Debts (Mt 5:25-5:26)

“Come to terms quickly

With your accuser,

While you are

On the way

To court.

Otherwise,

Your accuser

May hand you over

To the judge.

The judge

May hand you over

To the guard.

You will be

Thrown into prison.

Truly,

I say to you!

‘You will never get out

Until you have paid

The last penny.’”

 

ἴσθι εὐνοῶν τῷ ἀντιδίκῳ σου ταχὺ ἕως ὅτου εἶ μετ’ αὐτοῦ ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ· μή ποτέ σε παραδῷ ὁ ἀντίδικος τῷ κριτῇ, καὶ ὁ κριτὴς τῷ ὑπηρέτῃ, καὶ εἰς φυλακὴν βληθήσῃ·

ἀμὴν λέγω σοι, οὐ μὴ ἐξέλθῃς ἐκεῖθεν ἕως ἂν ἀποδῷς τὸν ἔσχατον κοδράντην.

 

Jesus, via Matthew, had some common-sense advice that seems to come from the common source Q, since Luke, chapter 12:58-59, has almost exactly the same saying.  If you had a court case, try to settle it quickly before you get to court with the person that you owed money to.  You should be agreeable to your accuser (ἴσθι εὐνοῶν τῷ ἀντιδίκῳ σου).  You should try to solve this case with your accuser on the way to court (ἕως ὅτου εἶ μετ’ αὐτοῦ ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ).  Otherwise, this accuser would turn you over to a judge (μή ποτέ σε παραδῷ ὁ ἀντίδικος τῷ κριτῇ), who would in turn send you to a guard (καὶ ὁ κριτὴς τῷ ὑπηρέτῃ), who would throw you into jail or a prison (καὶ εἰς φυλακὴν βληθήσῃ).  Then Matthew has this solemn statement of Jesus (ἀμὴν λέγω σοι), just like Luke.  You would never get out of jail (οὐ μὴ ἐξέλθῃς ἐκεῖθεν) until you have paid off the last κοδράντην (ἕως ἂν ἀποδῷς τὸν ἔσχατον κοδράντην).  This κοδράντην was a 1/10 of a drachma, about .03 cents, generally translated as a penny.  Settle your debts before you go to court!

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