The places of honor (Lk 14:7-14:7)

“When Jesus noticed

How the guests

Had chosen the places

Of honor,

He told them

A parable.”

 

Ἔλεγεν δὲ πρὸς τοὺς κεκλημένους παραβολήν, ἐπέχων πῶς τὰς πρωτοκλισίας ἐξελέγοντο, λέγων πρὸς αὐτούς

 

Luke had Jesus continue with this unique dinner party with the Pharisees.  Jesus noticed how the guests had chosen the places of honor (ἐπέχων πῶς τὰς πρωτοκλισίας ἐξελέγοντο).  Thus, he told these invited guests a parable (Ἔλεγεν δὲ πρὸς τοὺς κεκλημένους παραβολήν).  This is what he said (λέγων πρὸς αὐτούς).  Apparently, the Pharisees often sought after the places of honor as indicated in the last dinner he had with the Pharisees in chapter 11:43.  There, Jesus actually cursed the Pharisees, because these Pharisees loved to have the first seats or the seats of honor in the synagogues.  There was something similar in Mark, chapter 12:39, and Matthew, chapter 23:6-7.  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that these Pharisees and Scribes loved to have the chief places of honor at banquet feasts and the best or front seats in the assembled synagogues.  Mark indicated that Jesus told them to beware of the Scribes, but not the Pharisees, because these Scribes walked around in long robes and loved the front seats in the synagogues.  They loved to have the chief places of honor at banquet feasts   They were the elite social butterflies.  Are you a social butterfly who likes the front row?

They were righteous (Lk 1:6-1:6)

“Both of them

Were righteous

Before God.

They lived

Blamelessly

According to

All the commandments

And regulations

Of the Lord.”

 

ἦσαν δὲ δίκαιοι ἀμφότεροι ἐναντίον τοῦ Θεοῦ, πορευόμενοι ἐν πάσαις ταῖς ἐντολαῖς καὶ δικαιώμασιν τοῦ Κυρίου ἄμεμπτοι

 

Luke continued his unique portrayal of Zechariah and Elizabeth as righteous people (ἦσαν δὲ δίκαιοι ἀμφότεροι) before God (ἐναντίον τοῦ Θεοῦ).  As they were descendants of Aaron, the expectations for their behavior were higher than other Israelites.  They were blameless (ἄμεμπτοι).  They walked or followed all the commandments, statutes, ordinances and regulations of the Lord (πορευόμενοι ἐν πάσαις ταῖς ἐντολαῖς καὶ δικαιώμασιν τοῦ Κυρίου).  They were upright people, pillars of the community.  They were faithful followers of the Jewish Law.  Who could ask for anything more?

The two brother fishermen, Simon and Andrew (Mt 4:18-4:18)

“As Jesus walked

By the Sea of Galilee,

He saw two brothers,

Simon,

Who is called Peter,

With Andrew,

His brother.

They were casting a net

Into the sea.

They were fishermen.”

 

Περιπατῶν δὲ παρὰ τὴν θάλασσαν τῆς Γαλιλαίας εἶδεν δύο ἀδελφούς, Σίμωνα τὸν λεγόμενον Πέτρον καὶ Ἀνδρέαν τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ, βάλλοντας ἀμφίβληστρον εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν· ἦσαν γὰρ ἁλεεῖς.

 

Matthew, as well as the other 4 canonical gospels, has Jesus meeting Simon Peter for the first time at the beginning of his ministry.  However, here Matthew is following the simple comment of Mark, chapter 1:16, rather than the elaborate story of Luke, chapter 5:1:9, where there is no mention of Peter’s brother Andrew.  As Jesus was walking or strolling along the Sea of Galilee (Περιπατῶν δὲ παρὰ τὴν θάλασσαν τῆς Γαλιλαίας), he saw two brothers (εἶδεν δύο ἀδελφούς).  One of these men was called Simon or Peter (Σίμωνα τὸν λεγόμενον Πέτρον), since it was common for people to have both a Hebrew name like Simon and a Greek name like Peter.  His brother, on the other hand seemed to have only a Greek name, Andrew.  This may account for the different names of the apostles in the various gospel stories.  Both these brothers were casting their large fishing nets into the sea (βάλλοντας ἀμφίβληστρον εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν).  Thus, they were called fisherman (ἦσαν γὰρ ἁλεεῖς).  John, chapter 1:40-42, had these two brothers from the town of Bethsaida, about 5 miles north of Capernaum, where the Jordan River runs into the Sea of Galilee.

The literal meaning

The first form of biblical interpretation is the literal meaning.  The text says what it says, so there.  Anyone who can read, can simply pick up the book and read it.  That is all that it takes to understand the Bible.  Just read it.  Perhaps the English is a little old fashioned, but that is no big deal.  Jesus walked down the road.  That is all there is in the literal sense.

Waiting for the battle (Hab 3:16-3:16)

“I hear!

My body trembles!

My lips quiver

At the sound.

Rottenness enters

Into my bones.

My steps tremble

Beneath me.

I quietly wait

For the day

Of calamity

To come upon the people

Who attack us.”

Habakkuk was waiting for the eventual defeat of his enemy.  However, there would be a battle.  Thus, he could hear his body tremble and his lips quivering.  There was a certain rottenness in his bones.  He was weak kneed as he walked.  He was quietly waiting for the day of calamity when his attackers would suffer.

Yahweh is his name (Am 4:13-4:13)

“For lo!

The one who forms the mountains!

The one who creates the wind!

The one who reveals

His thoughts to mortals!

The one who makes

The morning darkness!

The one who treads

On the heights

Of the earth!

Yahweh is his name!

The God of hosts!”

In a great show of force and praise. Amos revealed that it was Yahweh who formed the mountains. Yahweh has created the wind. He has revealed his thoughts to mortals. He has made the morning darkness. He has walked on the heights of the earth. It is of course Yahweh, the God of heavenly hosts. Yahweh is his name.

Judah was still faithful (Hos 11:12-11:12)

“Ephraim

Has surrounded me

With lies.

The house of Israel

Has surrounded me

With deceit.

But Judah

Still walks

With God.

He is faithful

To the Holy One.”

Although the territory of Ephraim and the northern kingdom of Israel had surrounded Yahweh with lies and deceit, Judah still walked with God. Judah had remained faithful to the Holy One, Yahweh.