The excuse of new property (Lk 14:18-14:18)

“But they all alike

Began

To make excuses.

The first said to him.

‘I have bought

A piece of land.

I must go out

To see it.

Please!

Accept my regrets!”

 

καὶ ἤρξαντο ἀπὸ μιᾶς πάντες παραιτεῖσθαι. ὁ πρῶτος εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ἀγρὸν ἠγόρασα, καὶ ἔχω ἀνάγκην ἐξελθὼν ἰδεῖν αὐτόν· ἐρωτῶ σε, ἔχε με παρῃτημένον.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that they all began to make excuses, to excuse themselves (καὶ ἤρξαντο ἀπὸ μιᾶς πάντες παραιτεῖσθαι).  The first one said to the slave (ὁ πρῶτος εἶπεν αὐτῷ) that he had just bought a piece of land (Ἀγρὸν ἠγόρασα).  Thus, he had to go out to see it (καὶ ἔχω ἀνάγκην ἐξελθὼν ἰδεῖν αὐτόν).  Therefore, he politely (ἐρωτῶ σε) wanted to be excused from going to the banquet (ἔχε με παρῃτημένον).  Matthew, chapter 22:3-5, said that they would not come or did not wish to come (καὶ οὐκ ἤθελον ἐλθεῖν), without giving excuses.  Now, this was a problem.  They have refused an invitation to the wedding banquet of God, the Father, the king.  He had sent his slaves, the prophets or the apostles, to call them, but they still did not want to come to the wedding feast.  In fact, Matthew said that the invitees made light of these inviting slaves.  They disregarded or disrespected (οἱ δὲ ἀμελήσαντες) the invitation.  They simply went on with their daily lives.  They went (ἀπῆλθον) either to their own farm field (ὃς μὲν εἰς τὸν ἴδιον ἀγρόν), or to their trading business (ὃς δὲ ἐπὶ τὴν ἐμπορίαν αὐτοῦ).  They were too busy to go to a wedding feast.  Have you ever been too busy to go to a wedding reception?

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Depart in peace (Lk 2:29-2:29)

“Simeon said.

‘Lord!

Now you may

Dismiss

Your slave

In peace,

According to your word.’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν

Νῦν ἀπολύεις τὸν δοῦλόν σου, Δέσποτα, κατὰ τὸ ῥῆμά σου ἐν εἰρήνῃ·

 

Luke had Simeon present the so-called “Nunc dimittis” canticle, named after the Latin translation of the first few words.  Simeon said (καὶ εἶπεν) that the Lord or Master could now dismiss his servant or slave (Νῦν ἀπολύεις τὸν δοῦλόν σου) in peace (ἐν εἰρήνῃ), according to the word of God (κατὰ τὸ ῥῆμά σου).  Simeon indicated that he was ready to die.  He could be dismissed because his wish had been granted.  Basically, this canticle talks continuously about the fulfillment of the prophecies of Isaiah.

You will always have poor people (Mk 14:7-14:7)

“You will always

Have the poor

With you.

You can show

Kindness to them

Whenever you wish.

But you will not always

Have me.”

 

πάντοτε γὰρ τοὺς πτωχοὺς ἔχετε μεθ’ ἑαυτῶν, καὶ ὅταν θέλητε δύνασθε αὐτοῖς εὖ ποιῆσαι, ἐμὲ δὲ οὐ πάντοτε ἔχετε.

 

This is almost word for word in Mathew, chapter 26:11, and somewhat similar to John, chapter 12:8.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that they would always have poor people with them (πάντοτε γὰρ τοὺς πτωχοὺς ἔχετε μεθ’ ἑαυτῶν).  In other words, there would be no immediate solution to the difficulties of poverty that has persisted for over 2,000 years.  Mark also indicated that Jesus added that they were able to do kind or good acts to the poor whenever they wished or wanted (καὶ ὅταν θέλητε δύνασθε αὐτοῖς εὖ ποιῆσαι).  However, Jesus reminded them in the first person singular that they would not always have him (ἐμὲ δὲ οὐ πάντοτε ἔχετε).

 

Herod will grant a wish (Mk 6:22-6:23)

“When the daughter

Of Herodias

Came in,

She danced.

She pleased Herod

And his guests.

The king said

To the girl.

‘Ask me

For whatever you wish!

I will give it!’

He solemnly swore

To her.

‘Whatever you ask me,

I will give you,

Even half of my kingdom.’”

 

καὶ εἰσελθούσης τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτῆς τῆς Ἡρῳδιάδος καὶ ὀρχησαμένης, ἤρεσεν τῷ Ἡρῴδῃ καὶ τοῖς συνανακειμένοις. ὁ δὲ βασιλεὺς εἶπεν τῷ κορασίῳ Αἴτησόν με ὃ ἐὰν θέλῃς, καὶ δώσω σοι·

καὶ ὤμοσεν αὐτῇ Ὅτι ἐάν με αἰτήσῃς δώσω σοι ἕως ἡμίσους τῆς βασιλείας μου.

 

Matthew, chapter 14:6-7, also has this story about the dancing daughter.  At this birthday party for King Herod, the daughter of Herodias came in (καὶ εἰσελθούσης τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτῆς τῆς Ἡρῳδιάδος).  She danced in the middle of this public celebration (καὶ ὀρχησαμένης).  Herodias’ daughter by her first marriage was called Salome or maybe even Herodias.  However, in this gospel story of Mark, she was unnamed.  She pleased Herod so much (ἤρεσεν τῷ Ἡρῴδῃ), as well as those reclining at the table with him (καὶ τοῖς συνανακειμένοις), that the king said to the girl (ὁ δὲ βασιλεὺς εἶπεν τῷ κορασίῳ) that whatever she wished or wanted (Αἴτησόν με ὃ ἐὰν θέλῃς), he would give it to her (καὶ δώσω σοι).  He even swore to her (καὶ ὤμοσεν αὐτῇ) with a solemn oath promise to give her (δώσω σοι) whatever she might request or ask (Ὅτι ἐάν με αἰτήσῃς), even up to half his kingdom (ἕως ἡμίσους τῆς βασιλείας μου).  Obviously, King Herod was a little rash here.

James and John on either side of Jesus (Mt 20:21-20:21)

Jesus said to her.

‘What do you want?’

She said to him.

‘Declare

That these two sons of mine

Will sit,

One at your right hand

And one at your left hand,

In your kingdom.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῇ Τί θέλεις; λέγει αὐτῷ Εἰπὲ ἵνα καθίσωσιν οὗτοι οἱ δύο υἱοί μου εἷς ἐκ δεξιῶν καὶ εἷς ἐξ εὐωνύμων σου ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ σου.

 

There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 10:36-37, but there the brothers, rather than their mother spoke with Jesus.  Jesus then asked her what did she want or wish (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῇ Τί θέλεις)?  She said to him (λέγει αὐτῷ) that she wanted Jesus to declare or command that her two sons (Εἰπὲ ἵνα καθίσωσιν οὗτοι οἱ δύο υἱοί μου) would sit at the right hand (εἷς ἐκ δεξιῶν) and at the left hand (καὶ εἷς ἐξ εὐωνύμων σου) of Jesus in his kingdom (ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ σου).  After all, they had been with Peter at the transfiguration and were one of the four original disciples.  Thus, they were already very special.  Perhaps, she thought of this as an earthly kingdom.  Strangely enough at the crucifixion of Jesus, it would be two thieves on his right and left side.

Peter wants to set up three tents (Mt 17:4-17:4)

“Peter said to Jesus.

‘Lord!

It is good for us

To be here.

If you wish,

I will make

Three tents here,

One for you,

One for Moses,

And one for Elijah.’”

 

ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Πέτρος εἶπεν τῷ Ἰησοῦ Κύριε, καλόν ἐστιν ἡμᾶς ὧδε εἶναι· εἰ θέλεις, ποιήσω ὧδε τρεῖς σκηνάς, σοὶ μίαν καὶ Μωϋσεῖ μίαν καὶ Ἡλείᾳ μίαν.

 

The remarks of Peter can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 9:5, Luke, chapter 9:33, and here in Matthew, but there are minor differences in all 3 accounts.  Peter responded (ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Πέτρος), once again as the leader of this small group of apostles.  He spoke to Jesus as the Lord (εἶπεν τῷ Ἰησοῦ Κύριε).  It was good for them to be there (καλόν ἐστιν ἡμᾶς ὧδε εἶναι).  If Jesus wanted it (εἰ θέλεις), Peter was going to set up 3 tents or dwellings here (ποιήσω ὧδε τρεῖς σκηνάς), one for Jesus (σοὶ μίαν), one for Moses (καὶ Μωϋσεῖ μίαν), and one for Elijah (καὶ Ἡλείᾳ μίαν).

 

The restoration in Samaria (Jer 31:4-31:6)

“Again I will build you!

You shall be built!

O virgin Israel!

Again you shall take

Your tambourines!

You shall go forth

In the dance

Of the merrymakers!

Again you shall plant vineyards

On the mountains of Samaria.

The planters shall plant.

They shall enjoy the fruit.

There shall be a day

When sentinels will call

In the hill country

Of Ephraim.

‘Come!

Let us go up to Zion!

Let us go to Yahweh

Our God.’”

Yahweh was going to build up his virgin Israel again. Once again, they would have tambourines, merrymaking, and dancing. They would be able to plant vineyards on the Samarian mountains. Clearly, this was an outreach to the old northern Israelites who had been captured in 721 BCE. Their vineyard planters would enjoy the fruit of their crops. There would even come a day when the hill country of Ephraim, just north of Benjamin, would cry out that that they were going to Jerusalem to worship Yahweh, their God. In other words, the local places of worship in the north would be abandoned. They would all worship their one God, Yahweh. This was the wish of Yahweh, via Jeremiah.