The special child Jesus (Mt 1:21-1:21)

“Mary will bear a son.

You are to name him

Jesus.

He will save

His people

From their sins.”

 

τέξεται δὲ υἱὸν καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν·αὐτὸς γὰρ σώσει τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν αὐτῶν.

 

This angel of the Lord proclaimed that Mary would give birth to a son (τέξεται δὲ υἱὸν). He was to be called by the name of Jesus (καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν). Jesus, Ἰησοῦν, was a Greek name, but implied the Aramaic or Hebrew name of Joshua, Jeshua, Yeshua, Yehoshua, or Yeshu. This angel gave a command to Joseph concerning the name of the child to be born. In the Old Testament, important people were named before they were born. Thus, in Judean society, the father had the right to name the child. The literal interpretation of this name would have been savior. This phrase about the name of Jesus is exactly the same as found in Luke, chapter 1, (καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν), where the angel Gabriel was talking to Mary about not being afraid because of the child she was bearing. Jesus was called by this name because he was going to save his people (αὐτὸς γὰρ σώσει τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ) from their sins (ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν αὐτῶν). He was not yet seen as a universal savior, but only saving the Israelite people from their own sins.

The clan leaders of Judah (Zech 12:6-12:6)

“On that day,

I will make

The clan leaders of Judah

Like a blazing pot

On a pile of wood.

They will be

Like a flaming torch

Among sheaves.

They shall devour

To the right,

As well as to the left,

All the surrounding people.

However,

Jerusalem

Shall still be inhabited

In its place.”

The clan leaders of Judah would be like a flaming pot on a pile of wood or like a torch among dry grain.  Yahweh would have them devour everything on either side of them, to the right and to the left.  However, Jerusalem would be unaffected, since its inhabitants would stay there.

The interpretation of the two olive trees (Zech 4:11-4:14)

“Then I said to him.

‘What are these two olive trees

On the right,

And on the left,

Of the lampstand?’

A second time

I said to him.

‘What are these two branches

Of the olive trees,

That pour out

The oil

Through the two golden pipes?’

He said to me.

‘Do you not know

What these are?’

I said.

‘No!

My lord.’

Then he said.

‘These are the two anointed ones

Who stand by Yahweh

Of the whole earth.’”

Once again, Zechariah asked the angel for an explanation about the 2 olive trees that were on the left and the right side of the lampstand.  In fact, he asked twice.  The second time he wanted to know why the 2 olive tree branches were pouring out oil through 2 golden pipes.  This time, the angel responded that these were the 2 anointed ones who stood by Yahweh for the whole earth to see.  Perhaps this was an indication about the high priest Joshua and Governor Zerubbabel.

Take off the crown (Ezek 21:25-21:27)

“As for you!

Vile!

Wicked prince

Of Israel!

Your day has come!

The time

Of final punishment!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Remove the turban!

Take off the crown!

Things shall not remain

As they are!

Exalt

That which is low!

Abase

That which is high!

A ruin!

A ruin!

A ruin!

I will make it!

Such has never occurred!

Until he comes

Whose right it is.

To him

I will give it.’”

Yahweh then turned to the wicked vile prince of Jerusalem. The day had come for the time of his final punishment. The king of Judah was going to remove his turban and take off his crown. Things were about to change. The lowly would be exalted, while the high people would be put to shame. Everything would be ruined. It would be like it never was or will be again until the right one comes along.

A song of fruitfulness for Jerusalem (Isa 54:1-54:3)

“‘Sing!

O barren one!

You who did not bear!

Burst into song!

Shout!

You who have not been in labor!

The children of the desolate woman

Will be more

Than the children of her

That is married.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Enlarge the site place of your tent!

Let the curtains of your habitations

Be stretched out!

Do not hold back!

Lengthen your cords!

Strengthen your stakes!

You will spread out to the right.

You will spread out to the left.

Your descendants

Will possess the nations.

They will settle

The desolate towns.’”

Jerusalem was the barren city that had no children because of the Exile. Now they were to sing and shout because the barren one was about to have many children, even more that the married women. They were now going to enlarge the place for their tents. Their land would be stretched out so that they would need more cords and stakes for their tents. They were about to spread out to the right and the left. Their descendants would possess many nations and repopulate many desolate towns.

Yahweh will answer you (Isa 30:19-30:22)

“Yes!

O people in Zion!

Inhabitants of Jerusalem!

You shall weep no more!

He will surely be gracious to you

At the sound of your cry.

When he hears it,

He will answer you.

Even though Yahweh may give you

The bread of adversity

With the water of affliction,

Yet your teacher

Will not hide himself any more.

But your eyes shall see your teacher.

When you turn to the right

Or when you turn to the left,

Your ears shall hear

A word behind you,

Saying.

‘This is the way!

Walk in it!’

Then you will defile

Your silver-covered idols.

Then you will defile

Your gold-plated images.

You will scatter them

Like filthy rags.

You will say to them.

‘Away with you!’”

This seems to be an oracle from the time of the Exile about the future restoration of Jerusalem. The people of Jerusalem will weep no more, because Yahweh will be gracious to their cry and answer them. There will be adversity and affliction. However, your teacher will no longer hide himself from you as you will be able to see him. This teacher may have been a prophet. Then as you turn to the right or the left, you will hear his words from behind you telling you the correct way to walk on the straight path. That is when you will defile the silver and golden idols and images that you had. You will scatter them like filthy rages as you will throw them away. Apparently idol worship was prevalent in Jerusalem itself.

Idol food offerings (Sir 30:18-30:20)

“Good things poured out

Upon a mouth that is closed

Are like offerings of food

Placed upon a grave.

Of what use to an idol

Is a sacrifice?

The idol can neither eat

Nor smell.

Thus this one

Is punished

By the Lord.

He sees

With his eyes.

He groans.

As a eunuch groans

When embracing a girl.

So is the person

Who does right

Under compulsion.”

Why would you bring food offerings to the idols? This would be like giving food to someone who does not open their mouth. This would be like bringing food to a grave site. What is the use of this sacrifice? However, the various biblical books often talked about food offerings for Yahweh at the Temple in Jerusalem. Nevertheless, these idols cannot eat or smell. Thus the Lord will punish those who worship at these idols. He sees with his eyes. He groans like a eunuch when he embraces a young woman. Eunuchs were men whose testicles were removed or not working. They were impotent so that they would not be excited about embracing a girl. Sirach has a condemnation of someone who does the right thing because he is forced to do so.