“Then the Scribes
And the Pharisees
Began to question.
‘Who is this
That speaks blasphemies?
Who can forgive sins
But God alone?’”
καὶ ἤρξαντο διαλογίζεσθαι οἱ γραμματεῖς καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι λέγοντες Τίς ἐστιν οὗτος ὃς λαλεῖ βλασφημίας; τίς δύναται ἁμαρτίας ἀφεῖναι εἰ μὴ μόνος ὁ Θεός;
Luke said that the Scribes (οἱ γραμματεῖς) and the Pharisees (καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι) began to reason or question Jesus (καὶ ἤρξαντο διαλογίζεσθαι). Was Jesus not speaking blasphemies (λέγοντες Τίς ἐστιν οὗτος ὃς λαλεῖ βλασφημίας)? Only God could forgive sins (τίς δύναται ἁμαρτίας ἀφεῖναι εἰ μὴ μόνος ὁ Θεός). Mark, chapter 2:6-7, and Matthew, chapter 9:3, are similar to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this saying about the Pharisees and the Scribes saying that Jesus was committing blasphemy. Mark and Matthew did not mention the Pharisees, just the Scribes. Mark said that some of these Scribes were sitting there in this crowded room. They were reasoning or questioning in their hearts, but not to others. They wondered why Jesus was talking this way, since it appeared to be blasphemy. Blasphemers used scurrilous or irreverent language about God. How was Jesus able to forgive sins, since only God can forgive sins? This seems like a legitimate question.
I say to you!
People will be forgiven
For their sins.
They will be forgiven
For whatever blasphemies
Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι πάντα ἀφεθήσεται τοῖς υἱοῖς τῶν ἀνθρώπων, τὰ ἁμαρτήματα καὶ αἱ βλασφημίαι, ὅσα ἐὰν βλασφημήσωσιν·
This is the first instance of Mark with a solemn pronouncement of “I say to you!” There were similar statements like this in Matthew, chapter 12:31, and Luke, chapter 12:10. Mark has Jesus tell them with a solemn proclamation (Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν). God would forgive all human sins of the sons of men (ὅτι πάντα ἀφεθήσεται τοῖς υἱοῖς τῶν ἀνθρώπων) as well as whatever blasphemies they utter (καὶ αἱ βλασφημίαι, ὅσα ἐὰν βλασφημήσωσιν). These blasphemies were abusive or bad language about God. This sounds great about everything able to be forgiven.
“When King Shalmaneser died, his son King Sennacherib reigned in his place. The highways into Media became unsafe, so that I could no longer go into Media. In the days of King Shalmaneser, I performed many acts of charity to my kindred. I would give my food to the hungry. I would give my clothing to the naked. If I saw the dead body of any of my people thrown out behind the wall of Nineveh, I would bury it. I also buried anyone that King Sennacherib put to death, in those days of judgment, when they came fleeing from Judea because of his blasphemies. In his anger, King Sennacherib put to death many Israelites, but I would secretly remove the bodies and bury them. So when King Sennacherib looked for them, he could not find them.”
Apparently, things were pretty good when King Shalmaneser (727-722 BCE) was in charge. When he died, things deteriorated so that the roads were not safe. When King Shalmaneser was alive, Tobit was active in charitable works of feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. He also began burying the dead outside the walls of Nineveh. However, things changed under King Sennacherib (689-681 BCE). He was killing Israelites when he was angry. Tobit began burying the dead Israelites.