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?

 

Salted fire (Mk 9:49-9:49)

“Everyone

Will be salted

With fire.”

 

Πᾶς γὰρ πυρὶ ἁλισθήσεται.

 

This is a unique saying of Mark.  He indicated that Jesus said that everyone would be salted with fire (Πᾶς γὰρ πυρὶ ἁλισθήσεται).  This eternal fire would be seasoned with salt to give a further sting.  Some ancient orthodox manuscripts added here that every sacrifice would be salted with salt.  (καὶ πᾶσα θυσία ἁλὶ ἁλισθήσεται).  In other words, this spice or preservative salt would further enhance and lengthen the eternal fire of Gehenna or hell.

Punishment for idolatry (Hos 13:2-13:3)

“Now they keep on sinning.

They make a cast image

For themselves.

They make idols

Of silver,

According to their understanding.

All of them are

The work of artisans.

‘Sacrifice to these!’

They say.

People are kissing calves!

Therefore,

They shall be

Like the morning mist,

Like the dew

That goes early away,

Like the chaff

That swirls

From the threshing floor,

Like smoke

From a window.”

Yahweh, via Hosea, had this main complaint against the northern Israelites that they kept on adoring these idol Baal images. They kept on sinning. They made their own silver idols. They made their own images without any understanding, clearly the work of artisans. When they were finished, they wanted the people to sacrifice to these idols. They wanted people to kiss these idol calves. Yahweh was going to punish them. They were going to become like the morning mist that disappears during the day. They were going to be like chaff that blows in the wind from the threshing floor. They were going to be like smoke from a window. They would disappear before their very own eyes.

The new moon offerings (Ezek 46:6-46:8)

“On the day

Of the new moon,

The prince shall offer

A young bull

Without blemish.

He shall offer

Six lambs

With a ram,

Which shall be

Without blemish.

As a grain offering,

He shall provide

An ephah

With the bull.

He shall provide

An ephah

With the ram.

With the lambs,

He may provide

As much as he wishes,

Together with a hin of oil

For each ephah.

When the prince enters,

He shall go in

By the vestibule

Of the gate.

He shall go out

By the same way.”

Besides the Sabbath, the other regular festival was the monthly new moon sacrifice. The lunar calendar was based on the 28-day cycle of the moon. Once again, the prince was responsible for furnishing the animals and the grain offerings, as on the Sabbath. He was to take an unblemished bull with 6 lambs and an unblemished ram for the burnt offerings. He was to offer them up with a grain offering. He too had to provide an ephah of grain (2/3rds of a bushel) with the bull and the ram. However, this prince could decide how much grain went with the lambs, but there had to be a gallon or hin of oil for each ephah of grain. The prince would enter and leave at the same gate.

The chamber for the burnt offering (Ezek 40:38-40:39)

“There was a chamber

With its door

In the vestibule

Of the gate.

There the burnt offering

Was to be washed.

In the vestibule

Of the gate

Were two tables

On either side.

Here the burnt offering,

The sin offering,

The guilt offering,

Were to be slaughtered.”

Now the bronze man was going to take Ezekiel into the inner chambers. First, there was the door to the chamber where the burnt offering was to be washed. There were 2 tables on either side of the door where the burnt offerings, the sin offerings, and the guilt offerings were to be killed and prepared for sacrifice.

The adultery of the two sisters with their idols (Ezek 23:37-23:39)

“They have committed

Adultery.

Blood is

On their hands.

With their idols,

They have committed

Adultery.

They have even offered up

To them

For food

The children

Whom they had borne

To me.

Moreover

This they have done

To me.

They have defiled

My sanctuary

On the same day.

They have profaned

My Sabbath.

When they had slaughtered

Their children

For their idols,

On the same day,

They came

Into my sanctuary

To profane it.

This is what they did

In my house.”

Yahweh explains to Ezekiel about the adulterous behavior of these two sisters, particularly Jerusalem. They had turned to idol images instead of Yahweh. Thus they have committed adultery. Blood was on their hands because of their idol worship. They had even offered up Israelite children for food for these idols. Not only did they sacrifice their own children, but on the same day they defiled the sanctuary of the Temple and profaned the Sabbath. They had slaughtered their own children for their idols. What kind of adulterous behavior was this?

The day of retribution for Yahweh (Jer 46:10-46:12)

“That day is

The day of Yahweh!

God of hosts!

A day of retribution

To gain vindication

From his foes!

The sword shall devour!

The sword shall be sated!

The sword shall drink

Its fill of their blood!

Yahweh,

God of hosts,

Holds a sacrifice

In the land of the north

By the Euphrates River.

Go up to Gilead!

Take balm!

O virgin daughter Egypt!

In vain,

You have used

Many medicines.

There is no healing for you.

The nations have heard

Of your shame.

The earth is full

Of your cry.

The warrior has stumbled

Against warrior.

They have both fallen together.”

The day of reckoning for Yahweh was the defeat of Egypt. Clearly Jeremiah and Yahweh are pro-Babylon and anti-Egypt. This will be a day of retribution and vindication against Yahweh’s foes. The sword will devour them and drink their blood, like a sacrifice in this land north of the Euphrates River. This virgin daughter Egypt would find it useless to seek any medicines to cure her. Not even the balms of Gilead would help Egypt. There will be no healing. Everyone would have heard of their shame and their cries. Their warriors have stumbled against each other as they fell.