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From: Exodus 1:8-14, 22
The Sons of Israel are Oppressed
________________________________________
[8] Now there arose a new king over Egypt who did not know Joseph. [9] And he
said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for
us. [10] Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war be-
fall us, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.”
[11] Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens;
and they built for Pharaoh store-cities, Pithom and Ra-amses. [12] But the more
they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad.
And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel. [13] So they made the
people of Israel serve with rigor, [14] and made their lives bitter with hard service,
in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field; in all their work they
made them serve with rigor.
[22] Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every son that is born to the He-
brews you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.”
*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:
1:8-14 The situation of the children of Israel is dramatically portrayed: the more
they are oppressed, the stronger they become (v. 12). The frequent contrasts
in the account and the fact that no names are supplied give the impression that
God himself (even though he is yet not named) is on the Israelites’ side and is
against the pharaoh and his people. From the very beginning, over and above the
comings and goings of men, God is at work; a religious event is taking shape.
For the first time the Bible here speaks of the “people [of the Sons] of Israel” (v.
9). The sacred book counter-poses two peoples—the people of the pharaoh, cru-
el and oppressive, and the people of Israel, the victims of oppression. Over the
course of their struggle to leave Egypt, the children of Israel will gradually be-
come conscious of this—that they form a people chosen by God and released
from bondage in order to fulfill an important historical mission. They are not a
motley collection of tribes or families, but a people. “God, with loving concern
contemplating, and making preparation for, the salvation of the whole human
race, in a singular undertaking chose for himself a people to whom he would
entrust his promises” (Vatican II, “Del Verbum”, 14). At the same time the reli-
gious framework of this inspired book is established: on one side stand the ene-
mies of God, on the other the people of the children of the Covenant (cf. Acts 3:
25; “Catechism of the Catholic Church”, 527).
1:8. We do not know who exactly this new king” was. He was probably Rame-
ses II (early 13th century BC), who belonged to the nineteenth dynasty. This
pharaoh sought to restore imperial control over foreigners and invaders. The
phrase “did not know Joseph” indicates how helpless and alone the “sons of
Israel” were. The people of Israel never did count for very much politically, and
yet God wills them to have an essential place in his plans.
Many Fathers of the Church saw in this pharaoh a personification of those who
are opposed to the establishment of the Kingdom of Christ. St Bede, for exam-
ple, reminds the Christian that if, having been baptized and having listened to
the teachings of the faith, he goes back to living in a worldly way, “another king
who knows not Joseph” will come to birth in him, that is, the selfishness which
opposes the plans of God (cf. “Commentaria In Pentateuchum”, 2,1).
1:11. Pithom and Ra-amses are called “store-cities” because provisions for the
frontier garrisons were stored in the silos of their temples. Reliable archaeologi-
cal studies identify Pithom (which in Egyptian means “dwelling of Athon”) with
some ruins a few kilometers from present-day Ishmailia, not far from the Suez
canal. A temple of Athon has been discovered there, and huge stores of bricks.
It is more difficult to say where Ra-amses was. The balance of probability is that
it was the earlier city of Avaris, a capital during the dynasties of invader pharaohs.
It would later be called Tanis, and nowadays it is just a series of big ruins near a
fishing village, San el-Hagar, near Port Said, on the eastern part of the Nile delta.
Archaeologists have discovered there the remains of an elaborate temple built by
Rameses II (1279-1212 BC), probably the pharaoh mentioned here.
1:14. In ancient Egypt it was normal for people, particularly foreigners, to work
for the pharaoh. This was not regarded as a form of slavery or “oppression”; we
know, for example, there were towns or entire cities which accommodated the
workers engaged in building the tombs or temples of the pharaohs. The oppre-
sion the sacred writer refers to lay in the fact that the Egyptians imposed parti-
cularly hard tasks on the Israelites—such as brick-making, building and agricul-
tural labor—and treated them cruelly.
St lsidore of Seville, commenting on this passage, compares it with the situation
of mankind which, after original sin, is subject to the tyranny of the devil, who of-
ten manages to turn work into slavery.
Just as the pharaoh imposed the hard labor of mortar and brick, so too the devil
forces sinful man to engage in “earthly, dusty tasks which are moreover mixed
with straw, that is to say, with frivolous and irrational acts” (cf. “Quaestiones In
Exodum”, 3).
1:22. The original text always refers to “the River” because the entire life of an-
cient Egypt depended on it. Obviously it is referring to the Nile.
*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.


3 posted on 07/14/2013 8:17:25 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Matthew 10:34-11:1
Jesus’ Instructions to the Apostles (Continuation)
________________________________________
(Jesus said to His disciples) [34] “Do not think that I have come to bring peace
on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. [35] For I have come to
set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-
in-law against her mother-in-law; [36] and a man’s foes will be those of his own
household. [37] He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of
Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; [38]
and he who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. [39] He
who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
[40] He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him
who sent Me. [41] He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall re-
ceive a prophet’s reward, and he who receives a righteous man because he is
a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. [42] And whoever gives
to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple,
truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”
The Mission of John the Baptist. Jesus’ Reply
________________________________________
[1] And when Jesus had finished instructing His twelve disciples, He went on
from there to teach and preach in their cities.
*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:
34-37. Our Lord has not come to bring a false and earthly peace — the sort of
tranquility the self-seeking person yearns for; He wants us to struggle against
our own passions and against sin and its effects. The sword He equips us with
for this struggle is, in the words of Scripture, “the sword of the Spirit which is
the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17), “lively and active, sharper than any two-
edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow,
and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
The word of God in fact leads to these divisions mentioned here. It can lead,
even within families, to those who embrace the faith being regarded as enemies
by relatives who resist the word of truth. This is why our Lord goes on (verse 37)
to say that nothing should come between Him and His disciple—not even father,
mother, son or daughter: any and every obstacle (cf. Matthew 5:29-30) must be
avoided.
Obviously these words of Jesus do not set up any opposition between the first
and fourth commandments (love for God above all things and love for one’s par-
ents): He is simply indicating the order of priorities. We should love God with all
our strength (cf. Matthew 22:37), and make a serious effort to be saints; and we
should also love and respect—in theory and in practice—the parents God has gi-
ven us; they have generously cooperated with the creative power of God in brin-
ging us into the world and there is so much that we owe them. But love for our
parents should not come before love of God; usually there is no reason why
these two loves should clash, but if that should happen, we should be quite clear
in our mind and in heart about what Jesus says here. He has in fact given us an
example to follow on this point: “How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know
that I must be in My Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49) — His reply when, as a youth,
Mary and Joseph found Him in the Temple of Jerusalem after a long search. This
event in our Lord’s life is a guideline for every Christian — parent or child. Children
should learn from it that their affection for their parents should never come before
their love for God, particularly when our Creator asks us to follow Him in a way
which implies special self-giving on our part; parents should take the lesson that
their children belong to God in the first place, and therefore He has a right to do
with them what He wishes, even if this involves sacrifice, even heroic sacrifice.
This teaching of our Lord asks us to be generous and to let God have His way.
In fact, however, God never lets Himself be outdone in generosity. Jesus has
promised a hundredfold gain, even in this life, and later on eternal life (cf. Mat-
thew 19:29), to those who readily respond to His will.
38-39. The teaching contained in the preceding verses is summed up in these
two succinct sentences. Following Christ, doing what He asks, means risking
this present life to gain eternal life.
“People who are constantly concerned with themselves, who act above all for
their own satisfaction, endanger their eternal salvation and cannot avoid being
unhappy even in this life. Only if a person forgets himself and gives himself to
God and to others, in marriage as well as in any other aspect of life, can he be
happy on this earth, with a happiness that is a preparation for, and a foretaste
of, the joy of Heaven” (St. J. Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”, 24). Clearly,
Christian life is based on self-denial: there is no Christianity without the Cross.
40. To encourage the Apostles and to persuade others to receive them, our
Lord affirms that there is an intimate solidarity, or even a kind of identity, be-
tween Himself and His disciples. God in Christ, Christ in the Apostles: this is
the bridge between Heaven and earth (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:21-23).
41-42. A prophet’s mission is not essentially one of announcing future events;
his main role is that of communicating the word of God (cf. Jeremiah 11:2; Isai-
ah 1:2). The righteous man, the just man, is he who obeys the Law of God and
follows His paths (cf. Genesis 6:9; Isaiah 3:10). Here Jesus tells us that every-
one who humbly listens to and welcomes prophets and righteous men, recogni-
zing God in them, will receive the reward of a prophet and a righteous man. The
very fact of generously receiving God’s friends will gain one the reward that they
obtain. Similarly, if we should see God in the least of His disciples (verse 42),
even if they do not seem very important, they are important, because they are
envoys of God and of His Son. That is why he who gives them a glass of cold
water — an alms, or any small service — will receive a reward, for he has shown
generosity to our Lord Himself (cf. Matthew 25:40).
1. In chapters 11 and 12 the Gospel records the obduracy of the Jewish leaders
toward Jesus, despite hearing His teaching (chapter 5-7) and seeing the miracles
which bear witness to the divine nature of His person and His doctrine (chapters
8 and 9).
*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.


4 posted on 07/14/2013 8:18:12 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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