From: Ben Crick (
Date: Wed Oct 15 1997 - 01:37:32 EDT

On Tue 14 Oct 97 (11:40:48), wrote:
> Does anybody have any helpful insights as to the meaning of these words
> spoken by Christ to His mother in Jn 2:4, TI EMOI KAI SOI, GUNAI?


 TI EMOI KAI SOI is a translation of the Hebrew /MaH-LLiY WaLaKh/. This is
 the Covenant invocation, whereby one covenanter reminds the other "We have
 a covenant, you and I". See it in 1 Kings 17:18; 2 Kings 3:13; 2 Chronicles
 25:31 (in Hebrew); Mark 1:24, 5:7; Luke 4:34, 8:28; and John 2:4 (Greek).

 The earliest covenant form was the Hittite Covenant, which was the standard
 protocol for international suzerainty treaties, or commercial contracts
 between business firms, or solemn legal agreements between individuals.
 Once the Covenant was "cut", or solemnly ratified with sacrifices, it was
 inviolate, under pain of death by bisection: "The LORD do so to me, and more
 also, [if I do not keep this covenant...]" (Ruth 1:17; 1 Sam 3:17, 14:44,
 25:22; 2 Sam 3:9, 35, 19:14; 1 Kings 2:23, 19:2, 20:10; 2 Kings 6:31).

 When Rachel stole Laban's teraphim, and Laban could not find them for looking,
 what did he do? He cut a covenant with Jacob, a mutual non-aggression treaty
 (Genesis 31:44). Laban called it Jegasahadutha, but Jacob called it Galeed,
 and Mizpah, "for he said, The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are
 absent one from another" (verse 49). "Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the
 mount..." (verse 54). They cut a covenant.

 When David and Jonathan had to part, they made a mutual defence treaty: they
 cut a covenant (1 Samuel 20:16).

 What has this to do with Jesus and Mary his mother? When the boy Jesus was
 taken to Jerusalem to the Temple for the first Passover after his Bar-Mitsvah,
 they missed him, and spent three days looking for him. Finally in the Temple
 he said to them "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?"
 (Luke 2:49). "And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was
 subject to them: *but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart*" (Luke
 2:51). "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and
 man" (verse 52).

 When he was 12, Jesus "had a covenant" with his parents to be subject unto
 them (the Abrahamic covenant of circumcision; the Mosaic Covenant of the Fifth
 Commandment). But when he was 30, at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, he had to
 remind Mary that he was no longer subject to her. TI EMOI KAI SOI, GUNAI - "we
 have an agreement, you and I, lady." No doubt Jesus had remained the sole
 family breadwinner after the death of Joseph; but when he was 30, and his
 half-brothers and sisters had grown, he was free to leave home: TI EMOI KAI
 SOI, GUNAI; [GUNAI is not rude or disrespectful; he addressed her as "lady".
 We call Mary "our lady".]

 Finally, on the Cross Jesus kept his covenant obligation to Mary his mother:
 he transferred the covenant duties to the beloved disciple John: "When Jesus
 therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he
 saith to his mother, Woman, /GUNAI, IDE hO hUIOS SOU/. Then said he to the
 disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her EIS TA
 IDIA" (John 19:26-27).

 Just my $0.02

 Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)

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