Jesus goes into the synagogue (Mt 12:9-12:9)

“He left that place.

He entered their synagogue.”

 

Καὶ μεταβὰς ἐκεῖθεν ἦλθεν εἰς τὴν συναγωγὴν αὐτῶν.

 

Matthew has Jesus leave the fields and enter the local synagogue.  This is similar to Mark, chapter 3:1, and Luke, chapter 6:6.  Jesus left the grain fields where he had been (Καὶ μεταβὰς ἐκεῖθεν).  Then he entered their synagogue (ἦλθεν εἰς τὴν συναγωγὴν αὐτῶν).  Clearly, Jesus was a good Jewish person, so that he had no trouble or unease about entering the local synagogue, probably at Capernaum.  The discussion that began in the fields now switched to the synagogue.

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Yahweh controls nature (Zech 10:1-10:3)

“Ask rain from Yahweh

In the season

Of the spring rain!

Yahweh makes

The storm clouds.

He gives

Showers of rain

To you.

He gives

The vegetation in the field

To everyone.

The teraphim

Utter nonsense.

The diviners

See lies.

The dreamers

Tell false dreams.

They give

Empty consolation.

Therefore,

The people wander

Like sheep.

They suffer

For lack of a shepherd.

My anger is hot

Against the shepherds.

I will punish the leaders.

Yahweh of hosts

Cares for his flock.”

Yahweh is in charge of the world.  If you want rain, ask Yahweh for spring rains, since he controls storm clouds and rain showers.  He provides the vegetation for the fields.  However, there are various people like teraphim, some kind of diviners or dreamers, who have lied and uttered nonsense.  They provided false dreams and empty consolations.  Thus, the people suffer like sheep who wander around, because they have no shepherd to lead them.  Yahweh was angry at his shepherd leaders, so that he was going to punish them, because they did not care for his flock.

The poor crops (Hag 2:16-2:17)

“‘How did you fare?

When one came

To a heap

Of twenty measures,

There were but ten.

When one came

To the wine vat

To draw fifty measures,

There were but twenty.

I struck you!

I struck all the products

Of your toil

With blight,

With mildew,

With hail!

Yet you did not return

To me!’

Says Yahweh.”

Haggai has this oracle of Yahweh about their poor crops.  When they were expecting 20 measures of a crop, they only got 10 measures.  When they were expecting 50 measures for the wine vat, they only got 20.  Thus, even when they had some crops in the fields, they were below expectations.  Yahweh had struck them and all their products.  Despite their hard labor, their crops were hit with blight, mildew, and hail.  Why did this happen?  They had not returned to Yahweh, pure and simple.

The cry to Yahweh (Joel 1:19-1:20)

“To you!

O Yahweh!

I cry!

Fire has devoured

The pastures

Of the wilderness.

Flames have burned

All the trees

Of the field.

Even the wild animals

Cry to you.

Because the water streams

Are dried up.

Fire has devoured

The pastures

Of the wilderness.”

Joel cried out to Yahweh. He called the drought of this locust plague a fire. He repeated twice that this fire had devoured the pastures in the wilderness. The dry flames had burned the trees of the fields. The wild animals were also crying out to Yahweh. The streams of water had dried up. This was a desperate situation.

Mourn for your lost fields (Joel 1:8-1:10)

“Lament!

Like a virgin

Dressed in sackcloth

For the husband

Of her youth!

The grain offering,

The drink offering,

Are cut off

From the house

Of Yahweh.

The priests mourn.

The ministers of Yahweh

Mourn.

The fields are devastated.

The ground mourns.

The grain is destroyed.

The wine dries up.

The oil fails.”

The people should go into mourning. They should lament like a virgin who had lost the husband of her youth, dressed in sackcloth. There was not going to be any grain or drink offerings in the house of Yahweh. The priests and the ministers should mourn because the fields were devastated. The ground itself mourned because the grain was destroyed. The wine had dried up. The oil had failed. There was good reason to go into mourning.

The coming battles in Israel (Ezek 7:14-7:15)

“They have blown

The horn.

They have made

Everything ready.

But no one goes

To battle.

My wrath is

Upon all their multitude.

The sword is

Outside.

Pestilence is within.

Famine is within.

Those in the field

Die by the sword.

Those in the city

Have famine

With pestilence

Devour them.”

This picks up on a theme of the last chapter about how people die, repeating the three ways to die. The Israelites blew the horn to get ready for the battle, but no one showed up. Thus Yahweh’s wrath was on everybody. Those outside the city in the fields would die by the sword. However, those in the city would die from a pestilence or a famine that would devour them.

Ishmael kills the pilgrim worshippers (Jer 41:6-41:8)

“Ishmael,

The son of Nethaniah,

Came out from Mizpah

To meet

The weeping pilgrims.

As he met them,

He said to them.

‘Come to Governor Gedaliah,

The son of Ahikam.’

When they reached

The middle of the city,

Ishmael,

The son of Nethaniah,

With his men

Slaughtered them.

He threw them into a cistern.

But there were ten men

Among them

Who said to Ishmael,

‘Do not kill us!

We have stores

Of wheat,

Of barley,

Of oil,

Of honey

Hidden in the fields.’

So he refrained.

He did not kill them

Along with their companions.”

Ishmael went out to meet these 80 mourning crying pilgrims as they approached Mizpah. He told them to come and meet the new governor of Judah, Gedaliah. When they got to the center of Mizpah, Ishmael and his 10 men killed these 80 pilgrims. He saved 10 of these northern pilgrims because they said that they hidden provisions of wheat, barley, oil, and honey in the fields. However, the other dead people were thrown into a cistern well. It is amazing how strong these 10 men with Ishmael were.