They butter up Jesus (Mk 12:14-12:14)

“They came.

They said

To Jesus.

‘Teacher!

We know

That you are sincere.

You show deference

To no one.

You do not regard

People

With partiality.

But you teach

The way of God

In accordance

With truth.’”

 

καὶ ἐλθόντες λέγουσιν αὐτῷ Διδάσκαλε, οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἀληθὴς εἶ καὶ οὐ μέλει σοι περὶ οὐδενός· οὐ γὰρ βλέπεις εἰς πρόσωπον ἀνθρώπων, ἀλλ’ ἐπ’ ἀληθείας τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ διδάσκεις·

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 22:16, and Luke, chapter 20:21, almost word for word.  Mark said that the Pharisees and the Herodians came and spoke to Jesus (καὶ ἐλθόντες λέγουσιν αὐτῷ).  They called Jesus their teacher or rabbi (Διδάσκαλε).  They said that they knew that Jesus was sincere or truthful (οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἀληθὴς), because Jesus did not show any deference to anybody (εἶ καὶ οὐ μέλει σοι περὶ οὐδενός).  He did not regard people with partiality based on their appearances (οὐ γὰρ βλέπεις εἰς πρόσωπον ἀνθρώπων).  Thus, Jesus taught the truthful way of God (ἀλλ’ ἐπ’ ἀληθείας τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ διδάσκεις).  They were buttering him up with these flattering statements about how he was so sincere and truthful, since he had not shown any deference or partiality to anybody.

 

Flattering Jesus (Mt 22:16-22:16)

“The Pharisees

Sent their disciples

To him,

Along with the Herodians.

They said.

‘Teacher!

We know

That you are sincere.

You teach the way of God

In accordance with truth.

You show deference

To no one.

You do not regard

People with partiality.”

 

καὶ ἀποστέλλουσιν αὐτῷ τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτῶν μετὰ τῶν Ἡρῳδιανῶν λέγοντας Διδάσκαλε, οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἀληθὴς εἶ καὶ τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐν ἀληθείᾳ διδάσκεις, καὶ οὐ μέλει σοι περὶ οὐδενός, οὐ γὰρ βλέπεις εἰς πρόσωπον ἀνθρώπων·

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 12:13-14, and Luke, chapter 20:21, but slightly different.  The Pharisees sent their own disciples to Jesus (καὶ ἀποστέλλουσιν αὐτῷ τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτῶν).  The Pharisees themselves did come to Jesus, but they also sent along some Herodians (μετὰ τῶν Ἡρῳδιανῶν).  Who are these people?  They were the followers or political supporters of King Herod Antipas, the Roman client tetrarch king of Galilee, the one who had John the Baptist beheaded.  This group spoke to Jesus in flattering terms (λέγοντας).  They called Jesus their teacher or rabbi (Διδάσκαλε,).  They said that they knew that Jesus was sincere or truthful, since he knew the truthful way of God (οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἀληθὴς εἶ καὶ τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  He taught truthfulness (ἐν ἀληθείᾳ διδάσκεις).  Jesus did not show any deference to anybody (καὶ οὐ μέλει σοι περὶ οὐδενός,).  He did not regard people with partiality based on their appearances (οὐ γὰρ βλέπεις εἰς πρόσωπον ἀνθρώπων).  They were buttering up Jesus with these flattering statements about how he was so sincere and truthful since he had not shown any deference or partiality to anybody.

The value of the baptism of John (Mt 21:25-21:26)

“‘Did the baptism of John

Come from heaven

Or was it of human origin?’

They argued

With one another.

‘If we say,

‘From heaven.’

He will say to us,

‘Why then did you not

Believe him?’

But if we say.

‘From human origins,’

We are afraid

Of the crowd.

All regard John

As a prophet.’”

 

τὸ βάπτισμα τὸ Ἰωάνου πόθεν ἦν; ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ἢ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων; οἱ δὲ διελογίζοντο ἐν ἑαυτοῖς λέγοντες· Ἐὰν εἴπωμεν Ἐξ οὐρανοῦ, ἐρεῖ ἡμῖν Διὰ τί οὖν οὐκ ἐπιστεύσατε αὐτῷ;

ἐὰν δὲ εἴπωμεν Ἐξ ἀνθρώπων, φοβούμεθα τὸν ὄχλον· φοβούμεθα τὸν ὄχλον.

 

This question about John the Baptist and the value of his baptism can be found in Mark, chapter 11:30-32, and Luke, chapter 20:4-6, almost word for word.  Jesus asked this one question.  Did the baptism of John the Baptist come from heaven or was it of human man-made origin (τὸ βάπτισμα τὸ Ἰωάνου πόθεν ἦν; ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ἢ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων)?  Then the high priests and the elders argued with each other (οἱ δὲ διελογίζοντο ἐν ἑαυτοῖς).  If they said that his baptism was from heaven (λέγοντες· Ἐὰν εἴπωμεν Ἐξ οὐρανοῦ,), then Jesus would ask them why they had not believed in John the Baptist (ἐρεῖ ἡμῖν Διὰ τί οὖν οὐκ ἐπιστεύσατε αὐτῷ)?  If they said that this baptism of John was from human origins (ἐὰν δὲ εἴπωμεν Ἐξ ἀνθρώπων), they were afraid of the crowds of people (φοβούμεθα τὸν ὄχλον) since they all regarded John the Baptist as a prophet (φοβούμεθα τὸν ὄχλον).  They were stuck between a rock and a hard place.

The head of John the Baptist on a platter (Mt 14:9-14:11)

“King Herod was sorry.

Yet out of regard

For his oaths

And his guests,

He gave his command.

He sent his men.

He had John beheaded

In the prison.

His head

Was brought on a platter.

The dish was given

To the girl.

She then brought it

To her mother.”

 

καὶ λυπηθεὶς ὁ βασιλεὺς διὰ τοὺς ὅρκους καὶ τοὺς συνανακειμένους ἐκέλευσεν δοθῆναι,

καὶ πέμψας ἀπεκεφάλισεν Ἰωάνην ἐν τῇ φυλακῇ.

καὶ ἠνέχθη ἡ κεφαλὴ αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ πίνακι καὶ ἐδόθη τῷ κορασίῳ, καὶ ἤνεγκεν τῇ μητρὶ αὐτῆς.

 

This beheading of John the Baptist can be found in Mark, chapter 6:25-28, and here.  King Herod was pained and sorry (καὶ λυπηθεὶς ὁ βασιλεὺς) for what he had just promised, much like in the story of Esther, chapter 5:3, where the king was willing to give Esther anything she wanted.  Yet out of regard for his oaths (διὰ τοὺς ὅρκους) and his guests reclining at table with him (καὶ τοὺς συνανακειμένους ἐκέλευσεν δοθῆναι), Herod commanded his men to carry out this request (ἐκέλευσεν δοθῆναι).  He sent his men to behead John in the prison (καὶ πέμψας ἀπεκεφάλισεν Ἰωάνην ἐν τῇ φυλακῇ) at Machaerus, about 5 miles east of the Dead Sea.  It is not clear whether they waited around for the men to come back with the head of John, which was one way to make sure a person was dead.  Then his head was brought on a platter or dish to Herod (καὶ ἠνέχθη ἡ κεφαλὴ αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ πίνακι).  He then gave it to the girl Salome (καὶ ἐδόθη τῷ κορασίῳ), who then gave it to her mother (καὶ ἤνεγκεν τῇ μητρὶ αὐτῆς), Herodias.  This was her revenge against John the Baptist because he had criticized her marriage to Herod.  Off with his head!

The failure to follow the statutes (Bar 4:13-4:16)

“The Judeans

Had no regard

For his statutes.

They did not walk

In the ways

Of God’s commandments.

They did not tread

The paths

That his righteousness

Showed them.

Let the neighbors of Zion

Come!

Remember

The capture of my sons,

The capture of my daughters!

The Everlasting One

Brought this upon them.

He brought

A distant nation

Against them.

This was

A ruthless nation,

With a strange language.

They had no respect

For the aged.

They had no pity

For a child.

They led away

The widow’s beloved sons.

They bereaved the lonely woman

Of her daughters.”

This author points out that the Judeans in Jerusalem had no regard for God’s statutes. They did not walk in the ways of God’s commandments, since they did not tread the paths of disciple and righteousness. Zion’s neighbors should come and remember the capture of the sons and daughters of Jerusalem. The Everlasting One, not Yahweh, brought this upon them, since he brought a distant ruthless nation with a strange language to attack Jerusalem. These attackers had no respect or pity for the old people and the children. Thus they took the sons and daughters of the lonely widows into captivity.

The disgraced priests and elders (Lam 4:16-4:16)

Phe

“Yahweh himself

Has scattered them.

He will regard them

No more.

No honor

Was shown

To the priests.

No favor

To the elders.”

Yahweh himself had scattered these immoral leaders. He did not have any regard for them any longer. No honor was to be shown to any of these priests, while the elders were not to be favored. Yahweh had clearly turned on these so-called spiritual leaders. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Phe in this acrostic poem.

A reproach against carousing (Isa 5:11-5:13)

“Woe to you

Who rise early in the morning,

In pursuit of strong drink!

Woe to you

Who linger in the evening

To be inflamed by wine!

These feasts consist of

Lyre,

Harp,

Tambourine,

Flute,

And wine.

They do not regard

The deeds of Yahweh!

They do not see

The work of his hands!

Therefore my people

Go into exile

Without knowledge.

Their nobles

Are dying of hunger.

Their multitude

Is parched with thirst.”

Isaiah turns to those who think only about drinking and carousing around. The first thing they think of in the morning is where their next drink is coming from. At night, they only worry about drinking wine while others played musical instruments like the lyre, harp, tambourine, and the flute. While the Israelites were going into exile, these people had no regard for the work of Yahweh and his deeds since they lacked knowledge. The nobles and the people were dying of malnutrition and thirst. However, these folks continued to play on.