The great condemnation (Lk 20:47-20:47)

“The Scribes

Devour

Widows’ houses.

They say long prayers

For the sake of appearance.

They will receive

A greater condemnation.”

 

οἳ κατεσθίουσιν τὰς οἰκίας τῶν χηρῶν καὶ προφάσει μακρὰ προσεύχονται· οὗτοι λήμψονται περισσότερον κρίμα.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus continued with his condemnation of the Scribes.  He said that the Scribes devour widows’ houses (οἱ κατεσθίοντες τὰς οἰκίας τῶν χηρῶν).  They say long prayers for the sake of appearance (καὶ προφάσει μακρὰ προσευχόμενοι).  They will receive the greater condemnation (οὗτοι λήμψονται περισσότερον κρίμα).  Mark, chapter 12:40, and Matthew, chapter 23:14, are almost word for word like here in Luke.  They all talked about how these Scribes took advantage of widows and pretended to be men of prayer.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that these Scribes devoured widows’ houses (οἱ κατεσθίοντες τὰς οἰκίας τῶν χηρῶν), the same as Luke.  What did he mean by that?  They obviously took advantage of the generosity of widows.  For the sake of appearances, these Scribes said long prayers (καὶ προφάσει μακρὰ προσευχόμενοι).  Thus, they would receive a great severe condemnation (οὗτοι λήμψονται περισσότερον κρίμα.) for their behavior.  Once again, there was no mention of any Pharisees, just the Scribes.  In Matthew, this first part of the opening verse is exactly the same as the preceding verse.  Woe to you (Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν)!  Scribes (γραμματεῖς)!  Woe to you!  Pharisees (καὶ Φαρισαῖοι)!  Hypocrites (ὑποκριταί)!  There is no doubt that here Jesus was cursing both the Scribes and the Pharisees, who were devouring widow’s houses (ὅτι κατεσθίετε τὰς οἰκίας τῶν χηρῶν), as they were taking advantage of widows.  They also made long lengthy prayers (καὶ προφάσει μακρὰ προσευχόμενοι), so that they would look better and more pious.  However, they were about to receive a greater condemnation (διὰ τοῦτο λήψεσθε περισσότερον κρίμα) than they had expected.  Once again, the major difference was the role of the Pharisees in Matthew, that is not in Luke or Mark.  Are you a hypocrite?

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A true teacher (Lk 20:21-20:21)

“Thus,

They asked Jesus.

‘Teacher!

We know

That you are right

In what you say

And teach!

You show deference

To no one!

You teach

The way of God

In accordance with truth!’”

 

καὶ ἐπηρώτησαν αὐτὸν λέγοντες Διδάσκαλε, οἴδαμεν ὅτι ὀρθῶς λέγεις καὶ διδάσκεις καὶ οὐ λαμβάνεις πρόσωπον, ἀλλ’ ἐπ’ ἀληθείας τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ διδάσκεις·

 

Luke indicated that this group questioned Jesus (καὶ ἐπηρώτησαν αὐτὸν) respectfully, calling him teacher (λέγοντες Διδάσκαλε).  They knew that Jesus spoke correctly (οἴδαμεν ὅτι ὀρθῶς λέγεις) and taught correctly (καὶ διδάσκεις).  Jesus did not receive anyone (καὶ οὐ λαμβάνεις πρόσωπον), except on the basis of truth (ἀλλ’ ἐπ’ ἀληθείας), because he taught (διδάσκεις) the way of God (τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  This was similar to Matthew, chapter 22:16, and Mark, chapter 12:14, almost word for word.  Mark said that the Pharisees and the Herodians came and spoke to Jesus (καὶ ἐλθόντες λέγουσιν αὐτῷ).  They called Jesus their teacher or rabbi (Διδάσκαλε).  They said that they knew that Jesus was sincere or truthful (οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἀληθὴς), because Jesus did not show any deference to anybody (εἶ καὶ οὐ μέλει σοι περὶ οὐδενός).  He did not regard people with partiality based on their appearances (οὐ γὰρ βλέπεις εἰς πρόσωπον ἀνθρώπων).  Thus, Jesus taught the truthful way of God (ἀλλ’ ἐπ’ ἀληθείας τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ διδάσκεις).  Matthew said that the Pharisees sent their own disciples, not themselves, to Jesus (καὶ ἀποστέλλουσιν αὐτῷ τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτῶν).  But they also sent along some Herodians (μετὰ τῶν Ἡρῳδιανῶν) also, the followers or political supporters of King Herod Antipas, the Roman client tetrarch king of Galilee, the one who had John the Baptist beheaded.  This group spoke to Jesus in flattering terms (λέγοντας).  They called Jesus their teacher or rabbi (Διδάσκαλε,).  They said that they knew that Jesus was sincere or truthful, since he knew the truthful way of God (οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἀληθὴς εἶ καὶ τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  He taught truthfulness (ἐν ἀληθείᾳ διδάσκεις).  Jesus did not show any deference to anybody (καὶ οὐ μέλει σοι περὶ οὐδενός).  He did not regard people with partiality based on their appearances (οὐ γὰρ βλέπεις εἰς πρόσωπον ἀνθρώπων).  They were buttering up Jesus with these flattering statements about how he was so sincere and truthful, since he had not shown any deference or partiality to anybody.  Do you flatter people to trick them?

They butter up Jesus (Mk 12:14-12:14)

“They came.

They said

To Jesus.

‘Teacher!

We know

That you are sincere.

You show deference

To no one.

You do not regard

People

With partiality.

But you teach

The way of God

In accordance

With truth.’”

 

καὶ ἐλθόντες λέγουσιν αὐτῷ Διδάσκαλε, οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἀληθὴς εἶ καὶ οὐ μέλει σοι περὶ οὐδενός· οὐ γὰρ βλέπεις εἰς πρόσωπον ἀνθρώπων, ἀλλ’ ἐπ’ ἀληθείας τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ διδάσκεις·

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 22:16, and Luke, chapter 20:21, almost word for word.  Mark said that the Pharisees and the Herodians came and spoke to Jesus (καὶ ἐλθόντες λέγουσιν αὐτῷ).  They called Jesus their teacher or rabbi (Διδάσκαλε).  They said that they knew that Jesus was sincere or truthful (οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἀληθὴς), because Jesus did not show any deference to anybody (εἶ καὶ οὐ μέλει σοι περὶ οὐδενός).  He did not regard people with partiality based on their appearances (οὐ γὰρ βλέπεις εἰς πρόσωπον ἀνθρώπων).  Thus, Jesus taught the truthful way of God (ἀλλ’ ἐπ’ ἀληθείας τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ διδάσκεις).  They were buttering him up with these flattering statements about how he was so sincere and truthful, since he had not shown any deference or partiality to anybody.

 

The bronze man (Ezek 40:3-40:4)

“When he brought me there,

A man was there.

His appearance shone

Like bronze.

He had a linen cord

With a measuring reed

In his hand.

He was standing

In the gateway.

The man said to me.

‘Son of man!

Look closely!

Listen attentively!

Set your mind

Upon all

That I shall show you.

You were brought here

In order

That I might show it

To you.

Declare all

That you see

To the house of Israel!’”

Who was this bronze man? He was not a comic book superhero, but a man that appeared to be bronze. Was he a deeply tanned man? Was he an angel of God? Was he God himself? Many have interpreted him as an angel or messenger as in other later Second Temple literature. Genesis, chapter 18, has similar appearances of men who were either angels of God or God himself. Anyway, this bronze man greeted Ezekiel at the gateway. He had in his hand a linen cord to measure short distances and a measuring reed to measure long distances. Then this man also called Ezekiel the son of man, just like Yahweh had. This bronze man told him to look closely and listen attentively. He was to keep his mind focused on what this guy was going to show him. After Ezekiel had seen this, he was then to tell the house of Israel about it. For the next few chapters, this bronze man will be the guide who measured the Temple for Ezekiel.

The clever ones (Sir 19:23-19:30)

“There is cleverness

That is detestable.

There is a fool

Who merely lacks wisdom.

Better are the God-fearing

Who lacks understanding

Than the highly intelligent

Who transgresses the law.

There is cleverness

That is exact

But unjust.

There are people

Who abuse favors

To gain a verdict.

There is a villain

Bowed down in mourning.

But inwardly

He is full of deceit.

He hides his face.

He pretends not to hear.

But when no one notices,

He will take advantage of you.

Even if he lacks strength

It does not keep him from sinning.

He will nevertheless do evil

When he finds the opportunity.

A person is known

By his appearance.

A sensible person is known

When first met,

Face to face.

A person’s attire shows what he is.

His hearty laughter shows what he is.

The way he walks shows what he is.”

Sirach then attacks the clever ones with their cleverness, who are really detestable fools who lack wisdom. It is better to be a God fearing person without intelligence than an intelligent transgressor of the law. There are exacting clever people who are unjust. These clever people use the legal system to avoid a bad verdict. They pretend to bow down before you, but there is only deceit in their hearts. They pretend not to hear and not to care, until the right time comes along. Then they take advantage of you. Even if these clever fools are not strong, they will try to do as much evil as they can. They will find any opportunity to be wicked. Look at the appearances of people. See what clothes they are wearing. See how they laugh and walk. Thus you can spot these clever wicked fools.

The story of Judas Maccabeus (2 Macc 2:19-2:22)

“This is the story of Judas Maccabeus and his brothers. This is about the purification of the great temple and the dedication of the altar. Further there is an explanation of the wars against Antiochus Epiphanes and his son Eupator. There were appearances that came from heaven to those who fought bravely for Judaism. Although few in number, they seized the whole land and pursued the barbarian hordes. They regained possession of the temple famous throughout the world. They freed the city. They re-established the laws that were about to be abolished. The Lord with great kindness became gracious to them.”

For the first time, we have a biblical author tell us what he is going to do. This style is based on the custom of Greek historians. He summarized what he was going to do. This is the story of Judas Maccabeus and his brothers. They purified the Temple and dedicated the altar. They fought wars with King Antiochus IV and his son, King Antiochus V. There was heavenly help for the Jews. Although small in number, they chased the barbarian hordes. They took possession of the Temple and freed the holy city of Jerusalem. They reestablished the laws because God was kind to them. This so-called historical work has a clear Theo-centric basis. God was on their side.