Follow the commandments (Mk 10:19-10:19)

“You know

The commandments!

‘You shall not murder!

You shall not commit adultery!

You shall not steal!

You shall not bear false witness!

You shall not defraud!

Honor your father!

Honor your mother!’”

 

τὰς ἐντολὰς οἶδας Μὴ φονεύσῃς, Μὴ μοιχεύσῃς, Μὴ κλέψῃς, Μὴ ψευδομαρτυρήσῃς, Μὴ ἀποστερήσῃς, Τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου καὶ τὴν μητέρα

 

This response of Jesus can be found in Matthew, chapter 19:17-19, and Luke, chapter 18:20, but slightly different, since Luke and Mark are closer to each other.  Mark said that Jesus gave the classic answer for those who wanted to enter eternal life.  They knew the commandments or laws (τὰς ἐντολὰς οἶδας).  Follow them!  Mark did not have any question about which commandments to follow.  Jesus just mentioned some of the commandments.  You shall not kill or murder (Μὴ φονεύσῃς)!  You shall not commit adultery (Μὴ μοιχεύσῃς)!  You shall not steal (Μὴ κλέψῃς)!  You shall not bear false witness (Μὴ ψευδομαρτυρήσῃς)!  You shall not defraud (Μὴ ἀποστερήσῃς)!  Honor your father (Τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου)!  Honor your mother (καὶ τὴν μητέρα)!  All of these are from the Ten Commandments in Exodus, chapter 20:12-16, and Deuteronomy, chapter 5:16-20.  Mark does not have the reminder to love your neighbor.  However, he added the comment about not defrauding others.

Which commandments? (Mt 19:18-19:19)

“He said to Jesus.

‘Which ones?’

Jesus said.

‘You shall not murder!

You shall not commit adultery!

You shall not steal!

You shall not bear false witness!

Honor your father!

Honor your mother!

Also,

You shall love your neighbor

As yourself!’”

 

λέγει αὐτῷ Ποίας; ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἔφη Τὸ Οὐ φονεύσεις, Οὐ μοιχεύσεις, Οὐ κλέψεις, Οὐ ψευδομαρτυρήσεις,

Τίμα τὸν πατέρα καὶ τὴν μητέρα, καὶ Ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν.

 

Jesus, via Matthew, indicated which commandments he wanted this man to keep.  This can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:19, and Luke, chapter 18:20, but slightly different, without the reminder to love your neighbor.  There also was no question about which commandments.  Here this person asked Jesus which commandments (λέγει αὐτῷ Ποίας;).  Jesus responded to him (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἔφη) directly citing which commandments.  You shall not kill or murder (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἔφη)!  You shall not commit adultery (Οὐ μοιχεύσεις)!  You shall not steal (Οὐ κλέψεις)!  You shall not bear false witness (Οὐ ψευδομαρτυρήσεις)!  Honor your father (Τίμα τὸν πατέρα)!  Honor your mother (καὶ τὴν μητέρα)!  All of these are from the Ten Commandments in Exodus, chapter 20:12-16, and Deuteronomy, chapter 5:16-20.  However, Matthew added something not in the other two gospel stories.  This man was to love or esteem his neighbor as himself, that was from Leviticus, chapter 19:18.

 

The remembrance (Zech 6:14-6:14)

“The crown

Shall be in the care

Of Heldai,

Tobijah,

Jedaiah,

With Josiah,

The son of Zephaniah,

As a memorial

In the Temple of Yahweh.”

Those returning captives mentioned earlier, Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Josiah were to take care of this crown.  It would be in the Temple of Yahweh as a reminder or memorial of their former captivity.

The role of the Temple (Jer 7:3-7:4)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

Amend your ways!

Amend your doings!

Let me dwell with you

In this place.

Do not trust

In these deceptive words.

‘This is the temple of Yahweh!

The temple of Yahweh!

The temple of Yahweh.’”

The first part of this pericope sounds like the many other times that Yahweh had spoken to his people. He was the God of Israel with his hosts. The Temple visitors were to amend their ways and what they were doing. Yahweh wanted to dwell with them in his Temple. However, the second verse is a little strange. Yahweh told Jeremiah not to trust the deceptive words about the Temple of Yahweh. In fact, the statement is mentioned 3 times, “Temple of Yahweh”. Was this a reminder to enter the Temple 3 times a day? Was this against the false prophets who told them not to worry, since as long as they had the Temple everything would be fine? Is it a rebuke to those who just loved the majesty and beauty of the Temple? This triple cry about the Temple of Yahweh as deceptive words is not really clear.

Trusting friendly neighbors (Sir 22:23-22:26)

“Gain the trust of your neighbor

In his poverty.

Thus you may rejoice with him

In his prosperity.

Stand by him

In time of his distress.

Thus you may share with him

In his inheritance.

One should not always despise

Restricted circumstances.

One should not admire

A rich person who is stupid.

The vapor of the furnace

Precedes the fire.

The smoke of the furnace

Precedes the fire.

Thus insults precede bloodshed.

I am not ashamed

To shelter a friend.

I will not hide from him.

But if harm should come to me

Because of him,

Whoever hears of it

Will beware of him.”

Friendship happens in good times as well as bad times. If you trust your neighbor in his poverty, you can rejoice with him in his prosperity. If you stand by him in his distress, you can share with him in his good times. On the other hand, you should not admire a rich stupid person or despise those in poverty. Where there is a smell and smoke, there surely will be a fire. So too, insults often precede bloodshed. So be careful! Sirach was not ashamed to shelter a friend. However, if any harm came to him because of that friend, this would be a reminder to others to be wary about what his friend had done. Even this friendship is a little shaky, so that you should always be on guard against false friends.

Lot (Wis 10:6-10:8)

“Wisdom rescued a righteous man

When the ungodly were perishing.

He escaped the fire

That descended on the Five Cities.

Evidence of their wickedness still remains.

It is a continually smoking wasteland.

Plants bear fruit that does not ripen.

A pillar of salt is standing

As a monument to an unbelieving soul.

Because they passed wisdom by,

They not only were hindered

From recognizing the good,

But also left for mankind

A reminder of their folly.

Thus their failures could never go unnoticed.”

Next we have the story of Lot and the town of Sodom, without mentioning his name, as found in Genesis, chapter 19. Once again, it is wisdom that rescues Lot, who is described as a righteous man (δίκαιον) among ungodly men (ἀσεβῶν), from the destruction of the 5 cities (Πενταπόλεως). Only 3 cities are mentioned in the Genesis story, Sodom, Gomorrah, and Zoar, but their names are not here. However, the Genesis story says that the cities of the valley were destroyed. This became a smoking wasteland so that plants did not ripen in this valley, probably someplace near the Dead Sea. Then there is famous story of the unbelieving wife of Lot who turned into a pillar of salt. So you can see that these stories in this abbreviated history had a big impact on the people. They were not only foolish people, but this smoking valley and salt monument remained as a reminder of their failures. They had passed on wisdom (σοφίαν) and did not recognize the good.

Blessed be Yahweh (Ps 72:18-72:19)

“Blessed be Yahweh!

The God of Israel!

He alone does wondrous things.

Blessed be his glorious name forever!

May his glory fill the whole earth!

Amen and Amen!”

This psalm naturally ends with a cry of blessing to Yahweh, the God of Israel. He alone has done wondrous things. Clearly Yahweh is superior to the king. The glory and name of Yahweh should last forever and fill the whole earth. This seems to add to the preceding verses that made the king seem almost divine. This was a reminder that Yahweh was the only God of Israel, not the king. This psalm ends with the rousing “Amen” twice.