Jesus meets the two possessed demoniacs (Mt 8:28-8:28)

“When he came

To the other side,

To the country

Of the Gadarenes,

Two demoniacs met him.

They were coming out

Of the tombs.

They were so extremely violent

That no one could pass

That way.”

 

Καὶ ἐλθόντος αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸ πέραν εἰς τὴν χώραν τῶν Γαδαρηνῶν ὑπήντησαν αὐτῷ δύο δαιμονιζόμενοι ἐκ τῶν μνημείων ἐξερχόμενοι, χαλεποὶ λίαν ὥστε μὴ ἰσχύειν τινὰ παρελθεῖν διὰ τῆς ὁδοῦ ἐκείνης.

 

All three synoptic gospels. Mark, chapter 5:1-3 and Luke, chapter 8:26-27, have Jesus go the country or region of the Gadarenes (εἰς τὸ πέραν εἰς τὴν χώραν τῶν Γαδαρηνῶν).  Jesus had traveled over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee to its southern tip (Καὶ ἐλθόντος αὐτοῦ).  Gadara was about 6 miles away from the southeast side of the Sea of Galilee, near where the Sea of Galilee ran into the Jordan River, one of the 10 cities of the Decapolis territory.  Today, it is in the country of Jordan, known as Umm Qais.  There, Jesus met 2 people possessed by the devil (ὑπήντησαν αὐτῷ δύο δαιμονιζόμενοι), who were coming out of the tombs (ἐκ τῶν μνημείων ἐξερχόμενοι).  These two demonic people were so extremely violent or fierce (χαλεποὶ λίαν), that no one could pass by them on their way (χαλεποὶ λίαν).

Patience (Bar 4:23-4:26)

“I sent you out

With sorrow,

With weeping.

But God will give you

Back to me

With joy,

With gladness forever.

As the neighbors of Zion

Have now seen

Your capture,

So they soon will see

Your salvation

By God.

This will come

To you

With great glory,

With the splendor

Of the Everlasting One.

My children,

Endure with patience

The wrath

That has come upon you

From God.

Your enemy

Has overtaken you.

But you will soon see

Their destruction.

You will tread

Upon their necks.

My pampered children

Have traveled rough roads.

They were taken away

Like a flock

Carried off

By the enemy.”

The personification of Jerusalem continued as this city advised her exiles to have patience. She had sent them out of town with sorrow and weeping. However, God was going to bring them back to Jerusalem with eternal joy and gladness. Zion’s neighbors had seen them captured. They would soon see these Israelites safely coming back with the glorious splendor of the Everlasting One, not Yahweh. Jerusalem wanted her pampered children to endure patiently the wrath of God that had come via their enemies. They would soon tread on the necks of their enemies since they would be destroyed. Even though they had traveled rough roads and were taken away like a flock of sheep, they needed patience.

Oracle against Sidon (Isa 23:2-23:4)

“Be still!

O inhabitants of the coast!

O merchants of Sidon!

Your messengers crossed

Over the sea.

They replenished you.

They were on many waters.

Your revenue

Was the grain of Shihor,

The harvest of the Nile.

You were

The merchant of the nations.

Be ashamed!

O Sidon!

The sea has spoken.

The fortress of the sea says.

‘I have neither labored

Nor given birth.

I have neither reared young men

Nor brought up young women.’”

Sidon was another Phoenician city about 25 miles north of Tyre. This maritime city is also on the southern Lebanon coastline today, mostly known for its fishing and trade. Sidon was also the name of the grandson of Noah, and thus older than Tyre. This oracle of Isaiah wants the people of Sidon to be still. Their sailors had traveled the great seas. In fact, they would bring the harvest of grain from the Nile via Shihor, a port town near Zoan in Egypt. They were the sea merchants to all the countries along the Mediterranean Sea. However, they should be ashamed. Sidon was going to be barren, no longer would young men and women be raised in Sidon, but without any explanation on why this was going to happen here.

Jonathan is on the offensive at Gaza (1 Macc 11:60-11:62)

“Then Jonathan set out and traveled beyond the river. He traveled among the towns. All the army of Syria gathered to him as allies. When he came to Askalon, the people of the city met him and paid him honor. From there he departed to Gaza, but the people of Gaza shut him out. So he besieged it. He burned its suburbs with fire and plundered them. Then the people of Gaza pleaded with Jonathan so he made peace with them. He took the sons of their rulers as hostages. He sent them to Jerusalem. He passed through the country as far as Damascus.”

Jonathan crossed the Jordan River, where all the Syrian troops joined him. The people of Askalon, one of the 5 Philistine cities on the coast, received him well and honored him. However, the people of Gaza, another old Philistine city, did not treat him well so that he besieged the city and burned its suburbs. Finally they asked for peace but Jonathan took the sons of the rulers as hostages, sending them to Jerusalem. He seems to have gone anywhere he wanted up as far north as Damascus.