The shrewd one (Lk 16:8-16:8)

“His master commended

This dishonest manager

Because he had acted

Shrewdly.

The children

Of this age

Are more shrewd

In dealing

With their own generation

Than are

The children of light.”

 

καὶ ἐπῄνεσεν ὁ κύριος τὸν οἰκονόμον τῆς ἀδικίας ὅτι φρονίμως ἐποίησεν· ὅτι οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου φρονιμώτεροι ὑπὲρ τοὺς υἱοὺς τοῦ φωτὸς εἰς τὴν γενεὰν τὴν ἑαυτῶν εἰσιν

 

This parable story about the dishonest household manager or steward can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that this lord or master commended or praised this dishonest manager (καὶ ἐπῄνεσεν ὁ κύριος τὸν οἰκονόμον τῆς ἀδικίας) because he had acted shrewdly (ὅτι φρονίμως ἐποίησεν).  Once again, this term φρονίμως, meaning shrewdly, sensibly, wisely, or prudently, is unique to Luke among all the New Testament writers.  Jesus said that the children of this age (ὅτι οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου) were shrewder (φρονιμώτεροι) in dealing with their own generation (εἰς τὴν γενεὰν τὴν ἑαυτῶν εἰσιν) than are the sons or the children of light (ὑπὲρ τοὺς υἱοὺς τοῦ φωτὸς).  The sons of light are the righteous ones.  However, those people of this generation were more prudent, sensible, wise, or shrewd compared to the followers of Jesus, who tended to be imprudent in the eyes of the world.  Are you shrewd in business dealings?

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Judgment of all the countries (Joel 3:2-3:3)

“I will gather

All the nations.

I will bring them down

To the valley of Jehoshaphat.

I will enter

Into judgment

With them there.

On account of my people,

On account of my heritage,

Israel,

Because they have scattered them

Among the nations.

They have divided

My land.

They have cast lots

For my people.

They have traded boys

For prostitutes.

They have sold girls

For wine.

They have drunk it down.”

Yahweh, via Joel, said that he was going to gather all the countries of the world together in the valley of Jehoshaphat. That would have to be a big place. Actually, they were dealing with the known world of the near East at that time. Jehoshaphat means the valley of decision or the Lord judges. This was probably some place close to Jerusalem, perhaps the Kidron valley. Yahweh was going to judge these countries on what they had done to his people, his heritage, Israel. They had scattered the Israelites among the various countries. They had divided the land of Israel. They had gambled over his people, trading boys for prostitutes and selling girls for wine to get drunk on. Yahweh was going to lay down his judgment on them.

Get rid of the idols (Hos 14:8-14:8)

“O Ephraim!

What have I to do

With idols?

It is I who answer!

I look after you.

I am

Like an evergreen cypress!

Your faithfulness

Comes from me.”

In a final nod to the territory of Ephraim, Yahweh reminded them that they should not be dealing with idols. Yahweh would take care of them. He was going to be like an evergreen cypress tree. Notice the number of allusions to trees. All their faithfulness came from Yahweh himself.

The foolish children (Prov 17:21-17:28)

“The one who begets a fool gets trouble.

The parent of a fool has no joy.

A cheerful heart is a good medicine.

But a downcast spirit dries up the bones.

The wicked accept a concealed bribe.

They pervert the ways of justice.

The discerning person looks to wisdom.

But the eyes of a fool look to the ends of the earth.

Foolish children are

A grief to their father.

Foolish children are

Bitterness to her who bore them.

To impose a fine on the innocent

Is not right.

To flog the noble for their integrity

Is not right.

Whoever spares words is knowledgeable.

Whoever is cool in spirit has understanding.

Even fools who keep silent

Are considered wise.

When they closes their lips,

They are deemed intelligent.”

Foolish children are trouble. There is no joy in dealing with them. A cheerful heart is good medicine for you, while a downcast spirit will dry up your bones. The wicked judges, when they accept a concealed bribe, are perverting justice. A discerning person looks for wisdom, but fools try to go to the ends of the earth in search of something or other. Foolish children are a grief to their father and bitterness to their mother. You should not impose a fine on the innocent ones. You should not flog the noblemen for their integrity. If you do not speak too much you give the impression of being knowledgeable. If you appear cool, people assume you understand things. Thus even fools who keep silent are sometimes considered wise. Some people appear to be more intelligent when they never open their mouth or move their lips.

Introduction (Prov 1:2-1:6)

Let them learn about wisdom.

Let them learn about instruction.

Let them understand words of insight.

Let them gain instruction in wise dealing.

Let them gain instruction in righteousness.

Let them gain instruction in justice.

Let them gain instruction in equity.

Let them teach shrewdness to the simple.

Let them teach knowledge to the young.

Let them teach prudence to the youth.

Let the wise also hear.

Let them gain in learning.

Let the discerning acquire skill.

Let them understand a proverb.

Let them understand obscure figures.

Let them understand the words of the wise.

Le them understand their riddles.”

Just like the psalms, this book of proverbs has a poetic rather than prose format. Originally this section was one long Hebrew sentence. In order to become wise, they have to learn and understand words of insight, wise dealing, righteousness, justice, and equity. These proverbs will teach shrewdness, knowledge, and prudence to young people. Even the wise people can gain knowledge and acquire skills in understanding proverbs, obscure statements, and symbols. In fact, these proverbs will help you understand the wise men and their riddles. These obscure figures are more like metaphors, parables, or allegories, while the riddles use analogy.

Nicanor and Judas Maccabeus split (2 Macc 14:28-14:33)

“When this message came to Nicanor, he was troubled and grieved that he had to annul their agreement when the man had done no wrong. Since it was not possible to oppose the king, he watched for an opportunity to accomplish this by a stratagem. However, Maccabeus noticed that Nicanor was more austere in his dealings with him. He was meeting with him more rudely than had been his custom. Judas Maccabeus concluded that this austerity did not spring from the best motives. So he gathered not a few of his men, and went into hiding from Nicanor. When the latter became aware that he had been cleverly outwitted by the man, he went to the great and holy temple while the priests were offering the customary sacrifices. He commanded them to hand the man over. They declared on oath that they did not know where the man was whom he wanted. Then Nicanor stretched out his right hand toward the sanctuary. He swore this oath.

‘If you do not hand Judas Maccabeus over to me as a prisoner,

I will level this shrine of God to the ground.

I will tear down the altar.

I will build here a splendid temple to Dionysus.’”

Nicanor was troubled by the message that he got from King Demetrius I. He knew that Judas Maccabeus had not done anything wrong. At the same time, he realized that he could not oppose the direct order of the king. He was trying to figure out what to do. Judas Maccabeus noticed that Nicanor was not as friendly as before and even downright rude. He suspected Nicanor of bad motives, so he and some of his men went into hiding. When Nicanor found out about this, he went to the Temple where the priests were officiating at the sacrifices. He commanded the priests to turn over Judas Maccabeus to him. When they declared under oath that they did not know where he was, Nicanor stretched out his right hand and said that if they did not turn him over to him, he would level the Temple and the altar. In its place he would build a temple to the god Dionysus. Now this could be problem.