Sunday, October 30, 2016

Zacchaeus, an old friend and Psalm 60

Zacchaeus' sycamore fig in Jericho,
Courtesy Wikipedia
The sermon today was on Zacchaeus which follows on from mine last week - though my friend Stephan who preached has a much more practical approach than I do.

It is however fascinating that there is a tree in Jericho which is thought to be the very one that Zacchaeus climbed.

I don't quite see how Zacchaeus could have been Matthias the (replacement) Apostle since St Luke says in Acts that the two candidates had been with the Apostles "all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and went out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto the day that he was received up from us" and Zacchaeus evidently wasn't. But Clement of Alexandria would have known Acts so presumably this objection didn't carry weight with him.

This prompts me to look at the original source and in fact the only mention of Zacchaeus is in Book 4 Ch 6 of Sromata which says (in the New Advent Translation) "It is said, therefore, that Zaccheus, or, according to some, Matthew, the chief of the publicans, on hearing that the Lord had deigned to come to him, said, Lord, and if I have taken anything by false accusation, I restore him fourfold; on which the Saviour said, The Son of man, on coming today, has found that which was lost." so I think Wikipedia may be wrong on this point. (The Greek is Ζακχαῖον τοίνυν, οἳ δὲ Ματθίαν φασίν, ἀρχιτελώνην, ἀκηκοότα τοῦ κυρίου καταξιώσαντος πρὸς αὐτὸν γενέσθαι, ἰδοὺ τὰ ἡμίση τῶν ὑπαρχόντων μου δίδωμι ἐλεημοσύνην φάναι, κύριε, καὶ εἴ τινός τι ἐσυκοφάντησα, τετραπλοῦν ἀποδίδωμι. ἐφ' οὗ καὶ ὁ σωτὴρ εἶπεν·)

Went today to the 60th birthday celebration of a very old friend who taught me (a bit of) Hebrew when we were at school together. I gave him Psalm 60 as a birthday present, which I share with you:

Psalm 60
O God You've cast us off and scattered us
For You were angry, turn to us again!
You caused the land to tremble and to break
O heal her fragments, for she's faltering!
You've shown Your people hardship, and you've made
Us drink a wine that leaves us staggering.
To those who fear You, You have given a flag
That shall be raised up in the cause of truth. $
So that Your loved one yet shall be released
O help with Your right hand and answer me!
Now God has spoken in His holiness:
"I will rejoice and will divide Shekhem
And measure out the valley of Succoth.
For Gilead is mine, Mannessah’s mine
Ephraim's my crown, Judah my sceptre too.
Moab's my wash pot and I'll cast my shoe
On Edom; on Philistia I will shout."
Who will bring me in the fortress town
And who is it will lead me into Edom?
Is it not You, O God, who's cast us off
And do no longer go out with our troops?
O give us succour from the enemy
For vain is any hope of human help.
In God we will achieve success I know
And He will trample on our every foe.

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