‘What is it
You want me
To do for you?’”
ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Τί θέλετε με ποιήσω ὑμῖν;
There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 20:2, but here the brothers, rather than their mother spoke with Jesus. Mark said that Jesus then asked the 2 brothers, (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) what they wanted or wished Jesus to do for them (Τί θέλετε με ποιήσω ὑμῖν)? Jesus willingly responded to them. He wanted to know what was on their minds.
“Then the mother
Of the sons of Zebedee
Came up to Jesus,
With her sons.
She knelt before him.
She asked a favor
Τότε προσῆλθεν αὐτῷ ἡ μήτηρ τῶν υἱῶν Ζεβεδαίου μετὰ τῶν υἱῶν αὐτῆς προσκυνοῦσα καὶ αἰτοῦσά τι ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ.
There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 10:35, but there the brothers, rather than their mother approached Jesus. Was she with them on this trip to Jerusalem, or did this take place earlier? The mother of the sons of Zebedee (ἡ μήτηρ τῶν υἱῶν Ζεβεδαίου), or the wife of Zebedee, came to Jesus (Τότε προσῆλθεν αὐτῷ) with her sons (μετὰ τῶν υἱῶν αὐτῆς), James and John, who were part of the 12 leaders of Jesus. She knelt before Jesus (προσκυνοῦσα) and made a request to him for a favor (καὶ αἰτοῦσά τι ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ).
“Better is a dry morsel with quiet
Than a house full of feasting with strife.
A slave who deals wisely
Will rule over a child who acts shamefully.
The slave will share the inheritance as one of the brothers.
The crucible is for silver.
The furnace is for gold.
Yahweh tests the heart.
An evildoer listens to wicked lips.
A liar gives heed to a mischievous tongue.
Those who mock the poor
Insult their maker.
Those who are glad at calamity
Will not go unpunished.”
You are better off with a dry morsel of bread in quiet peaceful solitude than having a house full of feasting and strife at the same time. A slave who is wise will rule over a child who acts shamefully. In fact, this slave will gain the inheritance as if he was one of the brothers. Both silver and gold have to go through a crucible furnace. So too, Yahweh tests the human heart. An evildoer listens to wicked lips, while a liar follows mischievous tongues. Anyone who mocks poor people actually insults their maker, the creator. Those who are happy about bad news will not go unpunished.
“Timothy himself fell into the hands of Dositheus and Sosipater and their men. With great guile he begged them to let him go in safety, because he held the parents of most of them and the brothers of some of them, who were about to be executed. When with many words he had confirmed his solemn promise to restore them unharmed. They let him go for the sake of saving their kindred.”
Timothy the great enemy of Judas Maccabeus on the east side of the Jordan fell into the hands of Judas’ 2 captains, Dositheus and Sosipater, who might have lived in this area. The 2 of them listened as Timothy explained that he had captured their parents, brothers, and sisters. If they were to let him go he would be able to help them with their relatives. He solemnly swore to do this, so they let him go. This is the same Timothy, who was killed in chapter 10 of this book at Gazara.
“The king fell into a rage. He gave orders to have pans and caldrons heated. These were heated immediately. He commanded that the tongue of their spokesman be cut out. They were to scalp him. Then they were to cut off his hands and feet, while the rest of the brothers and the mother looked on. When he was utterly helpless, the king ordered them to take him to the fire, still breathing, and to fry him in a pan. The smoke from the pan spread widely, but the brothers and their mother encouraged one another to die nobly. They said.
‘The Lord God is watching over us.
In truth he has compassion on us.
As Moses declared in his song
That bore witness against the people to their faces,
When he said,
He will have compassion on his servants.’”
The king seems to be personally present at this torture, even though his representatives carry out the action, either in Jerusalem or Antioch. This story of the 7 sons was the principal subject of the later 4 Maccabees, but there was no mention of it 1 Maccabees. This is a particularly brutal story. First they heated up the pans. Then they cut the tongue, the scalp, the hands, and the feet of the spokesperson, while the others looked on. They then fried him on the heated pan while he was still breathing. However, the brothers encouraged each other. They knew the Lord would have compassion on them, based on the Canticle of Moses in Deuteronomy, chapter 32.