“But when this son
Who has devoured
The fatted calf
ὅτε δὲ ὁ υἱός σου οὗτος ὁ καταφαγών σου τὸν βίον μετὰ πορνῶν ἦλθεν, ἔθυσας αὐτῷ τὸν σιτευτὸν μόσχον.
This long parable story about the 2 sons can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories. Luke indicated that Jesus said that this older son continued his complaint to his father. He said that when his brother, his father’s son (ὅτε δὲ ὁ υἱός σου οὗτος), came back (ἦλθεν), after having devoured his property (ὁ καταφαγών σου τὸν βίον) with prostitutes (μετὰ πορνῶν), he went and killed or sacrificed the fatted calf for him (ἔθυσας αὐτῷ τὸν σιτευτὸν μόσχον). Luke is the only biblical writer who used this term σιτευτόν, that means fattened calf, 3 times in this story. This upset son pointed out to his father that his brother had squandered all his hard-earned property on prostitutes. Yet he was rewarding him with a special meal celebration. Does this seem fair to you?
“The servant replied.
Has come home.
The fatted calf,
Got him back
ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὅτι Ὁ ἀδελφός σου ἥκει, καὶ ἔθυσεν ὁ πατήρ σου τὸν μόσχον τὸν σιτευτόν, ὅτι ὑγιαίνοντα αὐτὸν ἀπέλαβεν.
This long parable story about the 2 sons can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories. Luke indicated that Jesus said that the servant replied to the older son (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ) that his brother had come home (ὅτι Ὁ ἀδελφός σου ἥκει). Then his father had killed or sacrificed (καὶ ἔθυσεν ὁ πατήρ σου) the fatted calf (τὸν μόσχον τὸν σιτευτόν), because he had him back safe and sound in good health (ὅτι ὑγιαίνοντα αὐτὸν ἀπέλαβεν). Once again, Luke is the only biblical writer who used this term σιτευτόν, that means fattened calf, 3 times in this story. His father was happy to have his other son healthy and back with them. He was just glad to see him. Have you ever had a family relative show up unexpectedly?
“On the first day
Of the Unleavened Bread,
When the Passover lamb
Said to him.
‘Where do you want
Us to go
Καὶ τῇ πρώτῃ ἡμέρᾳ τῶν ἀζύμων, ὅτε τὸ πάσχα ἔθυον, λέγουσιν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ Ποῦ θέλεις ἀπελθόντες ἑτοιμάσωμεν ἵνα φάγῃς τὸ πάσχα;
This is similar to Matthew, chapter 26:17, and Luke, chapter 22:7-8, but in Luke, Jesus was speaking to Peter and John explicitly. All three synoptic gospel writers said that this was the 1st day of the Unleavened Bread (Καὶ τῇ πρώτῃ ἡμέρᾳ τῶν ἀζύμων). Mark explained that the Passover lamb was sacrificed then (ὅτε τὸ πάσχα ἔθυον), but Matthew did not feel the need to explain that to his Jewish Christian readers. Some unnamed disciples spoke to Jesus (λέγουσιν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ). They wanted to know where Jesus wished that they prepare to eat the Passover meal amonst themselves (Ποῦ θέλεις ἀπελθόντες ἑτοιμάσωμεν ἵνα φάγῃς τὸ πάσχα). At that time, it was the custom to go to Jerusalem to eat the Passover, not in their homes as later, after the destruction of the Temple. The question of whether this was the Passover or the day before the Passover seems somewhat moot, since this was the 1st day of the Unleavened Bread, when they ate the matzah bread, the Hebrew word for unleavened bread. The Passover meal itself usually included a lamb.
“Then Yahweh said to me.
‘Out of the north,
Disaster shall break out
Upon all the inhabitants of the land.
I am calling
All the tribes of the kingdoms of the north.’
‘They shall come.
All of them shall set their thrones
At the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem,
Against all its surrounding walls,
Against all the cities of Judah.
I will utter my judgments against them.
All their wickedness is in forsaking me.
They have burned incense
To other gods.
They have worshiped
The works of their own hands.’”
Once again Jeremiah presents how Yahweh spoke directly to him. Disaster was going to happen in the north, however, it had already happened a century earlier in the 8th century BCE, not the 7th century BCE of Jeremiah. All the kings of the north would leave their thrones at the gates or the walls of Jerusalem. They would leave some in the cities of Judah. They suffered this judgment because they had become wicked in forsaking Yahweh. They had sacrificed with incense to false gods that they had made with their own hands.
“Whoever slaughters an ox is
Like one who kills a human being.
Whoever sacrifices a lamb is
Like one who breaks a dog’s neck.
Whoever presents a cereal offering is
Like one who offers swine’s blood.
Whoever makes a memorial offering
Of frankincense is
Like one who blesses an idol.
These have chosen their own ways.
They take delight in their abominations.
I also will choose to mock them.
I will bring upon them
What they fear.
When I called,
No one answered.
When I spoke
They did not listen.
But they did
What was evil in my sight.
What did not please me.”
Yahweh seems to rebuke those who sacrifice animals, saying that killing oxen is like killing humans. If they sacrificed lambs, they are sacrificing dogs. A grain offering was compared to unclean pig’s blood. The use of the frankincense was compared to worshiping idols. They have chosen their own ways that are an abomination to Yahweh. He would continue to mock and punish them because no one answered when he called. No one listened when he spoke. They continued to do evil and not please God.
“Then the Israelites attached themselves to the Baal of Peor.
They ate sacrifices offered to the dead.
They provoked Yahweh to anger with their doings.
A plague broke out among them.
Then Phinehas stood up.
Then the plague was stopped.
That has been reckoned to him as righteousness
From generation to generation forever.”
Once again Yahweh was angry with the Israelites as they sacrificed to the pagan god Baal at Mount Peor in Numbers, chapter 25. They had sex with the local women and began to worship the local gods of Baal on their way into the Promised Land. This proved Yahweh to anger again, so that a plague broke out among the Israelites. Phinehas, who was the grandson of Aaron, stood up and killed an Israelite who brought a local Midian woman into his family. He also killed her with a sword in front of everybody. With that, the plague that had killed 24,000 Israelites stopped. Thus his name, Phinehas, is still honored for generations. This killing was considered righteousness because of the wicked Israelites.
“Then King Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people. Everyone should give up their particular customs. All the gentiles accepted the command of the king. Many even from Israel gladly adopted his religion. They sacrificed to idols and profaned the Sabbath. The king sent letters by messengers to Jerusalem and the towns of Judah. He directed them to follow customs strange to the land. He forbade burnt offerings, sacrifices, and drink offerings in the sanctuary. He wanted them to profane the Sabbath and the feasts. He wanted them to defile the sanctuary and the priests. He wanted them to build altars and sacred precincts with shrines for idols. He wanted them to sacrifice swine and unclean animals. He wanted them to leave their sons uncircumcised. They were to make themselves abominable by everything unclean and profane. Thus they should forget the law and change all the ordinances. He added.
‘Whoever does not obey the command of the king shall die.’’’
King Antiochus IV wanted his whole kingdom unified, which included Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, Persia, and Asia Minor, quite a large kingdom. This might be difficult to enforce. It was later rescinded by King Antiochus V (172-161 BCE) since he was only 9 when he became king and died at the age of 11. Sometimes it is not good to be the king. King Antiochus IV was not as tolerant as his father King Antiochus III (223-187 BCE), who allowed the Israelites to follow the Mosaic Law. The Persian kings had also been tolerant towards following the Mosaic Law. King Antiochus IV wanted everyone to give up their particular customs, not a good idea in a large kingdom. The gentiles and some Israelites said okay, no big deal. He said that anyone who did not comply would be killed. He wanted them to sacrifice to idols, by building altars and shrines for his idols. He wanted them to profane the Sabbath and their own festivals. He wanted them to do away with their sanctuaries and priests. He wanted them to sacrifice swine and other unclean animals. He wanted them not to have their sons circumcised. Basically, he wanted them to forget about their own laws and just follow his ordinances.