Hardness of heart (Mk 10:5-10:5)

“But Jesus

Said to them.

‘Because of your hardness

Of heart.

He wrote

This commandment

For you.’”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Πρὸς τὴν σκληροκαρδίαν ὑμῶν ἔγραψεν ὑμῖν τὴν ἐντολὴν ταύτην.

 

This response of Jesus about divorce can also be found in Matthew, chapter 19:8.  Jesus responded to the Pharisees (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς).  He said that Moses allowed them to divorce their wives, because they were so hard-hearted, perverse, and obstinate (Πρὸς τὴν σκληροκαρδίαν ὑμῶν).  Moses wrote this ordinance or commandment for them (ἔγραψεν ὑμῖν τὴν ἐντολὴν ταύτην).  Jesus had taken the stronger stance of no divorce.  However, in Matthew, there was one exception for divorce, the sexual misconduct of the wife.  Here in Mark, there is no exception, no divorce.

The great individual mourning period (Zech 12:11-12:14)

“On that day,

The mourning in Jerusalem

Will be as great

As the mourning

For Hadad-rimmon

In the plain of Megiddo.

The land shall mourn.

Each family shall mourn

By itself,

The family of the house of David

Shall mourn by itself.

Their wives shall mourn

By themselves.

The family of the house of Nathan

Shall mourn by itself.

Their wives shall mourn

By themselves.

The family of the house of Levi

Shall mourn by itself.

Their wives shall mourn

By themselves.

The family of the Shimeites

Shall mourn by itself.

Their wives shall mourn

By themselves.

All the families that are left,

Shall mourn,

Each by itself.

Their wives shall mourn

By themselves.”

There would be great mourning in Jerusalem, but it would not be a communal mourning.  Each family and group would mourn separately.  Even their wives would also mourn separately from their husbands.  This great grieving in the city itself would be just like the mourning for the local fertility idol god of Hadad-rimmon in the Megiddo area.  It may also be a reference to the death of the religious reforming King Josiah of Judah (640-609 BCE) in Megiddo.  Each family would mourn by itself.  Thus, the house of David, the house of Nathan, the house of Levi, and the house of the Shimeites would grieve separately by themselves with their wives by themselves.  Nathan was the son of David, while Shimei was the grandson of Levi and the son of Gershon.  All these groups had separate families.  The segregated wives of these individual families all had separate mourning activities.

The king destroys his Bel priests and their families (Dan 14:21-14:22)

“Then the king

Was enraged.

He arrested

The priests,

Their wives,

With their children.

They showed him

The secret doors

Through which they

Used to enter

The temple.

They would consume

What was on the table.

Therefore,

The king

Put them

To death.

He gave Bel

Over to Daniel.

Daniel destroyed it.

He destroyed also

Its temple.”

The king was very upset. He arrested the priests, their wives, and their children. These priests showed the king the secret door that they used to get into the temple to eat the food on the table. Thus, the king put them to death. He even let Daniel destroy the idol god Bel and its temple. Once again, good overcame evil. Thus, Daniel showed his great power, by eliminating the great idol god Bel along with its temple.

The king leaves the food for Bel (Dan 14:14-14:15)

“After they had gone out,

The king set out

The food for Bel.

Then Daniel ordered

His servants

To bring ashes.

They scattered them

Throughout the whole temple,

In the presence

Of the king alone.

Then they went out.

He shut the door.

He sealed it

With the king’s signet.

Then they departed.

During the night,

The priests came,

As usual,

With their wives,

With their children.

They ate everything.

They drank everything.”

After the priests of the Bel temple had left, the king put out the food for the idol god Bel. Then Daniel ordered that the king’s servants scatter ashes throughout the whole temple, in the presence of the king alone. Then, they went out, shut the door, and then sealed it with the king’s insignia. After that, they left. During the night, as usual, the Bel priests came with their wives and children. They entered through the secret entrance to the temple, so that they were able to eat and drink everything in there.

The priests of Bel (Dan 14:10-14:13)

“Now there were seventy priests

Of Bel,

Besides their wives,

With their children.

The king went

With Daniel

Into the temple

Of Bel.

The priests Of Bel said.

‘See!

We are going outside.

You!

Yourself!

O king!

Set out the food!

Prepare the wine!

Shut the door!

Seal it with your signet!

When you return

In the morning,

If you do not find

That Bel has eaten it all,

We will die.

Otherwise,

Daniel will die.

He is telling lies

About us.’

They were unconcerned,

Because beneath the table,

They had made

A hidden entrance,

Through which

They used to go in regularly.

They would consume

The provisions.”

There were 70 priests of Bel, with their wives and children. The king went with Daniel into the Bel temple. The priests then said to them that they were going outside. They wanted the king to set out the food and the wine. Then he should shut and seal the door with his signet. If the next morning he returned, and the god Bel had not eaten the provisions, they should be killed. However, if the god Bel had eaten the food, then Daniel, who had lied against them, should be killed. They were unconcerned, because beneath the table they had made a hidden entrance. They used this secret passageway to regularly consume the provisions set out for the idol god Bel.

Daniel’s accusers were put in the lion’s den (Dan 6:24-6:24)

“The king

Gave a command.

Those men,

Who had accused Daniel,

Were brought to him.

He threw them

Into the den of lions.

He not only threw them,

But their children,

With their wives.

Before they reached

The bottom

Of the den,

The lions

Overpowered them.

The lions broke

All their bones

Into pieces.”

In a reversal of fortunes, which is common among the biblical writings, like in Esther, chapter 6, the conspirators and their families were put into the lion’s den. Before they hit the bottom of the den, the lions had overpowered them, their children, and their wives. All their bones were broken into pieces. The moral of the story is not to be a conspirator.

The futile activities of these temple priests (Bar 6:33-6:35)

“The priests

Take some

Of the clothing

Of their gods

To clothe

Their wives

Or their children.

Whether one does

Evil

To them

Or good,

They will not be able

To repay it.

They cannot

Set up a king.

They cannot

Depose a king.

Likewise

They are not able

To give

Either wealth

Or money.

If one makes a vow

To them,

Then does not

Keep it,

They will not

Require it.”

These priests of the temple take some of the clothing from their gods to give to their wives and children. Whether anyone does good or evil to them, they are not able to return the favor or resist. They are unable to set up or depose a king as the God of Israel can. They seem to have no control over wealth or money. If someone makes a vow, they do not require them to keep their vows.