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.

The king forgave the debt (Mt 18:26-18:27)

“Thus,

The slave

Fell on his knees

Before him.

He said.

‘Lord!

Have patience with me!

I will pay you everything!’

Out of pity for him

The lord of that slave

Released him.

He forgave him

His debt.”

 

πεσὼν οὖν ὁ δοῦλος προσεκύνει αὐτῷ λέγων Μακροθύμησον ἐπ’ ἐμοί, καὶ πάντα ἀποδώσω σοι.

σπλαγχνισθεὶς δὲ ὁ κύριος τοῦ δούλου ἐκείνου ἀπέλυσεν αὐτόν, καὶ τὸ δάνειον ἀφῆκεν αὐτῷ.

 

This parable about the unforgiving servant slave is unique to Matthew.  This debtor servant slave fell on his knees in front of the king (πεσὼν οὖν ὁ δοῦλος προσεκύνει αὐτῷ).  He asked his master lord to have patience with him (λέγων Μακροθύμησον ἐπ’ ἐμοί).  He said that he would repay him everything (καὶ πάντα ἀποδώσω σοι), an impossible task.  However, the king and master of this slave, out of pity and compassion for him (σπλαγχνισθεὶς δὲ ὁ κύριος τοῦ δούλου), released him (ἐκείνου ἀπέλυσεν αὐτόν) and forgave him his debt (καὶ τὸ δάνειον ἀφῆκεν αὐτῷ).  This was extremely generous on the part of this slaveowner king.

Johanan asks Jeremiah for help (Jer 42:1-42:3)

“Then all the commanders

Of the forces,

With Johanan,

The son of Kareah,

Also with Azariah,

The son of Hoshaiah,

All the people,

From the least

To the greatest,

Approached

The prophet Jeremiah.

They said to him.

‘Be good enough

To listen

To our plea!

Pray to Yahweh!

Your God!

For us!

For all this remnant!

There are only a few

Of us left

Out of the many,

As you can see.

Let Yahweh

Your God

Show us

Where we should go!

What we should do!’”

Apparently this small group of Judeans, with the leaders Johanan and Azariah decided to approach Jeremiah. As he had been released to the protection of Governor Gedaliah, he probably was at Mizpah while the attack of Ishmael had taken place. Thus he was with the freed group at Gibeon. Interesting enough, they referred to Yahweh as Jeremiah’s God not their God. They wanted Jeremiah to intercede for them with Yahweh, as Moses had done centuries earlier. They were only a small group or remnant of what had been many people. They wanted to know where they should go and what to do. Like the preceding chapter, this section has a different numbered chapter in the Greek translation of the Septuagint, chapters 49 and 50, not chapter 42 as here.

Freedom for Jeremiah (Jer 40:2-40:4)

“The captain of the guard

Took Jeremiah.

He said to him.

‘Yahweh your God

Threatened this place

With this disaster.

Now Yahweh

Has brought it about.

He has done

As he said.

Because all of you

Sinned against Yahweh.

You did not obey his voice.

Therefore this thing

Has come upon you.

Now look!

I have just released you today

From the fetters

On your hands.

If you wish

To come with me

To Babylon,

Come!

I will take good care of you.

But if you do not wish

To come with me

To Babylon,

You need not come!

See!

The whole land is before you.

Go wherever

You think it good

Or right to go!’”

Jeremiah is finally recognized by Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, who took him aside. He said to Jeremiah that his God Yahweh had threatened this place and made that threat come true. This happened because they were sinning in Jerusalem and Judah. They had not obeyed their God. This Babylonian captain then released Jeremiah from the chains around his hands. Here is where it gets interesting. He offers Jeremiah a choice. He could go to Babylon, where he would be taken care of, or he could stay in Judah, where the whole land would be his. The captain of the guard told Jeremiah to decide on what was right and good for him. The choice was up to Jeremiah, but it seemed obvious that Jeremiah would stay.

Jeremiah wants to go to the palace jail (Jer 37:20-37:21)

“‘Now please hear me!

My lord king!

Be good enough

To listen to my plea!

Do not send me

Back to the house

Of the secretary Jonathan

To die there.’

So King Zedekiah gave orders.

They committed Jeremiah

To the court of the guard.

A loaf of bread

Was given him daily

From the bakers’ street,

Until all the bread of the city

Was gone.

So Jeremiah remained

In the court of the guard.”

Jeremiah did not want to go back to the dungeon cell in the house of the secretary Jonathan. Thus he pleaded with the king to get out of there. King Zedekiah granted his request. He was going to be kept in a semi-house arrest in the court of the guard, a real prison attached to the royal palace. There he would get a fresh loaf of bread from the common baker’s street area daily, until there were no more provisions in the city. Thus Jeremiah got better living conditions, if not released.

Jeremiah renames Pashhur (Jer 20:3-20:3)

“The next morning,

When Pashhur released Jeremiah

From the stocks,

Jeremiah said to him.

‘Yahweh has named you

Not Pashhur,

But ‘Terror all around.’”

The next morning, when Pashhur released Jeremiah, after his day in jail, Jeremiah said to him that Yahweh was renaming him, not Pashhur, but “Terror all around.” Pashhur thus received a new symbolic name of terror.

Yahweh is the all powerful consoler (Isa 51:12-51:14)

“I!

I am he that comforts you!

Why then are you afraid

Of a mere mortal who must die?

Why are you afraid

Of a human being who fades like grass?

You have forgotten Yahweh!

Your Maker!

He stretched out the heavens!

He laid the foundations of the earth!

You fear continually all day long

Because of the fury of the oppressor.

Who is bent on destruction?

Where is the fury of the oppressor?

The oppressed shall speedily be released.

They shall not die.

They shall not go down to the Pit.

They shall not lack bread.”

Second Isaiah uses the first person singular so that there is no doubt that it is Yahweh who is speaking in comforting tones. He wanted to know why they were afraid of a mere mortal human being who was going to die also, like faded grass. They must have forgotten their maker that had, as usual, stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth. Why were they afraid of the fury of their oppressors? Don’t worry! They will soon be released. They will not die and go into the Pit of the underground. Instead, they will have enough bread to eat.