21 April 2017 Bible Reading
Today’s reading in Luke 20 begins with reference to a doctrinal issue of that day. There were three main Jewish sects – Sadducees, Pharisees and Essenes – during the time of the gospel histories.
The Sadducees only accepted the Torah, and rejected the oral law that the Pharisees embraced. The Sadducees were able to dominate Temple maintenance and service. As a political party, the Sadducees were essentially collaborators with the Roman occupiers. They were typically drawn from the elite of Jewish society and they used their business and Temple influence to subjugate the population in exchange for favor from the Roman government.
In general, Sadducee religious ideas included:
- absence of fate
- free will of man
- no afterlife
As we see in this reading, the Sadducees did not believe in resurrection of the dead. most of what we think we know about Sadducee and Pharisee beliefs comes from the historian Josephus. In evaluating the information from outside Scripture, it is important to note that Josephus was a Pharisee and, like any human, lacked perfect knowledge, had his own opinions and wrote long after he was removed from Judea.
21 Then the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh answered, and spoke to the heads of the thousands of Israel, 22 “The Mighty One, God, Yahweh, the Mighty One, God, Yahweh, he knows; and Israel shall know: if it was in rebellion, or if in trespass against Yahweh (don’t save us today), 23 that we have built us an altar to turn away from following Yahweh; or if to offer burnt offering or meal offering, or if to offer sacrifices of peace offerings, let Yahweh himself require it.
24 “If we have not out of concern done this, and for a reason, saying, ‘In time to come your children might speak to our children, saying, “What have you to do with Yahweh, the God of Israel? 25 For Yahweh has made the Jordan a border between us and you, you children of Reuben and children of Gad. You have no portion in Yahweh.”’ So your children might make our children cease from fearing Yahweh.
26 “Therefore we said, ‘Let’s now prepare to build ourselves an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice; 27 but it will be a witness between us and you, and between our generations after us, that we may perform the service of Yahweh before him with our burnt offerings, with our sacrifices, and with our peace offerings;’ that your children may not tell our children in time to come, ‘You have no portion in Yahweh.’
28 “Therefore we said, ‘It shall be, when they tell us or our generations this in time to come, that we shall say, “Behold the pattern of the altar of Yahweh, which our fathers made, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice; but it is a witness between us and you.”’
29 “Far be it from us that we should rebel against Yahweh, and turn away today from following Yahweh, to build an altar for burnt offering, for meal offering, or for sacrifice, besides the altar of Yahweh our God that is before his tabernacle!”
30 When Phinehas the priest, and the princes of the congregation, even the heads of the thousands of Israel that were with him, heard the words that the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the children of Manasseh spoke, it pleased them well. 31 Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said to the children of Reuben, to the children of Gad, and to the children of Manasseh, “Today we know that Yahweh is among us, because you have not committed this trespass against Yahweh. Now you have delivered the children of Israel out of Yahweh’s hand.” 32 Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, and the princes, returned from the children of Reuben, and from the children of Gad, out of the land of Gilead, to the land of Canaan, to the children of Israel, and brought them word again. 33 The thing pleased the children of Israel; and the children of Israel blessed God, and spoke no more of going up against them to war, to destroy the land in which the children of Reuben and the children of Gad lived. 34 The children of Reuben and the children of Gad named the altar “A Witness Between Us that Yahweh is God.”
23 After many days, when Yahweh had given rest to Israel from their enemies all around, and Joshua was old and well advanced in years, 2 Joshua called for all Israel, for their elders and for their heads, and for their judges and for their officers, and said to them, “I am old and well advanced in years. 3 You have seen all that Yahweh your God has done to all these nations because of you; for it is Yahweh your God who has fought for you. 4 Behold, I have allotted to you these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from the Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, even to the great sea toward the going down of the sun. 5 Yahweh your God will thrust them out from before you, and drive them from out of your sight. You shall possess their land, as Yahweh your God spoke to you.
6 “Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that you not turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left; 7 that you not come among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow down yourselves to them; 8 but hold fast to Yahweh your God, as you have done to this day.
9 “For Yahweh has driven great and strong nations out from before you. But as for you, no man has stood before you to this day. 10 One man of you shall chase a thousand; for it is Yahweh your God who fights for you, as he spoke to you. 11 Take good heed therefore to yourselves, that you love Yahweh your God.
12 “But if you do at all go back, and hold fast to the remnant of these nations, even these who remain among you, and make marriages with them, and go in to them, and they to you; 13 know for a certainty that Yahweh your God will no longer drive these nations from out of your sight; but they shall be a snare and a trap to you, a scourge in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good land which Yahweh your God has given you.
14 “Behold, today I am going the way of all the earth. You know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which Yahweh your God spoke concerning you. All have happened to you. Not one thing has failed of it. 15 It shall happen that as all the good things have come on you of which Yahweh your God spoke to you, so Yahweh will bring on you all the evil things, until he has destroyed you from off this good land which Yahweh your God has given you, 16 when you disobey the covenant of Yahweh your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods, and bow down yourselves to them. Then Yahweh’s anger will be kindled against you, and you will perish quickly from off the good land which he has given to you.”
27 Some of the Sadducees came to him, those who deny that there is a resurrection. 28 They asked him, “Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies having a wife, and he is childless, his brother should take the wife, and raise up children for his brother. 29 There were therefore seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died childless. 30 The second took her as wife, and he died childless. 31 The third took her, and likewise the seven all left no children, and died. 32 Afterward the woman also died. 33 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them will she be? For the seven had her as a wife.”
34 Jesus said to them, “The children of this age marry, and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage. 36 For they can’t die any more, for they are like the angels, and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. 37 But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush, when he called the Lord ‘The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38 Now he is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for all are alive to him.”
39 Some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you speak well.” 40 They didn’t dare to ask him any more questions.
41 He said to them, “Why do they say that the Christ is David’s son? 42 David himself says in the book of Psalms,
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
43 until I make your enemies the footstool of your feet.”’
44 “David therefore calls him Lord, so how is he his son?”
45 In the hearing of all the people, he said to his disciples, 46 “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts; 47 who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers: these will receive greater condemnation.”
14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne.
Loving kindness and truth go before your face.
15 Blessed are the people who learn to acclaim you.
They walk in the light of your presence, Yahweh.
16 In your name they rejoice all day.
In your righteousness, they are exalted.
17 For you are the glory of their strength.
In your favor, our horn will be exalted.
18 For our shield belongs to Yahweh;
our king to the Holy One of Israel.
19 Then you spoke in vision to your saints,
and said, “I have given strength to the warrior.
I have exalted a young man from the people.
20 I have found David, my servant.
I have anointed him with my holy oil,
21 with whom my hand shall be established.
My arm will also strengthen him.
22 No enemy will tax him.
No wicked man will oppress him.
23 I will beat down his adversaries before him,
and strike those who hate him.
24 But my faithfulness and my loving kindness will be with him.
In my name, his horn will be exalted.
25 I will set his hand also on the sea,
and his right hand on the rivers.
26 He will call to me, ‘You are my Father,
my God, and the rock of my salvation!’
27 I will also appoint him my firstborn,
the highest of the kings of the earth.
28 I will keep my loving kindness for him forever more.
My covenant will stand firm with him.
29 I will also make his offspring endure forever,
and his throne as the days of heaven.
30 If his children forsake my law,
and don’t walk in my ordinances;
31 if they break my statutes,
and don’t keep my commandments;
32 then I will punish their sin with the rod,
and their iniquity with stripes.
33 But I will not completely take my loving kindness from him,
nor allow my faithfulness to fail.
34 I will not break my covenant,
nor alter what my lips have uttered.
35 Once have I sworn by my holiness,
I will not lie to David.
36 His offspring will endure forever,
his throne like the sun before me.
37 It will be established forever like the moon,
the faithful witness in the sky.”
17 A wicked messenger falls into trouble,
but a trustworthy envoy gains healing.
18 Poverty and shame come to him who refuses discipline,
but he who heeds correction shall be honored.
19 Longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul,
but fools detest turning from evil.