Only the foreigner returned (Lk 17:18-17:18)

“None of them

Returned

To give praise

To God

Except this foreigner.”

 

οὐχ εὑρέθησαν ὑποστρέψαντες δοῦναι δόξαν τῷ Θεῷ εἰ μὴ ὁ ἀλλογενὴς οὗτος;

 

Only Luke has this story about the curing of the ten lepers.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that none of the others could be found (οὐχ εὑρέθησαν) to return (ὑποστρέψαντες) and give glory or praise (δοῦναι δόξαν) to God (τῷ Θεῷ), except this foreigner (εἰ μὴ ὁ ἀλλογενὴς οὗτος).  Luke was the only biblical writer to use this word ἀλλογενὴς, that means of another race or another nation, a foreigner.  Clearly, Luke indicated that Jesus was steeped in racial animosity, since he considered these Samaritans as foreigners, another race of people.  However, Jesus had more compassion for them in the stories of Luke than in the other gospel stories, where they are ignored.  The prophet Elisha in 2 Kings, chapter 5, had also cured a foreign leper, Naaman, the commander of the Aramean army in a fairly complicated story.  Do you have racial animosity towards those not of your culture?

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The death of Timothy (2 Macc 10:32-10:38)

“Timothy himself fled to a stronghold called Gazara, especially well garrisoned, where Chaereas was the commander. Then Judas Maccabeus and his men were glad. They besieged the fort for four days. The men within the town, relying on the strength of the place, kept blaspheming terribly. They uttered wicked words. But at dawn on the fifth day, twenty young men in the army of Judas Maccabeus, filled with anger because of the blasphemies, bravely stormed the wall. With savage fury, they cut down every one they met. Others who came up in the same way wheeled around against the defenders. They set fire to the towers. They kindled fires and burned the blasphemers alive. Others broke open the gates. They let in the rest of the force as they occupied the city. They killed Timothy, who was hiding in a cistern, and his brother Chaereas and Apollophanes. When they had accomplished these things, with hymns and thanksgivings they blessed the Lord who shows great kindness to Israel. He gave them the victory.”

In 1 Maccabees, chapter 13, the attack on Gazara was led by Simon, much later after the death of Judas Maccabeus. Here it takes place under the leadership of Judas Maccabeus. There Simon just deported the citizens, not killed them as here. Chaereas, the brother of Timothy, was the commander at Gazara, where Timothy had fled. They besieged the fort for 4 days. During that time, the men inside blasphemed against the Jewish God. On the fifth day, 20 young men from the army of Judas Maccabeus stormed the wall, killing everyone they men. They set fire to the towers and opened the gates. After they occupied the city, then they killed Timothy and his 2 brothers, Chaereas and Apollophanes. Finally they blessed the Lord with hymns and thanksgivings for the victory. So ends the story of Timothy, the enemy of the Jews. Notice that they praise God before and after they kill their enemy.

Timothy and Bacchides are defeated (2 Macc 8:30-8:33)

“In encounters with the forces of Timothy and Bacchides, they killed more than twenty thousand of them. They got possession of some exceedingly high strongholds. They divided a very great amount of plunder. They give it to those who had been tortured, to the orphans, widows, and aged, shares equal to their own. They collected the arms of the enemy. They carefully stored them all of them in strategic places. They carried the rest of the spoils to Jerusalem. They killed the commander of Timothy’s forces, a most unholy man, one who had greatly troubled the Jews. While they were celebrating the victory in the city of their ancestors, they burned those who had set fire to the sacred gates, Callisthenes and some others. They had fled into one little house. Thus they received the proper recompense for their impiety.”

This is loosely connected to stories and battles in 1 Maccabees, chapters 5 and 7. Timothy was a leader of the gentiles on the east side of the Jordan River. Bacchides was a governor and general of King Demetrius I. Both of them were considered the enemy. These enemy troops had lost 20,000 men. The spoils had been taken and distributed to the tortured, the widows, the orphans, and the aged. However, they always kept some for themselves as they had done with the spoils from the defeat of Nicanor. Here it says that they had killed the commander of the troops of the unholy man Timothy. When they were celebrating in Jerusalem, they also burned the house of this unknown man named Callisthenes and others because they had been impious. Perhaps these were the Hellenizing Jews in Jerusalem.

Simon accepts the title of ethnarch (1 Macc 14:46-14:47)

“All the people agreed to grant Simon the right to act in accord with these decisions. So Simon accepted. He agreed to be the high priest. He agreed to be the commander. He was the ethnarch of the Jews and priests. He was to be protector of them all.”

There was a kind of social contract. Simon agreed to act in accord with their decisions which gave him all this power. He accepted being the high priest, the commander of the army, and the ethnarch of the Jews. Ethnarch was the Greek title of leader of an ethnic group, something like a general or governor, but less than a king. Interesting enough, it is a Greek term for someone who had been fighting the Greek influences on Jewish life. In the 1st century CE Herod will be called an ethnarch. Someone had to accept this authority. He agreed that he would protect the Israelites with all his power.

A poem about Judas Maccabeus (1 Macc 3:3-3:9)

“He extended the glory of his people.

He put on his breastplate like a giant.

He tied on his armor of war.

He waged battles.

He protected the camp by his sword.

He was like a lion in his deeds.

He was like a lion’s cub roaring for prey.

He searched out

He pursued those who broke the law.

He burned those who troubled his people.

Lawbreakers shrank back for fear of him.

All the evildoers were confounded.

Deliverance prospered by his hand.

He embittered many kings.

He made Jacob glad by his deeds.

His memory is blessed forever.

He went through the cities of Judah.

He destroyed the ungodly out of the land.

Thus he turned away wrath from Israel.

He was renowned to the ends of the earth.

He gathered in those who were perishing.”

Somehow this poem about Judas Maccabeus is here at the beginning of his adventures, and not at the end. He was the commander of the army of revolutionaries in Judea. He was like a giant of his time. Like a giant, he wore the armor and breastplate of a fighter waging wars. He was like lion or lion’s cub as he went after his prey. He searched out those who broke the Mosaic Law. He made many people fear him, but he made the memory of Jacob proud. He destroyed the ungodly of the land so that the wrath of God was turned away from Israel. He became renowned to the ends of the earth.

Judith shows them the head of General Holofernes (Jdt 13:15-13:16)

“Then Judith pulled the head out of the bag. She showed it to them. She said.

‘See here.

The head of General Holofernes,

The commander of the Assyrian army.

Here is the canopy beneath which he lay in his drunken stupor.

The Lord has struck him down by the hand of a woman.

As the Lord lives,

He has protected me in the way I went.

I swear that it was my face

That seduced him to his destruction.

He committed no act of sin with me.

He did not defile and shame me.’”

Then Judith took the head out of the food bag that her maid had with her. She showed his head to them. She then told them that this was the head of General Holofernes, the commander of the Assyrian army. The bed canopy that wrapped his head came from his tent. She killed him while he was in a drunken stupor. The Lord gave her strength to strike him down so that he died at the hand of a woman. The Lord protected her as she seduced him with her facial appearance that led to his own destruction. However, no sin was committed since he did not defile or shame her.