1. Now, having called the twelve together, he gave them power and authority over all [kinds of] demons and to heal diseases,
As YHWH took some of the spirit that was upon Moshe to give other men the wisdom to judge (Num. 11:17, 25) Israel, likewise He gave Yeshua the ability to share his spirit for particular purposes.
2. and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of Elohim and to cure the infirm.
Cure: a different term than “heal” in verse 1, where the emphasis is on using natural methods, whereas here the emphasis is on being “made whole”.
3. And he said to them, “Don’t take anything along on your journey—neither staff nor bag [for provisions] nor bread nor money nor even two cloaks apiece,
These would only burden them and distract them while they did this work, and he wanted them to learn to trust YHWH to provide; he also offered a different arrangement:
4. but whatever house you may enter, stay there, and go out from there.
Go out from there: i.e., make that your base of operations. The Essenes had a network of homes that were open to guest travelers, and these may have been the places he recommended for his students to stay.
5. "And wherever they may not receive you, as you leave their city, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them."
Stern points out that this was a common practice among Jews when leaving a Gentile city and returning to Eretz-Yisrael, to show that they had no fellowship with the pagans who lived there. Yeshua was now equating those who did not receive those who came in His name with pagans.
6. So, going out, they passed throughout the villages, proclaiming the Glad News and healing everywhere [they went].
7. Now when Herodus heard [about] all the things that were taking place, he was thoroughly at his wits’ end because it was being said by some that Yochanan had been raised from the dead,
8. by some also that Eliyahu had shown up, and by others that one of the prophets of old had arisen again.
Shown up: as expected before the “Day of YHWH” (Mal. 4:5) Yeshua had said Yochanan himself had been at least one instance of this appearance. (Mat. 11:14) But he would show up later in this chapter in another form—his own.
9. So Herodus said, “I beheaded Yochanan, so who is this about whom I [keep] hearing such things?” And he inquired into [how he might] see him.
10. And when they came back, those whom he had sent [out] described to him in detail what great things they had accomplished. And, having received them back, he withdrew by himself into a town called Beyth Tzayadah.
Received: an intensive form that implies an assertiveness and a deep personal interest—seemingly a sense of urgency. Withdrew: or, slipped away—indicating that he did not want it to be known where he was going. Beyth Tsayadah: “House of the Hunter”, possibly an allusion to Yirmeyahu 16:16, especially in its proximity to the place of the fishermen also mentioned in that verse. Professor Rami Arav points out that Bethsaida (on the eastern bank of the Yarden north of Lake Kinnereth) was under the jurisdiction of Philip, the brother of Herod Antipas (the Herodus mentioned in the previous verse). According to the testimony of Josephus, Philip was different from his brother and much more beloved by his subjects. In case of adversity Yeshua could find refuge at Beyth Tzaidah. He did not want to given Herodus such and audience at this time.
11. But when the crowds found out, they followed him, so he welcomed them and began speaking to them about the Kingdom of Elohim, and those having need of healing, he cured.
It was Herodus, not the crowds, he was trying to evade at this point.
12. However, when the day began to decline, the twelve came to him and said, “Dismiss the crowds, so that when they have traveled into the surrounding villages and countryside, they might find something to eat, because here we’re in a secluded place!”
Secluded: unpopulated, desolate, barren, or solitary.
13. But he said to them, “You give them something to eat!” But they said, “We don’t have anything more than five loaves [of bread] and two fish, assuming we could even buy food for all these people if we did go!”
14. For there were about 5,000 men. But he said to his students, “Have them sit down in groups of about 50 each.”
15. And they did so, and had them all sit down.
16. So having taken up the five loaves and two fish and looked up into the heaven, he blessed them and broke them [into pieces] and gave them to the students to serve to the crowd.
Looked: seeing into another dimension where there was infinite supply, rather than looking at the limited reality that was in his hands, he brought that realm to bear on this one.
17. And they all ate and were satisfied, and from the [abundant] surplus that they [could not finish], there was taken up twelve [wicker] hand-baskets [full].
18. Now as he was praying in a solitary place, his students came to be with him, so he inquired of them, “Whom do the crowds say that I am?”
19. So they said in response, “‘Yochanan the Immerser’, while others [say], ‘Eliyahu’, but [still] others [say] that a prophet—one of the ancient [ones], has arisen again.”
20. So he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And in response, Kefa said, “Elohim’s anointed!”
21. But, strictly warning them, he solemnly instructed them not to tell this to anyone,
Warning: adding weightiness or gravity to the situation so as to prevent something that could go wrong if this information was not guarded. Instructed: implies an authority that comes from having gone through the proper channels. It was not yet time for this to become general knowledge. He had to keep some things out of the sight of YHWH’s enemy and those who would be careless with gossip until they were accomplished.
22. saying, “It is necessary for the Son of Adam to undergo many sufferings, and [after being thoroughly] be rejected by the elders and chief priests and be put to death, then on third day [he will] be raised [back] up.”
23. But to everyone he said, “If anyone desires to come after me, he must deny himself, take up his own crucifixion stake every day, and accompany me [where I go].
Deny: repudiate or disown the “self” he used to be so that he can be transformed into something more complete, a truer self, as a caterpillar or tadpole must give up its current “identity” and allow the transformation to take place so that it can reach its full potential. Accompany: follow for the sake of attending to.
24. “Actually, if anyone should in any way desire to ensure the preservation of his ‘self-life’, he will lose it [completely], whereas anyone who might lose his life on account of me—he [is the one who will] preserve it.
On account of me: he puts conditions on this, since not just anyone who accidentally falls into this category will gain the promised result, but one who chooses to prioritize his master’s agenda over his own safety. This sacrifice will not go unnoticed or unrewarded.
25. “Indeed, how is it of any benefit to a man if he has gained the whole world but completely lost of forfeited himself?
Benefit: or profit; i.e., how does it do him any good? Gained: acquired by trading something of value for it—in his mind, something of lesser value, but in Yeshua’s opinion, it is wasted, because the true man, of which the sample he ha seen is only a pale shadow, if of far more value than anything physical we could acquire in the present age, because until the transformation of our bodies and the earthly environment that will come with the Kingdom has been accomplished, everything is corruptible and will in fact decay.
26. “Whoever, then, may be ashamed of me and of these words of mine, the Son of Adam will be ashamed of him when he will come in his glorified [condition, honored] also by the Father and the set-apart messengers.
Ashamed: not for good reason, since Yeshua was wrongly dishonored rather than appropriately so. Glorified: having been recognized by the highest authority as worthy of honor.
27. But I tell you the truth: there are some of those standing here who will by no means taste of death until they have in some sense looked upon the Kingdom of Elohim!”
Looked upon: witnessed or glimpsed, seen it somehow exhibited—not necessarily in its fulness but in a validating sample that assures them in no uncertain terms that the entirety will is so sure to follow that they can stake their lives on it (as he implies in verse 24 that they will have to) with no hesitation (v. 26).
28. Now what occurred after eight days was that he took Kefa, Yaaqov, and Yochanan [along] when he went up onto the mountain to pray.
Eight days: possibly indicating that this took place on the eighth day of Sukkot. (Avi ben Mordechai)
29. And what occurred while he prayed was that the appearance of his face became [qualitatively] different, and his clothing [became] as gleaming white [as lightning].
This appears to be what he was talking about in verse 27, as a foretaste of the time he spoke of in verse 26.
30. And, lo and behold, [there were] two men talking with him, who [turned out to be none other than] Moshe and Eliyahu,
Was it Mt. Nevo, where Moshe died (Deut. 34:5-6) and where Eliyahu was taken up in the “chariot of fire”? It would be a few days’ journey from Caesarea Philippi, and Kefa later called this “the sacred mountain” (2 Kefa 1:18). 2 Maccabees 2:4-8 says that King Shlomoh had wanted the location to be honorably sanctified because the cloud and the glory of YHWH would appear here again as they did under Moshe, because Yirmeyahu had hidden the ark and the tabernacle in a cave here and stopped up the door, not to be found again until YHWH should again gather His people together and receive them unto mercy. (Mal. 4:4-6; Hoshea 1-2) Another mountain associated with both of these men was Mt. Sinai (Khorev), though this would have been several more days’ distance away, but 8 days (v. 28) might allow sufficient travel time. Notice the themes of glory and a cloud in this account of Yeshua meeting with these two men here. They were in some kind of time warp, or were given a glimpse into the Kingdom age and of what the unfallen Adam would have looked like before the light that flowed through his veins slowed into blood as we know it today. (Ben Mordechai) Moshe (whose face also glowed when he was meeting with YHWH) represents the Torah and Eliyahu, the prophets. These were two of the “set-apart messengers” who thus recognized and honored him, again as a foretaste of something more complete that is yet to come.
31. who, having appeared in a glorified state, were talking about his way out, which he was about to [fully] accomplish in Yerushalayim.
Way out: Gk., exodus. Accomplish: or fill up, bring to completion; he would also bring a fuller meaning to the former Exodus. Moshe could speak of a physical exodus, but this was one in which he would bring departed souls out from She’ol (Mat. 27:52-53), as well as liberating the hearts of countless individuals, both still alive and passed away, from the bondage to sin and self which we had always known, thus effecting a complete release which can still take effect even if we are still physically shackled by one oppressor or another.
32. Kefa and those who were with him were weighed down with sleep, but they became fully alert when they beheld the manifestation of his weightiness, and that of the two men standing together with him.
Kefa: the Aramaic has Shim’on, his proper name; Kefa (“Rocky”; Petros in Greek) was the nickname Yeshua gave him. Weighed…weightiness: two different terms in Greek, but in the Hebrew rendering from the Aramaic Peshitta, forms of kavod are used for both, showing that a play on words was intended to highlight the contrast of the two types of heaviness we can experience: one that slows us down and dulls our senses, and one that gives us something of substantial importance to be able to accomplish great things. Moshe carried weight through giving us the Torah and deliverance from physical bondage; Eliyahu represents the uncompromising stand for the Elohim who really can answer us, and Yeshua would be the heavyweight who would finally bruise the serpent’s head. (Gen. 3:15)
33. And what occurred as they were passing on [and starting to depart] from him, Kefa said to Yeshua, “Commander, it’s good that we’re here! We can also make three sukkoth—one for you, one for Moshe, and one for Eliyahu” (not considering what he was saying).
Commander: literally, one appointed over us. This must have been during the feast of Sukkoth, when, by tradition, illustrious spiritual leaders from the past are expected to visit us and be treated as guests—ushpizin in Aramaic. (Compare Mat. 8:11; the banqueting at Sukkoth is a foretaste of the greater feast to come in the Kingdom.) Moshe is one of the seven usually mentioned; Eliyahu is expected on the opposite side of the solar system, six months later at Passover! But like the other seven, he too, was uprooted and forced to flee and wander and was indeed in need of hospitality, which he did receive, but from angels and birds rather than human beings. At least Kefa was eager to be hospitable, showing himself a true son of Avraham! Toby Yanicki of Firstfruits of Zion also notes that though Eliyahu is not on the list of the “seven shepherds” now, there was a lot more variation in the earlier stages of the tradition.
34. But as he was saying these things, a cloud came along and started to envelop them, but as they were entering into the cloud, they became alarmed.
This strongly lobbies for the view that this was Mt. Sinai, because both Moshe and Eliyahu experienced storms there and those who witnessed the clouds in Moshe’s time were also terrified. Moshe at that time had been enveloped by a thick cloud and hidden from the rest of Israel to the point that they assumed he had died. This was apparently not just fog; no wonder the disciples were afraid. They thought this would be a repetition of what had gone on there before, and, in a way, it was, because:
35. A voice also came out from within the cloud, saying, “This is My son, whom I have selected; listen to him!”
A voice from heaven had accompanied Moshe’s ascent to receive the commandments; YHWH now gives another command (but not a new one) in the same context. Selected: even from among the most ill;ustrious in Israel’s prior history. The word order suggests the emphasis: “He is the one to listen to.” (Compare Deut. 18:18-19) While they were noble and holy, he was without sin and was about to accomplish a task that would overshadow theirs, just like this cloud. The Torah and the prophets endorsed him as well, but they took second place to this messenger, in YHWH’s own opinion, which is the one that counts:
36. And as the voice was beginning [to speak], Yeshua alone could be found, and they stopped talking. And during those days, they did not tell anyone [about] anything of what they had experienced.
The meaning of this event was not yet clear to them, and telling about it would have been premature.
37. Now what occurred the next day, after they had come down off the mountain, was that a crowd of many met them,
The next: the term allows for “a day very soon after that”; it would have been unlikely that there would be crowds near Mount Sinai at this time, so they may have traveled back into the territory where he was known first.
38. and, lo and behold, a man from the crowd called out loudly, saying, “Teacher, I beg you, look with favor on my son, because he is the only one born to me,
39. “but, look! A spirit takes hold of him, and all of a sudden he shrieks, and it throws him into convulsions with foaming [at the mouth], and only after a long struggle does it depart from him, bruising him [in the process].
All of a sudden: or, unexpectedly. Bruising: or even, crushing or mauling, which may be more likely due to the severity of his concern.
40. “And I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they couldn’t!”
41. But Yeshua cut in and said, “O unpersuaded generation that misrepresents! How long must I countenance you and put up with you? Bring your son here!”
For someone who had a perfectly clear and straightforward view of how things really are, how much more difficult must it have been for him to live with fallen people with our dull ears and blurred vision than even the masterminds who complain, “Why do I have to work with amateurs?!”
42. But while he was approaching, the demon tore into him, [slammed him down], and threw him into violent convulsions. But Yeshua aplied his authority to redirect the spirit of impurity, healed the boy, and turned him back over to his father.
Redirect: The term denotes “pulling rank” or “throwing his weight into” the situation, using “intimidation” in a positive way, taking advantage of his position of higher honor in order to spare the boy more suffering.
43. Then [they] were all struck with astonishment at the magnificence of Elohim. But while they were all marveling at everything he did, he said to his disciples,
Notice that, in contrast to the Gentiles who responded to Paul’s miracles by worshipping him as a god, the Jews knew enough to direct their admiration at YHWH who was the One who empowered Yeshua to do such things.
44. “Let these words sink into your ears: because the Son of Adam is about to be betrayed into the hands of men.”
He would not let their enthusiasm get out of hand and taken in a wrong or premature direction, so he put an appropriate damper on it.
45. But they did not pay attention to this idea, and it was veiled from them so that they would not understand it; they were also afraid to ask him about this topic.
46. Moreover, this discussion came up among them as to which of them might be the greatest!
As if it were not bad enough for them to brush off something he told them to be sure not to miss, they go off on the worst possible tangent from what had just occurred. So it is for us all until YHWH puts His spirit of understanding within us.
47. But Yeshua, perceiving the reasoning of their heart, pulled aside a child and set him in their midst
Perceiving: through the tenor of their words. Their heart: the collective heart of all humans who sense that it is somehow better to be thought of more highly than those around us with whom we must live and relate.
48. and told them, “Whoever accepts this child in my name accepts me, and whoever accepts me accepts the One who sent me. The one who is first to become the least among you, he is [the one who] will be great.
Accepts: welcomes or receives. Here is the law of agency, which allows Yeshua or any prophet to speak YHWH’s words in a way that sounds as if they were his own. Is first: Since they are set on competing, he tells them to compete to be the one who places the most people ahead of himself in loving deference.
49. But Yochanan answered and said, “Commander, we saw someone expelling demons in your name, and we barred him [from doing so], because he does not work along with us!”
Along with us: or, in the same way as we do.
50. But Yeshua said to him, “Don’t bar [him], because whoever is not in opposition to you [operates] to your benefit.”
Expelling demons is a positive activity, and the world is better for it, making conditions more favorable for us all; why put a stop to that just because someone uses a different methodology?
51. Now what occurred as the days of his ascent were nearing their completion, was that he set his face resolutely to journey on into Yerushalayim,
Ascent: Heb., aliyah, the common description of the pilgrimage to Yerushalayim for one of the three annual feasts at which all able-bodied Israelites are required to be in attendance. But after what he had said about being about to be betrayed, this might not have seemed like the wisest course of action. (Yochanan 11:8)
52. and he sent messengers ahead of his presence, and, having gone on, they entered into a village of the Samaritans, so as to make arrangements [in preparation] for him.
53. But they did not welcome him, because his face was set on proceeding into Yerushalayim.
Since it was the time for a festival, the Samaritans would have wanted him to celebrate it at their worship site on Mt. Grizim near Sh’khem, and since he was not “doing things their way” (v. 49), they did not want to have anything to do with him, in direct contrast with his methodology as seen in verse 50. Most Jews at that time would not even have gone through Samaria to get to Yerushalayim, though it was the most direct route, but skirted their territory, probably for reasons like this, as we do have stories of the Samaritans deliberately lighting fires of the type that signaled the new moon at the wrong time to confuse the Jews and make them miss the true appointed times.
54. Now, having seen it, the disciples Yaaqov and Yochanan said, “Master, do you want us to call fire down from the Heaven to annihilate them?”
55. But he made an about-face and scolded them, saying, “You’re not recognizing what [kind of] spirit you are of,
Recognizing: the word combines the aspects of both remembering and appreciating. He could be both saying, “You don’t realize what a bad spirit you are taking into yourself” and reminding them that there is a different kind of spirit beginning to be at work within them by virtue of their association with him where the rules of engagement are different, and they are forgetting that this is who they now are.
56. “because the Son of Adam did not come [on the scene] to destroy men’s lives, but to save [them].” And they traveled on into a different village.
57. Now as they were traveling along the road, someone said to him, “I will accompany you to wherever you may go!”
58. And Yeshua told him, “The foxes have dens and the birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Adam has no place where he may rest his head.”
59. But to a different person he said, “Follow me!” But he said, “Master, permit me first to go have my father’s funeral.”
60. But he told him, “Send the dead to bury their own dead; but you, when you go, announce the Kingdom of Elohim.”
He was not unconcerned for this man’s widowed mother (as he himself, when dying, made arrangements for his own), but wanted to highlight the fact that something far bigger was afoot by means of which death itself would become a thing of the past era; those who join themselves to the new reality have a different task, just as the high priests in the sanctuary that foreshadows the Kingdom are not permitted to be involved in activities pertaining to the dead (Numbers 6:7), having a prior commitment and consecration to the things that bring life. Yeshua is thereby saying that those who work for him operate by rules that parallel the highest standards of the priesthood to which others (“the dead”, in comparison) are not bound. (Gibor)
61. Then another person also said, “I will follow you, Master, but first let me take leave of those within my home.”
Take leave of: or, withdraw properly from, say “farewell” to in a formal sense.
62. But Yeshua said to him, “No one who has put his hand [violently] upon a plow, then looks to the things behind, is suitable for the Kingdom of Elohim.”
He is not talking about using a plow in its normal manner and then looking backwards, causing him to plow a crooked furrow. Rather, he is alluding to the story of Eliyahu calling Elisha (who, incidentally, was plowing his father’s field at the time) to come be trained to succeed him as a prophet—a high calling. (1 Kings 19:19ff) When Elisha asked to just go kiss his parents goodbye, Eliyahu was offended, and said, “Go back home! What did I ever do to you?”, upon which he sacrificed both the plow and the oxen, “burning his bridges” since he would, of course, anger his parents thereby, and devoted the rest of his life to working for the Kingdom. (Gibor) Thus, those who follow Yeshua also have as high a calling as a prophet-elect.
1. But after all these things, the Master appointed 70 others and sent them ahead of him [two] by two into every city and location to which he himself was about to come.
Ahead of him: literally, before his face. When Yeshua sent out his disciples on two occasions, he sent 12 (representing the twelve tribes of Israel) the first time (Luk. 9:1) and 70 (representing all the nations of the world) the second (here), to show that the job was even bigger than the huge job of retrieving the scattered tribes of Israel (Yeshayahu 49:6), because there were more descendants of Adam who needed redeeming as well.
2. And he told them, “The crop [to be harvested] is indeed plentiful, but the workers are few. So earnestly plead with the Master of the Harvest that He may send workers out into His harvest.
Crop: a metaphor here for people to be informed of the coming Kingdom before it came so they could get Ito on the best terms. Plentiful: or simply, huge in quantity. Master of the Harvest: YHWH Himself. Yeshua was keenly feeling his inability to do the whole job by himself. But those who plead must also be willing to be part of the answer to their prayer.
3. “Get going, [then, and] realize that I am sending you out like lambs in the midst of wolves.
Lambs: emphasizing that they were not yet fully grown. Wolves: or jackals—either way, a description of wild canines that would encircle them and not hesitate to make a prey of them.
4. “Don’t carry either a money-bag or a traveling pouch, or [even extra] sandals, and don’t greet anyone along the way.
He did not want them to be encumbered by anything that would slow them down. Note the similar urgency when Elisha gave his servant, Gehazi, the same instructions. (2 Kings 4:29) He may have also been telling them to have faith that their sandals would not wear out, as had been the case for their ancestors in the wilderness. (Deut. 8:24; 29:5)
5. "And into whatever house you may enter, first say, "Peace be unto this household."
6. "And if a son of peace truly turns out to be there, your peace will settle upon it; otherwise it will return to you."
Son of peace: A Hebrew idiom for a harmonious, cordial, generous, and hospitable person who gets along well with other people. It was a common practice of the Essenes (with whom Yeshua would have had some interaction since his cousin Yochanan had probably been raised by them) to have lodging-places in each town that met their standards according to their understanding of a kosher home. He may have expected them to go there first to find lodging, since the provisions they were not carrying (v. 4) would be furnished there upon their arrival. (v. 7) Your peace: The blessing pronounced upon arrival. A similar blessing used by the sages was "Shalom to you, shalom to your family, and shalom to everything you own." Shalom has more meanings than "peace": it can often mean "safety" or "security" (11:21), or "good health", and total well-being. To have a disciple lodging with someone was thought to guarantee him protection against injury and illness, especially since they were sent out to heal, so the blessing was very real and tangible. Return to you: I.e., withdraw your blessing and move to another house. (Bivin)
7. “But stay in the same home, eating and drinking what is supplied by them; indeed, the worker deserves his compensation. Don’t keep moving from house to house.
8. “So in whatever city you may enter and they welcome you, eat [the food]s that are set before you,
If the house is “worthy” (as Mat. 10:13 renders the equivalent of verse 6 above), they will only serve foods that meet YHWH’s dietary requirements.
9. and heal the sick in it, and tell them, “The Kingdom of Elohim has come close to you.”
10. “But into whatever city you might enter and they do not welcome you, go out into its public squares and say,
11. “‘Even the dust from your city that has stuck to our feet, we wipe off of ourselves [against] you; nevertheless, realize this: that the Kingdom of Elohim has come close to you!’
12. “I tell you, it will be more bearable for S’dom and Ghamorrah in That Day than for that city!
S’dom and Ghamorrah: see Genesis 13:13; 18:20ff for background. That Day: an idiom for the Day of YHWH, a time of universal peace, a Sabbath for the world, but which will nevertheless begin with judgment on all who do not welcome YHWH’s rule. (See vv. 10-11.)
13. “Alas for you, Khorazin! Woe to you, Beyth Tzayadah! Because if the powerful [deed]s that took place in you had been done in them , they would have long since repented, sitting in burlap and ashes!
Khorazin: mentioned in the Talmud as Khorzin, it is identified with a site now called Kerazeh, about two miles north of Kfar Nahum and an hour’s walk from the Kinnereth (Sea of Galilee). It is an archaeological dig now, but remains only a ruin without inhabitant. Beyth Tzayadah: much larger, but also only a ruin. (See note on 9:10 above). Tzor and Tzidon: influential Kanaanite cities long known for their idolatry. Long since: literally, ages ago. Burlap and ashes: itchy irritations to one’s flesh taken on as signs of mourning.
14. “Furthermore, it will be more tolerable for Tzor and Tzidon in the judgment than [it will be] for you.
15. “And you, Kfar Nahum, will not be lifted as far as the heights of the heaven; you will be brought down to the underworld!
The ruins of Kfar Nahum are right at the shore of the Kinnereth, 700 feet below sea level.
16. “The one who listens to you [is really] listening to me, and the one who ignores you [is really] ignoring me, but the one who ignores me is [really] ignoring the One who sent me.”
17. Then the seventy came back joyfully, saying, “Master, even the demons are submitted to us through your name!
Yeshua, by virtue of being an unfallen man, was apparently held as authoritative in the spirit world even before he passed his greatest test and earned even more authority.
18. But he told them, “I got to watch when haSatan was cast down from the heaven like lightning!
He may have been referring both to the victories to which they were referring as well as the incident long prior to this, which is referred to in Yeshayahu 14:12.
19. “Indeed, I have given you authority to trample down snakes and scorpions, and over all the capability of the enemy, and nothing will by any means injure you.
This is an allusion to the promise in Genesis 3:15, where Chawwah was told that her seed (not Adam’s in particular) would crush the serpent’s head, apparently with the heel which would be wounded in the process, preventing the need for them to sustain the worst of the injuries (Yeshayahu 53:5-6, 10-11). Injure: damage, or cause to be unrighteous. Though there may be physical casualties in this battle, they can kill only the body if we remain faithful even unto death. (Rev. 2:10)
20. “Nevertheless, what you should be glad about is not that the spirits are subjected to you; rather, be glad that your names are written in the heaven[ly realm]s.”
Written: specifically, entered in the register—inscribed in the “book of life”. (Rev. 21:27, etc.)
21. Within the same hour, he began leaping for joy through the Spirit of the Holy [One], and said, “I [fully and without reservation] acknowledge my debt [of thanks] to You, Father, Master of the Heavens and the Earth, that You have kept these things hidden from the sophisticated and erudite, and have made them plain to [unlearned’ children! Of course, O Father, because this came to seem right [and appropriate] in Your sight!
He echoes the concept that YHWH looked at His completed creation and was very satisfied. (Gen. 1:31)
22. “All things have been [personally] handed over to me by my Father, and no one ascertains who the Son is except [through] the Father, or who the Father is, except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son may choose to reveal him.”
Son: the reappearance of a human being on the same caliber as Adam was, without inheriting the poison he put into his system and gene pool, and thereby the conduit by which other human beings can be restored to our race’s original state. (Yochanan 14:6) Through the Father: Recognizing Yeshua’s identity is only possible if YHWH reveals it to us. (See Yochanan 6:44.)
23. Then when he had turned to his students in private, he said, “The eyes that see what you see are enviable!
24. “Indeed, I tell you, many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see, but did not see [it], and to hear what you hear, but did not hear [it]!”
25. Then, lo and behold, someone learned in the Torah stood up and tested him, saying, “Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26. And he said to him, “What is written in the Torah? How do you read it?”
Read: in the sense of making distinctions. I.e., what parts would you consider weightiest?
27. In response, he said, “Love YHWH your Elohim with all your heart, with all your passion, with all your strength, and with all your mind”—and “your neighbor as yourself”.
He drew from two different passages and contexts, Deut. 11:13 and Lev. 19:18. This summary was brought out prior to this by Hillel, who added, “The rest is commentary; go and learn!”
28. And he said, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”
29. But, determined to justify himself, he said, “So who is my neighbor?”
30. So in response, Yeshua said, “A certain man was going down from Yerushalayim to Y’rikho, and was surrounded by thieves, who stripped him of his clothes and wounded him, then went away, leaving him essentially half-dead.
Though now an expressway, at that time--and until quite recently--this road was quite lonely with many boulders and blind turns where thieves could easily hide in ambush.
31. “It turned out that a certain priest came down that road, but when he saw him he passed by on the other side.
A certain priest: “Most cohanim (priests) were Sadducees (Tzadduqim) and …Sadducees rejected the Oral Law, using only the written Law... These men were forbidden to come into contact with a dead body, even to prepare, carry and bury it, unless the person was one of the close relatives mentioned in Lev. 21:2-3. Coming to the aid of a man abandoned on the street ‘between death and life’ would have potentially violated this commandment not to allow himself to become defiled through contact with a dead body. The Spirit of the Law as expressed in the Oral Torah, however, would have required these men to assist this man” (J. Trimm), especially since he was not on his way to the Temple, but returning from already having completed his service there, so it would not matter if he were to become ritually defiled and be unable to return to the Temple that week. The correct pattern is “go up to the Temple to be taught; descend from the Temple to serve the rest of Israel.” Therefore, they were indeed operating in the wrong spirit. (R. Webster)
32. “In the same way a Levite, too, when he came by the place, approached and looked [at him], but passed by on the opposite side.
33. “But a certain Samaritan, as he was traveling, came by where he was, and when he saw him, he was moved to pity.
34. “And he approached him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them, then mounted him on his own beast of burden, then brought him into a lodging-place, and took care of him.
There is only one well along this road, and there is at that spot what is known as the “Good Samaritan Inn”. If he was referring to a real lodging place, it would have been at this spot.
35. “Then the next day as he was leaving, he pulled out two days’ wages, and gave [it] to the inn-keeper, and told him, ‘Take care of him, and anything over this that you may spend, I’ll reimburse you when I come back.’
36. “Now which of these three do you suppose was a neighbor to the one who fell in among the robbers?”
In Hebrew, “neighbor” is not simply one who lives in your vicinity, but one who is fed from the same pasture as part of the same flock.
37. And he said, “The one who treated him kindly.” So Y’shua told him, “Go and do the same kind of thing.”
It seems he could not even bring himself to say, “The Samaritan”, since Jews generally despised Samaritans, who kept the Torah but in their own way at times, considering their worship-site to be at Sh’khem rather than at Yerushalayim, because a replica of the Temple had been built there for them by the Assyrians’ puppet ruler who resettled them there after the Northern Kingdom was exiled. Hoshea 6:9 says, “just like marauding bands [of raiders] waiting in ambush for a man, a league of priests commit murder on the way to Sh’khem.” Y’shua’s parable here may be an allusion to this verse, which also refers to the Northern Kingdom, of which Samaria (Shomron) had been the capital. Sh’khem (Gk. Sykhar) is the first place outside Yehudah to which Y’shua went looking for the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel. (Yochanan 4) And like the second son in his parable who said he would not obey but ended up doing so (Mat. 21:28ff), the Samaritans ended up more responsive to Him, the man who descended and was wounded, than the priests and Levites did. Thus, in this sense, they were murderers due to their neglect. But he proved more of an Israelite than they, though they looked down on him as a half-breed.
38. But as they kept proceeding, he entered into a certain village, and a certain woman received him into [her] home [as a guest].
Yochanan 11:1 identifies this village as Beyth Anyah, just east of Yerushalayim.
39. And she had a sister called Miryam, who, when she had sat down at the master feet, was listening to his reasoning.
40. But Martha was preoccupied in regard to [too] much table-serving, so she confronted him and said, “Master, don’t you care that my sister has left me alone to [do all the] serving? Well, then, tell her, so she’ll help me [get it done]!”
Help me: lend a hand, take an interest in cooperating; i.e., "You have the authority, and if you say it she’ll listen to you, because she’s obviously not paying any attention to me!" But it is always a questionable practice to ask someone to use his higher authority to affirm one’s own opinion when the situation itself has not made it obvious enough that one is right—as if telling someone to “tell” the other person what you want them to do is a proper use of subordination to the higher party!
41. But in response, the master said, “Martha, Martha! You are overly-anxious and agitated about [so] many things,
Overly-anxious: worried, but most literally, having one’s attention divided so that one is “pulled apart” in too many directions, and therefore “goes to pieces”. Agitated: in noisy upheaval, panicking and in a turbulent confusion about things that really could wait.
42. “when in fact [only] a few things are necessary—really only one—and Miryam has indeed chosen the good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
I.e., “I will not take her away from what really matters for the sake of fancy embellishments which you could have done without; I am satisfied with a simple meal (maybe just bread), whereas you are going to far too much trouble to impress us with what is only short-lived and will perish with the use!” But he may also (cf. v. 39) be alluding to the “food he had to eat which others did not know about”, which consisted of “doing the will of Him who had sent him, and which provides one with an uncanny satisfaction and settledness which no amount of physical sustenance can rival. (Yochanan 4:32-34)
1. Now what occurred when he was in a certain place praying was that when he finished, one of his students said to him, “Master, teach us to pray, just as Yochanan taught his students.”
2. So he said to them, “Whenever you pray, say, ‘Our Father, the One [who is] in the heavens, may Your Name be treated as set-apart. May Your Kingdom come; let Your will be done, as in the heavens, [so] also on the earth.
Whenever: not that these are exact words we must repeat every time, but, as Matithyahu’s account (6:9) says, “Like this”—i.e., this is a framework around which to build the content of our prayers, and this is the kind of thing the Father is pleased to hear, as opposed to “empty repetition” (Mat. 6:7). “Avinu sh’baShamayim” is a common beginning in Jewish prayer to this day. Matithyahu uses the phrase, “your/my/our Father in heaven” at least 12 times, whereas Lukas leaves it out of the same contexts, possibly feeling that his mainly-Gentile audience would think more in terms of the stories of Zeus and get the wrong impression. (Brad Young) “Father” gives us the sense both of His intimate love for us as well as the respect He deserves (“Let Your Name be set apart”, a shorthand for blessings such as Rabbi Y’hezq’El’s, “May Your Name be magnified, sanctified, and exalted, our King…”, and a response to YHWH’s promise to “show My greatness and My holiness”, Y’hezq’El/Ezk. 38:23, expressing the desire that the world may recognize His Name and revere it, and more importantly that Israel will not caused His name to be profaned, per Lev. 22:32). “In the heavens” emphasizes that His ways are higher than ours (Yeshayahu/Isa. 55:9) and He has much greater power than we do to put into effect these things for which we are asking. Your Kingdom: in Hebrew, as in the Qaddish, the phrase is commonly “May He cause His Kingdom to reign”, paralleling Shlomoh’s being made king (1 Chron. 28:4-5) and emphasizing the ongoing progress and increase of the parameters of what is included under His jurisdiction rather than our own will, hence paralleling the next phrase, “May Your will be done”. Yeshua spoke in terms of the Kingdom having arrived among us already if the miracles he did were “by the finger of Elohim”—paralleling both what convinced the Egyptians that He was superior to their magicians (Ex. 8:19) and His writing of the Ten Commandments (Ex. 31:18), emphasizing the fact that this is not limited to a future age, but begins wherever He is seen to triumph (as in Ex. 15:18) over the forces of evil. (Young) In rabbinic literature, the “Kingdom of Heaven” (“heaven” being a euphemism for His set-apart Name) is a technical term for His present reign wherever we recognize His Kingship, and is accepted (as in the Mekilta midrash about a man who was only allowed to reign over a province after he accomplished things the people wanted) because of what He has done for us. It is connected to the prologue to the giving of the Torah: “I am YHWH Your Elohim”, usually accompanied by “Who brought you out of Egypt” to show His great power to redeem in less-challenging situations as well. Your will be done: a more concise parallel to the prayer of Rabbi El’azar (about 70 years later), “Do Your will in heaven and grant satisfaction to those who fear You on earth; do what is good in Your eyes.” As in heaven: The “as” is missing from several manuscripts, including Codex Beza Cantabrigiensis, which is thought to preserve Semitisms better than other texts, paralleling the Hebrew idiom, “in heaven and on earth” (Yo’el 2:30; Psalm 113:6), emphasizing both His supernatural power and His active role in human affairs. (Young) In Psalm 40:8, His will is paralleled to His Torah, so before we ask Him what His specific will is in a given situation, we should search what He has already given us which indicates His will in general terms, thus keeping our expectations within the right parameters.
3. “‘Give us the appropriate amount of food for each day.
Appropriate amount: not too much or too little (Prov. 30:8), but what we can reasonably use and not waste before it goes bad, paralleling the manna which both sufficed for the moment but kept our ancestors aware of their dependence on Him to continue to provide, extra only being given the day before the Sabbath so they would not need to gather and prepare it on this “day off”. (Ex. 16:4-10)
4. “‘And forgive us our sins, since we ourselves also forgive everyone [who is] indebted to us, and do not bring us into temptation, but rescue us, [pulling us away] from what is evil.’”
Sins: Matithyahu’s version has “debts” or “obligations”. Ben Sira, about 200 years before this, said, “Forgive your neighbor the wrong he has done, and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray. Does a man harbor anger against another, yet seek for healing from YHWH? Does he have no mercy toward a man like himself, and yet pray for his own sins?” (Compare Mat. 6:14-15; 18:35) He also said, “Reproach not a man who repents of transgression, but remember that we are all sinners.” Temptation: or testing, probation, trial, calamity, or affliction. What is evil: sometimes specified as “the evil one” but not always limited to that in particular. These two phrases combine the features of many similar prayers, like those in the Dead Sea Psalms scroll: “Let not Satan or an unclean spirit rule over me” and “Do not lead me into trials too difficult for me” (reminiscent of 1 Cor. 10:13) and Psalm 119: 133, which says, “Let no iniquity gain dominion over me”. The Babylonian Talmud (Bereshith 16b) has a more detailed version: “May it be pleasing before You…O Elohim of our ancestors, to deliver us from insolence and insolent men, from an evil man, from contact with evil, from the evil inclination, from an evil neighbor, and from Satan who destroys.” Rabbi Yehudah the Prince prayed, “Do not bring us into the grasp of sin..and not into the grasp of temptation or disgrace. Do not let the evil inclination rule over us but remove us far away from an evil man or an evil companion.”(per Brad Young) Note how concise Yeshua’s version is in comparison, yet it encompasses all of these elements. Matithyahu’s version is longer, adding, “because the Kingdom, the power, and the authority are Yours into the ages. Amen.”
5. Then he said to them, “Let’s say one of you who has a friend goes to him in the middle of the night and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves [of bread],
6. “‘because a friend of mine who is on a journey has shown up [at] my [house], and I have nothing to give him [to eat].’
7. “And what if that one answers from inside, ‘Don’t bother me! The door has already been shut, and my children are already into the bed, along with me; I can’t get back up to give [them] to you’?
Bother me: literally, cause me pains.
8. “I tell you, even if he won’t get back up and give it to him because he is his friend, he will still get up and give him as much as he needs because of his persistence!
Persistence: the term carries the sense of being unashamedly bold because he believes his cause is just even when others consider him excessive, so he is not afraid to keep asking, fully expecting to receive what he needs.
9. “So I tell you: Ask, and it will be given to you! Search, and you will find! Knock, and [the door] will be opened up to you,
10. “because everyone who asks receives; the one who searches discovers, and to the one who knocks, it will be opened!
11. “On the other hand, which of you who is a father, fi your son asks you for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish?
12. “Or if he asks for an egg too, will he hand him a scorpion?
13. “If you, then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father give the spirit of holiness out of heaven to those who ask Him?”
Evil: malicious, bad by nature—something Yeshua alone was not, since he did not inherit the diminishing changes to human nature that Adam passed down to his descendants since he was conceived without a physical father. How patient he was with these people who he knew were more handicapped than he was, so he gave them as much credit as he could in their condition.
14. [Once] when he was expelling a demon, he was mute, but what occurred was that when the demon had left [him], the mute man spoke, and the crowds were amazed.
He: the man possessed by the demon.
15. But some of them said, “It’s through Be’el-z’vul, the prime commander of the demons, that he expels the demons!”,
16. while others, [who were] scrutinizing [him], were demanding a sign out of heaven from him.
17. But, being aware of their reasonings, he told them, “Any kingdom that has been divided against itself comes to nothing, and a house [set] against [the same] house falls.
Reasonings: or, recognizing their way of thinking, including their intentions. But he shows how illogical their argument is; they are only trying to find a way to evade responsibility to recognize that his miracles are validating his message.
18. “Thus, if haSatan, too, is divided against himself, how will his kingdom [ever] be established?
That is not to say haSatan always has the foresight not to “shoot himself in the foot”, because if he had fully understood what YHWH was doing through Yeshua, he would not have tried so hard to rid the world of him. (1 Cor. 2:8) But it would not be his intention to divide his own kingdom; today’s emphasis on “diversity” has not been his usual mode of operation. It is mainly designed to break people away from YHWH’s norms, because he has done his share of forcing people into uniformity in his past kingdoms.
19. “On the other hand, if I expel demons through Be’el-z’vul, through whom do your own sons expel [them]? So in this [matter] they will be your judges.
20. “However, if I expel the demons through the finger of Elohim, then the Kingdom of Elohim has already come upon you!
Finger of Elohim: also used in relation to miracles which demonic wizards recognized that they themselves could not counterfeit (Exodus 8:19), to which Yeshua is undoubtedly alluding. The “finger of Elohim” is also how the commandments were written, and Yeshua is thus emphasizing that, unlike haSatan’s lying wonders (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:9), what he is doing is not in opposition to YHWH’s commandments.
21. “Whenever the strong man who is guarding his house is fully armed, the things he already possesses are in peace,
22. “but as soon as one more powerful than he comes upon him, he can overcome him and take away the entire arsenal on which he relied, and divide out his plunder.
Yeshua is hinting at the fact that he is capable of overcoming haSatan and freeing those he has taken captive. But he strongly recommends that they all work together, because those who independently and separately try to conquer the strong one will be thwarting the efforts of others who are trying to do the same thing, so they should all join together under the one who is actually capable of doing what they have been unable to do:
23. “Whoever is not with me is against me, and the one who does not gather with me scatters.
Contrast what he said in a different context: “Whoever is not against us is for us.” (9:50; Mark 9:40) I.e., if someone is not actively opposing what we are doing, he can be our ally on some level. But he gives some background to understanding his strategy:
24. “Whenever the unclean spirit has gone out from the man [it had possessed], it travels through waterless places looking for [some] rest, and not finding any, it then says, ‘I’m going to go back into my house from which I came out!’
Rest: peace of mind, a break from hard work, an occasion to be refreshed—because it is starving for something to devour and live off as a parasite. (1 Kefa/Peter 5:8) Waterless: because apparently it was water that had brought judgment upon the demons in the cataclysm that occurred between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. (2 Kefa 3:5-6)
25. “And when it has come, it finds it vacant, swept, and put [back] in order.
26. “It then goes and brings along seven more spirits more malicious than itself, and, having entered, they become established there permanently, and the latter [condition] of that man turns out to be worse than the previous.”
Brings: in forcible association. The “house” may be cleaned out, but if it is not occupied by someone stronger and more capable of keeping it that way (vv. 21-22), why would the disgruntled spirit hesitate to take it back? Yeshua should know; he expelled seven spirits from Miryam of Magdala (Mark 16:9) So why fight alone when standing up to principalities and powers (vv. 19. 23) when we could have an ally with the “biggest guns”?
27. But what occurred while he was saying these things [was that] a certain woman in the crowd raised her voice and said, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!”
28. But he said, “Really, instead, those who hear the word of Elohim and obey it are blessed.
One’s spiritual birth is more critical in Yeshua’s view than his physical birth. (See Yochanan 3:5-6.)
29. Now as the crowds were pressing in [on him], he began saying, “This generation is an agonizing generation—[always] demanding a sign! And no sign will be given to it except the sign of Yonah,
Generation: or family line, race, but verse 31 suggests that it is his contemporary day and age that he is emphasizing here. Sign: unmistakable proof that he really spoke for Elohim and they were responsible to listen and obey.
30. “because just as Yonah became a sign to the Nin’wites, so also will the Son of Adam be to this generation:
31. “The queen of the south will rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation and will show them to be worthy of condemnation, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear Shlomoh’s wisdom, yet look! Right here [there’s] something greater than Shlomoh!
Queen of the south: the Queen of Sh’va. (See 1 Kings 10; 2 Chronicles 9.) Rise up: not only from the dead (as is said more overtly of those in verse 32) but on a higher level, putting them to shame. Ends of the earth: Sh’va is thought to have been at the southern extremity of the Arabian peninsula—and end of that land-mass indeed. She would not let the distance deter her from seeing for herself what she had heard about; these men did not even need to travel to hear this great gift of YHWH to Israel and all humanity, yet they found him irksome rather than riveting because he “stepped on their feet”.
32. “The men of Nin’weh will stand up in the judgment with this generation, and will prove them worthy of condemnation, because they changed their minds to [that which] Yonah was proclaiming, yet look! Something more than Yonah is right here!
Stand up: the same term used for resurrection from the dead, which will, of course, be necessary if this past generation is to address and show up the then-current one.
33. “No one, once they have lit a lamp, sets it in a vault or under a two-gallon measuring container, but rather on top of the lampstand, so that those who come inside may see its brightness.
Vault: or cellar, literally crypt—i.e., any place hidden away from view. Lampstand: the equivalent term for menorah and used as such in the LXX (Greek translation of the Torah). Come inside: Though Messiah is given the bonus gift of being a light to the nations (Yeshayahu 49:6) and he told us we, too, would be a light to the world (Mat. 5:14), when Paulus went looking for the Gentiles to which he was sent, he first looked “in the house”—in synagogues (Acts 13, 14, 17, 18, 19), into which those who were already seeking truth had taken the first step, seeking YHWH so they might find Him. (Yirmeyahu 29:13)
34. The body’s lamp is your eye; when your eye is unencumbered, your [whole] body is full of light. But whenever it goes bad, the [whole] body also goes dark,
Unencumbered: literally, having no folds, not doubled over (a metaphor for someone who complicated his outlook with hidden motives or simply self-interest, since “a good eye” is a Hebrew idiom for being spontaneously generous); we could probably include “not obstructed by a closed eyelid”. Goes bad: or, is irritated.
35. “so be on your guard that the light that is in you is not shaded!
36. “Therefore if your body is fully enlightened, not having any part darkened, it will all be full of light, just as when the bright lamp may shine light on you.”
Fully enlightened: possibly a reference back to Adam’s body before it went dark and was veiled with skin (Gen. 3:21). Yeshua was going to make that possible again.
37. Now while he was speaking, a P’rush requested that he join him for a meal. So when he had come in, he leaned back.
P’rush: a sect whose name means “separated” or “distinct”, ostensibly from impurity, as evidenced by what he emphasized (v. 38). Leaned back: a relaxing way, common in those days, to dine when one has the leisure to enjoy the meal.
38. But the P’rush, when he noticed, was surprised that he had not immersed before the [mid-day] meal.
Immersed: possibly just his hands, as is still the rule among Jews before one eats (compare , but possibly his whole body, as was the common manner in those days of fulfilling the command to wash one’s flesh with water to ensure that he was no longer ritually impure. (Lev. 22:6)
39. But the Master said to him, “You, the P’rushim, now clean the outside of the drinking-cup or dish, while your interior is swelling out with plundering and wicked [plots]!
40. “People without consideration! Didn’t the One who made the outside also make the inside?
41. “Give the inwards things as your alms instead, and just watch: everything about you will be clean.
Alms: or “charity” for the poor or needy; tz’daqah in Hebrew halakhah. They were experts at making an outward show of their almsgiving. (Mat. 6:1) But YHWH primarily wants our hearts, and if He has those, our external shortcomings are easier for Him to forgive.
42. “But woe to you, P’rushim, because you separate a tenth of [even] mint, rue, and every garden herb, but you sidestep justice and the love of Elohim! But it was necessary to do these things, without being slack about those [others].
Not that it was unimportant to keep the letter of the Torah, but they were neglecting the main thing—the spirit behind the letter. Hold onto both sides, and you will be complete. (Qoheleth/Eccles. 7:18; Rev. 12:17)
43. “Woe to you, P’rushim, because you love the front seats in the synagogues and [to be] saluted in the marketplaces.
Front seats: the places with most honor. Saluted: greeted in a highly-respectful manner.
44. “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked memorials over which people walk without being aware of it!”
Memorials: i.e., monumental tombs—common across the Qidron Valley from the Temple Mount already in that day. Caves in which people were buried along the routes to Yerushalayim were marked with whitewash (Mat. 23:27) prior to the three pilgrimage festivals (often using the half-sheqel Temple tax) so that those traveling several days’ journey to the Feasts would not inadvertently take shelter for the night in a place that would render them defile and thus unfit to enter the sanctuary complex. How much more dangerous is it to leave a grave in an area where people commonly walk yet warn no one that it is there.
45. But in response, one of the experts in the Torah said to him, “Teacher, by saying these things, you insult us too!”
46. And he said, “Woe unto you also, teachers of the Torah, because you load men down with hard-to-carry burdens, and you yourselves don’t even touch the burdens with one of your fingers!”
It is not the Torah that adds these burdens, but the teachers, who, in their (often well-meaning) zeal to “build a fence around the Torah”, end up obligating people to more than YHWH intended, and make people think the Torah, which YHWH said was within reach (Deut. 30:11ff), is too hard to follow, and therefore lead many to give up on the whole idea.
47. “Woe to you, because you bolster the tombs of the prophets, when your own ancestors put them to death!
Bolster: strengthen or rebuild in a more elaborate way.
48. “You are therefore witnesses and assenting to the actions of your ancestors, because they indeed killed them, but you build up their tombs.
He takes their deed not as a reparation for what their ancestors had done, but as “putting the final nail in the coffins” of messengers YHWH had sent but whom they rejected.
49. “Because of this the wisdom of Elohim declared, ‘I will send prophets and envoys into their midst, and some of them they will kill outright or persecute’,
50. “in order that the blood of all the prophets that has been poured out since the foundation of the world might be required back from this generation--
Required back: or demanded, charged to. Blood must be answered for by someone. (Gen. 4:10; 9:5-6) This generation: Indeed, about 40 years later, the destruction and diaspora would come on people, most of whom were alive at this time.
51. “from the blood of Hevel to the blood of Z’kharyah, the one who was killed off between the altar of offering and the House. Yes, I tell you, it will be required back from this generation!
Hevel: in the first book of Scripture and the first person killed for doing what was right (Gen. 4); Z’kharyah: in the last book in the Hebrew order (Chronicles), there are no less than 21 people named Z’kharyah, including one of the last kings of Yehudah. Does any of these “fit the bill”? The one in 2 Chronicles 24:20, the son of Y’hoyada’ the priest, stood up for YHWH in against the people’s transgressions, and was stoned to death for it “in the courtyard of the House of YHWH”—the last martyr in the Hebrew canon. Yet Matithyahu 23:35 gives the added detail that it was “Z’kharyah the son of Berakhyah”—the better-known prophet who wrote the book by his name. But this may have been a scribal error by someone who thought he knew better, which “crept from the margin into the text” per the Cambridge Bible’s notes, for Jerome indeed wrote that the Hebrew copy of Matithyahu that he possessed read “Z’kharyah the son of Y’hoidai” (Trimm, cf. 2 Chron. 24:20-21, Bavli Sanhedrin 96; Yerushalmi, Ta’anit 69). Dr. Miles Jones also points out that the Protevangelion of James (chapters 22-23) states that the Z’kharyah, the father of Yochanan the Immerser, with whom all of Yeshua’s hearers were familiar, was murdered at the altar by Herod’s secret police.
52. “Woe to you, the ‘Torah experts’, because you have taken away the key of knowledge! You yourselves do not enter in, and the ones who [were] entering in, you prevented [from doing so]!”
They were not content to make the mistake themselves and let others choose a better path, but arrogantly barred those who were doing the right thing from continuing, taking others down with them. They are therefore held all the more accountable because others looked to them for guidance, but they directed them into folly instead. (See Yaaqov/James 3:1)
53. When he had gone away from that place, the scribes and P’rushim began to intensely ensnare him, [trying to] draw him out by plying him with questions about many things,
Ensnare: or become hostile toward him, holding a “frightful grudge” against him but keeping it inside.
54. lying in wait for him, to entrap him in something [that might come] out of his own mouth.
“The words of the wicked are to lie in wait for blood, but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them.” (Prov. 12:6) They were trying to “dig up dirt” on him, but, finding none, they assumed he would eventually say something erroneous or offensive, because, after all, no one is perfect in everything he say! They did not realize Yeshua had not inherited Adam’s proclivity to fail.
1. In those [days], when tens of thousands had crowded together [in the same location], to the point of trampling on one another, he began to speak, first to his disciples: “Be careful to keep your minds [free] from the leaven of the P’rushim, which is hypocrisy.
Leaven: or fermentation—i.e., that which puffs one’s ego up from a false sense of being more important than one really is. Their teaching seemed to elaborate on the Torah, but instead, like someone who forgot to stoke the fire when the yeast had done enough, it overwhelmed people by putting their expectations in the place of YHWH’s, when He only required of us what He actually told us He did.
2. “On the other hand, there is nothing concealed that will not be brought out in the open, nor anything hidden away deeply that will not become known.
3. “On the contrary, whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light, and what you have said [whispering] into the ear in the innermost closets will be proclaimed on the housetops.
Whatever: literally, as much as (i.e., everything). Heard: or reported. Housetops: commonly used in many ways in daily life then, and a convenient place from which to announce things to a wide audience.
4. “But to you—those who are my friends—I say, ‘Don’t be afraid of those who [can] put the body to death, and afterwards can’t do anything more.’
More: They have no access to the person’s spirit after they separate it from the present age, but there is Someone who does:
5. “I’ll show you Whom you should be afraid of instead: be afraid of the One Who along with the killing has the authority to throw into the Valley of Hinnom—certainly, I tell you, be afraid of Him!
Show you: the term means to pass something covertly under someone’s eyes so that only they (trusted friends, per v. 4) can view it (i.e., “for your eyes only”). Valley of Hinnom: once used for the horrendous practice of involving passing one’s firstborn children through the fire to an idol, so in order to desecrate the place as fully as possible, it was made into a garbage dump where the refuse was constantly being burned, hence a place (literally) iconic of eternal and unquenchable flame that burns away any remains; to be thrown there and burned after death would be an absolute disgrace. But if YHWH is the One doing the casting out, the shame would go far beyond any degradation one could be given by men.
6. “Aren’t five small sparrows sold for two-tenths [of a drakhma]? Yet not one among them is overlooked in the eyes of Elohim.
Sparrows were not used on the altar like doves or pigeons; he does not even say what they were sold for. They may have been eaten, as in the English song, “Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie…” His point is that they are “a dime a dozen”—not given much value by men. But not one of them escapes YHWH’s notice. However, He keeps even closer track of human matters:
7. “But as for you, even the hairs of your head are all accounted for! Don’t be alarmed; you are worth [more than] many sparrows.
The downside of this is that we will not get away with anything with Him watching; if we have evil motives, we had indeed better be afraid. (v. 5) But he turns the analogy in a friendlier direction for those who truly want His attention: the term here for “worth” means “making a difference”, so not only are humans more valuable but they are of a totally different quality than birds or other animals. We are made in YHWH’s image, so He certainly pays attention to our tiniest needs and concerns as well.
8. “But I tell you, anyone who acknowledges me in front of the people, the Son of Adam will acknowledge him in front of the messengers of Elohim.
“People” (human beings) and “Adam” are the same term in Greek, and the Hebrew is even more of a play on words: “b’ney Adam…ben haAdam…” I.e., THE son of Adam carries more weight than the rest of his sons, because he is the one whose noticing us matters most. Messengers: Greek, angels. Acknowledge: or admit, which could have even broader implications in the second usage in regard to entrance into the Kingdom. Literally the term in Greek means “say the same thing as” (especially when used in terms of “confession” or, here, “profession”).
9. “But the one who disavows me in the eyes of human beings will be disavowed in the sight of the messengers of Elohim.
10. “And everyone who may speak a word against the son of Adam will be released; however, whoever vilifies the spirit of holiness will not be left alone.
Released…left alone—the same idiom for forgiving in Hebrew; i.e., he will be tolerated because it is possible to misunderstand much of what he says and express one’s frustration about it in less-than-ideal ways, whereas to vilify (speak lightly of or treat as profane something which one knows to be sacred is a deliberate act of affront to the One who brought about the very idea of sacredness.
11. “When they conduct you to the synagogues and the magistrates and authorities, don’t be anxious about how or what you will reply in defense, or what you will say,
Synagogues: Will the Sanhedrin again have such authority to execute? (Ben Nun) Anxious: or distracted; keep calm and focus instead on maintaining the right attitude and demeanor that reflects who you now are and Whom you represent.
12. “for the spirit of holiness will direct you in that same hour as to what you need to say.”
YHWH will not leave us without recourse to an honorable response. They may not accept it, and the word He has for them may be one that condemns them if that is what they ask for. They may try to humiliate us, but He will not allow us to be put to shame where it truly counts—before His messengers. (v. 8)
13. Now someone from the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me!”
It is interesting how, as children so often do, he tries to get someone with more authority to command another to do what they, having little authority, want them to do.
14. But he said to him, “Man, who appointed me a judge or arbitrator over you?”
Arbitrator: literally, divider or partitioner. This seems to be an allusion to what was said to Moshe in Exodus 2:14 when he tried to break up a fight. Yeshua might be recalling that incident to wisely preclude trouble of the sort Moshe received when he did try to exercise authority that had not yet been given to him, for Yeshua’s full authority was not yet conferred on him until he passed the ultimate test.
15. But to [the rest of] them he said, “Beware and guard yourselves against any kind of greed, because no one’s life comes from how much he possesses.”
This is hardly the answer the plaintiff expected!
16. He then told them an analogy, saying, “The land of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest.
17. “So he was debating within himself, saying, ‘What should I do, since I don’t have a anywhere to store up my produce?’
18. “And he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my granaries and build bigger ones, and store up all the grain and my goods there!
19. “‘Then I will say to myself, “Self, you have many goods laid up for many years [to come]; take your rest, eat, drink, and celebrate your triumph!”’
20. “But Elohim told him, ‘Senseless egotist! This very night your soul will be demanded back from you, but what you were preparing—whose will it be?’
21. “Thus [it will be] for the one who amasses treasure for himself, and is not rich toward Elohim.”
How can someone be “rich (or generous) toward Elohim”? What do we have that He needs? And how would we give to Him? Throw the grain up into the sky? He has told us how: by bringing donations and our excess into the community storehouses for the Lewites, the poor, widows, orphans, and foreigners who are among us and have no more resources to live off. (Deut. 26:12; Mal. 3:10)
22. He then said to his disciples, “Because of this, I tell you, don’t be anxious [for your] life (what you will eat) or for your body (what you will wear),
23. “because life is more than food, and the body [is more] than clothing.
24. “Carefully consider the ravens—that they don’t sow [seeds] or reap [a harvest]; they don’t have a storehouse or granary, yet Elohim provides them with adequate nourishment. How much more valuable are you than the birds!
25. “On the other hand, which of you, by being anxious, is able to add one cubit to his lifespan?
Interestingly, a cubit is a measure of length of physical objects rather than time, but he is using it idiomatically to help it stay in their memory. An alternate reading of “lifespan” could be “stature”.
26. “If you are not even able to do [this] smallest [of things], why are you overwrought about the rest?
27. “Take careful note of the [wild] lilies—how they grow: they don’t wear themselves out with hard work; they don’t even spin [thread], yet I tell you, not even Shlomoh in all of his magnificence was dressed [as well] as one of these!
This was his own stepfather’s ancestor that he was “downgrading” in comparison to YHWH’s creation.
28. “Now, if this is how Elohim clothes the grass in the field (which is [here] today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven), how much more you, [people with so] little trust!
29. “And you, don’t put your efforts into what you might eat and what you might drink, and do not be in suspense [with anxiety],
30. “because all the nations of the world seek after these things, but your Father knows that you have need of these.
31. “Rather, seek His Kingdom, and these things will be added to you as well.
Added: literally, annexed onto (the main thing).
32. "Do not be afraid, little flock, because your Father is [resolved and] delighted to give you the Kingdom."
Little: Though you are small, this will not prevent YHWH's promises from being fulfilled; and do not imagine that you will miss out on anything you need if you focus on His interests rather than your own. To give: Or "Your Father approves of giving..." Kingdom: An allusion to the then-popular apocalyptic 1 Enoch 48:7, which reads, "He [the Son of Adam, the Fountain of Righteousness, which does not become depleted, 48:1, 2] has revealed the wisdom of the Master of the Spirits to the righteous and holy ones, for He has preserved the portion of the righteous because they have despised this world of oppression [cf. v. 31]and hated all its ways of life and its habits in the name of the Master of the Spirits; and because they will be saved in His name and it is His good pleasure that they have life."
33. “Sell your possessions and give [the money away as] alms; make for yourselves money-bags that will not wear out—an inexhaustible treasure-storehouse in the heavens, where a thief cannot approach nor [can] a moth ruin.
34. “For wherever [what] you treasure is [stored], that is where your heart will also be.
35. “Let your belt be fastened around your waist and your [portable] lamps lit,
Waist: the flowing robes worn loosely when relaxing, would hinder quick motion without being held in place tightly. I.e., be ready to snap to action at a moment’s notice, without warning:
36. “and you [be] like people waiting for their master when he comes back after the wedding feast is over, so that as soon as he comes and knocks, they can open [the door] to him.
37. “It will go well for those servants whom the master finds awake [and alert] when he arrives. I tell you, he will even put on his own belt, have them relax, and go out of his way to wait on them--really!
38. “Even if he comes during the second or third [shift of the ]night-watch, if he finds them that way, those [servants] are in an enviable position!
39. “But be sure of this, that if the head of the household had known at what hour the thief [was] coming, he would have stayed on the alert and not have allowed his house to be broken into.
40. “You get ready too, because because the Son of Adam is coming in an hour you would not expect.”
You would not expect: or, it would not seem. I.e., not a time that we would find likely based on our own logic. He gives many indications that he will probably delay his arrival, partly if not mainly because YHWH is patient and would prefer that no one would perish but all would repent. (2 Kefa/Peter 3:9)
41. But Kefa said to him, “Master are you making this comparison for us or for everyone?”
42. So Yeshua said, “Well, who is the faithful and thoughtful household manager whom the master will designate [to be] over his domestic servants, to give them the proper measure of food at the right time?
Domestic servants: from the word for “healing care” (therapy), which gives an indication of the quality of work expected of these workers.
43. “The servant whom the master finds acting like this when he comes will be treated very well.
44. “I tell you the truth: that he will put him in charge over all of his possessions.
45. “However, if that servant should say in his heart, ‘My master is taking his time to arrive’ and start to beat the young servants, both male and female, and devour food and drink to the point of getting drunk,
46. “[then] that servant’s master will arrive on a day when he is not expecting [him], and at an hour when he does not notice [him coming], and he will cut him up [with a whip] and assign him a portion with all those who are unfaithful.
Right now we are in a season when our Master seems to have delayed beyond the time we expected him to have already come, so these verses pertain to us all the more. Cut him up: Aramaic, divide him, i.e., possibly also reassign his responsibilities to several different people. But the next verse supports the first interpretation:
47. “Now that servant who had known what the master wanted from him and who had not made preparations or done what he wanted, will be thrashed with many [blows],
48. “while the one who did not know, but who did things deserving a beating, will receive [only] a few blows. Everyone to whom much has been given will have much required of him, and the one to whom much has been entrusted will have all the more demanded of him.
Today with our unprecedented access to truth and facts, how much more is expected of us than from people in former eras where knowledge was difficult to obtain?
49. “I came to cast fire on the earth, and how I wish it was already kindled!
He wishes it was already over and done with, but he realizes more patience is needed until the time is right, but is already fed up with how far the whole world is from the perfection he knew it was meant to have.
50. “But I have a mikveh immersion to undergo, and how preoccupied I am until it has been completed.
Until he had discharged his primary duty (to override and undo Adam’s failure), he could think of little else, and was compelled to keep pushing toward that goal and straining to ensure he did not make any missteps until he got to that point, knowing he, too, could be tempted in the same way.
51. “Do you think that I appeared on the public scene to provide peace on the earth? Not at all, I tell you, but discord instead.
Discord: division, disunity, hostility. Not that this was his intention, but he knew that not everyone in a household would usually accept his teachings.
52. “From now on there will be five in one household divided three against two and two against three.
53. “They will be divided father against son and son and against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
54. Now he also started speaking to the crowds: “Whenever you see a cloud rising up from the [direction of the] sunset, you say, ‘A thundershower is coming!’, and so it turns out.
55. “And whenever a wind is blowing from the south, you say, ‘It’s going to be scorchingly hot!’ and it comes true.
56. “Hypocrites! You know how to recognize the appearance of the earth and the sky, but how is it that you don’t know how to recognize this season?
This season: i.e., what time it is on YHWH’s timetable as revealed by prophets like Daniel, who told exactly when the messiah would come.
57. “But why can’t you distinguish for yourselves what is right?
58. “Because as you are going before a magistrate with your legal opponent, on the way do everything you can to [settle and] free yourself from him, lest he ever drag you away to the judge, and the judge surrender you to the collections officer, and the officer throw you into the guard-house.
59. “I tell you, you will by no means get out of there until you pay back the very last little coin.
And how is one to pay if he is in prison and unable to earn anything?
1. Now there were some [people] present at that time who reported to him about the Galileans whose blood Pilatus had mixed with their [Temple] offerings
2. And in response he said to them, “Do you suppose that those Galileans were worse sinners than all the [other] Galileans just because they experienced such things?
3. “Not at all, I tell you, but unless you repent, you will all equally perish.
He was foreseeing the destruction that was only a generation away when all Judeans and Galileans across the board would be massacred by the Romans, but there was still time for them to turn around.
4. “Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Shiloakh collapsed and killed them—do you think they were more deserving of punishment than all of the [other] people dwelling in Yerushalayim?
This is similar to the argument that he gave in answer to the question of whether a handicapped man or his parents had sinned. (Yochanan 9) “Accidents” do not prove someone “had it coming”; all of us really deserve much worse than we get, but YHWH’s mercy prevents many evils that could befall us, but he does not suspend the laws of gravity or even some of the wrath of man (per v 1--though Psalm 76:10 tells us that He will restrain any human wrath that is not useful for His purposes). We all have to die in one way or another because we carry the poison from the fruit Adam and Khawwah ate. What matters more, however, is the judgment that will come to each of us after his or her death.
5. “Not at all, I tell you, but unless you repent, you will all equally perish.”
6. He also gave this analogy: “A certain [man] had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and was looking for fruit on it, but found none.
A fig tree would be in the vineyard to provide shade.
7. “Then he said to the one who took care of his vineyard, ‘Look, these three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and never find any! Cut it down! Why does it [even] use up it the soil?’
8. “But answering, he said to him, ‘Master, leave it alone this year, too, until I can dig around it, and fertilize [it],
Dig around it: to loosen the soil, possibly for aeration or better drainage, to remove stones, or simply to allow him to fertilize it.
9. “’Then if it bears fruit, fine: and if not, after that you can cut it down.’”
Arthur Custance surmises that, in contrast with the imagery of the vine and the olive tree (photo at left), the fig tree is a symbol of Israel’s religious history (in regard to the priesthood and Temple rituals), and showed how on three Passovers Yeshua came to the Temple searching for fruit. (Yochanan 2:13-16) He did not, and so he cleansed the Temple. On the next Passover (Yoch. 6:4), there was apparently no need for such a severe cleansing, suggesting that his words had been at least temporarily heeded, at least in regard to the “robbery” going on there (see Yirmeyahu 7:11), but by the third Passover, the old sins were back, and he had to apply the same remedy again. This being just after his entry into the city to be inspected himself, he in turn inspected the priesthood yet again and cursed the unfruitful fig tree. (Mat. 21:12-20) When one comes upon a fig tree, he expects there to be something there to eat. Yeshua himself said, “A tree is known by its fruit.” But now he is refining the analogy. There are elements both of kindness and severity. When we find an unfruitful tree, he is saying, “Let’s not immediately assume this person has been unfaithful. We have to consider whether it is the conditions that aren’t right or if it is the tree itself that is bad. Improve the conditions, make sure they’re receiving everything they need to bear fruit, and only then can you judge the tree rightly.” As Gardener as well as owner (cf. Yochanan 20:15), Yeshua gave one more probationary occasion to recover their identity as a chosen vessel for YHWH’s use. During this year, after Yeshua’s resurrection and the testimony of Kefa about the significance of those days, he called them to repent so they could be restored to their high calling and receive the Kingdom. Interestingly, we are told in the rabbinic writings that for the 40 years before the Temple was destroyed (beginning at about this time), on Yom Kippur, the very heavy doors of the Temple would open and close randomly, the western candle of the menorah would not stay lit, the lot “for YHWH” would always come up in the high priest’s left hand (considered a bad omen), and the scarlet cord tied to the scapegoat’s horn and the door of the Temple no longer turned white (which had been taken as an indication that YHWH had accepted the offerings and indeed brought atonement). There can also be an application to YHWH’s relation to the Northern Kingdom; it reminds us a lot of Moshe’s persuading Him to give our whole nation another try. Our job, then, is to try hard to make the conditions right for one another to bear fruit. Yochanan 15 tells some of the “how”.
10. Now on the Sabbaths, he was teaching in one of the synagogues.
11. And one time, a woman showed up who had had an enfeebling spirit for 18 years, and she was bent double and not able to straighten herself up completely.
12. When he saw her, Yeshua called her over and told her, “Lady, you have been released from what has weakened you!”
13. And he placed [his] hands on her, and immediately she was straightened back up, and began honoring Elohim.
14. But in response, the director of the synagogue [services], incensed because Yeshua had healed on the Sabbath, was saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which one needs to do work, so come and be healed on those [days], and not on the Day of Rest!”
15. But the Master responded to him and said, “Hypocrites! Wouldn’t any one of you untie his ox or donkey from the feeding trough, and take it away to give it a drink?
This might seem like “hard work” in some ways, but it is bringing refreshment to the animals, and that is one of the purposes of the Sabbath. (Ex. 23:12) Might this have been the passage read in the synagogue that very day?
16. “But now this [woman], who is a daughter of Avraham whom haSatan has tied up for—look!—eighteen years—shouldn’t she be released from this shackle on the Day of Rest?”
Released: the same term used for “untie” in v. 15 to make a clear parallel. The seventh day also parallels the seventh year, when all enslavements are to come to an end and even the land is to be given a rest. (Ex. 23:11; Lev. 25:4, 20; Deut. 15:9, 12) What better way could there to enable someone to find relief—the very purpose of the Sabbath—than by having such an enslaving malady removed?
17. And upon his saying these things, all those who opposed him were put to shame [and disgrace], and the whole crowd was gladdened over all the honorable things that were being done through him.
18. Then he started saying, “What is the Kingdom of Elohim like, and to what should I compare it?
19. “It is like a kernel of mustard [seed], which a person took and threw into his own garden, and it grew bigger and turned into a tree, and the winged creatures of the sky set their nests on its boughs.”
A mustard plant—very common on the hills around the Kinnereth (see photo at left)—is normally a very small bush, so this is an anomaly. And why is he giving this analogy in this context? It seems out of place. Chuck Missler pointed out that this bush had grown bigger than it was intended to, just like this way of defining what was inappropriate to do on the Sabbath. Winged creatures of the sky: or fowls of the heavens, described in Mat. 4:4 as devouring the word of YHWH that was made available to us. Considering the idiomatic use in Y’hezq’el (Ezekiel) 31 of “the Assyrian” in whose branches the fowls of the air nested, and what Mikha (Micah) 5:5 (in context of 5:2-4) says about Messiah raising up shepherds against “the Assyrian” when he enters Israel, this seems to be a very bad sign, even a description of what the congregation Yeshua started would turn into when the counterfeit messiah got his fingers into the mix. When we add to YHWH’s words, we can no longer keep His commands (Deut. 4:2), so these “fowls out of heaven” would appear to represent demonic influences on the called-out community which would render it fruitless despite its immense growth after Constantine.
20. And again he said, “To what shall I compare the Kingdom of Elohim?
21. “It’s like yeast which a woman took and hid within three measures of flour until it was leavened.”
While at Passover, leaven is a picture of sin, here (as at Shavuoth), it is not, but rather a picture of what completely permeates. The Kingdom is meant to spread from one person to another until it fills the whole culture and changes it from within. Interestingly, the only woman who is described in Scripture as taking three measures of flour is Sarah at the time she and Avraham were entertaining YHWH’s messenger in Genesis 18:6. (R. Webster) The Greek word for “measures” here is indeed rooted in the Hebrew word se’im used there.
22. Now he was traveling by way of towns and villages, teaching and making [his] way toward Yerusahlayim
Making his way: or making progress, i.e., little by little, getting closer to his goal.
23. Then one of them asked the Master whether those who are being saved are only a few. And he told them,
24. “Take pains to enter in by way of the narrow doorway because many, I tell you, will try hard to enter in but will not make it,
Make it: have the strength or force to be able to do so.
25. “from which it could be that the master of the household has gotten up and shut the door, then you, standing outside, should begin to knock on the door, saying, ‘Master, open up to us!’ and he in response will say to you, ‘I don’t know you; where do you come from?’,
26. “then you would begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our public squares!’
27. “But he will say, ‘I tell you, I don’t know where you are from; get away from me, all [you] unjust laborers!’
Unjust: in violation of YHWH’s standards and meeting with His disapproval. (Thayer)
28. “There will be the lamenting and the grinding of the teeth when you see Avraham, Yitzhaq, Yaaqov, and all the prophets in the Kingdom of Elohim, while you yourself are an outcast,
This is what the Ushpizin, the guests invited into one’s sukkah during the feast of Sukkoth, allude to as a foreshadowing of the Kingdom of which he is speaking.
29. “and they will come from the east and west, north and south, and recline [at table] in the Kingdom of Elohim.
This is another allusion to Sukkoth, when we shake the lulav (and the other plants described in Lev. 23:40) in these four cardinal directions as a petition for YHWH to bring back the scattered tribes of Israel from the ends of the earth.
30. “And indeed, there are [some who are] last who will be first, and there are [those who are now] first who will be last.”
31. And in the same hour some P’rushim approached, saying to him, “Leave, and travel away from this place, because Herod intends to kill you!”
32. “Go and tell that fox, ‘Look, today and tomorrow I will cast out demons and perform healings, and on the third day I will be finished.’”
Fox: Fox: to add to the insult, Yeshua even uses the feminine form of the word here. Avi Ben Mordechai writes, “Barley… served to educate Israel in a spiritual lesson about the flesh or animal nature of man, which is supposed to be held in subjection to the Word of YHWH There was a recorded rabbinic dialog from the period, telling us that barley has the appearance of a foxtail, as it looks hairy (Hebrew: sea’are). Interestingly sea’are (hairy) is related to se’orah (barley). Should it surprise us that Yeshua would call Herod Antipas a fox? Perhaps Yeshua had something more in mind? It is certainly a probability. But consider this: Antipas was spiritually associated to Ya’aqov’s brother Esau who WAS called a “hairy” man--se’ar (Genesis 25:25). Antipas, as a member of the Idumean/Edomite Herodian dynasty, was not only a man of the flesh like Esau, but he was also crafty and perhaps we could say “hairy” like se’orah – barley, resembling the guile of a fox." Third day…finished: Having fully accomplished the task of expelling the demons. On another “third day” he would deal the final blow to their captain and thus cast them out completely; he says it in code language so the demons would not even recognize what he meant, but just as “on the third day it was reported to Lavan that Yaaqov had fled” (Gen. 31:22) and he pursued him, and when Moshe did not bring the people back after going “three days’ journey into the wilderness”, “the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled” (Ex. 14:5) and he also chased them down, the greatest oppressor would be fully defeated on the third day after Yeshua’s death, and cast out (Yochanan 12:31), though he would still persecute (pursue) and try to immobilize the beneficiaries of this as well before the full effects of his sentence are carried out.
33. “But today, tomorrow, and the holdover [day] I must
travel on, because it is not acceptable for a prophet to be put
to death outside of Yerushalayim.
34. “O Yerushalayim, Yerushalayim, that kills the prophets
and throws stones at those who have been sent to her, how
many times I have wanted to gather those children of yours
the way a hen [gathers] her brood [of chicks] under [her] wings, but you were not willing!
I: He is also speaking for YHWH as another prophet in the line of those he has been describing.
35. “Look! Your House is left [desolate] for you! I tell you, you will by no means see me again until [the time] comes when you [can] say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the Name of YHWH!’”
House: an idiom for the Temple, but the city itself would be emptied out as well.
1. Now what occurred when he had gone into the house of one of the chiefs of the P’rushim on a Sabbath and they were observing him carefully,
2. was that a certain man with edema appeared before him.
3. And in response, Yeshua said to the Torah experts and the P’rushim, “Is it permissible to heal on the Sabbath or not?”
He took the initiative this time in challenging them on a topic on which one of them had previously challenged him.
4. But they kept silent, so, taking hold of him, he cured him and sent him away.
5. Then to them, he said, “Which of you [who has] a son—or an ox—who falls into a pit on the Sabbath, would not immediately pull him up?
6. And they were not equipped to give a reply that could dispute these matters.
7. Noting that those who had been invited [to the dinner] were choosing the most eminent places [at the table], he gave them an analogy, saying,
8. “Whenever you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t take the most prominent place at the table, in case someone higher in rank than you might have been invited by him this time,
9. “and when he arrives, the one who invited both of you would have to say, ‘Give your place to this one’, and you would be disgraced, having to take the place most distant [from him].
10. “But whenever you are invited, go and take the last place so that when the one who invited you should arrive, he can say to you, “Dear friend, come up to a more conspicuous place!” Then you will be honored in the eyes of all those who are reclining at the table with you,
11. “because everyone who elevates himself will be humbled, while the one who humbles himself will be raised higher.”
12. But to the one who had invited him, he also said, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, don’t invite your friends or your relatives or your peers or your rich neighbors, lest they should invite you in return sometime, and you receive something back.
13. “Rather, when you make a feast, invite the poor, the disabled, the lame, or the blind,
Feast: banquet or reception, especially involving entertainment.
14. “and you will be blessed, because they do not have anything to give you in return, and you will be paid back proportionately in the resurrection of the righteous.
Righteous: or just, emphasizing that YHWH will bring justice to those who have dealt justly with others.
15. When one of those reclining with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is [anyone] who will eat bread in the Kingdom of Elohim!”
16. But he said to him, “A certain person was preparing a big dinner, and invited lots [of people].
17. “And when it was time to eat he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, because it is ready now!”
18. “But one and the same, they began to decline [the invitation]. The first told him, “I have bought a farm, and I really need to go out and see it [right away]. I request that you have me excused.’
19. “And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke [teams] of oxen, and I need to go test them [to be sure they are good]. I request that you have me excused.’
20. “Yet another said, ‘I have married a wife; that’s why I can’t come.’
These excuses are very reminiscent of the reasons one can get out of going into battle. (Deut. 20:5-7) If one could be excused from something as pressing as fighting off an enemy attack, surely, they thought, these are good enough reasons not to come to a luxury event like a banquet! But the host did not see it that way:
21. “And when the servant came [back], he reported these things to his master. Then the master of the household became exasperated, and told his servant, ‘Quickly, go out into the public squares and alleyways of the city, and bring the poor, the disabled, the blind, and the lame in here!’
Exasperated: or irritated, enraged, provoked. Quickly: before the food spoils. Note the repetition of the categories of guests from v. 13.
22. “Then the servant said, ‘Sir, it has been done as you ordered, and still there is room!’
23. “So the master told the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and urge them to come in, so that my house can be full!
24. “‘I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will taste of my dinner!’”
25. Then many crowds were traveling on with him, so he turned and said to them,
26. "If any man comes to me, and does not hate his father, and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sister, and indeed his very own life, he cannot be my disciple.
“Hate” in Hebrew is a comparative term: i.e., you choose someone else over them, when a choice between one and the other must be made. Which one will you favor? That is the one you “love”, even if you would otherwise say you loved both.
27. “Whoever does not pick up his own crucifixion stake and come after me is not able to be my disciple.
Stake: representative of no longer having any choice in what he does, having “died” figuratively and therefore his body belongs to the one for whom he works.
28. “For which from among you who wants to construct a tall fortified structure does not first sit down and calculate the expense, [to see] whether he has enough for its completion,
29. “lest, having already laid the foundation, then not having enough to finish it, all those who see it begin to ridicule him,
30. “saying, ‘This man began to build, but didn’t have enough to finish it’?
31. “ Or what king, going to engage in war against another king, doesn’t first sit down and consult whether he will be able with 10,000 to meet the one who is coming against him with 20,000?
Possibly an allusion to Baraq, who took 10,000 men against Hatzor, a city with a population of 20,000 at that time, with its dependencies as well. (Judges 4)
32. “If not, while he is still a long way off, having sent a delegation, he asks for [terms of] peace.
Delegation: or ambassador.
33. “In the same way, every one from among you who does not give up everything that he possesses is not able to be my disciple.
Give up: renounce, take leave of, not becessarily actually leave behind all at once, but always be ready to, for the sake of a higher goal.
34. “Salt is beneficial, but if it goes flat, what will it be seasoned with?”
The military context here seems to make this an allusion to the practice of salting the ground around a conquered city (see Judges 9:45) to prevent crops from being grown there again. If we cannot destroy the productivity of Yeshua’s enemies, he says we are not useful to him. It would not even be fit for the dunghill—i.e., it would not even kill bacteria there.
35. “It is not useful either as soil or fertilizer, so they throw it away. The one who has ears to hear, let him listen.”
Soil: Salt was actually commonly put in the fields of enemy nations to prevent crops from growing.
1. Now all the tax collectors and those devoted to sin were approaching to listen to him.
Devoted to sin: an idiom for prostitutes.
2. And throughout the crowd, both the P’rushim and the scribes were complaining, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them!”
Welcomes: or actively looks for, awaits, and receives. I.e., he accepts them as being among his prospective students.
3. But he told them this analogy, saying,
4. “Which person among you who had a hundred sheep and having lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine behind in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it?
5. “And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, being very glad.
On his shoulders: to ensure that it did not wander away again as he led it back to the flock. Some shepherds even broke the leg of those who wandered away, to discourage elopement, and therefore had no choice but to carry them home.
6. “Then when he has come home, he calls together the friends and neighbors, telling them, ‘Celebrate with me, because I’ve found my sheep—the one that was lost!’
7. “I tell you, just like that there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous [people] who have no need of repentance.
8. “Or what woman who has ten silver coins, if she lost one silver coin, would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching for it carefully until she finds it?
Ten silver coins: usually worn together as a collection on her forehead, reportedly connected with her dowry and therefore her “life insurance” but also a symbol of being well-provided for by her husband.
9. “Then when she finds it, she calls together the friends and neighbors, telling them, ‘Celebrate with me, because I’ve found the coin that I lost!’
10. “In the same way, I assure you, there is great cause for joy in the presence of the angels of Elohim over one sinner who repents.”
Angels: literally, messengers, which should include us as well.
11. Now he said, “A certain man had two sons,
12. “and the younger one said to [his] father, ‘Abba, give me the portion of the property that will fall to me!’ So he divided [his] living between them.
Divided: or, distributed. Living: i.e., wealth, physical possessions; Greek, bios.
13. “And not many days afterward, the younger son gathered everything together [and] went abroad into a distant land, and there he squandered his wealth, living with wasteful extravagance.
Squandered: or wasted; literally, dissipated. I.e., instead of concentrating it in his own holdings where it could have a focus and be most effective, he scattered it, a little here, a little there, where none of it was a significant enough amount to accomplish anything but a brief but of pleasure. (Compare Proverbs 5:7-10, 15-17)
14. “But when he had spent all he [had], a severe famine came upon that land, and he began to be in desperate need.
Desperate need: the term means coming to the end of his resources, coming up short or falling behind, lacking sufficient sustenance because of having depleted all he had. None of the “investments” he had made was of such nature as could even allow him to call in a favor.
15. “So he went and bonded himself to one of the citizens of that land, and he sent him into his fields to feed pigs.
Went: The particular term denotes traveling a long distance (in search of work). Bonded: i.e., became a bond-servant or an indentured worker, possibly following the Torah pattern of selling himself as a slave. (e.g., Lev. 25:47) Feed pigs: The lowest of menial jobs, especially to someone of Israelite descent, who would not eat the animal whose abominable flesh he was fattening up, while he himself grew scrawnier and scrawnier.
16. “And he was yearning to fill his belly with the husks that the pigs were devouring, but no one offered him any.
He at least had come back to the decency of not daring to steal any.
17. “But, having come to himself, he reasoned, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough food, while I am here perishing with hunger?’
Reasoned: the term means to contrast several things in one’s mind and choose one over the others.
18. “‘I’m going to get up and travel to my father and tell him him, “Abba, I have sinned to the [high] heavens and before your eyes.
Get up: rise to a higher position.
19. “‘“I no longer deserve to be called your son. Put me in position as one of your hired workers!”’
20. “So he got up and went toward his father. But while he was still quite some distance away, his father saw him and was moved with compassion, and he ran and hugged him around his neck and kissed him.
21. “But the son said to him, ‘Abba, I have sinned to the [high] heavens and before your eyes. I no longer deserve to be called your son. [Put me in position as one of your hired workers!]’
22. “Instead, the father said to his servants, ‘Quickly! Bring out the best robe, and put it on him! And provide a [finger] ring for his hand and [put] shoes on his feet!
23. “‘Lead out the fattened calf and slaughter it, and let’s have a feast and celebrate,
24. “‘because this son of mine was dead, but he’s come back to life! He was lost, and he’s been found!’ So they began to celebrate.
25. “But his elder son had been in the field, and when he was coming back and got close to the house, he heard music and dancing.
26. “And he called over one of the servants and inquired what these things were all about.
27. “So they told him, ‘Your brother has come [back], and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf, because he has gotten him back safe and sound!’
28. “But he was irritated, and was not willing to go in. Then his father went out and begged him [to].
29. “However, in reply, he told his father, ‘Look, for so many years I have been serving you, and I never disobeyed one of your orders, yet you never gave me [so much as] a young goat so I could have a party with my friends!
30. “‘But now that this son of yours—the one who has consumed your livelihood with prostitutes—came, you slaughtered the fattened calf for him!’
31. “But he said, ‘Son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.
All the inheritance that was left would now go to the elder brother.
32. “‘But it was appropriate to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead, and has come back to life, and he was lost, but [now] he is found!’”
Through this allegory, Yeshua, who “came only for the lost sheep of the House of Israel” (Mat. 15:24) was trying to get his brothers within Yehudah to appreciate the fact that YHWH was getting ready to bring many of their long-lost, spiritually-dead brothers from the northern kingdom back into covenant, and that his Father was excited to receive them back, and he wanted Yehudah, who had been much more faithful to the Torah, to share His joy rather than resenting the fact that YHWH still loved us despite our terrible profligacy and the depths of shame to which we willingly subjected ourselves because we thought it would be more exciting than His “strange” ways. (Hos. 8:12)
1. Now he was also saying to the disciples, “There was a certain rich person who had a household manager, and it was accused to him that he was squandering his possessions.
Accused: or slandered, complained about. Squandering: wasting, literally dissipating (scattering in too many directions).
2. “And, having summoned him, he said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give back the steward’s accounting log, because you can’t be the manager anymore.’
3. “So the manager said within himself, ‘What will I do? Because my master is taking the steward’s position away from me! I’m not strong enough to dig [ditches], and I’d be ashamed to be a beggar.
Dig: also used in Lukas of excavating a house’s foundation (6:48) and of mulching around a cultivated tree (13:8).
4. “‘I know what I will do, so that when I have been deposed from the management [position], they might accept me into their homes:
5. “So, having called each one of his master’s debtors, he would say to the first, ‘How much do you owe to my master?’;
6. “And he said, ‘A hundred baths of olive oil.’ And he told him, ‘Sit down quickly, and write “fifty”.’
7. “Then to another he said, ‘You now, how much?’ And he said, ‘A hundred kors of wheat.’ So he said, ‘Take you bill, and write “eighty”.’
8. “And the master commended the unjust manager because he had acted sensibly, because the sons of this age are more sensible than the sons of light in their own generation.
9. “And I tell you, make friends for yourselves quickly by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails, the might welcome you into long-lasting tents.”
When: not if, because Mammon (the idea of wealth), having become an idol, must therefore one day be put back in its place. Wealth is therefore not an end in itself but a means to higher ends, so it should not be so quick to overemphasize the power (really weakness) of the “flesh”.
10. “The one [who is] faithful in the tiniest [matter] is also faithful in [things with] a great extent, and the one who is unjust in the smallest [thing] is also unjust with much.
This is a two-pronged idea: following up on v. 9, he is saying, “Bloom where you are planted, and I will transplant you to a better environment when the time is right”, but also warning that we should not imagine that if we only had “that big break” we would somehow prove to be people than we are now; use your present circumstances to build character, so that YHWH can trust you with something better, because if you say it does not matter how you treat the people you see everyday in trivial affairs, He will never offer you the bigger things you would prefer to have, because if you do not grow now, He will be unable to trust you with more:
11. “Accordingly, if you have not been faithful with not-so holy wealth, who will entrust you with the real [wealth]?
Many things we think are a waste of time are really for “practice” or “training in righteousness” so that when we arrive at what really counts, we will be ready to handle it properly:
12. “And if you are not faithful in what belongs to another [person], who will give you what is your own?
13. “No domestic worker is able to serve two masters, for he will either hate the one and love the other or adhere to one and disregard the other. It is not possible for you to serve [both] Elohim and wealth!”
Hate: not necessarily be malicious toward, but in Hebraic idiom, it means to give less preference to when it comes to making the choice that he will inevitably have to make when the two require of him conflicting expectations. Choosing to chase wealth rather than following after YHWH is thus tantamount to hating Him when it comes down to practical purposes. Do not imagine that you will be able to be the exception; if He entrusts you with wealth, make sure it serves you and is subservient to Him rather than you serving it.
14. Now the P’rushim, who were already lovers of money, were listening to all of these things and ridiculing him.
15. And he said to them, “You are the ones who regard yourselves as righteous in the eyes of human beings, but Elohim knows your hearts, since what is highly esteemed among human beings is an abomination in the eyes of Elohim.
16. “The Torah and the Prophets extend all the way up to [and even include] Yochanan; from then on the glad news of the Kingdom of Elohim is being proclaimed, and everyone is laying hold of it aggressively.
Laying hold: with a “positive aggression” (Thayer), forcing or pushing one’s way into it. Bivin and Blizzard note that this appears to be an allusion to Mikha 2:12, 13, where a shepherd-king has assembled the remnant of all Israel into a sheepfold, and when he lets them out the gate to pasture, they noisily follow him out, pushing so hard as to breach the wall as well.
17. “Nonetheless, it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one pen-stroke of the Torah to drop off.
Nonetheless: i.e., one should not take the fact that the Kingdom has now been added to mean that it has in any way ousted the Torah and prophets from their continuing position as important in YHWH’s economy, as many have thought. Pen-stroke: literally, “horn-like mark”, as seen in the calligraphic style used in formal scrolls.
18. “Everyone who sends away his wife and marries another commits adultery. Also, the one divorced from her husband who marries commits adultery.
And marries another: the word for “and” can in some instances (apparently including this one) “for the purpose of”, i.e., he is not forbidding every divorced person to remarry, knowing some circumstances cannot be avoided, but is condemning the heinous practice of divorcing one’s wife because of a fickle, thoughtless attraction that leads him to make the spontaneous decision to recklessly abandon the one to who he has made a commitment. He also forces her into a position of having to find another covering, it being nearly impossible for a woman to survive on her own in a society where she could not earn enough to raise what children she may have, and therefore puts her in a less-than-ideal position which involves some degree of guilt, too, because of his own carelessness.
19. “Now there was a certain rich person, and he was clothed in purple and fine linen, and every day he feasted luxuriously.
20. “But there was a certain destitute man named El’azar, an outcast, lying at his gate sick and full of sores
21. “and longing to be fed from the [scraps that] fell from the wealthy man’s table, but the dogs were even coming and licking up his sores.
I.e., the dogs not only ate up what he hoped he could fill his belly with, but were also even trying to eat up the pus and infection on his body! They may have been trying to comfort him, but probably aggravated his illness.
22. “It turned out that the poor man died and was carried away by the angels into Avraham’s bosom. Then the rich man also died and was buried.
Bosom: sometimes used of a bay, thus a place of refuge, or a folded-over part of clothing that formed a pocket over one’s chest, forming a place of safety and comfort close to the heart of his “father”—his most prominent ancestor.
23. “When, being in torment in She’ol, he lifted his eyes, from a distance he saw Avraham as well as El’azar in his bosom.
24. “He called out and said, ‘Father Avraham! Have pity on me and send El’azar so he can dip his fingertip in water and cool my tongue, because I am tormented in this flame!’
25. “But Avraham said, ‘Descendant, remember that you received your share of good things while you were alive, and likewise El’azar [received] the bad, but now he is consoled here, while you are suffering pain.
26. “‘Also, among these [other] things, between us and you a great gap has been established, so that those who want to step across from here to you are not able, nor can they cross over from there to us.’
27. “So he said, ‘I implore you, then, father, that you would send him to my father’s house,
28. “‘because I have five brothers—so that he might warn them [with solemn evidence] so that they may not come into this place of torment too!’
29. “But Avraham said, ‘They have Moshe and the prophets; let them listen to their report.’
30. “But he answered, ‘No, father Avraham! If someone would instead come [back] to them from the dead, they would change their ways of thinking!’
31. “But he told him, ‘If they don’t listen to Moshe and the prophets, they wouldn’t be convinced even if someone were to rise up from among the dead either.’”
Those who are not inclined to do the right thing under normal circumstances will not be genuinely changed by either duress or miracle; when things are no longer life-threatening, they would tend to go back to their old ways. Thankfully, the Torah and prophets contain the seeds of true faith that can come to full fruition when the one who did come back from the dead gives them just enough added empowerment to make it to the end of the road they had already decided to travel despite its difficulties.