The bad manager wasting things (Lk 16:1-16:1)

“Jesus said

To the disciples.

‘There was a rich man

Who had a house manager.

Charges were brought

To the rich man

That this manager

Was squandering

His property.’”

 

Ἔλεγεν δὲ καὶ πρὸς τοὺς μαθητάς Ἄνθρωπός τις ἦν πλούσιος ὃς εἶχεν οἰκονόμον, καὶ οὗτος διεβλήθη αὐτῷ ὡς διασκορπίζων τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ.

 

This parable story about the dishonest household manager or steward can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said to his disciples (Ἔλεγεν δὲ καὶ πρὸς τοὺς μαθητάς) that there was a rich man (Ἄνθρωπός τις ἦν πλούσιος).  He had a manager of his affairs, a household manager, a steward, or a guardian (ὃς εἶχεν οἰκονόμον).  Luke used this unique Greek word οἰκονομεῖν, meaning household manager.  Although traditionally, he has been called a steward in English, household manager seems more correct.  However, charges were brought to the rich man (καὶ οὗτος διεβλήθη αὐτῷ).  This Greek word διεβλήθη is found once in the New Testament literature, only here in this story or parable of Luke.  The word διεβλήθη means slander, complaint, or accusation.  Someone had accused this manager of squandering or wasting this rich man’s property or possessions (ὡς διασκορπίζων τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ).  This rich man had a house manager taking care of his possessions.  Apparently, it was reported to him, that his manager was not doing a good job and may have been taking some of his property.  It is not exactly clear, but there were some problems.  Have you ever had a problem with someone who was to manage something for you?

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The letter of King Antiochus IV to the Jews (2 Macc 9:18-9:22)

“Instead King Antiochus wrote to the Jews the following letter, in the form of a supplication. This was its content.

‘To his worthy Jewish citizens,

Antiochus their king and general

Sends hearty greetings and good wishes

For their health and prosperity.

If you and your children are well

And your affairs are as you wish,

I am glad.

As my hope is in heaven,

I remember with affection your esteem and good will.

On my way back from the region of Persia

I suffered an annoying illness.

I have deemed it necessary to take thought

For the general security of all.

I do not despair of my condition.

I have good hope of recovering from my illness.’”

The letter of King Antiochus IV has a different friendly tone. He talked about the worthy Jewish citizens. He wished them health and prosperity. He hoped their children and affairs were in good order. He said that his hope was in heaven. He talked about their good will towards him. Then he mentioned that he had suffered an annoying illness on his way back from Persia. He hoped to recover from his illness. This was the new kinder and gentler King Antiochus IV.