Joseph’s son (Lk 4:22-4:22)

“All spoke well of him.

They were amazed

At the gracious words

That came

From his mouth.

They said.

‘Is not this Joseph’s son?’”

 

καὶ πάντες ἐμαρτύρουν αὐτῷ καὶ ἐθαύμαζον ἐπὶ τοῖς λόγοις τῆς χάριτος τοῖς ἐκπορευομένοις ἐκ τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἔλεγον Οὐχὶ υἱός ἐστιν Ἰωσὴφ οὗτος;

 

This story of Jesus astonishing the people in Nazareth can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 6:2, and Matthew, chapter 13:54, and Luke here.  Luke said that all the people in the synagogue spoke well or testified in favor of Jesus (καὶ πάντες ἐμαρτύρουν αὐτῷ).  They were amazed at the gracious words (καὶ ἐθαύμαζον ἐπὶ τοῖς λόγοις τῆς χάριτος) that came from his mouth (τοῖς ἐκπορευομένοις ἐκ τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ).  At first, they were excited about how good Jesus was.  Then they said (καὶ ἔλεγον) was he not Joseph’s son (Οὐχὶ υἱός ἐστιν Ἰωσὴφ οὗτος)?  Thus, they were astonished and wondered where did he get all his wisdom.  They seemed surprised that Jesus was so smart or so important.  They would have known him for some time as merely the son of Joseph in Nazareth.

Jesus teaches in the synagogue (Mk 6:2-6:2)

“On the Sabbath,

Jesus began to teach

In the synagogue.

Many who heard him

Were astonished.

They said.

‘Where did this man

Get all this?

What is this wisdom

That has been given

To him?

What deeds of power

Are being done

By his hands!’”

 

καὶ γενομένου σαββάτου ἤρξατο διδάσκειν ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ· καὶ οἱ πολλοὶ ἀκούοντες ἐξεπλήσσοντο λέγοντες Πόθεν τούτῳ ταῦτα, καὶ τίς ἡ σοφία ἡ δοθεῖσα τούτῳ; καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις τοιαῦται διὰ τῶν χειρῶν αὐτοῦ γινόμεναι;

 

This story of Jesus astonishing the people in Nazareth can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, here, Matthew, chapter 13:54-56, and Luke, chapter 4:16-22.  Luke was more elaborate, while Matthew was closer to Mark, who said that on the Sabbath (καὶ γενομένου σαββάτου), Jesus began to teach the people in the synagogue (ἤρξατο διδάσκειν ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ).  However, many of the people that heard him were amazed or astonished (καὶ οἱ πολλοὶ ἀκούοντες ἐξεπλήσσοντο).  They wondered where did he get all this knowledge and wisdom (λέγοντες Πόθεν τούτῳ ταῦτα, καὶ τίς ἡ σοφία ἡ δοθεῖσα)?  Who gave him the power to do all these miraculous actions with his hands (καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις τοιαῦται διὰ τῶν χειρῶν αὐτοῦ γινόμεναι)?  They seemed surprised that Jesus was so smart and had these healing powers.  They would have known him for some time before this event.

The astonishment in his own town (Mt 13:54-13:56)

“He came to his hometown.

He began to teach the people

In their synagogue.

Thus,

They were astonished.

They said.

‘Where did this man

Get this wisdom?

Where did he get

These deeds of power?’”

 

καὶ ἐλθὼν εἰς τὴν πατρίδα αὐτοῦ ἐδίδασκεν αὐτοὺς ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ αὐτῶν, ὥστε ἐκπλήσσεσθαι αὐτοὺς καὶ λέγειν Πόθεν τούτῳ ἡ σοφία αὕτη καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις;

 

This story of Jesus astonishing the people in Nazareth can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 6:2, and Luke, chapter 4:16-17.  Luke is more elaborate, while Matthew is closer to Mark here.  Matthew said that Jesus came to his hometown, his own area (καὶ ἐλθὼν εἰς τὴν πατρίδα αὐτοῦ), probably Nazareth, but it is not explicitly named.  Jesus began to teach the people in their synagogue (ἐδίδασκεν αὐτοὺς ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ αὐτῶν).  However, they were astonished (ὥστε ἐκπλήσσεσθαι αὐτοὺς).  They wondered where did he get his wisdom (καὶ λέγειν Πόθεν τούτῳ ἡ σοφία αὕτη)?  Where did he get these miraculous powers (καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις)?  They seemed surprised that Jesus was so smart and had these healing powers.  They would have known him for some time.

The Babylonian king requests young Israelite students (Dan 1:3-1:4)

“Then the king commanded

His palace master,

Ashpenaz,

To bring

Some of the Israelites

Of the royal family

Or Of the nobility.

These should be

Young men

Without physical defect,

As well as handsome.

These should be

Versed in every branch

Of wisdom,

Endowed

With knowledge,

As well as insight.

These young men

Should be competent

To serve

In the king’s palace.

They were to be taught

The literature,

As well as the language,

Of the Chaldeans.”

King Nebuchadnezzar wanted to have some well-bred Israelites students. He had his palace chief, Ashpenaz, find these young men if they met certain conditions. These young men would have to be in good physical shape, as well as good looking. They had to be from the Israelite royal family or the Israelite nobility. Thus, these young men would not be run of the mill students. On top of that, they had to show some wisdom, knowledge, and insight. They were not going to waste their time on people who did not want to learn. Thus, they would be competent to serve in the king’s palace like a page. They also had to learn the Chaldean or Babylonian culture with its literature and language. This seemed like a good use of smart young men.

 

Slaves and servants (Sir 7:20-7:21)

“Do not abuse slaves

Who work faithfully.

Do not abuse hired laborers

Who devote themselves to their task.

Let your soul love intelligent slaves.

Do not withhold from them their freedom.”

Sirach continued with his recommendations about slaves. First, you should not abuse slaves. However, this is only for those who work faithfully. It might be okay to abuse the ones who are not working. Secondly, you should not abuse the hired laborers either. But once again there is a caveat that this applies only to those who do their tasks. Otherwise, it was okay to abuse the stragglers. You should love intelligent slaves like yourself. In fact, you should free them. This seems to indicate that the smart slaves should be set free, but the dumb ones should remain in bondage.

These false worshipers are seeking something (Wis 13:6-13:9)

“These people are little to be blamed.

Perhaps they go astray.

But they were seeking God.

They desired to find him.

As they live among his works,

They keep searching.

They trust in what they see.

Because the things that are seen are beautiful.

Yet again,

Not even they are to be excused.

If they had the power to know so much

That they could investigate the world,

How did they fail to find sooner

the Lord of these things?”

This writer seems to give these nature idol worshipers a pass. They were at least seeking God (πλανῶνται Θεὸν). They were trying to find him in his works (τοῖς ἔργοις). They kept searching in this beautiful world. However, since they were so smart, they should have investigated further to find the creator of all this beauty. They are not to be totally excused because they should have found the maker and creator (δεσπότην) of all these things. This is an argument against nature worshippers who fail to see through to the divine maker of nature.

The righteous (Prov 28:11-28:13)

“The rich are wise in self-esteem.

But an intelligent poor person

Sees through the pose.

When the righteous triumph,

There is great glory.

But when the wicked prevail,

People go into hiding.

No one who conceals his transgressions

Will prosper.

Whoever confesses them,

Whoever forsakes them,

Will obtain mercy.”

The rich people pretend to be wise in their own eyes with great self-esteem. However, the smart poor people can see through this. Whenever the righteous triumph, there is great glory. On the other hand, when the wicked prevail, everyone goes into hiding. You will not prosper if you hide your transgressions. However, if you confess your transgressions and give them up, you will obtain mercy.