The Pharisees question the power of Jesus (Mt 9:34-9:34)

“But the Pharisees said.

‘He casts out demons

By the leader of demons.’”

 

οἱ δὲ Φαρισαῖοι ἔλεγον Ἐν τῷ ἄρχοντι τῶν δαιμονίων ἐκβάλλει τὰ δαιμόνια.

 

There is something similar to this in chapter 12:24 of Matthew and Luke, chapter ll:15.  The Pharisees complained (οἱ δὲ Φαρισαῖοι ἔλεγον) that Jesus was casting out demons or evil spirits (ἐκβάλλει τὰ δαιμόνια) because he was the leader or the prince of these demons or evil spirits (Ἐν τῷ ἄρχοντι τῶν δαιμονίων).  These Pharisees did not say that Jesus did’t have power over these evil spirits.  Quite the opposite, they said that he got his power from evil spirits or demons themselves because he was their leader.  The Pharisees were a political party, a social movement, and a religious school of thought that became the basis for later Rabbinic Judaism.  They had they own expert explanations of Jewish law that sometimes appeared to be hypocritical or arrogant, with the letter of the law above its spirit.  They had a form of Judaism that extended beyond the Temple.  The Pharisees in the New Testament, engaged in conflicts with Jesus and his disciples, as here.  However, Paul the Apostle may have been a Pharisee before his conversion.  Maybe Jesus and some of his followers were Pharisees, so that these arguments with the Pharisees may have been internal arguments.  Or is this portrait of the Pharisees in the New Testament a caricature, since the late first century Christians were fighting with the emerging Rabbinic Pharisees?

Temporary gifts to the servants (Ezek 46:17-46:17)

“But if the prince

Makes a gift,

Out of his inheritance,

To one of his servants,

It shall be his

Until the year of liberty.

Then it shall revert

To the prince.

Only his sons

May keep a gift

From his inheritance.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, pointed out that the prince could give gifts to his servants out of his own inheritance. However, it would not be a permanent gift, since it would have to be returned in the year of liberty or the Jubilee year. Every 50 years was a Jubilee year, so that debts were forgiven then. In this case, the gift given to a servant had to be returned, because only the sons of the prince could keep inheritance gifts on a permanent basis.

The daily burnt offering of the lamb (Ezek 46:13-46:15)

“The prince shall provide

A lamb a year old,

Without blemish,

For a burnt offering

To Yahweh

Daily.

Morning by morning

He shall provide it.

He shall provide

A grain offering

With it,

Morning by morning.

This shall be

One sixth of an ephah,

One third of a hin of oil

To moisten the flour,

As a grain offering

To Yahweh.

This is the ordinance

For all time.

Thus,

The lamb

With the grain offering,

Along with the oil,

Shall be provided,

Morning by morning,

As a regular burnt offering.”

Not only was the prince responsible for the sacrifices at the festivals, the weekly Sabbath, and the monthly new moon offerings, he was also responsible for providing the lamb offered up daily as a burnt offering in the Temple to Yahweh. Besides that, he also had to provide a small grain offering of 1/6th of an ephah or less than 1/10th of a bushel of grain with 1/3rd of a gallon of oil. This was a daily task. The oil moistened the flour, as usual. Yahweh, via Ezekiel said that this was a perpetual ordinance. There was to be a morning burnt offering to Yahweh of a lamb, with the accompanying grain and oil, every single day.

The grain offerings (Ezek 46:11-46:11)

“At the festivals

Or the appointed seasons,

The grain offering

With a young bull

Shall be an ephah.

The grain offering

With a ram

Shall be an ephah.

The grain offering

With the lambs

Shall be as much

As one wished to give.

There shall be together

A hin of oil

With every ephah.”

At all the religious festivals, a grain offering of an ephah (2/3rds of a bushel) would accompany the young bull or the ram. However, as stated earlier, the prince could provide as much grain as he wanted to for the sacrifice of the lambs. However, with every ephah of grain, there had to be a gallon or hin of oil. It seems that the animals were cooked in oil with grains.

Using the north and south gates (Ezek 46:9-46:10)

“When the people

Of the land

Come before Yahweh,

At the appointed festivals,

Whoever enters

By the north gate

To worship

Shall go out

By the south gate.

Whoever enters

By the south gate

Shall go out

By the north gate.

They shall not return

By way of the gate

By which they entered.

But they shall go out

Straight ahead.

When they go in,

The prince shall

Come in with them.

When they go out,

He shall go out.”

Interesting enough, Yahweh, via Ezekiel, had a sense of crowd control for these religious festivals. Although you could enter from either the north or south side gates, you could not turn around. You had to go straight ahead. If you came in on the north side, you went out the south side, and vice versa. Here the prince came in with the people, while just earlier he had a special entrance.

The new moon offerings (Ezek 46:6-46:8)

“On the day

Of the new moon,

The prince shall offer

A young bull

Without blemish.

He shall offer

Six lambs

With a ram,

Which shall be

Without blemish.

As a grain offering,

He shall provide

An ephah

With the bull.

He shall provide

An ephah

With the ram.

With the lambs,

He may provide

As much as he wishes,

Together with a hin of oil

For each ephah.

When the prince enters,

He shall go in

By the vestibule

Of the gate.

He shall go out

By the same way.”

Besides the Sabbath, the other regular festival was the monthly new moon sacrifice. The lunar calendar was based on the 28-day cycle of the moon. Once again, the prince was responsible for furnishing the animals and the grain offerings, as on the Sabbath. He was to take an unblemished bull with 6 lambs and an unblemished ram for the burnt offerings. He was to offer them up with a grain offering. He too had to provide an ephah of grain (2/3rds of a bushel) with the bull and the ram. However, this prince could decide how much grain went with the lambs, but there had to be a gallon or hin of oil for each ephah of grain. The prince would enter and leave at the same gate.

The seventh month offerings (Ezek 45:25-45:25)

“In the seventh month,

On the fifteenth day

Of the month,

For the seven days

Of the festival,

The prince shall make

The same provision

For sin offerings,

Burnt offerings,

Grain offerings,

As well as for the oil.”

The only other 7-day festival mentioned here is the festival of Tents that was on the 15th day in the 7th month of the year, 6 months after Passover. Once again, the prince was to provide the same provisions as at Passover. He had to provide all those animals and grains for the 7-day sin offerings, the burnt offerings, and the grain offerings, including the oil with the grain offerings.