Blessed are the hungry (Lk 6:21-6:21)

“Blessed are you

Who are hungry now!

You shall be satisfied.”

 

μακάριοι οἱ πεινῶντες νῦν, ὅτι χορτασθήσεσθε.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that the hungry people now (οἱ πεινῶντες νῦν) would be blessed or happy (μακάριοι) and satisfied (ὅτι χορτασθήσεσθε), using the second person plural.  This is somewhat equivalent to Matthew, chapter 5:6, perhaps indicating that these beatitudes may be from the Q source.  There Matthew said the happy, blessed, and fortunate ones (μακάριοι) were those who hungered and thirsted for righteousness (οἱ πεινῶντες καὶ διψῶντες τὴν δικαιοσύνην).  They would not go away empty handed.  They would be satisfied or filled (ὅτι αὐτοὶ χορτασθήσοντ).  Isaiah, chapter 55:1-2 had an invitation to those without money to come to drink and eat.  They could have water, wine, milk and bread.  They would enjoy themselves at this banquet.  Matthew may have been referencing Psalm 107:4-9, where Yahweh had helped a small group of lost Israelites who were hungry and thirsty, while wandering in the desert.  He satisfied their thirst and filled their hunger with good food.  Thus, they gave thanks to Yahweh.  So too, those who hungered and thirsted for righteousness, the right way of doing things, would be satisfied or filled with this righteousness.  However, here Luke was talking about real hunger for food that would be satisfied.  Luke is more concrete, less spiritual.  You are poor and hungry, plain and simple.  You would be blessed, fortunate, happy, and satisfied.

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The fourth beatitude about righteousness (Mt 5:6-5:6)

“Blessed are

Those who hunger for righteousness,

Those who thirst for righteousness,

They shall be filled.”

 

μακάριοι οἱ πεινῶντες καὶ διψῶντες τὴν δικαιοσύνην, ὅτι αὐτοὶ χορτασθήσοντ

 

The happy, blessed, and fortunate ones (μακάριοι) were those who hungered and thirsted for righteousness (οἱ πεινῶντες καὶ διψῶντες τὴν δικαιοσύνην).  They would not go away empty handed.  They would be satisfied or filled (ὅτι αὐτοὶ χορτασθήσοντ).  Isaiah, chapter 55:1-2 has an invitation to those without money to come to drink and eat.  They could have water, wine, milk and bread.  They would enjoy themselves at this banquet.  Matthew may have been referencing Psalm 107:4-9, where Yahweh had helped a small group of lost Israelites who were hungry and thirsty, while wandering in the desert.  He satisfied their thirst and filled their hunger with good food.  In their distress, they called out to Yahweh, who heard them.  He led them in a straight path to an inhabited town.  Thus, they gave thanks to Yahweh.  So too, those who hungered and thirsted for righteousness, the right way of doing things, would be satisfied or filled with this righteousness.

Yahweh helped the weak (Ps 107:39-107:43)

“When they are diminished,

When they are brought low,

Through oppression, trouble, and sorrow,

He pours contempt upon the princes.

He makes them wander in trackless wastes.

However he raises up the needy out of distress.

He makes their families like flocks.

The upright see it.

They are glad.

All the wickedness keeps its mouth shut.

Let those who are wise,

Give heed to these things.

Let them

Consider the steadfast love of Yahweh.”

This psalm ends with something that looks like it was added on. All of a sudden there are princes that are brought low and diminished with oppression, trouble, and sorrow. Yahweh had contempt for the princes wandering in some waste land. On the other hand, he raised up the needy or the poor out of their distress. He made them fruitful like flocks of birds. The upright, those with a right heart, were glad because wickedness never came out of their mouth. The wise person paid attention to these things. They always remembered the steadfast love of Yahweh.

Yahweh helped the land to produce (Ps 107:33-107:38)

“He turns rivers into a desert.

He turns springs of water into thirsty ground.

He turns fruitful land into a salty waste.

He did this because of the wickedness of its inhabitants.

He turns the desert into pools of water.

He turns parched land into springs of water.

There he lets the hungry live.

They establish a town to live in.

They sow fields.

They plant vineyards.

They get a fruitful yield.

By his blessing

They multiply greatly.

He does not let their cattle decrease.”

Yahweh could make rivers into deserts and dry up the land. In fact, he turned fruitful land into a salty waste because of the wickedness of its people. On the other hand, he could turn bad land into good land. He could turn a desert into water and parched land into springs of water. See how important water was. He could let the hungry live and establish their own towns. There they could sow fields and plant vineyards so that they would have a fruitful yield. When Yahweh blesses them they multiply greatly, even their cattle.

Yahweh helped those at sea (Ps 107:23-107:32)

“Some went down to the sea in ships.

He did business on the mighty waters.

They saw the deeds of Yahweh.

They saw his wondrous works in the deep.

He commanded.

He raised the stormy wind.

He lifted up the waves of the sea.

They mounted up to heaven.

They went down to the depths.

Their courage melted away in their calamity.

They reeled.

They staggered like drunkards.

They were at their wits’ end.

Then they cried to Yahweh in their trouble.

He brought them out from their distress.

He made the storm be still.

The waves of the sea were hushed.

Then they were glad

Because they had quiet.

He brought them to their desired haven.

Let them thank Yahweh

For his steadfast love!

Let them thank Yahweh

For his wonderful works to humankind!

Let them extol him

In the congregation of the people.

Let them praise him

In the assembly of the elders.”

This is the case where those who were seafarers saw the great deeds of Yahweh.   Yahweh commanded the storms. He commanded the waves to go high and low so that their ships often reeled like drunken sailors. However, when they cried to Yahweh, he heard them in their distress. Yahweh stilled the storms and urged the waves to be quiet. Then like in the preceding verses, they had to give thanks for Yahweh’s steadfast love and wonderful works. They also had to praise him among the people and the elders.

Yahweh helped the sick (Ps 107:17-107:22)

“Some were sick through their sinful ways.

Because of their iniquities,

They endured affliction.

They loathed any kind of food.

They drew near to the gates of death.

Then they cried to Yahweh in their trouble.

He saved them from their distress.

He sent out his word.

He healed them.

He delivered them from destruction.

Let them thank Yahweh

For his steadfast love!

Let them thank Yahweh

For his wonderful works to humankind!

Let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices!

Let them tell of his deeds in songs of joy!”

Once again we have the correlation between sin and sickness. They were sick because they had sinned. These sick people could not eat any kind of food, as they were near death. They cried out to Yahweh as the other groups had done. Guess what? Yahweh saved them as he sent out word to heal them. Thus they were delivered from destruction. Therefore, just like the others, they should give thanks to Yahweh for his steadfast love and his wondrous deeds. However, they also had to offer thanksgiving sacrifices and tell others in songs of joy about what had happened to them. The other groups did not have to do that.

Yahweh helped the prisoners (Ps 107:10-107:16)

“Some sat in darkness.

Some sat in gloom.

They were prisoners in misery.

They were prisoners in irons.

They had rebelled against the words of God.

They had spurned the counsel of the Most High.

Their hearts were bowed down with hard labor.

They fell down.

There was no one to help them.

Then they cried to Yahweh in their trouble.

He saved them from their distress.

He brought them out of darkness.

He brought them out of gloom.

He broke their bonds asunder.

Let them thank Yahweh

For his steadfast love!

Let them thank Yahweh

For his wonderful works to humankind!

He shatters the doors of bronze.

He cuts in two the bars of iron.”

Some people were in darkness and gloom. They were prisoners in misery and in actual irons, shackled together, because they had rebelled against God. They had turned away from the counsel of the Most High God. They were in forced labor with no one to help them. These people were not innocent, since they had done or said something against God. However, they cried to Yahweh for help in their distress. Guess what? He saved them from their distress, darkness, and gloom. He tore their chains apart. Now they should give thanks to Yahweh for his steadfast love and wondrous deeds. He shattered the doors of bronze and the iron bars. They were now free people.