Servant leaders (Mt 20:25-20:27)

“But Jesus called them

To himself.

He said.

‘You know

That the rulers

Of the gentiles

Lord it over them.

Their great men

Are tyrants over them.

It will not be so

Among you.

Whoever wishes to be great

Among you

Must be your servant.

Whoever wishes to be first,

Among you

Must be your slave.’”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς προσκαλεσάμενος αὐτοὺς εἶπεν Οἴδατε ὅτι οἱ ἄρχοντες τῶν ἐθνῶν κατακυριεύουσιν αὐτῶν καὶ οἱ μεγάλοι κατεξουσιάζουσιν αὐτῶν.

οὐχ οὕτως ἐστὶν ἐν ὑμῖν· ἀλλ’ ὃς ἐὰν θέλῃ ἐν ὑμῖν μέγας γενέσθαι, ἔσται ὑμῶν διάκονος,

καὶ ὃς ἂν θέλῃ ἐν ὑμῖν εἶναι πρῶτος, ἔσται ὑμῶν δοῦλος·

 

There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 10:42-44, almost word for word, and Luke 22:26, but slightly different.  Jesus called his 12 leaders to himself (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς προσκαλεσάμενος αὐτοὺς) because of this dispute among them.  He told them that they knew that the gentile rulers, the Romans and the Greeks, lorded it over their people (ἶπεν Οἴδατε ὅτι οἱ ἄρχοντες τῶν ἐθνῶν κατακυριεύουσιν αὐτῶν).  Their great men acted like tyrants, exercising authority (καὶ οἱ μεγάλοι κατεξουσιάζουσιν αὐτῶν).  However, Jesus reminded them that it was not going to be like that among them (οὐχ οὕτως ἐστὶν ἐν ὑμῖν), the early Christian leaders, the 12.  Whoever wanted to be great among them must be their servant or waiter (ἀλλ’ ὃς ἐὰν θέλῃ ἐν ὑμῖν μέγας γενέσθαι, ἔσται ὑμῶν διάκονος).  Whoever wanted to be first among them (καὶ ὃς ἂν θέλῃ ἐν ὑμῖν εἶναι πρῶτος) must be their slave (ἔσται ὑμῶν δοῦλος).  Clearly, Jesus wanted his new leaders not to be like the gentile Roman leaders, but true leaders who served their people.  The early 12 apostolic leaders must practice servant leadership, not dictatorial leadership.

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An oracle against Aram (Zech 9:1-9:2)

“An oracle.

The word of Yahweh is

Against the land of Hadrach.

It will rest upon Damascus.

The capital of Aram,

With Hamath

That borders on Damascus,

As do all the tribes of Israel,

Belong to Yahweh.”

This second part of this book of Zechariah is a series of oracles that presume something like the conquest of Alexander the Great in 333 BCE.  Apparently, Yahweh was on the side of the Greeks in their conquest.  Thus, Yahweh was against Aram, present day Syria, as well as the cities of Hadrach, Hamath, and Damascus, the capital of Aram.  All of these places belonged to Yahweh, just as all the tribes of Israel also belonged to Yahweh.

Trading humans (Ezek 27:13-27:13)

“Javan,

Tubal,

Meshech

Traded with you.

They exchanged

Human beings,

As well as vessels of bronze

For your merchandise.”

Ezekiel mentioned 3 other trading partners of Tyre. Javan, the Ionians or the Greeks was one partner. Tubal seems to be the Assyrians who had settled in today’s southern Turkey. Meshech were the Assyrians in the mountain country of present day Turkey. They all traded with Tyre. Interesting enough there must have been a slave trade, since there was a mention of exchanging human beings. They also traded bronze vessels for all the great things that Tyre had.

The oracle against Babylon (Isa 13:1-13:1)

“The oracle

Concerning Babylon

That Isaiah

Son of Amoz

Saw.”

Now begins a series of divine oracles against foreign countries. Obviously despite the title indicating that Isaiah, the son of Amoz, saw this, the Babylonian captivity did not happen in the 8th century BCE, but in the 6th and 7th century BCE. Babylon was the largest city in the world with over 200,000 people, probably the first city to have this many people living in one place during the 18th century BCE (Hammurabi, 1792–1750 BCE), and 6th-7th century BCE (Nebuchadnezzar II, 604–561 BC). This city was located about 50 miles south of present day Baghdad, in present day Hillah, Iraq, between the Tigris River and the Euphrates River, but mostly on the Euphrates River. Babylon was the capital city of the Assyrian Empire from around 911-609 BCE. In 539 BCE, the Persians put an end to the Assyrians after a century of disputes. In the 4th century BCE the Greeks under Alexander the Great took over Babylon. Babylon may have been the inspiration for the story about the Tower of Babel in Genesis, chapter 11.