The unclean spirit (Lk 11:24-11:24)

“When an unclean spirit

Has gone out

Of a person,

He wanders through

Waterless regions,

Looking for

A resting place.

Finding none,

He says.

‘I will return

To my house

From which I came.’”

 

Ὅταν τὸ ἀκάθαρτον πνεῦμα ἐξέλθῃ ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, διέρχεται δι’ ἀνύδρων τόπων ζητοῦν ἀνάπαυσιν, καὶ μὴ εὑρίσκον λέγει Ὑποστρέψω εἰς τὸν οἶκόν μου ὅθεν ἐξῆλθον·

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that when an unclean spirit had gone out of a person (Ὅταν τὸ ἀκάθαρτον πνεῦμα ἐξέλθῃ ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου), this unclean spirit wandered through waterless regions (διέρχεται δι’ ἀνύδρων τόπων), looking for a resting place (ζητοῦν ἀνάπαυσιν).  After he did not find any resting place (καὶ μὴ εὑρίσκον), he said (λέγει) that he would return (Ὑποστρέψω) to his house where he came from (εἰς τὸν οἶκόν μου ὅθεν ἐξῆλθον).  This saying about the unclean spirit can also be found almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 12:43-44, indicating a Q source.  This unclean spirit left a person or a man (Ὅταν δὲ τὸ ἀκάθαρτον πνεῦμα ἐξέλθῃ ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου), after an exorcism or healing of a person.  This evil spirit wandered in a waterless dry areas or desert (διέρχεται δι’ ἀνύδρων τόπων), which would be the favorite places for evil spirits.  However, he would not be able to find (καὶ οὐχ εὑρίσκει) any resting place that he was looking for (ζητοῦν ἀνάπαυσιν).  This unclean spirit said to himself that he would return to his house or the place or person that he had come from (τότε λέγει Εἰς τὸν οἶκόν μου ἐπιστρέψω ὅθεν ἐξῆλθον).  The unclean spirit was going to return to where he came from after his expulsion.  Would he be able to get back into that person?  Have you ever returned to a place where you once called home?

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The unclean spirit (Mt 12:43-12:43)

“When the unclean spirit

Has gone out of a person,

It wanders

Through waterless regions,

Looking for a resting place,

But it finds none.”

 

Ὅταν δὲ τὸ ἀκάθαρτον πνεῦμα ἐξέλθῃ ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, διέρχεται δι’ ἀνύδρων τόπων ζητοῦν ἀνάπαυσιν, καὶ οὐχ εὑρίσκει.

 

This saying about the unclean spirit can be found word for word in Luke, chapter 11:24, indicating a Q source.  This unclean spirit left a person or a man (Ὅταν δὲ τὸ ἀκάθαρτον πνεῦμα ἐξέλθῃ ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου), after an exorcism or healing of a person.  This evil spirit usually wandered in a waterless dry areas or desert (διέρχεται δι’ ἀνύδρων τόπων), which would be the favorite places for evil spirits.  However, it would not be able to find (καὶ οὐχ εὑρίσκει) any resting place that it was looking for (ζητοῦν ἀνάπαυσιν).

 

The exile of Judah (Lam 1:3-1:3)

Gimel

“Judah has gone

Into exile

With suffering,

With hard servitude.

She lives now

Among the nations.

But she finds

No resting place.

Her pursuers have all

Overtaken her

In the midst

Of her distress.”

Judah was the territory that included Jerusalem. The Judeans were sent into exile with suffering and servitude also. They now live among other countries. Thus they have no resting place, since her enemies have overtaken them even while they were still in distress. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Gimel. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

Rachel laments her children (Jer 31:15-31:17)

“Thus says Yahweh.       

‘A voice is heard in Ramah.

There is lamentation.

There is bitter weeping.

Rachel is weeping

For her children.

She refuses to be comforted

For her children.

Because they are no more.’

Thus says Yahweh.

‘Keep your voice

From weeping!

Keep your eyes

From tears!

There is a reward

For your work.’

Says Yahweh.

‘They shall come back

From the land of the enemy.

There is hope for your future.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Your children shall come back

To their own country.’”

Jeremiah seems to have a dialogue with Rachel, the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, and Yahweh. Rachel has been dead and buried for a long time at Ramah, during the time of Jacob as in Genesis, chapter 35. However, there the resting place was called Bethlehem. Here it is Ramah, someplace in Benjamin that makes more sense. The prophet Samuel may have lived in this place as in 1 Samuel, chapter 25. However, here Rachel is lamenting from her grave. She is weeping bitterly for her lost children. She refuses to be comforted because they too are dead and gone. This passage had an influence on the later Gospel of Matthew, chapter 2, where he used this saying to apply to the innocent children killed by Herod. However, Yahweh tells her to stop weeping and dry her tears, because she was going to be rewarded. The descendants of her children were going to come back to their country from the land of their enemies. Thus the northern tribes would be restored.

The everlasting love of God (Jer 31:2-31:3)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘The people who survived

The sword

Found grace

In the wilderness.

When Israel sought rest,

Yahweh appeared

To them

From far away.

I have loved you

With an everlasting love.

Therefore I have continued

My faithfulness to you.’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, reminded the Israelites of his everlasting love for them. Those who had survived the sword found grace or favor in the wilderness. When Israel was looking for a resting place, Yahweh appeared to them, but from a distance. Yahweh has loved them with an everlasting love. He has continued to be faithful to them, no matter what.

Wisdom at creation (Sir 24:3-24:7)

“‘I came forth

From the mouth of the Most High.

I covered the earth like a mist.

I dwelt in the highest heaven.

My throne was in a pillar of cloud.

Alone,

I compassed the vault of heaven.

I traversed the depths of the abyss.

Over waves of the sea,

Over all the earth,

Over every people,

Over every nation,

I have held sway.

Among all these,

I sought a resting place.

In whose territory

Should I abide?’”

Sirach has wisdom personally speak in the first person singular. She seems to come directly from the mouth of the Most High God, like the spirit of God, what Christians would later call the Holy Spirit. She covered the earth like a mist. She was in the highest heaven on a throne in a cloud pillar. She was alone in the vault of heaven and walked in the depths of the sea. She was in charge of everything, earth and sea, peoples and nations. She was looking for a resting place where she might live. She wanted to know where this might be.

Going to get the Ark of the Covenant (Ps 132:8-132:10)

“Rise up!

Yahweh!

Go to your resting place,

You and the Ark of your might.

Let your priests be clothed with righteousness.

Let your faithful shout for joy.

For your servant David’s sake

Do not turn away

The face of your anointed one.”

The psalmist wanted Yahweh to rise up and go to his resting place. He wanted Yahweh and the Ark of the Covenant to go to Jerusalem. He wanted the priests to be clothed with righteousness and the faithful people to shout for joy. He wanted David, Yahweh’s servant and anointed one, not to be turned away. The trip of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem can be found in 2 Samuel, chapter 6.