Other women helped (Lk 8:3-8:3)

“Joanna,

The wife of Chuza,

Herod’s steward,

And Susanna,

As well as many others,

Provided for them

Out of their resources.”

 

καὶ Ἰωάνα γυνὴ Χουζᾶ ἐπιτρόπου Ἡρῴδου καὶ Σουσάννα καὶ ἕτεραι πολλαί, αἵτινες διηκόνουν αὐτοῖς ἐκ τῶν ὑπαρχόντων αὐταῖς.

 

Luke also uniquely mentioned Joanna (καὶ Ἰωάνα), the wife of Chuza (γυνὴ Χουζᾶ), Herod’s steward (ἐπιτρόπου Ἡρῴδου), and Susanna (καὶ Σουσάννα).  He also said that many other women (καὶ ἕτεραι πολλαί) provided or ministered for them at table (αἵτινες διηκόνουν αὐτοῖς) out of their means, possessions, or resources (ἐκ τῶν ὑπαρχόντων αὐταῖς).  Joanna shows up again with Mary Magdalene in the resurrection story of Luke, chapter 24:10.  She must have been a woman of means because her husband had an important role at the court of King Herod Antipas of Galilee as his head steward.  The name Susanna only appears here among all the canonical gospels, but a Susanna played a role in the Book of Daniel.  However, there were other women, not explicitly named, who provided for Jesus and his followers with their money or resources.  In other words, there was a small entourage of women who traveled with Jesus, probably providing the food for him and his disciples, since they were not called disciples themselves.  What should be the role of women as followers of Jesus?

The rich man was sad (Mk 10:22-10:22)

“When he heard this,

The man was shocked.

He went away grieving.

He had

Many possessions.”

 

ὁ δὲ στυγνάσας ἐπὶ τῷ λόγῳ ἀπῆλθεν λυπούμενος, ἦν γὰρ ἔχων κτήματα πολλά.

 

This story about the young man walking away can be found in Matthew, chapter 19:22, and Luke, chapter 18:23, but slightly different.  Mark said that this man was shocked at these words of Jesus (ὁ δὲ στυγνάσας ἐπὶ τῷ λόγῳ).  He went away pained or grieving (ἀπῆλθεν λυπούμενος), because he had many possessions or a lot of property (ἦν γὰρ ἔχων κτήματα πολλά).  This rich young man was willing to listen to Jesus, but could not bring himself to totally commit his life to him, by giving up his worldly possessions.  Thus, he went away very sad, because he realized his own situation, that he lacked the urge to make that final commitment to Jesus, by getting rid of his earthly wealth.

Sell what you have (Mk 10:21-10:21)

“Jesus looking

At the man,

Loved him.

Jesus said to him.

‘You lack one thing!

Go!

Sell what you have!

Give the money

To the poor!

You will have treasure

In heaven!

Then come!

Follow me!’”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἐμβλέψας αὐτῷ ἠγάπησεν αὐτὸν καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ἕν σε ὑστερεῖ· ὕπαγε, ὅσα ἔχεις πώλησον καὶ δὸς τοῖς πτωχοῖς, καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν οὐρανῷ, καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι.

 

This call to perfection can be found in Matthew, chapter 19:21, and Luke, chapter 18:22, but slightly different.  Mark said that Jesus looked at this man (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἐμβλέψας αὐτῷ) and loved him (ἠγάπησεν αὐτὸν).  He said to this man (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ) that he lacked one thing or he fell short in one area (Ἕν σε ὑστερεῖ).  This man would have to go (ὕπαγε) and sell his possessions or whatever he had (ὅσα ἔχεις πώλησον).  Then he should give this money or the proceeds to the poor or destitute people (καὶ δὸς πτωχοῖς).  He no longer would have earthly wealth, but he would then have a treasure in heaven (καὶ ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν οὐρανῷ).  Finally, he could become a follower or accompany Jesus (καὶ δεῦρο ἀκολούθει μοι).  Like many of the sayings in Mark, Jesus had very high standards and difficult demands.  There was no equivocation.

A man entrusts his assets to his slaves (Mt 25:14-25:14)

“The kingdom of heaven

Will be like

As if a man,

Going on a journey,

Summoned his slaves.

He entrusted

His property

To them.”

 

Ὥσπερ γὰρ ἄνθρωπος ἀποδημῶν ἐκάλεσεν τοὺς ἰδίους δούλους καὶ παρέδωκεν αὐτοῖς τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ,

 

This parable is unique to Matthew, but there is a somewhat similar parable in Luke, chapter 19:12-27, where the story is about the power of a nobleman with 10 slaves, but the basic concept is the same.  Some of the slaves were able to get more money, while the others were not.  Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven would be like a man going on a journey (Ὥσπερ γὰρ ἄνθρωπος ἀποδημῶν).  He called or summoned his slaves (ἐκάλεσεν τοὺς ἰδίους δούλους) to entrust them or gave them his property and possessions while he was gone (καὶ παρέδωκεν αὐτοῖς τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ).  This was a very generous man.

Two masters (Mt 6:24-6:24)

“No one can serve

Two masters.

He will hate one

And love the other.

He will be devoted

To one

And despise the other.

You cannot serve

God

And wealth.”

 

Οὐδεὶς δύναται δυσὶ κυρίοις δουλεύειν· ἢ γὰρ τὸν ἕνα μισήσει καὶ τὸν ἕτερον ἀγαπήσει, ἢ ἑνὸς ἀνθέξεται καὶ τοῦ ἑτέρου καταφρονήσει· οὐ δύνασθε Θεῷ δουλεύειν καὶ μαμωνᾷ.

 

Once again, Luke, chapter 16:13, has a similar Jesus saying, indicating a common Q source.  No one is able to slavishly serve two masters or lords (Οὐδεὶς δύναται δυσὶ κυρίοις δουλεύειν).  The word “κυρίοις’ was used for lord.  You will hate one (ἢ γὰρ τὸν ἕνα μισήσει) and love the other (καὶ τὸν ἕτερον ἀγαπήσει,).  You will be devoted to one (ἢ ἑνὸς ἀνθέξεται) and despise the other one (καὶ τοῦ ἑτέρου καταφρονήσει).  Devoting and despising were less common words than hate or love.  Therefore, the conclusion was that you could not slavishly serve both God (οὐ δύνασθε Θεῷ δουλεύειν) and money or wealth (καὶ μαμωνᾷ).  This “μαμωνᾷ” referred to an old Semitic word for treasures.  It was only used in the New Testament here and in Luke, who used it a couple of more times.  It is often translated as “mammon,” but means wealth, riches, money, or possessions.  The choice was yours.  The options were clear.  Would you serve God or wealth?  You cannot serve both.

The worship of idols (Bar 6:4-6:7)

“Now in Babylon

You will see gods

Made of silver,

Or made of gold,

Or made of wood.

People carry them

On their shoulders.

This inspires fear

Among the heathens.

Take care!

Beware of becoming at all

Like the foreigners!

Do not let fear

Of these gods

Possess you,

When you see the multitude

Before and behind them

Worshiping them!

But say in your heart!

‘It is you!

O Lord!

Whom we must worship!’

My angel

Is with you!

He is watching

Over your lives.”

The author of this letter has a warning for the exiles while they are in Babylon. They will see gods made of silver, gold, and wood that will be carried on people’s shoulders to inspire fear. They should be careful to not become like these foreigners. They should not fear these gods. Even when they see the multitudes before and behind these gods in possessions or parades, they should not be intimidated. They were to remember in their hearts that they were to only worship the Lord. To help them out, an angel would be watching over their lives.

Death (Sir 41:1-41:4)

“O death!

How bitter is the thought of you!

Death is bitter to those

Who live at peace

Among their possessions!

Death is bitter to those

Who have nothing to worry about!

Death is bitter to those

Who are prosperous in everything!

Death is bitter to those

Who still are vigorous enough

To enjoy food!

O death!

How welcome is your sentence?

Death is welcome to those

Who are failing in strength!

Death is welcome to those

Who are worn down by age!

Death is welcome to those

Who are anxious about everything!

Death is welcome to those

Who are contrary!

Death is welcome to those

Who have lost all patience!

Do not fear death’s decree for you!

Remember those who went before you!

Remember those who will come after you!

This is the Lord’s decree for all flesh.

Why then should you reject

The will of the Most High?

Whether life lasts

For ten years,

Or a hundred years,

Or a thousand years,

There are no questions asked

In Hades.”

Sirach has a poem about death. The thought of death is bitter to those who are doing well with a lot of possessions. They are prosperous, without worry, and vigorous enough to enjoy foods. On the other hand, the thought of death is welcomed by those who are not doing as well, the needy, the old, the contrary, those with failing strength, those anxious about everything, and those who have lost all patience. Remember that everybody before you and after you will die also. It does not matter how long your life is, in Hades they do not care if you lived 10 years, or a 100 years or a 1,000 years. It is death, plain and simple.

Joseph (Ps 105:16-105:22)

“When he summoned a famine against the land,

He broke every staff of bread.

He had sent a man ahead of them,

Joseph.

He was sold as a slave.

His feet were hurt with fetters.

His neck was put in a collar of iron.

His oracle came to pass.

As the word of Yahweh tested him.

The king then sent for him.

The king released him.

The ruler of the peoples

Set him free.

He made him

Lord of his house.

The king made him

Ruler of all his possessions.

Jospeh was to instruct

His officials at his pleasure.

He was to teach his elders wisdom.”

Here we find the story of Joseph as told in Genesis, chapters 37-50, but without the details of how he was betrayed by his brothers. Yahweh brought the famine that led Jacob and his sons to go to Egypt. Joseph hd gone ahead, but not voluntarily. He was sold as a slave or more precisely turned over by his brothers into slavery. While in Egypt, he was in jail. His dreams came through so he was released when they were found to be true. He was tested by Yahweh. Finally the king or pharaoh released him and put him in charge of his household and all his possessions. Jospeh then instructed the other officials in Egypt as he taught them wisdom. He made the correct preparations for the famine to come.

God punishes the wicked (Job 20:20-20:29)

“They know no quiet in their bellies.

In their greed,

They let nothing escape.

There was nothing left after they had eaten.

Therefore their prosperity will not endure.

In full sufficiency,

They will be in distress.

All the force of misery will come upon them.

To fill their belly to the full,

God will send his fierce anger into them.

God will rain upon them as their food.

They will flee from an iron weapon.

A bronze arrow will strike them through.

It is drawn forth.

It comes out of their body.

The glittering point comes out of their gall.

Terrors come upon them.

Utter darkness is laid up for their treasures.

A fire fanned by no one will devour them.

What is left in their tent will be consumed.

The heavens will reveal their iniquity.

The earth will rise up against them.

The possessions of their home will be carried away.

They will be carried off in the day of God’s wrath.

This is the portion of the wicked from God.

This is the heritage decreed for them by God.”

Zophar continued that God punishes the wicked and the greedy. Their stomachs are never full since they have an insatiable hunger. Their prosperity will not endure. They will be in distress and misery. Their food will be rain. They will face iron weapons, especially a bronze arrow in their gall bladder. Darkness will be their treasure. They will face a fire that no one starts. Their tents will be destroyed. Their possessions will be carried away. Heaven and earth will rise up against them. This will be the portion and heritage that God will give to the wicked. This seems to imply that Job was the wicked person who faced God’s wrath.

How much should they give Raphael? (Tob 12:1-12:5)

“When the wedding celebration was ended, Tobit called his son Tobias.

‘My child,

See to the paying the wages of the man who went with you.

Give him a bonus as well!’

He replied.

‘Father, how much shall I pay him?

It would do no harm to give him half of the possession

That I brought back with me.

He has led me back to you safely.

He cured my wife.

He brought the money back with me.

He also healed you.

How much extra shall I give him as a bonus?’

Tobit said.

‘He deserves,

My child,

To receive half of all that he brought back.’

So Tobias called him.

‘Take for your wages half of all that you two brought back.

Farewell!’”

After the big celebration, Tobit called his son aside and asked him if he had paid the man who went with him. They both agreed that he should be paid a bonus. However, Tobias wanted to know how much he should pay him. He wanted to give him half of all the possessions he had brought back with him. After all, he had done a lot. Besides bringing him back safely, he also cured his wife, and his father, as well as got the money from Rages. Then Tobit agreed to give him half of what had come back to the house. Tobit called Raphael and told him to take half the possessions. Then he simply said “farewell.”