Great fear (Lk 21:26-21:26)

“People will faint

From fear

And expectations

About what was coming

Upon the world.

The powers

Of the heavens

Will be shaken.”

 

ἀποψυχόντων ἀνθρώπων ἀπὸ φόβου καὶ προσδοκίας τῶν ἐπερχομένων τῇ οἰκουμένῃ· αἱ γὰρ δυνάμεις τῶν οὐρανῶν σαλευθήσονται.

 

Luke had a section of this warning from Jesus that was unique, yet the last phrase was similar to the other synoptics.  Jesus said that people would faint (ἀποψυχόντων ἀνθρώπων) from fear (ἀπὸ φόβου) and expectations (καὶ προσδοκίας) over what was coming upon the world (τῶν ἐπερχομένων τῇ οἰκουμένῃ).  Luke was the only one to use this Greek term ἀποψυχόντων, meaning to leave off breathing, fainting, breathing out of life, dying, or dismayed.  The powers of the heavens would be shaken (γὰρ δυνάμεις τῶν οὐρανῶν σαλευθήσονται).  Thus, this last phrase is like Mark, chapter 13:25, and Matthew, chapter 24:29, who were word for word the same.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that the powers of the heavens would be shaken or stirred up (καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις αἱ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς σαλευθήσονται), while Matthew said precisely the same thing.  The powers of the heavens would be shaken or stirred up (καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις τῶν οὐρανῶν σαλευθήσονται).  They were going to experience big time problems, in this time of complete darkness, during this celestial disturbance.  Do you worry about the sky above you?

Jesus sends out the apostles (Mk 6:7-6:7)

“Jesus called

The twelve.

He began

To send them out

Two by two.

He gave them authority

Over the unclean spirits.”

 

Καὶ προσκαλεῖται τοὺς δώδεκα, καὶ ἤρξατο αὐτοὺς ἀποστέλλειν δύο, καὶ ἐδίδου αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν τῶν πνευμάτων τῶν ἀκαθάρτων,

 

This section about the authority and mission of the 12 disciples or apostles is similar to Matthew, chapter 10:1 and Luke, chapter 9:1.  Mark said that Jesus summoned or called (Καὶ προσκαλεῖται) his 12 apostles (τοὺς δώδεκα).  He began to send them out two by two (καὶ ἤρξατο αὐτοὺς ἀποστέλλειν δύο δύο).  He gave them authority over unclean or impure spirits (καὶ ἐδίδου αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν τῶν πνευμάτων τῶν ἀκαθάρτων).  Thus, they could cast out or banish these evil spirits or demons, but there was no mention of curing diseases, illnesses, sicknesses, or weakness, just casting out the evil spirits that might have been the cause of their illnesses.  Jesus was giving his own power or authority to cast out evil spirits to these 12 apostles.  This was a big deal.  The number 12 corresponded to the number of sons of Jacob or the 12 tribes of Israel.  Jesus thus established these 12 apostles to carry on his work in casting out evil spirits.

Do they pay the temple tax? (Mt 17:24-17:25)

“When they reached

Capernaum,

The collectors

Of the temple tax

Came to Peter.

They said.

‘Does your teacher

Not pay the tax?’

Peter said.

‘Yes!

He does!’”

 

Ἐλθόντων δὲ αὐτῶν εἰς Καφαρναοὺμ προσῆλθον οἱ τὰ δίδραχμα λαμβάνοντες τῷ Πέτρῳ καὶ εἶπαν Ὁ διδάσκαλος ὑμῶν οὐ τελεῖ δίδραχμα;

λέγει Ναί.

 

This section about the temple tax is unique to Matthew.  Jesus and his disciples had come back to Capernaum (Ἐλθόντων δὲ αὐτῶν εἰς Καφαρναοὺμ).  The collectors of the temple tax came to Peter (προσῆλθον οἱ τὰ δίδραχμα λαμβάνοντες τῷ Πέτρῳ).  Once again, this is an indication of Peter’s leadership.  They asked him if his teacher had paid the temple tax (καὶ εἶπαν Ὁ διδάσκαλος ὑμῶν οὐ τελεῖ δίδραχμα).  Peter responded that Jesus did pay the tax with a simple yes answer (λέγει Ναί).  What is this temple tax?  It actually was a half-shekel or “δίδραχμα – didrachma.”  All the Israelite males over the age of 20 had to pay this half-shekel tax to the Jerusalem temple, once a year, sometime in March around Passover time.  In Capernaum, there was no temple, just a synagogue.  However, this might have been a group that was collecting for the temple tax in Jerusalem for those who were not going to go to Jerusalem for the Passover.  The value of a shekel would have been around $5.00 USA, so that each male had to pay about $2.50, not a big deal for a once a year tax.  This incident probably made more sense in Jerusalem itself.

Jesus saves Peter (Mt 14:31-14:31)

“Jesus immediately reached out

His hand.

He caught him.

He said to him.

‘You of little faith!

Why did you doubt?’”

 

εὐθέως δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα ἐπελάβετο αὐτοῦ καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Ὀλιγόπιστε, εἰς τί ἐδίστασας;

 

This section about Peter is unique to Matthew, as he tended to emphasize the importance of Peter, yet at the same time, there was a continual mention of the lack of Peter’s faith.  After Peter cried out for help, Jesus immediately reached out his hand (εὐθέως δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα) and caught or grabbed Peter before he fell into the water (ἐπελάβετο αὐτοῦ).  He said to him (καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ).  Why did he have so little faith (Ὀλιγόπιστε,)?  Why did he doubt or hesitate (εἰς τί ἐδίστασας) when he was already walking?  Thus, even the leader of his disciples, Peter, was not so sure of his confidence in Jesus.

Peter walks on the water (Mt 14:29-14:30)

“Jesus said.

‘Come!’

Thus,

Peter got out of the boat.

He started walking

On the water.

He came toward Jesus.

But when he noticed

The strong wind,

He became frightened.

He began to sink.

He cried out.

‘Lord!

Save me!’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Ἐλθέ. καὶ καταβὰς ἀπὸ τοῦ πλοίου Πέτρος περιεπάτησεν ἐπὶ τὰ ὕδατα καὶ ἦλθεν πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν.

βλέπων δὲ τὸν ἄνεμον ἐφοβήθη, καὶ ἀρξάμενος καταποντίζεσθαι ἔκραξεν λέγων Κύριε, σῶσόν με.

 

This section about Peter walking on the water is unique to Matthew, as he tended to emphasize the importance of Peter.  Jesus told Peter to come to him (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Ἐλθέ).  Thus, Peter got out of the boat (καὶ καταβὰς ἀπὸ τοῦ πλοίου Πέτρος) and started walking on the water (περιεπάτησεν ἐπὶ τὰ ὕδατα).  He came toward Jesus (καὶ ἦλθεν πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν), but he noticed a strong wind (βλέπων δὲ τὸν ἄνεμον), so that he became frightened (ἐφοβήθη).  Thus, he began to sink (καὶ ἀρξάμενος καταποντίζεσθαι), as he cried out to Jesus, his Lord or master, to save him (ἔκραξεν λέγων Κύριε, σῶσόν με).

Peter talks to Jesus (Mt 14:28-14:28)

“Peter answered Jesus.

‘Lord!

If it is you,

Command me

To come to you

On the water.’”

 

ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ Πέτρος εἶπεν Κύριε, εἰ σὺ εἶ, κέλευσόν με ἐλθεῖν πρὸς σὲ ἐπὶ τὰ ὕδατα.

 

This section about Peter is unique to Matthew, as he tended to emphasize the importance of Peter.  Peter answered Jesus (ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ Πέτρος).  He called Jesus the Lord and asked if it was him (εἶπεν Κύριε, εἰ σὺ εἶ).  If so, he wanted Jesus to command him to come to him on the water (κέλευσόν με ἐλθεῖν πρὸς σὲ ἐπὶ τὰ ὕδατα).

The Bible Project itself

Although the original Greek texts had no chapters or verses, I will use the common chapter and verse format found in the Jerusalem Bible, along with the various titles and subtitles of the chapters of this edition.  By reading in a language that is not my mother tongue, I hope to gain a greater comprehension of the texts beyond the common understanding.  I will then write a short summary and commentary about each verse, paragraph, or section that I am reading, using the Greek, the French, and the English versions, along with the various footnotes that these editions of the Bible have provided.  I have subdivided these passages into smaller verses.  For the New Testament, I will also insert the Greek text between the translation and the commentary.  I am going to go through the New Testament Bible, book by book, chapter by chapter, paragraph by paragraph, verse by verse, paraphrasing and commenting on each book of the New Testament.  This is not a task that will be accomplished in a year or two, or maybe ever at all.  However, I set out on this adventure with a basic understanding of the New Testament, as an old man who has spent a lifetime reading and thinking about these writings.  Now, I want to do it in a more comprehensive but sharing way.  I will post 5 blogs a day that will include the translated verse or verses that I am commenting on.  Let the adventure begin!

The stairway (Ezek 41:7-41:7)

“The passageway

Of the side chambers

Widened

From story to story.

This structure had

A stairway

All around the temple.

For this reason

The structure

Became wider

From story to story.

One ascended

From the bottom story

To the top story

By way of the middle story.”

Of course, there was a way to get from one story of these 30 rooms to the other story of this 3-story section of side rooms that were all around the Temple. This passageway widened from the lowest story to the highest story. There was a set of stairs all around the Temple. Thus, you ascended to the highest story from the lowest story via the middle story.

Lie with the uncircumcised in Sheol (Ezek 32:19-32:21)

“‘Whom do you surpass

In beauty?

Go down!

Be laid to rest

With the uncircumcised!’

They shall fall

Among those

Who are killed

By the sword.

Egypt has been

Handed over

To the sword.

Carry away

Both it

With its hordes!

The mighty chiefs

Shall speak of them,

With their helpers,

Out of the midst of Sheol.

‘They have come down!

They lie still!

The uncircumcised,

Killed by the sword.’”

This section opens with a sarcastic question about who is more beautiful. The response is that they are to go down and lie with the uncircumcised people and those killed by the sword. Egypt with the multitude of their inhabitants has been handed over to death. The mighty chiefs with their helpers will speak to them in the middle of Sheol, the shadowy underworld of the afterlife. They will say that the Egyptians have come down to lie quietly with the uncircumcised and those killed by the sword, which is the worst place in Sheol.

The breach in the city wall (Jer 52:7-52:7)

“Then a breach

Was made

In the city wall.

All the soldiers fled.

They went out

From the city

By night,

By the way of the gate

Between the two walls,

By the king’s garden,

While the Chaldeans

Were all around the city.

They went in the direction

Of the Arabah.”

There are a couple of problems with this section as regards the story earlier in chapter 39 of Jeremiah and the story in 2 Kings, chapter 25. The earlier Jeremiah story has an exact date here, while it is not explicitly mentioned here. In the Kings story, it said that the king also escaped with his troops, but he is not explicitly mentioned here, but may be presumed to be with his troops. However, all the stories have them escaping between the walls in the king’s gardens, as they were headed for the Arabah in the Jordan River valley.