Surrounded on every side (Lk 19:43-19:43)

“Indeed,

The days

Will come upon you,

When your enemies

Will set up ramparts

Around you.

They will hem you in

On every side.”

 

ὅτι ἥξουσιν ἡμέραι ἐπὶ σὲ καὶ παρεμβαλοῦσιν οἱ ἐχθροί σου χάρακά σοι καὶ περικυκλώσουσίν σε καὶ συνέξουσίν σε πάντοθεν,

 

Luke indicated that Jesus remarked that bad days were coming to Jerusalem (ὅτι ἥξουσιν ἡμέραι ἐπὶ σὲ).  Jesus said that it would come to them when their enemies would put up a barricade against them (καὶ παρεμβαλοῦσιν οἱ ἐχθροί σου χάρακά σοι).  They would surround them (καὶ περικυκλώσουσίν σε) so that they would be hemmed in on every side (καὶ συνέξουσίν σε πάντοθεν).  This is the only Greek biblical use of the word περικυκλώσουσίν that means to hem them in on every side, encircle, surround, or encompass.  Jesus was using the words and images of the ancient Israelite prophets against Jerusalem.  Isaiah, chapter 29:1-3, called Jerusalem Ariel, a symbolic name for Jerusalem and its altar.  Isaiah, warned Jerusalem about what was going to happen to it.  Yahweh was going to encamp against it and set up siege works against it.  They would be able to speak only from below the earth and the dust.  Their voices would be reduced to a whisper, like a ghost in the middle of this dust pile.  Jeremiah, chapter 6:6-8, warned Jerusalem that its enemies were going to cut down trees in order to make a ramp siege against Jerusalem, because this city needed to be punished.  There was nothing but oppression and wickedness within her.  Jerusalem was a place of violence and destruction with sickness and wounded people all around.  Yahweh was going to turn away in disgust against Jerusalem. Thus, it would become a desolate uninhabited land, if it did not heed his warning.  Ezekiel, chapter 4:1-3, also condemned Jerusalem with Ezekiel’s symbolic action.  A voice told Ezekiel to be an expert model Lego builder of the siege of Jerusalem.  Ezekiel, the son of man, was to take a brick and portray the city of Jerusalem.  He was to put the siege works with a siege wall against this city.  He was to put a ramp and camps against this city with battering rams all around it.  Then he was to take an iron plate and make an iron wall between himself and the city, looking at it.  Thus, there was a state of siege, a sign for the house of Israel.  Ezekiel was part of the exiles from 598 BCE before the taking of Jerusalem and the second captivity in 587 BCE.  Of course, here this was allusion to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE by the Roman soldiers putting down a revolution in Judea.  Luke would have known about this at the time of his writing.  Have you ever seen a city destroyed?

Advertisements

The restoration of joy and worship (Jer 33:11-33:11)

“There shall once more

Be heard

The voice of mirth,

The voice of gladness,

The voice of the bridegroom,

The voice of the bride,

The voices of those who sing,

As they bring thank offerings

To the house of Yahweh.

‘Give thanks

To Yahweh of hosts!

Yahweh is good!

His steadfast love

Endures forever!’

I will restore the fortunes

Of the land

As at first.’

Says Yahweh.”

However, there would be a total reversal of fortune. One of the favorite remarks about the desolation, as found in chapters 7, 16, and 25 of this work, was about no more voices of rejoicing with mirth or gladness when the voice of the bride, the bridegroom, and those singing would not be heard. Here it is the restoration of these merry making activities. They will have weddings and singing as they bring their offerings to the Temple, the house of Yahweh. Because Yahweh is good, his steadfast love endures forever. Thus he will restore the fortunes of this land to the way that it was.

Ariel (Isa 29:1-29:4)

“Woe to you!

Ariel!

Ariel!

This is the city

Where David encamped!

Add year to year!

Let the festivals run their round!

Yet I will distress Ariel!

There shall be moaning!

There shall be lamentation!

Jerusalem shall be to me

Like an altar hearth.

Like David,

I will encamp against you.

I will besiege you with towers.

I will raise siege works against you.

Then deep from the earth,

You shall speak.

From low in the dust,

Your words shall come.

Your voice shall come from the ground

Like the voice of a ghost.

Your speech shall whisper

Out of the dust.”

Ariel is a symbolic name for Jerusalem and its altar. Yahweh, via Isaiah, warns Jerusalem about what is going to happen to it. Perhaps this is before the siege of Jerusalem in 701 BCE. Jerusalem was where King David had lived and where festivals continued on an annual basis. However, Yahweh was going to encamp against it and set up siege works against it. They would be able to speak only from below the earth and the dust. Their voices would be reduced to a whisper, like a ghost in the middle of this dust pile.

The holy cry (Isa 6:3-6:4)

“One seraph called to another.

They said.

‘Holy,

Holy,

Holy

Is Yahweh of hosts!

The whole earth

Is full of his glory.’

The foundation pivots

On the thresholds

Shook at the voices

Of those who called.

The house was filled

With smoke.”

Now the seraphs cried out about the holiness of Yahweh, the Lord. The whole earth is full of his glory. This simple phrase of triple holiness became part of the introduction to the later Christian or Roman Catholic consecration at the Liturgy of the Eucharist with its famous “Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus.” Emphasizing the holiness of Yahweh was a major theme of the biblical writings. These voices were so strong that they shook the foundation pivots of the threshold to the Temple. On top of that, the whole Temple or house of Yahweh was filled with smoke.

The three friends of Job (Job 2:11-2:13)

“When Job’s three friends heard of all these troubles that had come upon him, each of them set out from his home. Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite met together. They wanted to go to console and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. They raised their voices and wept aloud. They tore their robes. They sprinkled dust in the air upon their heads. They sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights. No one spoke a word to him. They saw that his suffering was very great.”

There were 3 friends of Job who heard about the trouble of Job. They decided to come together and visit Job to console and comfort him. As they approached from a distance, they did not recognize him. They went into the normal mourning attitude. They wept, tore their robes, and sprinkled dust on their heads. As they saw that Job was suffering, they did not say anything for 7 days and nights. Their consoling and comforting was a mere presence. Who then are these people? They are sometimes referred to as the 3 Wise Men as they come from nearby northwest Arabia. They dominate this book. Eliphaz the Temanite was main comforter. Thus Job’s friend Eliphaz was a Temanite, perhaps named for an ancestor called Eliphaz. Teman was the name of an Edomite clan in the Genesis, chapter 36, the son of Eliphaz, Esau’s eldest son.  The Temanite tribe was famous for their wisdom. The exact location of Teman remains unknown, but there is a possibility that it was in present day Jordan or north Yemen. Bildad the Shuhite was the 2nd of Job’s three friends. He might have been a descendant of Shuah, the son of Abraham and Keturah in Genesis, chapter 25.  He seems to be from a desert area of Arabia.  The 3rd of Job’s 3 friends was Zophar who came from the city of Naamah, in Canaan. These 3 men represent 3 views of suffering. In one sense, they represent the various Israelite views of man’s relationship to Yahweh. 1) The sufferer has knowing committed a sin. 2) Someone in his family has committed a sin. 3) He was not aware of his sin. These explanations go one step further to say that God’s actions are inscrutable. We do not know how God’s policy of retribution works.