But Jesus, overhearing what they were saying, said to the synagogue leader, “Do not be afraid; only have faith.”
echoes through life
at oasis or in desert
known in all circumstances
as glory or despair
pulls us toward wonder
where we would ever dwell
push us 6-feet under
an avalanche of suffering
dumb beyond belief
loss tests trust
trauma tempts trust
pain tries trust
regardless of victory or defeat
A journey interrupted once by a woman claiming a healing has been more seriously interrupted by a message that its entire purpose no longer exists. There won’t be a need for a third interruption because the girl is dead.
In the midst of these delays and confusions we run into a translational choice. What is here translated as “overheard” (παρακούσας, parakousas), can also be translated as “hearing without paying attention”, “disregarding”, or “ignoring”. In all the cases of this word in the Septuagint and in Matthew 18:17, “ignoring” seems to be preferred choice.
The Amplified Bible, Classic Edition tries to get it all in: “Overhearing but ignoring what they said, Jesus said….”
The Darby Translation also brings in our old friend “euthys” from some early manuscripts: “But Jesus [immediately], having heard the word spoken, says….”
As Jesus often responds to what he has heard or senses is being said sotto voce, the “overhearing” motif can be acceptable.
The “ignoring” choice brings a clearer connection with the woman’s story. We heard her thinking about her situation but Jesus only enters because she did something and he immediately stopped and attended. Here we have the news arrive about the daughter’s death and Jesus immediately stops the conversation without an overhearing prelude. He essentially moves from a blessing of the woman to a blessing of Jairus—“Let us go in peace, trusting each step.”