The rewards and punishments (Mt 25:29-25:30)

“To all those who have,

More will be given.

They will have

An abundance.

But those who have nothing,

Even what they have

Will be taken away.

As for this worthless slave,

Throw him into

The outer darkness!

Where there will be

Weeping

And gnashing of teeth.”

 

τῷ γὰρ ἔχοντι παντὶ δοθήσεται καὶ περισσευθήσεται· τοῦ δὲ μὴ ἔχοντος καὶ ὃ ἔχει ἀρθήσεται ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ.

καὶ τὸν ἀχρεῖον δοῦλον ἐκβάλετε εἰς τὸ σκότος τὸ ἐξώτερον· ἐκεῖ ἔσται ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew, but there is something similar in Luke, chapter 19:26.  Jesus said that this master slave owner rewarded and punished his slaves.  He told them that all those who have, will be given more (τῷ γὰρ ἔχοντι παντὶ δοθήσεται), so that they will have an abundance or overflow of goods (καὶ περισσευθήσεται).  But those who have nothing (τοῦ δὲ μὴ ἔχοντος), even what little they have will be taken away from them (καὶ ὃ ἔχει ἀρθήσεται ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ).  As for this worthless slave (καὶ τὸν ἀχρεῖον δοῦλον), he was to be thrown into the outer darkness (ἐκβάλετε εἰς τὸ σκότος τὸ ἐξώτερον), where there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth (ἐκεῖ ἔσται ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων), the common terms for sadness and mourning.  Thus, the kingdom of heaven will have rewards and punishments.

The kingdom of God (Mt 21:43-21:43)

“Therefore.

I tell you!

The kingdom of God

Will be taken away

From you.

It will be given

To a people

That produces

The fruits of the kingdom.”

 

διὰ τοῦτο λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ἀρθήσεται ἀφ’ ὑμῶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ δοθήσεται ἔθνει ποιοῦντι τοὺς καρποὺς αὐτῆς.

 

This is a unique saying of Matthew.  However, strangely enough, he called the kingdom “the kingdom of God” rather than his usual “kingdom of heaven.”  Jesus had a solemn pronouncement (διὰ τοῦτο λέγω ὑμῖν) that the kingdom of God will be taken away from them (ὅτι ἀρθήσεται ἀφ’ ὑμῶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Instead, it would be given to a people that would produce the fruits of this kingdom (καὶ δοθήσεται ἔθνει ποιοῦντι τοὺς καρποὺς αὐτῆς).  Thus, the productive followers of Jesus that produced fruits, rather than the chosen people, especially the Jewish religious leaders, would inherit the kingdom of God.

Jesus explained why he used parables (Mt 13:11-13:13)

“Jesus answered them.

‘To you,

It has been given

To know the secret mysteries

Of the kingdom of heaven.

But to them,

It has not been given.

To those who have,

More will be given.

They will have an abundance.

But from those who have nothing,

Even what they have

Will be taken away.

The reason that I speak to them

In parables is that

Seeing,

They do not perceive.

Hearing,

They do not listen.

They do not understand.”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν ὅτι Ὑμῖν δέδοται γνῶναι τὰ μυστήρια τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν, ἐκείνοις δὲ οὐ δέδοται.

ὅστις γὰρ ἔχει, δοθήσεται αὐτῷ καὶ περισσευθήσεται· ὅστις δὲ οὐκ ἔχει, καὶ ὃ ἔχει ἀρθήσεται ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ.

διὰ τοῦτο ἐν παραβολαῖς αὐτοῖς λαλῶ, ὅτι βλέποντες οὐ βλέπουσιν καὶ ἀκούοντες οὐκ ἀκούουσιν οὐδὲ συνίουσιν.

 

This response of Jesus about the meaning of parable can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 4:11-12, and Luke, chapter 8:10.  Matthew is closer to Mark here.  Jesus answered them (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν).  He told them they had been given the knowledge of the secret mysteries about the kingdom of heaven (ὅτι Ὑμῖν δέδοται γνῶναι τὰ μυστήρια τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν).  However, this was not granted to others (ἐκείνοις δὲ οὐ δέδοται).  Those who had more knowledge, even more abundant knowledge would be given to them (ὅστις γὰρ ἔχει, δοθήσεται αὐτῷ καὶ περισσευθήσεται).  However, those who had nothing, (ὅστις δὲ οὐκ ἔχει), even what little they had would be taken away (καὶ ὃ ἔχει ἀρθήσεται ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ).  The reason that Jesus spoke in parables (διὰ τοῦτο ἐν παραβολαῖς αὐτοῖς λαλῶ), was that some people see, but do not perceive what they see (ὅτι βλέποντες οὐ βλέπουσιν).  Some people hear but do not listen or understand what they hear (καὶ ἀκούοντες οὐκ ἀκούουσιν οὐδὲ συνίουσιν).  This is almost like a gnostic interpretation of knowledge, where only the elite have a true secret knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom.

No fasting with the bridegroom present (Mt 9:15-9:15)

“Jesus said to them.

‘The wedding guests

Cannot mourn

As long as

The bridegroom

Is with them.

The days will come,

When the bridegroom

Is taken away

From them,

Then they will fast.’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς Μὴ δύνανται οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ νυμφῶνος πενθεῖν ἐφ’ ὅσον μετ’ αὐτῶν ἐστιν ὁ νυμφίος; ἐλεύσονται δὲ ἡμέραι ὅταν ἀπαρθῇ ἀπ’ αὐτῶν ὁ νυμφίος, καὶ τότε νηστεύσουσιν.

 

This bridegroom story is almost the same as in Mark, chapter 2:19-20, and Luke, chapter 5:34-35.  Jesus spoke directly in response to the disciples of John (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  He compared himself to a bridegroom (ὁ νυμφίος).  The wedding guests or the sons of the bride chamber were not able to mourn (Μὴ δύνανται οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ νυμφῶνος πενθεῖν), while the bridegroom, Jesus, was with them (ἐφ’ ὅσον μετ’ αὐτῶν ἐστιν ὁ νυμφίος).  However, when the days came when the bridegroom of Jesus was taken away from them (ἐλεύσονται δὲ ἡμέραι ὅταν ἀπαρθῇ ἀπ’ αὐτῶν ὁ νυμφίος,), after his death, then they would fast (καὶ τότε νηστεύσουσιν).  Fasting would come when Jesus was gone.

The paralytic (Mt 9:2-9:2)

“Then some people

Were carrying

A paralyzed man,

Lying on a bed.

When Jesus saw

Their faith,

He said

To the paralytic.

‘Take heart!

My son!

Your sins are forgiven!’”

 

Καὶ ἰδοὺ προσέφερον αὐτῷ παραλυτικὸν ἐπὶ κλίνης βεβλημένον. καὶ ἰδὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὴν πίστιν αὐτῶν εἶπεν τῷ παραλυτικῷ Θάρσει, τέκνον, ἀφίενταί σου αἱ ἁμαρτίαι.

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 2:2-5, and Luke, chapter 5:18-20, about curing this paralytic.  In both Mark and Luke, they lower the paralytic through the roof of the house, but here there is no mention of that.  Some people brought this paralyzed man to Jesus (Καὶ ἰδοὺ προσέφερον αὐτῷ), since he was lying on a bed (παραλυτικὸν ἐπὶ κλίνης βεβλημένον).  Jesus noticed them and their faith (καὶ ἰδὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὴν πίστιν αὐτῶν).  He then told the paralytic (εἶπεν τῷ παραλυτικῷ) to take heart or have courage (Θάρσει), because his sins were forgiven or taken away (ἀφίενταί σου αἱ ἁμαρτίαι).  The idea that sickness and sin had a common connection was prevalent.  In fact, Jesus called this paralyzed man son (τέκνον).  Faith and healing seemed to go hand in hand.

The last of the ten kingdoms (Dan 7:24-7:26)

“As for the ten horns,

Out of this kingdom,

Ten kings shall arise.

Another shall arise after them.

This one shall

Be different

From the former ones.

He shall put down

Three kings.

He shall speak words

Against the Most High.

He shall wear out

The holy ones

Of the Most High.

He shall attempt

To change

The sacred seasons.

He shall attempt

To change the law.

They shall be given

Into his power

For a time,

Two times,

Half a time.

Then the court shall sit

In judgment.

His dominion shall be

Taken away,

To be consumed,

To be totally destroyed

To the end.”

Next, he explained that the 10 horns on the beast were the 10 Greek kings that succeeded Alexander the Great in his kingdom. However, there was a vehemence against the little horn king that overthrew the 3 kings. This was, of course, a reference to the Greek King Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-163 BCE), who was different from the other Greek rulers. He spoke openly against the Most High God. He wore out God’s holy ones. He attempted to change the holy seasons and do away with the religious festivals. He also tried to change the Jewish law. He had power for a little while, before the final kingdom would come. Then his dominion would be taken away. He would be consumed and destroyed. 1 Maccabees, chapter 1, went into great detail about this king.

Patience (Bar 4:23-4:26)

“I sent you out

With sorrow,

With weeping.

But God will give you

Back to me

With joy,

With gladness forever.

As the neighbors of Zion

Have now seen

Your capture,

So they soon will see

Your salvation

By God.

This will come

To you

With great glory,

With the splendor

Of the Everlasting One.

My children,

Endure with patience

The wrath

That has come upon you

From God.

Your enemy

Has overtaken you.

But you will soon see

Their destruction.

You will tread

Upon their necks.

My pampered children

Have traveled rough roads.

They were taken away

Like a flock

Carried off

By the enemy.”

The personification of Jerusalem continued as this city advised her exiles to have patience. She had sent them out of town with sorrow and weeping. However, God was going to bring them back to Jerusalem with eternal joy and gladness. Zion’s neighbors had seen them captured. They would soon see these Israelites safely coming back with the glorious splendor of the Everlasting One, not Yahweh. Jerusalem wanted her pampered children to endure patiently the wrath of God that had come via their enemies. They would soon tread on the necks of their enemies since they would be destroyed. Even though they had traveled rough roads and were taken away like a flock of sheep, they needed patience.

The captivity of Jerusalem (Lam 1:5-1:5)

He

“Her foes have become

The masters.

Her enemies prosper.

Because Yahweh has

Made her suffer

For the multitude

Of her transgressions.

Her children

Have gone away,

Captives,

Before the foe.”

The foes of Zion have now become the masters of Jerusalem. Her enemies prosper. Zion was suffering because of her many transgressions. Her children have been taken away as captives by their former enemies. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter He. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem

The repulsion towards King Coniah (Jer 22:24-22:27)

“As I live,

Says Yahweh.

‘Even if King Coniah,

The son of King Jehoiakim

Of Judah,

Were the signet ring

On my right hand,

I would tear you off.

I would give you

Into the hands of those

Who seek your life,

Into the hands of those

Of whom you are afraid,

Even into the hands

Of King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon,

Into the hands of the Chaldeans.

I will hurl you

With the mother who bore you

Into another country,

Where you were not born.

There you shall die.

But they shall not return

To the land

To which they long to return.”

Apparently in 598 BCE, King Jehoiakim or King Eliakim was killed. Thus his son King Coniah or King Jehoiachin, who was 18 years old, took over for 3 months before he was taken away into the Babylonian captivity by King Nebuchadnezzar. His uncle, King Zedekiah or King Mattaniah (598-587 BCE) took over for him. King Coniah lived out his life in captivity in Babylon for at least 25 more years. Here Yahweh does not speak highly of him. Yahweh was willing to turn him over to his future captives, the Chaldeans and the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, even if he would have been king of Judah as the ring on his finger. Yahweh was going to throw him and his mother into captivity. There they would die in a country that they were not born in. Despite their desires, they would never return to Israel.

The death of the righteous ones (Isa 57:1-57:2)

“The righteous perish.

No one takes it to heart.

The devout ones are taken away,

While no one understands.

The righteous ones

Are taken away from calamity.

They enter into peace.

Those who walk uprightly

Will rest on their couches.”

Third Isaiah seems to think that the no one seems to care about the death of the righteous Israelites. No one takes it to heart or understands what is happening. The righteous will be taken away from this present calamity. Those who walk upright will enter into peace, so that they can rest in their couch graves.