The commandments (Lk 18:20-18:20)

“You know the commandments.

‘Do not commit adultery!

Do not murder!

Do not steal!

Do not bear false witness!

Honor your father

And mother!’”

 

τὰς ἐντολὰς οἶδας Μὴ μοιχεύσῃς, Μὴ φονεύσῃς, Μὴ κλέψῃς, Μὴ ψευδομαρτυρήσῃς, Τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου καὶ τὴν μητέρα.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to this ruler that he knew the commandments (τὰς ἐντολὰς οἶδας).  Then he listed a few that were “Do not commit adultery (Μὴ μοιχεύσῃς,)!”  “Do not murder (Μὴ φονεύσῃς)!”  “Do not steal (Μὴ κλέψῃς)!”  “Do not bear false witness (Μὴ ψευδομαρτυρήσῃς)!”  “Honor your father and your mother (Τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου καὶ τὴν μητέρα)!”  Thus, Jesus emphasized which commandments he wanted this man to keep.  This can also be found in Mark, chapter 10:19, and Matthew, chapter 19:17-19, but slightly different, since Luke and Mark are closer to each other.  Mark said that Jesus gave the classic answer for those who wanted to enter eternal life.  They knew the commandments or laws (τὰς ἐντολὰς οἶδας).  Follow them!  Mark did not have any question about which commandments to follow.  Jesus just mentioned some of the commandments.  You shall not kill or murder (Μὴ φονεύσῃς)!  You shall not commit adultery (Μὴ μοιχεύσῃς)!  You shall not steal (Μὴ κλέψῃς)!  You shall not bear false witness (Μὴ ψευδομαρτυρήσῃς)!  You shall not defraud (Μὴ ἀποστερήσῃς)!  Honor your father (Τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου)!  Honor your mother (καὶ τὴν μητέρα)!  All of these are from the Ten Commandments in Exodus, chapter 20:12-16, and Deuteronomy, chapter 5:16-20.  Mark added the comment about not defrauding others that was not in Luke.  In Matthew, this person asked Jesus which commandments (λέγει αὐτῷ Ποίας) should he follow.  Thus, Jesus responded to him (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἔφη) directly citing which commandments.  You shall not kill or murder (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἔφη)!  You shall not commit adultery (Οὐ μοιχεύσεις)!  You shall not steal (Οὐ κλέψεις)!  You shall not bear false witness (Οὐ ψευδομαρτυρήσεις)!  Honor your father (Τίμα τὸν πατέρα)!  Honor your mother (καὶ τὴν μητέρα)!  All of these are the same as in Mark and Luke.  However, Matthew added something not in the other two gospel stories.  This man was to love or esteem his neighbor as himself (καὶ Ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν), that was from Leviticus, chapter 19:18.  Do you think that the Ten Commandments are important?

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The conversion of the wicked ones (Ezek 33:14-33:16)

“Again,

Although I say

To the wicked!

‘You shall surely die!’

Yet if they turn

From their sin,

If they do

What is lawful,

What is right,

They shall surely live.

If the wicked ones restore

The pledge,

If they give back

What they have taken

By robbery,

They shall surely live.

If they walk

In the statutes of life,

If they commit no iniquity,

They shall surely live.

They shall not die.

None of the sins

That they have committed

Shall be remembered

Against them.

They have done

What is lawful.

They have done

What is right.

They shall surely live.”

This time, Yahweh turned to the wicked ones. They were going to die if they did not turn away from their sin. However, if they did what was lawful and right, they would surely live. If these wicked ones restored their debt pledges and gave back what they have stolen in their robberies, they would live. If they walked in the statutes of life, and did not commit any iniquity, they would live, not die. None of the sins that they had committed would be remembered against them. As long as they did what was lawful and right, they would surely live. There was hope for these wicked sinners.

The bad people in Jerusalem (Ezek 22:6-25:9)

“The princes of Israel

In you,

Everyone

According to his power,

Has been bent

On shedding blood.

Fathers are treated

With contempt.

Mothers are treated

With contempt

In you.

The alien,

Residing within you,

Suffers extortion.

The orphans

Are wronged

In you.

The widows

Are wronged

In you.

You have despised

My holy things.

You have profaned

My Sabbath.

There are men

In you

Who slander

To shed blood.

There are men

In you

Who eat

Upon the mountains.

Men commit lewdness

In your midst.”

A lot of bad things were happening in Jerusalem. The princes of Israel had been shedding blood. Parents, both mothers and fathers, were treated with contempt. The alien residents suffered extortion. The orphans and the widows were wronged. The people of Jerusalem have despised Yahweh’s holy things and profaned his Sabbath. They slander and shed blood. They eat on the mountains. They commit lewd actions in their midst.

The righteous become wicked (Ezek 18:24-18:24)

“But when the righteous

Turn away

From their righteousness,

Shall they live?

If they commit iniquity,

If they do

The same abominable things

That the wicked do,

Shall they live?

None of the righteous deeds

That they had done

Shall be remembered.

For the treachery

That they are guilty of,

As well as the sin

That they have committed,

They shall die.”

What happens if the righteous turn away from their righteousness, will they live? If they commit iniquity and do abominable things like the wicked do, will they live? None of their righteous deeds would be remembered. The guilty treacherous sins that they committed will bring them death.

The good son of the unrighteous man (Ezek 18:14-18:17)

“But if this man

Has a son

Who sees all the sins

That his father

Has done,

Then considers it,

But does not do likewise,

Should he live?

This son does not

Eat upon the mountains

Or lift up his eyes

To the idols

Of the house of Israel.

He does not

Defile his neighbor’s wife

Or wrong any one.

He does not

Exact pledges

Or commit robbery.

But he gives his bread

To the hungry.

He covers the naked

With a garment.

He withholds his hand

From iniquity.

He takes no advance

Or accrues interest.

He observes

My ordinances.

He follows

My statutes.

He shall not die

For his father’s iniquity.

He shall surely live.”

What happens to the son of an unrighteous person? What if the son sees all the sins that his father has done, but decides to not follow in his father’s footsteps? This son does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel. He does not defile his neighbor’s wife or wrong any one. He does not exact pledges for loans or commit any robberies. However, he gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment. He stays away from iniquity. He does not take any advances or accrue interest. He observes Yahweh’s ordinances and statutes. He is not going to die because of his father’s iniquity. Rather he will live.

What they should avoid (Jer 7:8-7:11)

“‘Here you are.

You trust in deceptive words to no avail.

Will you steal?

Will you murder?

Will you commit adultery?

Will you swear falsely?

Will you make offerings to Baal?                              

Will you go after other gods

That you have not known?

Then you will come.

You will stand before me

In this house,

That is called by my name.

You will say.

‘We are safe!’

Yet you only go on doing

All these abominations.

Has this house,

That is called by my name,

Become a den of robbers

In your sight?

You know,

I too am watching.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, asks the people if they will really give up their deceptive ways. Are they going to continue to steal, murder, commit adultery, and swear falsely? Were they going to continue to offer sacrifices to the Baal gods? Were they going to continue to run after other gods that they know nothing about? Then why would they come to Yahweh’s Temple and say that they were safe there? While they proclaim their love of Yahweh, they continue to commit all these abominations. They have made his Temple into a den of robbers. Yet Yahweh was watching what was going on.

The blessed rich person (Sir 31:8-31:11)

“Blessed is the rich person

Who is found blameless!

He does not go after gold.

Who is he?

We may praise him.

He has done wonders

Among his people.

Who has been tested by it?

Who has been found perfect?

Let it be for him

A ground for boasting.

Who has had the power

To transgress?

Yet he did not transgress.

Who has the power

To do evil?

Yet he did not do it.

His prosperity will be established.

The assembly will proclaim

His acts of charity.”

A rich person can be blessed, if he is if found blameless by not going after gold. Who is this person? Can we find him, so that we can praise him? He has done wonders among his people. He was tested and found perfect, so that now he can boast. He had the power to commit sins, but he did not. He had the power to do evil, but he did not. His prosperity will be established. The assembly will proclaim his acts of charity. Thus Sirach has found the good rich person.