Seek the kingdom first (Mt 6:31-6:33)

“Therefore,

Do not be anxious!

Saying.

‘What will we eat?

What will we drink?

What will we wear?’

The gentiles

Strive for all these things.

Your heavenly Father

Knows

That you need

All these things.

But strive first

For the kingdom!

Strive

For his righteousness!

Then all these things

Will be given

To you as well.”

 

μὴ οὖν μεριμνήσητε λέγοντες· Τί φάγωμεν; ἤ· Τί πίωμεν; ἤ· Τί περιβαλώμεθα;

πάντα γὰρ ταῦτα τὰ ἔθνη ἐπιζητοῦσιν· οἶδεν γὰρ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος ὅτι χρῄζετε τούτων ἁπάντων.

ζητεῖτε δὲ πρῶτον τὴν βασιλείαν καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ, καὶ ταῦτα πάντα προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν.

 

Once again, Luke, chapter 12:29-31, has a similar Jesus saying, indicating a common Q source.  The same theme continues.  They should not be worried or anxious (μὴ οὖν μεριμνήσητε λέγοντες).  Why are they anxious about what to eat (Τί φάγωμεν), to drink (ἤ Τί πίωμεν), or to wear (ἤ·Τί περιβαλώμεθα)?  Those are the kind of questions that gentiles ask about (πάντα γὰρ ταῦτα τὰ ἔθνη ἐπιζητοῦσιν).  Matthew continued his attack on the gentile, non-Jewish people.  Their heavenly Father knew about everything that they needed (οἶδεν γὰρ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος ὅτι χρῄζετε τούτων ἁπάντων).  Thus, they should seek or strive first (ζητεῖτε δὲ πρῶτον) for the kingdom (τὴν βασιλείαν) and his righteousness (καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ).  Then all these other things would be taken care of for them (καὶ ταῦτα πάντα προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν).  A couple of manuscripts say kingdom of God (βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ), instead of just the kingdom, but that is not in the main manuscripts.  Matthew always used the kingdom of heaven, not the kingdom of God.

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The failure of the future false prophets (Zech 13:3-13:6)

“If any prophets appear again,

Their fathers,

With their mothers who bore them,

Will say to them.

‘You shall not live.

You speak lies

In the name of Yahweh!’

Their fathers,

With their mothers who bore them,

Shall pierce them through

When they prophesy.

On that day,

The prophets,

Every one of them,

Will be ashamed

Of their visions

When they prophesy.

They will not put on

A hairy mantle

In order to deceive.

But each of them will say.

‘I am no prophet.

I am a tiller of the soil.

The land has been my possession

Since my youth.’

If anyone asks them.

‘What are these wounds

On your chest?’

The answer will be.

‘I received

These wounds

In the house of my friends.’”

Yahweh warned, via Zechariah, that future prophets would not fare well.  Fathers and mothers who had children who wanted to become prophets were told to tell them that they are lying in the name of Yahweh.  In fact, these young men were not to live, since their parents would kill them with a sword.  All the prophets would be ashamed.  They would not wear their normal prophetic hairy coats.  Instead, they would pretend to be farmers.  If anyone wanted to know why they had cuts on their chests like prophets, they would say that their friends had done it.  Clearly, this was the end of institutional prophecy.  The very few remaining prophets would be afraid to be pointed out, since they might be put to death.

The future of Israel (Hos 3:4-3:5)

“The Israelites

Shall remain many days

Without a king

Or a prince.

They shall remain

Without sacrifice

Or pillar,

Without ephod

Or teraphim.

Afterward,

The Israelites

Shall return.

They shall seek

Yahweh,

Their God,

With David

Their king.

They shall come

In awe

To Yahweh,

To his goodness,

In the latter days.”

Hosea that predicted that the Israelites would spend many days without a king, prince, or leader. They also would be without sacrifices, since there would be no temple or pillar to worship at. There would be no high priest who would wear the ephod. There would be no teraphim or household gods, implying that the Israelites had some of these gods as in Genesis, chapter 31. The good news was that these Israelites would eventually seek Yahweh, their God. They would have David or his descendants as their king. In awe, they would return to the good Yahweh in the days to come.

Daniel is rewarded (Dan 5:29-5:29)

“Then King Belshazzar

Gave the command.

Daniel was clothed

In purple.

A chain of gold

Was put

Around his neck.

A proclamation

Was made

Concerning him.

He should rank third

In the kingdom.”

Despite the fact that Daniel had said that he did not want any rewards or gifts, the king gave him purple royal clothing. Daniel was to be a royal member, the 3rd in command in the kingdom of Babylon, after King Belshazzar and his father. Daniel would wear a chain of gold around his neck. Thus, this Judean exile would become the 3rd most powerful person in the great Babylonian kingdom.

The king called for his wise men (Dan 5:7-5:7)

“The king

Cried aloud

To bring in

The enchanters,

The Chaldeans,

The diviners.

The king said

To the wise men

Of Babylon.

‘Whoever can read

This writing,

Whoever can tell me

Its interpretation,

Shall be clothed

In purple.

He shall have

A chain

Of gold

Around his neck.

He shall rank third

In the kingdom.’”

Like all good kings, this King Belshazzar then called for his wise men to interpret the writing on the wall. Thus, the enchanters, the diviners or astrologists, with the wise Chaldeans came to him. After all, he had 1,000 of his best men with him at this feast or party. He then told these wise men that anyone who could read and interpret this mysterious writing would be clothed in purple. They would be able to wear the gold chain of 3rd place in the Babylonian kingdom, after his father and himself.

The correct linen holy vestments or garments (Ezek 44:17-44:19)

“When they enter

The gates

Of the inner court,

They shall wear

Linen vestments.

They shall have nothing

Of wool on them,

While they minister

At the gates

Of the inner court,

As well as within.

They shall have

Linen turbans

On their heads.

They shall have

Linen undergarments

On their loins.

They shall not

Bind themselves

With anything

That causes sweat.

When they go out

Into the outer court

To the people,

They shall remove

The vestments

In which

They have been ministering,

They shall lay them

In the holy chambers.

They shall put on

Other garments,

So that they may not

Communicate holiness

To the people

With their vestments.”

When these Zadok Levitical priests entered the gates of the inner court, they had to wear certain garments or vestments made of linen when they ministered to Yahweh. They could not have anything made of wool on them, when they were in the inner court. They would have to wear linen turbans on their heads. They also would have to wear linen underwear. They could not wear any binding clothes, anything that would make them sweat. When they went out to the outer court, they had to change clothes. They were not allowed to communicate holiness to the people in the outer court with their holy vestments. Thus, the holy linen garments were kept in the holy chambers or rooms.

The sign of Ezekiel (Ezek 24:22-24:24)

“You shall do

As I have done!

You shall not cover

Your upper lip!

You shall not eat

The bread

Of mourners!

Your turbans shall be

On your heads!

Your sandals shall be

On your feet!

You shall not mourn!

You shall not weep!

But you shall pine away

In your iniquities.

You shall groan

To one another.

‘Thus Ezekiel

Shall be a sign

To you.

You shall do

Just as he has done.

When this comes,

Then you will know

That I am Yahweh God.’”

When this catastrophe would hit them, they should do as Ezekiel had done. They were not to cover up their upper lip. They were not to eat the mourner’s bread. However, they should continue to wear their turban hats and their foot sandals. They were not to mourn or weep. They could pine away privately, because of their iniquities. They could also groan to one another privately. Thus Yahweh had placed Ezekiel and his behavior as a sign for them. They were to do just as Ezekiel had done when his wife died. Then they would all know that Yahweh, their God, was in charge. In other words, the death of their loved ones would be a numbing experience, without any outward grief.