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?

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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.

The attack on Egypt (Jer 46:22-46:24)

“‘She makes a sound

Like a snake gliding away.

Her enemies march in force.

They come against her

With axes,

Like those who fell trees.

They shall cut down

Her forest.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Even though it is

Impenetrable,

Because they are

More numerous

Than locusts.

They are without number.

Daughter Egypt

Shall be put to shame.

She shall be handed over

To a people from the north.’”

The Egyptians will slitter away like a snake as her enemies shall attack her in full force. They are coming with axes to kill her, as if they were clearing a forest. This enemy is like a large swarm of locusts that is so numerous that cannot be measured. Good daughter Egypt will be put to shame, as she will be handed over to the people from the north.

Be careful in what you do (Eccl 10:8-10:11)

“Whoever digs a pit

Will fall into it.

Whoever breaks through a wall,

Will be bitten by a snake.

Whoever quarries stones

Will be hurt by them.

Whoever splits logs

Will be endangered by them.

If the iron is blunt,

If one does not whet the edge,

Then more strength must be exerted.

But wisdom helps one to succeed.

If the serpent bites before it is charmed,

There is no advantage in a charmer.”

Here Qoheleth offers more wise advice. If you dig a pit, you probably will fall into it. If you break through a wall, you might find a snake ready to bite you on the other side. If you dig out stones, you might be hurt by them. If you split logs, they could hurt you. If you have a blunt edge and you do not sharpen it, you will have to use more force. Wisdom can help you to succeed. What is the advantage of being a snake charmer if the snake bites you before you can charm it?

The staff changes into a snake (Ex 7:8-7:13)

“Yahweh said to Moses and Aaron, ‘When Pharaoh says to you, Perform a wonder or miracle, then you shall say to Aaron, take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh, and it will become a snake.’  So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did as Yahweh had commanded.  Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his officials and it became a snake.  Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers.  They also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same by their secret arts.  Each one threw down his staff, and they became snakes.  But Aaron’s staff swallowed up theirs.  Still Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as Yahweh had said.”

Moses, the 80 year old reluctant leader, went to Pharaoh with his 83 year old brother, Aaron.  Aaron, who has the primary role in this priestly tradition, performed the first wonder, miracle, or trick by changing his staff into a snake when he threw it on the ground.  Pharaoh then got his own magicians. They all could make snakes out of sticks.  Apparently, serpent magic was common in Egypt. However, Aaron’s snake swallowed up the snakes of the Egyptian magicians.  Nevertheless, Pharaoh was not convinced to let the Israelites go.