The sower and the lost seeds on the path (Mk 4:3-4:4)

“Listen!

A sower

Went out to sow.

As he sowed,

Some seed fell

On the path.

The birds came.

They ate it up.”

 

Ἀκούετε. ἰδοὺ ἐξῆλθεν ὁ σπείρων σπεῖραι.

καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ σπείρειν ὃ μὲν ἔπεσεν παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν, καὶ ἦλθεν τὰ πετεινὰ καὶ κατέφαγεν αὐτό.

 

This sower parable can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 13:3-4, and Luke, chapter 8:5, with Matthew closer to MarkMark wanted everyone to listen (Ἀκούετε).  They should see that this farmer or sower went out to sow his seeds (ἰδοὺ ἐξῆλθεν ὁ σπείρων σπεῖραι).  This first section is about the unsuccessful seeds.  The first group of seeds fell on the walking path or the road (καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ σπείρειν ὃ μὲν ἔπεσεν παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν), so that the birds came (καὶ ἦλθεν τὰ πετεινὰ) and ate them up or devoured them (καὶ κατέφαγεν αὐτό).  Thus, these seeds were unsuccessful for this farmer.

Advertisements

Jesus returned to his home in Capernaum (Mk 2:1-2:1)

“When Jesus returned

To Capernaum,

After some days.

It was reported

That he was at home.”

 

Καὶ εἰσελθὼν πάλιν εἰς Καφαρναοὺμ δι’ ἡμερῶν ἠκούσθη ὅτι ἐν οἴκῳ ἐστίν.

 

Matthew, chapter 9:1, has something similar where Jesus returned to his home in Capernaum, but Matthew had Jesus return from a boat trip on the Sea of Galilee.  Both here and there, there was an indication that Capernaum has become the home of Jesus.  Mark said here that when Jesus returned to Capernaum again (Καὶ εἰσελθὼν πάλιν εἰς Καφαρναοὺμ), after some days on the road (δι’ ἡμερῶν), it was reported or people heard that he was at home in his house (ἠκούσθη ὅτι ἐν οἴκῳ ἐστίν).  Thus, Capernaum, according to Matthew, had become his own home town (εἰς τὴν ἰδίαν πόλιν).  Mark mentions that he was in his house or home (ἐν οἴκῳ) that was in Capernaum.

Jesus curses the fig tree (Mt 21:19-21:20)

“Jesus saw a fig tree

By the side of the road.

He went to it.

He found nothing on it

But leaves only.

He said to it.

‘May no fruit

Ever come

From you again!’

The fig tree withered

At once.

When the disciples saw it,

They were amazed.

They said.

‘How did the fig tree

Wither at once?’”

 

καὶ ἰδὼν συκῆν μίαν ἐπὶ τῆς ὁδοῦ ἦλθεν ἐπ’ αὐτήν, καὶ οὐδὲν εὗρεν ἐν αὐτῇ εἰ μὴ φύλλα μόνον, καὶ λέγει αὐτῇ Οὐ μηκέτι ἐκ σοῦ καρπὸς γένηται εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. καὶ ἐξηράνθη παραχρῆμα ἡ συκῆ.

καὶ ἰδόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ ἐθαύμασαν λέγοντες Πῶς παραχρῆμα ἐξηράνθη ἡ συκῆ;

 

This story about Jesus cursing the fig tree can be found in Mark, chapter 11:13-14, in a condensed form.  Luke, chapter 13:6-9, has a parable about a fig tree that would not bear fruit.  Jesus saw one fig tree by the side of the road (καὶ ἰδὼν συκῆν μίαν ἐπὶ τῆς ὁδοῦ).  He went over to it (ἦλθεν ἐπ’ αὐτήν) but he found no fruit (καὶ οὐδὲν εὗρεν ἐν αὐτῇ), since only leaves were on it (εἰ μὴ φύλλα μόνον).  He then said to the tree (καὶ λέγει αὐτῇ) that no fruit would ever come from that tree again (Οὐ μηκέτι ἐκ σοῦ καρπὸς γένηται εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα).  Then the fig tree withered or dried up instantly (καὶ ἐξηράνθη παραχρῆμα ἡ συκῆ).  When his disciples saw this (καὶ ἰδόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ), they were amazed and marveled (ἐθαύμασαν).  They wondered about this and said (λέγοντες).  “How did this fig tree wither immediately (Πῶς παραχρῆμα ἐξηράνθη ἡ συκῆ)?”  Even his disciples were amazed about this withering fig tree.

The crowds welcome the Son of David (Mt 21:8-21:9)

“A very large crowd

Spread their garments

On the road.

Others cut branches

From the trees.

They spread them

On the road.

The crowds went ahead of him.

Others followed him.

They were shouting.

‘Hosanna!

To the Son of David!

Blessed is the one

Who comes in the name of the Lord!

Hosanna in the highest heaven!’”

 

ὁ δὲ πλεῖστος ὄχλος ἔστρωσαν ἑαυτῶν τὰ ἱμάτια ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ, ἄλλοι δὲ ἔκοπτον κλάδους ἀπὸ τῶν δένδρων καὶ ἐστρώννυον ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ.

οἱ δὲ ὄχλοι οἱ προάγοντες αὐτὸν καὶ οἱ ἀκολουθοῦντες ἔκραζον λέγοντες Ὡσαννὰ τῷ υἱῷ Δαυείδ· Εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι Κυρίου· Ὡσαννὰ ἐν τοῖς ὑψίστοις.

 

Both Mark, chapter 11:8-10, and Luke, chapter 19:36-38, are similar but with slight differences.  Once again, Matthew emphasized the large crowds, as he said that a very large crowd of people (ὁ δὲ πλεῖστος ὄχλος) that spread out their outer garments or coats on the road (ἔστρωσαν ἑαυτῶν τὰ ἱμάτια ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ,).  Meanwhile, others were cutting down branches from the surrounding trees (ἄλλοι δὲ ἔκοπτον κλάδους ἀπὸ τῶν δένδρων).  They also spread out these branches on the road (καὶ ἐστρώννυον ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ).  The crowds were in front of him and behind him (οἱ δὲ ὄχλοι οἱ προάγοντες αὐτὸν καὶ οἱ ἀκολουθοῦντες).  They were all shouting out (ἔκραζον λέγοντες) “Hosanna to the Son of David (Ὡσαννὰ τῷ υἱῷ Δαυείδ)!”  He was the blessed one who came in the name of the Lord (Εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι Κυρίου).  These hosannas should reach to the highest heaven (Ὡσαννὰ ἐν τοῖς ὑψίστοις).  Hosanna was a Hebrew term of praise asking God to save them.  This saying came from the Hallel chants that was used in the Passover celebration, based on Psalm 118:26.  Later it became part of the Roman Catholic “Sanctus” chant in the Eucharistic celebration.  This event has become the great Palm Sunday celebration, the triumphant entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem.  Actually only John, chapter 12:13, called these palm branches.  This idea of laying garments on the road can be found in 2 Kings, chapter 9:13, to protect the feet of the king.  Clearly, this was an attempt to connect Jesus with the Davidic kingship.  Was Jesus to be the new king of Israel as a son of David?

The literal meaning

The first form of biblical interpretation is the literal meaning.  The text says what it says, so there.  Anyone who can read, can simply pick up the book and read it.  That is all that it takes to understand the Bible.  Just read it.  Perhaps the English is a little old fashioned, but that is no big deal.  Jesus walked down the road.  That is all there is in the literal sense.

Moab is destroyed (Jer 48:18-48:20)

“Come down from glory!

Sit on the parched ground!

Enthroned daughter Dibon!

The destroyer of Moab

Has come up

Against you!

He has destroyed

Your strongholds.

Stand by the road!

Watch!

You inhabitants of Aroer!

Ask the man fleeing!

Ask the woman escaping!

Say!

‘What has happened?’

Moab is put to shame.

Moab is broken down.

Wail!

Cry!

Tell it by the Arnon,

That Moab is laid waste.”

Moab was going to come down from its glory days to the parched land. They had their Dibon River with its capital city of Dibon. However their strong fortresses were destroyed. Jeremiah wanted them to stand by the road at Aroer, on the banks of the Arnon River. There they were to ask the simple question to both the men and women who were escaping and fleeing. What was going on? What was happening? The response was simple and direct. Moab was put to shame and broken down, as it was laid waste. All they could do now by the banks of the Arnon River was to wail and cry for their lost country of Moab.