The seventy (Lk 10:1-10:1)

“After this,

The Lord

Appointed seventy others.

He sent them

On ahead of him,

In pairs,

Into every town

And place

Where he himself

Intended to go.”

 

Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα ἀνέδειξεν ὁ Κύριος ἑτέρους ἑβδομήκοντα, καὶ ἀπέστειλεν αὐτοὺς ἀνὰ δύο πρὸ προσώπου αὐτοῦ εἰς πᾶσαν πόλιν καὶ τόπον οὗ ἤμελλεν αὐτὸς ἔρχεσθαι.

 

Luke uniquely spoke about these 70 disciples.  He said that after these comments (Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα) about the demands of discipleship, the Lord (ὁ Κύριος), not Jesus, appointed 70 others disciples (ἀνέδειξεν ἑτέρους ἑβδομήκοντα), who were not the 12 apostles.  He sent them on ahead of him or his face (πρὸ προσώπου αὐτοῦ), in pairs (καὶ ἀπέστειλεν αὐτοὺς ἀνὰ δύο), into every town and place (εἰς πᾶσαν πόλιν καὶ τόπον) where he himself intended to go (οὗ ἤμελλεν αὐτὸς ἔρχεσθαι).  They were to be his front men or advance people.  There was no mention of these 70 disciples in the other gospel stories, only here in Luke.  This group of 70 was reminiscent of the elders with Moses in Numbers, chapter 11:24-25, where Moses gathered the 70 elders of the people around the tent.  Then Yahweh took some of the Spirit that was upon him and put it upon the 70 elders.  These elders temporarily prophesied.  This sharing of power may have helped Moses, since God gave some of the power of his spirit to these 70 elders.  Thus, the Jerusalem Jewish Sanhedrin had 70 members.  These 70 missionaries of Jesus went out in pairs, two by two, a common practice in the early Church.  Mark, chapter 6:7, said that Jesus sent out his 12 apostles in pairs, two by two, also.  Interesting enough, the activities of these 70 missionaries seem to be much like the 12 apostles as described earlier in chapter 9:2-4.  Have you ever been on a missionary expedition?

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The prophecy of Isaiah (Mk 7:6-7:7)

“Jesus said

To them.

‘Isaiah prophesied rightly

About you hypocrites!

As it is written.

‘This people honor me

With their lips,

But their hearts

Are far from me.

In vain

Do they worship me!

They teach

Human precepts

As doctrines.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Καλῶς ἐπροφήτευσεν Ἡσαΐας περὶ ὑμῶν τῶν ὑποκριτῶν, ὡς γέγραπται ὅτι Οὗτος ὁ λαὸς τοῖς χείλεσίν με τιμᾷ, ἡ δὲ καρδία αὐτῶν πόρρω ἀπέχει ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ·

μάτην δὲ σέβονταί με, διδάσκοντες διδασκαλίας ἐντάλματα ἀνθρώπων·

 

There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 15:7-9.  Mark indicated that Jesus said to these Pharisees (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that Isaiah had prophesied correctly (Καλῶς ἐπροφήτευσεν Ἡσαΐας) about them being hypocrites (περὶ ὑμῶν τῶν ὑποκριτῶν) as it was written (ὡς γέγραπται) in Isaiah.  Hypocrites were people who played a part in a drama, but who were not sincere.  This Greek quotation from Isaiah, chapter 29:13, is from the Septuagint, almost the same as in Matthew.  This oracle of Yahweh, via Isaiah, centered on insincere worship.  These Israelites adored Yahweh with their mouths and lips, but their hearts were far away.  They only praised the Lord because of human demands, as they recited rote prayers.  Jesus repeated these verses of Isaiah.  These people honored him with their lips or mouth (ὅτι Οὗτος ὁ λαὸς τοῖς χείλεσίν με τιμᾷ).  However, their hearts were far away from him (ἡ δὲ καρδία αὐτῶν πόρρω ἀπέχει ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ).  In a vain or useless way, they adored, worshiped, or reverenced him (μάτην δὲ σέβονταί με).  They were teaching doctrines (διδάσκοντες διδασκαλίας) that were human precepts or ordinances (ἐντάλματα ἀνθρώπων).  Thus Jesus, via Mark and Isaiah, was wailing against false worship and human precepts pretending to be divine worship and divine teachings.

Tradition and hypocrisy (Mt 15:6-15:7)

“Thus,

They do not honor

Their father

Or their mother

For the sake

Of their tradition.

You have made void

The word of God.

You hypocrites!

Isaiah prophesied of you,

When he said.”

 

οὐ μὴ τιμήσει τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ ἢ τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ· καὶ ἠκυρώσατε τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ διὰ τὴν παράδοσιν ὑμῶν.

ὑποκριταί, καλῶς ἐπροφήτευσεν περὶ ὑμῶν Ἡσαΐας λέγων

 

There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 7:6.  Jesus pointed out that for the sake of their traditions (διὰ τὴν παράδοσιν ὑμῶν), they did not honor their father or their mother (οὐ μὴ τιμήσει τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ ἢ τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ).  They have made void or cancelled out the word of God (καὶ ἠκυρώσατε τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ).  These Pharisees were the kind of hypocrites that Isaiah, chapter 29:3, had prophesied about (ὑποκριταί, καλῶς ἐπροφήτευσεν περὶ ὑμῶν Ἡσαΐας λέγων).  This was a favorite term of Matthew for these Pharisees, hypocrites, people who play a part in a drama, but who are not sincere.

John as Elijah (Mt 11:13-11:15)

“All the prophets

And the law

Prophesied

Until John came.

If you are willing

To accept it,

He is Elijah,

Who is to come.

Let anyone with ears

Listen!”

 

πάντες γὰρ οἱ προφῆται καὶ ὁ νόμος ἕως Ἰωάνου ἐπροφήτευσαν

καὶ εἰ θέλετε δέξασθαι, αὐτός ἐστιν Ἡλείας ὁ μέλλων ἔρχεσθαι

ὁ ἔχων ὦτα ἀκουέτω

 

This saying of Jesus, via Matthew, was based on the prophet Malachi, chapter 4:5, where Yahweh said that he was going to send the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of Yahweh would come.  Mark has something similar in chapter 9:11-13.  Matthew repeated this saying later in chapter 17:11-13, where Jesus again compared John to Elijah.  There was no question here.  All the prophets and the law had prophesized until the time of John the Baptist (πάντες γὰρ οἱ προφῆται καὶ ὁ νόμος ἕως Ἰωάνου ἐπροφήτευσαν).  Then Jesus said that John was the new Elijah (αὐτός ἐστιν Ἡλείας), the one who was to come (ὁ μέλλων ἔρχεσθαι).  However, they had to be willing to accept this (καὶ εἰ θέλετε δέξασθαι).  Anyone who had ears to hear should listen to this (ὁ ἔχων ὦτα ἀκουέτω).

 

King Zedekiah questioned Jeremiah secretly (Jer 37:17-37:19)

“Then King Zedekiah sent

For Jeremiah.

He received him.

The king questioned him

Secretly

In his house.

He said.

‘Is there any word

From Yahweh?’

Jeremiah said.

‘There is.’

Then he said.

‘You shall be handed over

To the king of Babylon.’

Jeremiah also said

To King Zedekiah.

‘What wrong have

I done to you,

Or your servants,

Or this people,

That you have put me

In prison?

Where are your prophets

Who prophesied to you?

Saying.

‘The king of Babylon

Will not come

Against you,

Against this land.’”

King Zedekiah wanted to meet secretly with Jeremiah. So he sent for him and received him in his house, but not openly. He wanted to know if he had heard anything from Yahweh. Jeremiah responded that Yahweh had said something about him. He said that the king of Judah was going to be handed over to the Babylonian king. Then Jeremiah wanted to know why he was arrested. What had he done wrong? Jeremiah wanted to know where were the prophets now who had prophesied to him that the king of Babylon would not attack him. Thus this was a very frank discussion.

The punishment of Shemaiah (Jer 29:30-29:32)

“Then the word of Yahweh

Came to Jeremiah.

‘Send to all the exiles!

Saying!

Thus says Yahweh

Concerning Shemaiah of Nehelam!

Shemaiah has prophesied to you,

Even though I did not send him.

He has led you

To trust in a lie.

Therefore thus says Yahweh!

I am going to punish

Shemaiah of Nehelam

With his descendants.

He shall not have any one living

Among his people

To see the good

That I am going to do

To my people.

Says Yahweh!

He has talked rebellion

Against Yahweh.’”

Yahweh then told Jeremiah to utter an oracle against Shemaiah. Jeremiah was to send this message to all the exiles. Shemaiah had prophesied to them without being sent by Yahweh. He led them to trust in his own lies. Therefore Shemaiah was going to be punished, including his descendents. None of them would see the good things that Yahweh had planned for his people. Shemaiah should not have talked rebelliously against Yahweh. He and his family would not see the return to Israel. Shemaiah had said that Jeremiah was a crazy man. Thus Jeremiah was now calling Shemaiah a false prophet.

Jeremiah explains the role of a prophet (Jer 28:6-28:9)

“The prophet Jeremiah said.

‘Amen!

May Yahweh do so!

May Yahweh fulfill

The words

That you have prophesied.

May he bring back

To this place

From Babylon

The vessels

Of the house of Yahweh,

With all the exiles.

But listen now

To this word

That I speak in your hearing,

In the hearing of all the people.

The prophets

Who preceded you,

As well as me,

From ancient times

Prophesied war,

Prophesied famine,

Prophesied pestilence

Against many countries,

Against great kingdoms.

As for the prophet

Who prophesies peace,

When the word of

That prophet comes true,

Then it will be known

That Yahweh

Has truly sent this prophet.’”

Jeremiah admitted that maybe Yahweh would fulfill the words of Hananiah that the exiles and the sacred vessels would return to Jerusalem from Babylon. However, Jeremiah reminded everybody that the prophets of the past quite often prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and kingdoms. If there was a true peace, then they would all know that Yahweh had sent this prophet of peace.