”

Sirach reminds us of the connection between keeping the law and offering the sacrificial rites. If you keep the law, you are like offering many sacrifices. If you keep the commandments, you are making the equivalent of a well-being or peace offering. When you return a kindness to someone, offer them the choice flour. If you give alms, you are like making a thanksgiving sacrifice. Whenever you keep from wickedness, you are pleasing to the Lord. When you stay away from unrighteousness, you are making an atonement for your sins. Keeping the law is like offering sacrifices.

The fear of the Lord (Sir 19:18-19:19)

“The fear of the Lord

Is the beginning of acceptance.

Wisdom obtains his love.

The knowledge of the Lord’s commandments

Is life-giving discipline.

Those who do what is pleasing to him

Enjoy the fruit of the tree of immortality.”

These verses were missing in some manuscripts. Once again there is an emphasis on the fear of the Lord. Without it, you cannot accept life. Wisdom will bring love. True wisdom is the knowledge of the Lord’s commandments in a life of discipline. Those who are pleasing to the Lord will enjoy the fruits of an immortal life.

The food of angels (Wis 16:20-16:23)

“Instead of these things,

You gave your people

The food of angels.

Without their toil,

You supplied them

From heaven

With bread ready to eat.

It provided every pleasure.

It suited every taste.

Your sustenance manifested

Your sweetness

Toward your children.

The bread,

Ministering to the desire of the one who took it,

Was changed to suit everyone’s liking.

Snow withstood fire without melting.

Ice withstood fire without melting.

Thus they might know

That the crops of their enemies

Were being destroyed

By the fire that blazed in the hail.

The fire flashed in the showers of rain.

Whereas the fire,

In order that the righteous might be fed,

Even forgot its native power.”

God gave his people (τὸν λαόν σου) the food of angels (ἀγγέλων τροφὴν). This bread from heaven came ready to eat, as it provided every pleasure to every taste. Obviously, this is a reference to the manna in the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land as in Exodus, chapter 16. What is unique here is that the taste of it was pleasing to each person even if they had other tastes. This food of snow and ice did not melt. However, the crops of their enemies were destroyed. They, however, the righteous were able to feed themselves with the heavenly tasty food.