Blessed is the womb (Lk 11:27-11:27)

“While Jesus

Was speaking,

A woman

In the crowd

Raised her voice.

She said to Jesus.

‘Blessed is the womb

That bore you

And the breasts

That nursed you!”

 

Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν τῷ λέγειν αὐτὸν ταῦτα ἐπάρασά τις φωνὴν γυνὴ ἐκ τοῦ ὄχλου εἶπεν αὐτῷ Μακαρία ἡ κοιλία ἡ βαστάσασά σε καὶ μαστοὶ οὓς ἐθήλασας.

 

Luke alone has this incident about the woman shouting out in a crowd.  Luke said that while Jesus was speaking (Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν τῷ λέγειν αὐτὸν ταῦτα), a woman in the crowd (γυνὴ ἐκ τοῦ ὄχλου) raised her voice (ἐπάρασά τις φωνὴν).  She said to Jesus (εἶπεν αὐτῷ) that blessed (Μακαρία) was the womb that bore him (ἡ κοιλία ἡ βαστάσασά σε) and the breasts that nursed him (καὶ μαστοὶ οὓς ἐθήλασας).  This woman in the crowd wanted to praise the mother of Jesus because she had borne and nursed Jesus.  Jesus’ mother should be blessed, happy or fortunate (Μακαρία), which she was.  Luke seemed to pay more attention to women that the other gospel writers.   Do you think that women are undervalued?

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Blessed God (Lk 2:28-2:28)

“Simeon took

Jesus

In his arms.

He blessed God.”

 

καὶ αὐτὸς ἐδέξατο αὐτὸ εἰς τὰς ἀγκάλας καὶ εὐλόγησεν τὸν Θεὸν

 

Luke said that Simeon took Jesus into his arms (καὶ αὐτὸς ἐδέξατο αὐτὸ εἰς τὰς ἀγκάλας).  He then blessed God (καὶ εὐλόγησεν τὸν Θεὸν).  It would seem a little odd for an old man to take a small child under two-months old into his arms without asking the mother if it was okay.  However, the blessing of God did not seem out of place here in the Jerusalem Temple.

Elizabeth wants to name him John (Lk 1:60-1:60)

“But his mother said.

‘No!

He is to be

Called

John.’”

 

καὶ ἀποκριθεῖσα ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ εἶπεν Οὐχί, ἀλλὰ κληθήσεται Ἰωάνης.

 

Luke said that Elizabeth, the mother of the child, intervened (καὶ ἀποκριθεῖσα ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ).  She said no (εἶπεν Οὐχί), that his name was not going to be Zechariah, but he would be called John (ἀλλὰ κληθήσεται Ἰωάνης).  I guess that during the 9 months of pregnancy, the 2 parents had agreed on what Zechariah had been asked to do.

The mutilation and killing of the spokesman for the sons (2 Macc 7:3-7:6)

“The king fell into a rage. He gave orders to have pans and caldrons heated. These were heated immediately. He commanded that the tongue of their spokesman be cut out. They were to scalp him. Then they were to cut off his hands and feet, while the rest of the brothers and the mother looked on. When he was utterly helpless, the king ordered them to take him to the fire, still breathing, and to fry him in a pan. The smoke from the pan spread widely, but the brothers and their mother encouraged one another to die nobly. They said.

‘The Lord God is watching over us.

In truth he has compassion on us.

As Moses declared in his song

That bore witness against the people to their faces,

When he said,

He will have compassion on his servants.’”

The king seems to be personally present at this torture, even though his representatives carry out the action, either in Jerusalem or Antioch. This story of the 7 sons was the principal subject of the later 4 Maccabees, but there was no mention of it 1 Maccabees. This is a particularly brutal story. First they heated up the pans. Then they cut the tongue, the scalp, the hands, and the feet of the spokesperson, while the others looked on. They then fried him on the heated pan while he was still breathing. However, the brothers encouraged each other. They knew the Lord would have compassion on them, based on the Canticle of Moses in Deuteronomy, chapter 32.

The marriage contract (Tob 7:11-7:13)

“However, Tobias said.

‘I will neither eat nor drink anything

Until you settle the things that pertain to me.’

Raguel said.

‘I will do so.

She is given to you

In accordance with the decree in the Book of Moses.

It has been decreed from heaven that she be given to you.

Take your kinswoman.

From now on you are her brother.

She is your sister.

She is given to you from today and forever.

May the Lord of heaven, my child,

Guide and prosper you both this night.

May he grant you mercy and peace.’

Then Raguel summoned his daughter Sarah. When she came to him he took her by the hand and gave her to Tobias, saying.

‘Take her to be your wife in accordance with the law

And the decree written in the Book of Moses.

Take her!

Bring her safely to your father!

May the God of heaven make your journey

Prosperous with his peace.’

Then he called her mother. He told her to bring writing material. He wrote out a copy of the marriage contract. This said that he gave her to him as wife according to the decree of the Law of Moses.”

Tobias said that he was not going to eat or drink anything until this matter was settled. The marriage contract is between Tobias and Raguel, and not between Sarah and Tobias. Raguel makes all the arrangements. Raguel agreed to give his daughter to Tobias according to the Book of Moses. It is unclear what Book of Moses this is referring to. The only possible reference might be the marriage of Isaac in Genesis, chapter 24. After all the arrangements were made, finally the daughter Sarah appeared. Then there was the famous giving of the hand of the daughter from the father to the groom, the man. In this case, Sarah had no consent. She simply did what her father wanted her to do. In fact, the mother was not even present. She was called in to get some writing materials. Then Raguel wrote out the marriage contract according to the Law of Moses. This clearly was a legal written contract with nothing to do with romantic love. Tobias was to bring his new bride home to his father.