The Pharisee prayer (Lk 18:11-18:11)

“The Pharisee,

Standing by himself,

Was praying thus.

‘God!

I thank you

That I am not

Like other people.

I am not

A thief,

A wicked person,

An adulterer,

Or even

Like this tax collector.’”

 

ὁ Φαρισαῖος σταθεὶς ταῦτα πρὸς ἑαυτὸν προσηύχετο Ὁ Θεός, εὐχαριστῶ σοι ὅτι οὐκ εἰμὶ ὥσπερ οἱ λοιποὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ἅρπαγες, ἄδικοι, μοιχοί, ἢ καὶ ὡς οὗτος ὁ τελώνης·

 

Luke has Jesus tell a parable about this Pharisee and a tax collector that is only found in this gospel.  Luke indicated that Jesus said this Pharisee stood by himself (ὁ Φαρισαῖος σταθεὶς ταῦτα πρὸς ἑαυτὸν).  He was praying (προσηύχετο) to God.  He said thank you to God (Ὁ Θεός, εὐχαριστῶ σοι) that he was not like other people (ὅτι οὐκ εἰμὶ ὥσπερ οἱ λοιποὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων).  He was not a thief, a robber, or a swindler (ἅρπαγες), unjust, unrighteous, or wicked (ἄδικοι), or an adulterer (μοιχοί), or even like this tax collector (ἢ καὶ ὡς οὗτος ὁ τελώνης).  This Pharisee considered himself a just, righteous person, not like other sinners who were evil.  Certainly, he was happy not to be a terrible Roman tax collector, like that other person in the Temple.  Thus, he uttered the prayer of an upstanding righteous Jewish person.  Do you thank God that you are better than other people?

 

A vision of the day of Yahweh (Joel 2:10-2:11)

“The earth quakes

Before them.

The heavens tremble.

The sun is darkened.

The moon is darkened.

The stars

Withdraw their shining.

Yahweh utters

His voice

Before his army.

How vast is his host!

Numberless are

Those who obey

His command.

Truly,

The day of Yahweh

Is great.

It is so terrible!

Who can endure it?”

Thus, there is a fusion of the swarm of locusts with the day of Yahweh. The earth would quake. The heavens would tremble. The sun and the moon would become dark. The stars would not shine. Yahweh would utter his strong voice before this vast numberless army. They all would obey his command. The day of Yahweh would be a terrible, but great day. Who would be able to endure this?

The sword of the king of Babylon (Ezek 32:11-32:12)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘The sword

Of the king

Of Babylon

Shall come

Against you.

I will cause

Your hordes

To fall

By the swords

Of the mighty ones,

All of them,

The most terrible

Among the nations.

They shall bring

To ruin

The pride of Egypt.

All its hordes

Shall perish.’”

Yahweh God, via Ezekiel, pointed out that the sword of the king of Babylon was going to come against Egypt and its people. Many would fall by the swords of these mighty Babylonian warriors, the most terrible and terrifying among the nations. They would bring ruin to the pride of Egypt. A multitude of its people shall perish.

The false prophets and priests (Jer 5:30-5:31)

“An appalling thing

Has happened in the land.

A horrible thing

Has happened in the land.

The prophets prophesy falsely.

The priests rule

As the prophets direct them.

My people love to have it so.

But what will you do

When the end comes?”

Jeremiah points out that although terrible appalling and horrible things are happening in the land, the people still love it. The prophets are prophesying falsely, while the priests follow what the prophets say. No one is calling them out for their false words, but everyone seems to like it. What is going to happen to them when the end comes?

The menacing wild animals in Edom (Isa 34:13-34:15)

“Thorns shall grow over Edom’s strongholds.

Nettles shall be in its fortresses.

Thistles shall be in its fortresses.

It shall be the haunt of jackals.

It shall be an abode for ostriches.

Wildcats shall meet with hyenas.

Goat-demons shall cry to each other.

There too Lilith shall repose.

It shall find a place to rest.

There shall the owl nest.

The owl lays there.

The owl hatches its brood in its shadow.

There too the buzzards shall gather.

Each one shall have her mate.”

This terrible place of Edom will have thorn bushes growing in its strongholds, with nettles and thistles in these fortresses. A number of menacing odd animals will live there, the jackal wolf dogs, the ostriches, the wildcats, and the hyenas. On top of that there will be demon like goats and the ancient monster female demon Lilith. Strangely enough, the menacing owls are also there to rest and nest their young ones. Of course, there would be the ever threatening buzzards with their mates.

Oracle against the valley of Hinnom (Isa 22:1-22:4)

“The oracle concerning the valley of Hinnom.

What do you mean

That you have gone up,

All of you,

To the housetops?

You who are full of shouting!

You are a tumultuous city!

You are an exultant town!

Your slain are not slain

By the sword!

Nor are they dead in battle!

Your rulers have fled together.

They were captured

Without the use of a bow.

All of you who were found

Were captured,

Though they had fled far away.

Therefore I said.

‘Look away from me!

Let me weep bitter tears!

Do not try to comfort me!

There is the destruction

Of my beloved people.’”

The valley of Hinnom, just south of the walls of Jerusalem, appears 11 times in the biblical writings. In the Christian biblical writings of the first century CE it is usually referred to as Gehenna with its almost eternal fire for the wicked ones. However, the context here is the terrible situation inside of Jerusalem. People were on the housetops shouting. They were dying, but not from the sword or in battles. The rulers had fled to escape, since they were captured by the Assyrians, either in 711 or 705 BCE. Then the oracle of Yahweh, via Isaiah, told the people to look away. He wanted to weep bitter tears over the destruction of his beloved people in Jerusalem.

Bad leaders (Isa 3:12-3:12)

“My people!

Children are

Their oppressors.

Women rule

Over them.

O my people!

Your leaders

Mislead you.

They confused

The course of your paths.”

Isaiah rails against the bad leaders in Judah. They mislead his people, the Israelites. They confused them. They led them on the wrong paths. Now however, they are suffering because children are oppressing them. One of the terrible things that happened to them was being ruled by women, since Isaiah considered this an evil thing.