He will be like Elijah (Lk 1:17-1:17)

“With the spirit

And power

Of Elijah,

He will go

Before the Messiah.

He will turn

The hearts

Of parents

To their children.

He will turn

The disobedient

To the wisdom

Of the righteous.

He will

Make ready

A people

Prepared for the Lord.”

 

καὶ αὐτὸς προελεύσεται ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ ἐν πνεύματι καὶ δυνάμει Ἡλεία, ἐπιστρέψαι καρδίας πατέρων ἐπὶ τέκνα καὶ ἀπειθεῖς ἐν φρονήσει δικαίων, ἑτοιμάσαι Κυρίῳ λαὸν κατεσκευασμένον.

 

Luke then introduced the concept of Elijah to this new child. The role of Elijah can be found also in Mark, chapter 9:11, as well as in Matthew, chapter 17:11, where the disciples of Jesus asked him why the Scribes said that Elijah the prophet had to come first.  The prophet Malachi, chapter 4:5, had also foretold the coming of Elijah.  Malachi had said that Yahweh was going to send the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of Yahweh would come.  Jesus did not disagree with this comment.  He responded by reiterating that Elijah was indeed coming to restore all things.  There was no doubt about the role of Elijah, a 9th century BCE northern Israel prophet, as in the Elijah cycle in 1 Kings, chapter 17-19.  He dominated late Jewish thought.  In Matthew, Jesus had a clear link of Elijah to John the Baptist, since he was the new Elijah.  Here Luke said that this child would precede or go first before the Lord (καὶ αὐτὸς προελεύσεται ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ).  He would have the spirit and the power of Elijah (ἐν πνεύματι καὶ δυνάμει Ἡλεία).  Then he would turn the hearts of parents to their children (ἐπιστρέψαι καρδίας πατέρων ἐπὶ τέκνα), as well as turn the disobedient ones into wise righteous ones (καὶ ἀπειθεῖς ἐν φρονήσει δικαίων).  He would prepare people to be disposed to get ready for the Lord (ἑτοιμάσαι Κυρίῳ λαὸν κατεσκευασμένον), by teaching about repentance and restoring families.  This child was going to be the forerunner for the Messiah, since all the prophets and the law had predicted this right up until the time of this child John.

The role of Elijah (Mt 17:10-17:11)

“The disciples asked Jesus.

‘Why then do

The Scribes say.

That Elijah must come first?’

Jesus replied.

‘Elijah is indeed coming.

He will restore all things.’”

 

Καὶ ἐπηρώτησαν αὐτὸν οἱ μαθηταὶ λέγοντες Τί οὖν οἱ γραμματεῖς λέγουσιν ὅτι Ἡλείαν δεῖ ἐλθεῖν πρῶτον;

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Ἡλείας μὲν ἔρχεται καὶ ἀποκαταστήσει πάντα·

 

The role of Elijah can be found also in Mark, chapter 9:11, as well as here in Matthew.  The disciples of Jesus asked, questioned or interrogated him (Καὶ ἐπηρώτησαν αὐτὸν οἱ μαθηταὶ λέγοντες) about why the Scribes (Τί οὖν οἱ γραμματεῖς) said that Elijah had to come first (λέγουσιν ὅτι Ἡλείαν δεῖ ἐλθεῖν πρῶτον).  The prophet Malachi, chapter 4:5, had also foretold the coming of Elijah.  He said that Yahweh was going to send the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of Yahweh would come.  These Scribes were contemporary religious experts who determined the traditions to be followed.  They were professional copiers of manuscript documents, although they had a wider role in Jewish society.  Jesus did not disagree with this comment.  He responded (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν) by reiterating that Elijah was indeed coming to restore all things (Ἡλείας μὲν ἔρχεται καὶ ἀποκαταστήσει πάντα).  There is no doubt that the role of Elijah, a 9th century BCE northern Israel prophet, dominated late Jewish thought.

 

Against the seacoast people (Zeph 2:5-2:7)

“Woe to you!

Inhabitants of the seacoast!

You nation of the Cherethites!

The word of Yahweh

Is against you!

O Canaan!

Land of the Philistines!

I will destroy you

Until no inhabitant is left.

You,

O seacoast,

Shall be pastures,

Shall be meadows for shepherds,

Shall be folds for flocks.

The seacoast

Shall become the possession

Of the remnant

Of the house of Judah.

They shall pasture

In the houses of Ashkelon.

They shall lie down at evening.

Yahweh,

Their God,

Will be mindful of them.

He will restore

Their fortunes.”

Yahweh, via Zephaniah, rebuked the whole seacoast area of the Philistines, about 32 miles along the Mediterranean coast line and about 10-16 miles wide inland in southwestern Canaan.  They were called Cherethites, since they may have had some connection to the island of Crete.  Yahweh was against them, so that he was going to destroy them until there was nothing left of them.  They would become a possession of the remnants of Judah.  Their land would become like meadows for sheep.  Their houses in Ashkelon would become pastures.  Yahweh was going to restore the fortunes of the Israelites.

The repayment after the grasshoppers (Joel 2:25-2:25)

“I will repay you

The years

That the swarming locust

Has eaten.

That is the hopper,

The destroyer,

The cutter,

My great army,

That I sent against you.”

Yahweh, via Joel, said that he was going to repay and restore things like they were before the locust plague hit them. Then he enumerated, as earlier in chapter 1, the various forms of the locust grasshoppers, the hoppers, the destroyers, and the cutters. However, it was clear here that Yahweh had sent this army of locusts against them.

Judah will have a harvest (Hos 6:11-6:11)

“For you also,

O Judah!

A harvest

Is appointed.

When I would restore

The fortunes

Of my people.”

Southern Judah would have a harvest at an appointed time. Yahweh was going to restore the fortunes of his people in the future. Perhaps this may have been a later addition here.

The unrighteous son (Ezek 18:10-18:13)

“If he has a violent son,

A shedder of blood,

Who does

Any of these things,

Even though the father

Does none of them,

Shall he then live?

This violent son

Eats upon the mountains,

Defiles his neighbor’s wife,

Oppresses the poor,

Oppresses the needy,

Commits robbery,

Does not restore the pledge,

Lifts up his eyes

To the idols,

Commits abominations,

Takes advantage,

Accrues interest.

He shall not live.

He has done

All these abominable things.

He shall surely die.

His blood shall be

Upon himself.”

What happens if a righteous man has a violent son, who sheds blood? Even though the father does not do any of these things. This son eats upon the mountains, defiles his neighbor’s wife, and oppresses the poor and the needy. This violent son commits robbery, does not restore the pledge when the debt is paid. He lifts up his eyes to the idols, and commits all kinds of abominations. He takes advantage of others by accruing interest. Shall this son live? No, he shall die. His blood shall be upon himself, not his father.

Restoration of Elam (Jer 49:39-49:39)

“‘But in the latter days

I will restore

The fortunes of Elam.’

Says Yahweh.”

Suddenly, after this complete wipeout, Yahweh was going to restore Elam. What will be left of them? Was this a latter addition? The eastern Persians took over Elam in 539 BCE, after over 2,000 years of the Elam civilization.