The nobleman (Lk 19:12-19:12)

 

“Thus,

Jesus said.

‘A nobleman

Went

To a distant country

To get royal power

For himself.

Then he would return.’”

 

εἶπεν οὖν Ἄνθρωπός τις εὐγενὴς ἐπορεύθη εἰς χώραν μακρὰν λαβεῖν ἑαυτῷ βασιλείαν καὶ ὑποστρέψαι.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said (εἶπεν οὖν) that a nobleman (Ἄνθρωπός τις εὐγενὴς) went to a distant country (ἐπορεύθη εἰς χώραν μακρὰν) to get royal power for himself (λαβεῖν ἑαυτῷ βασιλείαν).  After that, he would return later (καὶ ὑποστρέψαι).  This might have been a hint about the local leaders going to Rome to get their royal powers.  It may also be about Jesus going to heaven and then returning at the last judgment or the Second Coming.  However, there was the overriding theme of the need for responsibility, productivity, and not laziness.  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 25:14, where the story is about a man with a household of slaves and not a nobleman as here.  The slaves were given money to take care of things while the rich man was gone.  In Matthew, Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven would be like a man going on a journey (Ὥσπερ γὰρ ἄνθρωπος ἀποδημῶν).  This very generous man called or summoned his slaves (ἐκάλεσεν τοὺς ἰδίους δούλους) to entrust them or give them his property and possessions, while he was gone (καὶ παρέδωκεν αὐτοῖς τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ).  In Mark, 13:34, Jesus said that the end times would be like a man going on a journey (ὡς ἄνθρωπος ἀπόδημος).  He left his house (ἀφεὶς τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτοῦ).  He gave his slaves the authority (καὶ δοὺς τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ τὴν ἐξουσίαν) to perform their own individual tasks (ἑκάστῳ τὸ ἔργον αὐτοῦ).  He commanded a doorkeeper to stand watch over this whole situation (καὶ τῷ θυρωρῷ ἐνετείλατο ἵνα γρηγορῇ).  However, the story for Mark ended there, unlike Luke and Matthew that have more details about the slaves in this household.  What do you do when you go on a long journey?

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Prepare supper (Lk 17:8-17:8)

“Would you not rather say

To him.

‘Prepare supper

For me!

Put on your apron!

Serve me

While I eat

And drink!

Later,

You shall eat

And drink’?”

 

ἀλλ’ οὐχὶ ἐρεῖ αὐτῷ Ἑτοίμασον τί δειπνήσω, καὶ περιζωσάμενος διακόνει μοι ἕως φάγω καὶ πίω, καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα φάγεσαι καὶ πίεσαι σύ;

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said that they would say to their slave (ἀλλ’ οὐχὶ ἐρεῖ αὐτῷ), who was returning from the field, that he should prepare the supper for him (Ἑτοίμασον τί δειπνήσω).  Instead, this land owner would tell the slave to put on his apron or gird himself (καὶ περιζωσάμενος), so that this slave might serve him (διακόνει μοι), while he ate and drank (ἕως φάγω καὶ πίω).  Then later after all this had been taken care when the owner had eaten and drank (καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα), then the slave would be allowed to eat and drink (φάγεσαι καὶ πίεσαι σύ).  There clearly was a caste system.  The slaves did not eat with their land owners.  They would have to serve their master, before they could eat their own food.  What do you think about this kind of system?

The fatted calf (Lk 15:23-15:23)

“Get the fatted calf!

Kill it!

Let us eat!

Let us celebrate!”

 

καὶ φέρετε τὸν μόσχον τὸν σιτευτόν, θύσατε, καὶ φαγόντες εὐφρανθῶμεν,

 

This long parable story about the prodigal son can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that the father of this returning prodigal son told his slaves to bring the fatted calf (καὶ φέρετε τὸν μόσχον τὸν σιτευτόν) and sacrifice or kill it (θύσατε).  They were going to eat it (καὶ φαγόντες) and celebrate a feast (εὐφρανθῶμεν).  The fatten calf was a specially fed young cow that was kept for eating at special occasions.  Once again, Luke is the only biblical writer who used this term σιτευτόν, that means fattened calf, 3 times in this story.  Let the good times roll!  Do you like beef?

 

The unwise slave (Lk 12:45-12:45)

“However,

If this slave

Says to himself.

‘My master is delayed

In coming.’

He then begins

To beat

The other male

And female slaves.

He begins

To eat

And drink.

He gets drunk.”

 

ἐὰν δὲ εἴπῃ ὁ δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ Χρονίζει ὁ κύριός μου ἔρχεσθαι, καὶ ἄρξηται τύπτειν τοὺς παῖδας καὶ τὰς παιδίσκας, ἐσθίειν τε καὶ πίνειν καὶ μεθύσκεσθαι,

 

Luke indicated that Jesus continued with the good slave becoming wicked or unwise.  Jesus said that if this good slave said to himself in his heart (ἐὰν δὲ εἴπῃ ὁ δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ) that his lord or master was delayed in returning (Χρονίζει ὁ κύριός μου ἔρχεσθαι), then he would begin to beat the other male and female slaves (καὶ ἄρξηται τύπτειν τοὺς παῖδας καὶ τὰς παιδίσκας).  He would begin to eat and drink (ἐσθίειν τε καὶ πίνειν) and get drunk (καὶ μεθύσκεσθαι).  This parable about the wicked slave is similar to Matthew, chapter 24:48-49, with a little more elaboration here in Luke, where the good slave became the wicked slave.  Perhaps this shows a Q source.  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that this wicked slave thought in his heart (ἐὰν δὲ εἴπῃ ὁ κακὸς δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ) that his master was delayed (Χρονίζει μου ὁ κύριος).  Then he began to beat up his fellow slaves (καὶ ἄρξηται τύπτειν τοὺς συνδούλους αὐτοῦ).  He ate and drank with the drunkards (ἐσθίῃ δὲ καὶ πίνῃ μετὰ τῶν μεθυόντων).  There is trouble brewing here.  This will not end well.  Mistreating others and over indulging will not help you.  Have you ever treated others badly?

Mary goes too (Lk 2:5-2:5)

“Joseph went

To be registered

With Mary,

To whom

He was engaged.

She was expecting

A child.”

 

ἀπογράψασθαι σὺν Μαριὰμ τῇ ἐμνηστευμένῃ αὐτῷ, οὔσῃ ἐγκύῳ.

 

Luke explained that Joseph went to be registered with Mary (ἀπογράψασθαι σὺν Μαριὰμ).  He said that Joseph was engaged to be married, betrothed to Mary (τῇ ἐμνηστευμένῃ αὐτῷ), not yet married, but Mary was expecting or with child (οὔσῃ ἐγκύῳ), as his fiancée.  The divine circumstances of that pregnancy had been laid out in the preceding chapter.  Matthew pointed out in chapter 1 or his work that Joseph had been disturbed about this pregnancy.  It was about an 85-mile trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem.  This was the third time that Mary had made this trip from Nazareth to the Jerusalem area in the last six months, after going to visit Elizabeth in the Judean hill country outside Jerusalem, and then returning, as mentioned in the preceding chapter.  On top of that, her pregnancy was near its end.  Today, she would have been refused an air flight, so that this land trip of about a week would have been very dangerous for her and her child.

Title (Hag 1:1-1:1)

“In the second year

Of King Darius,

In the sixth month,

On the first day

Of the month,

The word of Yahweh

Came by the prophet Haggai,

To Zerubbabel,

The son of Shealtiel,

Governor of Judah.

It also came

To Joshua,

The son of Jehozadak,

The high priest.”

There is a precise date to this prophetic happening, August, 520 BCE, the second year of the great King Darius of Persia (522-486 BCE).  During his reign, he ruled over nearly ½ of the known world, over 50,000,000 people.  The word of Yahweh came through the prophet Haggai, although there is no mention of his family.  Perhaps he was one of those returning from the exile in Babylon.  In the Book of Ezra, chapter 5, Haggai and Zechariah were explicitly mentioned as prophets.  There was also a eunuch servant Haggai in the Book of Esther, but there seems to be no connection to this Haggai.  This Haggai was to prophesize to Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, who was the grandson of one of the last kings of Judah, King Jehoiachin (598 BCE).  Thus, he could be in the Davidic line.  He probably died sometime around 520 BCE, sometime around the events described here.  King Cyrus had appointed Zerubbabel to be the Governor of Judah in 538 BCE, when he was among the first exiles sent back to Jerusalem.  Joshua, the son of Jehozadak was the high priest in Jerusalem from 515-490 BCE.

The return of the exiles (Bar 5:5-5:9)

“Arise!

O Jerusalem!

Stand upon the height!

Look toward the east! See your children

Gathered from the west,

Gathered from the east, At the word

Of the Holy One! They are rejoicing

That God has remembered them. They went out from you

On foot.

They were led away

By their enemies.

But God will bring them

Back to you.

They will be carried in glory

As on a royal throne.

God has ordered

That every high mountain

With the everlasting hills

Will be made low.

The valleys will be filled up

To make level ground.

Thus Israel may walk safely

In the glory of God.

The woods

With every fragrant tree

Have shaded Israel

At God’s command.

God will lead Israel with joy,

In the light of his glory,

With the mercy,

With the righteousness

That comes from him.”

This author concludes this book of Baruch with a call to Jerusalem to arise and stand tall. They were to look to the east to see their children, both from the east and west, returning and rejoicing because God had remembered them. They went out on foot, led away by their captive enemies. However, they would return as if carried in glory on a throne. Every high mountain and hill would be leveled, while the valleys would fill up, to make a level ground so that they could walk safely in the glory of God. The fragrant trees of the woods would shade them. God would lead them with the joy and the light of his glory that comes from his mercy and righteousness.