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Chapter 11


Women disciples – Contention over women disciples – Yeshua withdraws to be alone – In the affairs of men, which is strongest? – Parable: The Slender Vine – Women are worthy to receive from God – Women of history – The strength of women – Yeshua heals a blind man – Yeshua speaks on baptism and fire – Signs of the times – “Think not that I came to destroy the law”

 

1  And Yeshua went throughout the cities of Decapolis teaching and showing forth the coming of the kingdom, and when the feast of Passover drew nigh, he came again unto Bethsaida, and there was with him many disciples, both of men and women.

2  And certain women which had been healed of afflictions and infirmities ministered unto the Lord with all gentle affection.

3  And of them were Mary of Magdala, Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s chief steward, Susanna of Jotapata, Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus, Regilla of Hippos, and many others also, and they gave unto the ministry of their substance.

4  But there arose among the disciples a great contention, for some thought it unseemly that women should minister unto the Lord to touch him, or that they should sit at his feet to learn the law.

5  For it was thought in all Israel that it was an evil thing that any woman should learn either the law or the prophets, since by woman came the fall of man.

6  And if it so be that any woman should take to herself a knowledge of these things, then would many think her a witch, being filled with mischief, and they would stone her and drive her from the city to perish.

7  Now when Yeshua heard the manner of their dispute, he withdrew from them a little way, and when the disciples saw that the Master sat alone away from them, they came unto him, saying:

8  “Good Master, why have you drawn yourself away from us, for we are alone being without you? Come, therefore, and walk with us, for we care for you and would be your disciples.”

9  But the Lord would not, and he sent them away. They came a second time, saying: “Master, come walk with us.” And again he would not, but sent them away instead.

10  Now when it was eventide, the disciples repented among themselves over their contention, and coming a third time, they said: “Come, my Lord, and be with us for we have repented all our anger.

11  Have mercy, O Lord, for even we would turn aside from our own way to follow after you.”

12  And Yeshua, seeing that all his disciples were gathered near, taught them, saying: “Of all things which govern in the affairs of men, which is the strongest?”

13  And one answered, saying: “Men are truly strongest, having power over all things; for they do compel even that the whole earth and sea should give up its bounty for their sake.”

14  But another said: “Nay, kings are strongest of all, for they rule over the affairs of men; making subject unto their will the ways of men and of nations.

15  For all men are forced to obey the commands of the king, even in the midst of war; for the wrath of the king is more greatly to be feared than the dangers of the enemy which come from abroad.”

16  And another said: “If men be strong and kings be strong, then is wine strongest of all; for it brings low the mightiest king, and exalts unto Heaven the lowest of men.

17  For strong wine does make the wise to appear as foolish, and the cowardly to appear as brave, and friends to appear as enemies.

18  Thus is wine more powerful than men or kings, directing always the affairs of men;

19  For when a man is drunk, he knows not what he does; and when he is sober, neither does he remember.”

20  Thus spoke the disciples concerning that which was strongest in the affairs of men. But the Lord spoke unto them, saying:

21  “Hear now this parable and be wise: For there was a certain king who would take captive a distant city; and bringing forth his army, he laid siege against it.

22  But for all his might he could not breach the walls thereof, for they were strong and mighty, and against its strength did many perish.

23  And after a season, the king grew weary and he went again to his own kingdom.

24  And all the people rejoiced in the strength of the wall, and they boasted before God how that no man could take by force the inhabitants of the city.

25  Now when it was night, there sprung up beside the wall a small and slender vine made all beautiful and rare; and in the shadow of the city did it grow, sending out its tendrils into the crevices of the wall.

26  And in the morning when the inhabitants saw it they marveled, saying: ‘It is a gift from God, for see how it makes beautiful the whole city.’

27  And when it had grown for many years, there came a strong wind in the night, and behold, the wall fell in upon itself, putting in peril the whole city.

28  Which, therefore, was strongest in the affairs of men, the king or this slender vine?” And one answered, saying: “The vine, my Lord.”

29  And Yeshua, hearing this, said: “Is there not written this saying: the race is not always given to the swiftest, neither the victory of battle to the strong?

30  Why, then, will you think women unworthy to receive from God a full measure of blessing, seeing that for the sake of your traditions only would you keep them ignorant of the law and the prophets?

31  For I tell you truly that of all things which move round about in the affairs of men, women are the stronger, being greater than kings or wine; for in the womb of the woman are all men made to come alive.

32  Come now, and answer wisely: What king shall rule except that he first be fashioned in the woman’s womb? For no man cometh forth of himself.

33  For it is in the womb that men are fashioned, whether king or slave, priest or prophet, lord or beggar; all are come from the woman, and without the woman is no man come unto the earth.

34  I tell you truly that for the sake of a woman will a man surrender both wealth and power, or forget altogether his parents and friends;

35  For even the mighty, being kings, if they would be greater still, make themselves subject unto their wives and will give unto them anything which they should ask.

36  Have you not read how that Xerxes, while he was yet lord over all the earth, being king in Persia, granted unto Esther the life of all Israel?

37  For this cause do you celebrate the Feast of Purim in joy and thanksgiving; for in the woman Esther did God deliver Israel from Haman who desired the death of all the Jews.

38  Why, then, will you withhold from women things which are come from God?

39  Have you not read how that in the days when Josiah was king over Judah, there was found in the temple the Book of the Law which no man knew, not even the high priest, nor Jeremiah the prophet?

40  So they took the book to a woman whose name was Huldah, a prophetess of great renown, and desired that she should tell them from whence it came;

41  Whether or not it was truly that book which was come from Moses, and she delivered unto the king the word of the Lord concerning the book and all Jerusalem also.

42  Consider again this other also, for there judged in Israel Deborah the wife of Lapidoth; and she called unto Barak that he might save Israel from the hand of Sisera.

43  Yet would Barak not go forth except that Deborah should stand beside him in the day of battle.

44  And Deborah, by her faithfulness unto God and Israel, delivered the nation from evil.

45  Which of you, therefore, being men, have done like unto these women; who, being elected of God, delivered unto all Israel the word of the Lord?

46  Consider then the strength wherein the woman is fashioned; for she, being frail and comely, yet by her beauty and grace does she humble the mighty, or exalt on high the lowest of men if it so be that they should love her.

47  For women are as the wind which comes from above, causing all things to move before them.

48  And men, though stout and mighty as yonder tree, yet are they moved when there should breathe upon them some small wind.

49  Thus in the affairs of men are women made the stronger; for if a woman be good and an evil man love her, then by her love does she make the man good also; for he desires to please her above all else.

50  But if a woman be evil and a good man love her, who then can save him?

51  Contend no more because of women, whether they be worthy to receive from God a portion equal to men; for I will elect whom I will.

52  And neither pray you unto God, saying: ‘I thank you, O God, that I am not a woman,’ for it is an offense unto him.

53  For in the beginning did God create both male and female, that you may be as one flesh before the Lord.

54  Therefore, when you enter the woman to cast forth seed, be you filled with reverence and deep affection, for she is the temple wherein God has fashioned the life of man.

55  Whosoever shall receive one of mine, even so shall they receive me.

56  And whosoever rejects one whom I have chosen, even so shall they reject me also; and there shall be found for them neither room nor place in the kingdom of God.”

57  These then are the words which Yeshua spoke for women’s sake, and all men marveled because of them, and when he had finished speaking, there was brought to him from the city a blind man desiring to be healed.

58  And taking the blind man by the hand, he led him to the sea, and filling his hands with water, he cleansed the man’s eyes and asked him, saying: “What do you see?”

59  And the blind man, looking back from whence he came, said: “I see men, as shadows, walking about the earth.”

60  When Yeshua heard this, he placed his hands upon his eyes to bless, and behold, the man saw every man clearly.

61  And the Lord sent him again to his own house, rejoicing and praising God.

62  On the next day, there came out from the city a multitude of people to hear the Master, and he taught them by the sea.

63  And there was among the people certain scribes and Pharisees, and one of them, being the ruler of the synagogue, asked him, saying:

64  “If you are truly that one of whom John testified, why then do neither you nor your disciples baptize, for in the wilderness did John both preach and baptize?”

65  And the Lord, lifting his voice unto the people, answered, saying: “What went you forth in the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?

66  Come and answer, what went you forth to see? A man clothed in soft raiment and smooth of speech?

67  Behold, they which are finely dressed, eating sumptuously amid their wealth, are in the courts of temples and in the palaces of power, for they rule over you.

68  What then came you forth in the wilderness to see? A prophet? Whosoever has ears to hear let them hear, for you saw more than a prophet.

69  For of John was it written: Behold, I send my messenger before your face; he shall prepare the way before you.

70  For I tell you that among those which are born of women, there is no prophet greater than John: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

71  For you yourselves bear witness that John indeed baptized with water unto repentance, but now is there come among you one who baptizes with fire and the Holy Spirit.

72  For I am come from the Father which dwells above, and even he is like unto a consuming fire of righteousness, purging always the souls of men from all uncleanliness.

73  For this cause am I come to bring fire unto the earth, that it might receive unto itself the refreshing of the Holy Spirit.

74  Whosoever, therefore, will come unto me, the same standeth near the fire; but whosoever will not come unto me, even that one is far from the kingdom.”

75  Thus spoke the Master concerning the baptism of fire and the Holy Spirit. And the multitude, hearing this, was filled with wonder, and a woman cried out from among them, saying:

76  “Blessed is the womb which bore you, and the breasts which gave you suck.”

77  And the Lord answered, saying: “More blessed are they which hear the words of God, to do them.”

78  But when the scribes and Pharisees saw that all men would follow the Master, they grew all the more troubled.

79  And they said to him, “What sign will you give us that we might know of a surety that you are come from God?”

80  And Yeshua spoke, saying: “You wicked and perverse generation, ever seeking after signs yet never knowing what it is you seek.

81  For when the clouds rise from the west, being dark and lowering, you say: ‘A storm approaches,’ and by and by it comes.

82  And when you see the south wind blowing, you say: ‘It will be hot today,’ and behold, it likewise comes to pass.

83  You hypocrites, filled with deceit; you discern readily both earth and sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the time.

84  Will you now ask for a sign from above? Behold, there will no sign be given you except the sign of Jonah.

85  For as Jonah was a sign of repentance unto the Ninevites, even so shall the Son of Man be unto this generation.

86  I tell you truly, that the Queen of the South will rise up in judgment against you;

87  For even she did come from the ends of the earth that she might hear the wisdom of Solomon, and now is there come unto you one which is greater than Solomon, and you will not hear.

88  And in judgment shall all Ninevah come forth to judge you, for they repented long ago at the preaching of Jonah, and now is there come among you one which is greater than Jonah, and you will not repent.

89  Think not that I have come to destroy the law or the prophets; for I came not to destroy but to fulfill.

90  For I tell you truly, that Heaven and earth shall not pass away except the whole law be fulfilled in me.

91  Whosoever, therefore, shall break the least commandment of the law, and shall teach others to do likewise, even he shall become least in the kingdom of Heaven.

92  But whosoever shall do and teach the righteousness of God, even he shall become great in the kingdom of Heaven.

93  For I say unto you that you may learn wisdom, that except your righteousness exceed that of scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom, and your habitation shall be left desolate and filled with despair.”

94  And when the scribes and the Pharisees heard these things, they murmured among themselves, saying:

95  “Behold how possessed of evil he is become, for he has declared himself the fulfillment of both the law and the prophets.

96  Surely he is mad and filled with demons, for he has thought himself greater than Moses and Abraham altogether.” And they sent unto Jerusalem a report of all which they saw and heard.

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