Tower of Siloam (Lk 13:4-13:4)

“Or those eighteen,

Who were killed

When the tower

Of Siloam

Fell on them,

Do you think

That they were

Worse offenders

Than all the others

Living in Jerusalem?”

 

ἢ ἐκεῖνοι οἱ δέκα οκτὼ ἐφ’ οὓς ἔπεσεν ὁ πύργος ἐν τῷ Σιλωὰμ καὶ ἀπέκτεινεν αὐτούς, δοκεῖτε ὅτι αὐτοὶ ὀφειλέται ἐγένοντο παρὰ πάντας τοὺς ἀνθρώπους τοὺς κατοικοῦντας Ἱερουσαλήμ;

 

Luke uniquely had Jesus present another contemporary event that is not attested elsewhere.  This time it was about a difficult to ascertain tower of Siloam in the old southern part of Jerusalem that accidently killed 18 people.  Jesus wanted to know if these 18 people (ἢ ἐκεῖνοι οἱ δέκα οκτὼ) upon whom the tower of Siloam fell and killed (ἐφ’ οὓς ἔπεσεν ὁ πύργος ἐν τῷ Σιλωὰμ καὶ ἀπέκτεινεν αὐτούς) were worse sinners (δοκεῖτε ὅτι αὐτοὶ ὀφειλέται ἐγένοντο) than all the other people living in Jerusalem (παρὰ πάντας τοὺς ἀνθρώπους τοὺς κατοικοῦντας Ἱερουσαλήμ)?  Did this accidental death mean that these people were sinners?  Are people who die an accidental death worse than people who die at home in bed?  Do you know anyone who died in an accident?

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Jerusalem will remain (Zech 14:10-14:11)

“The whole land

Shall be turned

Into a plain

From Geba

To Rimmon,

South of Jerusalem.

But Jerusalem shall remain aloft

On its site,

From the Gate of Benjamin

To the place

Of the former gate,

To the Corner Gate.

It will remain

From the Tower of Hananel

To the king’s wine presses.

It shall be inhabited.

Never again shall it be doomed

To destruction.

Jerusalem shall abide in security.”

Although the whole land south of Jerusalem from Geba to Rimmon would be turned into a plain, Jerusalem would remain aloft from the fray, tall and strong.  Geba would be the northern boundary of Judah, about 5 miles north of Jerusalem, but actually in Benjamin.  Rimmon was the southernmost town in Judah, in the old Simeon territory, about 13 miles south of Hebron.  Jerusalem would be safe from its norther Gate of Benjamin to the wines presses in the southern part of the city.  Never again would Jerusalem be destroyed, because it would live in security.

The restoration of a smaller Egypt (Ezek 29:13-29:16)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘At the end of forty years,

I will gather

The Egyptians

From the people

Among whom

They were scattered.

I will restore

The fortunes of Egypt.

I will bring them back

To the land of Pathros,

The land of their origin.

There they shall be

A lowly kingdom.

It shall be the lowliest

Of the kingdoms.

It shall never again

Exalt itself

Above the nations.

I will make them

So small

That they will never again

Rule over the nations.

The Egyptians shall never again

Be the reliance

Of the house of Israel.

They will recall

Their iniquity,

When they turned

To them

For aid.

Then they will know

That I am Yahweh God!’”

Yahweh told Ezekiel that at end of forty years, he would gather the Egyptians from wherever they were scattered. He was going to restore the fortunes of Egypt. He was going to bring them back to Pathros, the southern part of Egypt near Thebes, where they originally came from. However, this would be a low kingdom that would not exalt itself among the various nations. They would be so small that they would never again rule over other countries. Israel would not rely on Egypt again. They would recall their iniquity when they turned to them for aid. They would all know that Yahweh was God.

Lamentation over Babylon (Isa 47:1-47:4)

“Come down!

Sit in the dust!

O virgin daughter Babylon!

Sit on the ground

Without a throne!

O daughter Chaldea!

You shall no more

Be called tender!

You shall no more

Be called delicate!

Take the millstones!

Grind the meal!

Remove your veil!

Strip off your robe!

Uncover your legs!

Pass through the rivers!

Your nakedness shall be uncovered.

Your shame shall be seen.

I will take vengeance.

I will spare no one.

Our Redeemer

Is the Holy One of Israel.

Yahweh of hosts

Is his name!”                                     

This is a unique kind of Hebrew lamentation. Yahweh God has stripped the unconquered virgin Babylon of its royal throne. The Chaldeans, who were from the southern part of Babylon, would no longer be considered tender and delicate. Now they were to do the work of slaves, grinding the meal with millstones. On top of that, they were to strip down, taking their veils off and removing their robes, so that their legs would be uncovered. They would be shamefully naked as washing in a river. Yahweh with his army was going to take vengeance on them, so that no one would be spared. Yahweh is the redeemer and the Holy One of Israel.