“The angel Gabriel
To a virgin
Engaged to a man,
Whose name was Joseph,
Of the house of David.
The virgin’s name
πρὸς παρθένον ἐμνηστευμένην ἀνδρὶ ᾧ ὄνομα Ἰωσὴφ, ἐξ οἴκου Δαυείδ, καὶ τὸ ὄνομα τῆς παρθένου Μαριάμ.
Luke has the angel Gabriel appear to Mary, as opposed to Matthew, chapter 1:20, who had an unnamed angel appear to Joseph in a dream. This angel Gabriel went to a virgin (πρὸς παρθένον), who was engaged (ἐμνηστευμένην) to a man named Joseph (ἀνδρὶ ᾧ ὄνομα Ἰωσὴφ) from the house of David (ἐξ οἴκου Δαυείδ). The name of this virgin was Mary (καὶ τὸ ὄνομα τῆς παρθένου Μαριάμ). Thus, both stories from these 2 gospels concur that Mary and Joseph were the parents of Jesus. Matthew said that Joseph had resolved to get rid of Mary, instead of taking her as his wife until the angel of the Lord appeared to him. This unnamed angel reassured Joseph that he should not be afraid to take Mary as his wife. Thus, God, via his angel, was trying to show Joseph that everything would be alright. Here the emphasis is on Mary, a common name in first century Judaism based on the name of Mariam, the sister of Moses. Mary was a virgin (παρθένου), someone who did not have sexual relations with the opposite sex, which would have been normal at this time for young girls before they were married. However, she was engaged or betrothed to Joseph, who had Davidic ancestry. In other words, the wedding contact had not been signed. Thus, they were still involved with prenuptial arrangements.
“But Daniel resolved
That he would not
With the royal rations
The palace master
To allow him
Not to defile himself.”
Daniel resolved that he would not eat the royal food or wine, since that would make him unclean. He then asked Ashpenaz, the chief of the palace not to eat this royal food. The food restrictions became a major issue in the 2nd century BCE, when Antiochus IV Epiphanes (174-164 BCE) was the Greek Seleucid king who persecuted the Jews of Samaria and Judah. King Antiochus sided with the Hellenized Jews that led to the Maccabean revolt over the issue of who was a true Jewish person. The answer could be found by observing the food that they ate.
If you have given your pledge to your neighbor,
If you have bound yourself to another,
You are snared by the utterance of your lips.
You are caught by the words of your mouth.
You have come into your neighbor’s power.
Plead with your neighbor!
Give your eyes no sleep.
Give your eyelids no slumber.
Like a gazelle from the hunter!
Like a bird from the hand of the fowler!”
This paternal advice continues with a strange admonition. It seems that there was an ancient custom of pledging your house to help a neighbor. However, here the father warns his children against doing this. If you have already pledged to help, then you are stuck with your own words. However, then it is time to negotiate a resolution with your neighbor since you are under his power. Plead with him until you get this resolved. Do not get any sleep until this is straightened out. You have to save yourself because you are being hunted like a hunter after an animal or a bird that is already caught in a trap.
“However, many in Israel stood firm. They were resolved in their hearts not to eat unclean food. They chose to die rather than to be defiled by food or to profane the holy covenant. They did die. Very great wrath came upon Israel.”
Here we have an instance of Jewish martyrs. They were willing to die rather than to eat unclean food. They refused to abuse the holy Mosaic covenant. For that they were killed.