The people against Jesus (Lk 20:20-20:20)

“Thus,

They watched Jesus.

They sent spies,

Who pretended

To be righteous themselves.

They tried

To trap him.

Thus,

They might hand him over

To the jurisdiction

And authority

Of the governor.”

 

Καὶ παρατηρήσαντες ἀπέστειλαν ἐνκαθέτους ὑποκρινομένους ἑαυτοὺς δικαίους εἶναι, ἵνα ἐπιλάβωνται αὐτοῦ λόγου, ὥστε παραδοῦναι αὐτὸν τῇ ἀρχῇ καὶ τῇ ἐξουσίᾳ τοῦ ἡγεμόνος 

 

Luke said that the chief priests and the Scribes were watching Jesus very closely (Καὶ παρατηρήσαντες).  They sent spies (ἀπέστειλαν ἐνκαθέτους).  Luke used the word ἐνκαθέτους, that means hired to lie in wait, lying in wait, or a spy, as the only time this word appeared in all the Greek biblical literature.  They pretended to be honest righteous men themselves (ὑποκρινομένους ἑαυτοὺς δικαίους εἶναι).  Luke has another unique usage of the word ὑποκρινομένους that means to reply, to answer on a stage, to pretend, or act the part.  They were trying to trap or catch Jesus with his own words (ἵνα ἐπιλάβωνται αὐτοῦ λόγου).  Thus, they might be able to hand him over (ὥστε παραδοῦναι αὐτὸν) to the rule or jurisdiction (τῇ ἀρχῇ) and authority of the Roman client governor (καὶ τῇ ἐξουσίᾳ τοῦ ἡγεμόνος).  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 22:15-16, and in Mark, chapter 12:13.  Mark said that the Pharisees sent some of their own people to Jesus (Καὶ ἀποστέλλουσιν πρὸς αὐτόν τινας τῶν Φαρισαίων).  The Pharisees were always testing or tempting Jesus and his disciples, but they were not mentioned in Luke.  They also sent along some Herodians (καὶ τῶν Ἡρῳδιανῶν), who were the followers or political supporters of King Herod Antipas, the Roman client tetrarch king of Galilee, the one who had John the Baptist beheaded.  Both these groups were out to trap Jesus or catch him by using his own words against him (ἵνα αὐτὸν ἀγρεύσωσιν λόγῳ).  Matthew said that the Pharisees went away (Τότε πορευθέντες οἱ Φαρισαῖοι) for a while, but they plotted or gathered together (συμβούλιον ἔλαβον) to entrap or entangle Jesus in what he had said (ὅπως αὐτὸν παγιδεύσωσιν ἐν λόγῳ).  These Pharisees sent their own disciples to Jesus (καὶ ἀποστέλλουσιν αὐτῷ τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτῶν), along with some Herodians (μετὰ τῶν Ἡρῳδιανῶν), just like Mark had mentioned.  They were out to trick or trap Jesus.  Have you ever tried to trap anyone?

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Jonathan and the commanders of army of the deposed King Demetrius II (1 Macc 12:24-12:32

“Jonathan heard that the commanders of Demetrius had returned with a larger force than before, to wage war against him. So he marched away from Jerusalem. He met them in the region of Hamath, so that he gave them no opportunity to invade his own country. He sent spies to their camp. They returned and reported to him that the enemy was being drawn up in formation to fall upon the Jews by night. So when the sun set, Jonathan commanded his troops to be alert. He commanded them to keep their arms at hand so as to be ready all night for battle. He stationed outposts around the camp. When the enemy heard that Jonathan and his men were prepared for battle, they were afraid. They were terrified at heart. So they kindled fires in their camp and withdrew. But Jonathan and his troops did not know it until morning, for they saw the fires burning. Then Jonathan pursued them, but he did not overtake them. They had crossed the Eleutherus River. So Jonathan turned aside against the Arabs who are called Zabadeans. He crushed them and plundered them. Then he broke camp and went to Damascus. He marched throughout that region.”

The old commanders of the deposed King Demetrius II returned with a larger force to wage war against Jonathan. However, Jonathan wanted to fight them not in his own country so he went out to Hamath, a city in Syria. Then he sent spies, who returned to tell him that they were going to attack him at night. Jonathan had all his men ready that night. When the commanders of the deposed King Demetrius II saw that Jonathan was waiting for them, they were afraid and left. When morning came, Jonathan realized that they were gone. He tried to overtake them, but it was impossible. Instead, he decided to fight against the Zabadean Arabs. He crushed them and took their spoils. Then he headed out of the region towards Damascus.

Timothy and the other gentiles (1 Macc 5:37-5:41)

“After these things, Timothy gathered another army and encamped opposite Raphon, on the other side of the stream. Judas sent men to spy out the camp. They reported to him.

‘All the gentiles around us have gathered to him.

It is a very large force.

They also have hired Arabs to help them.

They are encamped across the stream,

They are ready to come and fight against you.’

Judas went to meet them. Now as Judas and his army drew near to the stream of water, Timothy said to the officers of his forces.

‘If he crosses over to us first,

We will not be able to resist him.

He will surely defeat us.

However, if he shows fear,

If he camps on the other side of the river,

We will cross over to him.

We will defeat him.’”

Timothy and his army gathered near a stream of the Yarmouk River, a tributary of the Jordan River called Raphon. Judas Maccabeus sent spies to figure out what he was up to. The spies came back to say that he had a large force. In fact, a number of Arab mercenaries had joined forces with Timothy. Timothy had a plan. If the troops of Judas rested on the other side of the stream in a camp, they would attack him. Otherwise, they might have a bit of a problem.