I bought oxen (Lk 14:19-14:19)

“Another said.

‘I have bought

Five yoke of oxen.

I am going

To try them out.

Please!

I pray you,

Accept my regrets!’”

 

καὶ ἕτερος εἶπεν Ζεύγη βοῶν ἠγόρασα πέντε, καὶ πορεύομαι δοκιμάσαι αὐτά· ἐρωτῶ σε, ἔχε με παρῃτημένον.

 

Luke uniquely had Jesus talk about another excuse.  Jesus said that another person told the inviting slave (καὶ ἕτερος εἶπεν) that he had just purchased or bought 5 pair of oxen (Ζεύγη βοῶν ἠγόρασα πέντε).  Luke was the only biblical writer to use the term Ζεύγη, meaning a pair, yoke, or team.  This man was going to try them out (καὶ πορεύομαι δοκιμάσαι αὐτά).  He too, politely (ἐρωτῶ σε) asked to be excused (ἔχε με παρῃτημένον).  Matthew, chapter 22:6-7, instead of these individual excuses, had the king’s servants beat up.  Thus, this king destroyed the original invited people.  However, there was nothing like that here in Luke.  Have you ever beat up people inviting you to a dinner or have you been respectful?

The hard life (Lam 5:5-5:6)

“With a yoke

On our necks,

We are hard driven.

We are weary.

We are given

No rest.

We have made a pact

With Egypt.

We have made a pact

With Assyria

To get bread enough.”

Once again in the first person plural, they complain about yoke on their necks as in Jeremiah, chapter 28. They are tired because they are forced into hard labor without much rest. They had to make a pact with Egypt and Assyria to get enough bread to eat. Actually, Assyria had already disappeared.

Wait for Yahweh (Lam 3:25-3:27)

Tet

“Yahweh is good

To those

Who wait for him.

Yahweh is good

To the soul

That seeks him.

It is good

That one should

Wait quietly

For the salvation

Of Yahweh.

It is good

For one to bear

The yoke

In his youth.”

Yahweh would be good to those wait quietly for his salvation. Yahweh would be good to any soul that seeks him. It is also good to bear the heavy burdens of the yoke in youth. This is now a very uplifting message after all the preceding moaning. These three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Tet in this acrostic poem.

Do not listen to false predictions (Jer 27:9-27:11)

“‘Therefore

You must not listen

To your prophets,

To your diviners,

To your dreamers,

To your soothsayers,

To your sorcerers.

If they are saying to you.

‘You shall not serve

The king of Babylon.’

They are prophesying

A lie to you.

The result will be

That you will be removed

Far from your land.

I will drive you out.

You will perish. But any nation

That will bring its neck

Under the yoke

Of the king of Babylon,

Thus serve him,

I will leave on its own land.

They will till it.

They will live there.’

Says Yahweh.”

Jeremiah has an oracle of Yahweh about the false prophets who are telling the people not to obey the king of Babylon. Whether it is a prophet, a diviner, a dreamer, a soothsayer, or a sorcerer, who tell them not to serve the king of Babylon, they are prophesying lies. If they listened to these liars, Yahweh was going to drive them out of their land, so that they would perish. However, if any country was to put on the yoke of Babylon and serve its king, Yahweh was going to let them stay on their own land, live there, and till the soil. There is no doubt that Yahweh was on the side of the King of Babylon, as presented here.

 

Assyria will be erased (Isa 14:24-14:27)

“Yahweh of hosts has sworn.

‘As I have designed,

So shall it be.

As I have planned,

So shall it come to pass.

I will break the Assyrian

In my land.

On my mountains

I will trample him under foot.

His yoke shall be removed

From them.

His burden shall be removed

From their shoulders.’

This is the plan that is planned

Concerning the whole earth.

This is the hand that is stretched out

Over all the nations.

Yahweh of hosts has planned.

Who will annul it?

His hand is stretched out.

Who will turn it back?”

Having dealt with Babylon and its city, Yahweh turned to the Assyrians themselves. He says that the Assyrians would be wiped out. Around 610 BCE, they were wiped out by the Persians. The Assyrian Empire went back a couple of millennium BCE. However, the so-called neo-Assyrian Empire went from about 911-610 BCE. This large neo-Assyrian Empire is what the Israelites faced during this time frame. Isaiah has Yahweh clearly plan the destruction of the Assyrian Empire. The theme here is that whatever Yahweh has planned, it will come to pass. He was going to break the Assyrians and trample them underfoot. Yahweh said that the Assyrians would no longer be in his land and his mountains. The Assyrian yoke and burden would be removed from the Israelites. However, Yahweh’s plan was also for the whole world. He had planned it and stretched out his hand. It was going to happen. Who was going to stop Yahweh? Thus it came to pass that the Persians attacked and destroyed the Assyrian Empire in the 7th century BCE, because of the plan of Yahweh.

From darkness to light (Isa 9:2-9:5)

“The people who walked in darkness

Have seen a great light.

Those who lived

In a land of deep darkness,

Light has shined on them.

You have multiplied the nation.

You have increased its joy.

They rejoice before you,

As with joy

At the harvest,

As people exalt

When dividing plunder.

You have broken

The yoke of their burden,

The bar across their shoulders,

The rod of their oppressor,

As on the day of Midian.

All the boots

Of the tramping warriors,

With all the garments

Rolled in blood,

Will be burned

As fuel for the fire.”

Isaiah predicts that the time of darkness will turn to light. Light will shine on them. Their nation will increase with joy just like at harvest time or the splitting up of plunder. Their yoke and the bar across their shoulders will have been broken. The oppressor’s rod will have been laid aside just like at Midian. Could this be a reference to Midianites in Judges, chapter 7, when Gideon attacked them? Anyway, all the boots of the trampling warriors and their bloody garments will be used as fuel to be burned in a fire.

The blow of the tongue (Sir 28:17-28:21)

“The blow of a whip

Raises a welt.

But a blow of the tongue

Crushes the bones.

Many have fallen

By the edge of the sword.

But not as many as have fallen

Because of the tongue.

Happy is the one

Who is protected from it.

Happy is the one

Who has not been exposed to its anger.

Happy is the one

Who has not borne its yoke.

Happy is the one

Who has not been bound

With its fetters.

Its yoke is

A yoke of iron.

Its fetters are

Fetters of bronze.

Its death is an evil death.

Hades is preferable to it.”

A blow of the tongue is worse than a blow from a whip because the blow from the tongue crushes your bones, not merely a welt on your skin. This blow of the tongue is something that somebody has said that ruins your life. More people have fallen from this blow of the tongue than from the sword. You will be happy if you are protected from this blow from the tongue. If you have not been exposed to its anger or yoke, consider yourself happy. The blow of the tongue is like being put in bronze chains with an iron yoke on your neck. Hades would be preferable to the slow evil death from a blow of the tongue. Be careful when you say things about others.