The widow’s petition (Lk 18:3-18:3)

“In that city,

There was a widow

Who kept coming

To him.

Saying.

‘Grant me justice

Against my opponent!’”

 

χήρα δὲ ἦν ἐν τῇ πόλει ἐκείνῃ, καὶ ἤρχετο πρὸς αὐτὸν λέγουσα Ἐκδίκησόν με ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀντιδίκου μου.

 

Luke is the only synoptic writer with this parable about the widow and the bad judge.  Luke indicated that Jesus said there was a widow in that city (χήρα δὲ ἦν ἐν τῇ πόλει ἐκείνῃ).  She kept coming to this bad judge (καὶ ἤρχετο πρὸς αὐτὸν).  She said (λέγουσα) that she wanted justice or restitution (Ἐκδίκησόν με) against her opponent or adversary (ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀντιδίκου μου).  Widows were the powerless and vulnerable in Jewish society, since they had lost the support of their husbands.  People would always be reminded to help the poor and the widows, as they were considered the same class of people, since generally, older women without husbands were poor.  This particular widow had a case against someone, so that she kept coming back to his bad judge to achieve justice or vengeance on her part.  Have you ever sued anyone?

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Be reflective (Sir 11:7-11:9)

“Do not find fault

Before you investigate!

Examine first!

Then criticize!

Do not answer

Before you listen!

Do not interrupt

When another is speaking!

Do not argue about a matter

That does not concern you!

Do not sit with sinners

When they judge a case!”

You should be reflective. Do not find fault before you investigate a situation. Consider and examine the case before you criticize. Listen before you speak. Do not interrupt others when they are speaking. Don’t butt into things that do not concern you. Do not sit with sinners when there is a case under review.

Do not take advantage of others (Prov 23:10-23:11)

“Do not remove an ancient landmark.

Do not encroach on the fields of orphans.

Their redeemer is strong.

He will plead their cause against you.”

This is a repetition of what was said last chapter about not removing ancient landmarks. This is about trying to take land from others. In particular, you were not to try to take away the fields of orphans, since they might have a redeemer or relative who would plead their case against you. Do not think that you can get away with this kind of action.

Robbing the poor (Prov 22:22-22:23)

“Do not rob the poor!

Because they are poor.

Do not crush the afflicted

At the gate.

Yahweh pleads their cause.

He despoils of life

Those who despoil them.”

Simply put, do not rob poor people because they are poor. The point is that poor people have little chance to resist a robber. You were not to crush people at the gate because that is where the accusations and trials took place. Yahweh will plead the case of the poor. If you plunder or take advantage of the poor, Yahweh will take advantage of you.