The angel said not to be afraid (Lk 1:13-1:13)

“But the angel

Said to him.

‘Do not be afraid!

Zechariah!’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ ἄγγελος Μὴ φοβοῦ, Ζαχαρία,

 

Luke then has this oracle of the angel of God, almost like a theophany.  Zechariah got a direct message from God, via this angel.  First, the angel told Zechariah (εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ ἄγγελος) not to be afraid (Μὴ φοβοῦ, Ζαχαρία).  That was easier said than done.  This was an attempt to set Zechariah at ease.

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The prophet Isaiah and John (Mt 3: 3-3:3)

“This is the one

Of whom

The prophet Isaiah

Spoke

When he said.

‘The voice of one crying out

In the wilderness.

Prepare

The way of the Lord!

Make his paths straight!’”

 

οὗτος γάρ ἐστιν ὁ ῥηθεὶς διὰ Ἠσαΐου τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος Φωνὴ βοῶντος ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ Ἑτοιμάσατε τὴν ὁδὸν Κυρίου, εὐθείας ποιεῖτε τὰς τρίβους αὐτοῦ.

 

Matthew followed Mark who introduced John as a fulfilment of a prophecy from the Book of Isaiah. However, the text from Mark, chapter 1:2, was a composite of texts from Isaiah, Malachi and Exodus. Matthew, as well as Luke, dropped the first part of these references. However, Luke, chaper 3:4-6, has a more extended citation from Isaiah. Matthew began with the modified quotation from Isaiah, chapter 40:3, while he moved the Malachi and Exodus material to later in the text, where Jesus quoted them. However, it was clear that John the Baptist was the one (οὗτος γάρ ἐστιν ὁ ῥηθεὶς) that Isaiah the prophet was talking about (διὰ Ἠσαΐου τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος). He was the messenger being sent ahead. He was a voice crying out in the wilderness (Φωνὴ βοῶντος ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ). He was to prepare the way for the Lord (Ἑτοιμάσατε τὴν ὁδὸν Κυρίου,). He was going to make the paths straight (εὐθείας ποιεῖτε τὰς τρίβους αὐτοῦ). Deutero-Isaiah originally talked about a voice in the wilderness leading to a new path out of the Exile, in this oracle of Yahweh, just as there had been a path out of the Exodus. In this wilderness or desert, they were to make a straight path, like a highway for God or the Holy Way. However, this would also be a time of upheaval. The valleys would rise as the mountains and hills would fall, so that the uneven and rough places would become level and plain. All the people would then see the glory of God revealed. Clearly, there was a connection between John the Baptist and Isaiah the prophet.

The return of the prisoner captives (Zech 9:11-9:13)

“As for you also,

Because of the blood

Of my covenant

With you,

I will set your prisoners free

From the waterless pit.

Return to your stronghold!

O prisoners of hope!

Today I declare

That I will restore to you double.

I have bent Judah

As my bow.

I have made Ephraim

Its arrow.

I will arouse your sons!

O Zion!

Against your sons,

O Greece!

I will wield you

Like a warrior’s sword.”

In this oracle, Yahweh said that he was going to free the prisoners from their dungeons or waterless pits, because of the covenant or blood treaty that he had with Israel.  Perhaps, this is an allusion to the Temple sacrifices.  The former prisoners of hope or captives would return to their stronghold, since Yahweh was going to double what they had before.  He was going to use Judah in the south and Ephraim in the north as a bow and arrow against other countries, such as Greece.  Yahweh was going to wield them like a warrior’s sword.

The total punishment was coming (Zeph 3:8-3:8)

“Says Yahweh.

‘Therefore,

Wait for me,

On the day

When I arise

As a witness!

M decision is

To gather nations,

To assemble kingdoms,

To pour out upon them

My indignation,

All the heat of my anger.

In the fire

Of my passion,

All the earth

Shall be consumed.”

Yahweh, in this oracle via Zephaniah, told them to wait for the day when he would gather all the countries and kingdoms together to pour out all his indignation and anger.  He said that the fire of his passion would consume the whole earth on this final judgment day.

How great was the Pharaoh (Ezek 31:1-31:2)

“In the eleventh year,

In the third month,

On the first day

Of the month,

The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Say to Pharaoh,

King of Egypt,

With his hordes!

‘Who are you

Like

In your greatness?’”

Once again, there is specific date for this oracle of Yahweh to Ezekiel, the son of man, the 1st day of the 3rd month, of the 11th year of King Zedekiah, 587 BCE. Yahweh wanted Ezekiel to pose a question to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt as well as the many people of Egypt. Who would they compare themselves to? Who or what was like them in their greatness?

The broken arm of the Pharaoh (Ezek 30:20-30:21)

“In the eleventh year,

In the first month,

On the seventh day

Of the month,

The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

I have broken

The arm of Pharaoh,

King of Egypt.

It has not been

Bound up

For healing.

It has not been

Wrapped

with a bandage.

Thus it cannot

Become strong

To wield the sword.’”

Once again there is a precise date for this oracle of Yahweh to Ezekiel, the son of man, the 7th day of the 1st month of the 11th year of King Zedekiah, in 587 BCE. Yahweh said that he had broken the arm of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Once it was broken, it was not going to heal. His broken arm was not bound up, wrapped up, or bandaged. He was not going to become strong enough to wield a sword. In other words, the Pharaoh would be useless in the face of any battle.

Against Egypt (Ezek 29:1-29:2)

“In the tenth year,

In the tenth month,

On the twelfth day

Of the month,

The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Set your face

Against Pharaoh,

King of Egypt!

Prophesy

Against him!

Prophesy

Against all Egypt!’”

Once again there was a specific date for this oracle of Yahweh to Ezekiel, the son of man. It was the 10th year of King Zedekiah, the 12th day of the 10th month, probably early 587 BCE. Ezekiel continued to use the first-person singular, as he had throughout this work. This time Yahweh wanted him to look towards Egypt. He was to prophesize against Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, probably Pharaoh Hophra, as well as all of Egypt.