Lazarus (Lk 16:20-16:20)

“At his gate,

Lay a poor man

Named Lazarus,

Covered with sores.”

 

πτωχὸς δέ τις ὀνόματι Λάζαρος ἐβέβλητο πρὸς τὸν πυλῶνα αὐτοῦ εἱλκωμένος

 

This parable story about the poor man Lazarus and an unnamed rich man is only found in Luke, not in the other gospels.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that a certain poor beggar (πτωχὸς δέ τις) lay at the gate of this rich man (ἐβέβλητο πρὸς τὸν πυλῶνα αὐτοῦ).  He was named Lazarus (ὀνόματι Λάζαρος) and was covered with sores (εἱλκωμένος).  Once again, Luke is the only one in all the biblical literature to use this Greek word εἱλκωμένος that means to wound, to ulcerate, or to suffer from sores.  It was also unusual to give a name to this poor person, since most of the Jesus parables usually had unnamed people.  The rich man was unnamed.  Was this Lazarus connected to the brother of Martha and Mary in John, chapter 11?  From this story, we know that Lazarus was poor and had many sores.  There was no attempt to line him up with the women of Bethany, Martha and Mary.  Do you personally know a poor person?

Jesus taught in the synagogues (Lk 4:15-4:15)

“He began

To teach

In their synagogues.

He was praised

By everyone.”

 

καὶ αὐτὸς ἐδίδασκεν ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς αὐτῶν, δοξαζόμενος ὑπὸ πάντων.

 

Luke said that Jesus began to teach (καὶ αὐτὸς ἐδίδασκεν) in their synagogues (ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς αὐτῶν).  This is a unique statement of Luke, but the idea was present in the other gospel stories.  Matthew mentioned synagogues 9 times, in chapters 4:23, 6:2, 6:5, 9:35, 10:17, 12:9, 13:54, 23:6, and 23:34, while Mark mentioned them 11 times, in chapters 1:21, 1:23, 1:29, 1:39, 3:1, 5:22, 5:36, 5:38, 12:38, 12:39, and 13:9.  The synagogue was a new developing Jewish established gathering place.  An assembly of Jewish people might take place in a building, since some places may not have been able to afford a special multi-purpose building.  Synagogues were a new thing in the first century BCE, becoming something like a local Jewish town hall meeting place as a center of study and worship, obviously outside of Jerusalem and its Temple.  There may have been some sort of Sabbath worship taking place there with readings from the Torah and the prophets, with perhaps a sermon or explanation.  Jesus with his disciples went there, which would not have been unusual.  However, the fact that he taught there might seem a little strange, if he was not invited.  However, Luke said that Jesus was praised or glorified by everyone (δοξαζόμενος ὑπὸ πάντων).

Jesus was in a crowded place (Mk 2:2-2:2)

“So many people

Gathered around

So that there was

No longer room

For them,

Not even in front of the door.

He was preaching

The word to them.”

 

καὶ συνήχθησαν πολλοὶ, ὥστε μηκέτι χωρεῖν μηδὲ τὰ πρὸς τὴν θύραν, καὶ ἐλάλει αὐτοῖς τὸν λόγον.

 

This is unique to Mark, but not unusual.  Mark said that so many people gathered around his house (καὶ συνήχθησαν πολλοὶ) that there was no longer room or space for them there (ὥστε μηκέτι χωρεῖν), not even in front of the door (μηδὲ τὰ πρὸς τὴν θύραν).  He was preaching the word to them (καὶ ἐλάλει αὐτοῖς τὸν λόγον).  Once again, there was not a specific message here in Mark, just the word in general.

The woman poured oil on Jesus (Mt 26:7-26:7)

“A woman

Came to Jesus

With an alabaster jar

Of very expensive ointment.

She poured it

On his head,

As he was reclining

At the table.”

 

προσῆλθεν αὐτῷ γυνὴ ἔχουσα ἀλάβαστρον μύρου βαρυτίμου καὶ κατέχεεν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ ἀνακειμένου.

 

This is very similar to Mark, chapter 14:3, and somewhat similar to John, chapter 12:3, where the woman was identified as Mary, the sister of Lazarus.  She poured the nard oil on his feet and wiped it with her hair, not on his head as here and in Mark.  In Luke, chapter 7:38, while Jesus was at the house of a Pharisee, this woman also brought an alabaster jar to anoint the feet of Jesus.  Matthew said that an unnamed woman came or approached Jesus (προσῆλθεν αὐτῷ γυνὴ) with an alabaster jar full of very expensive ointment (ἔχουσα ἀλάβαστρον μύρου βαρυτίμου).  This was anointing oil or as later Christians would call it holy oil, “Myron (μύρου).”  She then poured it on his head (καὶ κατέχεεν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς), as he was reclining at the table (αὐτοῦ ἀνακειμένου).  This may appear a little unusual, but this oil might be a foretaste of the prophetic, royal, or priestly anointing of Jesus as prophet, king, and priest.  In the Old Testament stories, kings were anointed on the head.

Which son did the will of his father? (Mt 21:31-21:31)

“‘Which of the two

Did the will of his father?’

They said.

‘The first.’

Jesus said to them.

‘Truly!

I say to you!

The tax collectors

And the prostitutes

Are going into

The kingdom of God

Before you.’”

 

τίς ἐκ τῶν δύο ἐποίησεν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πατρός; λέγουσιν Ὁ ὕστερος. λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι οἱ τελῶναι καὶ αἱ πόρναι προάγουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ.

 

This parable explanation is unique to Matthew.  Jesus entered into a dialogue with the chief priests and elders to explain his parable story, which would have been unusual since he normally explained the parable to his disciples.  In this parable story, Jesus asked which of the two sons did the will of his father (τίς ἐκ τῶν δύο ἐποίησεν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πατρός)?  They, probably the chief priests and elders, responded that the first son had done the will of his father, even though he said no at first (λέγουσιν Ὁ ὕστερος).  Then Jesus issued a solemn pronouncement (λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).  He said that the tax collectors and the prostitutes were going into the kingdom of God before them (ὑμῖν ὅτι οἱ τελῶναι καὶ αἱ πόρναι προάγουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Notice that Matthew has Jesus say the “Kingdom of God,” “τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ” and not the usual “Kingdom of heaven,” “βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.”  The first son or the tax collectors and prostitutes had repented or changed their minds since they were willing to work in the vineyard.  The second son or the chief priests and elders said they would work in the vineyard but were like hypocrites who did not follow the Law, even though they wanted others to do so.

 

The sanctuary territory (Ezek 48:8-48:8)

“Adjoining the territory

Of Judah,

From the east side

To the west side,

Shall be the portion

That you shall set apart,

Twenty-five thousand cubits

In width.

In length,

It shall be equal

To one of the tribal portions,

From the east side

To the west side.

The sanctuary

Shall be in the middle of it.”

However, the similarity of Judah with the other tribes ends with the importance of the Temple sanctuary. Once again, there is a mention of east and west of Judah as in the earlier comments about the other tribal territories. However, the width of this sanctuary territory was 25,000 cubits, about 1,500 yards or a mile wide. The length was unspecified, which in itself is unusual. Nevertheless, it should be the size of one of the portions given to the other tribes. That could be very large. The sanctuary was to be right in the middle of this territory. Obviously, this was not part of the Joshua distribution, since there was no planned temple there.

The purchase of the field (Jer 32:9-32:11)

“I bought the field

At Anathoth

From my cousin Hanamel.

I weighed out

The money to him,

Seventeen shekels of silver.

I signed the deed.

I sealed it.

I got witnesses.

I weighed the money on scales.

Then I took

The sealed deed of purchase,

That contained the terms

With the conditions,

As well as the open copy.”

This is a very unusual section that contains explicit first person details of this property field sale. However, there is no indication of the exact size of this field. Nowhere else in the biblical works is there such a specific indication of how financial transactions took place. First, Jeremiah bought the land. Most times, there would be no more details other than that. However, here Jeremiah next weighs out the money, 17 silver shekels, which was not a lot of money, about a couple of hundred USA dollars. Where he got the money is not indicated here. Then he signed the deed, probably on papyrus, sealed it, and had witnesses also sign it. There must have been some kind of official seal used here, but we do not know what kind. Finally there seems to be 2 copies of this transaction. The sealed deed contained all the terms and conditions of the sale, while the open copy or city file copy might just have the statement that the sale was made, much like current open records in USA, which generally adds the dollar amount of the sale. Thus these transactions were stored or kept in jars of some kind.