Pluck out your eye (Mk 9:47-9:47)

“If your eye

Causes you

To stumble,

Tear it out!

It is better

For you

To enter

The kingdom of God

With one eye

Than to have

Two eyes

To be thrown into hell.”

 

καὶ ἐὰν ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου σκανδαλίζῃ σε, ἔκβαλε αὐτόν· καλόν σέ ἐστιν μονόφθαλμον εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἢ δύο ὀφθαλμοὺς ἔχοντα βληθῆναι εἰς τὴν γέενναν

 

This saying about it being better to be blind in one eye can also be found in Matthew, chapter 18:9, almost word for word.  This warning was almost the same as the warning about the stumbling hand and foot.  Jesus then spoke about the problem of wandering eyes.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that if your eye causes you to stumble or sin (καὶ ἐὰν ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου σκανδαλίζῃ σε), cast it out, gouge it out, or pluck it out (ἔκβαλε αὐτόν).  It would be better for you to enter the kingdom of God (εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ) blind in one eye or one eyed (καλόν σέ ἐστιν μονόφθαλμον) than to have two eyes (ἢ δύο ὀφθαλμοὺς) but thrown into Gehenna or hell (ἔχοντα βληθῆναι εἰς τὴν γέενναν).  The Greek word for hell “γέενναν” or the English Gehenna was based on the Hebrew word Gehinnom.  That was the name of the valley south of Jerusalem where burning child sacrifices would take place.  You were better off with one eye than being in these hell fires with two eyes.  Whatever, the temptation, stumbling block or snare was, get rid of it, even if it is your eye.  This message was clear.  One eyed, one foot, or one hand was better than eternal fire.

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Cut off your hand (Mk 9:43-9:43)

“If your hand

Causes you

To stumble,

Cut it off!

It is better

For you

To enter life

Maimed

Than with two hands

And go to hell,

To the unquenchable fire.”

 

Καὶ ἐὰν σκανδαλίσῃ σε ἡ χείρ σου, ἀπόκοψον αὐτήν· καλόν ἐστίν σε κυλλὸν εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν ζωὴν, ἢ τὰς δύο χεῖρας ἔχοντα ἀπελθεῖν εἰς τὴν γέενναν, εἰς τὸ πῦρ τὸ ἄσβεστον

 

This saying about better to be maimed than sin can also be found in Matthew chapter 18:8, with some minor changes since he united the hand and foot together.    In a rather harsh statement, Mark indicated that Jesus said that if your hand caused you to stumble, sin, or scandalize others (Καὶ ἐὰν σκανδαλίσῃ σε ἡ χείρ σου), cut it off (ἀπόκοψον αὐτήν).  It would be better for you to enter life maimed or crippled (καλόν ἐστιν σε κυλλὸν εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν ζωὴν) than to have two hands (ἢ δύο χεῖρας).  Then you would go away into Gehenna (ἀπελθεῖν εἰς τὴν γέενναν), the unquenchable fire (εἰς τὸ πῦρ τὸ ἄσβεστον).  The Greek word for hell was “γέενναν” or the English Gehenna, based on the Hebrew word Gehinnom.  That was the name of the valley south of Jerusalem where burning child sacrifices would take place.  You were better off maimed with one hand than being in these everlasting hell fires.  Whatever, the temptation, stumbling block, or snare, get rid of it, even if it is one of your own hands.

Better blind than eternal fire (Mt 18:9-18:9)

“If your eye

Causes you

To sin

Or stumble,

Take it out!

Throw it away!

It is better for you

To enter life

With one eye

Than with two eyes

To be thrown into

The fire of hell.”

 

καὶ εἰ ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου σκανδαλίζει σε, ἔξελε αὐτὸν καὶ βάλε ἀπὸ σοῦ· καλόν σοί ἐστιν μονόφθαλμον εἰς τὴν ζωὴν εἰσελθεῖν, ἢ δύο ὀφθαλμοὺς ἔχοντα βληθῆναι εἰς τὴν γέενναν τοῦ πυρός.

 

This saying about it being better to be blind in one eye can also be found in Mark, chapter 9:47, word for word.  This warning is almost the same as the warning about the stumbling hand and foot.  Jesus then spoke about the problem of wandering eyes.  If your eye causes you to stumble or sin (καὶ εἰ ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου σκανδαλίζει σε), take it out, gouge it out, or pluck it out (ἔξελε αὐτὸν)!  Throw it away (καὶ βάλε ἀπὸ σοῦ·)!  It would be better for you to enter life blind in one eye or one eyed (καλόν σοί ἐστιν μονόφθαλμον εἰς τὴν ζωὴν εἰσελθεῖν) than to have two eyes (ἢ δύο ὀφθαλμοὺς) but thrown into the eternal fire (ἔχοντα βληθῆναι εἰς τὴν γέενναν τοῦ πυρός).  Whatever, the temptation, stumbling block or snare was, get rid of it, even if it is your eye.  Notice that here they are not sent to the eternal fires as in the preceding verses, but to the fires of Gehenna “γέενναν.”  The Greek word for hell “γέενναν” or the English Gehenna was based on the Hebrew word Gehinnom that was the name of the valley south of Jerusalem where burning child sacrifices would take place.  You were better off with one eye and a whole body than being in these hell fires.

Better maimed than eternal fire (Mt 18:8-18:8)

“If your hand

Or your foot

Causes you to sin

Or stumble,

Cut it off!

Throw it away!

It is better for you

To enter life maimed

Or lame

Than to have

Two hands

Or two feet

But thrown

Into the eternal fire.”

 

Εἰ δὲ ἡ χείρ σου ἢ ὁ πούς σου σκανδαλίζει σε, ἔκκοψον αὐτὸν καὶ βάλε ἀπὸ σοῦ· καλόν σοί ἐστιν εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν ζωὴν κυλλὸν ἢ χωλόν, ἢ δύο χεῖρας ἢ δύο πόδας ἔχοντα βληθῆναι εἰς τὸ πῦρ τὸ αἰώνιον.

 

This saying about better to be maimed than sin can also be found in Mark, chapter 9:43-45, with some minor changes.  Matthew also has something similar in chapter 5:30.  In a rather harsh statement, Jesus said that if your hand (Εἰ δὲ ἡ χείρ σου) or your foot (ἢ ὁ πούς σου) causes you to stumble or sin (σκανδαλίζει σε), cut them off (ἔκκοψον αὐτὸν)!  Throw them away (καὶ βάλε ἀπὸ σοῦ·)!  It would be better for you to enter life maimed or lame (καλόν σοί ἐστιν εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν ζωὴν κυλλὸν ἢ χωλόν) than to have two hands (ἢ δύο χεῖρας) or two feet (ἢ δύο πόδας) but thrown into the eternal fire (ἔχοντα βληθῆναι εἰς τὸ πῦρ τὸ αἰώνιον).  Whatever, the temptation, stumbling block, or snare is, get rid of it, even if it is one of your hands or feet.

Do not cause children to sin (Mt 18:6-18:6)

“If anyone causes

These little ones,

Who believe in me,

To sin or stumble,

It would be better

For them

If a heavy millstone

Were fastened

Around their necks.

It would be better

For them

To be drowned

In the depth of the sea.”

 

ὃς δ’ ἂν σκανδαλίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων τῶν πιστευόντων εἰς ἐμέ, συμφέρει αὐτῷ ἵνα κρεμασθῇ μύλος ὀνικὸς περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ καὶ καταποντισθῇ ἐν τῷ πελάγει τῆς θαλάσσης.

 

This saying about causing little believing children to sin or stumble can also be found in Mark, chapter 9:42, and Luke, chapter 17:1-2, with some minor changes, with Matthew closer to Mark.  Jesus said that if anyone of them caused these little one, who believed in him, to stumble, to sin, or be scandalized (ὃς δ’ ἂν σκανδαλίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων τῶν πιστευόντων εἰς ἐμέ), it would be better for them to fasten a great heavy millstone around their necks (συμφέρει αὐτῷ ἵνα κρεμασθῇ μύλος ὀνικὸς περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ) and thus sink and be drowned in the deep sea (καὶ καταποντισθῇ ἐν τῷ πελάγει τῆς θαλάσσης).  Causing the believing little children to sin meant it was better for that person to die in deep water with a heavy millstone around their neck.  This millstone was a stone for grinding various grains.

The sinning eye (Mt 5:29-5:29)

“If your right eye

Causes you

To sin,

Tear it out!

Throw it away!

It is better

For you

To lose

One of your members

Than for your whole body

To be thrown into hell.”

 

εἰ δὲ ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου ὁ δεξιὸς σκανδαλίζει σε, ἔξελε αὐτὸν καὶ βάλε ἀπὸ σοῦ· συμφέρει γάρ σοι ἵνα ἀπόληται ἓν τῶν μελῶν σου καὶ μὴ ὅλον τὸ σῶμά σου βληθῇ εἰς γέενναν.

 

Following up on the preceding saying about looking at women as adultery of the heart, Matthew has Jesus be more demanding, based on Mark, chapter 9:47, and repeated again in Matthew, chapter 18:9.  If your right eye (εἰ δὲ ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου ὁ δεξιὸς) caused you to stumble or sin (σκανδαλίζει σε), then pluck it or tear it out (ἔξελε αὐτὸν) and throw it away (καὶ βάλε ἀπὸ σοῦ).  The reasoning behind this self-mutilation was that it was better for you (συμφέρει γάρ σοι) to lose one of your member parts (ἵνα ἀπόληται ἓν τῶν μελῶν σου) than have your whole body be thrown into Gehenna or hell (καὶ μὴ ὅλον τὸ σῶμά σου βληθῇ εἰς γέενναν).  The Greek word for hell “γέενναν” or the English Gehenna was based on the Hebrew word Gehinnom that was the name of the valley south of Jerusalem where burning child sacrifices would take place.  You were better off with one eye and a whole body than being in the fires of hell.

Watch your mouth (Sir 23:7-23:8)

“My children!

Listen to instruction

Concerning the mouth!

Whoever observes it

Will never be caught.

Sinners are overtaken

Through their lips.

By them,

The reviler is tripped up.

By them,

The arrogant are tripped up.”

Sirach wanted his readers to listen to his instructions about their mouths. Do not get caught up by saying something you might regret. It is usually the words that you utter from your mouth that causes problems for sinners, revilers, and the arrogant.