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Chapter 181 - Marcus and the Pharisaical tithe hunters
181,1. Simultaneously we nevertheless noticed several Pharisees leaving Caesarea Phillipi and busily heading for Marcus‘s humble hut. Said Matthew, the young tax-collector from Sibarah, who once thoroughly lampooned the Pharisees on the occasion when at Sibarah one sick was lowered down to Me through the thick crowd: 'This brood must have found out about Your stay here! But by Whom? Unless Marcus‘s sons, who drove fish to the city twice, gave us away!'
181,2. Says old Marcus: 'Could well be, because notwithstanding my sons being normally well-behaved, they are chatterers, which has already caused them to stir up diverse troubles. But I am going over to ask them.'
181,3. Say I: 'Stay, because neither your sons nor anyone in this district has betrayed Me, but they have come to you solely on account of the fish. They want a present of about a hundred fish, of which they had seen some in the city but did not buy. You are aware of them being entitled to one tenth tithes wherever there is any sort of harvest. But such large catch is also like an abundant harvest, and they deem themselves entitled to demand the tithe therefrom. Hence go down and give them a hundred fish, and they shall praise you and quietly depart home with the fish.
181,4. Says Marcus: 'But how shall they be able to move a hundred fish?'
181,5. Say I: 'Don‘t let that trouble you, it shall be their concern! Just take a look, they are much closer, and you shall see a beast of burden trotting among them, whose back is provided with means for transporting fish.'
181,6. Marcus has a better look at the small caravan approaching his quarters, noticing what I pointed out to him and saying: 'Lord, it is indeed as You said. And I am rushing down, and the hundred fish shall be ready in the large vet, which shall take them aback!'
181,7. Say I: 'Go and do so! But if they ask how you could have known this, then be ready with a clever answer; but you must not deal them a lie!'
181,8. Marcus goes and has one hundred pieces taken from the tanks, placing them in the large tub. He had hardly finished when the young Pharisees came, asking for Marcus the fisherman. Marcus answered, and still at the fish-tub, said: 'I am over here, and here in the tub is what you probably came for! That is the conscientiously calculated fish tithe, consisting of the choices fish being caught in our Sea.
181,9. The Pharisees are non-pleased at such talk, with one of them saying: 'Old man, are you a prophet, that you should know in advance why we came here from the city?'
181,10. Says Marcus: 'For this verily one does not need to be a prophet, but just to have five good senses, coupled to a little understanding, and one can work out to a hair‘s breath why you have come out! Here, take the fish and continue on your way in peace! I have yet much to do today, and midday is almost upon us. We have worked much today and must go and prepare a lunch for ourselves!'
181,11. Says one of the Pharisees: 'You should however add thirty pieces to the one hundred as penalty, for it was not very decent of you not to send it to the city through your children, - to us servants of God who constantly pray to God for your salvation, the first lings of your catch!'
181,12. Says Marcus: 'Here, here, not thirty but forty pieces added! And now ask for your contentment and that you would leave me!'
181,13. Say the Pharisees: 'We are empowered by God to come and go as we please! Load the fish into the vets we brought, and we then intended at once to continue our journey!'
181,14. Marcus at once orders his children to attend to the Pharisees‘ wishes, and they lend a hand at once, filling the Pharisees‘ tubs with the one hundred and forty fish.
181,15. When it was done, Marcus said: 'Now all you have requested is done; are you satisfied?'
181,16. Says one Pharisee of quite cheeky appearance: 'No, and another hundred times no! Because you talk to us as to for you tiresome worldlings, forgetting that we are servants of the almighty God Who can ruin you with one breath! Your spiteful behaviour towards us therefore shall be avenged not only with the one hundred and forty fish but by the confiscation of all your possessions.'
181,17. This rattles Marcus. He runs inside his hut, coming back to the Pharisees with a roll of parchment on which is written in large letters that he is a Roman, and that he can make use of all his rights as a free citizen of Rome, at will.
181,18. Asks the cheeky Pharisee, somewhat taken aback: 'Now then, how long has one been a heathen already? For one had according to our knowledge been a Jew until recently!'
181,19. Says Marcus: 'Marcus has never been a Jew, but born a Roman who has served mars with sword, helmet and shield for thirty years. But for a trial period of three years Marcus was an uncircumcised Jew; after convincing himself only too soon however that the divine doctrine of the Jews notwithstanding, and realizing what kind of Priests were they of this exalted divine doctrine, secretly treading their God and doctrine with their feet, pulling the wool over poor mankind‘s eyes at every opportunity, and being the most unscrupulous hypocrites who indeed serve their God before the blind people on the outside but keeping their hearts buried in deepest hell, and hence also carrying on in a most shameless trade with the blood of innocent Samaritan children; wherefore I again became fully Roman and shall die so! Take your loot now and go home with it! I am giving it to you only because I was still recently an un circumcised Jew for three years!'
181,20. Say the Pharisees: 'But Marcus, how come you have suddenly become such a clever man? We have known you now for a lengthy period as a person of most deficient spirituality! With us you often did not know whether you male or female; how were you suddenly provided with such spiritual capacity?'
181,21. Says Marcus: 'This was a most Roman ruse, in order to the more easily, as a most stupid fellow get behind all your evil ploys and infamies. But I nevertheless maintain that I understand Moses and all the prophets better than you do, - although in fact a Roman, yet an orthodox Jew in my heart a long time since!'
181,22. Says the Pharisees: 'Without circumcision no one can be a Jew and draw near unto God!'
181,23. Says Marcus: 'Neither did I seek to draw near to God in your fashion, but only through my heart, in accordance with the prophet Isaiah‘s doctrine, and that suffices me. If however I should be condemned by God for not having been circumcised, then that should concern you little! But I think that God is wiser than all men, and endlessly wiser and more righteous than yourselves, regarding only a pure and circumcised heart and not the circumcision of the foreskin, which may have a terrestrial purpose but is basic all stupidity spiritually. But as a Jew at heart I nonetheless give you the tithe. Yet give it voluntarily and you don‘t have a spark of right to demand it off me, a Roman citizen. But be on your way, or I take the fish back and let you go home empty handed! - Do you get me?'
181,24. To this robust talk by Marcus the Pharisees say not another word and go home with the fish.
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