They return to Nazareth (Lk 2:39-2:39)

“When they had finished

Everything

Required by the law

Of the Lord,

They returned

To Galilee,

To their own town,

Nazareth.”

 

Καὶ ὡς ἐτέλεσαν πάντα τὰ κατὰ τὸν νόμον Κυρίου, ἐπέστρεψαν εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν εἰς πόλιν ἑαυτῶν Ναζαρέθ.

 

Luke finished his unique narrative about Joseph, Mary, and Jesus at the presentation ritual of Mary in Jerusalem.  He said that after they had finished everything (Καὶ ὡς ἐτέλεσαν πάντα) that was required by the Law of the Lord (ὰ κατὰ τὸν νόμον Κυρίου), they returned to Galilee (ἐπέστρεψαν εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν), to their own town of Nazareth (εἰς πόλιν ἑαυτῶν Ναζαρέθ), about 80 miles away.  Mary and Joseph had done everything according to the Israelite law, but there was no mention of a marriage ceremony, just these Temple activities.  They were faithful Israelite followers of the Torah.

Do not tell anyone except the priest (Mk 1:43-1:44)

“Jesus

Sternly warned him.

He sent him away

At once.

He said to him.

‘See!

Say nothing

To anyone!

But go!

Show yourself

To the priest!

Offer

For your cleansing

What Moses commanded,

As a testimony to them.’”

 

καὶ ἐμβριμησάμενος αὐτῷ εὐθὺς ἐξέβαλεν αὐτόν,

καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Ὅρα μηδενὶ μηδὲν εἴπῃς, ἀλλὰ ὕπαγε σεαυτὸν δεῖξον τῷ ἱερεῖ καὶ προσένεγκε περὶ τοῦ καθαρισμοῦ σου ἃ προσέταξεν Μωϋσῆς εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς.

 

Luke, chapter 5:14, and Matthew, chapter 8:4, are almost word for word like Mark, so that Mark might be the source of this admonition saying.  Mark said that Jesus sternly warned the cleansed leper (καὶ ἐμβριμησάμενος αὐτῷ) before the leper was sent him away immediately (εὐθὺς ἐξέβαλεν αὐτόν).  Jesus told the leper (καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ) not to say anything to anyone (Ὅρα μηδενὶ μηδὲν εἴπῃς).  This is often referred to as the messianic secret because Jesus did not want anyone to know about his power.  Instead, the leper was to show himself to the priest (ἀλλὰ ὕπαγε σεαυτὸν δεῖξον τῷ ἱερεῖ,), as recommended in Leviticus, chapter 14:2-9.  He should make the offering (καὶ προσένεγκε) for his cleansing (περὶ τοῦ καθαρισμοῦ σου) as outlined in Leviticus, since this is what Moses had commanded (ἃ προσέταξεν Μωϋσῆς) in the Torah.  He wanted this cleansed leper to show himself as a witness or testimony to the priests (εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς).

They tie up heavy burdens (Mt 23:4-23:4)

“The Pharisees

And the Scribes

Tie up heavy burdens,

Hard to bear.

They lay them

On the shoulders of others.

But they themselves

Are unwilling to lift a finger

To move them.”

 

δεσμεύουσιν δὲ φορτία βαρέα καὶ ἐπιτιθέασιν ἐπὶ τοὺς ὤμους τῶν ἀνθρώπων, αὐτοὶ δὲ τῷ δακτύλῳ αὐτῶν οὐ θέλουσιν κινῆσαι αὐτά.

 

This is unique to Matthew.  However, there is something similar in Luke, chapter 11:46, but there Jesus was talking about a lawyer, who may have been a Pharisaic lawyer of the Law of Moses, who would not help others.  Jesus said that these Pharisees and the Scribes tied up heavy burdens (δεσμεύουσιν δὲ φορτία βαρέα) on the people that were hard or oppressive to bear.  They put these burdens on the shoulders of other men (καὶ ἐπιτιθέασιν ἐπὶ τοὺς ὤμους τῶν ἀνθρώπων), but they themselves were unwilling to lift a finger to help them remove these burdens (αὐτοὶ δὲ τῷ δακτύλῳ αὐτῶν οὐ θέλουσιν κινῆσαι αὐτά).  These heavy burdens of the Torah may have been their multiple perplexing oral interpretations of the law rather than the law itself that was usually considered a blessing.

Secrecy (Mt 8:4-8:4)

“Then Jesus said

To the leper.

‘See that you say nothing

To any one!

But go!

Show yourself

To the priest!

Offer the gift

That Moses commanded,

As a testimony to them.’”

 

καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Ὅρα μηδενὶ εἴπῃς, ἀλλὰ ὕπαγε σεαυτὸν δεῖξον τῷ ἱερεῖ, καὶ προσένεγκον τὸ δῶρον ὃ προσέταξεν Μωϋσῆς εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς.

 

This admonition to the leper can be found in Luke, chapter 5:14, and Mark, chapter 1:41-42, perhaps indicating Mark as the source.  Jesus told the leper (καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς) not to say anything (Ὅρα μηδενὶ εἴπῃς), often referred to as the messianic secret.  Jesus did not want anyone to know about his power.  Instead the leper was to show himself to the priest (ἀλλὰ ὕπαγε σεαυτὸν δεῖξον τῷ ἱερεῖ,), as recommended in Leviticus, chapter 14:2-9.  He should offer the gifts (καὶ προσένεγκον τὸ δῶρον) as outlined in Leviticus, since this is what Moses had commanded (ὃ προσέταξεν Μωϋσῆς) in the Torah.  He wanted this cleansed leper to show himself as a witness or testimony to the priests (εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς).

The response of Jesus (Mt 4:4-4:4)

“But Jesus answered.

‘It is written.

One does not live

By bread alone,

But by every word

That comes

From the mouth of God.’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Γέγραπται Οὐκ ἐπ’ ἄρτῳ μόνῳ ζήσεται ὁ ἄνθρωπος, ἀλλ’ ἐπὶ παντὶ ῥήματι ἐκπορευομένῳ διὰ στόματος Θεοῦ.

 

Once again, Matthew and Luke, chapter 4:4 shared a common source, perhaps Q.  Jesus responded (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς) to the tempter by citing a written phrase (εἶπεν Γέγραπται) from Deuteronomy, chapter 8:3, about the fact that man does not live by bread alone (Οὐκ ἐπ’ ἄρτῳ μόνῳ ζήσεται ὁ ἄνθρωπος,), but rather man lives by all the words that come from the mouth of God (ἀλλ’ ἐπὶ παντὶ ῥήματι ἐκπορευομένῳ διὰ στόματος Θεοῦ.).  Actually, the Book of Deuteronomy was the most quoted book of the Torah in these New Testament writings.  In Deuteronomy, Yahweh had reminded the Israelites that they had been tested for 40 years with hunger.  Then came this saying about not living by bread alone, but by every word that came from the mouth of Yahweh.  The mouth of God was an anthropomorphism for Yahweh’s law.

 

The four-source theory

Originally, many thought Moses wrote all the Torah, the first five books of the Bible.  Bible scholars of the last century have been able to locate four distinct strands, the Jahwist (J) the oldest from around 950 BCE, the Elohist (E) from around 850 BCE, the Deuteronomist (D) from around 650 BCE, and the later Priestly (P) sources around 600-400 BCE.  The Priestly source put it altogether after the exile around 450 BCE, long after the death of Moses.  Some scholars have developed more elaborate documentary hypothesis within this source theory.

The common language at the time of Jesus

After the Babylonian captivity, Aramaic replaced Biblical Hebrew as the everyday language in Israel.  However, Biblical Hebrew was still used for religious purposes.  After Alexander the Great, the Ptolemies and the Seleucids ruled Israel for almost two hundred years.  Thus, the Jewish culture was heavily influenced by this Hellenistic culture.  Koine Greek was used not only for international communication, but also as the first language of some Jews.  This development was furthered complicated by the fact that the largest Jewish community in the world lived in Ptolemaic Alexandria, Egypt.  Many of these diaspora Jews would have Greek as their first language.  Thus, first the Torah, and then other Hebrew scriptures, were translated into standard Koine Greek, the Septuagint.

Pseudo epigrams or anonymous writings

The question of authorship or attribution is important.  Like many of the books of the Old Testament, some of the books attributed to some authors in the New Testament writings are not the persons mentioned.  Moses did not write all the Torah.  Paul did not write all the letters attributed to him.  The technical scholarly name for this is pseudo epigrams.  Sometimes, they are forgeries.  These false attributions exist for a number of biblical books.  Since we do not know the names of many of the writers of these books in the Bible, we can say that anonymous people wrote these works.  However, I have decided to use the traditional attributed names that have been associated with these pseudo epigram works to better identify them.

The destruction of Moab (Isa 15:2-15:3)

“Because Ar is laid waste in a night,

Moab is undone.

Because Kir is laid waste in a night,

Moab is undone.

Dibon has gone up to the temple.

They have gone

To the high places to weep

Over Nebo,

Over Medeba.

Moab wails!

On every head is baldness.

Every beard is shorn.

In the streets

They bind on sackcloth.

On the housetops

Everyone wails.

In the squares

Everyone melts in tears.”

According to Isaiah, Moab was destroyed as it came undone, probably by the Assyrian army. Two towns were wiped out in one night, Ar and Kir. Ar was a town in Moab that was mentioned about 7 times in the Torah, while Kir was a town mentioned about 9 times, mostly by the prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah as well as 2 Kings. This might mean that Kir was a newer town. The people of Dibon, which was the capital and major city of Moab, mentioned about 12 times in the biblical literature, went to their temple to weep. Mount Nebo in Moab was mentioned about 10 times in the biblical literature. The Medeba plateau or plains near Dibon was mentioned about 5 times in the biblical literature. The country Moab was wailing over its destruction. They cut the hair on their heads and cut off their beards. They walked around in sackcloth. Everyone was wailing and crying in the city squares.

Historical punishments for sin (Sir 16:6-16:14)

“In an assembly of sinners,

A fire is kindled.

In a disobedient nation,

Wrath blazes up.

The Lord did not forgive

The ancient giants

Who revolted in their might.

He did not spare the neighbors of Lot,

Whom he loathed

On account of their arrogance.

He showed no pity

On the doomed nation,

On those disposed because of their sins.

He showed no pity

On the six hundred thousand foot soldiers,

Who assembled in their stubbornness.

Even if there were only one stiff-necked person,

It would be a wonder

If he remained unpunished.

Mercy is with the Lord.

Wrath is with the Lord.

He is mighty to forgive,

But he also pours out wrath.

As great as his mercy,

So also is his chastisement.

He judges a person

According to his or her deeds.

The sinner will not escape with plunder.

The patience of the godly

Will not be frustrated.

He makes room for every act of mercy.

Everyone receives in accordance

With his or her deeds.”

Sirach mentions the people and the groups from the Torah that were punished for their sins. A destroying fire will rage where sinners or disobedient nations are gathered. The Lord did not forgive the ancient giant Nephilim people in Genesis, chapter 6, before the flood. The Lord did not forgive the evil arrogant Sodomite neighbors of Lot in Genesis, chapter 19. He did not have pity on the disposed Canaanites in Joshua. The 600,000 Israelites in the desert revolted against Moses in Numbers, chapter 16. Not one person gets away with being a stiff-necked proud person. They will not go unpunished. The Lord has both mercy and anger. He judges according to the deeds of the people. No sinner will escape. The patience of the godly will run thin. While there is room for mercy, everyone will receive punishment based on their deeds.