What happened to other nine? (Lk 17:17-17:17)

“Then Jesus asked.

‘Were not ten

Made clean?

But the other nine,

Where are they?’”

 

ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν Οὐχ οἱ δέκα ἐκαθαρίσθησαν; οἱ δὲ ἐννέα ποῦ;

 

Only Luke has this story about the curing of the ten lepers.  Luke indicated that Jesus asked this one leper (ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν), where the other 9 lepers were (οἱ δὲ ἐννέα ποῦ), since 10 were made clean (Οὐχ οἱ δέκα ἐκαθαρίσθησαν).  Luke remarked that Jesus wondered about the other 9 lepers.  How come only one, or 10%, of the 10 cured lepers showed up to give thanks?  Would you be the 10% or the 90%?

Ten lepers (Lk 17:12-17:12)

“As Jesus

Entered a village,

Ten lepers

Approached him.

They kept

Their distance.”

 

καὶ εἰσερχομένου αὐτοῦ εἴς τινα κώμην ἀπήντησαν δέκα λεπροὶ ἄνδρες, οἳ ἔστησαν πόρρωθεν

 

Only Luke has this story about the curing of the ten lepers, although Luke had Jesus cure a leper earlier in chapter 5:12-16, that can be found in the other synoptics, Matthew, chapter 8:1-4, and Mark, chapter 1:40-45.  Luke indicated that Jesus entered a village (καὶ εἰσερχομένου αὐτοῦ εἴς τινα κώμην), where 10 lepers approached or met him (ἀπήντησαν δέκα λεπροὶ ἄνδρες).  However, these lepers kept their distance (οἳ ἔστησαν πόρρωθεν).  Leprosy was some kind of skin disease that was usually found among poor people.  Today, there are about 2,000,000 people with leprosy or Hansen’s disease, mostly in India, Indonesia, and Brazil.  The Greek word “λέπρας” used here is a broader definition of leprosy than just Hansen’s disease.  Leprosy was a Jewish religious problem also.  What to do about it was clearly defined in Leviticus, chapters 13-14.  Leprosy in the wide sense was considered unclean and had religious connotations, since only a priest could declare a person clean, with a distinct ritual for cleansing the leper.  As a leper, they were considered unclean and not fit to live in normal communal life.  Thus, there were spiritual, physical, social, and religious implications with being a leper.  Here there were 10 lepers in this village, so that they might have been a small leper colony.  They approached Jesus, but kept their appropriate distance from him, since they were quarantined from being with other non-leper people.  Have you ever met a leper?

The outside of the cup (Lk 11:39-11:39)

“Then the Lord

Said to the Pharisee.

‘Now you Pharisees!

You clean

The outside

Of the cup

And of the dish,

But inside,

You are full

Of greed

And wickedness.’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ ὁ Κύριος πρὸς αὐτόν Νῦν ὑμεῖς οἱ Φαρισαῖοι τὸ ἔξωθεν τοῦ ποτηρίου καὶ τοῦ πίνακος καθαρίζετε, τὸ δὲ ἔσωθεν ὑμῶν γέμει ἁρπαγῆς καὶ πονηρίας.

 

Luke indicated that the Lord Jesus said to the Pharisee (εἶπεν δὲ ὁ Κύριος πρὸς αὐτόν) that they, the Pharisees (Νῦν ὑμεῖς οἱ Φαρισαῖοι), clean (καθαρίζετε) the outside of the cup and the dish (τὸ ἔξωθεν τοῦ ποτηρίου καὶ τοῦ πίνακος).  However, their inside (τὸ δὲ ἔσωθεν ὑμῶν) was full of (γέμει) greed or plundering (ἁρπαγῆς) and evil wickedness (καὶ πονηρίας).  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 23:25-26, but Jesus was cursing the Pharisees there.  Matthew said that Jesus continued to curse the Pharisees and the Scribes as hypocrites for their impure hearts or intentions.  They cleaned the outside of the cup and the plate, but let the inside remain full of greed or robbery and self-indulgence.  Jesus called them blind Pharisees.  He reminded them to first clean the inside of their cups and their plates.  Then. the outside would be clean also.  Their interior heart was important.  Luke repeated that same message here.  How clean are you on the inside?

Well organized (Lk 11:25-11:25)

“When the unclean spirit

Came back,

He found

His former home

Swept

And put in order.”

 

καὶ ἐλθὸν εὑρίσκει σεσαρωμένον καὶ κεκοσμημένον.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that when this unclean spirit came back (καὶ ἐλθὸν), he found (εὑρίσκει) that his former home had been swept (σεσαρωμένον) and put in order (σεσαρωμένον).  This saying about the returning unclean spirit can be found also, almost word for word, in Matthew, chapter 12:44, indicating a Q source.  Nothing had been put in its place, because this unclean spirit found it empty or unoccupied (καὶ ἐλθὸν εὑρίσκει σχολάζοντα), swept clean (καὶ σεσαρωμένον) and in order, newly decorated (καὶ κεκοσμημένον).  Matthew indicated that the house was empty, something that Luke did not mention.  Have you ever returned to an empty house?

Jesus cures the leprosy (Lk 5:13-5:13)

“Then Jesus

Stretched out

His hand.

He touched

The leper.

He said.

‘I do choose!

Be made clean!’

Immediately,

The leprosy

Left him.”

 

καὶ ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα ἥψατο αὐτοῦ λέγων Θέλω, καθαρίσθητι· καὶ εὐθέως ἡ λέπρα ἀπῆλθεν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ.

 

Luke said that Jesus stretched out his hand (καὶ ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα).  He touched the leper (ἥψατο αὐτοῦ).  He said that he had chosen (λέγων Θέλω) to make him clean (καθαρίσθητι).  Immediately (καὶ εὐθέως), the leprosy left or went out of him (ἡ λέπρα ἀπῆλθεν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ).  This leper healing story can also be found in Mark, chapter 1:42, and Matthew, chapter 8:3.  Mark said that Jesus was moved with pity or compassion, which was not mentioned here in Luke.  However, the healing was the same.  Jesus stretched out his hand and touched the leper, since it was not against Jewish law to touch a leper.  Then Jesus said that he wanted to cleanse the leper.  Immediately, the leprosy went away, exactly the same as here.  This leper became clean.  Thus, there was a prophetic cleansing of a leper, because Jesus had this healing touch.

The man with leprosy (Lk 5:12-5:12)

“Once,

When Jesus was

In one of the cities,

There was a man

Covered with leprosy.

When he saw Jesus,

He bowed

With his face

To the ground.

He begged Jesus.

‘Lord!

If you choose,

You can make me clean.’”

 

Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ εἶναι αὐτὸν ἐν μιᾷ τῶν πόλεων καὶ ἰδοὺ ἀνὴρ πλήρης λέπρας· ἰδὼν δὲ τὸν Ἰησοῦν, πεσὼν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον ἐδεήθη αὐτοῦ λέγων Κύριε, ἐὰν θέλῃς, δύνασαί με καθαρίσαι.

 

Luke said that Jesus was in one of the cities (Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ εἶναι αὐτὸν ἐν μιᾷ τῶν πόλεων), but without naming it.  There was a man there fully covered with leprosy (καὶ ἰδοὺ ἀνὴρ πλήρης λέπρας).  When he saw Jesus (ἰδὼν δὲ τὸν Ἰησοῦν), he bowed with his face to the ground (πεσὼν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον ἐδεήθη αὐτοῦ).  He implored Jesus, calling him Lord (λέγων Κύριε).  He said that if Jesus would choose (ἐὰν θέλῃς) to help him, he had the power to make him clean (δύνασαί με καθαρίσαι).  This was similar Matthew, chapter 8:2, and Mark, chapter 1:40.  However, here the man was fully covered with leprosy, but the request was the same.  Mark, like Matthew said that a leper was begging Jesus, as he knelt before him.  Then he said that if Jesus wanted to, he could make him clean.  This leper was asking Jesus to make him clean, so that he could join normal Jewish society again.  He knew that Jesus had the power to do this, since many prophets had cured lepers.  Leprosy was some kind of skin disease that was usually found among poor people.  Today, there are about 2,000,000 people with leprosy or Hansen’s disease, mostly in India, Indonesia, and Brazil.  The Greek word “λέπρας” used here is a broader definition of leprosy than just Hansen’s disease.  Leprosy was a Jewish religious problem also.  What to do about it was clearly defined in Leviticus, chapters 13-14.  Leprosy in the wide sense was considered unclean and had religious connotations, since only a priest could declare a person clean, with a distinct ritual for cleansing the leper.  As a leper, they were considered unclean and not fit to live in normal communal life.

The sacrifice offering (Lk 2:24-2:24)

“They offered

A sacrifice,

According to

What is stated

In the law

Of the Lord.

‘A pair of turtledoves,

Or two young pigeons.’”

 

καὶ τοῦ δοῦναι θυσίαν κατὰ τὸ εἰρημένον ἐν τῷ νόμῳ Κυρίου, ζεῦγος τρυγόνων ἢ δύο νοσσοὺς περιστερῶν.

 

Luke said that Mary and Joseph offered a sacrifice (καὶ τοῦ δοῦναι θυσίαν), according to what was stated in the law of the Lord (κατὰ τὸ εἰρημένον ἐν τῷ νόμῳ Κυρίου).  They were offering a pair of turtledoves (ζεῦγος τρυγόνων) or 2 young pigeons (ἢ δύο νοσσοὺς περιστερῶν.).  Leviticus, chapter 12:5-8, said that when the days of purification were completed, the new mother had to bring a lamb and a pigeon to the entrance of the tent of meeting for a sin offering and a burnt offering.  If she could not afford a lamb, she could bring two pigeons or two turtledoves, which was the case here, since Mary was giving the offering of a poor person.  The priest then made atonement on her behalf to make her clean.  Thus, the unclean mother’s birth had to become clean with a burnt and sin offering, since childbirth was considered an unclean action.  Her period of uncleanness was much longer than merely touching a dead unclean animal.