Lot’s wife (Lk 17:32-17:32)

“Remember Lot’s wife!”

 

μνημονεύετε τῆς γυναικὸς Λώτ

 

Luke was the only gospel writer to have Jesus remark about remembering Lot’s wife (μνημονεύετε τῆς γυναικὸς Λώτ).  This was is a reference to Genesis, chapter 19:26.  There Yahweh had rained down on both Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire, so that all who lived in those two towns and the plains around it were destroyed.  Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.  Luke and Jesus did not elaborate on the circumstances of her death, just remember it as if it was well known.  This was quite a striking biblical image, since they were in the plains by the Dead Sea that was also called the Salt Sea.  Have you ever looked back with regret?

Advertisements

Forgiveness (Lk 17:4-17:4)

“If the same person

Sins against you

Seven times

A day,

Yet turns back

To you

Seven times,

And says.

‘I repent!’

You must forgive!”

 

καὶ ἐὰν ἑπτάκις τῆς ἡμέρας ἁμαρτήσῃ εἰς σὲ καὶ ἑπτάκις ἐπιστρέψῃ πρὸς σὲ λέγων Μετανοῶ, ἀφήσεις αὐτῷ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that if the same person sinned against you (ἁμαρτήσῃ εἰς σὲ) 7 times a day (καὶ ἐὰν ἑπτάκις τῆς ἡμέρας), yet turned back to you 7 times (καὶ ἑπτάκις ἐπιστρέψῃ πρὸς σὲ), and said that he repented (Μετανοῶ, ἀφήσεις αὐτῷ), you must still forgive him (ἀφήσεις αὐτῷ).  There is something like this saying in Matthew, chapter 18:21-22, although there was no mention of Peter here in LukeMatthew indicated that Peter took on a specific leadership role.  He wanted to know how many times he should forgive his brother’s sins?  Peter wanted to know how often he should forgive his brother who had sinned against him (ποσάκις ἁμαρτήσει εἰς ἐμὲ ὁ ἀδελφός μου καὶ ἀφήσω αὐτῷ).  Peter thought that 7 would be a good number.  Was 7 times enough (ἕως ἑπτάκις)?  Most Jewish people had forgiven offenses 3 times.  3 strikes and you were out.  Peter seemed overly generous in his attempts at forgiveness.  Jesus surprised Peter with a solemn declaration (λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦ) by telling him to forgive his brother’s sins not just 7 times (Οὐ λέγω σοι ἕως ἑπτάκις) but 490 times, 7*70 (ἀλλὰ ἕως ἑβδομηκοντάκις ἑπτά).  However, this saying about 7*70 was unique to Matthew, who was the only one who ever used this number ἑβδομηκοντάκις ἑπτά in the New Testament literature.  This number, nevertheless, could be found in Genesis, chapter 4:24 when Cain and Lamech were talking about violent revenge.  Lamech wanted his vengeance 7*70.  Was this number an attempt to indicate infinity before we had that term?  490 seems overly generous in any circumstances.  However, here in Luke, it might be even more since forgiveness was expected 7 times each day.  How many times do you forgive people?

 

What happens when you deny Jesus? (Lk 12:9-12:9)

“But whoever denies me

Before others,

Will be denied

Before the angels of God.”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀρνησάμενός με ἐνώπιον τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἀπαρνηθήσεται ἐνώπιον τῶν ἀγγέλων τοῦ Θεοῦ

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that whoever denied him before other people (ὁ δὲ ἀρνησάμενός με ἐνώπιον τῶν ἀνθρώπων), they would be denied before (ἀπαρνηθήσεται ἐνώπιον) the angels of God (τῶν ἀγγέλων τοῦ Θεοῦ).  This verse is similar to Matthew, chapter 10:34, indicating a Q source.  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that anyone who denied or repudiated him before other men, he was going to deny or repudiate them before his Father in heaven also.  Once again, there was a difference between the angels of God and the Father in heaven.  Jesus wanted loyalty to him, no matter what the circumstances.  If they were loyal here on earth, he would intercede with his Father for them in heaven, as their mediator.  Would you ever deny Jesus?

The good soil bears fruit (Lk 8:15-8:15)

“As for those seeds

On the good soil,

These are the ones

Who,

When they hear

The word,

They hold it fast

In an honest

And good heart.

They bear fruit

With a patient endurance.”

 

τὸ δὲ ἐν τῇ καλῇ γῇ, οὗτοί εἰσιν οἵτινες ἐν καρδίᾳ καλῇ καὶ ἀγαθῇ ἀκούσαντες τὸν λόγον κατέχουσιν καὶ καρποφοροῦσιν ἐν ὑπομονῇ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that the seeds on the good soil (τὸ δὲ ἐν τῇ καλῇ γῇ) are the ones (οὗτοί εἰσιν οἵτινες) who heard the word (ἀκούσαντες τὸν λόγον) and held it or kept it fast (κατέχουσιν) with an honest and good heart (ἐν καρδίᾳ καλῇ καὶ ἀγαθῇ).  They would bear fruit with a patient endurance (καὶ καρποφοροῦσιν ἐν ὑπομονῇ).  This explanation of the sower parable about the good seeds can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 4:20, Matthew, chapter 13:23, and here, with Matthew closer to Mark.  Mark and Matthew indicated that Jesus said that the seeds sown on good soil were the people who heard the word and accepted it.  They then bore good fruit.  They yielded either 30-fold, 60-fold, or a 100-fold.  Matthew, had the reverse order of Mark, 100, 60, and 30, while Luke, has no number on the fruitful harvest.  Only about 25% of the seeds sown were effective.  Thus, only about 25% of the people hearing the word of the kingdom from Jesus would follow it.  The seeds or the word that fell on the path, on the rocky ground, or the thorns were ineffective.  However, even among the effective seeds that were on good soil, the word would have different results.  Some would yield 30 times, some 60, and some 100.  There was no magic formula.  The circumstances among the good hearers would also bring about a variety of responses and effectiveness.  How effective are the seeds of the word of God in your life?

Seventy times seven (Mt 18:22-18:22)

“Jesus said to him,

I do not say to you

Seven times,

But seventy times seven.”

 

λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Οὐ λέγω σοι ἕως ἑπτάκις, ἀλλὰ ἕως ἑβδομηκοντάκις ἑπτά.

 

This saying about 7*70 is unique to Matthew.  Jesus surprised Peter with a solemn declaration (λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦ) by telling him to forgive his brother’s sins not 7 times (Οὐ λέγω σοι ἕως ἑπτάκις) but 490 times, 7*70 (ἀλλὰ ἕως ἑβδομηκοντάκις ἑπτά).  Matthew is the only one who ever used this number “ἑβδομηκοντάκις ἑπτά” in the New Testament literature, but that number could be found in Genesis, chapter 4:24 when Cain and Lamech were talking about violent revenge.  Lamech wanted his vengeance 7*70.  Was this number an attempt to indicate infinity before we had that term?  490 seems overly generous in any circumstances, but was this to mean all the time?

Textual criticism

Textual criticism is the study of the variants in the original Hebrew or Greek texts.  This textual criticism attempts to establish the original wording of the biblical texts.  There is an attempt to establish the possible formation and transmission of the texts themselves.  All the original manuscripts of the Bible have been lost.  Thus, the goal of textual criticism is to recover the best critical text possible, given the circumstances of today.  Most modern translations are based on various Hebrew and Greek critical texts.  These ancient texts were copied by hand with some possible human errors.  Many kinds of copying errors have been categorized and classified.  Textual criticism is known as lower criticism, because it is the foundation for all of the other kinds of critical study.

Instructions on shame (Sir 41:14-41:16)

“My children!

Be true to your training!

Be at peace!

What is the value of hidden wisdom?

What is the value of unseen treasure?

Better are those

Who hide their folly,

Than those

Who hide their wisdom.

Therefore show respect for my words!

It is not good

To feel shame

In every circumstance.

Not every kind of abasement

Is to be approved.”

Sirach wants you to respect his words. He wants everyone to be true to their training and at peace. He thought that hidden wisdom and hidden treasures were useless. If there was anything to hide, it should be your folly. Thus it was better to hide folly than wisdom. The same with shame. You should not be ashamed in any circumstances. Not every kind of shaming is approved.