Not bread alone (Lk 4:4-4:4)

“Jesus

Answered him.

‘It is written.

‘One does not live

By bread alone.’”

 

καὶ ἀπεκρίθη πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς Γέγραπται ὅτι Οὐκ ἐπ’ ἄρτῳ μόνῳ ζήσεται ὁ ἄνθρωπος.

 

Once again, this is the same as Matthew, chapter 4:3, nearly word for word.  Luke said that Jesus responded to the devil (καὶ ἀπεκρίθη πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς) by citing a Septuagint written phrase (Γέγραπται) from Deuteronomy, chapter 8:3, about the fact that man does not live by bread alone (ὅτι Οὐκ ἐπ’ ἄρτῳ μόνῳ ζήσεται ὁ ἄνθρωπος).  Luke did not finish this phrase the way that Matthew did by saying that man lives by all the words that come from the mouth of God.  In Deuteronomy, Yahweh had reminded the Israelites that they had been tested for 40 years with hunger.  Then came this saying about not living by bread alone, but by every word that came from the mouth of Yahweh, an anthropomorphism for Yahweh’s law.  The Book of Deuteronomy was the most quoted book of the Torah in these New Testament writings.

The prophecy of Isaiah (Mk 7:6-7:7)

“Jesus said

To them.

‘Isaiah prophesied rightly

About you hypocrites!

As it is written.

‘This people honor me

With their lips,

But their hearts

Are far from me.

In vain

Do they worship me!

They teach

Human precepts

As doctrines.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Καλῶς ἐπροφήτευσεν Ἡσαΐας περὶ ὑμῶν τῶν ὑποκριτῶν, ὡς γέγραπται ὅτι Οὗτος ὁ λαὸς τοῖς χείλεσίν με τιμᾷ, ἡ δὲ καρδία αὐτῶν πόρρω ἀπέχει ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ·

μάτην δὲ σέβονταί με, διδάσκοντες διδασκαλίας ἐντάλματα ἀνθρώπων·

 

There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 15:7-9.  Mark indicated that Jesus said to these Pharisees (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that Isaiah had prophesied correctly (Καλῶς ἐπροφήτευσεν Ἡσαΐας) about them being hypocrites (περὶ ὑμῶν τῶν ὑποκριτῶν) as it was written (ὡς γέγραπται) in Isaiah.  Hypocrites were people who played a part in a drama, but who were not sincere.  This Greek quotation from Isaiah, chapter 29:13, is from the Septuagint, almost the same as in Matthew.  This oracle of Yahweh, via Isaiah, centered on insincere worship.  These Israelites adored Yahweh with their mouths and lips, but their hearts were far away.  They only praised the Lord because of human demands, as they recited rote prayers.  Jesus repeated these verses of Isaiah.  These people honored him with their lips or mouth (ὅτι Οὗτος ὁ λαὸς τοῖς χείλεσίν με τιμᾷ).  However, their hearts were far away from him (ἡ δὲ καρδία αὐτῶν πόρρω ἀπέχει ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ).  In a vain or useless way, they adored, worshiped, or reverenced him (μάτην δὲ σέβονταί με).  They were teaching doctrines (διδάσκοντες διδασκαλίας) that were human precepts or ordinances (ἐντάλματα ἀνθρώπων).  Thus Jesus, via Mark and Isaiah, was wailing against false worship and human precepts pretending to be divine worship and divine teachings.

The upset king (Dan 3:24-3:25)

“Then King Nebuchadnezzar

Was astonished.

He rose up quickly.

He said to his counselors.

‘Was it not three men

That we threw bound

Into the fire?’

They answered

The king.

‘True!

O king!’

He replied.

‘But I see four men

Unbound,

Walking

In the middle

Of the fire.

They are not hurt.

The fourth one has

The appearance

Of a god.’”

After the long Septuagint prayer of Azariah, we are back at the Hebrew or Aramaic text of the Book of Daniel. Now King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and upset. He thought that he had put 3 men, tied up, into the furnace. Instead, he saw 4 men, not tied up, walking around in the middle of the furnace. He even remarked that one of them looked like a god, which was the angel.

The gold statue (Dan 3:1-3:1)

“King Nebuchadnezzar

Made a golden statue.

Its height was sixty cubits.

Its width was six cubits.

He set it up

On the plain of Dura,

In the province of Babylon.”

King Nebuchadnezzar decided to make a large golden statue of himself. This golden statue was very tall, 60 cubits or about 90 feet tall, 30 yards high, disproportionally high, since the width was a mere 6 cubits or 9 feet wide or 3 yards wide. Perhaps, this height included the pedestal. He put this statue on the plain of Dura, some unknown place close to the city of Babylon. It is not clear how soon after the events in chapter 2, that this took place. In the king’s dream, Daniel had described him as the golden head. However, the Septuagint mentions the 18th year of his rule, or about 587 BCE, around the time of the siege of Jerusalem.

Against Gog (Ezek 38:1-38:2)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Set your face

Toward Gog,

Of the land of Magog.

The chief prince

Of Meshech

With Tubal.

Prophesy against him!’”

This section represents an example of apocalyptic literature. The emphasis in this type of literature is on a future that would be better compared to the sufferings of the present time. This thinking predominated in Second Temple Judaism after the return from the exile. This Messianic hope prefigured a future victory of good over evil. The prophet Daniel and the Book of Revelation or the Apocalypse are better examples of this apocalyptic literature. As usual, the word of God came to Ezekiel, the son of man. However, this time he was to prophesize against Gog. Who is this Gog? This is the first mention of Gog in the biblical literature, who clearly was an enemy of Yahweh. There appears to be no historical basis for this Gog from Magog. According to Genesis, chapter 10, Magog was descended from Japheth, the son of Noah. Here Gog is a person and Magog is the land where he comes from. However, in later literature they were usually combined into ‘Gog and Magog,’ perhaps due to the Septuagint Greek translation. Magog might have been a code name for Babylon. There were also other legends about Gog and Magog in the later Greek and Roman times. Both are mentioned in later Jewish and Muslim writings. Meshech and Tubal were 7th century BCE kingdoms in Asia Minor or present day Turkey. Gog appears to be the chief prince of these two kingdoms also.

Against the Ammonites (Jer 49:1-49:2)

“Concerning the Ammonites!

Thus says Yahweh!

‘Has Israel no sons?

Has he no heir?

Why then has Milcom

Dispossessed Gad?

Why has he dispossessed

His people?

Why has he settled

In its cities?’”

The Ammonites, like the Moabites, were considered the descendants of the incest of Lot with his second daughter from the story in Genesis, chapter 19. The country of Ammon was north of Moab, but south of Aram and Damascus.  The country of Ammon existed from about the 10th century to the 4th century BCE in what would have been the Gad territory as outlined in Joshua chapter 13. Today it is part of the country of Jordan. Yahweh seems upset at Ammon. Did not Israel have sons and heirs to live in this Gad territory? Milcom, the god of the Ammonites, was a lot like Molech, the god of the Moabites. Some believe it was the same god with slightly different spellings for each country. This god Milcom had dispossessed the people of Yahweh and settled in their cities. In the Septuagint Greek translation, this is chapter 30, not chapter 49 as here.

The oracles against the various nations (Jer 46:1-46:1)

“The word of Yahweh

Came

To the prophet Jeremiah

Concerning the nations.”

Thus the word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah about these various nations, like in chapter 25 of this work. In the Septuagint Greek translation, this chapter comes right after chapter 25 that introduced this concept of oracles against the neighboring countries to Israel. Thus this is chapter 26 there, not chapter 46 as here.