The blood of Abel (Lk 11:51-11:51)

“From the blood

Of Abel

To the blood

Of Zechariah,

Who perished

Between the altar

And the sanctuary.

Yes!

I tell you!

It will be charged

Against this generation.”

 

ἀπὸ αἵματος Ἄβελ ἕως αἵματος Ζαχαρίου τοῦ ἀπολομένου μεταξὺ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου καὶ τοῦ οἴκου· ναί, λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐκζητηθήσεται ἀπὸ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said with a solemn proclamation (ναί, λέγω ὑμῖν) that from all the blood of Abel (ἀπὸ αἵματος Ἄβελ) to the blood of Zechariah (ἕως αἵματος Ζαχαρίου), who perished between the altar and the sanctuary (τοῦ ἀπολομένου μεταξὺ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου καὶ τοῦ οἴκου) would be charged against this generation (ἐκζητηθήσεται ἀπὸ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης).  Matthew, chapter 23:35 is similar to this, perhaps a Q source.  Jesus said this bloodshed would be charged to the Pharisees and Scribes from the blood of the righteous Abel (ἀπὸ τοῦ αἵματος Ἅβελ τοῦ δικαίου) to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Barachiah (ἕως τοῦ αἵματος Ζαχαρίου υἱοῦ Βαραχίου).  He was murdered between the Temple sanctuary and the sacrificial altar (ὃν ἐφονεύσατε μεταξὺ τοῦ ναοῦ καὶ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου).  Abel was the brother that Cain killed in Genesis, chapter 4:8.  His just blood would cry out from the ground.  This Zechariah was a little more complicated.  2 Chronicles, chapter 24:20-22, has a Zechariah, the son of the priest Jehoiada who was stoned to death in the Temple courtyard.  As he was dying, he asked God to avenge his death.  However, Zechariah, the son of Barachiah in Zechariah, chapter 1:1, was a 6th century BCE prophet from a priestly family.  Genesis was the first book of the Hebrew Bible and 2 Chronicles was considered the last book of the Hebrew Bible.  Thus, all the innocent blood from the beginning of the world throughout Israelite history would be upon these Pharisees or this generation.  There would be a continuation of this innocent blood with Jesus himself.  How are you responsible for the death of Jesus?

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Crucify him! (Mk 15:13-15:13)

“They shouted back again.

‘Crucify him!’”

 

οἱ δὲ πάλιν ἔκραξαν Σταύρωσον αὐτόν.

 

Something similar to this response of the crowd can be found in Matthew, chapter 27:22 and in Luke, chapter 23:21.  Mark said that the crowd shouted back or cried out to Pilate (οἱ δὲ πάλιν ἔκραξαν) that he was to crucify Jesus (Σταύρωσον αὐτόν).   Now the blame for the crucifixion shifts to the Jewish crowd or mob.  Are you responsible for the death of Jesus?

Pilate claims that he is innocent (Mt 27:24-27:24)

“Thus,

When Pilate saw

That he could do nothing,

But rather that

A riot

Was beginning,

He took some water.

He washed his hands

Before the crowd.

He said.

‘I am innocent

Of this man’s blood.

See to it yourselves!’”

 

ἰδὼν δὲ ὁ Πειλᾶτος ὅτι οὐδὲν ὠφελεῖ ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον θόρυβος γίνεται, λαβὼν ὕδωρ ἀπενίψατο τὰς χεῖρας κατέναντι τοῦ ὄχλου λέγων Ἀθῷός εἰμι ἀπὸ τοῦ αἵματος τούτου· ὑμεῖς ὄψεσθε.

 

Once again, only Matthew has the Roman governor Pilate proclaim his innocence about the death of Jesus.  These comments of Pilate were not in any of the other gospel stories.  Matthew said that Pilate saw that he could do nothing (ἰδὼν δὲ ὁ Πειλᾶτος ὅτι οὐδὲν ὠφελεῖ).  He thought that this might be the beginning of a riot (ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον θόρυβος γίνεται).  He took some water (λαβὼν ὕδωρ) and washed his hands (ἀπενίψατο τὰς χεῖρας) before the crowd (κατέναντι τοῦ ὄχλου).  He proclaimed (λέγων) that he was innocent of this man’s blood (λέγων Ἀθῷός εἰμι ἀπὸ τοῦ αἵματος τούτου).  He told them to see to it themselves (λέγων Ἀθῷός εἰμι ἀπὸ τοῦ αἵματος τούτου).  In fact, only the Roman governor, himself, could impose the death penalty of crucifixion.  This was another attempt by Matthew to show that the Romans were not responsible for the death of Jesus.

Do not murder (Mt 5:21-5:21)

“You have heard

That it was said

To those in ancient times.

‘You shall not murder!’

Whoever murders

Shall be liable

To judgment.”

 

Ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη τοῖς ἀρχαίοις Οὐ φονεύσεις· ὃς δ’ ἂν φονεύσῃ, ἔνοχος ἔσται τῇ κρίσει.

 

Next Matthew has Jesus expand on the individual commandments. The first of these was killing or murder. Human life was important, as first outlined in Genesis, chapter 4:1-16, in the Cain and Abel story, as well as in chapter 9:5-6, after the Flood. They already knew this basic commandment, since they had heard what had been told to their ancient ancestors (Ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη τοῖς ἀρχαίοις). This was the simple commandment not to murder or kill anyone (Οὐ φονεύσεις) from the Ten Commandments in Exodus, chapter 20:13 and Deuteronomy, chapter 5:17, as well as in Exodus, chapter 21:12-17, where there was a section on homicide. There were consequences for anyone who murdered someone else (ὃς δ’ ἂν φονεύσῃ). They were responsible for their actions. They were liable to be brought to judgment (ἔνοχος ἔσται τῇ κρίσει). This judgment would be before a Jewish court. There were a series of things that had to be done when a murder occurred, as outlined in Deuteronomy, chapter 21:1-9. The law about murder was fairly clear.

The Christian Code of Love

The gospel code of love and the beatitudes are prevalent.  The Jewish Hebrew Ten Commandments remain as the basic tenets of most Christian Churches.  However, nearly every Christian Church has laws or directives that are specific to their denomination or to their particular local Church.  Creation is good, and man is responsible for the earth, so that there is a need for justice and love.

The daily burnt offering of the lamb (Ezek 46:13-46:15)

“The prince shall provide

A lamb a year old,

Without blemish,

For a burnt offering

To Yahweh

Daily.

Morning by morning

He shall provide it.

He shall provide

A grain offering

With it,

Morning by morning.

This shall be

One sixth of an ephah,

One third of a hin of oil

To moisten the flour,

As a grain offering

To Yahweh.

This is the ordinance

For all time.

Thus,

The lamb

With the grain offering,

Along with the oil,

Shall be provided,

Morning by morning,

As a regular burnt offering.”

Not only was the prince responsible for the sacrifices at the festivals, the weekly Sabbath, and the monthly new moon offerings, he was also responsible for providing the lamb offered up daily as a burnt offering in the Temple to Yahweh. Besides that, he also had to provide a small grain offering of 1/6th of an ephah or less than 1/10th of a bushel of grain with 1/3rd of a gallon of oil. This was a daily task. The oil moistened the flour, as usual. Yahweh, via Ezekiel said that this was a perpetual ordinance. There was to be a morning burnt offering to Yahweh of a lamb, with the accompanying grain and oil, every single day.

The new moon offerings (Ezek 46:6-46:8)

“On the day

Of the new moon,

The prince shall offer

A young bull

Without blemish.

He shall offer

Six lambs

With a ram,

Which shall be

Without blemish.

As a grain offering,

He shall provide

An ephah

With the bull.

He shall provide

An ephah

With the ram.

With the lambs,

He may provide

As much as he wishes,

Together with a hin of oil

For each ephah.

When the prince enters,

He shall go in

By the vestibule

Of the gate.

He shall go out

By the same way.”

Besides the Sabbath, the other regular festival was the monthly new moon sacrifice. The lunar calendar was based on the 28-day cycle of the moon. Once again, the prince was responsible for furnishing the animals and the grain offerings, as on the Sabbath. He was to take an unblemished bull with 6 lambs and an unblemished ram for the burnt offerings. He was to offer them up with a grain offering. He too had to provide an ephah of grain (2/3rds of a bushel) with the bull and the ram. However, this prince could decide how much grain went with the lambs, but there had to be a gallon or hin of oil for each ephah of grain. The prince would enter and leave at the same gate.