The found sheep (Lk 15:5-15:5)

“When the shepherd

Has found it,

He lays it

On his shoulders,

Rejoicing.”

 

καὶ εὑρὼν ἐπιτίθησιν ἐπὶ τοὺς ὤμους αὐτοῦ χαίρων,

 

Luke had Jesus continue his story or parable.  When this shepherd found the lost sheep (καὶ εὑρὼν), he would lay it on his shoulders (ἐπιτίθησιν ἐπὶ τοὺς ὤμους αὐτοῦ), rejoicing (χαίρων).  This parable of the lost sheep can also be found in Matthew, chapter 18:13, with some minor changes, indicating a Q source.  Jesus then had a solemn pronouncement (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).  If this shepherd had found his one lost sheep (καὶ ἐὰν γένηται εὑρεῖν αὐτό), would he rejoice over that more than over the 99 sheep that had never wandered away (ὅτι χαίρει ἐπ’ αὐτῷ μᾶλλον ἢ ἐπὶ τοῖς ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα τοῖς μὴ πεπλανημένοις)?  Every single sheep was precious in the sight of this good shepherd.  Do you think that everyone is precious in the sight of God?

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The parable of the lost sheep (Mt 18:12-18:13)

“What do you think?

A shepherd

Has a hundred sheep.

If one of them has gone astray,

Does he not leave

The ninety-nine

On the mountains?

He goes in search

Of the one that went astray.

If he finds it,

Truly!

I say to you!

He rejoices over it

More than over the ninety-nine

That never went astray.”

 

Ἦλθεν γὰρ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου σῶσαι τὸ ἀπολωλός.

Τί ὑμῖν δοκεῖ; ἐὰν γένηταί τινι ἀνθρώπῳ ἑκατὸν πρόβατα καὶ πλανηθῇ ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν, οὐχὶ ἀφήσει τὰ ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα ἐπὶ τὰ ὄρη καὶ πορευθεὶς ζητεῖ τὸ πλανώμενον;

καὶ ἐὰν γένηται εὑρεῖν αὐτό, ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι χαίρει ἐπ’ αὐτῷ μᾶλλον ἢ ἐπὶ τοῖς ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα τοῖς μὴ πεπλανημένοις.

 

This parable of the lost sheep can also be found in Luke, chapter 15:3-6, with some minor changes.  In some Orthodox texts there is a line that the Son of Man had come to save those who were lost or destroyed (Ἦλθεν γὰρ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου σῶσαι τὸ ἀπολωλός).  Jesus then asked them to think (Τί ὑμῖν δοκεῖ) about this parable, although he did not call it a parable like Luke did.  A person or shepherd had 100 sheep (ἐὰν γένηταί τινι ἀνθρώπῳ ἑκατὸν πρόβατα).  One of these sheep wandered away from the rest of them and was lost (καὶ πλανηθῇ ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν).  Thus, would he not leave the other 99 sheep in the mountains (οὐχὶ ἀφήσει τὰ ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα ἐπὶ τὰ ὄρη)?  He would then search for the lost sheep that had wandered astray (καὶ πορευθεὶς ζητεῖ τὸ πλανώμενον).  Jesus then had a solemn pronouncement (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).  If he found that one sheep (καὶ ἐὰν γένηται εὑρεῖν αὐτό) he would rejoice over that more than over the 99 sheep that had never wandered away (ὅτι χαίρει ἐπ’ αὐτῷ μᾶλλον ἢ ἐπὶ τοῖς ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα τοῖς μὴ πεπλανημένοις).  Every sheep was precious in the sight of this good shepherd.

The distressed city of Nineveh (Nah 2:6-2:9)

“The river gates

Are opened.

The palace trembles.

It is decreed

That the city

Be exiled.

Its slave women were

Led away,

Moaning

Like doves,

Beating their breasts.

Nineveh is

Like a pool

Whose waters

Run away.

‘Halt!

Halt!’

They cry.

But no one turns back.

Plunder the silver!

Plunder the gold!

There is no end

Of treasure.

There is an abundance

Of every precious thing.

Devastation!

Desolation!

Destruction!

Hearts faint!

Knees tremble!

All loins quake!

All faces grow pale!”

Nahum painted this picture of chaos in Nineveh.  He said that the river gates were opened, so that the palace and the people in it were trembling.  The people of this city were going to go into exile.  The slave women were led away, moaning like doves and beating their breasts.  The whole city of Nineveh had become like an overflowing pool.  People were saying stop, but no one was listening.  No one turned back as they keep on fleeing.  Meanwhile, there was a great plunder of their treasures of gold, silver, and the other abundant precious things.  Everywhere there was devastation, desolation, and destruction in this great city.  Hearts were fainting, while kneels were trembling.  Their faces grew pale as their loins shook.

The wicked princes (Ezek 22:25-22:25)

“The Jerusalem princes

Are within it

Like a roaring lion

Tearing its prey.

They have devoured

Human lives.

They have taken

Treasures.

They have taken

Precious things.

They have made

Many widows

Within it.”

The princes within the city of Jerusalem were like roaring lions tearing into their prey. They devoured human lives. They stole treasure and precious things. They killed people, so that there many more widows in Jerusalem.

 

Jerusalem remembers (Lam 1:7-1:7)

Zayin

“Jerusalem remembers

In the days

Of her affliction,

In the days

Of her wandering,

All the precious things

That were hers

In the days of old.

When her people fell

Into the hand

Of the foe,

There was no one

To help her.

The foe looked on,

Mocking over

Her downfall.”

Jerusalem remembered what happened. There were the days of affliction and wandering. She had many precious things in the good old days. However, her people fell into the hands of their foe. No one was there to help them as her enemies mocked her over her downfall. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Zayin. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

The positive response of Yahweh (Jer 15:19-15:21)

“Therefore thus says Yahweh.

‘If you turn back,

I will take you back.

You shall stand before me.

If you utter what is precious,

Not what is worthless,

You shall serve as my mouth.

They will turn to you,

But you will not turn to them.

I will make you to this people

A fortified wall of bronze.

They will fight against you.

But they shall not prevail over you.

I am with you

To save you.

I am with you

To deliver you.’

Says Yahweh!

‘I will deliver you

Out of the hand of the wicked.

I will redeem you

From the grasp of the ruthless.’”

Yahweh was very receptive to the Jeremiah’s plea. If he turned back, Yahweh would accept him. In fact, he was going to stand in front of him. If Jeremiah uttered what was precious and worthwhile, he would then serve as the mouth of Yahweh, a true prophet. The people were to turn to him, but he was not to turn to them. Jeremiah was going to become a fortified bronze wall. Many people would fight against him, but they would not prevail, because Yahweh was with him. Yahweh would save him. He would deliver him from the hands of the wicked and the grasp of the ruthless ones.

The ransom of Israel (Isa 43:3-4:7)

“I give Egypt as your ransom.

I give Ethiopia in exchange for you.

I give Seba in exchange for you.

Because you are precious in my sight,

I honored you.

I love you.

I give people in return for you.

I give nations in exchange for your life.

Do not fear!

I am with you!

I will bring your offspring from the east.

I will gather you from the west.

I will say to the north.

‘Give them up!’

I will say to the south.

‘Do not withhold!’

Bring my sons from far away!

Bring my daughters from the end of the earth!

Bring everyone who is called by my name,

Whom I created for my glory,

Whom I formed,

Whom I made.”

Yahweh God, using the first person singular in Second Isaiah, wants to ransom the Israelites, whether they were in Egypt, Ethiopia, or Arabia Seba. The Israelites were precious in his sight. He loved and honored them. He would give other people up to save their lives. The Israelite offspring shall be from the east, the west, the north, and the south. He would gather his sons and daughters from the ends of the earth. He would have everyone who called on his name and gave him glory ransomed, since he had formed and made them.