The divided kingdom (Mt 12:25-12:27)

“Jesus knew

What they were thinking.

He said to them.

‘Every kingdom divided

Against itself is

Laid waste.

No city

Or house divided against itself

Will stand.

If Satan casts out Satan,

He is divided against himself.

How then will his kingdom stand?

If I cast out demons

By Beelzebul,

By whom

Do your own sons

Cast them out?

Therefore,

They will be your judges.”

 

εἰδὼς δὲ τὰς ἐνθυμήσεις αὐτῶν εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Πᾶσα βασιλεία μερισθεῖσα καθ’ ἑαυτῆς ἐρημοῦται, καὶ πᾶσα πόλις ἢ οἰκία μερισθεῖσα καθ’ ἑαυτῆς οὐ σταθήσεται.

καὶ εἰ ὁ Σατανᾶς τὸν Σατανᾶν ἐκβάλλει, ἐφ’ ἑαυτὸν ἐμερίσθη· πῶς οὖν σταθήσεται ἡ βασιλεία αὐτοῦ;

καὶ εἰ ἐγὼ ἐν Βεελζεβοὺλ ἐκβάλλω τὰ δαιμόνια, οἱ υἱοὶ ὑμῶν ἐν τίνι ἐκβάλλουσιν; διὰ τοῦτο αὐτοὶ κριταὶ ἔσονται ὑμῶν.

 

There are similar statements to this in Mark, chapter 3:23-26, and Luke, chapter 11:17-19.  Jesus responded to the Pharisees with his house divided remarks.  Jesus knew what the inner thoughts of the Pharisees were (εἰδὼς δὲ τὰς ἐνθυμήσεις αὐτῶν).  He said to them that every kingdom divided against itself would be destroyed (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Πᾶσα βασιλεία μερισθεῖσα καθ’ ἑαυτῆς ἐρημοῦται).  No city or house divided against itself could endure (καὶ πᾶσα πόλις ἢ οἰκία μερισθεῖσα καθ’ ἑαυτῆς οὐ σταθήσεται.).  This was one of President Abraham Lincoln’s (1809-1865) favorite biblical passages about slavery.  If Satan casts out Satan (καὶ εἰ ὁ Σατανᾶς τὸν Σατανᾶν ἐκβάλλει), then he was divided against himself (ἐφ’ ἑαυτὸν ἐμερίσθη).  How can his kingdom last (πῶς οὖν σταθήσεται ἡ βασιλεία αὐτοῦ)?  If Jesus was casting out demons by Beelzebul (καὶ εἰ ἐγὼ ἐν Βεελζεβοὺλ ἐκβάλλω τὰ δαιμόνια,), how were their own sons or other exorcists able to cast out demons (οἱ υἱοὶ ὑμῶν ἐν τίνι ἐκβάλλουσιν)?  Therefore, their own sons would be their judges (διὰ τοῦτο αὐτοὶ κριταὶ ἔσονται ὑμῶν).  This was a very strong argument against Jesus and Beelzebul working together.

The attack of the locusts (Joel 1:5-1:7)

“Wake up!

You drunkards!

Weep!

Wail!

All you wine-drinkers!

The sweet wine

Is cut off

From your mouth.

A nation has invaded

My land.

It is powerful.

It is innumerable.

Its teeth are

Lions’ teeth.

It has the fangs

Of a lioness.

It has laid waste

My vines.

It has splintered

My fig trees.

It has stripped off

Their bark.

It has thrown it down.

Their branches

Have turned white.”

Joel noted that the attack of the locust grasshoppers was very severe, like the invasion of another country. He wanted the drunkards to wake up and weep. All those wine-drinkers should wail. They were going to have their sweet wine cut off from them. The powerful, innumerable invasion of the grasshoppers in his land was like the fangs of a lion’s teeth. This attack had laid waste the vines and the fig trees. This plague of locusts had splintered and stripped off the bark of the trees. They had thrown the trees to the ground, as the branches of the trees turned white.

The Babylonian king requests young Israelite students (Dan 1:3-1:4)

“Then the king commanded

His palace master,

Ashpenaz,

To bring

Some of the Israelites

Of the royal family

Or Of the nobility.

These should be

Young men

Without physical defect,

As well as handsome.

These should be

Versed in every branch

Of wisdom,

Endowed

With knowledge,

As well as insight.

These young men

Should be competent

To serve

In the king’s palace.

They were to be taught

The literature,

As well as the language,

Of the Chaldeans.”

King Nebuchadnezzar wanted to have some well-bred Israelites students. He had his palace chief, Ashpenaz, find these young men if they met certain conditions. These young men would have to be in good physical shape, as well as good looking. They had to be from the Israelite royal family or the Israelite nobility. Thus, these young men would not be run of the mill students. On top of that, they had to show some wisdom, knowledge, and insight. They were not going to waste their time on people who did not want to learn. Thus, they would be competent to serve in the king’s palace like a page. They also had to learn the Chaldean or Babylonian culture with its literature and language. This seemed like a good use of smart young men.

 

Eat and drink with trembling (Ezek 12:17-12:20)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Eat your bread

With quaking!

Drink your water

With trembling!

Be fearful!

Say to the people

Of the land!

Thus says Yahweh God

Concerning the inhabitants

Of Jerusalem

In the land of Israel.

They shall eat

Their bread

With fearfulness.

They shall drink

Their water

In dismay.

Because their land

Shall be stripped

Of all it contains,

On account of the violence

Of all those who live in it.

The inhabited cities

Shall be laid waste.

The land

Shall become a desolation.

You shall know

That I am Yahweh.”

The word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. He was told to eat his bread with quivering. He was to drink his water while trembling. He was to be fearful. He was to tell the people of the land what Yahweh, their God, had said about the people of Jerusalem in Israel. All of the people there would eat their bread with fearfulness. They would drink their water in confusion. Their land would be stripped of everything because of the violence of the people who lived in the cities there. The land would be all laid waste. Then they would know that Yahweh was the God of Israel.

The coming exile of Egypt (Jer 46:17-46:19)

“Give Pharaoh,

The king of Egypt,

The name

‘Braggart

Who missed his chance.’

‘As I live!’

Says the King,

Whose name is

Yahweh of hosts.

‘One is coming

Like Tabor

Among the mountains,

Like Carmel

By the sea.

Pack your bags

For exile!

Sheltered daughter Egypt!

Memphis shall become

A waste,

A ruin,

Without inhabitants.’”

The Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, Neco, missed his chance since he was only a braggart who did not back up his words. Yahweh was going to send someone who would make a big impact on southern Egypt around Memphis. He would come like the great mountains of Tabor or the sea mountains of Carmel, both around the plains of Jezreel. They ought to pack their bags to get ready to leave for exile. The city of Memphis would become a waste and a ruin, without anyone living there. This was a clear warning.

They would not listen (Jer 44:4-44:6)

“Yet I persistently sent

To you

All my servants,

The prophets,

Saying,

‘I beg you not to do

This abominable thing

That I hate!’

But they did not listen

Or incline their ear.

They did not turn

From their wickedness.

They continued to make

Offerings to other gods.

So my wrath,

With my anger,

Was poured out.

I kindled a fire

In the towns of Judah

As well as in the streets of Jerusalem.

They became a waste.

They became a desolation,

As they still are today.”

Once again, Yahweh reminded these Judeans in Egypt that he had warned them, since he had persistently sent his prophet servants to tell them to stop doing those hated abominable things. However, they never listened to these prophets. They never turned away from their wicked ways of presenting offerings to other gods. Thus Yahweh, the God of Israel, got mad. He poured out his wrath on the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. They both became a waste and desolation, like they were today, at the time of this oracle.

Jerusalem and Judah (Jer 25:18-25:18)

“I went to Jerusalem.

I went to

The towns of Judah,

Its kings,

Its officials,

To make them

A desolation,

A waste,

An object of hissing,

An object of cursing,

As they are today.”

Jeremiah was obviously sent to Jerusalem and the towns of Judah with their kings and officials. There is no mention of how many towns in Judah, but usually that is a euphemism for its leaders. They were going to be laid waste like a desolation. They would become the object of hissing and cursing just as they are today. This seems to imply that the exile was actually taking place at this time.