The convulsion of the boy (Mk 9:20-9:20)

“They brought

The boy

To Jesus.

When the spirit

Saw Jesus,

Immediately,

It convulsed

The boy.

He fell

On the ground.

He rolled around,

Foaming

At the mouth.”

 

καὶ ἤνεγκαν αὐτὸν πρὸς αὐτόν. καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτὸν τὸ πνεῦμα εὐθὺς συνεσπάραξεν αὐτόν, καὶ πεσὼν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἐκυλίετο ἀφρίζων.

 

Only Luke, chapter 9:42, has a summary of this statement from Mark, who said that they brought the boy to Jesus (καὶ ἤνεγκαν αὐτὸν πρὸς αὐτόν.).  When the spirit saw Jesus (καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτὸν τὸ πνεῦμα), immediately (εὐθὺς), it convulsed the boy (συνεσπάραξεν αὐτόν).  He fell on the ground (καὶ πεσὼν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς).  He began to roll around (ἐκυλίετο), foaming at the mouth (ἀφρίζων).  In fact, Jesus got to see what the father had described earlier.

 

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.

He was the Son of God (Mt 27:54-27:54)

“The centurion,

And those with him

Who were guarding Jesus,

Saw the earthquake.

They saw

What took place.

They were very terrified.

They said.

‘Truly!

This was the Son of God!’”

 

Ὁ δὲ ἑκατόνταρχος καὶ οἱ μετ’ αὐτοῦ τηροῦντες τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἰδόντες τὸν σεισμὸν καὶ τὰ γινόμενα ἐφοβήθησαν σφόδρα, λέγοντες Ἀληθῶς Θεοῦ Υἱὸς ἦν οὗτος.

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 15:39, except that there is no mention of an earthquake there, just the centurion statement alone.  In Luke, chapter 23:47, the centurion simply said that this man was innocent, without any earthquake.  There is nothing about a centurion or earthquake in John, chapter 19.  Matthew said that the Roman centurion and the other Roman soldiers guarding Jesus (Ὁ δὲ ἑκατόνταρχος καὶ οἱ μετ’ αὐτοῦ τηροῦντες τὸν Ἰησοῦν), saw the seismic earthquake (ἰδόντες τὸν σεισμὸν).  They saw what had taken place (καὶ τὰ γινόμενα).  They were all very terrified and afraid (ἐφοβήθησαν σφόδρα).  They said that truly this man was the Son of God (λέγοντες Ἀληθῶς Θεοῦ Υἱὸς ἦν οὗτος).  It is interesting to note that the leader of the Roman soldiers, this centurion, who was in charge of 100 men, was afraid.  He and his fellow Roman soldiers were the ones calling Jesus the Son of God.  Once again, Matthew emphasized the goodness of the Roman leaders versus the evilness of the Jewish leaders.

Different kind of eunuchs (Mt 19:11-19:12)

“But Jesus said to them.

‘Not everyone can accept

This teaching.

But only those

To whom it is given

Can accept it.

There are eunuchs

Who have been so

From birth.

There are eunuchs

Who have been made eunuchs

By other men.

Then there are eunuchs

Who have made themselves eunuchs

For the sake

Of the kingdom of heaven.

Let anyone accept this

Who can.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Οὐ πάντες χωροῦσιν τὸν λόγον τοῦτον ἀλλ’ οἷς δέδοται.

εἰσὶν γὰρ εὐνοῦχοι οἵτινες ἐκ κοιλίας μητρὸς ἐγεννήθησαν οὕτως, καὶ εἰσὶν εὐνοῦχοι οἵτινες εὐνουχίσθησαν ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων, καὶ εἰσὶν εὐνοῦχοι οἵτινες εὐνούχισαν ἑαυτοὺς διὰ τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν. ὁ δυνάμενος χωρεῖν χωρείτω.

 

This section about eunuchs is unique to Matthew.  Jesus seems to imply that there is a place for eunuchs in the kingdom of heaven.  Are these eunuchs a metaphor for celibates or are they really castrated men?  Ancient societies had castrated male eunuchs in important positions.  As Jesus pointed out, some were born that way, others were made that way, or others decided to be that way.  Jesus said to them (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that not everyone can accept this word, statement, or teaching (Οὐ πάντες χωροῦσιν τὸν λόγον τοῦτον), only those who had received this gift can accept it (ἀλλ’ οἷς δέδοται).  First. there were eunuchs born that way from their mother’s womb (εἰσὶν γὰρ εὐνοῦχοι οἵτινες ἐκ κοιλίας μητρὸς ἐγεννήθησαν οὕτως).  Then there were the eunuchs made so by other men (καὶ εἰσὶν εὐνοῦχοι οἵτινες εὐνουχίσθησαν ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων).  Finally, there were the eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs (καὶ εἰσὶν εὐνοῦχοι οἵτινες εὐνούχισαν ἑαυτοὺς).  Why would they do that?  Jesus said that they did it for the sake of the kingdom of heaven (διὰ τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν).  Then Jesus threw down the gauntlet and said that anyone who could, should accept this teaching (ὁ δυνάμενος χωρεῖν χωρείτω).  Jesus seemed to imply that they should make themselves eunuchs or celibates for the kingdom of heaven.

The response of Jesus (Mt 4:10-4:10)

“Jesus said to the devil.

‘Away with you!

Satan!’

It is written.

‘Worship

The Lord!

Your God!

Serve only him!”

 

τότε λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Ὕπαγε, Σατανᾶ· γέγραπται γάρ Κύριον τὸν θεόν σου προσκυνήσεις καὶ αὐτῷ μόνῳ λατρεύσεις.

 

Just like in Luke, chapter 4:8, the wording is the same, indicating a common source, perhaps Q. Once again, Jesus had a very direct response (τότε λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς). He simply told Satan or the devil to go away (Ὕπαγε, Σατανᾶ). Then he referred to another scriptural writing (γέγραπται γάρ) from Deuteronomy, chapter 6:13. This was again a simple statement that you should only worship and serve the Lord your God (γάρ Κύριον τὸν θεόν σου προσκυνήσεις). You should serve him alone (καὶ αὐτῷ μόνῳ λατρεύσεις). It looks like the devil would not be successful with any of these temptations. In Deuteronomy, chapter 6:13, Yahweh had said they should only fear and serve Yahweh and swear by his name only.

The purchase of the field (Jer 32:9-32:11)

“I bought the field

At Anathoth

From my cousin Hanamel.

I weighed out

The money to him,

Seventeen shekels of silver.

I signed the deed.

I sealed it.

I got witnesses.

I weighed the money on scales.

Then I took

The sealed deed of purchase,

That contained the terms

With the conditions,

As well as the open copy.”

This is a very unusual section that contains explicit first person details of this property field sale. However, there is no indication of the exact size of this field. Nowhere else in the biblical works is there such a specific indication of how financial transactions took place. First, Jeremiah bought the land. Most times, there would be no more details other than that. However, here Jeremiah next weighs out the money, 17 silver shekels, which was not a lot of money, about a couple of hundred USA dollars. Where he got the money is not indicated here. Then he signed the deed, probably on papyrus, sealed it, and had witnesses also sign it. There must have been some kind of official seal used here, but we do not know what kind. Finally there seems to be 2 copies of this transaction. The sealed deed contained all the terms and conditions of the sale, while the open copy or city file copy might just have the statement that the sale was made, much like current open records in USA, which generally adds the dollar amount of the sale. Thus these transactions were stored or kept in jars of some kind.

The Hebrew Bible (Sir 0:1-0:4)

“Many great teachings have been given to us

Through the Law,

Through the Prophets,

Through the other books that followed them.

For these,

We praise Israel for instruction.

We praise Israel for wisdom.

Now those who read the scriptures

Must not only themselves understand them.

They must also,

As lovers of learning,

Be able

Through the spoken word,

Through the written word,

To help the outsiders.”

The first question that we face with this book of Ecclesiasticus is its role in the Biblical canon since it was not part of the Hebrew cannon, but certainly part of the Greek Septuagint. Thus it is often considered deutero-canonical. There is even a question as to whether this prologue is canonical since it clearly was added on later by the translator. No other book has this clear delineation between author and later translator. However, what is extremely interesting is the threefold division of the Hebrew Bible that still exists today, the Law, the Prophets, and the other Writings. This would seem to indicate that the canonical Hebrew Bible had been completed when this writing took place. This statement is generally considered the earliest witness to a Hebrew canon of the books of the Prophets. This author praised Israel for its instruction and wisdom. He was quite aware that most people did not read these holy writings or scripture. Thus, those who read these scriptures must not only understand it themselves, but also help others. These lovers of learning must help with the written and spoken word to spread the message of the great teachings.