Build well!

“That one

Who heard his word

And acted on it is

Like a man

Building a house.

He dug deeply.

He laid the foundation

On a rock.

When a flood came,

The river burst

Against that house.

However,

It could not shake it,

Because it had been

Well built.”

 

ὅμοιός ἐστιν ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδομοῦντι οἰκίαν, ὃς ἔσκαψεν καὶ ἐβάθυνεν καὶ ἔθηκεν θεμέλιον ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν· πλημμύρης δὲ γενομένης προσέρηξεν ὁ ποταμὸς τῇ οἰκίᾳ ἐκείνῃ, καὶ οὐκ ἴσχυσεν σαλεῦσαι αὐτὴν διὰ τὸ καλῶς οἰκοδομῆσθαι αὐτήν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said the one who had heard his word and acted on it was like a man building a house (ὅμοιός ἐστιν ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδομοῦντι οἰκίαν).  He dug deeply (ὃς ἔσκαψεν καὶ ἐβάθυνεν).  He laid the foundation on a rock (καὶ ἔθηκεν θεμέλιον ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν).  When a flood came (πλημμύρης δὲ γενομένης), the streams of the river burst against that house (ροσέρηξεν ὁ ποταμὸς τῇ οἰκίᾳ ἐκείνῃ).  However, they could not shake it (καὶ οὐκ ἴσχυσεν σαλεῦσαι αὐτὴν), because it had been well built (διὰ τὸ καλῶς οἰκοδομῆσθαι αὐτήν).  This is just like Matthew, chapter 7:24-25, which might indicate a Q source.  Jesus said there that these wise people built a house on a rock foundation or solid rocky ground.  The rains fell and the floods came.  The winds would blow and beat against this house, but it did not fall, because it was built on a strong foundation.  This rock foundation was the words of Jesus carried out in daily life.  The fairy tale story of the 3 pigs with the brick, straw, and grass houses is similar to this saying about the stone foundation that could not be destroyed.  How have you built your house?

Wise men on a rock foundation (Mt 7:24-7:25)

“Everyone

Who hears

My words,

Then does them,

Will be

Like a wise man.

The wise man

Builds his house

On a rock.

The rains fell.

The floods came.

The winds blew.

They beat on that house.

But it did not fall,

Because it had been founded

On a rock.”

 

Πᾶς οὖν ὅστις ἀκούει μου τοὺς λόγους τούτους καὶ ποιεῖ αὐτούς, ὁμοιωθήσεται ἀνδρὶ φρονίμῳ, ὅστις ᾠκοδόμησεν αὐτοῦ τὴν οἰκίαν ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν.

καὶ κατέβη ἡ βροχὴ καὶ ἦλθον οἱ ποταμοὶ καὶ ἔπνευσαν οἱ ἄνεμοι καὶ προσέπεσαν τῇ οἰκίᾳ ἐκείνῃ, καὶ οὐκ ἔπεσεν· τεθεμελίωτο γὰρ ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν.

 

These verses are just like Luke, chapter 6:47-48, which might indicate a Q source.  Jesus said that everyone who heard his words (Πᾶς οὖν ὅστις ἀκούει μου τοὺς λόγους τούτους) and actually did and followed them (καὶ ποιεῖ αὐτούς), were like wise men (ὁμοιωθήσεται ἀνδρὶ φρονίμῳ).  These wise people built a house on a rock foundation or solid rocky ground (ὅστις ᾠκοδόμησεν αὐτοῦ τὴν οἰκίαν ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν.).  The rains fell (καὶ κατέβη ἡ βροχὴ and the floods came (καὶ ἦλθον οἱ ποταμοὶ).  Winds would blow (καὶ ἔπνευσαν οἱ ἄνεμοι) and beat against this house (καὶ προσέπεσαν τῇ οἰκίᾳ ἐκείνῃ), but it did not fall (καὶ οὐκ ἔπεσεν), because it was built on a strong rock foundation (τεθεμελίωτο γὰρ ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν).  This rock foundation was the words of Jesus carried out in daily life.  The fairy tale story of the 3 pigs with the brick, straw, and grass houses is similar to this saying about the stone foundation that could not be destroyed.

The power of Yahweh’s word (Jer 23:28-23:29)

“‘Let the prophet

Who has a dream

Tell the dream.

But let the one

Who has my word,

Speak my word faithfully.

What has straw

In common with wheat?’

Says Yahweh.

‘Is not my word

Like fire?’

Says Yahweh.

‘Is not my word

Like a hammer

That breaks

A rock in pieces?’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, issued a series of oracles about the power of his word. If a prophet had a dream, let him tell that dream. However, anyone who had the word of Yahweh should also speak the word faithfully. Straw is dried up and useless, but wheat or grain is full of nourishment. The word of Yahweh was like fire or a hammer that could break any rock into pieces.

Against the Moabites (Isa 25:10-25:12)

“Moab shall be trodden down

In their place,

As straw is trodden down

In a dung-pit.            

Though they spread out their hands

In the midst of it,

As swimmers spread out their hands

To swim,

Their pride will be laid low,

Despite the struggle of their hands.

The high fortifications of his walls

Will be brought down.

They will be laid low.

They will be cast to the ground,

Even to the dust.”

This work of Isaiah has a strange turn against the Moabites, perhaps due to the anti-Moabite feelings in the post-exilic era. The Moabites will be trampled down like straw in a dung-pit. There was no mincing of words here. Even though they might spread their hands as if swimming, their pride will be put down. Despite their struggles and highly fortified walls, they will be crushed to the ground just like dust.

The perfect future time (Isa 11:6-11:9)

“The wolf shall live

With the lamb.

The leopard shall lie down

With the kid goat.

The calf shall be with the lion.

The lion and the fatling shall be together.

A little child shall lead them.

The cow and the bear shall graze together.

Their young shall lie down together.

The lion shall eat straw

Like the ox.

The nursing child shall play

Over the hole of the asp.

The weaned child shall put his hand

On the adder’s den.

But they will not get hurt.

They will not destroy

All my holy mountains.

The earth shall be full

Of the knowledge of Yahweh,

Just as the waters cover the sea.”

Isaiah points out that this future messianic king will be Davidic, with the Spirit of Yahweh, just, and live in an ideal perfect time, where all disagreements would disappear. All our problems would be solved in this idyllic perfect age to come, like the paradise that was lost. The wolf and the lamb would get along. So too, the leopard and the kid goat would be fine together. Calves, lions, and feed animals would all be as one. The cow and the bear would graze on the same field. A little child would be able to lead them, since they are so tame. Lions would eat grass and straw, just like oxen. Little nursing children would play by an asp nest or put their hands into adder’s den, and still not get hurt. No one will hurt the holy mountains. The whole earth would be filled with the knowledge of Yahweh, the Lord, just as there is the right amount of water in the seas.

It is hard to kill the Leviathan (Job 41:25-41:29)

“When it raises itself up

The gods are afraid;

At the crashing they are beside themselves.

Although the sword reaches it,

It does not avail.

Although the spear reaches it,

It does not avail.

Although the dart reaches it,

It does not avail.

Although the javelin reaches it,

It does not avail.

It counts iron as straw.

It counts bronze as rotten wood.

The arrow cannot make it flee.

Sling stones are turned to chaff.

Clubs are counted as chaff.

It laughs at the rattle of javelins.”

Even the gods are afraid of the Leviathan. No matter what you use, you cannot kill the Leviathan. The sword, the spear, the dart, and the javelin are useless against it. Iron is like straw, while bronze is like rotten wood. Arrows have no effect. Stones and clubs are turned into useless dried out grain. The Leviathan laughs at spears and javelins.

Do the wicked really suffer? (Job 21:17-21:26)

“How often is the lamp of the wicked put out?

How often does calamity come upon them?

How often does God distribute pains in his anger?

How often are they like straw before the wind?

How often are they like chaff that the storm carries away?

You say.

‘God stores up their iniquity for their children.

Let it be paid back to them.

Thus they may know it.

Let their own eyes see their destruction.

Let them drink of the wrath of the Almighty Shaddai.’

What do they care for their household after them?

When the number of their months is cut off?

Will any teach God knowledge?

He judges those that are on high.

One dies in full prosperity.

They are at ease and secure.

Their loins are full of milk.

The marrow of their bones is moist.

Another dies in bitterness of soul.

They have never tasted of good.

They lie down alike in the dust.

The worms cover them.”

Job wondered whether the wicked were really punished at all. The wicked people seem to be surviving pretty well. Where is their pain and calamity? They do not seem to be like chaff or straw in the wind. As for their children getting the punishment, what do they care about that? What do they care about their inheritance after they have died? They seem to die at ease and secure with their prosperity. What else could you ask for? They die like everyone else. Dust and worms will cover them up whether they were prosperous or not, whether they were wicked or not. Where is God’s punishment to them since they do not seem to care or know about God?