Tower of Siloam (Lk 13:4-13:4)

“Or those eighteen,

Who were killed

When the tower

Of Siloam

Fell on them,

Do you think

That they were

Worse offenders

Than all the others

Living in Jerusalem?”

 

ἢ ἐκεῖνοι οἱ δέκα οκτὼ ἐφ’ οὓς ἔπεσεν ὁ πύργος ἐν τῷ Σιλωὰμ καὶ ἀπέκτεινεν αὐτούς, δοκεῖτε ὅτι αὐτοὶ ὀφειλέται ἐγένοντο παρὰ πάντας τοὺς ἀνθρώπους τοὺς κατοικοῦντας Ἱερουσαλήμ;

 

Luke uniquely had Jesus present another contemporary event that is not attested elsewhere.  This time it was about a difficult to ascertain tower of Siloam in the old southern part of Jerusalem that accidently killed 18 people.  Jesus wanted to know if these 18 people (ἢ ἐκεῖνοι οἱ δέκα οκτὼ) upon whom the tower of Siloam fell and killed (ἐφ’ οὓς ἔπεσεν ὁ πύργος ἐν τῷ Σιλωὰμ καὶ ἀπέκτεινεν αὐτούς) were worse sinners (δοκεῖτε ὅτι αὐτοὶ ὀφειλέται ἐγένοντο) than all the other people living in Jerusalem (παρὰ πάντας τοὺς ἀνθρώπους τοὺς κατοικοῦντας Ἱερουσαλήμ)?  Did this accidental death mean that these people were sinners?  Are people who die an accidental death worse than people who die at home in bed?  Do you know anyone who died in an accident?

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Sin and punishment (Lk 13:2-13:2)

“Jesus asked them.

‘Do you think

That these Galileans,

Suffered in this way

Because they were

Worse sinners

Than all the other Galileans?’”

 

καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Δοκεῖτε ὅτι οἱ Γαλιλαῖοι οὗτοι ἁμαρτωλοὶ παρὰ πάντας τοὺς Γαλιλαίους ἐγένοντο, ὅτι ταῦτα πεπόνθασιν; 

 

Next Luke uniquely indicated how Jesus used this contemporary event to make a point.  Jesus asked them (καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) if they thought (Δοκεῖτε) that these Galileans (ὅτι οἱ Γαλιλαῖοι οὗτοι) suffered this way (ὅτι ταῦτα πεπόνθασιν) because they were worse sinners than all the other Galileans (ἁμαρτωλοὶ παρὰ πάντας τοὺς Γαλιλαίους ἐγένοντο)?  Jesus wanted to know if they thought that Galileans who got killed offering their sacrifice at the Temple were worse sinners than the other Galileans.  Is it worse to die in Church?  Does the type of death that you endure indicate what kind of sinner you were?

 

Pilate and the Galileans (Lk 13:1-13:1)

“At that very time,

There were some present

Who told Jesus

About the Galileans,

Whose blood

Pilate had mingled

With their sacrifices.”

 

Παρῆσαν δέ τινες ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ καιρῷ ἀπαγγέλλοντες αὐτῷ περὶ τῶν Γαλιλαίων ὧν τὸ αἷμα Πειλᾶτος ἔμιξεν μετὰ τῶν θυσιῶν αὐτῶν.

 

Luke uniquely said that at that very time (ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ καιρῷ), there were some people present (Παρῆσαν δέ τινες) who told Jesus (ἀπαγγέλλοντες αὐτῷ) about the Galileans (περὶ τῶν Γαλιλαίων), whose blood (ὧν τὸ αἷμα) Pilate (Πειλᾶτος) had mingled (ἔμιξεν) with their sacrifices (μετὰ τῶν θυσιῶν αὐτῶν).  This is a unique passage of Luke that talked about a contemporary event of Jesus.  Apparently, Pontius Pilate, who was rather cruel, had killed some Galileans when they were worshiping at the Jerusalem Temple.  However, there is no other indication about this incident anywhere else, nor is it clear how many Galileans were involved.  What do you think about killing people while they are praying in a place of worship?