The great crowds at Jericho (Mt 20:29-20:29)

“As they were leaving Jericho,

A large crowd followed him.”

 

Καὶ ἐκπορευομένων αὐτῶν ἀπὸ Ἱερειχὼ ἠκολούθησεν αὐτῷ ὄχλος πολύς.

 

Both Mark, chapter 10:46, and Luke, chapter 18:35, have something similar, but with some differences.  Luke has Jesus entering Jericho, not leaving it.  Matthew has Jesus and his apostles or disciples leaving Jericho (Καὶ ἐκπορευομένων αὐτῶν ἀπὸ Ἱερειχὼ).  As usual a large crowd followed him (ἠκολούθησεν αὐτῷ ὄχλος πολύς).  Jericho was 15 miles east of Jerusalem and about 8 miles north of the Dead Sea.  Jesus was getting closer to Jerusalem, but not quite there.

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Living waters (Zech 14:8-14:8)

“On that day,

Living waters

Shall flow out

From Jerusalem.

Half of these waters

Would go to the eastern sea.

The other half of these waters

Would go to the western sea.

It shall continue

In summer

As in winter.”

On this glorious day, half the living waters would flow from Jerusalem to the eastern sea or the Dead Sea, while the other half would flow to the western sea or the Mediterranean Sea.  These living waters would flow both during summer and winter.  The idea of flowing living waters were one of the major themes of the early Christians.

Yahweh will remove the plague of locusts (Joel 2:20-2:20)

“I will remove

The northern army

Far from you.

I will drive it

Into a parched land.

I will drive it

Into a desolate land.

Its front will be

In the eastern sea.

Its rear will be

In the western sea.

Its stench

Will rise up.

Its foul smell

Will rise up.”

Joel said that Yahweh was going to remove this northern army of locusts. He was going to drive them into a parched and desolate land. The grasshopper front would be in the eastern sea, the Dead Sea, while its rear would be in the western sea, the Mediterranean Sea. There would be a terrible smell coming from these dead locusts.

Fresh water (Ezek 47:8-47:9)

“He said to me.

‘This water flows

Toward the eastern region.

It goes down

Into the Arabah.

When it enters

The sea,

The sea of stagnant waters,

The water will

Become fresh.

Wherever the river goes

Every living creature

That swarms

Will live.

There will be

Very many fish,

Once these waters

Reach there.

It will become fresh.

Everything will live

Where the river goes.’”

This mysterious water from the Temple flowed east to the Arabah, the southern area between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba. When this fresh water from the Temple flowed into the Dead Sea, or the stagnant waters, the waters there would become fresh. Many fish and other swarming creatures would live there. Wherever this river flowed, everything would come alive. These were the living waters for all the sea creatures.

Against Mount Seir (Ezek 35:1-35:2)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

Son of man!

Set your face

Against Mount Seir!

Prophesy

Against it!’”

Once again, there was an oracle of Yahweh to Ezekiel, the son of man. This time, Ezekiel was to face and prophesize against Mount Seir. Where and what was Mount Seir? Mount Seir was between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, on the southeastern border of Judah with Edom. In fact, this is a diatribe against the country of Edom. Quite often, Mount Seir was another name for Edom. Mount Seir was named after Seir, the Horite, in Genesis, chapter 14. The children of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, defeated the Horites, to take possession of this land.

Your sister Sodom (Ezek 16:48-16:50)

“As I live,

Says Yahweh God.

‘Your sister Sodom,

With her daughters,

Has not done

As you

With your daughters

Have done.

This was the guilt

Of your sister Sodom.

She,

With her daughters,

Had pride,

Excess of food,

A prosperous ease.

But they did not

Aid the poor.

They did not

Aid the needy.

They were haughty.

They did abominable things

Before me.

Therefore I removed them,

When I saw it.”

The story of Sodom was based on Genesis, chapter 19.   Sodom was a city in the plains, south of Jerusalem, near the Dead Sea. Jerusalem was like the city of Sodom because Jerusalem had done the same things as they had done. Sodom with her daughters was guilty of pride, too much food, and too easy of a life style. Sodom did not aid the poor and the needy. There was no explanation here of all the abominable things mentioned in Genesis. However, Yahweh had removed them. He had destroyed them, when he found out about their behavior.

Crying for Moab and its vineyard (Jer 48:31-48:33)

“Therefore I wail for Moab!

I cry out for all Moab!

I mourn for

The people of Kir-heres.

More than for Jazer,

I weep for you!

O vine of Sibmah!

Your branches

Crossed over the sea,

Reached as far as Jazer.

The destroyed has fallen

Upon your summer fruits,

Upon your vintage.

Gladness has been taken away.

Joy has been taken away,

From the fruitful land

Of Moab.

I have stopped the wine

From the wine presses.

No one treads them

With shouts of joy.

The shouting is

Not the shout of joy.”

Yahweh seems to have great pity for Moab, like in Isaiah, chapter 16. He seemed very concerned about the summer fruits and the wine in Moab. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah mention the town of Kir-heres that is on the main road about 10 miles from the Dead Sea. Of particular interest to both of them was the vineyard of Sibmah, since their descriptions are almost the same. The vines of Sibmah were about 5 miles east of Heshbon, also part of Moab and Reuben. The wonderful vine shoots that had strayed into the desert and even across waters were now languishing. Jeremiah, like Isaiah, has Yahweh crying, because there would no longer be any shouting in the fields at the grape harvest time, because there were no more summer fruits. There would be no joy, gladness, shouting, or singing since there was no one to tread the wine presses. There were no more grapes. Yahweh had stopped the wine presses. The shouts that you now heard were not shouts of joy.