Watch and pray (Mk 14:38-14:38)

“Keep awake!

Pray!

That you may not come

Into the time of trial!

The spirit indeed

Is willing,

But the flesh

Is weak.’”

 

γρηγορεῖτε καὶ προσεύχεσθε, ἵνα μὴ ἔλθητε εἰς πειρασμόν· τὸ μὲν πνεῦμα πρόθυμον, ἡ δὲ σὰρξ ἀσθενής.

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 14:41.  Luke, chapter 22:45-46, is somewhat similar, while in John, chapter 22, there were no indications of this action in the garden.  Mark recounted that Jesus told Peter and the other 2 disciples to stay awake, watch, and be vigilant (γρηγορεῖτε).  They should pray (καὶ προσεύχεσθε) that their time of temptation or trial did not come (ἵνα μὴ ἔλθητε εἰς πειρασμόν), because they did not seem to be ready.  Then Jesus remarked that the spirit indeed was willing (τὸ μὲν πνεῦμα πρόθυμον), but the flesh was weak (ἡ δὲ σὰρξ ἀσθενής).  Jesus was reprimanding Peter and the other 2 disciples in a mild but firm way.  They needed to be more vigilant.

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Why are you asleep? (Mk 14:37-14:37)

“Jesus came back.

He found them

Sleeping.

He said to Peter.

‘Simon!

Are you asleep?

Could you not

Keep awake

One hour?’”

 

καὶ ἔρχεται καὶ εὑρίσκει αὐτοὺς καθεύδοντας, καὶ λέγει τῷ Πέτρῳ Σίμων, καθεύδεις; οὐκ ἴσχυσας μίαν ὥραν γρηγορῆσαι

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 26:40, but Mark calls Peter “Simon”.  Luke, chapter 22:45-46, is somewhat similar, while in John, chapter 22, there were no indications of this action in the garden.  Mark recounted that Jesus came back to his 3 special apostles (καὶ ἔρχεται), where he found them sleeping (καὶ εὑρίσκει αὐτοὺς καθεύδοντας).  Then he complained to Simon Peter (καὶ λέγει τῷ Πέτρῳ Σίμων) that he was asleep (καθεύδεις).  He could not even stay awake or watch with him for merely one hour (οὐκ ἴσχυσας μίαν ὥραν γρηγορῆσαι).  Jesus was upset at their lack of attentiveness.

Jesus prays (Mk 14:35-14:35)

“Going a little farther,

Jesus threw himself

On the ground.

He prayed that,

If it were possible,

That this hour might pass

From him.”

 

καὶ προελθὼν μικρὸν ἔπιπτεν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, καὶ προσηύχετο ἵνα εἰ δυνατόν ἐστιν παρέλθῃ ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ ἡ ὥρα,

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 26:39.  In Luke, chapter 22:41, it is somewhat similar, while in John, chapter 22, there were no indications of this prayer in the garden.  Mark recounted that Jesus went a little farther away (καὶ προελθὼν μικρὸν).  He threw himself on the ground (ἔπιπτεν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς).  Then he prayed (καὶ προσηύχετο), but not explicitly to the Father, as in Matthew.  He said that he wondered if it was possible (ἵνα εἰ δυνατόν ἐστιν) that this hour might pass from him or be disregarded (παρέλθῃ ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ ἡ ὥρα).  This was slightly different from what Matthew had Jesus say, since he did not emphasize the hour as here.

The servants arrive on the scene (Dan 13:26-13:27)

“When the people

In the house

Heard the shouting

In the garden,

They rushed in

Through the side door

To see

What had happened

To Susanna.

When the elders

Told their story,

The servants

Felt very much ashamed.

Nothing like this

Had ever been said

Around Susanna.”

The people in the house heard all this shouting and screaming in the garden. They then arrived via the side door to the garden. Then the old judges told their story about Susanna and the young man. The servants were then ashamed, since nothing like this had ever happened to Susanna before.

The secret passionate elders (Dan 13:8-13:12)

“Everyday,

The two elders

Used to see Susanna,

Going in,

Walking about.

They began

To lust for her.

They suppressed

Their consciences.

They turned away

Their eyes

From looking

To heaven,

Or remembering

Their duty

To administer justice.

Both were overwhelmed

With passion for her.

But they did not tell

Each other

Of their distress.

They were ashamed

To disclose

Their lustful desire

To seduce her.

Day after day,

They watched eagerly,

To see her.”

Now the plot thickens. The scene has been set. These two elderly judges have a passion for Susanna, the wife of Joakim, in whose house they conduct their trials. She normally went for a walk in the garden, after everyone had left. These two elders saw Susanna go in and out for her walk. They began to lust after her, as they suppressed their consciences. They forgot about their duty to administer justice, as they turned their eyes away from heaven. Even though they were overwhelmed with passion for Susanna, neither elder told the other, because they were ashamed to let the other one know about their lustful desires to seduce Susanna. They were secret sexual lovers of Susanna, as they watched her every day.

The garden (Song 6:11-6:12)

Female lover

“I went down

To the nut orchard.

I looked at

The blossoms of the valley.

I wanted to see

Whether the vines had budded.

I wanted to see

Whether the pomegranates were in bloom.

Before I was aware,

My fancy set me

In a chariot

Beside my prince.”

Meanwhile the female lover was back in the garden, the nut orchard garden. She saw the blossoms of the valley and the budding vines. The pomegranates were in bloom. Suddenly, before she was aware of it, the prince in his chariot was there. Will we have a happy ending?

Her response (Song 4:16-4:16)

Female lover

“Awake!

O north wind!

Come!

O south wind!

Blow upon my garden!

Let its fragrance be wafted abroad.

Let my beloved come to his garden.

Let him eat its choicest fruits.”

The female lover wants the winds, both north and south, to blow on her garden so that the fragrance would go out. Thus her male lover would smell this and come to the garden to eat her choicest fruits. There may be sexual overtures in this metaphor. However, this is one of the biblical passages that puts an emphasis on the sense of smell.