“I tell you!
None of those men
Who were invited
My dinner banquet.”’
λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν ὅτι οὐδεὶς τῶν ἀνδρῶν ἐκείνων τῶν κεκλημένων γεύσεταί μου τοῦ δείπνου.
Luke indicated that Jesus said that this house owner told his slave (λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν) that none of those men who were invited (ὅτι οὐδεὶς τῶν ἀνδρῶν ἐκείνων τῶν κεκλημένων) would taste his dinner banquet (γεύσεταί μου τοῦ δείπνου). Once again, this is similar to Matthew, chapter 22:8, where this king told his slaves (τότε λέγει τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ) that the wedding feast was ready (Ὁ μὲν γάμος ἕτοιμός ἐστιν), but those originally invited were not worthy or deserving of his invitation (οἱ δὲ κεκλημένοι οὐκ ἦσαν ἄξιοι). In either case, those originally invited would not be able to eat at this banquet. Was this a hint about the originally invited Israelites? Notice the original chosen ones, the Israelites, were not considered worthy. Now the invitation went out to all people to come to the banquet feast of the son, Jesus. Have you turned down the invitation of Jesus?
“Salt is good.
But if salt
How can you
Be at peace
With one another!”
καλὸν τὸ ἅλας· ἐὰν δὲ τὸ ἅλας ἄναλον γένηται, ἐν τίνι αὐτὸ ἀρτύσετε; ἔχετε ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἅλα καὶ εἰρηνεύετε ἐν ἀλλήλοις.
This saying of Jesus can be found in Matthew, chapter 5:13, and Luke, chapter 14:34. Salt was important not just as a spice and preservative but it represented wisdom and purity in the ancient world and Judaism. Mark indicated that Jesus said that salt was good (καλὸν τὸ ἅλας). However, if the salt has lost its taste or saltiness (ἐὰν δὲ τὸ ἅλας ἄναλον γένηται), if it is insipid, how can the taste be restored to the salt (ἐν τίνι αὐτὸ ἀρτύσετε)? How can you season the salt? Jesus then turned to his followers. He told them that they should have salt within themselves (ἔχετε ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἅλα), not exactly salt of the earth but close enough. They should be at peace with one another (καὶ εἰρηνεύετε ἐν ἀλλήλοις). There was no indication here about throwing salt away because it had become useless as in Matthew and Luke. Salt would bring about brotherly peace or love.
“They came to a place
Place of a skull.
They offered him
Wine to drink.
This wine was
Mixed with gall.
But when Jesus
He would not drink it.”
Καὶ ἐλθόντες εἰς τόπον λεγόμενον Γολγοθᾶ, ὅ ἐστιν κρανίου τόπος λεγόμενος,
ἔδωκαν αὐτῷ πιεῖν οἶνον μετὰ χολῆς μεμιγμένον· καὶ γευσάμενος οὐκ ἠθέλησεν πιεῖν.
This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 15:22-23, but Mark has myrrh not gall. In Luke, chapter 23:33, the place was simple called the skull, while in John, chapter 19:17, it was also called Golgotha with the explanation. Matthew said that they came to a place called Golgotha (Καὶ ἐλθόντες εἰς τόπον λεγόμενον Γολγοθᾶ) that means “Place of a skull (ὅ ἐστιν κρανίου τόπος λεγόμενος).” There they offered him some wine to drink (ἔδωκαν αὐτῷ πιεῖν οἶνον) in order to dull the pain. This wine was mixed with gall or bitter herbs (μετὰ χολῆς μεμιγμένον). But when Jesus experienced this taste (καὶ γευσάμενος), he did not want to drink it (οὐκ ἠθέλησεν πιεῖν). This Golgotha apparently is a transliteration of the Aramaic word for skull. This place was near Jerusalem. The exact location is not known, but the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is the traditional place for Calvary, based on the Latin translation of Golgotha, probably a little east of Jerusalem.
“Instead of these things,
You gave your people
The food of angels.
Without their toil,
You supplied them
With bread ready to eat.
It provided every pleasure.
It suited every taste.
Your sustenance manifested
Toward your children.
Ministering to the desire of the one who took it,
Was changed to suit everyone’s liking.
Snow withstood fire without melting.
Ice withstood fire without melting.
Thus they might know
That the crops of their enemies
Were being destroyed
By the fire that blazed in the hail.
The fire flashed in the showers of rain.
Whereas the fire,
In order that the righteous might be fed,
Even forgot its native power.”
God gave his people (τὸν λαόν σου) the food of angels (ἀγγέλων τροφὴν). This bread from heaven came ready to eat, as it provided every pleasure to every taste. Obviously, this is a reference to the manna in the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land as in Exodus, chapter 16. What is unique here is that the taste of it was pleasing to each person even if they had other tastes. This food of snow and ice did not melt. However, the crops of their enemies were destroyed. They, however, the righteous were able to feed themselves with the heavenly tasty food.
“‘It is bad.
It is bad.’
Says the buyer.
Then he goes away.
Then he boasts.
There is gold.
There is an abundance of costly stones.
But the lips informed by knowledge
Are a precious jewel.
Take the garment of one
Who has given surety for a stranger.
Seize the pledge
Given as surety for foreigners.
Bread gained by deceit is sweet.
But afterward the mouth will be full of gravel.”
Here we have a series of business transactions. We have already seen the bad scales and measures. Now this is how people complain when they buy something, saying it is bad. However, when they go away they boast about the good bargain they just made. Although there are gold and precious stones, nothing is more precious than lips informed by knowledge. Then there is the problem of pledge and surety for loans. It is not a good idea to lend to strangers, especially if you are the stranger. You seem to be able to take their garments and pledges. Watch out for bread that you get by being deceitful, it may taste sweet at first, but afterwards it will be like a mouthful of gravel.
“The angel of Yahweh encamps
Around those who fear him.
He delivers them.
O taste and see!
Yahweh is good!
Happy are those
Who take refuge in him!
O fear Yahweh!
You his holy ones!
Those who fear him have no want!
The young lions suffer want.
The young lions suffer hunger.
But those who seek Yahweh
Lack no good thing.”
If it is not Yahweh, it is his angel who surrounded David. To those who feared Yahweh, he delivered him. David then asked us to taste and see how Yahweh was good, which has become the title of a popular hymn. Those who took their refuge in Yahweh were to be happy and holy. They would no longer fear like young lions that worried about want and hunger. Those who sought Yahweh would not lack for anything. They were the truly blessed and happy ones.
“Eleazar, one of the scribes in a high position, was a man now advanced in age and of noble presence. He was being forced to open his mouth to eat swine’s flesh. But he welcomed death with honor rather than life with pollution. He went up to the rack of his own accord. He spit out the flesh, as men ought to do who have the courage to refuse things that it is not right to taste, even for the natural love of life.”
We have the story of the elder scribe Eleazar. Eleazar was also the name of the brother of Judas that died killing an elephant in 1 Maccabees, chapter 6. This obviously is a different Eleazar who would not eat swine flesh. The prohibition against pork was so strong that he spat out the meat when it was forced into his mouth. He went happily to death rather than eat the unclean meat.