The cured Samaritan leper (Lk 17:16-17:16)

“He prostrated himself

At Jesus’ feet.

He thanked Jesus.

He was a Samaritan.”

 

καὶ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον παρὰ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ εὐχαριστῶν αὐτῷ· καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν Σαμαρείτης.

 

Only Luke has this story about the curing of the ten lepers.  Luke indicated that this one cured leper prostrated himself or fell on his face (καὶ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον) at Jesus’ feet (παρὰ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ).  He thanked Jesus (εὐχαριστῶν αὐτῷ).  It turns out that he was a Samaritan (καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν Σαμαρείτης).  As this town was on the border between Galilee and Samaria, one of these lepers was a Samaritan.  Luke once again emphasized the role of a Samaritan.  In fact, this Samaritan leper was the only cured leper to return and prostrate himself at the feet of Jesus, thanking him.  The others went on their way to see the Jewish priests in Jerusalem for the ritual cleansing.  Was this cured leper Samaritan not going to go to the Judean priest for a cleansing anyway, since he would have gone to Mt. Gerizim?  Have you ever felt not like part of the group?

 

Advertisements

The explanation of Yahweh about this killing (Ezek 9:8-9:10)

“While they were killing,

I was left alone.

I fell prostrate

On my face.

I cried.

‘Ah Yahweh God!

Will you destroy

All who remain

Of Israel

As you pour out

Your wrath

Upon Jerusalem?’

Then he said to me.

‘The guilt

Of the house of Israel

As well as

The house of Judah

Is exceedingly great.

The land is full

Of bloodshed.

The city is full

Of perversity.’

They say.

‘Yahweh has forsaken

The land.

Yahweh does not see.’

As for me,

My eye will not spare.

I will not have pity.

But I will bring down

Their deeds

Upon their heads.’”

Ezekiel was all shook up with all this killing going on. He was alone, so he prostrated his face. He cried to God. He wanted to know if everyone of the remaining Israelites would be destroyed. Would anybody remain in Jerusalem? Then Yahweh explained to him that the guilt of the house of Israel as well as the guilt of the house of Judah was exceedingly great. The land was full of bloodshed. The city was full of perversity. Those remaining had said that Yahweh had forsaken the land. He would not see what they were doing. However, Yahweh was clear. He was not going to spare them or have pity on them. Their own deeds brought this on their heads. Thus the annihilation of the inhabitants of Jerusalem continued.

The sun worship idolatry in the Temple (Ezek 8:16-8:16)

“Yahweh brought me

Into the inner court

Of the house

Of Yahweh.

There at the entrance

Of the temple

Of Yahweh,

Between the porch

And the altar,

Were about twenty-five men.

Their backs were

To the temple

Of Yahweh.

Their faces were

Toward the east.

They prostrated themselves

To the sun

Toward the east.”

Yahweh brought Ezekiel into the inner court of the Temple. At the entrance to the Temple of Yahweh, between the porch and the altar, there were about twenty-five men with their backs to the Temple. Their faces were toward the east. Then they prostrated themselves and worshipped the sun in the east that morning.  Sun worship was very common in Egypt. A modern form of sun worship is called laying out in the sun.

The distress of the priests in Jerusalem (2 Macc 3:14-3:17)

“There was no little distress throughout the whole city. The priests prostrated themselves before the altar in their priestly vestments. They called toward heaven upon him who had given the law about deposits, that he should keep them safe for those who had deposited them. To see the appearance of the high priest was to be wounded at heart. His face and the change in his color disclosed the anguish of his soul. For terror and bodily trembling had come over the man, which plainly showed to those who looked at him, the pain lodged in his heart.”

The priests were rightly afraid that the raid on the Temple treasury would have a sever effect on them. They prostrated in their priestly vestments before the altar. They wanted those deposits kept safe. The high priest was upset also. He was wounded to the heart that this had come on his watch. He was anguished as the pain appeared on his face and in his heart.

Judith meets General Holofernes (Jdt 10:20-10:23)

“Then the guards of General Holofernes and all his servants came out. They led her into the tent. General Holofernes was resting on his bed, under a canopy which was woven with purple and gold, emeralds, and other precious stones. When they told him of her, he came to the front of the tent, with silver lamps carried before him. When Judith came into the presence of General Holofernes and his servants, they all marveled at the beauty of her face. She prostrated herself and did obeisance to him. However, his slaves raised her up.”

The guards and slaves of the general took her into the tent. General Holofernes was lying on his bed that had a canopy of purple, gold, emeralds, and other precious stones. He came out to greet her with sliver lamps. Everyone marveled at her beauty. She then presented herself prostrate, giving him the proper obedience. However, the general’s slaves picked her up.

Judith prays (Jdt 9:1-9:1)

“Then Judith prostrated herself. She put ashes on her head. She uncovered the sackcloth she was wearing. At the very time when that evening incense was being offered in the house of God in Jerusalem, Judith cried out to the Lord with a loud voice.”

Judith then prayed with ashes on her head. However, she took off the sackcloth that she was wearing. She began to pray at the very moment when the evening incense was being offered in the Jerusalem Temple. She addressed her prayer to God with a loud voice.

The Israelites fasting in sack cloths (Jdt 4:9-4:12)

“Every man of Israel cried out to God with great fervor. They humbled themselves with much fasting. They, their wives, and their children put sackcloth around their waist. Their cattle, every resident alien, every hired laborer, and purchased slaves, all put sackcloth around their waists. All the Israelites, men, women, and children, living at Jerusalem, prostrated themselves before the Temple. They put ashes on their heads. They spread out their sackcloth before the Lord. They even draped the altar with sackcloth. They cried out in unison, praying fervently to the God of Israel not to allow their infants to be carried off and their wives to be taken as booty. They did not want their towns to be destroyed. They did not want the sanctuary to be profaned and desecrated by the malicious joy of the Gentiles.”

The Israelite men cried out to God. They humbled themselves. Fasting was a key element of prayer preparation. Their whole family, including wives and children put on sackcloth. However, the text says that the cattle put on sackcloth, but I do not understand why. They apparently were well to do since they had resident aliens, hired laborers, and slaves working for them. They all prostrated before the Temple with ashes on their heads. They even draped the altar in sackcloth. There was this insistence on sackcloth and ashes. They did not want their children and wives taken as booty. They did not want their so-called inherited towns taken away. They finally did not want their sanctuary desecrated by the Gentiles. All of this prayer sounds post-exilic in tone.