Blind guides (Mt 15:13-15:14)

“Jesus answered.

‘Every plant

That my heavenly Father

Has not planted

Will be rooted up.

Let them alone!

They are blind guides

Of the blind.

If a blind person

guides another blind person,

Both will fall

Into a pit.’”

 

δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν Πᾶσα φυτεία ἣν οὐκ ἐφύτευσεν ὁ Πατήρ μου ὁ οὐράνιος ἐκριζωθήσεται.

ἄφετε αὐτούς· τυφλοί εἰσιν ὁδηγοί τυφλῶν· τυφλὸς δὲ τυφλὸν ἐὰν ὁδηγῇ, ἀμφότεροι εἰς βόθυνον πεσοῦνται.

 

Something similar to this can be found in Luke, chapter 6:39, about the blind leading the blind.  Jesus responded (δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν) to his disciples about the Pharisees.  He told them that every plant that was not planted by his heavenly Father would be rooted up (Πᾶσα φυτεία ἣν οὐκ ἐφύτευσεν ὁ Πατήρ μου ὁ οὐράνιος ἐκριζωθήσεται.).  He told them to leave the Pharisees alone (ἄφετε αὐτούς).  They were blind guides of blind people (τυφλοί εἰσιν ὁδηγοί τυφλῶν).  It was as if one blind person was guiding or leading another blind person (τυφλὸς δὲ τυφλὸν ἐὰν ὁδηγῇ).  They would both fall into a pit (ἀμφότεροι εἰς βόθυνον πεσοῦνται), a common Old Testament prophetic theme about the bad times, when you would fall into an open pit.

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Bad times (Hag 1:5-1:6)

“Now therefore thus

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘Consider how you have fared.

You have sown much,

But you have harvested little.

You eat,

But you never have enough.

You drink,

But you never have your fill.

You clothe yourselves,

But no one is warm.

You who earn wages,

Earn wages to put them

Into a bag with holes.’”

Yahweh, via Haggai, indicated that they were suffering bad times.  They had sown much, but only harvested a little.  They never had enough food.  When they drank, they were never full.  When they put clothes on, it did not keep them warm.  When they earned wages, it went into a bag with holes in it, so that they did not get to keep their own wages.  Things were not going well.

The bad harvest (Hab 3:17-3:17)

“The fig trees

Do not blossom.

There is no fruit

On the vines.

The produce

Of the olive tree fails.

The fields yield

No food.

The flock is cut off

From the fold.

There is no herd

In the stalls.”

These farmers have hit bad times.  The fig trees were not blossoming, while there were no fruits of grapes on the vines in the vineyard.  The fields were not yielding any kind of food.  The flocks were running aimlessly, while the herd was not in its stalls.  Things were in bad shape.

The arrogant Babylonians (Jer 50:30-50:32)

“‘Therefore,

Her young men

Shall fall

In her squares.

All her soldiers

Shall be destroyed

On that day.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I am against you!

O arrogant one!’

Says Yahweh!

God of hosts!

‘Your day has come!

It is the time

When I will punish you.

The arrogant one

Shall stumble.

The arrogant one

Shall fall.

There will be no one

To raise him up.

I will kindle a fire

In his cities.

It will devour

Everything around him.’”

Yahweh proclaims that the arrogant Babylonians would suffer defeat, so that their young men would die in their town squares. Their soldiers would be wiped out. Yahweh with all his hosts and armies would be against Babylon. Their time for their punishment was coming. These arrogant Babylonians would stumble and fall, but no one would help them up. Yahweh was going to set them on fire in their cities. Everything would be devoured around them. Bad times were coming to these proud Babylonians.

Trusting friendly neighbors (Sir 22:23-22:26)

“Gain the trust of your neighbor

In his poverty.

Thus you may rejoice with him

In his prosperity.

Stand by him

In time of his distress.

Thus you may share with him

In his inheritance.

One should not always despise

Restricted circumstances.

One should not admire

A rich person who is stupid.

The vapor of the furnace

Precedes the fire.

The smoke of the furnace

Precedes the fire.

Thus insults precede bloodshed.

I am not ashamed

To shelter a friend.

I will not hide from him.

But if harm should come to me

Because of him,

Whoever hears of it

Will beware of him.”

Friendship happens in good times as well as bad times. If you trust your neighbor in his poverty, you can rejoice with him in his prosperity. If you stand by him in his distress, you can share with him in his good times. On the other hand, you should not admire a rich stupid person or despise those in poverty. Where there is a smell and smoke, there surely will be a fire. So too, insults often precede bloodshed. So be careful! Sirach was not ashamed to shelter a friend. However, if any harm came to him because of that friend, this would be a reminder to others to be wary about what his friend had done. Even this friendship is a little shaky, so that you should always be on guard against false friends.

Yahweh knows the blameless (Ps 37:18-37:19)

Yod     

“Yahweh knows the days of the blameless.

Their heritage will abide forever.

They are not put to shame in evil times.

In the days of famine

They have abundance.”

Because Yahweh knows the days of the blameless, they will have an eternal inheritance. They will not be put to shame in bad times. Just the opposite, they will have abundance during a famine. It is a good thing to be blameless.