The disciples ask about this again (Mk 10:10-10:10)

“Then in the house,

The disciples

Asked him again

About this matter.”

 

καὶ εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν πάλιν οἱ μαθηταὶ περὶ τούτου ἐπηρώτων αὐτόν.

 

There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 19:10, but it is a wider discussion.  Mark said that when the disciples were in the house again (καὶ εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν πάλιν), they asked Jesus further about this matter (οἱ μαθηταὶ περὶ τούτου ἐπηρώτων αὐτόν).  As usual, the disciples of Jesus were not quick to understand what he was saying.

Jesus cures the man with a speech impediment (Mk 7:34-7:35)

“Then looking up

To heaven,

Jesus sighed deeply.

He said to him.

‘Ephphatha!’

That is,

‘Be opened!’

His ears

Were opened.

His tongue’s impediment

Was released

Immediately.

He spoke plainly.”

 

καὶ ἀναβλέψας εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν ἐστέναξεν, καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Ἐφφαθά, ὅ ἐστιν Διανοίχθητι.

καὶ ἠνοίγησαν αὐτοῦ αἱ ἀκοαί, καὶ εὐθὺς ἐλύθη ὁ δεσμὸς τῆς γλώσσης αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐλάλει ὀρθῶς.

 

This physical healing is unique to Mark, who said that Jesus looked up to heaven (καὶ ἀναβλέψας εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν), and sighed deeply (ἐστέναξεν).  Jesus said to the deaf and mute man (καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ), “Ephphatha (Ἐφφαθά,)!”  This means “Be opened (ὅ ἐστιν Διανοίχθητι)!”  Then this man’s ears were opened (καὶ ἠνοίγησαν αὐτοῦ αἱ ἀκοαί).  The impediment on his tongue was released immediately (καὶ εὐθὺς ἐλύθη ὁ δεσμὸς τῆς γλώσσης αὐτοῦ).  He spoke plainly (καὶ ἐλάλει ὀρθῶς).  Jesus had cured this man with an Aramaic saying, once again indicating the Aramaic base of this gospel.  However, Mark was quick to explain what the meaning of this word was to his Greek audience.

Death would be better than famine (Lam 4:9-4:9)

Tet

“Happier were those

Pierced by the sword

Than those

Pierced by hunger.

Their life

Drains away.

They are deprived

Of the produce

Of the field.”

This author points out that famine or starvation is worse than death by a sword. Starvation leads to the draining of life since they were deprived of the products of the field. This brings up the question of whether a quick death or a slow painful death is better. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Tet in this acrostic poem.

The punishment (Lam 4:6-4:6)

Vav

“The chastisement

Of my people

Has been greater

Than the punishment

Of Sodom.

It was overthrown

In a moment,

Even though

No hand

Was laid on it.”

This author compares the punishment of Jerusalem to that of the city of Sodom in Genesis, chapter 19, which seemed to resonate in the Israelite imagination. In fact, the punishment to the people of Jerusalem during this siege was worse than that of Sodom, because this punishment was lingering and not quick. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Vav in this acrostic poem.

Verify what you hear (Sir 19:13-19:17)

“Question a friend!

Perhaps he did not do it.

But if he did anything,

Then he may not do it again.

Question a neighbor!

Perhaps he did not say it.

But if he said it,

Then he may not repeat it.

Question a friend!

Often it is slander.

Do not believe everything you hear.

A person may make a slip

Without intending it.

Who has not sinned with his tongue?

Question your neighbor

Before you threaten him!

Let the law of the Most High

Take its course.

Do not be angry!”

Sirach warns us to verify what you have heard before you take any actions. You should go to the person and ask whether what you have heard is true or not. If a friend has done or said something, check it out to see if he did what you thought he did. Perhaps he will not do it again, if you confront him. Do the same with your neighbor. Here is the famous saying, “do not believe everything you hear.” Sometimes people slip and say something that they did not intend to say. Everyone has had a slip of the tongue. Everyone has sinned with their tongues. Always question people, before you threaten them. Let God’s law take its course. Do not be quick to anger.

Be firm (Sir 5:8-5:12)

“Do not depend on dishonest wealth.

It will not benefit you

In the day of calamity.

Do not winnow with every wind.

Do not follow every path.

Stand firm for what you know.

Let your speech be consistent.

Be quick to hear.

But be deliberate in answering.

If you know what to say,

Answer your neighbor.

But if you do not know,

Put your hand on your mouth.”

Now the righteous person is asked to stand firm. They should not depend on dishonest wealth to benefit them in the days of their trouble. They were not to follow every wind and every path. They should stand firm for what they know. Their speech should be consistent. They should be quick to listen, but deliberate in answering. If they know what to say, say so. However, if they do not know what to say, they should put their hand over their mouth and be silent.

Pass on wisdom (Eccl 7:8-7:12)

“Better is the end of a thing

Than its beginning.

The patient in spirit are better

Than the proud in spirit.

Be not quick to anger!

Anger lodges in the bosom of fools.

Do not say.

‘Why were the former days

Better than these?’

It is not from wisdom

That you ask this.

Wisdom is good

With an inheritance.

Wisdom is an advantage

To those who see the sun.

The protection of wisdom is

Like the protection of money.

The advantage of knowledge is

That wisdom gives life

To the one who possesses it.”

Following up on the preceding dichotomies, Qoheleth then went on to speak about the value of wisdom. The end is better than its beginning. The patient in spirit are better than the proud in spirit. Do not be quick to anger because that is the way of fools. Wise people do not talk about the good old days. You should try to hand on wisdom as an inheritance, just like you might want to hand on a financial inheritance. In fact, knowledge and wisdom give life to the one who possesses it.