This site provides something different: many sites and books provide a brief summary of the reading – so that people read out or have in their pew sheet an outline of what they are about to hear. They are told beforehand what to expect. Does this not limit what they hear the Spirit address them? This site provides something different – often one cannot appreciate what is being read because there is no context provided. This site provides the context, the frame of the reading about to be heard. It could be used as an introduction, printed on a pew sheet (acknowledged, of course), or adapted in other ways.
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
Ezekiel addresses those exiled after the fall of Jerusalem (587 BCE), underscoring that the divisions in Judean society as part of the cause of Nebuchadnezzar’s success.
This prayer echoes Psalm 8:6 and 110:1. Reading these psalms provides a good framework for this text.
Sheep and goats were the earliest domesticated animals. Sheep had positive connotations. Rams were associated with Zeus and Apollo. Goats do not prevent other goats access to their female. Rams would not accept this. Goats were associated with Pan, Bacchus, and Aphrodite. The defining quality of the sheep in the parable is hospitality, a fusing of the concept of a king moving incognito amongst his people. In Matthew “my brothers”/ “members of my family” refers to Christians. The judgement of the nations is based on their treatment of Christ’s followers.