The dinner with the tax collectors (Lk 5:29-5:29)

“Then Levi

Gave

A great banquet

For Jesus

In his house.

There was a large crowd

Of tax collectors

And others

Sitting at the table

With them.”

 

Καὶ ἐποίησεν δοχὴν μεγάλην Λευεὶς αὐτῷ ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ αὐτοῦ· καὶ ἦν ὄχλος πολὺς τελωνῶν καὶ ἄλλων οἳ ἦσαν μετ’ αὐτῶν κατακείμενοι.

 

Luke said that Levi gave a great banquet for Jesus (Καὶ ἐποίησεν δοχὴν μεγάλην Λευεὶς αὐτῷ) in his house (ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ αὐτοῦ).  There was a large crowd of tax collectors (καὶ ἦν ὄχλος πολὺς τελωνῶν) and others (καὶ ἄλλων οἳ ἦσαν) sitting or reclining at the table with them (μετ’ αὐτῶν κατακείμενοι).  Mark, chapter 2:15, and Matthew, chapter 9:10, are similar to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this event.  Mark and Luke explicitly mentioned that Jesus was having a meal in the house of Levi.  Perhaps Levi was wealthy enough to have a house big enough for a large banquet.  As Levi was a tax collector, other tax collectors were there also.  Was this a farewell meal for Levi as he was about to set out as a disciple of Jesus?  Jesus sat or reclined at the dining table in Levi’s house.  However, besides the tax collectors, Mark and Matthew said that a lot of sinners came to sit down or recline with Jesus and his disciples.  However, Luke simply called them “others.”  These tax collectors were collecting money or tolls for the Roman Empire, so that they could hardly be called model Jewish citizens.  The others or sinners, on the other hand, could either be non-Jewish gentiles or other public immoral unclean Jewish men.  In general, tax collectors and sinners were lumped together, since neither cared much for following the Jewish law, unlike the Pharisees.  Matthew said some of the disciples of Jesus were there.  He also said that this meal was in a house without indicating whose house.  Would it have been the house of Jesus in Capernaum?  Presumably, it was the house of Matthew, the tax collector, since other tax collectors were there also.

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Joseph of Arimathea (Mk 15:43-15:43)

“Joseph of Arimathea

Was a respected member

Of the council.

He also himself

Was waiting expectantly

For the kingdom of God.

He went boldly

To Pilate.

He asked for

The body of Jesus.”

 

ἐλθὼν Ἰωσὴφ ὁ ἀπὸ Ἀριμαθαίας, εὐσχήμων βουλευτής, ὃς καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν προσδεχόμενος τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ, τολμήσας εἰσῆλθεν πρὸς τὸν Πειλᾶτον καὶ ᾐτήσατο τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ.

 

There is less confusion about this Joseph since he is mentioned in all 4 gospel stories.  This text is similar to Matthew, chapter 27:57-58.  Luke, chapter 23:50-52, mentioned that Joseph was a member of the elder’s council in Jerusalem who had not voted for the plan to destroy Jesus.  John, chapter 19:38, said that Joseph was a secret disciple of Jesus.  Mark said that Joseph from Arimathea (ἐλθὼν Ἰωσὴφ ὁ ἀπὸ Ἀριμαθαίας) came forward.  He was a respected member of the Jerusalem council (εὐσχήμων βουλευτής).  He was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God (ὃς καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν προσδεχόμενος τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  He went boldly to Pilate (τολμήσας εἰσῆλθεν πρὸς τὸν Πειλᾶτον).  He asked for the body of Jesus (καὶ ᾐτήσατο τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ).  Many legends have developed around this wealthy Joseph from Arimathea, a town in Judea near Jerusalem.

The dogs eat crumbs (Mk 7:28-7:28)

“But she answered him.

‘Yes!

Lord!

But even the dogs,

Under the table,

Eat the children’s crumbs.’”

 

ἡ δὲ ἀπεκρίθη καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Ναί, Κύριε· καὶ τὰ κυνάρια ὑποκάτω τῆς τραπέζης ἐσθίουσιν ἀπὸ τῶν ψιχίων τῶν παιδίων.

 

This Canaanite woman responded somewhat like in Matthew, chapter 15:27.  This woman was willing to accept that she was like a despised dog.  Mark said that she responded to Jesus, by calling him Lord and agreeing with him (ἡ δὲ ἀπεκρίθη καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Ναί, Κύριε).  She reminded him that even the dogs (καὶ τὰ κυνάρια), who are under the table (ὑποκάτω τῆς τραπέζης), eat the children’s crumbs (ἐσθίουσιν ἀπὸ τῶν ψιχίων τῶν παιδίων) that fall from the table.  In a wealthy materialistic country, we sometimes forget how our crumbs might feed or help poor people around the world today.

Joseph of Arimathea (Mt 27:57-27:57)

“When it was evening,

There came a rich man

From Arimathea,

Named Joseph,

He was also

A disciple of Jesus.”

 

Ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης ἦλθεν ἄνθρωπος πλούσιος ἀπὸ Ἀριμαθαίας, τοὔνομα Ἰωσήφ, ὃς καὶ αὐτὸς ἐμαθητεύθη τῷ Ἰησοῦ·

 

There is less confusion about this Joseph since he is mentioned in all 4 gospel stories.  This text is similar to Mark, chapter 15:43.  Luke, chapter 23:50-51, mentioned that Joseph was a member of the elder’s council in Jerusalem who had not voted for the plan to destroy Jesus.  John, chapter 19:38, said that Joseph was a secret disciple of Jesus.  Matthew said that when it was evening (Ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης), a rich man from Arimathea (ἦλθεν ἄνθρωπος πλούσιος ἀπὸ Ἀριμαθαίας), named Joseph (τοὔνομα Ἰωσήφ), who was also a disciple of Jesus (ὃς καὶ αὐτὸς ἐμαθητεύθη τῷ Ἰησοῦ) came forward.  Notice that it was evening since no burials were permitted on the Sabbath or feast days.  Many legends have developed around this wealthy Joseph from Arimathea, a town in Judea near Jerusalem.

The nets of the enemy (Hab 1:14-1:17)

“You have made people

Like the fish of the sea,

Like crawling things

That have no ruler.

The enemy brings

All of them up

With a hook.

He drags them out,

With his net.

He gathers them

In his seine.

Thus,

He rejoices.

He exults.

Therefore,

He sacrifices

To his net.

He makes sacrifices

To his seine.

His portion is lavish

By them.

His food is rich.

Is he then to keep on

Emptying his net?

Will he keep destroying nations

Without mercy?”

This enemy would keep devouring the people.  Yahweh has made people like fish in the sea, since they have no ruler, much like crawling things.  Thus, this enemy has a hook with a net.  He has dragged the people out of the sea, as if they were fish in a net.  He has gathered them in his seine, which is a great big net.  Thus, this enemy is happy and exulted about his big catch of humans, much like a proud fisherman.  Then, this enemy would sacrifice offerings to his big nets, because they have contributed to his lavish life style with rich food.  He has become wealthy by catching all these humans in his big fish nets.  Thus, he kept emptying his nets and catching more humans in them.  He continued to destroy nations and countries without any mercy for anyone.  His evil ways just went on and on.

Ephraim has become a rich trader (Hos 12:7-12:8)

“Ephraim was a trader.

His hands

Have false balances.

He loves to oppress people.

Ephraim has said.

‘O!

I am rich.

I have gained wealth

For myself.

In all of my gain,

No offense

Has been found

In me

That would be a sin.’”

Ephraim was a trader, which is the same word as Canaanite. In other words, Ephraim had become like a common Canaanite trader with false balances in his trades. He loved to oppress the people. However, he justified his wealth and gain by saying that that in becoming wealthy, he had not sinned. No one could find anything wrong with him.

The power of foreign gods (Dan 11:38-11:39)

“He shall honor

The god of fortresses,

Instead of these,

A god whom his ancestors

Did not know.

He shall honor

With gold,

With silver,

With precious stones,

With costly gifts.

He shall deal

With the strongest fortresses

By the help

Of a foreign god.

Those who acknowledge him,

He shall make more wealthy.

He shall appoint them

As rulers over many.

He shall divide

The land

For a price.”

Gabriel went on to tell Daniel about how King Antiochus IV worshiped foreign gods, probably the Greek gods of Jupiter at Olympus, not the Syrian gods of his ancestors. Apparently, King Antiochus IV had more respect for these Greek gods. Jupiter was a god of strength. His ancestors knew nothing about these Greek gods. However, he honored them with gold, silver, precious stones, and costly gifts. He relied on these foreign gods to maintain his stronghold positions. King Antiochus made people wealthy, if they agreed with him. In fact, he may have practiced a form of bribery, by dividing up the land for a price.