Why do they not wash their hands before eating? (Mt 15:2-15:2)

“They said.

‘Why do your disciples

Break the tradition

Of the elders?

They do not wash

Their hands

Before they eat.’”

 

Διὰ τί οἱ μαθηταί σου παραβαίνουσιν τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν πρεσβυτέρων; οὐ γὰρ νίπτονται τὰς χεῖρας ὅταν ἄρτον ἐσθίωσιν.

 

There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 7:2-5 and Luke chapter 11:39.  These Pharisees wanted to know why the disciples of Jesus (Διὰ τί οἱ μαθηταί σου) did not wash their hands before they ate bread (οὐ γὰρ νίπτονται τὰς χεῖρας ὅταν ἄρτον ἐσθίωσιν).  They said that this action was a transgression or violation against the tradition of the elders (παραβαίνουσιν τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν πρεσβυτέρων).  Originally, this practice of washing hands before eating was what the Levites did in the Temple to practice ritual purity as indicated in Exodus, chapter 30:17-21.  Yahweh had told Moses that there should be a bronze basin with a bronze stand for washing.  Thus, Aaron and his sons should wash their hands and feet when they went into the meeting tent or the altar.  The penalty for not washing your hands and feet was death under this perpetual ordinance.  However, the Pharisaic oral tradition, or the tradition of the elders, had extended this practice to individual homes.

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The holy angels speak (Dan 8:13-8:14)

“Then I heard

A holy one speaking.

Another holy one

Said to the one

That spoke.

‘For how long

Is this vision

Concerning

The regular burnt offering

Continue?

This transgression

Makes desolate

The sanctuary.

How long will

The sanctuary

With the host

Be trampled?’

He answered.

‘For two thousand three hundred

Evenings and mornings.

Then the sanctuary

Shall be restored

To its rightful state.’”

Here Daniel has a conversation between 2 holy ones, probably a reference to angels. One holy one or angel wanted to know how long the lack of the regular burnt offerings at the sanctuary would continue. The transgression of the sanctuary meant that the it and the people who worked there, the hosts, the priests, were trampled under. The response of the other angel was an exact time, 2,300 evenings and mornings, that turns out to be 1,150 days or about 3 ½ years. It was about 3 years that the sanctuary was defiled until 164 BCE.

 

The righteous man (Prov 29:5-29:7)

“Whoever flatters a neighbor

Is spreading a net for the neighbor’s feet.

In the transgressions of the evil

There is a snare.

But the righteous sing.

The righteous rejoice.

The righteous know the rights of the poor.

The wicked have no such understanding.”

If you flatter your neighbor, you are setting a trap or net for his feet. In the very transgression of the evil deed, there is a snare trap. The righteous sing and rejoice. They know about the rights of the poor, while the wicked have no understanding of the poor.

Use of words (Prov 10:19-10:21)

“When words are many,

Transgression is not lacking.

But the prudent are restrained in speech.

The tongue of the righteous is choice silver.

The mind of the wicked is of little worth.

The lips of the righteous feed many.

But fools die for lack of sense.”     

If you talk too much, the chance of transgression increases. The prudent are more restrained in speech. The righteous have a silver tongue, while the wicked have very little worthwhile in their mind. The lips of the righteous can feed many people, but fools die for a lack of good sense.

David is a sinner (Ps 51:3-51:5)

“I know my transgressions.

My sin is ever before me.

Against you,

You alone,

Have I sinned against.

I have done what is evil in your sight.

Thus you are justified

In your sentence.

You are blameless when you pass judgment.

Indeed,

I was born guilty.

I was a sinner

When my mother conceived me.”

David knew that he had sinned. His transgression was in front of him. He knew that he had done evil in the sight of God. He recognized that the sin was against God alone, as he did not see the human implications of his sin. This was evil in the sight of God. Thus God was justified and blameless in passing judgment on him. Then David hid behind the fact that he was born guilty. He was a sinner from his conception. Somehow he was throwing his sinfulness back to his mother and sex in general. Perhaps he was alluding to the human condition to be prone to sin or something akin to human original sin.