“Then one of them,
When he saw
That he was healed,
He turned back.
He praised God
With a loud voice.”
εἷς δὲ ἐξ αὐτῶν, ἰδὼν ὅτι ἰάθη, ὑπέστρεψεν μετὰ φωνῆς μεγάλης δοξάζων τὸν Θεόν,
Only Luke has this story about the curing of the ten lepers. Luke indicated that one of these 10 lepers (εἷς δὲ ἐξ αὐτῶν) saw that he was healed (ἰδὼν ὅτι ἰάθη). He turned back (ὑπέστρεψεν). He praised or glorified God (δοξάζων τὸν Θεόν) with a loud voice (μετὰ φωνῆς μεγάλης). Only one of these 10 lepers praised God. The other 9 just went on their way to see the Jerusalem priests for the ritual cleansing. Would you be the one or the nine?
“If the same person
Sins against you
Yet turns back
You must forgive!”
καὶ ἐὰν ἑπτάκις τῆς ἡμέρας ἁμαρτήσῃ εἰς σὲ καὶ ἑπτάκις ἐπιστρέψῃ πρὸς σὲ λέγων Μετανοῶ, ἀφήσεις αὐτῷ.
Luke indicated that Jesus said that if the same person sinned against you (ἁμαρτήσῃ εἰς σὲ) 7 times a day (καὶ ἐὰν ἑπτάκις τῆς ἡμέρας), yet turned back to you 7 times (καὶ ἑπτάκις ἐπιστρέψῃ πρὸς σὲ), and said that he repented (Μετανοῶ, ἀφήσεις αὐτῷ), you must still forgive him (ἀφήσεις αὐτῷ). There is something like this saying in Matthew, chapter 18:21-22, although there was no mention of Peter here in Luke. Matthew indicated that Peter took on a specific leadership role. He wanted to know how many times he should forgive his brother’s sins? Peter wanted to know how often he should forgive his brother who had sinned against him (ποσάκις ἁμαρτήσει εἰς ἐμὲ ὁ ἀδελφός μου καὶ ἀφήσω αὐτῷ). Peter thought that 7 would be a good number. Was 7 times enough (ἕως ἑπτάκις)? Most Jewish people had forgiven offenses 3 times. 3 strikes and you were out. Peter seemed overly generous in his attempts at forgiveness. Jesus surprised Peter with a solemn declaration (λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦ) by telling him to forgive his brother’s sins not just 7 times (Οὐ λέγω σοι ἕως ἑπτάκις) but 490 times, 7*70 (ἀλλὰ ἕως ἑβδομηκοντάκις ἑπτά). However, this saying about 7*70 was unique to Matthew, who was the only one who ever used this number ἑβδομηκοντάκις ἑπτά in the New Testament literature. This number, nevertheless, could be found in Genesis, chapter 4:24 when Cain and Lamech were talking about violent revenge. Lamech wanted his vengeance 7*70. Was this number an attempt to indicate infinity before we had that term? 490 seems overly generous in any circumstances. However, here in Luke, it might be even more since forgiveness was expected 7 times each day. How many times do you forgive people?
“The river gates
The palace trembles.
It is decreed
That the city
Its slave women were
Beating their breasts.
Like a pool
But no one turns back.
Plunder the silver!
Plunder the gold!
There is no end
There is an abundance
Of every precious thing.
All loins quake!
All faces grow pale!”
Nahum painted this picture of chaos in Nineveh. He said that the river gates were opened, so that the palace and the people in it were trembling. The people of this city were going to go into exile. The slave women were led away, moaning like doves and beating their breasts. The whole city of Nineveh had become like an overflowing pool. People were saying stop, but no one was listening. No one turned back as they keep on fleeing. Meanwhile, there was a great plunder of their treasures of gold, silver, and the other abundant precious things. Everywhere there was devastation, desolation, and destruction in this great city. Hearts were fainting, while kneels were trembling. Their faces grew pale as their loins shook.
“Our transgressions before you are many.
Our sins testify against us.
Our transgressions indeed are with us.
We know our iniquities.
We have transgressed Yahweh.
We have denied Yahweh.
We have turned away
From following our God.
We talk oppression.
We talk revolt.
We conceive lying words.
We utter them from our hearts.
Justice is turned back.
Righteousness stands at a distance.
Truth stumbles in the public square.
Uprightness cannot enter.
Truth is lacking.
Whoever turns from evil is despoiled.”
Third Isaiah seems to have a community confession or acknowledgement of sins. They have committed many transgressions, since their sins will testify against them. They know that they have denied God. They have tried to turn away from him, as they wanted to revolt. They lied from their hearts. They have turned back justice since righteousness is now far away. There is no truth in the public squares, no uprightness. Anyone who turns from evil is attacked.
“Let all those be put to shame,
Let all those be put to confusion,
Those who seek to snatch away my life!
Let those be turned back,
Let those be brought to dishonor,
Those who desire my hurt!
Let those be appalled,
Because of their sham,
Who say to me,
The psalmist wanted his enemies put to shame and confusion. His enemies were those who were trying to kill and hurt him. He wanted the people taunting him to be turned back and put to shame. He wanted them shamed, pure and simple.
“Let them be put to shame!
Let them be put to dishonor!
All who seek after my life,
Let them be turned back!
Let them be confounded!
All who devise evil against me,
Let them be like chaff before the wind!
Let the angel of Yahweh drive them on!
Let their way be dark!
Let their way be slippery!
Let the angel of Yahweh pursue them!”
David wanted all those who were after his life and devising evil against him be put to shame, dishonored, turned back, and confounded. He wanted them to be chaff in the wind. He wanted the angel of Yahweh to drive them into darkness on a slippery slope. He wanted the angel of Yahweh to pursue them. He wanted bad things to happen to his enemies. He wanted Yahweh or his angel to seek vengeance for him.
“Then Trypho sent troops and cavalry into Galilee and the Great Plain to destroy all Jonathan’s soldiers. However, they realized that Jonathan had been seized and had perished along with his men. They then encouraged one another and kept marching in close formation, ready for battle. When their pursuers saw that they would fight for their lives, they turned back. So they all reached the land of Judah safely. They mourned for Jonathan and his companions. They were in great fear. All Israel mourned deeply. All the nations around about them tried to destroy them. They said.
‘They have no leader or helper.
Now therefore let us make war on them.
Let us blot out the memory of them from humankind.’”
Trypho wanted to defeat the Jewish troops of Jonathan. He sent his cavalry into Galilee and the great plain. However, the troops realized what had happened to Jonathan, so they decided to march in close formation as if they were ready for battle. When the Syrian troops saw this, they turned back and let them reach the land of Judah safely. Now they all mourned for Jonathan and his companions, as did all Israel. They feared that their neighbors would attack them since they had no leader. They might be annihilated.