The disciples go to Bethsaida (Mk 6:45-6:45)

“Immediately,

Jesus made his disciples

Get into the boat.

They were to go on

Ahead of him,

To the other side,

To Bethsaida,

While he dismissed

The crowd.”

 

Καὶ εὐθὺς ἠνάγκασεν τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ ἐμβῆναι εἰς τὸ πλοῖον καὶ προάγειν εἰς τὸ πέραν πρὸς Βηθσαϊδάν, ἕως αὐτὸς ἀπολύει τὸν ὄχλον.

 

This incident is not found in Luke, but only in Matthew, chapter 14:22, and John, chapter 6:16-17.  Mark mentioned Bethsaida and John mentioned Capernaum, but Matthew did not name a place.  Mark said that Jesus made or urged his disciples to immediately get into the boat (Καὶ εὐθὺς ἠνάγκασεν τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ ἐμβῆναι εἰς τὸ πλοῖον) to go ahead of him to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (καὶ προάγειν αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ πέραν) to Bethsaida (πρὸς Βηθσαϊδάν).  Jesus stayed behind and dismissed the crowds (ἕως αὐτὸς ἀπολύει τὸν ὄχλον) after the great feeding.  Thus, his disciples went out in this boat without Jesus.  There was no mention of the number of disciples, but it could not have been many considering the size of these fishing boats.

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Only the lost sheep of Israel (Mt 15:23-15:24)

“But Jesus

Did not answer her

At all.

His disciples came.

They urged him,

Saying.

‘Send her away!

She keeps shouting

After us.’

He answered.

‘I was sent only

To the lost sheep

Of the house of Israel.’”

 

ὁ δὲ οὐκ ἀπεκρίθη αὐτῇ λόγον. καὶ προσελθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἠρώτουν αὐτὸν λέγοντες Ἀπόλυσον αὐτήν, ὅτι κράζει ὄπισθεν ἡμῶν.

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Οὐκ ἀπεστάλην εἰ μὴ εἰς τὰ πρόβατα τὰ ἀπολωλότα οἴκου Ἰσραήλ.

 

This saying of Jesus is unique to Matthew, thus, not in the Mark narrative.  Jesus did not respond to her with any words at all (ὁ δὲ οὐκ ἀπεκρίθη αὐτῇ λόγον).  However, his disciples came to him to tell him to implore or urge her (καὶ προσελθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἠρώτουν αὐτὸν λέγοντες) to go away (Ἀπόλυσον αὐτήν), because she was shouting after them (ὅτι κράζει ὄπισθεν ἡμῶν),  Then Jesus answered (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν) that he was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Οὐκ ἀπεστάλην εἰ μὴ εἰς τὰ πρόβατα τὰ ἀπολωλότα οἴκου Ἰσραήλ), not to other people.  However, Jesus had cured the Roman centurion’s servant in chapter 8:5-13.

The disciples leave in a boat (Mt 14:22-14:22)

“Immediately,

He made the disciples

Get into the boat.

They went on ahead

To the other side,

While he dismissed

The crowds.”

 

Καὶ εὐθέως ἠνάγκασεν τοὺς μαθητὰς ἐμβῆναι εἰς τὸ πλοῖον καὶ προάγειν αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ πέραν, ἕως οὗ ἀπολύσῃ τοὺς ὄχλους.

 

This incident is not found in Luke, but only in Mark, chapter 6:45, and John, chapter 6:16-17.  Mark mentioned Bethsaida and John mentioned Capernaum, but Matthew did not name a place.  Jesus made or urged his disciples to immediately get into the boat (Καὶ εὐθέως ἠνάγκασεν τοὺς μαθητὰς ἐμβῆναι εἰς τὸ πλοῖον) to go ahead of him to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (καὶ προάγειν αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ πέραν), while he dismissed the crowds (ἕως οὗ ἀπολύσῃ τοὺς ὄχλους.) after the great feeding.  Thus, his disciples went out in this boat without Jesus.  There is no mention of the number of disciples, but it could not have been many considering the size of these fishing boats.

Yahweh helped those at sea (Ps 107:23-107:32)

“Some went down to the sea in ships.

He did business on the mighty waters.

They saw the deeds of Yahweh.

They saw his wondrous works in the deep.

He commanded.

He raised the stormy wind.

He lifted up the waves of the sea.

They mounted up to heaven.

They went down to the depths.

Their courage melted away in their calamity.

They reeled.

They staggered like drunkards.

They were at their wits’ end.

Then they cried to Yahweh in their trouble.

He brought them out from their distress.

He made the storm be still.

The waves of the sea were hushed.

Then they were glad

Because they had quiet.

He brought them to their desired haven.

Let them thank Yahweh

For his steadfast love!

Let them thank Yahweh

For his wonderful works to humankind!

Let them extol him

In the congregation of the people.

Let them praise him

In the assembly of the elders.”

This is the case where those who were seafarers saw the great deeds of Yahweh.   Yahweh commanded the storms. He commanded the waves to go high and low so that their ships often reeled like drunken sailors. However, when they cried to Yahweh, he heard them in their distress. Yahweh stilled the storms and urged the waves to be quiet. Then like in the preceding verses, they had to give thanks for Yahweh’s steadfast love and wonderful works. They also had to praise him among the people and the elders.

The divine intervention at Beth-zur (2 Macc 11:5-11:12)

“Invading Judea, Lysias approached Beth-zur, which was a fortified place about five stadia from Jerusalem. He pressed it hard. When Judas Maccabeus and his men got word that Lysias was besieging the strongholds, they and all the people, with lamentations and tears, prayed the Lord to send a good angel to save Israel. Judas Maccabeus himself was the first to take up arms. He urged the others to risk their lives with him to aid their kindred. Then they eagerly rushed off together. There, while they were still near Jerusalem, a horseman appeared at their head, clothed in white and brandishing weapons of gold. Together they all praised the merciful God. They were strengthened in heart, ready to assail not only humans, but the wildest animals or walls of iron. They advanced in battle order, having their heavenly ally, for the Lord had mercy on them. They hurled themselves like lions against the enemy. They laid low eleven thousand of them and sixteen hundred cavalry. They forced all the rest to flee. Most of them got away stripped and wounded. Lysias himself escaped by disgraceful flight.”

Beth-zur was about 20 miles south of Jerusalem, on the way to Hebron. Here, like 1 Maccabees, chapter 4, Judas Maccabeus prayed for a heavenly angel to help him. Although he had prayed in 1 Maccabees, there was no divine intervention. Here a heavenly horseman with a gold weapon led them to victory as they were lions in battle. Here they killed 11,000 infantry instead of 5,000 as in 1 Maccabees. In both versions of the story, Lysias escaped, either as here in “disgraceful flight” or simply withdrawing to Antioch as in 1 Maccabees.

The mother appeals to her youngest son (2 Macc 7:24-7:29)

“King Antiochus felt that he was being treated with contempt. He was suspicious of her reproachful tone. The youngest brother being still alive, King Antiochus not only appealed to him in words, but promised with oaths that he would make him rich and enviable if he would turn from the ways of his ancestors. He would take him for his friend and entrust him with public affairs. Since the young man would not listen to him at all, the king called the mother to him. He urged her to advise the youth to save himself. After much urging on his part, she undertook to persuade her son. But, leaning close to him, she spoke in their native language as follows, deriding the cruel tyrant.

‘My son,

Have pity on me.

I carried you nine months in my womb.

I nursed you for three years.

I have reared you.

I have brought you up to this point in your life.

I have taken care of you.

I beg you,

My child,

To look at the heaven and the earth.

See everything that is in them!

Recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed.

In the same way,

The human race came into being.

Do not fear this butcher!

Prove worthy of your brothers!

Accept death!

So that in God’s mercy

I may get you back again with your brothers.’”

King Antiochus IV was upset at the way things were going. As there was only 1 son left, he urged him to give up his traditional ways. He promised to make him rich and powerful in his kingdom. The son would not listen. Then the king urged the mother to try and convince her son to save his life. Instead she urged him on to resist the king. In a moving passage, she spoke about carrying him for 9 months, nursing him for 3 years, and then bringing him up. Now she wanted him to recognize the creator God in heaven who made the human race. She wanted him to be worthy of his brothers. She wanted him to accept death so that God’s mercy would bring him back to his brothers. These seven sons were like suicide bombers willing to die for the laws of their God. The theology of creation and the afterlife predominated in their views of the ancestral laws. Notice that she spoke in their native language.

Eleazar is urged to eat (2 Macc 6:21-6:23)

“Those who were in charge of that unlawful sacrifice took the man aside because of their long acquaintance with him. They privately urged him to bring meat of his own providing, proper for him to use. Then he could pretend that he was eating the flesh of the sacrificial meal which had been commanded by the king. Thus, by doing this he might be saved from death. He was treated kindly on account of his old friendship with them. However, he made a high resolve. This was worthy of his years, the dignity of his old age, and the gray hairs that he had reached with distinction. Due to his excellent life even from childhood, and moreover according to the holy God-given law, he declared himself quickly. He told them to send him to Hades.”

His executioners liked Eleazar. They told him privately just to pretend to eat the meat as the king had commanded. That way, he would be able to save his life. He responded no. He had spent his entire life with dignity and excellence. He had followed the holy God given laws his entire life. He told his executioners to send him to Hades. Hades was the Greek god of the underworld that had become known as the place of the dead people. Many of the Jews often referred to this in Hebrew as Sheol.