Jesus perceived their craftiness (Lk 20:23-20:23)

“But Jesus perceived

Their craftiness.”

 

κατανοήσας δὲ αὐτῶν τὴν πανουργίαν

 

Luke said that Jesus perceived, understood, or discerned (κατανοήσας) their cunning craftiness (δὲ αὐτῶν τὴν πανουργίαν).  There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 22:18, and in Mark, chapter 12:15.  Mark said that Jesus was aware of their evil intentions or hypocrisy (ὁ δὲ εἰδὼς αὐτῶν τὴν ὑπόκρισιν).  He asked them (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) why were they testing or tempting him (Τί με πειράζετε)?  This idea of testing or tricking Jesus was a common theme in the gospels.  Matthew said that Jesus was aware of their evil intentions (γνοὺς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὴν πονηρίαν αὐτῶν).  He called them hypocrites (ὑποκριταί).  He wanted to know why they were testing or tempting him (εἶπεν Τί με πειράζετε).  This idea of testing or tricking Jesus was a common theme in the Gospel of Matthew, as in chapter 4:7, at the time of his temptations at the beginning of his ministry, as well as in chapter 16:1, when the Pharisees were asking for signs, and in chapter 19:3, when they were asking about divorce.  Jesus referred to them as hypocrites in chapter 6:2-5, when they were praying in public places, and in chapter 6:16, when they were fasting, as well as in chapter 15:7, when they were dishonoring their parents in order to worship in the Temple.  Do you consider yourself crafty?

A very destructive king (Dan 8:23-8:25)

“At the end of their rule,

When the transgressions

Have reached

Their full measure,

A king of bold countenance,

Skilled in intrigue,

Shall grow strong in power.

He shall cause

Fearful destruction.

He shall succeed

In what he does.

He shall destroy

The powerful,

The people of the holy ones.

By his cunning,

He shall make

Deceit prosper

Under his hand.

In his own mind,

He shall be great.

Without warning,

He shall destroy many.

He shall even rise up

Against the Prince of princes.

But he shall be broken,

But not by human hands.’”

Gabriel continued his explanation of the vision. He pointed out that one of the last rulers would be skilled in intrigue and grow strong in power. The obvious allusion is to King Antiochus IV Epiphanes. He would successfully destroy others by getting rid of powerful people, even the holy ones, without warning. His cunning would make deceit prosper. 1 Maccabees, chapter 1, goes into great detail about this king. In his own mind, he would be great. He would even go against the Prince of princes. Finally, God, not human hands, would break him.

The wicked ones (Ps 58:3-58:5)

“The wicked go astray from the womb.

They err from their birth.

They speak lies.

They have venom

Like the venom of a serpent.

They have venom

Like the deaf adder that stops its ear.

Thus it does not hear

The voice of charmers.

It does not hear

The voice of the cunning enchanter.”

David then went into a diatribe description of the wicked ones. He maintained that the wicked peopple were so from their time in the womb, from their birth. This was the nature of the wicked, since there was no question of nurture. They were snakes with their deadly venom whether it be a serpent or an adder group of snakes. This adder venomous snake seems to be smarter or more cunning since it covers its ears so that the snake charmer cannot influence it. This is odd, but not out of line with the thinking that the snake, the adder, or serpent was evil.