Which was a neighbor? (Lk 10:36-10:36)

“Which of these three,

Do you think,

Was a neighbor

To the man

Who fell

Among the robbers?”

 

τίς τούτων τῶν τριῶν πλησίον δοκεῖ σοι γεγονέναι τοῦ ἐμπεσόντος εἰς τοὺς λῃστάς;

 

Luke continued his unique story.  Jesus asked the obvious question.  Which one of these three people (τίς τούτων τῶν τριῶν) did he think was a neighbor to this man (πλησίον δοκεῖ σοι γεγονέναιn) who fell among the robbers (τοῦ ἐμπεσόντος εἰς τοὺς λῃστάς)?  Like most of the parables of Jesus, the moral is usually very clear.  This was no exception.  Jesus then asked this lawyer who had asked the question about who his neighbor was, what did he think?  Who did the neighborly thing?  Which one of these 3 individuals, the priest, the Levite, or the Samaritan did the right thing?  A neighbor is not a physical presence but an active deed done to someone in need.  Are you a good neighbor?

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Secrecy (Mt 8:4-8:4)

“Then Jesus said

To the leper.

‘See that you say nothing

To any one!

But go!

Show yourself

To the priest!

Offer the gift

That Moses commanded,

As a testimony to them.’”

 

καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Ὅρα μηδενὶ εἴπῃς, ἀλλὰ ὕπαγε σεαυτὸν δεῖξον τῷ ἱερεῖ, καὶ προσένεγκον τὸ δῶρον ὃ προσέταξεν Μωϋσῆς εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς.

 

This admonition to the leper can be found in Luke, chapter 5:14, and Mark, chapter 1:41-42, perhaps indicating Mark as the source.  Jesus told the leper (καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς) not to say anything (Ὅρα μηδενὶ εἴπῃς), often referred to as the messianic secret.  Jesus did not want anyone to know about his power.  Instead the leper was to show himself to the priest (ἀλλὰ ὕπαγε σεαυτὸν δεῖξον τῷ ἱερεῖ,), as recommended in Leviticus, chapter 14:2-9.  He should offer the gifts (καὶ προσένεγκον τὸ δῶρον) as outlined in Leviticus, since this is what Moses had commanded (ὃ προσέταξεν Μωϋσῆς) in the Torah.  He wanted this cleansed leper to show himself as a witness or testimony to the priests (εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς).

Zephaniah reads the letter to Jeremiah (Jer 29:29-29:29)

“The priest Zephaniah

Read this letter

In the hearing

Of the prophet Jeremiah.”

If Shemaiah was expecting something bad to happen to Jeremiah, he would have been surprised when the priest Zephaniah read his letter to Jeremiah himself. This is not going to work out well for Shemaiah.

Commentary on the burden of Yahweh (Jer 23:34-23:38)

“As for the prophet,

The priest,

Or one of the people

Who say.

‘The burden of Yahweh.’

I will punish them.

I will punish their households.

Thus shall you say,

To one another,

Among yourselves.

‘What has Yahweh answered?

‘What has Yahweh spoken?’

But ‘the burden of Yahweh’

You shall mention no more.

The burden is

Everyone’s own word.

Thus you pervert

The words of the living God.

Yahweh of hosts!

Our God!

Thus you shall ask the prophet.

‘What has Yahweh answered you?’

‘What has Yahweh spoken?’

But if you say.

‘The burden of Yahweh.’

Thus says Yahweh.

‘Because you have said

These words,

‘The burden of Yahweh,

When I sent to you,

Saying,

‘You shall not say.

‘The burden of Yahweh.’”

This commentary on the “burden of Yahweh” seems to be a later addition trying to explain why you should never say “The burden of Yahweh.” A burden is something that you bare. Perhaps it is the heavy burden that the prophet Jeremiah’s words brought to the people. Yahweh was going to punish people and their households who said that the word of Yahweh was a burden. Rather, it seems like it should be a blessing. The prophet, the priest, or the people all should never mention the “burden of Yahweh.” They should say that Yahweh has spoken or answered them. He has not given them a burden, since this would be a perversion of the word of God. Simply put, stop using the term burden when speaking about God and his words.

The calamity to come (Jer 14:17-14:18)

“You shall say to them this word.

‘Let my eyes run down with tears

Night and day!

Let them not cease!

The virgin daughter!

My people!

Is struck down

With a crushing blow,

With a very grievous wound.

If I go out into the field,

Look!

Those were killed by the sword!

If I enter the city,

Look!

Those are sick with famine!

Both the prophet with the priest

Ply their trade through the land.

But they have no knowledge.’”

Yahweh once again asks Jeremiah to speak about the coming devastation. Yahweh was going to cry both night and day with tears rolling down his face all the time. His virgin daughter, his people, has been struck a crushing blow so that they were grievously wounded. If you looked in the field, you could see the people killed by the sword. If you went into the city, you could see people sick with the famine. Both the priest and the prophet were plying their trade, but they did not know what they were doing.

A holy day (Neh 8:9-8:12)

“Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people.

‘This day is holy to Yahweh your God.

Do not mourn or weep!’

All the people wept when they heard the words of the law. Then he said to them.

‘Go your way!

Eat the fat!

Drink sweet wine!

Send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared.

This day is holy to Yahweh.

Do not be grieved!

The joy of Yahweh is your strength.’

So the Levites stilled all the people, saying.

‘Be quiet!

This day is holy!

Do not be grieved!’

All the people went their way to eat and drink. They sent portions to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.”

The roles of Nehemiah and Ezra are very clear here. Nehemiah is the governor and Ezra is the priest scribe. Ezra is the scholar while Nehemiah is the administrator. They wanted to make this reading of the Law of Moses a holy day. They wanted a celebration rather than weeping and a day of mourning, which it had become. The Levites joined in remind people that they should not be upset. Thus they understood the Law of Moses and began to eat and drink.

The gathering with Ezra (Neh 8:1-8:3)

“All the people gathered together into the square before the Water Gate. They told the scribe Ezra to bring the book of the Law of Moses which Yahweh had given to Israel. Accordingly, the priest Ezra brought the law before the assembly, both men and women, and all who could hear with understanding. This was on the first day of the seventh month. He read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand it. The ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law.”

All of a sudden, out of nowhere Ezra himself shows up to read the Law of Moses. Ezra had not come with the original settlers. He came to Jerusalem about 70 years later, a few years before Nehemiah. The first person narrative of Nehemiah seems to end. This also assumes that the Water Gate is complete or that there is some kind of gate where people can meet. Perhaps this was after the rebuilding of the wall and the gates. This was on the southeast side of Jerusalem. At this assembly were both men and women, as well as those who could understand, which may refer to children who could reason. Ezra faced the square and read from early morning to midday. Everyone was attentive to the Law of Moses. We are not sure what part of the Pentateuch he read, probably not Genesis or Exodus. More than likely it was Deuteronomy that seems to be their favorite book. This was the 1st day of the 7th month or the New Year gathering time. This author noted that they were all attentive.