“Then they will see
The Son of Man
Coming in a cloud
And great glory.”
καὶ τότε ὄψονται τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐρχόμενον ἐν νεφέλῃ μετὰ δυνάμεως καὶ δόξης πολλῆ
Luke indicated that Jesus said that then they would see (καὶ τότε ὄψονται) the Son of Man (τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) coming in a cloud (ἐρχόμενον ἐν νεφέλῃ) with power (μετὰ δυνάμεως) and great glory (καὶ δόξης πολλῆ). This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 24:30, and in Mark, chapter 13:26. Mark said that they would all see or experience the Son of Man (καὶ τότε ὄψονται τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) coming in the clouds (ἐρχόμενον ἐν νεφέλαις) with his great power (μετὰ δυνάμεως πολλῆς) and glory (καὶ δόξης). Matthew indicated that Jesus had an introductory comment that the sign of the Son of Man would appear in the heavens (καὶ τότε φανήσεται τὸ σημεῖον τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐν οὐρανῷ). Then all the tribes or races of people on the earth would mourn or lament (καὶ τότε κόψονται πᾶσαι αἱ φυλαὶ τῆς γῆς). After these phrases, then came the common element that they would all see or experience the Son of Man (καὶ ὄψονται τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) coming on the clouds of heaven (ἐρχόμενον ἐπὶ τῶν νεφελῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ) with his power (μετὰ δυνάμεως) and great glory (καὶ δόξης πολλῆς). The clouds were the common place where theophanies in the Old Testament occurred, as Yahweh often appeared in a cloud on a mountain. The Son of Man is a reference to Jesus himself as a Hebrew Messianic figure. What do you know about the Second Coming of Jesus?
I say to you!
There is no one
Who has left house,
Or brothers or sisters,
Or mother or father,
For my sake
And for the sake
Of the gospel good news,
Who will not receive
A hundredfold now
In this age,
Brothers and sisters,
And field lands,
In the age to come,
ἔφη ὁ Ἰησοῦς Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, οὐδείς ἐστιν ὃς ἀφῆκεν οἰκίαν ἢ ἀδελφοὺς ἢ ἀδελφὰς ἢ μητέρα ἢ πατέρα ἢ τέκνα ἢ ἀγροὺς ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ καὶ ἕνεκεν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου,
ἐὰν μὴ λάβῃ ἑκατονταπλασίονα νῦν ἐν τῷ καιρῷ τούτῳ οἰκίας καὶ ἀδελφοὺς καὶ ἀδελφὰς καὶ μητέρας καὶ τέκνα καὶ ἀγροὺς μετὰ διωγμῶν, καὶ ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τῷ ἐρχομένῳ ζωὴν αἰώνιον.
This demanding saying of Jesus, talking about giving up family and land for eternal life, can be found in Matthew, chapter 19:29, and Luke, chapter 18:29-30, but slightly different. There is nothing here about the apostles sitting on the 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes, since that was not important to the gentile Christians that Mark was addressing. Mark said that Jesus then issued a solemn proclamation to his disciples (ἔφη ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν). Anyone who has left house (οὐδείς ἐστιν ὃς ἀφῆκεν οἰκίαν), brothers (ἢ ἀδελφοὺς), sisters (ἢ ἀδελφὰς), mother (ἢ μητέρα), father (ἢ πατέρα), children (ἢ τέκνα), or land fields (ἢ ἀγροὺς) for his sake and the sake of the gospel good news (ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ καὶ ἕνεκεν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου), would receive a hundredfold now in this age (ἐὰν μὴ λάβῃ ἑκατονταπλασίονα νῦν ἐν τῷ καιρῷ τούτῳ), in houses (οἰκίας), brothers (καὶ ἀδελφοὺς), sisters (καὶ ἀδελφὰς), mothers (καὶ μητέρας), children (καὶ τέκνα), and field lands (καὶ ἀγροὺς), with persecutions (μετὰ διωγμῶν), in the age to come, (καὶ ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τῷ ἐρχομένῳ) and eternal life (ζωὴν αἰώνιον).
“Then the sign
Of the Son of Man
Then all the tribes
Of the earth
They will see
The Son of Man
The clouds of heaven
And great glory.”
καὶ τότε φανήσεται τὸ σημεῖον τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐν οὐρανῷ, καὶ τότε κόψονται πᾶσαι αἱ φυλαὶ τῆς γῆς καὶ ὄψονται τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐρχόμενον ἐπὶ τῶν νεφελῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ μετὰ δυνάμεως καὶ δόξης πολλῆς·
This is exactly the same, almost word for word, in Mark, chapter 13:26, and in Luke, chapter 21:27, for the last sentence. The first two sentences, however, are unique to Matthew. Jesus said that the sign of the Son of Man would appear in the heavens (καὶ τότε φανήσεται τὸ σημεῖον τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐν οὐρανῷ). Then all the tribes or races of people on the earth would mourn or lament (καὶ τότε κόψονται πᾶσαι αἱ φυλαὶ τῆς γῆς). They would all see or experience the Son of Man (καὶ ὄψονται τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) coming on the clouds of heaven (ἐρχόμενον ἐπὶ τῶν νεφελῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ) with his power (μετὰ δυνάμεως) and great glory (καὶ δόξης πολλῆς). The clouds were the common place where theophanies in the Old Testament occurred, as Yahweh often appeared in a cloud on a mountain.
“Thus says Yahweh God!
‘These are the boundaries
You shall divide
Among the twelve tribes
Joseph shall have two portions.
You shall divide it
I swore to give it
To your ancestors.
This land shall fall
As your inheritance.’”
Next Yahweh, via Ezekiel, took up the question of the boundaries of Israel and the division of the land among the tribes. Joshua, in chapters 13-22, first faced this problem. Here, it appears in a more summary fashion. Nevertheless, the problem of what to do with the people already there in this land was not even mentioned. Ezekiel was going to set up these ideal borders or boundaries of Israel. He also was going to lay out the inheritance distribution of the land between the 12 tribes. The tribe of Joseph was to be given 2 portions, one for Manasseh and one for Ephraim. Yahweh had already promised to give this land to their ancestors as their inheritance.
“May the bones
Of the twelve prophets
Send forth new life
From where they lie.
The people of Jacob.
They delivered them
With confident hope.”
Finally we have the 12 prophets without mentioning their specific names. Just as there were 12 tribes so there also were 12 prophets. Sometimes they are referred to as the 12 Minor Prophets, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. They were important enough for Sirach to mention them so that this book of 12 or series of books about 12 prophets might have been considered canonical by the time of the writing of Sirach. Sirach wanted them to be like Elisha, whose dead body revived another dead person. These prophets gave comfort to the people of Jacob. They gave the Israelites hope.
“The blessing of all people
Came to rest
On the head of Jacob.
Came to rest
On the head of Jacob.
The Most High acknowledged him
With his blessings.
He gave him his inheritance.
He divided his portions.
He distributed them
Among the twelve tribes.”
The stories about Isaac and Jacob can be found in Genesis, chapters 25-36. Thus the blessings and covenant of Abraham and Isaac came to Jacob, the son of Isaac. The Most High God acknowledged and blessed Jacob as he received his inheritance that was divided among the 12 tribes. Sirach has no indication about his 12 sons and their activities.
“Jerusalem is built as a city.
It is bound firmly together.
The tribes go up to it.
These are the tribes of Yahweh,
As was decreed for Israel.
They were to give thanks
To the name of Yahweh.
There the thrones for judgment were set up.
These are the thrones of the house of David.”
Now we have a full blown eulogy to Jerusalem, a well built city. All the tribes of Israel, those who believed in Yahweh, had a decree to give thanks to the name of Yahweh in Jerusalem. This is the place where the thrones of judgment were, the kings of the house of David. This psalm does not seem to be from David, but about David.
“Then he brought Israel out with silver and gold.
There was no one among their tribes who stumbled.
Egypt was glad when they departed.
The dread of them had fallen upon Egypt.
He spread a cloud for a covering.
He spread a fire to give light by night.
Then he brought quails.
He gave them food from heaven in abundance.
He opened the rock.
Then water gushed out.
It flowed through the desert like a river.”
This is quick summary of Exodus, chapters 12-17. The Israelites left Egypt with silver and gold. No one of their tribes stumbled or fell. Thus Egypt was glad that they were gone since they were afraid of what would happen next. In the desert, they had a cloud for covering during the day and a fire as light at night. They wanted food and water, so God provided quails that flew in and manna from heaven in abundance as food. Moses struck a rock so that there was water in abundance like a river in the desert.
“Then he led out his people like sheep.
He guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
He led them to safety.
They were not afraid.
However the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
He brought them to his holy hill.
He brought them to the mountain
That his right hand had won.
He drove out nations before them.
He apportioned them for a possession.
He settled the tribes of Israel in their tents.”
God led his people like sheep. Thus the image of the good shepherd goes back to the Exodus itself. He guided his flock of sheep through the wilderness as he led them to safety. Thus they were not afraid. After all he had led them through the waters that never touched them. He brought them to his holy hill or mountain, Mount Sinai. He drove out nations before them as they entered the holy land. The apportionment of this holy land among the Israelite tribes can be found in Joshua, chapters 14-19.
“Your solemn processions are seen!
Of my God,
Into the sanctuary!
The singers are in front.
The musicians are last.
Between them are girls playing tambourines.
‘Bless God in the great congregation!
O you who are of Israel’s fountain!’
There is Benjamin,
The least of them,
In the lead.
The princes of Judah are in a body.
The princes of Zebulun are there.
The princes of Naphtali are there.”
This is a description of a great procession into the Temple area. Yahweh is king and God. They head into the sanctuary area. The singers are in front with the musicians last, as girls with tambourines are in the middle. They are there to bless God who is the fountain and foundation of Israel. Only 4 tribes are mentioned, 2 from the north, Zebulun and Naphtali, and 2 from the south. Benjamin was the small tribe that King Saul had come from, while King David was from Judah. Thus the solemn march to the temple took place.