The demoniac from the tombs (Lk 8:27-8:27)

“As he stepped out

On the land,

A man from the city,

Who had demons,

Met Jesus.

For a long time,

He had worn

No clothes.

He did not live

In a house,

But in the tombs.”

 

ἐξελθόντι δὲ αὐτῷ ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν ὑπήντησεν ἀνήρ τις ἐκ τῆς πόλεως ἔχων δαιμόνια, καὶ χρόνῳ ἱκανῷ οὐκ ἐνεδύσατο ἱμάτιον, καὶ ἐν οἰκίᾳ οὐκ ἔμενεν ἀλλ’ ἐν τοῖς μνήμασιν.

 

Luke said that as Jesus stepped out on the land (ἐξελθόντι δὲ αὐτῷ ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν), a certain man from the city (ἀνήρ τις ἐκ τῆς πόλεως), who had demons (ἔχων δαιμόνια), met Jesus (ὑπήντησεν).  For a long time (καὶ χρόνῳ ἱκανῷ), this man had worn no clothes (οὐκ ἐνεδύσατο ἱμάτιον).  He did not live in a house (καὶ ἐν οἰκίᾳ οὐκ ἔμενεν), but in the tombs (ἀλλ’ ἐν τοῖς μνήμασιν).  All three synoptic gospels. Matthew, chapter 8:28, Mark, chapter 5:2-3, and Luke here, had Jesus travel to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.  Mark, like Luke, said that Jesus met a man as he stepped out of the boat.  This person came from the tombs, where he lived.  No one could restrain him, even with chains, so that this was a strong violent possessed person.  Matthew had Jesus meet 2 people possessed by the devil, who were menacing people as they passed by.  They too also were coming out of the tombs.  These two demonic people were so extremely violent or fierce, that no one could pass by them on their way.  Only Luke, who had just one possessed man, said that this man was naked.  Does clothing matter to you?

 

The man with the unclean spirit (Mk 5:2-5:3)

“When Jesus

Stepped out of the boat,

Immediately,

A man

Out of the tombs,

With an unclean spirit,

Met him.

He lived

Among the tombs.

No one could restrain him

Any more,

Even with chains.”

 

καὶ ἐξελθόντος αὐτοῦ ἐκ τοῦ πλοίου, εὐθὺς ὑπήντησεν αὐτῷ ἐκ τῶν μνημείων ἄνθρωπος ἐν πνεύματι ἀκαθάρτῳ,

ὃς τὴν κατοίκησιν εἶχεν ἐν τοῖς μνήμασιν, καὶ οὐδὲ ἁλύσει οὐκέτι οὐδεὶς ἐδύνατο αὐτὸν δῆσαι

 

All three synoptic gospels. Matthew, chapter 8:28 and Luke, chapter 8:26-27, have Jesus travel to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.  Mark, like Luke, said that Jesus met a man as he stepped out of the boat (καὶ ἐξελθόντος αὐτοῦ ἐκ τοῦ πλοίου).  Matthew had Jesus meet 2 people possessed by the devil, who were menacing people as they passed by.  Here Mark has Jesus immediately meet one person coming out of the tombs (εὐθὺς ὑπήντησεν αὐτῷ ἐκ τῶν μνημείων ἄνθρωπος) with an unclean spirit (ἐν πνεύματι ἀκαθάρτῳ).  This demonic person lived among the tombs (ὃς τὴν κατοίκησιν εἶχεν ἐν τοῖς μνήμασιν).  No one could restrain or bind him (οὐδεὶς ἐδύνατο αὐτὸν δῆσαι), even with chains (καὶ οὐδὲ ἁλύσει οὐκέτι).  This was a strong violent possessed person.

The reaction of Jesus’ family (Mk 3:21-3:21)

“When his family

Heard it,

They went out

To restrain Jesus.

People were saying.

‘He has gone

Out of his mind.’”

 

καὶ ἀκούσαντες οἱ παρ’ αὐτοῦ ἐξῆλθον κρατῆσαι αὐτόν· ἔλεγον γὰρ ὅτι ἐξέστη.

 

This is another unique saying of Mark.  He said that when the family of Jesus, without being specific about which members of this family, heard about the crowds and Jesus (καὶ ἀκούσαντες οἱ παρ’ αὐτοῦ), they went out to restrain or get hold of him (ἐξῆλθον κρατῆσαι αὐτόν).  People were saying that Jesus had gone out of his mind or was astonishing (ἔλεγον γὰρ ὅτι ἐξέστη).  There is always a fine line between genius and madness.  His family must have felt that Jesus had gone too far.  In general, gospel writers indicate that the relatives and family of Jesus, seem to have misunderstood what his role was.

The ruined walls of Jerusalem (Lam 2:8-2:8)

Heth

“Yahweh determined

To lay in ruins

The wall

Of daughter Zion.

He stretched

The line.

He did not withhold

His hand

From destroying it.

He caused ramparts

To lament.

He caused the wall

To lament.

They languish together.”

Yahweh himself determined that the walls of Zion should be made a ruin. He stretched out the measuring line, like a surveyor, to determine how to do this. He did not restrain his hand from this work. He has caused the walls and ramparts of Jerusalem to lament and languish together. It seems that Yahweh is portrayed as personally overseeing the destruction of the Jerusalem walls because of his anger at them. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Heth. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

Defiled Israel (Jer 2:23-2:25)

“How can you say.

‘I am not defiled.

I have not gone after the Baals.’

Look at your way in the valley!

Know what you have done!

There is a restive young camel

Interlacing her tracks.

There is a wild ass

At home in the wilderness.

In her heat,

It is sniffing the wind!

Who can restrain her lust?

None who seek her

Need weary themselves.

In her month,

They will find her.

Keep your feet from going unshod!

Keep your throat from thirst!

But you said.

‘It is hopeless.

I have loved strangers.

After them.

I will go.’”

Jeremiah condemns the Israelites for defiling themselves, even though they deny it. They claim that they have not gone after the Baal pagan gods. However, Jeremiah points out that they know what they have done in the valley. They were like restless camels or a wild ass in the wilderness. They were sniffing at the wind. No one could restrain their lust. It would not be difficult to find them. They should, on the other hand, wear shoes and not be thirsty. Their response was disappointing, since they said that this was hopeless. They loved strangers and ran after them.

Protect the name of Yahweh (Isa 48:9-48:11)

“For my name’s sake,

I defer my anger.

For the sake of my praise

I restrain it for you.

Thus I may not cut you off.

See!

I have refined you,

But not like silver.

I have tested you

In the furnace of adversity.

For my own sake!

For my own sake!

I do it.

Why should my name be profaned?

I will not give my glory to another.”

Second Isaiah has Yahweh protect his name. Yahweh was deferring his anger. He was going to restrain himself. He was not going to cut off the Israelites for the sake of his own praise. He has refined them, not like silver in a fire, but in the furnace of life’s adversities. For his own sake, he did not want his name profaned or glory given to anyone else. Yahweh wanted his name brand protected.

Self control (Sir 18:30-18:33)

“Do not follow

Your base desires!

Restrain your appetites!

If you allow your soul

To take pleasure

In base desire,

It will make you

The laughingstock of your enemies.

Do not revel

In great luxury!

You might become impoverished

By its expense.

Do not become a beggar

By feasting with borrowed money,

When you have nothing in your purse.”

Sirach reminds us that we should have self control. You should not follow your base desires, because you should restrain your various appetites. Do not let your soul take pleasure in these base desires. Otherwise, you will be the laughing stock of your enemies. Do not get caught up in luxuries. You might be impoverished by this attempt to enjoy luxury. Do not become a beggar by feasting on borrowed money, when you have nothing. Try a little self control.