What to do? (Lk 6:11-6:11)

“But they

Were filled

With fury.

They discussed

With one another

What they might do

To Jesus.”

 

αὐτοὶ δὲ ἐπλήσθησαν ἀνοίας, καὶ διελάλουν πρὸς ἀλλήλους τί ἂν ποιήσαιεν τῷ Ἰησοῦ.

 

Luke said that they were filled with rage or fury (ὐτοὶ δὲ ἐπλήσθησαν ἀνοίας).  They discussed with one another (καὶ διελάλουν πρὸς ἀλλήλους) what they might do to Jesus (τί ἂν ποιήσαιεν τῷ Ἰησοῦ).  Matthew, chapter 12:14, and Mark, chapter 3:6, are similar to Luke.  However, Mark was the only one to mention both the Pharisees and the Herodians.  Matthew mentioned just the Pharisees, while Luke used the vague “they”.  Mark said that the Pharisees conspired with the Herodians against Jesus.  They wondered how they could destroy or kill him.  The Herodians were not a religious group but a political group that backed the Galilean governor Herod Antipas (4-39 CE).  Right from the beginning, there was this animosity between Jesus and the religious leaders of the Pharisees and the local political leaders of Herod.  Matthew has this episode end with only the Pharisees getting together to conspire to destroy Jesus.  However, the wording was a little different among these synoptic writers, but all these people conspired on how to grab, destroy, or kill Jesus.

They became angry (Lk 4:28-4:28)

“When they heard this,

All in the synagogue

Were filled

With rage.”

 

καὶ ἐπλήσθησαν πάντες θυμοῦ ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ ἀκούοντες ταῦτα,

 

Luke continued his unique story.  He said that all the people in the synagogue (ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ) in Nazareth, when they had heard this (ἀκούοντες ταῦτα), they were filled with rage (καὶ ἐπλήσθησαν πάντες θυμοῦ).  After telling these 2 episodes about these 9th century BCE prophets that helping non-Israelites a 1,000 years earlier, this crowd was not pleased.  In fact, they were really angry that Jesus was not going to do any miracles there.

The punishment is coming (Hos 11:5-11:7)

“They shall return

To the land of Egypt.

Assyria

Shall be their king.

They have refused

To return to me.

The sword rages

In their cities.

It consumes

Their oracle priests.

It devours them

Because of their schemes.

My people

Are bent

On turning away

From me.

They call to

The Most High,

But he does not

Raise them up at all.”

Yahweh, via Hosea, warned them that their punishment was coming. They would be exiled to Egypt. Assyria would be their new king. They had refused to return to Yahweh. Thus, the killing sword would rage in their cities. The oracle priests at their various idol worship sites would be destroyed. They would all die because of their schemes. They were bent on turning away from Yahweh. Thus, when they called out for help, they would not get an answer.

Do not depend on your wife (Sir 25:21-25:22)

“Do not be ensnared

By a woman’s beauty!

Do not desire a woman

For her possessions!

There is wrath

When a wife

Supports her husband.

There is impudence

When a wife

Supports her husband.

There is a great disgrace

When a wife

Supports her husband.”

You should not be trapped by a woman’s beauty. You should not desire any woman for her possessions or dowry. Now in something that might seem strange today with stay at home dads, Sirach condemns this behavior. A wife should not support her husband, because that is a rage, disrespectful, and a great disgrace, pure and simple. Of course, that was the common attitude in a male dominated society.

Historical punishments for sin (Sir 16:6-16:14)

“In an assembly of sinners,

A fire is kindled.

In a disobedient nation,

Wrath blazes up.

The Lord did not forgive

The ancient giants

Who revolted in their might.

He did not spare the neighbors of Lot,

Whom he loathed

On account of their arrogance.

He showed no pity

On the doomed nation,

On those disposed because of their sins.

He showed no pity

On the six hundred thousand foot soldiers,

Who assembled in their stubbornness.

Even if there were only one stiff-necked person,

It would be a wonder

If he remained unpunished.

Mercy is with the Lord.

Wrath is with the Lord.

He is mighty to forgive,

But he also pours out wrath.

As great as his mercy,

So also is his chastisement.

He judges a person

According to his or her deeds.

The sinner will not escape with plunder.

The patience of the godly

Will not be frustrated.

He makes room for every act of mercy.

Everyone receives in accordance

With his or her deeds.”

Sirach mentions the people and the groups from the Torah that were punished for their sins. A destroying fire will rage where sinners or disobedient nations are gathered. The Lord did not forgive the ancient giant Nephilim people in Genesis, chapter 6, before the flood. The Lord did not forgive the evil arrogant Sodomite neighbors of Lot in Genesis, chapter 19. He did not have pity on the disposed Canaanites in Joshua. The 600,000 Israelites in the desert revolted against Moses in Numbers, chapter 16. Not one person gets away with being a stiff-necked proud person. They will not go unpunished. The Lord has both mercy and anger. He judges according to the deeds of the people. No sinner will escape. The patience of the godly will run thin. While there is room for mercy, everyone will receive punishment based on their deeds.

Divine punishment towards Egypt (Wis 11:15-11:20)

“In return for their foolish thoughts,

In return for their wicked thoughts,

Which led them astray

To worship irrational serpents,

To worship worthless animals,

You sent upon them

A multitude of irrational creatures

To punish them.

Thus they might learn

That one is punished

By the very things

By which one sins.

Your all-powerful hand,

Which created the world out of formless matter,

Did not lack the means to send upon them

A multitude of bears,

Or bold lions,

Or newly created unknown beasts full of rage,

Or such as breathe out fiery breath,

Or belch forth a thick pall of smoke,

Or flash terrible sparks from their eyes.

Not only could the harm they did destroy people,

But the mere sight of them could kill by fright.

Even apart from these,

People could fall at a single breath

When pursued by justice.

They could be scattered by the breath of your power.

But you have arranged all things by measure.

You have arranged all things by number.

You have arranged all things by weight.”

The divine plague punishments could have been much worse for the Egyptians in Exodus, chapters 9-11. In fact, this author implies that God was mild with his punishments because the Egyptians had foolish and wicked thoughts that led them to worship serpents and animals. God very kindly sent them only irrational creatures like frogs, mosquitoes, flies, and gnats to punish them. He could have sent them a multitude of bears or bold lions. He might have sent them unknown beasts full of rage that would breathe out fire and belch out smoke, with flashing terrible sparks in their eyes that could have killed them with fright. God could have made them fall with a single breath or scattered them through the world, but he carefully arranged all this according to his measure, number, and weight.

Fratricide (Wis 10:3-10:3)

“But when an unrighteous man

Departed from her

In his anger,

He perished.

Because in rage

He killed his brother.”

Once again, based on Genesis, chapter 4, we have a reference to the dispute between Cain and Abel, without their names being used. Throughout this chapter of Wisdom, no specific names are used. In this Genesis story, Cain was the first born of Adam and Eve. This unrighteous Cain got angry because his sacrifice was not accepted, while his brother’s was accepted. Cain in a rage killed his younger brother, Abel. There is no clarity on why Cain was so unrighteous and departed from this female wisdom. However, he surely killed his brother, so that the first human murder was fratricide (ἀδελφοκτόνοις). Actually, most murders are not done by strangers.