Jesus explains the enemy (Mt 13:39-13:39)

“The enemy

Who sowed the weeds is

The devil.

The harvest is

The end of the age.

The reapers

Are angels.”

 

ὁ δὲ ἐχθρὸς ὁ σπείρας αὐτά ἐστιν ὁ διάβολος· ὁ δὲ θερισμὸς συντέλεια αἰῶνός ἐστιν, οἱ δὲ θερισταὶ ἄγγελοί εἰσιν.

 

Only Matthew has this explanation about the parable of the weeds that was earlier in this chapter, 13:24-30.  Jesus, via Matthew, explained about the enemy and the harvest.  The enemy who sowed the weeds was the devil (ὁ δὲ ἐχθρὸς ὁ σπείρας αὐτά ἐστιν ὁ διάβολος).  The enemy was no longer nameless, he was the devil himself (ὁ διάβολος), not merely an evil one.  The harvest will be at the end times (ὁ δὲ θερισμὸς συντέλεια αἰῶνός ἐστιν).  The harvest reapers will be the angels (οἱ δὲ θερισταὶ ἄγγελοί εἰσιν).  The devil has sown the weeds, but the angels will be the harvesters at the end times.

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Lack of rain (Am 4:7-4:8)

“‘I also withheld

The rain

From you,

When there were

Still three months

To the harvest.

I would send rain

On one city.

But I would send no rain

On another city.

One field would be rained on,

While the field

On which it did not rain

Withered.

Two

Or three towns

Wandered to one town

To drink water.

However,

They were not satisfied.

Yet you did not

Return to me.’

Says Yahweh.”

Amos has another oracle of Yahweh that indicated the lack of rain. Yahweh did not give any rain for 3 months prior to the harvest. He would send rain to one city, but not to another city. One field would have rain, but the field next to it would not have any rain. Thus, the arid field would wither and die. A couple of towns would go to another town to get water to drink, but they were not satisfied. Despite all this lack of rain, the people of the northern kingdom of Israel did not return to Yahweh.

The fierce successful attack on Babylon (Jer 50:14-50:16)

“Take up your positions

Around Babylon!

All you that bend the bow!

Shoot at her!

Spare no arrows!

She has sinned

Against Yahweh.

Raise a shout

Against her

From all sides!

She has surrendered!

Her bulwarks have fallen!

Her walls are thrown down!

This is the vengeance

Of Yahweh.

Take vengeance on her!

Do to her

As she has done!

Cut off from Babylon

The sower with

The wielder of the sickle

In the time of harvest.

Because of the destroying sword,

All of them shall return

To their own people.

All of them shall flee

To their own land.”

The attack on Babylon would be successful. The archers with their great arrows would take their positions and shoot at the Babylonians. They would raise great shouts of joy from all sides. Babylon had sinned against Yahweh. Finally, Babylon would surrender. The fortresses and the walls would come tumbling down, because this was the vengeance of Yahweh at work. Babylon was done. There would be nobody to plant. No one would be there to cut down the harvest, since there would be no harvest. Everyone would return and flee to their own lands. Thus the destruction of Babylon in 539 BCE was described here some 60 years previous to the event. Is that an indication of a later composition?

The revolt against Aaron (Sir 45:18-45:22)

“Outsiders conspired against Aaron.

They envied him in the wilderness.

There was Dathan with his followers.

There was Abiram with his followers.

There was the company of Korah.

They were filled with wrath and anger.

The Lord saw it.

He was not pleased.

In the heat of his anger

They were destroyed.

He performed wonders against them.

He consumed them in a flaming fire.

He added glory to Aaron.

He gave him a heritage.

He allotted to him

The best of the first fruits.

He prepared bread of first fruits

In abundance.

They eat the sacrifices of the Lord.

He gave it to him

And his descendants.

But in the land of the people

He has no inheritance.

He has no portion

Among the people.

The Lord himself

Is his portion

The Lord himself

Is his inheritance.”

In this section Sirach is relying on Numbers, chapter 16, about a revolt of some Levi tribe members, particularly Korah, along with Dathan and Abiram from the tribe of Reuben. It was not clear why Sirach called them outsiders since there were about 250 of those Israelites in the desert who actually revolted against Moses and Aaron. This uprising was put down, when Moses called for an incense face-off. Then Yahweh made the ground catch fire and split up so that this fire swallowed up these trouble makers. Aaron was then given more glory. This is why he and his descendants receive the best of the first fruits of the harvest. However, the Levites were not given any territory in the new Promise Land like the other tribes. Their portion was the Lord himself. That was their inheritance. Once again, this was an attempt to explain the situation of the later Levitical priests.