Tell everyone that someone stole the body of Jesus (Mt 28:12-28:14)

“After the chief priests

Had assembled

With the elders,

They devised

A plan

To give large sums

Of silver money

To the soldiers.

They said.

‘Tell the people!

‘His disciples came

By night.

They stole him away

While we were asleep.’

If the governor

Hears this story,

We will take care of him.

We will keep you

Out of trouble.’”

 

καὶ συναχθέντες μετὰ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων συμβούλιόν τε λαβόντες ἀργύρια ἱκανὰ ἔδωκαν τοῖς στρατιώταις

λέγοντες Εἴπατε ὅτι Οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ νυκτὸς ἐλθόντες ἔκλεψαν αὐτὸν ἡμῶν κοιμωμένων.

καὶ ἐὰν ἀκουσθῇ τοῦτο ἐπὶ τοῦ ἡγεμόνος, ἡμεῖς πείσομεν καὶ ὑμᾶς ἀμερίμνους ποιήσομεν.

 

This is unique to Matthew, who continued with this story about the guards and the Jerusalem chief priestsAfter these chief priests had assembled with the elders or presbyters in consultation (καὶ συναχθέντες μετὰ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων), they decided or devised a plan to give large sums of silver money to these soldiers (συμβούλιόν τε λαβόντες ἀργύρια ἱκανὰ ἔδωκαν τοῖς στρατιώταις).  These custodian guards (κουστωδίας) have now become soldiers (στρατιώταις).  The chief priests said (λέγοντες) to tell the people that Jesus’ disciples came at night (Εἴπατε ὅτι Οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ νυκτὸς ἐλθόντες).  They stole the body of Jesus away (ἔκλεψαν αὐτὸν), while they were asleep (ἡμῶν κοιμωμένων).  If the governor heard this story (καὶ ἐὰν ἀκουσθῇ τοῦτο ἐπὶ τοῦ ἡγεμόνος), they would take care of him or urge or persuade him (ἡμεῖς πείσομεν καὶ ὑμᾶς) to keep these soldiers out of trouble (ἀμερίμνους ποιήσομεν).  The problem, of course, is whether Roman soldiers would trust these Jewish leaders in Jerusalem.  The better option was that these were Jewish guards who could be persuaded by the Jewish leaders with a little financial incentive.

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The wicked princes (Ezek 22:25-22:25)

“The Jerusalem princes

Are within it

Like a roaring lion

Tearing its prey.

They have devoured

Human lives.

They have taken

Treasures.

They have taken

Precious things.

They have made

Many widows

Within it.”

The princes within the city of Jerusalem were like roaring lions tearing into their prey. They devoured human lives. They stole treasure and precious things. They killed people, so that there many more widows in Jerusalem.

 

Stay away from the adulterous women (Prov 6:24-6:35)

“Preserve yourself from the wife of another!

Preserve yourself from the smooth tongue of the adulteress!

Do not desire her beauty in your heart!

Do not let her capture you with her eyelashes!

A prostitute’s fee is only a loaf of bread.

But the wife of another stalks a man’s very life.

Can fire be carried in one’s bosom

Without burning one’s clothes?

Can one walk upon hot coals

Without scorching one’s feet?

So is he who sleeps

With his neighbor’s wife.

No one who touches her will go unpunished.

Thieves who steal

Only to satisfy their appetite,

When they are hungry,

Are not despised.

Yet if they are caught,

They will pay sevenfold.

They will forfeit all the goods of their house.

But he who commits adultery has no sense.

He destroys himself.

He will get wounds and dishonor.

His disgrace will not be wiped away.

Jealousy arouses a husband’s fury.

He shows no restraint when he takes revenge.

He will accept no compensation.

He refuses a bribe

No matter how great.”

This is a very long presentation on the evils of adultery. In fact, it almost seems to condone prostitution and thievery as lesser evils than adultery. Very clearly, you should stay away from the wife of another person. Watch out for her smooth tongue and eyelashes. I did not know that eyelashes were signs of beauty 2,500 years ago. The prostitute’s fee was just that of a loaf of bread. They were a lot cheaper back then. However, being involved with another man’s wife can ruin your entire life. If you play with fire, you will get burned. If you walk on hot coals, you will burn your feet. If you sleep with your neighbor’s wife, it will not go unpunished. If you stole something because you were hungry, you would have to pay for it 7 times over from the goods of your house. However, you would continue to live. However, with adultery you destroy yourself. You will be wounded, dishonored, and disgraced in a way that it will not go away. In fact, the jealous husband will not be restrained when attacking you. No compensation or bribe will make him forget. You put your life on the line. So be careful with your neighbor’s wife.

The problems of Job (Job 1:13-1:19)

“One day Job’s sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the eldest brother’s house. A messenger came to Job and said.

‘The oxen were plowing.

The donkeys were feeding beside them.

The Sabeans fell upon them.

They carried them off.

They killed the servants with the edge of the sword.

I alone have escaped to tell you.’

While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said.

‘The fire of God fell from heaven.

It burned up the sheep and the servants.

It consumed them.

I alone have escaped to tell you.’

While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said.

‘The Chaldeans formed three columns.

They made a raid upon the camels.

They carried them off.

They killed the servants with the edge of the sword.

I alone have escaped to tell you.’

While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said.

‘Your sons and daughters were eating

And drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house.

Suddenly a great wind came across the desert.

It struck the four corners of the house.

It fell on the young people.

They are dead.

I alone have escaped to tell you.’”

Once again, we begin with the once upon a time concept of “one day” back here on earth. The 10 children of Job were eating and drinking wine together. In a very oral stylistic format, 4 messengers, one after another come to tell him the bad news about his estate and his family. The repetition of lines for each group indicates an oral tradition that made it easy to remember. First, the Sabeans, a southern Arab tribe or traders where present day Yemen is, stole his 500 oxen and 500 donkeys. They also killed all the servants except one. The queen of Sheba may have been from Sheba and part of the Semitic Sabeans, somehow a descendent of Shem, the son of Noah. Secondly, lightning from heaven, the fire of God, destroyed and burned the 7,000 sheep as well as the servants watching them, except for one. Thirdly, the Chaldeans, a predominant Semitic tribe near the Persian Gulf that was taken over by the Babylonians around 600 BCE, stole all his 3,000 camels. They killed all his servants watching them except one. Finally, all his 10 children died when their house fell on them during a great wind storm. The servants all died, except one. Disaster has hit Job on many fronts. Foreigners stole his livestock. Lightning and windstorms destroyed his family and sheep.

The murder of the high priest Onias (2 Macc 4:30-4:34)

“While such was the state of affairs, it happened that the people of Tarsus and of Mallus revolted because their cities had been given as a present to Antiochis, the king’s concubine. So the king went hurriedly to settle the trouble. He left Andronicus, a man of high rank, to act as his deputy. But Menelaus, thinking he had obtained a suitable opportunity, stole some of the gold vessels of the temple. He gave them to Andronicus. As it happened, he had sold other vessels to Tyre and the neighboring cities. When Onias became fully aware of these acts he publicly exposed them. He had first withdrawn to a place of sanctuary at Daphne near Antioch. Therefore Menelaus, taking Andronicus aside, urged him to kill Onias. Andronicus came to Onias. Resorting to treachery, he offered him sworn pledges and gave him his right hand. He persuaded Onias, though still suspicious, to come out from the place of sanctuary. Then, with no regard for justice, he immediately put him out of the way.”

When there was a revolt in Tarsus and Mallus because of a present to his concubine, King Antiochus IV had to go there to settle the problem. He left Andronicus as his deputy in charge. Menelaus then stole some gold vessels from the Temple and gave them to Andronicus. Menelaus then sold other vessels to Tyre and the neighboring seacoast towns. When deposed high priest Onias III heard about this he first went to an Apollo sanctuary in Daphne about 5 miles from Antioch. There he publically exposed the actions of Menelaus. Menelaus then persuaded the deputy of the king, Andronicus, to kill Onias. Andronicus tricked Onias when he swore not to hurt him, but when he came out of the sanctuary, he killed him. There was no regard for justice.