“And as he sat
In Levi’s house,
Many tax collectors
Were also sitting
And his disciples.
There were many
Who followed him.”
Καὶ γίνεται κατακεῖσθαι αὐτὸν ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ αὐτοῦ, καὶ πολλοὶ τελῶναι καὶ ἁμαρτωλοὶ συνανέκειντο τῷ Ἰησοῦ καὶ τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ, ἦσαν γὰρ πολλοὶ καὶ ἠκολούθουν αὐτῷ.
Luke, chapter 5:29, and Matthew, chapter 9:10, are similar to Mark, so that Mark might be the source of this event. Here and in Luke, it was explicitly mentioned that Jesus was having a meal in the house of Levi (Καὶ γίνεται κατακεῖσθαι αὐτὸν ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ αὐτοῦ). As Levi was a tax collector, other tax collectors (καὶ πολλοὶ τελῶναι) were there also. Was this a farewell meal for Levi as he was about to set out as a disciple of Jesus? Jesus sat or reclined at the dining table in this house. However, besides the tax collectors, a lot of sinners came to sit down or recline (καὶ ἁμαρτωλοὶ συνανέκειντο) with Jesus and his disciples (τῷ Ἰησοῦ καὶ τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ). The tax collectors were collecting money or tolls for the Roman Empire, so that they could hardly be called model Jewish citizens. The sinners (ἁμαρτωλοὶ), on the other hand, could either be non-Jewish gentiles or other public immoral Jewish men, who were unclean. In general, tax collectors and sinners were lumped together, since neither cared much for following the Jewish law, unlike the Pharisees. However, many people were already followers of Jesus (ἦσαν γὰρ πολλοὶ καὶ ἠκολούθουν αὐτῷ). How were these followers different from his disciples?
“As he sat
At the dinner table
In the house,
Many tax collectors,
As well as sinners
They were sitting
As well as his disciples.”
Καὶ ἐγένετο αὐτοῦ ἀνακειμένου ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ, καὶ ἰδοὺ πολλοὶ τελῶναι καὶ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἐλθόντες συνανέκειντο τῷ Ἰησοῦ καὶ τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ.
This story about this dinner party is similar to Mark, chapter 2:15, and Luke, chapter 5:29, but there it was explicitly mentioned that this meal took place in the house of Levi, the Jewish name for Matthew. Here it simply says that this meal was in a house (ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ) without indicating whose house. Would it have been the house of Jesus in Capernaum? Presumably, it was the house of Matthew, the tax collector. since other tax collectors (καὶ ἰδοὺ πολλοὶ τελῶναι) were there also. Was this a farewell meal for Matthew as he was to set out as a disciple of Jesus? If this Matthew was the author of this gospel, there is very little elaboration here about his house or dinner party. Jesus sat or reclined at the dining table in this house (Καὶ ἐγένετο αὐτοῦ ἀνακειμένου ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ). However, besides the tax collectors, a lot of sinners came to sit down or recline (καὶ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἐλθόντες συνανέκειντο) with Jesus and his disciples (τῷ Ἰησοῦ καὶ τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ). The tax collectors were collecting money for the Roman Empire, so that they could hardly be called model Jewish citizens. The sinners (ἁμαρτωλοὶ), on the other hand, could either be non-Jewish gentiles or other public immoral Jewish men, who were unclean.
“Judith proceeded to dress herself in all her woman’s finery. Her maid went ahead of her to spread for her, on the ground before General Holofernes, the lambskins that she had received from Bagoas for her daily use in reclining. Then Judith came in and lay down. General Holofernes’ heart was ravished with her. His passion was aroused. He had been waiting for an opportunity to seduce her from the day he first saw her. He said to her.
‘Have a drink!
Be merry with us!’
‘I will gladly drink, my lord,
Because today is the greatest day in my whole life.’
Then she took what her maid had prepared. She ate and drank before him. He was greatly pleased with her. He drank a great quantity of wine, much more than he had ever drunk in any one day since he was born.”
Judith prepared to go to meet General Holofernes. She put on her best female clothes, at least for that day. Her maid preceded her with lambskins that Bagoas the eunuch had prepared so that that she could sit on the ground to eat and drink. She then went in and reclined or lay down in front of the good general. His heart was going pitter-patter as he was aroused at the sight of her. He had been waiting for an opportunity to seduce her since he first met her. He offered her a drink of wine, which she did not refuse. He wanted her to be merry. She replied that it was greatest day of her life. She had never mentioned her dead husband or if she had children. There was never any mention of them, so maybe she had no children. Then she ate the meal that her maid had provided. Although he was pleased with her, he drank more wine than he had ever drunk in his whole life. This could be a problem.
“When they had bathed and washed themselves, they reclined to dine with large servings of food before them. Then Tobias said to Raphael.
Ask Raguel to give me my kinswoman Sarah.’
However, Raguel overhead it. He said to the lad.
‘Eat and drink!
Be merry tonight!
No one except you, brother,
Has the right to marry my daughter Sarah.
Likewise, I am not at liberty to give her to any other man than you Because you are my nearest relative.
But let me explain to you the true situation more fully, my child.
I have given her to seven of our kinsmen.
They all died on the night when they went in to her.
But now, my child, eat and drink.
The Lord shall act on behalf of you both.’”
Clearly the father had complete control of the marriage. Tobias wanted Raphael to make the proposal to Raguel, the father of Sarah. However, Raguel overheard them talking. He told them to eat, drink, and be merry. There was no problem since Tobit was the only one available to marry her. Raguel then recounted that all 7 kinsmen before him had all died on the wedding night. That is why they should enjoy tonight. Everything will be all right in time.