The other side of the sea (Lk 8:22-8:22)

“One day,

Jesus

Got into a boat

With his disciples.

He said to them.

‘Let us go across

To the other side

Of the lake.’

Thus,

They set out.”

 

Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν μιᾷ τῶν ἡμερῶν καὶ αὐτὸς ἐνέβη εἰς πλοῖον καὶ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς Διέλθωμεν εἰς τὸ πέραν τῆς λίμνης· καὶ ἀνήχθησαν.

 

Luke said that one day (Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν μιᾷ τῶν ἡμερῶν), Jesus got into a boat (καὶ αὐτὸς ἐνέβη εἰς πλοῖον) with his disciples (καὶ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ).  He said to them (καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς) that he wanted to go across to the other side of the lake (Διέλθωμεν εἰς τὸ πέραν τῆς λίμνης).  Thus, they set out (καὶ ἀνήχθησαν).  Something similar to this short episode of Jesus telling his disciples to travel across the sea can also be found in Mark, chapter 4:35-36.  Mark said that at the end of the day, when evening came, Jesus told his disciples that he wanted them to cross over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee from Capernaum.  However, Mark added that Jesus dismissed the crowds.  Then he and his disciples got into a couple of boats.  Thus, there was a small group of boats crossing the Sea of Galilee.  Matthew, chapter 8:23, had the simple statement that Jesus got into the boat with his disciples.  Have you ever gone across a sea or a lake on a boat?

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Jesus goes to Tyre (Mk 7:24-7:24)

“From there,

Jesus set out.

He went away

To the region

Of Tyre.

He entered a house.

He did not want anybody

To know

That he was there.

Yet he could not

Escape notice.”

 

Ἐκεῖθεν δὲ ἀναστὰς ἀπῆλθεν εἰς τὰ ὅρια Τύρου. Καὶ εἰσελθὼν εἰς οἰκίαν οὐδένα ἤθελεν γνῶναι, καὶ οὐκ ἠδυνάσθη λαθεῖν·

 

Matthew, chapter 15:21, has something similar, but also mentioned Sidon, while only some ancient orthodox texts added Sidon here.  Mark said that Jesus left the area (Ἐκεῖθεν δὲ ἀναστὰς) around the Sea of Galilee.  He went to the district or region of Tyre (ἀπῆλθεν εἰς τὰ ὅρια Τύρου).  Tyre was a Phoenician coastal island city that still exists in southern Lebanon.  Known for its maritime trade and purple dye, it was actually originally in the Israelite territory of Asher.  The Mediterranean ports at both Sidon and Tyre. were commercial trading partners.  Tyre was a great ancient city with many merchant princes, while Sidon was also a maritime Phoenician city about 25 miles north of Tyre, mostly known for its fishing and trade.  Sidon was also the name of the grandson of Noah, and thus older than Tyre.  Traditionally, Isaiah, chapter 23, and the other prophets were against these two wealthy coastal towns.  It is not clear why Jesus went to this coastal region, except that the Pharisees were not there.  Mark has this unique sentence that Jesus entered a house (Καὶ εἰσελθὼν εἰς οἰκίαν) because he did not want anybody to know that he was there (οὐδένα ἤθελεν γνῶναι,).  However, he could not escape notice (καὶ οὐκ ἠδυνάσθη λαθεῖν).

Title

The Gospel according to Mark

τὸ κατὰ Μᾶρκον εὐαγγέλιον,

What is a gospel?  Who is Mark?  The musical play “Godspell” that opened on Broadway in 1971, was based on the Old English ‘godspel.’  Like the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον, this Germanic based word gospel means good news or good tidings.  This term originally meant the Christian message itself.  However, in the second century, it came to be used for the books where this message was set out.  Thus, the gospels became known as the written accounts of the life, actions, and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.  This Gospel of Mark is anonymous since there is no explicit mention of a named author within the text itself.  This title (Τὸ κατὰ Μᾶρκον εὐαγγέλιον), however was added some time in the second century, perhaps by Papias of Hierapolis (60–130 CE), an early bishop and apostolic father.  Traditionally, this work has been ascribed to John Mark, the companion of the apostle Peter, who may have transcribed the teachings of Simon Peter.  This John Mark was the son of a widow named Mary as indicated in Acts, chapter 12:12.  He also accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journeys, since he was also the cousin of Barnabas, as indicated in Colossians, chapter 4:10.  However, he  left Paul and Barnabas for some unknown reasons in Acts, chapter 13:13.  Today, most scholars agree that his anonymous Gospel of Mark was the first written gospel, probably written between 66–70 CE, during Emperor Nero’s persecution of the Christians in Rome or the Jewish revolt.  Thus, the authors of Matthew and Luke used Mark with a second document called the Q source.  This short Gospel of Mark was written for a gentile audience in a simple Greek style that is often called “street Greek.”  This Greek style is thus vivid and concrete showing a very active Jesus with less teaching or preaching.  Mark explained Jewish traditions and translated Aramaic terms for his Greek-speaking Christian audience who would not have understood them.  Some suggest Rome as the origin of this gospel since there are some Latin terms.  Others have suggested Antioch, the 3rd largest city in the Roman Empire.  This author may have been influenced by Greco-Roman writings, but all his references are from the Jewish Greek version of the Septuagint Bible or the Old Testament.

 

 

 

 

The priests of Bel (Dan 14:10-14:13)

“Now there were seventy priests

Of Bel,

Besides their wives,

With their children.

The king went

With Daniel

Into the temple

Of Bel.

The priests Of Bel said.

‘See!

We are going outside.

You!

Yourself!

O king!

Set out the food!

Prepare the wine!

Shut the door!

Seal it with your signet!

When you return

In the morning,

If you do not find

That Bel has eaten it all,

We will die.

Otherwise,

Daniel will die.

He is telling lies

About us.’

They were unconcerned,

Because beneath the table,

They had made

A hidden entrance,

Through which

They used to go in regularly.

They would consume

The provisions.”

There were 70 priests of Bel, with their wives and children. The king went with Daniel into the Bel temple. The priests then said to them that they were going outside. They wanted the king to set out the food and the wine. Then he should shut and seal the door with his signet. If the next morning he returned, and the god Bel had not eaten the provisions, they should be killed. However, if the god Bel had eaten the food, then Daniel, who had lied against them, should be killed. They were unconcerned, because beneath the table they had made a hidden entrance. They used this secret passageway to regularly consume the provisions set out for the idol god Bel.

The destruction from the north (Jer 4:6-4:8)

“I am bringing evil

From the north.

I am bringing great destruction.

A lion has gone up from its thicket.

A destroyer of nations has set out.

He has gone forth from his place

To make your land a waste.

Your cities will be in ruins

Without inhabitants.

Because of this

Put on sackcloth!

Lament!

Wail!’

The fierce anger of Yahweh

Has not turned away from us.”

Now Jeremiah says that Yahweh was going to bring this evil and great destruction from the north, without indicating whether it was the Assyrians or the Babylonians. However, this lion and destroyer of nations has set out from his den in order to create a wasteland. He would reduce their cities to ruins by decimating its inhabitants. They were to put on sackcloth, wail, and lament because the fierce anger of Yahweh was against them. They are in the line of fire of this destroyer.

Yahweh and the royal rule (Ps 110:2-110:3)

“Yahweh sends out from Zion

Your mighty scepter.

Rule in the midst of your foes!

Your people will offer themselves willingly,

On the day you lead your forces,

On the holy mountains.

From the womb of the morning,

Like dew,

Your youth will come to you.”

This is an extremely difficult passage to understand from the Hebrew text. It appears that Yahweh sends out the mighty scepter of David from Mount Zion in Jerusalem. King David would then rule in the middle of his foes and enemies. The people would offer themselves to David and be part of his armed forces. They would set out from the holy mountains. Somehow, David would regain his youth like the dew in the early morning.