The child of Elizabeth (Lk 1:36-1:37)

“Now,

Your relative

Elizabeth

Has also conceived

A son,

In her old age.

This is the sixth month

For her

Who was said

To be barren.

Nothing is impossible

With God.”

 

καὶ ἰδοὺ Ἐλεισάβετ ἡ συγγενίς σου καὶ αὐτὴ συνείληφεν υἱὸν ἐν γήρει αὐτῆς, καὶ οὗτος μὴν ἕκτος ἐστὶν αὐτῇ τῇ καλουμένῃ στείρᾳ·

ὅτι οὐκ ἀδυνατήσει παρὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ πᾶν ῥῆμα

 

Next Luke made the connection between the upcoming birth of Jesus and that of John.  Elizabeth, although older, was a relative of Mary.  She could have been an aunt of a second cousin.  Their age differences would not make them first cousins.  Besides, they lived in different areas, Galilee and Judea.  Elizabeth was a daughter of Aaron, but there was no such claim for Mary.  Was this an attempt to link Mary to the Levitical priesthood via her Levitical relative?  Perhaps Luke wanted to show a closer relationship between John and Jesus.  Luke indicated that the Angel Gabriel told Mary about his previous mission to Zechariah and Elizabeth.  He told Mary that her relative Elizabeth (καὶ ἰδοὺ Ἐλεισάβετ ἡ συγγενίς σου) had also conceived a son (καὶ αὐτὴ συνείληφεν υἱὸν), in her old age (ἐν γήρει αὐτῆς).  She was, in fact, already six months pregnant (καὶ οὗτος μὴν ἕκτος ἐστὶν αὐτῇ).  Elizabeth had been called barren or sterile (τῇ καλουμένῃ στείρᾳ).  The Angel Gabriel concluded that nothing was impossible with God (ὅτι οὐκ ἀδυνατήσει παρὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ πᾶν ῥῆμα).  He could overcome old age and virginity to produce a son, just like Sarah in Genesis, chapter 18:14.  Now the plan of God was clear to Mary.  She had no reason to fear anything.

Peter was confronted a third time (Mk 14:70-14:70)

“Then after a little while,

The bystanders again

Said to Peter.

‘Certainly!

You are one of them!

You are a Galilean!’”

 

καὶ μετὰ μικρὸν πάλιν οἱ παρεστῶτες ἔλεγον τῷ Πέτρῳ Ἀληθῶς ἐξ αὐτῶν εἶ· καὶ γὰρ Γαλιλαῖος εἶ.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 26:73, Luke, chapter 22:59, and John, chapter 18:26, with some changes.  Peter was confronted a 3rd time.  John said that a man recognized, Peter, because he was a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off.  Matthew said that after a little while some of the bystanders approached Peter.  Luke said that it was about an hour later when another person came up to Peter.  Mark, like Matthew, said that that after a little while (καὶ μετὰ μικρὸν), some bystanders again said to Peter (ἔλεγον τῷ Πέτρῳ) that he certainly was one of those followers of Jesus (Ἀληθῶς ἐξ αὐτῶν εἶ), because he was from Galilee (καὶ γὰρ Γαλιλαῖος εἶ), a Galilean.  Matthew added that Peter’s accent in his speech betrayed him as a man from Galilee.  For a 3td time, Peter was accused of being a man from Galilee, a follower of Jesus of Nazareth.  You can never escape your accent.

 

The third denial (Mt 26:73-26:74)

“After a little while,

Bystanders came up.

They said to Peter.

‘Certainly,

You are also

One of them.

Your accent

Betrays you.’

Then he began

To curse.

He swore an oath.

‘I do not know this man.’”

 

μετὰ μικρὸν δὲ προσελθόντες οἱ ἑστῶτες εἶπον τῷ Πέτρῳ Ἀληθῶς καὶ σὺ ἐξ αὐτῶν εἶ, καὶ γὰρ ἡ λαλιά σου δῆλόν σε ποιεῖ.

τότε ἤρξατο καταθεματίζειν καὶ ὀμνύειν ὅτι Οὐκ οἶδα τὸν ἄνθρωπον.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 14:70-71.  There is something similar in Luke, chapter 22:59-60, and John, chapter 18:26-27.  However, Luke did not have the curse or the oath, while John said that the man recognized Peter because he was a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off.  Matthew and Mark said that after a little while (μετὰ μικρὸν), some of the bystanders said to Peter (οἱ ἑστῶτες εἶπον τῷ Πέτρῳ) that he certainly was one of the followers of Jesus (Ἀληθῶς καὶ σὺ ἐξ αὐτῶν εἶ), because of his northern Galilee accent in his speech that betrayed him (καὶ γὰρ ἡ λαλιά σου δῆλόν σε ποιεῖ).  Then Peter began to curse (τότε ἤρξατο καταθεματίζειν).  He swore an oath that he did not know this man (καὶ ὀμνύειν ὅτι Οὐκ οἶδα τὸν ἄνθρωπον).  Thus, we have the 3rd public denial of Jesus by Peter that can be found in all 4 gospels.  This apostolic leader had failed his first major test just as Jesus had predicted, despite his bombastic earlier outbursts that it would never happen.

 

Sinners until death (Sir 23:16-23:17)

“Two kinds of individuals

Multiply sins.

A third incurs wrath.

Hot passion blazes

Like a burning fire.

Hot passion

Will not be quenched

Until it burns itself out.

Whoever commits fornication

With his near of kin

Will never cease

Until the fire burns him up.

To a fornicator,

All bread is sweet.

He will never cease

Until he dies.”

Here Sirach is like Proverbs with a numerical proverb that is a little unclear. Some sinners multiply their sins, basically those with sins of passion. However, another kind of sinner incurs the wrath of God. Obviously, fornication is wrong. Hot passion blazes like a burning fire until it is quenched and burns itself out. The big sin is sexual fornication with a relative. Sirach believes that this fornicator will not cease until fire burns him up. Each fornicator believes that all bread is sweet, since they make no distinction on who they get involved with. They will only cease their bad habits at death. This is a strong condemnation of the indiscriminate sexual offender, especially those who get sexually involved with their own family members.

Do not take advantage of others (Prov 23:10-23:11)

“Do not remove an ancient landmark.

Do not encroach on the fields of orphans.

Their redeemer is strong.

He will plead their cause against you.”

This is a repetition of what was said last chapter about not removing ancient landmarks. This is about trying to take land from others. In particular, you were not to try to take away the fields of orphans, since they might have a redeemer or relative who would plead their case against you. Do not think that you can get away with this kind of action.

Raphael makes a plan for Tobias and Sarah (Tob 6:10-6:13)

“When they entered Media, they were already approaching Ecbatana. Raphael said to the young man. ‘Brother Tobias!’ He answered. ‘Here I am!’ Raphael said to him.

‘We must stay this night in the home of Raguel.

He is your relative.

He has a daughter named Sarah.

He has no male heir.

He has no daughter except Sarah only.

You are as next of kin to her.

You have before all other men a hereditary claim on her.

Also it is right for you to inherit her father’s possessions.

Moreover, the girl is sensible, brave, and very beautiful.

Her father is a good man.

You have every right to take her in marriage.

So listen to me, brother.

Tonight, I will speak to her father about the girl,

Thus you may take her to be your bride.

When we return from Rages,

We will celebrate her marriage.

For I know that Raguel can by no means keep her from you

Or promise her to another man

Without incurring the penalty of death,

According to the decree of the Book of Moses.

Indeed, he knows that you, rather than any other man,

Are entitled to marry his daughter.

So now listen to me, brother!

Tonight we shall speak concerning the girl.

We will arrange her engagement to you.

When we return from Rages,

We will take her and bring her back with us to your house.’”

They do not mention the time frame, but it would have taken a few days to get to Media. Raphael told Tobias that they were going to spend the night at the house of Raguel, since he was a relative of Tobias. Raphael explained that Raguel had a beautiful only daughter. Since Tobias was the next of kin, he was entitled to marry her. No one else had such a good claim on her as he did. This is based on the Book of Moses, without indicating which book, perhaps Numbers, chapter 36, about the family with no sons. However, there was nothing about a death penalty in the biblical books. Somehow there was the levirate law that the next of kin had first rights on a woman as was laid out in Deuteronomy, chapter 25, with the brother’s right to marry the widow of his brother. This was prevalent in the book of Ruth. They would be engaged now. Then they would get married after they came back from Rages. Raphael was going to make all the arrangements with her father.