The law about marrying the brother of the dead man (Mt 22:24-22:24)

“The Sadducees said.

‘Teacher!

Moses said.

‘If a man dies

Childless,

His brother

Shall marry

The widow.

He will raise up

Children

For his brother.’”

 

λέγοντες Διδάσκαλε, Μωϋσῆς εἶπεν Ἐάν τις ἀποθάνῃ μὴ ἔχων τέκνα, ἐπιγαμβρεύσει ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀναστήσει σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ

 

Mark, chapter 12:19, and Luke, chapter 20:28, are almost word for word as here in Matthew.  These Sadducees addressed Jesus very respectfully as “Teacher” or “Rabbi (λέγοντες Διδάσκαλε).”  They quoted a Mosaic text, as Moses says (Μωϋσῆς εἶπεν), from Deuteronomy, chapter 25:5-10.  If a man died without any children (Ἐάν τις ἀποθάνῃ μὴ ἔχων τέκνα), his brother should marry the widow (ἐπιγαμβρεύσει ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ).  He would then raise up the descendants for his brother (καὶ ἀναστήσει σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ).  This levirate law goes back as far as Tamar in Genesis, chapter 38:1-30, with the story of Judah’s 3 sons and Tamar, the original wife of Er.  The brother of the deceased was supposed to marry his brother’s widow if he had no sons.  The widow was not to marry outside her family.  It also assumes that the brother lived close by or in the same house as his brother.  There was no indication of whether the brother was married or not, but this seems to assume a younger brother.  This was an attempt to prolong the heritage and name of a person, which was common in ancient times.  The punishment for the brother’s refusal was an insult rather than any physical punishment.

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The reward for the righteous (Mt 13:43-13:43)

“Then the righteous

Will shine

Like the sun

In the kingdom

Of their Father.

Let anyone with ears,

Listen!”

 

τότε οἱ δίκαιοι ἐκλάμψουσιν ὡς ὁ ἥλιος ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ Πατρὸς αὐτῶν. ὁ ἔχων ὦτα ἀκουέτω.

 

Only Matthew has this explanation about the parable of the weeds, in chapter 13:24-30.  Here it is the harvest time, the end times.  The righteous, like the good wheat, will shine (τότε οἱ δίκαιοι ἐκλάμψουσιν) like the sun in the kingdom of their Father (ὡς ὁ ἥλιος ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ Πατρὸς αὐτῶν).  Then Jesus gave his final remark about his explanation.  He wanted anyone with ears to listen up (ὁ ἔχων ὦτα ἀκουέτω), ending this long explanation of Matthew about the simple parable of the weeds and the good wheat grain.  Wait until the end time to find out about your eternal reward or punishment.

The plague on Egypt (Zech 14:18-14:19)

“If the family of Egypt

Does not go up,

If they do not

Present themselves,

Then upon them

Shall come

The plague

That Yahweh inflicts

On the nations

That do not go up

To keep the festival of booths.

This shall be the punishment

Of Egypt.

This shall be the punishment

Of all the nations

That do not go up

To keep the festival of booths.”

Egypt would suffer a plague, if they did not present themselves for the festival of booths or tents.  However, this same punishment would be inflicted on other countries that did not show up of this festival of booths.  Suddenly, this festival has become an important universal religious festival for all countries, not just the Israelites.

Prayer to Yahweh (Hab 1:12-1:13)

“Are you not from of old?

O Yahweh!

My God!

My Holy One!

You shall not die!

O Yahweh!

You have marked them

For judgment.

You!

O Rock!

Have you established them

For punishment?

Your eyes are too pure

To behold evil!

You cannot look

On wrongdoing!

Why do you look

On the treacherous ones?

Why are you silent

When the wicked swallow

Those more righteous

Than they?”

Habakkuk has a prayer to Yahweh that seems to question some of his behavior.  Yahweh, the holy one, his God, who would not die, has marked all these violent men for judgment.  Yahweh, his rock, has set them up for punishment.  Yahweh’s eyes were too pure to see evil, so that he could not look at any wrongdoing.  Then Habakkuk wanted to know why Yahweh was so silent about these treacherous ones, when these wicked ones seem to be swallowing up the righteous ones?  Habakkuk wanted Yahweh to act against these wicked people now, not tolerate them for a later punishment.

The desolation of Ephraim (Hos 5:9-5:9)

“Ephraim shall become

A desolation,

In the day of punishment.

Among the tribes of Israel,

I declare what is sure.”

Ephraim would be wiped out, a desolation, at the time of punishment during the Syrian-Assyrian war in 2 Kings, chapter 15. Yahweh was going to single out Ephraim among the various tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel.

Enforce the edict against Daniel (Dan 6:11-6:13)

“The conspirators came.

They found Daniel praying,

Seeking mercy

Before his God.

Then they approached the king.

They said

Concerning the interdict.

‘O king!

Did you not sign

An interdict,

That anyone

Who prays to anyone,

Divine or human,

Within thirty days,

Except to you,

O king!

Shall be thrown

Into a den of lions?’

The king answered.

‘The thing stands fast,

According to the law

Of the Medes,

Of the Persians,

That cannot be revoked.’

Then they responded

To the king.

‘Daniel,

One of the exiles

From Judah,

Pays no attention

To you!

O king!

Or the interdict

You have signed.

But he is saying his prayers

Three times a day.’”

These conspirators, once they had the decree signed, found Daniel praying and seeking mercy from his God. They went to the king to remind him that he had signed this interdiction about no one being allowed to pray to any human or divine person for 30 days, except to the king. The punishment was to be thrown into a den of lions. The king said that he understood that this was the law according to the Medes and the Persians. Then they said that Daniel, one of the Judean exiles, was not paying attention to him and his decree, since he was praying 3 times a day to his God in his house.

The king will lose his kingdom (Dan 4:31-4:32)

“While the words

Were still

In the king’s mouth,

A voice

Came from heaven.

‘O King Nebuchadnezzar!

To you

It is declared!

The kingdom has departed

From you!

You shall be driven away

From human society!

Your dwelling

Shall be with

The animals

Of the field!

You shall be made

To eat grass

Like oxen!

Seven times,

It shall pass

Over you,

Until you have learned

That the Most High

Has sovereignty

Over the kingdoms

Of mortals!

He gives it

To whom he will.’”

While the prideful words were still in the king’s mouth, a voice from heaven told the king that he had lost his kingdom. His punishment was coming. He was going to be driven out from human society. He would live among the wild animals and eat grass like oxen. However, it would pass over him 7 times, until he realized that the Most High God ruled all the human kingdoms. Thus, God was able to give his kingdoms to whomever he wanted.