Believe or be condemned (Mk 16:16-16:16)

“The one who believes

And is baptized

Will be saved.

But the one

Who does not believe

Will be condemned!”

 

ὁ πιστεύσας καὶ βαπτισθεὶς σωθήσεται, ὁ δὲ ἀπιστήσας κατακριθήσεται.

 

This longer addition of Mark, is like the addition in Matthew, chapter 28:19-20.  Once again, there was an emphasis on baptism that was not mentioned prior to the death and resurrection of Jesus.  This Mark addition said that the one who believed (ὁ πιστεύσας) and was baptized (καὶ βαπτισθεὶς) would be saved (σωθήσεται).  However, anyone who did not believe (ὁ δὲ ἀπιστήσας) would be condemned (κατακριθήσεται).  Thus, this recommendation also brought a condemnation.  Belief and baptism were important.

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The virgin birth of Jesus (Mt 1:25-1:25)

“Joseph

Had no marital relations

With Mary,

Until she had borne

A son.

He named him

Jesus.”

 

καὶ οὐκ ἐγίνωσκεν αὐτὴν ἕως οὗ ἔτεκεν υἱόν· καὶ ἐκάλεσεν τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν

 

Joseph did not have sex or martial relations with Mary until after the birth of his son. The Greek text has the euphemistic term, he did not know her (οὐκ ἐγίνωσκεν αὐτὴν). This of course brings up the question of Mary’s virginity. Clearly, the text indicates that nothing sexual happened prior to the birth or coming forth of her son (οὗ ἔτεκεν υἱόν). Thus, Jesus was clearly born of the virgin Mary. The real questions concerned the word ἕως that means “until the birth of the son”. In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2, the child was called the firstborn child (τὸν πρωτότοκον). The tradition of the Christian community, since the second century, has been that Mary was always a virgin. There is nothing here in this text of Matthew to preclude that. Joseph called the child by the name of Jesus (ἐκάλεσεν τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν), just as the angel had asked him to do.

Baruch writes the book of Jeremiah (Jer 45:1-45:3)

“The word

That the prophet Jeremiah

Spoke to Baruch,

The son of Neriah,

When he wrote

These words

In a scroll,

At the dictation

Of Jeremiah,

In the fourth year

Of King Jehoiakim

The son of King Josiah

Of Judah.

Thus says Yahweh!

The God of Israel!

To you!

O Baruch!

You said.

‘Woe is me!

Yahweh has added sorrow

To my pain.

I am weary

With my groaning.

I find no rest.’”

This is a very brief chapter that almost seems like it should have been after chapter 36, where Baruch was writing the scroll dictated by Jeremiah. In fact, the dating of this section puts it back during the 4th year of King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE) around 605 BCE, at least 20 years prior to the passages just concluded. These words of Yahweh, via Jeremiah, are addressed to Baruch himself, the secretary scribe of Jeremiah. Baruch had said that Yahweh was adding to his sorrow and pain. He was getting weary because he had no rest. Like the preceding chapter, this small chapter has a different numbered chapter in the Greek translation of the Septuagint, chapter 51, not chapter 45 as here.

The Canaanites (Wis 12:8-12:11)

“But even these you spared,

Since they were but mortals.

You sent wasps

As forerunners of your army.

They were to destroy them

Little by little.

You were not unable

To give the ungodly

Into the hands of the righteous in battle.

You were able to destroy them

With one blow

By dread wild beasts.

You were also able to destroy them

With your stern word.

But judging them

Little by little

You gave them an opportunity to repent.

You were not unaware

That their origin was evil.

You were not unaware

That their wickedness was inborn.

You were not unaware

That their way of thinking

Would never change.

They were an accursed race

From the beginning.

It was not through fear of any one

That you left them unpunished

For their sins.”

This section on the Canaanites is loosely based on Exodus, chapter 23 and applied to all the inhabitants prior to the Israelite takeover, not just the Canaanites. The Israelites are called the righteous (δικαίοις), while the original inhabitants of this land are called the ungodly (ἀσεβεῖς). Some people were spared since they were fellow human beings. However, he had sent wasps, hornets, or pestilence before the Israelite army attacked in order to destroy them, little by little. Not all the ungodly were handed over to the Israelites in battle, even though God had the ability to destroy them with one blow or one word. Instead he gave them time to repent (μετανοίας) with this gradual takeover. These ungodly inhabitants were evil with inborn wickedness. They would never change or repent since they were an accursed seed or race. God did not let their sins go unpunished because of fear of anyone. There is a definite prejudice against the former inhabitants of the Promised Land, before the Israelites arrived. Yahweh wanted them all destroyed, but some persisted.