Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Band of strong men

My thinking about abominations has led me to the 8th chapter of the Book of Ezekiel containing the vision of abominations in Jerusalem. In verse 14, when Ezekiel was brought to the north gate of the Temple, “there sat women weeping for Tammuz,” the Babylonian vegetation deity. In verse 15, we read, “you will see still greater abominations than these.” Since this statement in verse 15 was uttered twice before, the abominations are presented in ascending severity. The 17th verse tells us “they fill the land with violence” which in subsequent verses is explained as violence and the perversion of justice. According to Nahum Sarna, Ezekiel is describing as a greater abomination a “band of toughs” or “strong men” hired by the rich to forcibly dispossess the poor.

There are at least four possible allusions in the Gospel of Luke to the 8th chapter of Ezekiel: the Parable of the unjust judge; “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me”; the strong man and the controversy sayings of the 16th chapter of Luke.

Michael Fishbane has said that within Israel as a reading community “all significant speech is Scriptural or Scripturally-oriented speech.” I plan to do some more thinking about how the observations of Fishbane and Sarna might help me understand the nature of the abominations being criticized by the Lucan Jesus.

Copyrighted 2007


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