Pray (Lk 18:1-18:1)

“Then Jesus told them

A parable

About the need

To pray always.

Do not grow weary!”

 

Ἔλεγεν δὲ παραβολὴν αὐτοῖς πρὸς τὸ δεῖν πάντοτε προσεύχεσθαι αὐτοὺς καὶ μὴ ἐνκακεῖν,

 

Luke is the only synoptic writer with this parable about the widow and the judge to emphasize the importance of prayer.  Right from the beginning, he had Jesus tell them the purpose of the parable, rather than a secret that they would have to figure out.  Then Jesus told them a parable (Ἔλεγεν δὲ παραβολὴν αὐτοῖς) about the need or duty to always pray (πρὸς τὸ δεῖν πάντοτε προσεύχεσθαι αὐτοὺς).  They were not to lose heart or grow weary (καὶ μὴ ἐνκακεῖν).  Do you remember to always pray?

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Profanation of the name of Yahweh (Mal 1:12-1:14)

“But you profane it

When you say

That Yahweh’s table

Is polluted.

Thus,

The food for it

May be despised.

‘What a weariness this is.’

You say.

‘You sniff at me.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘You bring what has been taken

By violence,

Or is lame,

Or sick.

This you bring

As your offering!

Shall I accept that

From your hand?’

Says Yahweh.

‘Cursed be the cheat,

Who has a male in his flock!

If he vows to give it,

Yet sacrifices to Yahweh

What is blemished!

I am a great King!’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘My name is revered

Among the nations.’”

These priests have profaned the name of Yahweh.  They have polluted Yahweh’s table.  They have brought despised food to Yahweh’s altar.  They were tired, weary, and sniffing at Yahweh.  They brought offerings that had been violated, lame, or sick.  Should Yahweh accept these blemished offerings?  No, he should curse those who vowed to bring sacrificial offerings, but instead cheated him by bringing blemished animals.  Yahweh was a great king whose name was revered throughout the whole world, among all the countries.

The walls of Babylon come tumbling down (Jer 51:58-51:58)

“Thus says

Yahweh of hosts.

‘The broad wall

Of Babylon

Shall be leveled

To the ground.

Her high gates

Shall be burned

With fire.

The people exhaust themselves

For nothing.

The nations weary themselves

Only for fire.’”

Yahweh then predicted that the walls of Babylon would come tumbling down, as they would be leveled to the ground. The high gates of Babylon would be burned. The people of Babylon would exhaust themselves for no good reason. They would not prevail. Many nations would weary themselves about this fire.

 

Baruch writes the book of Jeremiah (Jer 45:1-45:3)

“The word

That the prophet Jeremiah

Spoke to Baruch,

The son of Neriah,

When he wrote

These words

In a scroll,

At the dictation

Of Jeremiah,

In the fourth year

Of King Jehoiakim

The son of King Josiah

Of Judah.

Thus says Yahweh!

The God of Israel!

To you!

O Baruch!

You said.

‘Woe is me!

Yahweh has added sorrow

To my pain.

I am weary

With my groaning.

I find no rest.’”

This is a very brief chapter that almost seems like it should have been after chapter 36, where Baruch was writing the scroll dictated by Jeremiah. In fact, the dating of this section puts it back during the 4th year of King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE) around 605 BCE, at least 20 years prior to the passages just concluded. These words of Yahweh, via Jeremiah, are addressed to Baruch himself, the secretary scribe of Jeremiah. Baruch had said that Yahweh was adding to his sorrow and pain. He was getting weary because he had no rest. Like the preceding chapter, this small chapter has a different numbered chapter in the Greek translation of the Septuagint, chapter 51, not chapter 45 as here.

The farmers and the shepherds (Jer 31:24-31:25)

“Judah

With all its towns

Shall live there together.

The farmers

With those who wander

With their flocks

Shall live there together.

I will satisfy the weary ones.

I will replenish

All who are faint.”

This is something like the old western USA problem about the farmers and the cowboys. How could they get along? Here the towns of Judah are asked to get along with each other. At the same time, the farmers who till the land have to get along with the shepherds and their flocks, because they might wander into their planted areas. Yahweh was going to replenish those who were weary and fainting.

Against Molech (Isa 57:9-57:10)

“You journeyed to Molech

With oil.

You multiplied your perfumes.

You sent your envoys far away.

You sent them down even to Sheol.

You grew weary

From your many wanderings.

But you did not say.

‘It is useless.’

You found your desire rekindled.

Thus you did not weaken.”

Third Isaiah was also against Molech, a local Canaanite god that must have had a lot of Israelite worshippers. Apparently, many worshippers of Molech brought oils and perfumes to offer to Molech, who was sometimes associated with the Baal temples and altars. They sent messengers that were willing to go to Sheol, the afterlife underworld. However, they grew weary from their many trips. However, they were not able to say that it was useless. In fact, they rekindled their desire for Molech, instead of weakening it.

No hope for the sorcerers of Babylon (Isa 47:12-47:13)

“Stand fast in your enchantments!

Stand fast in your many sorceries!

You have labored from your youth

With these actions.

Perhaps you may be able to succeed.

Perhaps you may inspire terror.

You are wearied

With your many consultations.

Let those who study the heavens

Stand up!

Let them save you!

Let those who gaze at the stars

Predict what shall befall you!

Let those who gaze at each new moon

Predict what shall befall you!”

Yahweh taunted Babylon by saying that they should rely on their sorcerers, their enchanters, their astrologists, and magicians. They had followed them since they were young. Maybe they will succeed. Maybe they will scare people. However, they are weary from all their consultations. Let those who study the heavens stand up and save you. Can those who gaze at the stars and the new moon predict what is going to happen to you? This is a direct challenge to the people of Babylon.