‘Who is my mother?
Who are my brothers?’
Looking at those
Who were sitting
In a circle,
‘Here is my mother!
Here are my brothers!
The will of God
Is my brother,
Is my sister,
And is my mother.’”
καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς αὐτοῖς λέγει Τίς ἐστιν ἡ μήτηρ μου καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί;
καὶ περιβλεψάμενος τοὺς περὶ αὐτὸν κύκλῳ καθημένους λέγει Ἴδε ἡ μήτηρ μου καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί μου.
ὃς ἂν ποιήσῃ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ Θεοῦ, οὗτος ἀδελφός μου καὶ ἀδελφὴ καὶ μήτηρ ἐστίν.
Luke, chapter 8:21, and Matthew, chapter 12:48-50, have something similar, but Matthew is closer to Mark, while Luke has a simple concluding statement. Mark said that Jesus made a distinction between his biological family and his new spiritual family. Jesus replied to the person who told him about his relatives (καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς αὐτοῖς λέγει). He asked him who his mother was and who his brothers were (Τίς ἐστιν ἡ μήτηρ μου, καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί). He looked at those who were sitting around him in a circle (καὶ περιβλεψάμενος τοὺς περὶ αὐτὸν κύκλῳ καθημένους). He said (λέγει) that they were his mother (Ἴδε ἡ μήτηρ μου) and his brothers (καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί μου). Anyone who did the will of God (ὃς ἂν ποιήσῃ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ Θεοῦ), not his heavenly Father, as in Matthew, would be his brother (οὗτος ἀδελφός μου), his sister (καὶ ἀδελφὴ), and his mother (καὶ μήτηρ ἐστίν). No longer was a biological family important, because there was now a new spiritual faith family of Jesus believers. This idea of a new faith family was common among many religious groups, since their fellow believers were now their new family.
“Pray then in this way!
Holy be your name!
Let your kingdom come!
Your will be done,
As it is in heaven.’”
οὕτως οὖν προσεύχεσθε ὑμεῖς Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς· Ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου·
ἐλθάτω ἡ βασιλεία σου· γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς·
Matthew, as well as Luke, chapter 11:2-3, both have the “Lord’s Prayer,” “The Our Father,” with only slightly different versions, perhaps indicating a Q source. The text in Luke is shorter than here, since Matthew has 7 demands of God, one of his favorite numbers. The first part of the prayer is about the glory of God himself, the Father. Jesus simply tells them to pray like this (οὕτως οὖν προσεύχεσθε ὑμεῖς). The Greek word for praying “προσεύχεσθε” means an exchange of wishes. Jesus opened this prayer with a call to their common “our” Father (Πάτερ ἡμῶν) who is in the heavens (ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς). The heavenly father was a major theme throughout Matthew. His name should be holy (Ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου), just as in the Hebrew scriptures where the name of Yahweh was holy, especially Psalm 105:1-5. His kingdom should come (ἐλθάτω ἡ βασιλεία σου). His will should be done (γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου) on earth (καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς), just as it is done in heaven (ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ). Obviously following the will of God, Yahweh, was a common theme of Judaic life. The followers of Jesus would not be exempt from following the will of their heavenly Father.
“If the great Lord is willing,
He will be filled
With the spirit of understanding.
He will pour forth
Words of wisdom.
He will give thanks
To the Lord in prayer.
The Lord will direct his counsel.
The Lord will direct his knowledge.
He will meditate on his mysteries.
He will show the wisdom
Of what he has learned.
He will glory in the law
Of the Lord’s covenant.
Many will praise
It will never be blotted out.
His memory will not disappear.
His name will live
Through all generations.
Nations will speak of his wisdom.
Will proclaim his praise.
If he lives long,
He will leave a name
Greater than a thousand.
If he goes to rest,
It is enough for him.”
Sirach continues his praise for the wise scribes like himself. Always it is the will of God that brings wisdom and understanding. These scribes will speak words of wisdom and give prayerful thanks to the Lord. The Lord directs their counsel and knowledge, as they meditate on the divine mysteries. These scribes will show their wisdom by glorifying the law and the covenant. However, many will praise these scribes, since their names will not disappear or be blotted out, but remain for generations to come. Many countries and congregations will praise them also. If they live long, their names will be remembered more than 1,000 others. If they die early, that will be okay also.
“Judas Maccabeus also attacked a certain city that was strongly fortified with earthworks and walls. Inhabited by all sorts of gentiles, its name was Caspin. Those who were within, relying on the strength of the walls and on their supply of provisions, behaved most insolently toward Judas Maccabeus and his men. They railed at them, even blaspheming and saying unholy things. But Judas Maccabeus and his men, calling upon the great Sovereign of the world, who without battering-rams or engines of war overthrew Jericho in the days of Joshua, rushed furiously upon the walls. They took the town by the will of God. They slaughtered untold numbers, so that the adjoining lake, a quarter of a mile wide, appeared to be running over with blood.”
This Caspin may be the same as Chaspho in 1 Maccabees, chapter 5. The only apparent reason for attacking this strongly fortified town was because they had some gentiles there. However, for some reason, the people in this town were insolent to Judas Maccabeus and his men. They blasphemed and said unholy things. Judas Maccabeus, after calling on the sovereign Lord, rushed the walls of this town named Caspin. Once again, by the will of God, they took this town like in the days of Joshua at Jericho. Here they killed so many people that a lake a quarter of a mile wide looked like it was running over with blood.
Be ready early in the morning to fight with these gentiles.
They have assembled against us to destroy us and our sanctuary.
It is better for us to die in battle
Than to see the misfortunes of our nation and of the sanctuary.
But as his will in heaven may be,
So he will do.’”
The pep talk of Judas Maccabeus told the troops to arm themselves and be courageous. They had to be ready in the morning to fight the gentiles who were out to destroy them and their sanctuary. They had already sacked the Temple in Jerusalem. Judas reminded them that it was better to die in battle than to see the misfortunes of their country and Temple. However, he would abide by the will of the God in heaven.
“In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, because they had been unfaithful to the Yahweh, King Shishak of Egypt came up against Jerusalem with twelve hundred chariots and sixty thousand cavalry. A countless army came with him from Egypt. There were Libyans, Sukkiim, and Ethiopians. He took the fortified cities of Judah. He came as far as Jerusalem. Then the prophet Shemaiah came to King Rehoboam and to the officers of Judah, who had gathered at Jerusalem because of King Shishak. He said to them. ‘Thus says Yahweh. ‘You abandoned me, so I have abandoned you to the hand of King Shishak.’ Then the officers of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said. ‘Yahweh is in the right.’ When Yahweh saw that they humbled themselves, the word of Yahweh came to Shemaiah, saying. ‘They have humbled themselves. I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance. My wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of King Shishak. Nevertheless they shall be his servants, so that they may know the difference between serving me and serving the kingdoms of the other lands.’”
Next this biblical author talked about the invasion of King Shishak of Egypt, based on 1 Kings, chapter 14. However, here there is a direct correlation between their evil ways and the invasion. As far as we can tell, there really was a King Shishak of Egypt who began to rule Egypt in the 10th century BCE. Prior to this there was only a general reference to the Pharaoh of Egypt. Synchronizing him with Hebrew history puts the reign of Solomon around 1000 BCE. Thus there is a possibility to begin dating things with some degree of accuracy. King Shiskak’s sister may have been married to Solomon. King Jeroboam had stayed with him in Egypt until the death of Solomon as indicated in 1 Kings, chapter 11, but not mentioned here. Thus the Egyptian King Shishak was good friends with the northern King Jeroboam. Here King Shishak is well prepared as he had troops from Egypt, Libya, Ethiopia, and Sukkiim, about 1,200 chariots and 60,000 cavalry. This was the only mention of Sukkiim so it is hard to figure out where they were from. He made quick work as he easily defeated either some or all the fortified cities. Everyone gathered in Jerusalem. Shemaiah, the prophet who told King Rehoboam not to invade the north told them that Yahweh said that they would lose this battle because they were unfaithful to him. They then repented and Shemaiah said that Jerusalem would be spared but they would be subservient to Egypt. There does not seem to be any other source for this intercession of Shemaiah via Yahweh.