The virgin Mary (Lk 1:27-1:27)

“The angel Gabriel

Went

To a virgin

Engaged to a man,

Whose name was Joseph,

Of the house of David.

The virgin’s name

Was Mary.”

 

πρὸς παρθένον ἐμνηστευμένην ἀνδρὶ ᾧ ὄνομα Ἰωσὴφ, ἐξ οἴκου Δαυείδ, καὶ τὸ ὄνομα τῆς παρθένου Μαριάμ.

 

Luke has the angel Gabriel appear to Mary, as opposed to Matthew, chapter 1:20, who had an unnamed angel appear to Joseph in a dream.  This angel Gabriel went to a virgin (πρὸς παρθένον), who was engaged (ἐμνηστευμένην) to a man named Joseph (ἀνδρὶ ᾧ ὄνομα Ἰωσὴφ) from the house of David (ἐξ οἴκου Δαυείδ).  The name of this virgin was Mary (καὶ τὸ ὄνομα τῆς παρθένου Μαριάμ).  Thus, both stories from these 2 gospels concur that Mary and Joseph were the parents of Jesus.  Matthew said that Joseph had resolved to get rid of Mary, instead of taking her as his wife until the angel of the Lord appeared to him.  This unnamed angel reassured Joseph that he should not be afraid to take Mary as his wife.  Thus, God, via his angel, was trying to show Joseph that everything would be alright.  Here the emphasis is on Mary, a common name in first century Judaism based on the name of Mariam, the sister of Moses.  Mary was a virgin (παρθένου), someone who did not have sexual relations with the opposite sex, which would have been normal at this time for young girls before they were married.  However, she was engaged or betrothed to Joseph, who had Davidic ancestry.  In other words, the wedding contact had not been signed.  Thus, they were still involved with prenuptial arrangements.

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Enforce the edict against Daniel (Dan 6:11-6:13)

“The conspirators came.

They found Daniel praying,

Seeking mercy

Before his God.

Then they approached the king.

They said

Concerning the interdict.

‘O king!

Did you not sign

An interdict,

That anyone

Who prays to anyone,

Divine or human,

Within thirty days,

Except to you,

O king!

Shall be thrown

Into a den of lions?’

The king answered.

‘The thing stands fast,

According to the law

Of the Medes,

Of the Persians,

That cannot be revoked.’

Then they responded

To the king.

‘Daniel,

One of the exiles

From Judah,

Pays no attention

To you!

O king!

Or the interdict

You have signed.

But he is saying his prayers

Three times a day.’”

These conspirators, once they had the decree signed, found Daniel praying and seeking mercy from his God. They went to the king to remind him that he had signed this interdiction about no one being allowed to pray to any human or divine person for 30 days, except to the king. The punishment was to be thrown into a den of lions. The king said that he understood that this was the law according to the Medes and the Persians. Then they said that Daniel, one of the Judean exiles, was not paying attention to him and his decree, since he was praying 3 times a day to his God in his house.

Daniel prays to God (Dan 6:10-6:10)

“Although Daniel knew

That the document

Had been signed,

He continued to go

To his house.

It had windows

In its upper room

Open toward Jerusalem.

He got down

On his knees

Three times a day

To pray

To God.

He praised him

As he done previously.”

Daniel knew that his fate had been sealed. The king had signed the decree. However, that did not faze him. He continued to pray in his house that had open windows facing Jerusalem on the second floor or the upper chambers. He got down on his knees, as he usually did, 3 times a day. He then prayed and praised God, as he had done so often before.

The new decree (Dan 6:7-6:9)

“All the presidents

Of the kingdom,

The prefects,

The satraps,

The counselors,

The governors,

All agreed.

The king

Should establish

An ordinance.

He should enforce

An interdict.

‘Whoever prays

To anyone,

Divine,

Or human,

For thirty days,

Except to you,

O king!

Shall be cast

Into a den of lions.

Now,

O king!

Establish the interdict!

Sign the document!

Thus,

It cannot be changed,

According to the law

Of the Medes,

Of the Persians.

It cannot be revoked.’

Therefore,

King Darius signed

The document.

He signed

The interdict.”

Thus, the two other presidents of the kingdom, with the prefects, the satraps, the counselors, and the governors all agreed that the king should establish an ordinance to be enforced as an interdict. This ordinance would say that anyone who prayed to any divine or human for the next 30 days, except to the king himself, should be cast into a den of lions. Then the king established this interdict and signed the document that could not be changed, according to the laws of Medes and Persia. This is somewhat reminiscent of the story of the king in Book of Esther, chapters 3-4 and 8-9, against the Jews.

The restoration of good fields (Jer 32:43-32:44)

“‘Fields shall be bought

In this land

Of which you are saying.

‘It is a desolation!

It is without humans!

It is without animals!

It has been given

Into the hands

Of the Chaldeans.’

Fields shall be bought

For money.

Deeds shall be signed,

Sealed,

As well as witnessed

In the land of Benjamin,

In the places about Jerusalem,

In the towns of Judah,

In the towns of the hill country,

In the towns of the Shephelah,

In the towns of the Negeb.

I will restore their fortunes.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh said, via Jeremiah, that the time of the desolation of the land was over. Fields were going to be bought and sold. It is not clear who owned some of these fields, since they might have changed hands a few times, since the beginning of the exile. However, the land was desolate, since there were no humans or animals on them after the Chaldeans took over. Who was going to sell this land? However, there would be a legal process. Money would exchange hands with deeds signed, sealed, and witnessed. The example of Jeremiah buying a field in the preceding chapter may be an example of how things would operate. Now this restoration would take place in the Benjamin territory, around the city of Jerusalem, and the towns of Judah. However, there are places mentioned, like the towns in the hill country of Judah, the Shephelah, the old Dan territory next to Benjamin, as well as the Negeb, the semi arid land southeast of Jerusalem near the Dead Sea. There was no mention of the northern territory from the old northern Israelite kingdom and their tribal territory.

Baruch gets the deed (Jer 32:12-32:12)

“I gave the deed of purchase

To Baruch,

The son of Neriah,

The son of Mahseiah.

This was done

In the presence

Of my cousin Hanamel,

As well as in the presence

Of the witnesses who signed

The deed of purchase.

This was also done

In the presence

Of all the Judeans

Who were sitting

In the court of the guard.”

Jeremiah gave the deed to Baruch, a disciple and friend of Jeremiah. Baruch also was his secretary or scribe who may have written down most of the oracles of Jeremiah. He has been considered the writer of the Book of Baruch, one of the lesser prophets. Baruch was the son of Neriah, whose father was Mahseiah. Somehow he had some relationship with the reigning King Zedekiah of Judah. Watching Jeremiah hand over the deed was his cousin Hanamel, the witnesses who had signed the deed, and all those other people of Judah who were sitting near the royal prison, where Jeremiah was being held.

The purchase of the field (Jer 32:9-32:11)

“I bought the field

At Anathoth

From my cousin Hanamel.

I weighed out

The money to him,

Seventeen shekels of silver.

I signed the deed.

I sealed it.

I got witnesses.

I weighed the money on scales.

Then I took

The sealed deed of purchase,

That contained the terms

With the conditions,

As well as the open copy.”

This is a very unusual section that contains explicit first person details of this property field sale. However, there is no indication of the exact size of this field. Nowhere else in the biblical works is there such a specific indication of how financial transactions took place. First, Jeremiah bought the land. Most times, there would be no more details other than that. However, here Jeremiah next weighs out the money, 17 silver shekels, which was not a lot of money, about a couple of hundred USA dollars. Where he got the money is not indicated here. Then he signed the deed, probably on papyrus, sealed it, and had witnesses also sign it. There must have been some kind of official seal used here, but we do not know what kind. Finally there seems to be 2 copies of this transaction. The sealed deed contained all the terms and conditions of the sale, while the open copy or city file copy might just have the statement that the sale was made, much like current open records in USA, which generally adds the dollar amount of the sale. Thus these transactions were stored or kept in jars of some kind.