Lot’s wife (Lk 17:32-17:32)

“Remember Lot’s wife!”

 

μνημονεύετε τῆς γυναικὸς Λώτ

 

Luke was the only gospel writer to have Jesus remark about remembering Lot’s wife (μνημονεύετε τῆς γυναικὸς Λώτ).  This was is a reference to Genesis, chapter 19:26.  There Yahweh had rained down on both Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire, so that all who lived in those two towns and the plains around it were destroyed.  Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.  Luke and Jesus did not elaborate on the circumstances of her death, just remember it as if it was well known.  This was quite a striking biblical image, since they were in the plains by the Dead Sea that was also called the Salt Sea.  Have you ever looked back with regret?

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Lot and the Son of Man (Lk 17:29-17:30)

“But on the day

When Lot

Left Sodom,

It rained

Fire

And sulphur

From heaven.

It destroyed

All of them.

It will be like that

On the day

That the Son of Man

Is revealed.”

 

ᾗ δὲ ἡμέρᾳ ἐξῆλθεν Λὼτ ἀπὸ Σοδόμων, ἔβρεξεν πῦρ καὶ θεῖον ἀπ’ οὐρανοῦ καὶ ἀπώλεσεν πάντας

κατὰ τὰ αὐτὰ ἔσται ᾗ ἡμέρᾳ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἀποκαλύπτεται.

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus also mentioned Lot from Genesis, chapter 19:24.  Jesus said that on the day when Lot left Sodom (ᾗ δὲ ἡμέρᾳ ἐξῆλθεν Λὼτ ἀπὸ Σοδόμων), it rained fire (ἔβρεξεν πῦρ) and sulphur or brimstone (καὶ θεῖον) from heaven (ἀπ’ οὐρανοῦ).  It destroyed all of them (καὶ ἀπώλεσεν πάντας).  It would be like those days on the day (κατὰ τὰ αὐτὰ ἔσται ᾗ ἡμέρᾳ) that the Son of Man would be revealed (ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἀποκαλύπτεται).  In other words, the destruction of the world at the time of Noah and the destruction of the town of Sodom at the time of Lot were a foretaste of the end times.  It would come unexpectedly.  However, the conclusion was to be expected.  The comparison was explicit.  The Son of Man would come like in the olden days of destruction.  Are you prepared for the coming of the Son of Man at the end times?

The curse on Capernaum (Lk 10:15-10:15)

“You!

Capernaum!

Will you be exalted

To heaven?

No!

You will be

Brought down

To Hades.”

 

καὶ σύ, Καφαρναούμ, μὴ ἕως οὐρανοῦ ὑψωθήσῃ; ἕως τοῦ Ἅιδου καταβήσῃ.

 

Next Luke had Jesus take on Capernaum, his new home and headquarters in Galilee.  Capernaum (καὶ σύ, Καφαρναούμ) will not be exalted to heaven (μὴ ἕως οὐρανοῦ ὑψωθήσῃ).  Instead, it will be brought down to Hades or hell (ἕως τοῦ Ἅιδου καταβήσῃ).  Once again, Jesus used the second person plural.  Matthew, chapter 11:23, had a similar statement, indicating a possible common Q source.  Jesus questioned them.  Would they be exalted or raised up to heaven?  No!  In fact, they would be cast down to the unseen world of Hades, the traditional Greek word for hell.  Matthew then even compared Capernaum to Sodom.  If the mighty miracles that were done in Capernaum were done in Sodom, Sodom might have remained until the present day.  Then Jesus gave a solemn pronouncement that it would be more tolerable for the land of Sodom than for the people of Capernaum.  Jesus warned these three towns, within 10 miles of each other.  They had not repented, despite his teaching and the many miracles there.  Something must have happened in Capernaum because it had been his base of operations in Galilee.  Have you ever turned on the town where you had lived?

Shake off the dust of your feet (Mk 6:11-6:11)

“If any place

Will not welcome you,

If they refuse

To hear you,

As you leave,

Shake off the dust

That is on your feet

As a testimony

Against them.”

 

καὶ ὃς ἂν τόπος μὴ δέξηται ὑμᾶς μηδὲ ἀκούσωσιν ὑμῶν, ἐκπορευόμενοι ἐκεῖθεν ἐκτινάξατε τὸν χοῦν τὸν ὑποκάτω τῶν ποδῶν ὑμῶν εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς.

 

Equivalent passages to this can be found in Matthew, chapter 10:14, and Luke, chapter 9:5.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that if any place (καὶ ὃς ἂν τόπος) would not receive them (μὴ δέξηται ὑμᾶς) or listen to their words (μηδὲ ἀκούσωσιν ὑμῶν), they were to leave that place (ἐκπορευόμενοι ἐκεῖθεν).  They should shake off the dust from their feet (ἐκτινάξατε τὸν χοῦν τὸν ὑποκάτω τῶν ποδῶν ὑμῶν), as a witness or testimony against them (εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς).  This indicated that the dust of that house was useless.  Some orthodox texts have the statement about Sodom and Gomorrah that was in Matthew, chapter 10:15 that had Jesus make a comparison between the places that had rejected them with the famous wicked cities of Genesis, chapter 18:20-19:29, Sodom and Gomorrah.  He said with a solemn statement (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) that it would be more tolerable (ἀνεκτότερον ἔσ) for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah (γῇ Σοδόμων καὶ Γομόρρων) on the judgment day (ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως) than this place that rejected his disciples (ἢ τῇ πόλει ἐκείνῃ).  They had lacked hospitality to the followers of Jesus, so that they were worse than those terrible cities in Genesis.

Against Capernaum (Mt 11:23-11:24)

“You!

Capernaum!

Will you be exalted

To heaven?

No!

You will be brought down

To Hades.

If the deeds of power

Done in you

Had been done in Sodom,

It would have remained

Until this day.

But I tell you!

On the day of judgment

That it shall be more tolerable

For the land of Sodom

Than for you.”

 

καὶ σύ, Καφαρναούμ, μὴ ἕως οὐρανοῦ ὑψωθήσῃ; ἕως Ἅιδου καταβήσῃ· ὅτι εἰ ἐν Σοδόμοις ἐγενήθησαν αἱ δυνάμεις αἱ γενόμεναι ἐν σοί, ἔμεινεν ἂν μέχρι τῆς σήμερον.

πλὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι γῇ Σοδόμων ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως ἢ σοί.

 

Then Matthew has Jesus take on his own new home town of Capernaum.  Luke, chapter 10:15, has a similar statement, word for word, indicating a possible common Q source.  However, the second verse is unique to Matthew.  Jesus, turned to his home town of Capernaum (καὶ σύ, Καφαρναούμ), as mentioned in chapter 4:13.  He questioned them.  Would they be exalted or raised up to heaven (μὴ ἕως οὐρανοῦ ὑψωθήσῃ)?  No!  In fact, they would be cast down to the unseen world of Hades (ἕως Ἅιδου καταβήσῃ), the traditional Greek word for hell.  If the mighty miracles that were done in Capernaum were done in Sodom (ὅτι εἰ ἐν Σοδόμοις ἐγενήθησαν αἱ δυνάμεις αἱ γενόμεναι ἐν σοί), Sodom might have remained until the present day (ἔμεινεν ἂν μέχρι τῆς σήμερον).  This refers to the story in Genesis, chapter 19:1-29.  Then Jesus gave a solemn pronouncement “I say to you” (πλὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) that on the day of judgment (ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως ἢ σοί) it would be more tolerable for the land of Sodom than for the people of Capernaum (ὅτι γῇ Σοδόμων ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται).  Thus, Jesus had warned these three towns within 10 miles of each other, because they had not repented despite his many miracles there.

Punishment for that unhospitable town (Mt 10:15-10:15)

“Truly,

I say to you!

It shall be more tolerable

For the land

Of Sodom,

And Gomorrah,

On the day of judgment,

Than for that town.”

 

ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται γῇ Σοδόμων καὶ Γομόρρων ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως ἢ τῇ πόλει ἐκείνῃ.

 

There are no equivalent passages in Mark or Luke.  However, Matthew has something like this in chapter 11:24.  Jesus, via Matthew, made a comparison between the town that had rejected them with the famous wicked cities of Genesis, chapter 18:20-19:29, Sodom and Gomorrah.  This was a solemn statement (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) that it would be more tolerable (ἀνεκτότερον ἔσ) for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah (γῇ Σοδόμων καὶ Γομόρρων) on the judgment day (ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως) than this town that rejected his disciples (ἢ τῇ πόλει ἐκείνῃ).  They had lacked hospitality to the followers of Jesus, so that they were worse than the terrible cities in Genesis.

Yahweh has second thoughts (Hos 11:8-11:9)

“How can I give you up?

O Ephraim!

How can I hand you over?

O Israel!

How can I make you

Like Admah?

How can I treat you

Like Zeboiim?

My heart recoils

Within me.

My compassion

Grows warm.

My compassion

Grows tender.

I will not execute

My fierce anger.

I will not again

Destroy Ephraim.

I am God!

I am not a mortal!

I am the Holy One

In your midst.

I will not come

In wrath.”

Yahweh, via Hosea, had second thoughts about the destruction of Israel. How could he give Ephraim up? How could he hand over Israel? He could not make them like Admah and Zeboiim, two of the five cities destroyed with Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis, chapter 19. His heart was compassionate with warm tenderness. He decided not to execute his fierce anger against Ephraim. Yahweh was God, not a mere mortal. He was the Holy One in their midst. He was not going to come in anger.