Patterico's Pontifications


Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 139

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:05 pm

It is the nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Wohl dem, der sich auf seinen Gott” (Happy is the man, who to his God).

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 10:2-16:

Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”

“What did Moses command you?” he replied.

They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”

“It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”

The Little Children and Jesus

People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

The text of today’s piece is available here. Its opening words contain an echo of Jesus’s words about coming to the kingdom of God “like a little child”:

Fortunate the person who upon his God
can place a truly childlike reliance!
Although sin, the world, and death
and all the devils may hate him,
nevertheless he remains well pleased,
if only he has won God as his friend.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

2 Responses to “Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 139”

  1. I remember, when Milhouse and MD in Philly were here, we had a discussion about this passage. Milhouse asserted that it was about wife-swapping. The men would divorce their wives to avoid a charge of adultery and when the fun was over, next morning or whenever, the couples would go back to being couples again. MD in Philly and I were scandalized and argued that “hardness of heart” implied that it was to keep the men from murdering their unwanted wives.

    nk (1d9030)

  2. Thank you for these posts, Patterico.

    nk, that is quite a story. I miss such posts.

    Simon Jester (1fa4e0)

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