Laborers for the harvest (Mt 9:37-9:38)

“Then he said

To his disciples.

‘The harvest is plentiful.

But the laborers are few.

Therefore,

Ask the Lord

Of the harvest

To send out laborers

Into his harvest.’”

 

τότε λέγει τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ Ὁ μὲν θερισμὸς πολύς, οἱ δὲ ἐργάται ὀλίγοι·

 δεήθητε οὖν τοῦ Κυρίου τοῦ θερισμοῦ ὅπως ἐκβάλῃ ἐργάτας εἰς τὸν θερισμὸν αὐτοῦ.

 

This saying about the laborers for the harvest is exactly the same, word for word, as in Luke, chapter 10:2, indicating a probable Q source.  This time, Jesus spoke to his disciples (τότε λέγει τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ), not the crowds.  He told them that the harvest was plentiful or full (Ὁ μὲν θερισμὸς πολύς), but there were few field laborers or few workers (οἱ δὲ ἐργάται ὀλίγοι).  He wanted them to request, beseech, or pray to the Lord of the harvest (δεήθητε οὖν τοῦ Κυρίου τοῦ θερισμοῦ) to send out more field laborers or workers into his harvest field (ἐκβάλῃ ἐργάτας εἰς τὸν θερισμὸν αὐτοῦ).  Who is the Lord of the harvest?  Is this the Father?

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Justice (Sir 27:8-27:10)

“If you pursue justice,

You will attain it.

Wear it

Like a glorious robe.

Birds roost

With their own kind.

Thus honestly comes home

To those who practice it.

A lion lies in wait

For prey.

So does sin come

For the workers of iniquity.”

Sirach says that if you pursue justice, you will attain it. He makes it sound easy. If you have justice, you should wear it like a glorious robe. Just as birds of a kind flock together, so too honestly comes home to those who practice it. On the other hand, the workers of iniquity sin just like a lion lies in wait for its prey. Good begets good and sin begets sin.

Solomon’s vineyard (Song 8:11-8:12)

Female lover

“Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon.

He entrusted the vineyard to keepers.

Each one was to bring for its fruit

A thousand pieces of silver.

My vineyard,

My very own,

Is for myself.

You!

O Solomon!

May have the thousand.

The keepers of the fruit

May have two hundred.”

Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon. This is the only mention of Baal-hamon, but it may have been an ancient worship place of Baal with that name. He obviously had vineyard workers. Each of the keepers of the vineyard had to bring 1,000 pieces of silver to get the fruit of the vine. This female lover said that she had a vineyard of her own also. She was going to let Solomon keep his 1,000 pieces of silver. However, she was going to give the keepers of the vineyard 200 pieces of silver. This vineyard might have been part of a dowry for the bride.

The human task (Eccl 3:9-3:11)

“What gain have the workers received

From their toil?

I have seen the business

That God has given to everyone

To be busy with.

He has made everything suitable

For its time.

Moreover,

He has put a sense of past and future

Into human minds.

Yet they cannot find out

What God has done

From the beginning to the end.”

God has given workers things to busy themselves with, but they do not know their gain or profit. Everything, however, is suitable for its time. Humans have a sense of past and future, not just the present. Despite this, they do not know what God has done from the beginning until now or what he will do in the future.

The good wife works hard (Prov 31:16-31:19)

Zain

“She considers a field.

She buys it.

With the fruit of her hands,

She plants a vineyard.

Het

She girds herself with strength.

She makes her arms strong.

Tet

She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.

Her lamp does not go out at night.

Yod

She puts her hands to the distaff.

Her hands hold the spindle.”

The good wife does not sit around all day and gossip. She goes out and buys fields, just like men do. She plants a vineyard, just like other workers. She has strength with strong arms. She buys and sells merchandise like her husband. She stays up late figuring things out. She even knows how to handle the spindle. She is like a super woman. She even has contact with others in business doings. Thus she is not a stay at home wife, but really a business partner.

The pleasant words (Prov 16:22-16:26)

“Wisdom is a fountain of life

To whoever has it.

But folly is the punishment of fools.

The mind of the wise

Makes their speech judicious.

The mind of the wise

Adds persuasiveness to their lips.

Pleasant words are like

A honeycomb.

Pleasant words are like

Sweetness to the soul.

Pleasant words are like

Health to the body.

Sometimes there is a way

That seems to be right.

But in the end

It is the way to death.

The appetite of workers works for them.

Their hunger urges them on.”

The fountain of life is wisdom. On the other hand, the punishment for fools is their own folly. The wise person will have judicious speech and persuasive lips. Their words are pleasant like a honeycomb. Theses pleasant words add sweetness to the soul and health to the body. You have to watch out for the way that seems like it is right, but actually is the way to death. If workers are hungry they will work harder.

The repair of the Temple of Yahweh (2 Chr 24:12-24:14)

“King Joash and Jehoiada gave the money to those who had charge of the work of the house of Yahweh. They hired masons and carpenters to restore the house of Yahweh. They also had workers in iron and bronze to repair the house of Yahweh. So those who were engaged in the work labored. The repairs went forward in their hands. They restored the house of God to its proper condition. In fact, they strengthened it. When they had finished, they brought the rest of the money to the king and Jehoiada. With this money they made utensils for the house of Yahweh, utensils for the service and for the burnt offerings, ladles, and vessels of gold and silver. They offered burnt offerings in the house of Yahweh regularly all the days of Jehoiada.”

This once again is loosely based on 2 Kings, chapter 12. They gave the money to the people who had the oversight of the repairs. They were to pay the workers and materials for this work. Unlike 2 Kings, where there was no money for the basins, gold and silver vessels, or trumpets, here there is plenty of money for the gold and silver vessels of the Temple. There is nothing here about whether they kept a good accounting of the money or not. Finally there is no mention that that the priests got the money from the sin offerings as in 2 Kings.