Anger and insults (Mt 5:22-5:22)

“But I say to you!

That everyone angry

With his brother

Shall be liable

To judgment.

Whoever insults

His brother

By calling him

Empty-headed

Without brains

Shall be liable

To the Sanhedrin council.

Whoever says.

‘You impious fool!’

Shall be liable

To the hell of fire.”

 

ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ὀργιζόμενος τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ ἔνοχος ἔσται τῇ κρίσει· ὃς δ’ ἂν εἴπῃ τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ Ῥακά, ἔνοχος ἔσται τῷ συνεδρίῳ· ὃς δ’ ἂν εἴπῃ Μωρέ, ἔνοχος ἔσται εἰς τὴν γέενναν τοῦ πυρός.

 

Matthew once again showed the importance of this saying of Jesus with “But I say or tell you (ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν)!” This time it is about anger and insults. Anyone who was angry with his brother would be liable to the local Jewish council judgment (ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ὀργιζόμενος τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ ἔνοχος ἔσται τῇ κρίσει). If he insulted his brother, by calling him, an empty head without brains (ὃς δ’ ἂν εἴπῃ τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ Ῥακά), he was liable to the Jerusalem Sanhedrin Council (ἔνοχος ἔσται τῷ συνεδρίῳ). Calling someone a “Ῥακά” was a worse crime than a mere insult. If he called his brother an insensitive non-religious or impious fool (ἔσται τῷ συνεδρίῳ ὃς δ’ ἂν εἴπῃ Μωρέ), the punishment for this outrageous insult would be to be thrown into to the fiery hell (ἔνοχος ἔσται εἰς τὴν γέενναν τοῦ πυρός). The Greek term “Μωρέ” developed into the English term moron. The Greek word for hell “γέενναν” or the English Gehenna was based on the Hebrew word Gehinnom that was the name of the valley south of Jerusalem where burning child sacrifices would take place. There seemed to be 3 stages of punishment, depending on what they had said to their brother. Insulting them was bad. Calling them empty-headed was worse. But worst of all was calling them an insensitive non-religious fool. Be careful what you say to your brother or sister.

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The vision of the horses (Zech 1:7-1:8)

“Zechariah said.

‘In the night,

I saw a man

Riding on a red horse!

He was standing

Among the myrtle trees

In the glen.

Behind him,

Were red horses,

Sorrel horses,

White horses.’”

Zechariah had this night vision about horses.  First, there was a man riding a red horse in the valley or glen that was filled with myrtle or evergreen trees.  Even more interesting was a series of other horses behind this rider.  While white horses might be common, the sight of red horses with sorrel or speckled horses seemed a bit strange.  What was this all about?

Against the commercial traders (Zeph 1:10-1:11)

“Says Yahweh.

‘On that day,

A cry will be heard

From the Fish Gate.

A wail will be heard

From the Second Quarter.

A loud crash will be heard

From the hills.

The inhabitants

Of the Mortar

Wail.

All the traders

Have perished.

All who weigh out

Silver

Are cut off.’”

Yahweh was clear about the consequences on the Day of Yahweh.  A cry would come from the north Fish Gate and the Second Quarter of Jerusalem, probably the entrance and the market place of business near this gate.  The Jerusalem traders may have sold fish there.  The northern hills around Jerusalem would also cry out, as would the wailing people of Mortal, those in the valley.  They would all wail and cry because of the lack of commerce.  All the traders would die.  Anyone involved with the weighing of silver would be wiped out.

Against Samaria (Mic 1:5-1:7)

“All this is for

The transgression

Of Jacob.

This is for

The sins

Of the house of Israel.

What is the transgression

Of Jacob?

Is it not Samaria?

What is the high place

Of Judah?

Is it not Jerusalem?

Therefore,

I will make Samaria

A heap in the open country.

I will make it

A place for planting vineyards.

I will pour down

Her stones

Into the valley.

I will uncover

Her foundations.

All her images

Shall be beaten to pieces.

All her wages

Shall be burned with fire.

I will lay waste

To all her idols.

She gathered them

As the wages of a prostitute.

They shall again be used

As the wages of a prostitute.”

Yahweh was coming because of the transgressions of Jacob, the sins of the house of northern Israel at the very place of Samaria.  The high place of Judah was Jerusalem.  Thus, Yahweh, was going to make Samaria like a heap in an open field or a place for vineyards.  He was going to take all their stones and throw them in the valley, as he would uncover their foundations.  All the idol images would be smashed to pieces, so that all their idols gods would be destroyed.  The wages of the temple prostitutes would be burned.  Whatever wages they had gained would be used against them.

The hand of Yahweh (Ezek 3:22-3:23)

“The hand of Yahweh

Was upon me there.

He said to me.

‘Rise up!

Go out

Into the valley!

There I will speak

With you.’

So I rose up.

I went out

Into the valley.

The glory of Yahweh

Stood there,

Like the glory

That I had seen

By the river Chebar.

I fell on my face.”

Ezekiel felt the hand of Yahweh on him. Then Yahweh told him to get up and go into the valley, which would have been the southern Tigris and Euphrates River valley. Yahweh was going to tell him something there. Ezekiel then got up and went into the valley as Yahweh had asked him to do. There the glory of Yahweh appeared to him, just like it had done by the Chebar River earlier in this chapter and in chapter one. Ezekiel then fell on his face out of reverence for the glory of Yahweh. Thus both the hand of Yahweh and the glory of Yahweh represent how God appeared to Ezekiel.

Defiled Israel (Jer 2:23-2:25)

“How can you say.

‘I am not defiled.

I have not gone after the Baals.’

Look at your way in the valley!

Know what you have done!

There is a restive young camel

Interlacing her tracks.

There is a wild ass

At home in the wilderness.

In her heat,

It is sniffing the wind!

Who can restrain her lust?

None who seek her

Need weary themselves.

In her month,

They will find her.

Keep your feet from going unshod!

Keep your throat from thirst!

But you said.

‘It is hopeless.

I have loved strangers.

After them.

I will go.’”

Jeremiah condemns the Israelites for defiling themselves, even though they deny it. They claim that they have not gone after the Baal pagan gods. However, Jeremiah points out that they know what they have done in the valley. They were like restless camels or a wild ass in the wilderness. They were sniffing at the wind. No one could restrain their lust. It would not be difficult to find them. They should, on the other hand, wear shoes and not be thirsty. Their response was disappointing, since they said that this was hopeless. They loved strangers and ran after them.

The garden (Song 6:11-6:12)

Female lover

“I went down

To the nut orchard.

I looked at

The blossoms of the valley.

I wanted to see

Whether the vines had budded.

I wanted to see

Whether the pomegranates were in bloom.

Before I was aware,

My fancy set me

In a chariot

Beside my prince.”

Meanwhile the female lover was back in the garden, the nut orchard garden. She saw the blossoms of the valley and the budding vines. The pomegranates were in bloom. Suddenly, before she was aware of it, the prince in his chariot was there. Will we have a happy ending?