Big crowds (Mk 3:20-3:20)

“Then Jesus went home.

The crowd came together again.

Thus,

They could not even eat.”

 

Καὶ ἔρχεται εἰς οἶκον· καὶ συνέρχεται πάλιν ὁ ὄχλος, ὥστε μὴ δύνασθαι αὐτοὺς μηδὲ ἄρτον φαγεῖν.

 

Like Matthew, Mark put a lot of emphasis on the crowds that surrounded Jesus.  However, this short statement was unique to Mark, who said that Jesus went home or to his house (Καὶ ἔρχεται εἰς οἶκον), probably referring to Capernaum or Nazareth.  The crowds once again pressed against him or gathered around him (καὶ συνέρχεται πάλιν ὁ ὄχλος).  It was so bad, that they were not able to even eat their bread meals (ὥστε μὴ δύνασθαι αὐτοὺς μηδὲ ἄρτον φαγεῖν).

The role of the remnant of Jacob (Mic 5:7-5:9)

“Then the remnant of Jacob,

Surrounded by many people,

Shall be

Like dew from Yahweh,

Like showers on the grass.

They do not depend

Upon people,

Nor wait for any mortal.

The remnant of Jacob,

Among the nations,

Surrounded by many people,

Shall be

Like a lion

Among the beasts of the forest,

Like a young lion

Among the flocks of sheep.

When it goes through,

It treads down.

It tears in pieces.

No one would deliver them.

Your hand shall be lifted up

Over your adversaries.

All your enemies

Shall be cut off.”

The remnant of Jacob, those in captivity, would be both a blessing and a curse to those around them.  They would be surrounded by many people from different countries.  However, they would be independent of other people, since they would be like the gentle dew from Yahweh or quiet rain showers on the grass.  However, they could also be like a lion among the beasts of the forest or a lion attacking a flock of sheep.  If they were attacking sheep, they would tread on them and tear them to pieces.  They would surely act like lions against their enemies.  Thus, the remnant of Jacob could be a force for goodness or an attacking lion.

The insult to the king of Israel (Mic 5:1-5:1)

“Now you are walled around

With a wall.

Siege is laid against us.

With a rod,

They strike

The ruler of Israel.”

This appears to be an insult to the king of Israel.  He apparently was surrounded on all sides, with a siege set against him.  Then these invaders would strike the king of Israel with a rod or stick, as they humiliated him.  There is a slight discrepancy whether this is the first verse of chapter 5 or the last verse of chapter 4.

Judah was still faithful (Hos 11:12-11:12)

“Ephraim

Has surrounded me

With lies.

The house of Israel

Has surrounded me

With deceit.

But Judah

Still walks

With God.

He is faithful

To the Holy One.”

Although the territory of Ephraim and the northern kingdom of Israel had surrounded Yahweh with lies and deceit, Judah still walked with God. Judah had remained faithful to the Holy One, Yahweh.

The wicked deeds of Ephraim and Samaria (Hos 7:1-7:2)

“When I would heal Israel,

The corruption of Ephraim

Is revealed.

The wicked deeds

Of Samaria

Is revealed.

They deal falsely.

The thief breaks in.

The bandits raid without.

But they do not consider

That I remember

All their wickedness.

Now their deeds

Surround them.

They are before my face.”

Even after Israel would be healed, the corruption of Ephraim and the wickedness of Samaria would be revealed. Samaria had been the capital of the northern Israelite kingdom across the border from Ephraim in the Manasseh tribal territory. They dealt with each other falsely. The thieves would break into houses. The robbers would raid those who were passing by. They did not think that Yahweh would remember all their wicked deeds. Now their bad deeds surrounded them. Yahweh always remembered.

The rebellious ones in Jerusalem (Ezek 5:5-5:6)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘This is Jerusalem.

I have set her

In the center

Of the nations,

With countries

All around her.

She has rebelled

Against my ordinances.

She has rebelled

Against my statutes.

She has become

More wicked

Than the nations,

Than the countries,

All around her.

She has rejected

My ordinances.

She has not followed

My statutes.”

The God Yahweh spoke to Ezekiel about Jerusalem. Yahweh had put Jerusalem at the center of all the nations and countries that surrounded her. However, she has rebelled against the ordinances and statutes of Yahweh. She now has become more wicked that those nations and countries all around her, because she has rejected the ordinances of Yahweh. She has refused to follow the statutes of Yahweh.

Do not be afraid of the rebellious people (Ezek 2:4-2:7)

“‘These descendants are

Impudent,

As well as stubborn.

I am sending you

To them.

You shall say

To them.

‘Thus says Yahweh God.’

They are a rebellious house.

Whether they hear

Or refuse to hear,

They will know

That there has been

A prophet among them.

You!

Son of man!

Do not be afraid

Of them!

Do not be afraid

Of their words!

Even though briers

Or thorns surround you,

Do not be afraid!

Even though

You live among scorpions,

Do not be afraid

Of their words!

Do not be dismayed

At their looks!

They are a rebellious house!

You shall speak

My words to them,

Whether they hear

Or refuse to hear.

They are a rebellious house!’”

These Israelite descendants were impudent and stubborn. Yahweh was sending Ezekiel to them to speak in his name. They were a rebellious house. Whether they heard or refused to hear, they would know that there had been a prophet among them. Ezekiel, the son of man, a mere mortal, was not to be afraid of them or their words. Even though briers or thorns surrounded him, he should not be afraid. Even though he lived among scorpions, he was not to be afraid of their words. He was not to be dismayed at their looks either. Yahweh repeated again that they were a rebellious house, whether they heard him or not was up to them.

The choice of life or death (Jer 21:8-21:9)

“To this people

You shall say.

‘Thus says Yahweh.

‘See!

I am setting before you

The way of life

Or the way of death.

Those who stay in this city

Shall die by the sword,

By famine,

Or by pestilence.

But those who go out,

Those who surrender to the Chaldeans,

Who are besieging you,

Shall live.

They shall have their lives

As a prize of war.’”

Yahweh told Jeremiah to tell the people of Jerusalem that they had a choice of life or death. If they stayed in the city, they would die by the sword, famine, or pestilence. However, if they surrendered to the Chaldeans, who had surrounded the city, they would live. They should consider their lives a prize of war.

Saved from death (Sir 51:5-51:9)

“The Lord delivered me

From the deep belly of Hades.

He delivered me

From an unclean tongue.

He delivered me

From lying words.

He delivered me

From the slander

Of an unrighteous tongue                          

To the king.

My soul drew

Near to death.

My life was

On the brink of Hades below.

They surrounded me on every side.

There was no one to help me.

I looked for human assistance.

There was none.

Then I remembered your mercy.

O Lord!

I remembered from of old.

You rescue those

Who wait for you.

You save them

From the hand of their enemies.

I sent up my prayers from the earth.

I begged for rescue from death.”

This author shows how he was near death, when the Lord helped him. He was saved from the belly of hell or Hades, the shadowy underworld after death. He also was saved from the unclean and lying tongues of the unrighteous people who went to the king against him. His soul grew close to death as he was on the brink of hell or the underworld of Hades. He was surrounded on every side, when he realized that human help was not enough. Then he remembered the mercy of the Lord who had rescued and saved others from the hands of their enemies. Thus he sent up prayers from earth to heaven, begging to be rescued from death.

The glorious priest Simon (Sir 50:5-50:10)

“How glorious he was!

He was surrounded

By the people.

He came out

Of the inner sanctuary.

He came out

Of house of the curtain.

He was

Like the morning star

Among the clouds,

Like the full moon

At the festal season,

Like the sun shining

On the temple of the Most High,

Like the rainbow

Gleaming in splendid clouds,

Like roses

In the days of the first fruits,

Like lilies

By a spring of water,

Like a green shoot on Lebanon

On a summer day,

Like fire with incense

In the censer,

Like a vessel

Of hammered gold

Studded with all kinds

Of precious stones,

Like an olive tree

Laden with fruit,

Like a cypress

Towering in the clouds.”

Sirach has a description of how glorious the high priest Simon looked as he was surrounded by the Israelite people when he came out of the sanctuary. He was like the morning star in the clouds, like a full moon at the festivals, like the sun shining on the Lord’s Temple, like the rainbow in the clouds, like early roses, like lilies by a water stream, like green branches of Lebanon on a summer day, like fire and incense in a Temple censer, like hammered gold with precious stones, like a blossoming olive tree, and like a cypress tree reaching to the clouds. Sirach used a lot of metaphors to explain the good looks of this high priest.