Ask for a fish (Lk 11:11-11:11)

“Is there anyone

Among you

Who is a father?

If your son

Asks for a fish,

Will you give

A snake

Instead of a fish?”

 

τίνα δὲ ἐξ ὑμῶν τὸν πατέρα αἰτήσει ὁ υἱὸς ἰχθύν, μὴ ἀντὶ ἰχθύος ὄφιν αὐτῷ ἐπιδώσει;

 

Luke indicated that Jesus asked them if there was anyone among them who was a father (τίνα δὲ ἐξ ὑμῶν τὸν πατέρα).  If their son asked for a fish (αἰτήσει ὁ υἱὸς ἰχθύν), would they give their son (αὐτῷ ἐπιδώσει) a snake (ὄφιν), instead of a fish (μὴ ἀντὶ ἰχθύος)?  The answer was obvious, of course not.  Matthew, chapter 7:10, had a similar saying of Jesus, indicating a common Q source.  If the son asked for a fish (ἢ καὶ ἰχθὺν αἰτήσει), would be give him a snake or a serpent (μὴ ὄφιν ἐπιδώσει αὐτῷ)?  The answer was that no father would be that cruel to his son.  Thus, the heavenly Father will listen to their requests.  What do you ask God the Father for?

Advertisements

You give to your sons (Mt 7:9-7:10)

“Is there anyone

Among you,

Who,

If your son

Asks for bread,

Will give him

A stone?

Or if he asks

For a fish,

Will give him

A snake?”

 

ἢ τίς ἐστιν ἐξ ὑμῶν ἄνθρωπος, ὃν αἰτήσει ὁ υἱὸς αὐτοῦ ἄρτον, μὴ λίθον ἐπιδώσει αὐτῷ;

ἢ καὶ ἰχθὺν αἰτήσει, μὴ ὄφιν ἐπιδώσει αὐτῷ;

 

This saying of Jesus is nearly the same as in Luke, chapter 11:11-12, indicating a common Q source.  Jesus wanted to know if any man among them (ἢ τίς ἐστιν ἐξ ὑμῶν ἄνθρωπος) would be foolish enough to give a round stone (μὴ λίθον ἐπιδώσει αὐτῷ) instead of a loaf of bread (ἄρτον) to his son who was asking for this (ὃν αἰτήσει ὁ υἱὸς αὐτοῦ).  If the son asked for a fish (ἢ καὶ ἰχθὺν αἰτήσει), would be give him a snake or a serpent (μὴ ὄφιν ἐπιδώσει αὐτῷ)?  The answer was obvious.  No father would be that cruel to his son.  Luke did not have the son ask for bread, but for an egg that was returned as a scorpion.

Yahweh protects you with his angels (Ps 91:11-91:13)

“He will command his angels

Concerning you.

His angels will guard you

In all your ways.

On their hands

They will bear you up.

Thus you will not dash your foot

Against a stone.

You will tread

On the lion.

You will tread

On the adder.

You will trample under foot

The young lion.

You will trample under foot

The serpent.”

Yahweh will send his angels to protect you. They will guide you in his ways so that you will not stub your foot on a stone. Actually you will be able to tread on a lion or an adder, a poisonous snake. You will be able to stamp on a young lion or a serpent. It might be difficult to trample a young lion, while the snake might not be so difficult.

The wicked ones (Ps 58:3-58:5)

“The wicked go astray from the womb.

They err from their birth.

They speak lies.

They have venom

Like the venom of a serpent.

They have venom

Like the deaf adder that stops its ear.

Thus it does not hear

The voice of charmers.

It does not hear

The voice of the cunning enchanter.”

David then went into a diatribe description of the wicked ones. He maintained that the wicked peopple were so from their time in the womb, from their birth. This was the nature of the wicked, since there was no question of nurture. They were snakes with their deadly venom whether it be a serpent or an adder group of snakes. This adder venomous snake seems to be smarter or more cunning since it covers its ears so that the snake charmer cannot influence it. This is odd, but not out of line with the thinking that the snake, the adder, or serpent was evil.

The hymn to the all powerful God (Job 26:5-26:14)

“The shades below tremble.

The waters and their inhabitants tremble.

Sheol is naked before God.

Abaddon has no covering.

He stretches out Zaphon over the void.

He hangs the earth upon nothing.

He binds up the waters in his thick clouds.

The cloud is not torn open by them.

He covers the face of the full moon.

He spreads over it his cloud.

He has described a circle on the face of the waters.

He has described a circle at the boundary between light and darkness.

The pillars of heaven tremble.

They are astounded at his rebuke.

By his power he stilled the sea.

By his understanding he struck down Rahab.

By his wind the heavens were made fair.

His hand pierced the fleeing serpent.

These are indeed but the outskirts of his ways.

How small a whisper do we hear of him!

But the thunder of his power,

Who can understand?”

Then Job broke into a hymn about the all powerful God. Could this be from Bildad?   In very explicit colorful language, he describes the power of God over all things. This is the vision of earth, Sheol, and heaven. Sheol and Abaddon are similar, like a bottomless pit. Abaddon will become a person in the Christian book of Revelation. Here it is like another name for Sheol, so that even those below must recognize the power of God since they have no place to hide or cover up. Zaphon is the northern mountain area of the Canaanite gods, something like the Greek Mount Olympus. The earth was suspended over an abyss. The water in the clouds was still accepted today as the cause of rain. Only God could make it rain and break the clouds. He also had control of the moon creating eclipses. God was of course responsible for the boundary between water and earth as well as light and darkness. There were even pillars in heaven that were afraid of him. Perhaps these pillars are the mountains that seem to reach up into the heavens. Obviously he controlled the sea and the mythical sea monster Rahab. Rahab was also the name of the prostitute, who helped the troops of Joshua, chapter 2. God then pierced the fleeing serpent, perhaps a reference to Genesis, chapter 3. We mortals only catch a glimpse of his power like a whisper when he thunders. The idea that God spoke through thunder was prevalent. However, we cannot understand all this.

The fall (Gen 3:1-3:24)

“Now the serpent was craftier than any other wild animal that Yahweh God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God say, `You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden.  But God said, `You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you will die.’  But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not die.  God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’  So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.  She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.  They sewed fig leaves together and made aprons or loincloths for themselves.”

In chapter three, a devious talking serpent appears on the scene.  He tells the woman that she will not die if she eats from the tree that gives knowledge of good and bad.  Instead she will become like God.  Both she and the man ate the fruit of the tree and suddenly they recognized that they were naked and needed to cover parts of their bodies.

 “They heard the sound of Yahweh God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Yahweh God among the trees of the garden.  But Yahweh God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’   He said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.’ He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?’  The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.’  Then Yahweh God said to the woman, ‘What is this that you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent tricked me, and I ate.’”

Now Yahweh was out for his evening walk, so the man and woman hid because they knew they were naked.  Yahweh wanted to know who told them that they were naked. They must have eaten from the forbidden fruit.  Adam and Eve screwed up.  Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the evil serpent who tempted her.  Ever since the dawn of humanity, humans have continued to blame someone or something for their own mistakes.  The first great sin was disobedience to the higher power, Yahweh.

 “Yahweh God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, cursed are you above all animals and all wild creatures.  Upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers.  He will strike your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

Perfection came to an end.  The snake becomes the personification of evil.  Everybody got punished.  Snakes have to crawl on their belly and their offspring and that of the woman would be enemies.  Snakes never had any legs anyhow.

“To the woman he said, ‘I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing.  In pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

Women will bear children in pain and be subject to their husbands. This punishment sets the role of men and women for thousands of years, the hard working man and the dutiful child bearing woman under his rule.  The patriarchal system is in place and considered to be the normal way of things because Yahweh wants it so.

“And to the man he said, ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you,` You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you. In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.  Thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you.  You shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken.  You are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

The man will have to work hard to toil the soil and in the end will return to dust at death.  Our idyllic Garden of Eden happiness concept does not last a lifetime without some bumps along the road in this vale of tears.  We share a flawed human nature on our life long journey.  We have both a limited freedom and a limited responsibility.  So we need to work and be productive in this created world.  We need to share in the creative enterprise by working in God’s creation. 

 “The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.  And Yahweh God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife, and clothed them.”

Here they get names.  Yahweh gives them clothes. The man names his wife Eve, because she is the mother of all living people.  Of course, this raises the question of other Eves.

“Then Yahweh God said, ‘See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil.  Now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever’  Therefore Yahweh God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken.  He drove out the man.  At the east of the Garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life.”

Notice that the man has become like God, but not the woman.  Suddenly there is another tree, the tree of live.  The two, the man Adam and the woman Eve, were driven from the garden and lived east of Eden, where cherubim guarded the garden gate with a burning flame.  Wow, what a story! Nearly everyone has heard this one.  A capricious Yahweh is the overlord of the garden and punishes the humans because they want to be like him.  Two minor characters are the talking wicked animal serpent and the good spiritual cherubim with a flaming sword. The cherubim are somewhat like the winged animals that guard other ancient Mid-eastern buildings.