Remember the covenant (Lk 1:72-1:72)

“Thus,

God has shown

The mercy

That he promised

To our ancestors.

He has remembered

His holy covenant.”

 

ποιῆσαι ἔλεος μετὰ τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν καὶ μνησθῆναι διαθήκης ἁγίας αὐτοῦ,

 

Luke continued Zechariah’s canticle with an instance on the holy covenant with their ancestors.  Zechariah said that God has shown or fulfilled his mercy or compassion (ποιῆσαι ἔλεος) that he had promised to their ancestors or fathers (μετὰ τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν).  God has remembered his ancient holy covenant with his people (καὶ μνησθῆναι διαθήκης ἁγίας αὐτοῦ).

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They were willing to given Judas some money (Mk 14:11-14:11)

“When the chief priests

Heard it,

They were greatly pleased.

They promised

To give him money.

Thus,

Judas began

To look for

An opportunity

To betray Jesus.”

 

οἱ δὲ ἀκούσαντες ἐχάρησαν καὶ ἐπηγγείλαντο αὐτῷ ἀργύριον δοῦναι. καὶ ἐζήτει πῶς αὐτὸν εὐκαίρως παραδοῖ.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 26:15-16, and Luke, chapter 22:5-6, but only Matthew mentioned the exact amount of money, 30 silver pieces.  Mark said that when the chief priests heard Judas (οἱ δὲ ἀκούσαντες), they were pleased, happy, and rejoiced (ἐχάρησαν).  They promised to give him money (καὶ ἐπηγγείλαντο αὐτῷ ἀργύριον δοῦναι), with no exact amount mentioned here.  Judas then began to look for an opportunity to betray or hand over Jesus in a convenient manner (καὶ ἐζήτει πῶς αὐτὸν εὐκαίρως παραδοῖ).

Herod does not want to break his word (Mk 6:26-6:26)

“The king

Was deeply grieved.

Yet out of regard

For his oaths

And his guests.

He did not want

To refuse her.”

 

καὶ περίλυπος γενόμενος ὁ βασιλεὺς διὰ τοὺς ὅρκους καὶ τοὺς ἀνακειμένους οὐκ ἠθέλησεν ἀθετῆσαι αὐτήν.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 14:9.  Mark said that King Herod had become pained and sorry (καὶ περίλυπος γενόμενος ὁ βασιλεὺς) for what he had just promised, much like in the story of Esther, chapter 5:3, where the king was willing to give Esther anything she wanted.  Yet out of regard for his oaths (διὰ τοὺς ὅρκους) and his guests reclining at table with him (καὶ τοὺς ἀνακειμένους), he would not refuse her (οὐκ ἠθέλησεν ἀθετῆσαι αὐτήν).  Watch what you say on the spur of the moment.

The head of John the Baptist on a platter (Mt 14:9-14:11)

“King Herod was sorry.

Yet out of regard

For his oaths

And his guests,

He gave his command.

He sent his men.

He had John beheaded

In the prison.

His head

Was brought on a platter.

The dish was given

To the girl.

She then brought it

To her mother.”

 

καὶ λυπηθεὶς ὁ βασιλεὺς διὰ τοὺς ὅρκους καὶ τοὺς συνανακειμένους ἐκέλευσεν δοθῆναι,

καὶ πέμψας ἀπεκεφάλισεν Ἰωάνην ἐν τῇ φυλακῇ.

καὶ ἠνέχθη ἡ κεφαλὴ αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ πίνακι καὶ ἐδόθη τῷ κορασίῳ, καὶ ἤνεγκεν τῇ μητρὶ αὐτῆς.

 

This beheading of John the Baptist can be found in Mark, chapter 6:25-28, and here.  King Herod was pained and sorry (καὶ λυπηθεὶς ὁ βασιλεὺς) for what he had just promised, much like in the story of Esther, chapter 5:3, where the king was willing to give Esther anything she wanted.  Yet out of regard for his oaths (διὰ τοὺς ὅρκους) and his guests reclining at table with him (καὶ τοὺς συνανακειμένους ἐκέλευσεν δοθῆναι), Herod commanded his men to carry out this request (ἐκέλευσεν δοθῆναι).  He sent his men to behead John in the prison (καὶ πέμψας ἀπεκεφάλισεν Ἰωάνην ἐν τῇ φυλακῇ) at Machaerus, about 5 miles east of the Dead Sea.  It is not clear whether they waited around for the men to come back with the head of John, which was one way to make sure a person was dead.  Then his head was brought on a platter or dish to Herod (καὶ ἠνέχθη ἡ κεφαλὴ αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ πίνακι).  He then gave it to the girl Salome (καὶ ἐδόθη τῷ κορασίῳ), who then gave it to her mother (καὶ ἤνεγκεν τῇ μητρὶ αὐτῆς), Herodias.  This was her revenge against John the Baptist because he had criticized her marriage to Herod.  Off with his head!

Herod’s birthday party (Mt 14:6-14:8)

“But when Herod’s birthday came,

The daughter of Herodias danced

Before the company.

She pleased Herod.

Thus,

He promised

With an oath

To grant her

Whatever she might ask.

Prompted by her mother,

She said.

‘Give me the head

Of John the Baptist

Here on a platter.’”

 

γενεσίοις δὲ γενομένοις τοῦ Ἡρῴδου ὠρχήσατο ἡ θυγάτηρ τῆς Ἡρῳδιάδος ἐν τῷ μέσῳ καὶ ἤρεσεν τῷ Ἡρῴδῃ,

ὅθεν μεθ’ ὅρκου ὡμολόγησεν αὐτῇ δοῦναι ὃ ἐὰν αἰτήσηται.

ἡ δὲ προβιβασθεῖσα ὑπὸ τῆς μητρὸς αὐτῆς Δός μοι, φησίν, ὧδε ἐπὶ πίνακι τὴν κεφαλὴν Ἰωάνου τοῦ Βαπτιστοῦ.

 

This birthday party of Herod can be found in Mark, chapter 6:21-25, and here.  At the birthday celebration of Herod (γενεσίοις δὲ γενομένοις τοῦ Ἡρῴδου), the daughter of Herodias danced in the middle of this public celebration (ὠρχήσατο ἡ θυγάτηρ τῆς Ἡρῳδιάδος ἐν τῷ μέσῳ).  Herodias’ daughter by her first marriage was called Salome.  She pleased Herod so much (καὶ ἤρεσεν τῷ Ἡρῴδῃ), that he gave a solemn oath promise to grant her whatever she might request (ὅθεν μεθ’ ὅρκου ὡμολόγησεν αὐτῇ δοῦναι ὃ ἐὰν αἰτήσηται).  Urged on by her mother (ἡ δὲ προβιβασθεῖσα ὑπὸ τῆς μητρὸς αὐτῆς), Salome said that she wanted the head of John the Baptist to be brought there on a platter or a dish (Δός μοι, φησίν, ὧδε ἐπὶ πίνακι τὴν κεφαλὴν Ἰωάνου τοῦ Βαπτιστοῦ).  Obviously. Herod had made a rash solemn statement and his wife Herodias took advantage of that.

Take courage because Yahweh was with them (Hag 2:4-2:5)

“Says Yahweh!

‘Yet now take courage!

O Zerubbabel!

Take courage!

O Joshua!

Son of Jehozadak!

The high priest!

Take courage!

All you people

Of the land!’

Says Yahweh.

‘Work!

I am with you!’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘According to the promise

That I made you

When you came

Out of Egypt.

My Spirit abides

Among you!

Fear not.’”

Haggai used the same formula titles for all his oracles.  Everyone was to have courage, including Governor Zerubbabel, the high priest Joshua, and all the people of the land.  They were to get to work.  Yahweh was going to be with them, just as he helped them to come out of Egypt.  They were not to be afraid, because he had promised that his Holy Spirit would abide with them.

The call for mercy (Dan 3:10-3:13)

“Now your servants!

We cannot

Open our mouths!

We cannot

Worship you!

We have become

A shame!

We have become

A reproach!

For your name’s sake,

Do not give us up forever!

Do not annul your covenant!

Do not withdraw

Your mercy

From us!

For the sake of Abraham,

Your beloved,

For the sake of Isaac,

Your servant,

For the sake of Israel,

Your holy one,

Do not withdraw

Your mercy!

You promised

To multiply their descendants

Like the stars of heaven,

Like the sand on the shore

Of the sea.”

Azariah made a plea to God to have mercy on him and his friends. They were not able to open their mouths to worship God. They had become a shame and a reproach for the sake of God’s name. He wanted God not to give up on them or annul the covenant that he had made with Israel. He did not want God to withdraw his mercy from them. He reminded God about Abraham, the beloved one, Isaac, his servant, and Israel, the holy one. God had promised to multiply their descendants, like the stars in heaven or like the sand on the sea shore.