Lot’s wife (Lk 17:32-17:32)

“Remember Lot’s wife!”

 

μνημονεύετε τῆς γυναικὸς Λώτ

 

Luke was the only gospel writer to have Jesus remark about remembering Lot’s wife (μνημονεύετε τῆς γυναικὸς Λώτ).  This was is a reference to Genesis, chapter 19:26.  There Yahweh had rained down on both Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire, so that all who lived in those two towns and the plains around it were destroyed.  Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.  Luke and Jesus did not elaborate on the circumstances of her death, just remember it as if it was well known.  This was quite a striking biblical image, since they were in the plains by the Dead Sea that was also called the Salt Sea.  Have you ever looked back with regret?

The lepers at the time of Elisha (Lk 4:27-4:27)

“There were also many lepers

In Israel

At the time

Of the prophet Elisha.

None of them

Was cleansed,

Except Naaman,

The Syrian.”

 

καὶ πολλοὶ λεπροὶ ἦσαν ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ ἐπὶ Ἑλισαίου τοῦ προφήτου, καὶ οὐδεὶς αὐτῶν ἐκαθαρίσθη εἰ μὴ Ναιμὰν ὁ Σύρος.

 

Luke then cited another unique story about the prophet Elisha, the prophet who followed Elijah in the 9th century BCE.  He too was well known for his exploits in the first 13 chapters of 2 Kings.  This episode was about Naaman, the commander of the Aramean army, who suffered from some kind of leprosy.  Naaman asked his king if he could go get a cure from a prophet he had heard about.  Elisha told the king to send Naaman to him so that he could cure him.  He told Naaman to wash himself 7 times in the Jordan River.  This made Naaman very upset.  Finally, he went and immersed himself 7 times in the Jordan River.  Thus, he was cured of his leprosy, as found in 2 Kings, 5:1-14.  Luke said that there were also many lepers (καὶ πολλοὶ λεπροὶ ἦσαν) in Israel (ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ) at the time of the prophet Elisha (ἐπὶ Ἑλισαίου τοῦ προφήτου).  None of them were cleansed (καὶ οὐδεὶς αὐτῶν ἐκαθαρίσθη), except Naaman, the Syrian (εἰ μὴ Ναιμὰν ὁ Σύρος).  Syrian and Aramean are almost the same.  The key idea was that someone other than an Israelite was cured.

Simon of Cyrene (Mk 15:21-15:21)

“They compelled

A passer-by,

Who was coming in

From the country,

To carry his cross.

It was

Simon of Cyrene,

The father

Of Alexander

And Rufus.”

 

καὶ ἀγγαρεύουσιν παράγοντά τινα Σίμωνα Κυρηναῖον ἐρχόμενον ἀπ’ ἀγροῦ, τὸν πατέρα Ἀλεξάνδρου καὶ Ῥούφου, ἵνα ἄρῃ τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 27:32, and Luke, chapter 23:26, but who had no mention of Simon being the father of Alexander and Rufus.  John, chapter 19:17, on the other hand, had no mention of Simon at all, since he said that Jesus carried his cross by himself.  Mark said that they compelled a passer-by who was coming from the country (καὶ ἀγγαρεύουσιν παράγοντά τινα…ἐρχόμενον ἀπ’ ἀγροῦ) to carry the cross for Jesus (ἵνα ἄρῃ τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ).  This passerby was Simon of Cyrene (Σίμωνα Κυρηναῖον), the father of Alexander and Rufus (τὸν πατέρα Ἀλεξάνδρου καὶ Ῥούφου).  Cyrene had a large Jewish community in current day Libya.  This Simon may have been in Jerusalem for the Passover.  Mark seemed to indicate that this Simon was well known with two sons, but Matthew and Luke did not mention the sons.  However, there was a Rufus mentioned at the end of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, chapter 16:13, that could be this son of Simon.

Seven brothers (Mk 12:20-12:20)

“There were seven brothers.

The first one married.

When he died,

He left no children.

 

ἑπτὰ ἀδελφοὶ ἦσαν· καὶ ὁ πρῶτος ἔλαβεν γυναῖκα, καὶ ἀποθνῄσκων οὐκ ἀφῆκεν σπέρμα·

 

This story about the woman and 7 brothers can be found in Matthew, chapter 22:25, and in Luke, chapter 20:29, almost word for word.  Thus, this story was fairly well known.  There were 7 brothers (ἑπτὰ ἀδελφοὶ ἦσαν).  The first one married or took a wife (καὶ ὁ πρῶτος ἔλαβεν γυναῖκα).  Then he died (καὶ ἀποθνῄσκων).  He was childless, since he had no seed descendants or offspring (οὐκ ἀφῆκεν σπέρμα).

Simon of Cyrene (Mt 27:32-27:32)

“As they went out,

They came upon a man

From Cyrene,

Named Simon.

They compelled

This man

To carry

His cross.”

 

Ἐξερχόμενοι δὲ εὗρον ἄνθρωπον Κυρηναῖον, ὀνόματι Σίμωνα· τοῦτον ἠγγάρευσαν ἵνα ἄρῃ τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ.

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 15:21, who has a very detailed description of Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as well as Luke, chapter 23:26.  John, chapter 19:17, had no mention of Simon, since he said that Jesus carried his cross by himself.  As they went out from the courtyard (Ἐξερχόμενοι δ), the Roman soldiers came upon a man from Cyrene (εὗρον ἄνθρωπον Κυρηναῖον) that had a large Jewish community in current day Libya.  This man was named Simon (ὀνόματι Σίμωνα).  They compelled or forced him to carry Jesus’ cross (τοῦτον ἠγγάρευσαν ἵνα ἄρῃ τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ).  This Simon may have been in Jerusalem for the Passover.  Mark seemed to indicate that this Simon was well known with two sons, but Matthew and Luke did not mention his sons.

A new vision (Zech 1:7-1:7)

“On the twenty-fourth day

Of the eleventh month,

The month of Shebat,

In the second year

Of King Darius,

The word of Yahweh

Came to the prophet Zechariah,

The son of Berechiah,

The son of Iddo.”

This apparently is the first of 8 visions that Zechariah had.  This oracle of Yahweh took place on the 24th day of the 11th month in the 2nd year of King Darius, either late 520 BCE or early 519 BCE.  This month was called Shebat.  Once again, there is a mention of Zechariah’s lineage, via Berechiah and Iddo, with Iddo the most well-known.

Edom and the day of Yahweh (Ob 1:8-1:9)

“Says Yahweh.

‘On that day,

I will destroy

The wise ones

Out of Edom.

I will destroy

The understanding ones

out of Mount Esau.

Your warriors

Shall be shattered!

O Teman!

Thus,

Every man

From Mount Esau

Will be cut off.’”

Yahweh, via the prophet Obadiah, said that he was going to destroy the wise and understanding people in Edom, because Edom was well known for its wise men and their wisdom.  He was going to destroy the warriors from Mount Esau, the name of the twin brother of Jacob.  The northern area of Teman would be shattered, so that the people from Mount Esau would be cut off from the rest of Edom.