The house with no foundation (Lk 6:49-6:49)

“But he who hears,

And does not act,

Is like a man

Who built a house

On the ground

Without a foundation.

When the river burst

Against it,

Immediately,

It fell.

Great was the ruin

Of that house.”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀκούσας καὶ μὴ ποιήσας ὅμοιός ἐστιν ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδομήσαντι οἰκίαν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν χωρὶς θεμελίου, ᾗ προσέρηξεν ὁ ποταμός, καὶ εὐθὺς συνέπεσεν, καὶ ἐγένετο τὸ ῥῆγμα τῆς οἰκίας ἐκείνης μέγα.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that the one who heard (ὁ δὲ ἀκούσας) the word of Jesus, but did not act on it (καὶ μὴ ποιήσας), was like a man (ὅμοιός ἐστιν ἀνθρώπῳ) who built a house (οἰκοδομήσαντι οἰκίαν) on ground (ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν) without a foundation (χωρὶς θεμελίου).  When the river streams burst against it (ᾗ προσέρηξεν ὁ ποταμός), immediately (καὶ εὐθὺς), it fell (συνέπεσεν).  Great was the ruin of that house (καὶ ἐγένετο τὸ ῥῆγμα τῆς οἰκίας ἐκείνης μέγα).  This is just like Matthew, chapter 7:26-27, which might indicate a Q source.  The opposite of the preceding verses was present here.  Everyone who heard these words of Jesus, but did nothing about them, as opposed to those who acted upon them, were like a foolish or stupid person.  These foolish people built a house on a sand foundation, sandy ground, or no foundation, not a rock foundation.  It is interesting to note that these must have been former followers of Jesus, since they had heard his words, not people who had never heard about Jesus, indicating a rift among the followers of Jesus.  The rains fell and the floods came.  The winds would blow and beat against this house also.  However, there was a different result here.  This house fell, because it was built on a weak foundation.  The rock foundation was those who had followed the words of Jesus.  The sand foundation was those who heard the words of Jesus but did not follow it.  Their house would suffer not just a fall, but a great fall.  It was not good enough to hear the words of Jesus, you had to act on them.  Is your house built on a weak foundation with no follow through on the words of Jesus?

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The bitter wrathful day of Yahweh (Zeph 1:14-1:16)

“The great day of Yahweh

Is near,

Near,

Coming fast.

The sound of

The day of Yahweh

Is bitter.

The warrior

Cries aloud there.

That day will be

A day of wrath,

A day of distress,

A day of anguish,

A day of ruin,

A day of devastation,

A day of darkness,

A day of gloom,

A day of clouds

A day of darkness,

A day of trumpet blast,

A day of battle cry,

Against the fortified cities,

Against the lofty battlements.”

The day of Yahweh was to be a day of wrath and doom, as can be found also in Amos, chapter 5 and Isaiah, chapter 2.  This great day for Yahweh was coming right away, very soon.  This bitter sound was in the air, as the warriors cried out loudly with their battle cry against the fortified cities and their secure fortresses.  This was a day of wrath, distress, anguish, ruin, devastation, darkness, gloom, clouds, and a trumpet blast, certainly not a happy day.  Thus, the natural connection to death formed the inspiration for the medieval funeral hymn, Dies Irae, Latin for the day of wrath.

Ephraim continues in falsehood (Hos 12:1-12:1)

“Ephraim herds the wind.

Ephraim pursues the east wind

All day long.

They multiply falsehoods.

They multiply violence.

They make a treaty

With Assyria.

Their oil is carried

To Egypt.”

Ephraim followed and gathered the wind to itself. They were all day long pursuing the east wind, the destructive wind. They were full of lies and violence. They made a treaty with Assyria that led to their ruin. They gave gifts of oil to Egypt to keep them from attacking.

The death of King Antiochus IV (Dan 11:44-11:45)

“But reports from the east,

Reports from the north,

Shall alarm him.

He shall go out

With great fury

To bring ruin,

To bring complete destruction

To many.

He shall pitch

His palatial tents

Between the sea and

The beautiful holy mountain.

Yet he shall come

To his end,

With no one

To help him.”

It is not clear where King Antiochus IV died. However, in 2 Maccabees, chapter 9, there was a vivid description of the illness that led to his death. Here it takes place between the coast and the holy mountain of Jerusalem. Apparently, this king had problems in the east and north. Thus, he set out to ruin and destroy them. Then he pitched his palatial tent before he died. 1 Maccabees, chapter 6, and 2 Maccabees, chapter 9, have this dreadful king have a deathbed conversion to the God of Israel. Here, that is not mentioned.

Repent (Ezek 18:30-18:32)

“Repent!

Turn

From all your transgressions!

Otherwise iniquity

Will be your ruin!

Cast away

From you

All the transgressions

That you have committed

Against me!

Get yourselves

A new heart!

Get yourselves

A new spirit!

Why will you die?

O house of Israel!

I have no pleasure

In the death

Of anyone.

Turn then !

Live!’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh had a simple solution. They were to repent and turn away from all their transgressions. Otherwise their iniquity would be their ruin. They had to cast away all the transgressions that they had committed against Yahweh. They needed a new heart and a new spirit. Why would they want to die? Yahweh told the house of Israel that he took no pleasure in killing people. They simply had to turn away from their evil ways. Then they would live.

The enemies of Jerusalem (Bar 4:30-4:35)

“Take courage!

O Jerusalem!

The one who named you

Will comfort you.

Wretched will be

Those who mistreated you!

They rejoiced at your fall.

Wretched will be

The cities

That your children

Served as slaves!

Wretched will be

The city

That received your offspring!

She rejoiced

At your fall.

She was glad

For your ruin.

Now she will be grieved

At her own desolation.

I will take away her pride

In her great population.

Her insolence

Will be turned to grief.

Fire will come upon her

from the Everlasting One

For many days.

For a long time,

She will be inhabited

By demons.”

Now there is a turn, as this author speaks directly to Jerusalem instead of Jerusalem herself complaining. Jerusalem was encouraged to be courageous. She would be comforted. However, those who mistreated her and rejoiced at her fall will be miserable. The cities where the children of Jerusalem served as slaves would be miserable also. The city of Babylon, that received the children of Jerusalem, rejoiced and was glad at the downfall and ruin of Jerusalem. Now they will be grieved at their own desolation. The pride of those people and their insolence will be turned to grief. The Everlasting One, not Yahweh, will bring fire upon it for many days. For a long time it will be inhabited by demons.

Does anything compare to Jerusalem (Lam 2:13-2:13)

Mem

“What can I say

To you?

To what shall

I compare you?

O daughter Jerusalem!

To what can I liken you?

How may I comfort you?

O virgin daughter Zion!

Vast as the sea

Is your ruin.

Who can heal you?”

Now the author laments about how to compare what has happened in Jerusalem. Is there anything comparable? How can he comfort Zion? This virgin daughter Zion is beyond healing. Her ruin is as vast as the sea. This author of the Lamentations really sounds like a distraught elderly widow who has lost her husband. Perhaps there is an element of exaggeration, as if no other city had ever suffered defeat or ruin. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Mem. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.