The Queen of Sheba (Mt 12:42-12:42)

“The Queen of the South

Will rise up

At the judgment

With this generation.

She will condemn it.

Because she came

From the ends of the earth

To listen

To the wisdom of Solomon.

See!

Something greater

Than Solomon is here.”

 

βασίλισσα νότου ἐγερθήσεται ἐν τῇ κρίσει μετὰ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης καὶ κατακρινεῖ αὐτήν· ὅτι ἦλθεν ἐκ τῶν περάτων τῆς γῆς ἀκοῦσαι τὴν σοφίαν Σολομῶνος, καὶ ἰδοὺ πλεῖον Σολομῶνος ὧδε.

 

This saying about the Queen of Sheba can also be found in Luke, chapter 11:31, so that perhaps this is a Q source.  However, in Luke, it preceded the comments about the men of Nineveh.  Why was this unnamed Queen of Sheba able to give a judgment on this generation?  She was not even Jewish.  However, she visited King Solomon in 1 Kings, chapter 10:1-13, with the same story repeated in 2 Chronicles, chapter 9:1-12.  This mythical mysterious woman came from Sheba, but no one knows exactly where that was or her specific name.  She might have been from around the gold mines at Ophir, wherever that might be.  This might explain her wealth in spices, gold, and precious stones.  Anyway, King Solomon answered all her questions with great wisdom.  She observed all his wisdom, plus his house, his food, his clothing, and his servants.  She praised King Solomon, the son of King David, because his wisdom exceeded what she had anticipated and his prosperity exceeded her expectations.  Here she is called the Queen of the South (βασίλισσα νότου).  She would rise up at the judgment time against this generation (ἐγερθήσεται ἐν τῇ κρίσει μετὰ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης).  Just like the men of Nineveh, she would condemn them (καὶ κατακρινοῦσιν αὐτήν).  She had come from the ends of the earth (ὅτι ἦλθεν ἐκ τῶν περάτων τῆς γῆς) to hear the wisdom of Solomon (ἀκοῦσαι τὴν σοφίαν Σολομῶνος).  Now, Matthew reminded them that something or someone greater than King Solomon was there among them (καὶ ἰδοὺ πλεῖον Σολομῶνος ὧδε), Jesus himself.

The reaction of the men of Nineveh (Mt 12:41-12:41)

“The people of Nineveh

Will rise up

At the judgment

With this generation.

They will condemn it.

Because they repented

At the preaching of Jonah.

See!

Something greater

Than Jonah is here.”

 

ἄνδρες Νινευεῖται ἀναστήσονται ἐν τῇ κρίσει μετὰ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης καὶ κατακρινοῦσιν αὐτήν· ὅτι μετενόησαν εἰς τὸ κήρυγμα Ἰωνᾶ, καὶ ἰδοὺ πλεῖον Ἰωνᾶ ὧδε.

 

This saying about the positive response of repentance among the men of Nineveh, where the prophet Jonah had preached, can also be found in Luke, chapter 11:32, so that perhaps this is a Q source.  Once again, Q and Matthew went back to their Old Testament roots, using the story of the prophet Jonah, chapter 3:5.  Those people of Nineveh, who were long dead, would rise up at the judgment time against this generation (ἄνδρες Νινευεῖται ἀναστήσονται ἐν τῇ κρίσει μετὰ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης).  They would condemn it (καὶ κατακρινοῦσιν αὐτήν) because they had repented during the 40-day preaching of Jonah (ὅτι μετενόησαν εἰς τὸ κήρυγμα Ἰωνᾶ) in Nineveh.  Now, Matthew reminded them that something or someone greater than Jonah was there among them (καὶ ἰδοὺ πλεῖον Ἰωνᾶ ὧδε), Jesus himself.

Childish generation (Mt 11:16-11:16)

“But to what

Shall I compare

This generation?

It is

Like children

Sitting in the market places.

They are calling

To one another.”

 

Τίνι δὲ ὁμοιώσω τὴν γενεὰν ταύτην; ὁμοία ἐστὶν παιδίοις καθημένοις ἐν ταῖς ἀγοραῖς ἃ προσφωνοῦντα τοῖς ἑτέροις

 

Then Matthew has Jesus take on the present generation, calling it childish.  Luke, chapter 7:31, has a similar statement, indicating a possible common Q source.  Jesus, via Matthew, wanted to know to what he should compare this generation to (Τίνι δὲ ὁμοιώσω τὴν γενεὰν ταύτην).  He decided that it was like little kids sitting in the market places (ὁμοία ἐστὶν παιδίοις καθημένοις ἐν ταῖς ἀγοραῖς) calling to each other (ἃ προσφωνοῦντα τοῖς ἑτέροις), as if playing games.

 

Cut your hair off (Jer 7:29-7:30)

“Cut off your hair!

Throw it away!

Raise a lamentation

On the bare heights!

Yahweh has rejected

The generation

That provoked his wrath.

Yahweh has forsaken

The generation

That provoked his wrath.

The people of Judah

Have done evil in my sight.’

Says Yahweh.

‘They have set their abominations

In the house

That is called by my name.

They defile it.’”

Yahweh wanted Jeremiah to go into mourning by cutting off his hair. He should get rid of his hair and lament from the heights because Yahweh, in his wrath, has rejected and forsaken this generation. The people of Judah, in specific, have done evil in the sight of Yahweh. They have placed abominations of false idol gods in his house. Thus they have defiled the Temple.