The short ending of Mark (Mk 16:9-16:9)

“These women

Briefly

And promptly told

Those around Peter

All that had been

Instructed to them.

Afterward,

Jesus himself

Sent out

Through them,

From east to west,

The sacred

And imperishable proclamation

Of eternal salvation.”

Πάντα δὲ τὰ παρηγγελμένα τοῖς περὶ τὸν Πέτρον συντόμως ἐξήγγειλαν. Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα καὶ αὐτὸς ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἀπὸ ἀνατολῆς καὶ ἄχρι δύσεως ἐξαπέστειλεν δι’ αὐτῶν τὸ ἱερὸν καὶ ἄφθαρτον κήρυγμα τῆς αἰωνίου σωτηρίας

The oldest know Latin text was the Codex Bobiensis, from the Bobbio monastery in northern Italy, during the 4th or 5th century CE.  Obviously, this was a later edition, certainly not in the 1st or 2nd century after Jesus.  Nevertheless, it was an attempt to fix up the last sentence of the preceding verse or the original ending of Mark.  This was an attempt to put Peter in charge of a universal church that was present at the time of the original writing of this gospel.  This text says that the women at the tomb reported to the people around Peter briefly and promptly (τοῖς περὶ τὸν Πέτρον συντόμως ἐξήγγειλαν) all that had been instructed or commanded to them (Πάντα δὲ τὰ παρηγγελμένα) at the tomb.  Afterward, Jesus himself, without saying how, sent the followers of Jesus out from east to west (Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα καὶ αὐτὸς ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἀπὸ ἀνατολῆς καὶ ἄχρι δύσεως ἐξαπέστειλεν δι’ αὐτῶν) to proclaim a sacred and imperishable eternal salvation (τὸ ἱερὸν καὶ ἄφθαρτον κήρυγμα τῆς αἰωνίου σωτηρίας).  This was an attempt to show why the Christians were all over the place.

The wicked slave (Mt 24:48-24:51)

“But if that wicked slave

Says to himself.

‘My master is delayed.’

He begins to beat

His fellow slaves.

He eats

And drinks

With drunkards.

The master

Of that slave

Will come

On a day

When he does not expect him,

At an hour

That he does not know.

He will beat him severely

He will put him

With the hypocrites.

There will be weeping

And gnashing of teeth.”

 

ἐὰν δὲ εἴπῃ ὁ κακὸς δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ Χρονίζει μου ὁ κύριος,

καὶ ἄρξηται τύπτειν τοὺς συνδούλους αὐτοῦ, ἐσθίῃ δὲ καὶ πίνῃ μετὰ τῶν μεθυόντων,

ἥξει ὁ κύριος τοῦ δούλου ἐκείνου ἐν ἡμέρᾳ ᾗ οὐ προσδοκᾷ καὶ ἐν ὥρᾳ ᾗ οὐ γινώσκει,

καὶ διχοτομήσει αὐτὸν καὶ τὸ μέρος αὐτοῦ μετὰ τῶν ὑποκριτῶν θήσει· ἐκεῖ ἔσται ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων.

 

This parable about the wicked slave is similar to Luke, chapter 12:44-47, with a little more elaboration in Luke, where the good slave became the wicked slave.  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).  Then the master of this slave came on a day when he was not expecting him, at an unknown hour (ἥξει ὁ κύριος τοῦ δούλου ἐκείνου ἐν ἡμέρᾳ ᾗ οὐ προσδοκᾷ καὶ ἐν ὥρᾳ ᾗ οὐ γινώσκει).  This master would beat him severely (καὶ διχοτομήσει αὐτὸν) and put him with the hypocrites (καὶ τὸ μέρος αὐτοῦ μετὰ τῶν ὑποκριτῶν θήσει), where there would be weeping (ἐκεῖ ἔσται ὁ κλαυθμὸς) and gnashing of teeth (καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων).  The non-vigilant slave would suffer disaster, not like the good slave.

False Christs (Mt 24:23-24:24)

“If anyone says to you.

‘Look!

Here is the Messiah Christ!’

Or

‘There he is!’

Do not believe it.

False Christs

And false prophets

Will appear!

They will produce

Great signs

And wonders,

To lead astray,

If possible,

Even the elect.”

 

τότε ἐάν τις ὑμῖν εἴπῃ Ἰδοὺ ὧδε ὁ Χριστός, ἤ Ὧδε, μὴ πιστεύσητε·

ἐγερθήσονται γὰρ ψευδόχριστοι καὶ ψευδοπροφῆται, καὶ δώσουσιν σημεῖα μεγάλα καὶ τέρατα ὥστε πλανῆσαι, εἰ δυνατὸν, καὶ τοὺς ἐκλεκτούς

 

This is exactly the same, almost word for word, in Mark, chapter 13:21-22, with a hint of this in Luke, chapter 17:22-23.  Matthew also spoke about the false Messiahs earlier in this chapter 24:5.  Jesus warned his disciples that if anyone said to them to look because the Messiah Christ was there (τότε ἐάν τις ὑμῖν εἴπῃ Ἰδοὺ ὧδε ὁ Χριστός, ἤ Ὧδε), they were not to believe it (μὴ πιστεύσητε).  Both false or pseudo Christs and false and pseudo prophets would appear (ἐγερθήσονται γὰρ ψευδόχριστοι καὶ ψευδοπροφῆται).  They would produce great signs and wonders (καὶ δώσουσιν σημεῖα μεγάλα καὶ τέρατα), in order to lead astray even the elect or the chosen ones (ὥστε πλανῆσαι, εἰ δυνατὸν, καὶ τοὺς ἐκλεκτούς).  Both Mark, chapter 13:5-6, and Luke, chapter 21:8, also warned them against people who might lead them astray.  Many people would come saying that they were the Messiah Christ in order to deceive them.  Apparently, there were many deceptive Jewish messianic leaders who were saying that they were the Christ Messiah.  John the Baptist was an example of a messianic leader in the 1st century CE.  Other political Jewish leaders had messianic ambitions also, especially those who led the revolt against the Romans in the 2nd half of the 1st century.  Jesus was warning against all of them.

 

The prophecy of Isaiah (Mt 13:14-13:15)

“With them indeed is fulfilled

The prophecy of Isaiah

That says.

‘You will indeed listen,

But never understand!

You will indeed see,

but never perceive!

This people’s heart

Has grown dull.

Their ears are

Hard of hearing.

They have shut their eyes,

So that they might not look

With their eyes.

So that they do not listen

With their ears.

So that they do not understand

With their hearts.

They should return.

I would heal them.’”

 

καὶ ἀναπληροῦται αὐτοῖς ἡ προφητεία Ἡσαΐου ἡ λέγουσα Ἀκοῇ ἀκούσετε καὶ οὐ μὴ συνῆτε, καὶ βλέποντες βλέψετε καὶ οὐ μὴ ἴδητε.

ἐπαχύνθη γὰρ ἡ καρδία τοῦ λαοῦ τούτου, καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν βαρέως ἤκουσαν, καὶ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν ἐκάμμυσαν· μή ποτε ἴδωσιν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν ἀκούσωσιν καὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ συνῶσιν καὶ ἐπιστρέψωσιν, καὶ ἰάσομαι αὐτούς.

 

This prophecy of Isaiah is based on chapter 6:9-10, where Isaiah told the people that they were listening without comprehending.  They were looking without understanding.  Their hearts were dull.  Their eyes and ears were closed.  He wanted them not to look with their own eyes, but he wanted them to turn to Yahweh, so that they would be healed.  Only Matthew, among the synoptics, saw the fulfillment of this Isaiah prophecy in Jesus (καὶ ἀναπληροῦται αὐτοῖς ἡ προφητεία Ἡσαΐου ἡ λέγουσα).  They would listen and hear, but not understand (Ἀκοῇ ἀκούσετε καὶ οὐ μὴ συνῆτε).  They would see, but not perceive (καὶ βλέποντες βλέψετε καὶ οὐ μὴ ἴδητε).  Their hearts had grown dull or unfeeling (ἐπαχύνθη γὰρ ἡ καρδία τοῦ λαοῦ τούτου).  Their ears were hard of hearing, as they could barely hear (καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν βαρέως ἤκουσαν).  They have shut their eyes (καὶ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν ἐκάμμυσαν), so that they might not see with their eyes (μή ποτε ἴδωσιν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς).  Thus, they did not hear with their ears (καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν ἀκούσωσιν).  Thus, they did not understand with their hearts (καὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ συνῶσιν).  They should return (καὶ ἐπιστρέψωσιν).  Yahweh or now Jesus would heal them (καὶ ἰάσομαι αὐτούς).

The return of the evil spirits (Mt 12:44-12:45)

“Then this unclean spirit says.

‘I will return

To my house,

From which I came.’

When he comes,

This spirit finds it empty.

It is swept.

It is put in order.

Then the unclean spirit goes

And brings along

Seven other spirits

More evil than itself.

They enter there.

They live there.

The last state of that person

Is worse than the first.

Thus,

It will it be also

With this evil generation.”

 

τότε λέγει Εἰς τὸν οἶκόν μου ἐπιστρέψω ὅθεν ἐξῆλθον· καὶ ἐλθὸν εὑρίσκει σχολάζοντα καὶ σεσαρωμένον καὶ κεκοσμημένον.

τότε πορεύεται καὶ παραλαμβάνει μεθ’ ἑαυτοῦ ἑπτὰ ἕτερα πνεύματα πονηρότερα ἑαυτοῦ, καὶ εἰσελθόντα κατοικεῖ ἐκεῖ· καὶ γίνεται τὰ ἔσχατα τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐκείνου χείρονα τῶν πρώτων. οὕτως ἔσται καὶ τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ τῇ πονηρᾷ.

 

This saying about the returning unclean spirit can also be found word for word in Luke, chapter 11:25-26, indicating a Q source.  This implies a failed exorcism or a failed healing, so that the evil unclean spirit would return with more evil spirits.  Thus, the final state of that person would be worse than it was in the beginning.  This unclean spirit said to itself that it would return to its house or the place or person that it had come from (τότε λέγει Εἰς τὸν οἶκόν μου ἐπιστρέψω ὅθεν ἐξῆλθον).  Nothing had been put in its place, because this unclean spirit found it empty or unoccupied (καὶ ἐλθὸν εὑρίσκει σχολάζοντα), swept clean (καὶ σεσαρωμένον) and in order, newly decorated (καὶ κεκοσμημένον).  Thus, the unclean spirit went and brought 7 more evil spirits (τότε πορεύεται καὶ παραλαμβάνει μεθ’ ἑαυτοῦ ἑπτὰ ἕτερα πνεύματα πονηρότερα ἑαυτοῦ).  All these evil spirits entered and lived there (καὶ εἰσελθόντα κατοικεῖ ἐκεῖ·).  Finally, the last state of that person would be worse than the original situation (καὶ γίνεται τὰ ἔσχατα τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐκείνου χείρονα τῶν πρώτων).  Thus, it would be the same for this evil generation (οὕτως ἔσται καὶ τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ τῇ πονηρᾷ).  Jesus had just called this generation evil in chapter 12:19.

The literal meaning

The first form of biblical interpretation is the literal meaning.  The text says what it says, so there.  Anyone who can read, can simply pick up the book and read it.  That is all that it takes to understand the Bible.  Just read it.  Perhaps the English is a little old fashioned, but that is no big deal.  Jesus walked down the road.  That is all there is in the literal sense.

The useless gods (Bar 6:12-6:18)

“These gods

Cannot save themselves

From rust.

They cannot save themselves

From corrosion.

When they have been dressed

In purple robes,

Their faces are wiped

Because the dust

From the temple

Is thick upon them.

One of them

Holds a scepter

Like a district judge.

But he is unable

To destroy

Anyone who offends him.

Another has a dagger

In his right hand.

Another has an axe.

But these gods cannot

Defend themselves

From war

Or robbers.

From this,

It is evident

That they are not gods.

So do not fear them!

Just as someone’s dish

Is useless

When it is broken,

So are their gods

When they have been

Set up in the temples.

Their eyes are full

Of the dust

Raised by the feet

Of those who enter.”

This author says that these gods cannot save themselves from rust or corrosion. Even when they have been dressed in purple robes, someone has to wipe their faces because of the thick dust from the temple. If they have a scepter like a district judge, they are unable to destroy anyone who offends them. If they have a dagger or an axe, they cannot defend themselves from war or robbers. It is quite evident that these useless colorful idols are not gods at all. So there is nothing to fear from them. They are like useless broken dishes.