Simeon addressed Mary (Lk 2:34-2:34)

“Then Simeon

Blessed them.

He said to Mary,

His mother,

‘This child

Is destined

For the falling

And rising

Of many

In Israel.

He will be a sign

That will be opposed.”

 

καὶ εὐλόγησεν αὐτοὺς Συμεὼν καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς Μαριὰμ τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ Ἰδοὺ οὗτος κεῖται εἰς πτῶσιν καὶ ἀνάστασιν πολλῶν ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ καὶ εἰς σημεῖον ἀντιλεγόμενον

 

Luke said that this holy and devout Simeon turned to Mary and her family.  Simeon blessed them (καὶ εὐλόγησεν αὐτοὺς Συμεὼν), presumably Mary, Joseph, and Jesus.  Was this a priestly blessing?  There was no indication that Simeon was a priest, but only an old devout righteous man, but he could have been a old Levite priest also.  Then he said to Mary (καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς Μαριὰμ), the mother of Jesus (τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ) that this child would be destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel (Ἰδοὺ οὗτος κεῖται εἰς πτῶσιν καὶ ἀνάστασιν πολλῶν ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ).  He would be a sign that would be a contraction, as some would oppose him (καὶ εἰς σημεῖον ἀντιλεγόμενον).  Everything would not be smooth sailing for her and this child.  However, this was not as bad as what Matthew, chapter 2:13-18, had Joseph suffer.  There the intention of King Herod was to destroy all the young children in Bethlehem that led him to flee into Egypt.  Luke had none of that here.  Instead, Joseph and Mary are law abiding Jewish parents active in the Jerusalem Temple, where a holy man came and told them how wonderful Jesus was.  There were no Magi here, just shepherds visiting the baby child.  King Herod was not even in the picture here in Luke.

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Why had Mary come to Elizabeth? (Lk 1:43-1:43)

“Why has this happened

To me?

The mother

Of my Lord

Comes to me!”

 

καὶ πόθεν μοι τοῦτο ἵνα ἔλθῃ ἡ μήτηρ τοῦ Κυρίου μου πρὸς ἐμέ;

 

Luke said that Elizabeth wanted to know why this was happening to her (καὶ πόθεν μοι τοῦτο).  Why was the Mary, the mother of the Lord (ἡ μήτηρ τοῦ Κυρίου μου), coming to her (ἵνα ἔλθῃ…πρὸς ἐμέ)?  Elizabeth recognized the special role of Mary as the mother of the Messiah, the divine Lord.  What was she doing visiting her?

King of Babylon (Jer 25:26-25:26)

“After them,

I went to

The king of Sheshach

To offer him a drink.”

Finally, Jeremiah ends up with the King of Babylon. Here, he is called Sheshach, which is a reverse of the Hebrew letters known as a “atbash”. Jeremiah used this a few times to hide what he was trying to say. After visiting every leader in the world, he ends up with King Nebuchadnezzar.

Job bitterly complains (Job 7:11-7:21)

“Therefore I will not restrain my mouth.

I will speak in the anguish of my spirit.

I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.

Am I the sea?

Am I a dragon?

Am I a sea monster?

Do you set a guard over me?

When I say,

‘My bed will comfort me.

My couch will ease my complaint.’

Then you scare me with dreams.

You terrify me with visions.

Thus I would choose strangling and death

Rather than this body.

I loathe my life.

I would not live forever.

Let me alone!

My days are a breath.

What are human beings?

Why do you make so much of them?

Why do you set your mind upon them?

Why do you visit them every morning?

Why do you test them every moment?

Will you not look away from me for a while?

Will you not let me alone until I swallow my spittle?

If I sin,

What do I do to you?

You are the watcher of humanity.

Why have you made me your target?

Why have I become a burden to you?

Why do you not pardon my transgression?

Why do you not take away my iniquity?

For now I shall lie in the earth.

You will seek me,

But I shall not be.”

Job would not restrain himself. He was bitter. Was he like the chaotic sea, a sea monster, a dragon or Leviathan? When he sought rest on his bed or couch, God sent him dreams and visions.   He would rather die strangled than have this terrible body. He hated his life as he did not want to live any longer. He did not want to live forever since he realized that he was like a breath. Why does God care about humans anyway? Why is he the watcher visiting them in the morning, and every moment of their lives? Job wanted God to look away for a while, so he could swallow his spittle. Why was he the target? What burden was he to God? If he had sinned, why not pardon him. Job said that God might come after him, but he would not find him, because he was no more.

The tragic death of Simon and his sons (1 Macc 16:11-16:17)

“Now Ptolemy son of Abubus had been appointed governor over the plain of Jericho. He had much silver and gold. He was the son-in-law of the high priest. His heart was lifted up. He determined to get control of the country. He made treacherous plans against Simon and his sons, to do away with them. Now Simon was visiting the towns of the country, attending to their needs. He went down to Jericho with his sons Mattathias and Judas, in the one hundred and seventy-seventh year, in the eleventh month, which is the month of Shebat. The son of Abubus received them treacherously in the little stronghold called Dok, which he had built. He gave them a great banquet, but he hid men there. When Simon and his sons were drunk, Ptolemy and his men rose up. They took their weapons and rushed in against Simon in the banquet hall. They killed him and his two sons, as well as some of his servants. So he committed an act of great treachery. He returned evil for good.”

Ptolemy, the son of Abubus, was the son-in- law of Simon, since he had married Simon’s daughter, who was the sister of John, Judas, and Mattathias. He had been appointed the governor of the area around Jericho, which was north of Jerusalem. This made sense since he was member of the family by marriage. However, he plotted to take over the whole country. While Simon and his sons Judas and Mattathias were visiting various towns, they probably dropped in to see their sister and her family. After they had a great banquet where the 3 visitors got drunk, Ptolemy and his men killed all the visitors and their servants. The moral of the story is to watch out how much you drink when you visit in-laws. This all took place in 134 BCE.