They seek to destroy Jesus (Lk 19:47-19:47)

“Everyday,

Jesus was teaching

In the Temple.

The chief priests,

The Scribes,

And the leaders

Of the people

Kept looking

For a way

To kill him.”

 

Καὶ ἦν διδάσκων τὸ καθ’ ἡμέραν ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ· οἱ δὲ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς ἐζήτουν αὐτὸν ἀπολέσαι καὶ οἱ πρῶτοι τοῦ λαοῦ,

 

Luke said that everyday Jesus was teaching in the Temple (Καὶ ἦν διδάσκων τὸ καθ’ ἡμέραν ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ).  The chief priests (οἱ δὲ ἀρχιερεῖς), the Scribes (καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς), and the other leaders of the people (καὶ οἱ πρῶτοι τοῦ λαοῦ,) kept looking for a way to kill or destroy Jesus (ἐζήτουν αὐτὸν ἀπολέσαι).  There were no Pharisees or Sadducees mentioned here, but these other people were trying to figure out a way to kill Jesus.  There was something similar in Mark, chapter 11:17.  Mark said that the chief priests and the Scribes heard about this incident in the Temple (καὶ ἤκουσαν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς).  Thus, they kept seeking or looking for a way to destroy or kill Jesus (καὶ ἐζήτουν πῶς αὐτὸν ἀπολέσωσιν).  This cleansing of the Temple may have been the immediate event that caused the Jerusalem elders to be suspicious of Jesus.  However, there was nothing like this in Matthew.  Would you be suspicious if someone disrupted your religious services?

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The plot against Jesus (Mk 11:18-11:18)

“The chief priests

And the Scribes

Heard it.

They keep looking

For a way

To kill him.

They were afraid

Of him,

Because the whole crowd

Was spellbound

By his teaching.”

 

καὶ ἤκουσαν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς, καὶ ἐζήτουν πῶς αὐτὸν ἀπολέσωσιν· ἐφοβοῦντο γὰρ αὐτόν, πᾶς γὰρ ὁ ὄχλος ἐξεπλήσσετο ἐπὶ τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ

 

There was something similar in Luke, chapter 19:47-48.  Mark said that the chief priests and the Scribes heard about this incident in the Temple (καὶ ἤκουσαν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς).  Thus, they kept seeking or looking for a way to destroy or kill Jesus (καὶ ἐζήτουν πῶς αὐτὸν ἀπολέσωσιν).  This may have been the immediate event that caused the Jerusalem elders to be suspicious of Jesus.  However, they were afraid of Jesus (ἐφοβοῦντο γὰρ αὐτόν), because the whole crowd (πᾶς γὰρ ὁ ὄχλος) was spellbound or astonished (ἐξεπλήσσετο) by his teaching (πὶ τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ).  The plot thickens.

Stay away from these consultants (Sir 37:10-37:11)

“Do not consult anyone

Who regards you with suspicion!

Hide your intentions

From those who are jealous of you!

Do not consult with

A woman about her rival!

Do not consult with

A coward about war!

Do not consult with

A merchant about business!

Do not consult with

A buyer about selling!

Do not consult with

A miser about generosity!

Do not consult with

A merciless person about kindness!

Do not consult with

An idler about any work!

Do not consult with

A seasonal laborer about completing his work!

Do not consult with

A lazy servant about a big task!

Pay no attention

To any advice they give!”

Now Sirach is specific about whom you should avoid as counselors. Avoid anyone who is suspicious or jealous of you. Don’t consult with a woman about her rivals, a coward about war, a merchant or a buyer about business selling, a miser about generosity, a merciless person about kindness, an idler, seasonal laborers, or lazy servants about completing big work tasks. Pay no attention to any of these people and their advice.

Be careful with strangers (Sir 11:29-11:34)

“Do not invite everyone

Into your home.

Many are the tricks

Of the crafty.

Like a decoy partridge

In a cage,

So is the mind

Of the proud.

Like spies

They observe your weakness.

They lie in wait.

They turn good into evil.

To worthy actions,

They attach blame.

From a spark of fire,

Many coals are kindled.

A sinner lies in wait

To shed blood.

Beware of scoundrels!

They devise evil.

They may ruin

Your reputation forever.

If you receive strangers

Into your home,

They will stir up trouble

For you.

They will make you

A stranger

To your own family.”

Sirach warns that you should be suspicious and careful about whom you let into your home. Some people are tricky and crafty. These proud spies are like a partridge bird in a cage observing everything, especially your weaknesses. Even back then they had spying devices. They will turn good into evil. They will blame you for the good things that you have done. They are like a spark that starts a roaring fire. These sinners want to hurt you. These evil doers are trying to ruin your reputation. If you let strangers into your house, they will stir up trouble. In the end, you will be like a stranger in your own family. Beware of stranger danger!

Conduct at home (Sir 4:29-4:31)

“Do not be reckless in your speech!

Do not be sluggish in your deeds!

Do not be remiss in your deeds!

Do not be like a lion in your home!

Do not be suspicious of your servants!

Do not let your hand be stretched out to receive!

Do not let your hand be closed,

When it is time to give.”

Here we have a series of reprimands for how to conduct yourself in your own home. You should not be reckless in your speech. You should not be sluggish or remiss in your actions. In your home, you should not be like a wild lion or suspicious of your servants. Obviously, you are rich enough to have servants. Do not stretch out to receive things. Also do not close your hand when it is time to give.

The mother appeals to her youngest son (2 Macc 7:24-7:29)

“King Antiochus felt that he was being treated with contempt. He was suspicious of her reproachful tone. The youngest brother being still alive, King Antiochus not only appealed to him in words, but promised with oaths that he would make him rich and enviable if he would turn from the ways of his ancestors. He would take him for his friend and entrust him with public affairs. Since the young man would not listen to him at all, the king called the mother to him. He urged her to advise the youth to save himself. After much urging on his part, she undertook to persuade her son. But, leaning close to him, she spoke in their native language as follows, deriding the cruel tyrant.

‘My son,

Have pity on me.

I carried you nine months in my womb.

I nursed you for three years.

I have reared you.

I have brought you up to this point in your life.

I have taken care of you.

I beg you,

My child,

To look at the heaven and the earth.

See everything that is in them!

Recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed.

In the same way,

The human race came into being.

Do not fear this butcher!

Prove worthy of your brothers!

Accept death!

So that in God’s mercy

I may get you back again with your brothers.’”

King Antiochus IV was upset at the way things were going. As there was only 1 son left, he urged him to give up his traditional ways. He promised to make him rich and powerful in his kingdom. The son would not listen. Then the king urged the mother to try and convince her son to save his life. Instead she urged him on to resist the king. In a moving passage, she spoke about carrying him for 9 months, nursing him for 3 years, and then bringing him up. Now she wanted him to recognize the creator God in heaven who made the human race. She wanted him to be worthy of his brothers. She wanted him to accept death so that God’s mercy would bring him back to his brothers. These seven sons were like suicide bombers willing to die for the laws of their God. The theology of creation and the afterlife predominated in their views of the ancestral laws. Notice that she spoke in their native language.

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.