Mosaic law of taking a dead man’s wife (Lk 20:28-20:28)

“These Sadducees

Asked him a question.

‘Teacher!’

Moses wrote for us

That if a man’s brother dies,

Leaving a wife childless,

The man shall marry

The widow.

He will raise up children

For his brother.’”

 

λέγοντες Διδάσκαλε, Μωϋσῆς ἔγραψεν ἡμῖν, ἐάν τινος ἀδελφὸς ἀποθάνῃ ἔχων γυναῖκα, καὶ οὗτος ἄτεκνος ᾖ, ἵνα λάβῃ ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ ἐξαναστήσῃ σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ.

 

Luke said that these Sadducees asked Jesus a question (λέγοντες), respectfully calling him “Teacher (Διδάσκαλε)!”  They said that Moses wrote for them (Μωϋσῆς ἔγραψεν ἡμῖν) in Deuteronomy, chapter 25:5-10, that if a man’s brother dies (ἐάν τινος ἀδελφὸς ἀποθάνῃ), leaving a wife childless (ἔχων γυναῖκα, καὶ οὗτος ἄτεκνος ᾖ), that man should marry the widow (ἵνα λάβῃ ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα) to raise up children or seed for his brother (καὶ ἐξαναστήσῃ σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ).  Luke was the only Greek biblical writer to use this word ἄτεκνος, that means childless.  Matthew, chapter 22:24, and Mark, chapter 12:19, are almost word for word as here in LukeMark said that these Sadducees addressed Jesus very respectfully as “Teacher (Διδάσκαλε).”  They quoted a Mosaic text that Moses had written for them (Μωϋσῆς ἔγραψεν ἡμῖν),  If a man’s brother should die (ὅτι ἐάν τινος ἀδελφὸς ἀποθάνῃ) leaving behind a wife (καὶ καταλίπῃ γυναῖκα) without any children (καὶ μὴ ἀφῇ τέκνον), his living brother should take his dead brother’s widow as his wife (ἵνα λάβῃ ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα).  He would then raise up the descendant children or seeds for his brother (καὶ ἐξαναστήσῃ σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ).  Matthew indicated that these Sadducees also addressed Jesus very respectfully as “Teacher” or “Rabbi (λέγοντες Διδάσκαλε).”  They quoted a Mosaic text, as Moses said (Μωϋσῆς εἶπεν).  If a man died without any children (Ἐάν τις ἀποθάνῃ μὴ ἔχων τέκνα), his brother should marry the widow (ἐπιγαμβρεύσει ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ).  He would then raise up the descendants for his brother (καὶ ἀναστήσει σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ).  This levirate law goes back as far as Tamar in Genesis, chapter 38:1-30, with the story of Judah’s 3 sons and Tamar, the original wife of Er.  The brother of the deceased was supposed to marry his brother’s widow if he had no sons.  The widow was not to marry outside her family.  It also assumes that the brother lived close by or in the same house as his brother.  There was no indication of whether the brother was married or not, but this seems to assume a younger brother.  This was an attempt to prolong the heritage and name of a person, which was common in ancient times.  The punishment for the brother’s refusal was an insult, rather than any physical punishment.  Would you marry the wife or husband or your dead brother or sister?

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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?

The narrow door (Lk 13:23-13:24)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Strive to enter

Through the narrow door!

I tell you!

Many will try

To enter

And will not be able.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς

Ἀγωνίζεσθε εἰσελθεῖν διὰ τῆς στενῆς θύρας, ὅτι πολλοί, λέγω ὑμῖν, ζητήσουσιν εἰσελθεῖν καὶ οὐκ ἰσχύσουσιν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to them (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς) that they were to strive (Ἀγωνίζεσθε) to enter (εἰσελθεῖν) through the narrow door (διὰ τῆς στενῆς θύρας).  With a solemn pronouncement (λέγω ὑμῖν), Jesus said that many people (ὅτι πολλοί) would try to enter (ζητήσουσιν εἰσελθεῖν), but not be able to do so (καὶ οὐκ ἰσχύσουσιν).  This saying of Jesus is somewhat similar to Matthew, chapter 7:13-14, where it was part of the Sermon on the Mount, not a response to a question.  Matthew had Jesus go into great detail about the narrow gate and not a door.  Jesus wanted them to enter the narrow gate (ἰσέλθατε διὰ τῆς στενῆς πύλης).  Matthew in his description of the wide or spacious gate (ὅτι πλατεῖα ἡ πύλη καὶ εὐρύχωρος) used two words for wide and spacious, “πλατεῖα” and “εὐρύχωρος,” that never appear elsewhere in the New Testament.  The easy way of the wide gate led to destruction (ἡ ὁδὸς ἡ ἀπάγουσα εἰς τὴν ἀπώλειαν).  Many people were entering through this wide destructive easy gate (καὶ πολλοί εἰσιν οἱ εἰσερχόμενοι δι’ αὐτῆς).  On the other hand, the narrow gate (ὅτι στενὴ ἡ πύλη) had a difficult way, leading to life (καὶ τεθλιμμένη ἡ ὁδὸς ἡ ἀπάγουσα εἰς τὴν ζωήν).  Only a few people were able to find their way through this difficult hard narrow life filled gate (καὶ ὀλίγοι εἰσὶν οἱ εὑρίσκοντες αὐτήν).  This idea of two ways can be found also in Deuteronomy, chapter 30:15-20, and among other religions with the way of death and the way of life.  The early Christian teachings of the Didache used this concept, as did many other dualistic religions that pointed to the choice of life or death, good or bad.  As you had basic choices in life, God was giving you this choice, life and prosperity with the narrow gate or death and adversity with the wide gate.  You had a choice between two gates.  The choice of path was yours.  Do you prefer the wide or the narrow door?

Divide the inheritance (Lk 12:13-12:13)

“Someone in the crowd

Said to Jesus.

‘Teacher!

Tell my brother

To divide

The family inheritance

With me!’”

 

Εἶπεν δέ τις ἐκ τοῦ ὄχλου αὐτῷ Διδάσκαλε, εἰπὲ τῷ ἀδελφῷ μου μερίσασθαι μετ’ ἐμοῦ τὴν κληρονομίαν.

 

This is a unique saying in Luke, not found in the other synoptics.  Luke said that someone in the crowd yelled to Jesus (Εἶπεν δέ τις ἐκ τοῦ ὄχλου αὐτῷ), calling him respectfully teacher (Διδάσκαλε).  He wanted Jesus to tell his brother (εἰπὲ τῷ ἀδελφῷ μου) to divide up the family inheritance with him (μερίσασθαι μετ’ ἐμοῦ τὴν κληρονομίαν).  Apparently, the oldest son got twice as much as the other sons, according to Deuteronomy, chapter 21:17.  This man wanted Jesus to get involved with a family dispute.  This is the second time that someone in the crowd uniquely yelled out something here in Luke.  Have you ever been involved in a family inheritance dispute?

Unlawful on the Sabbath (Lk 6:2-6:2)

“But some of the Pharisees

Said.

‘Why are you doing

What is not lawful

To do on the Sabbath?’”

 

τινὲς δὲ τῶν Φαρισαίων εἶπαν Τί ποιεῖτε ὃ οὐκ ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν;

 

As per usual, the Pharisees pop up to complain and question the disciples of Jesus.  Luke said that some of the Pharisees said (τινὲς δὲ τῶν Φαρισαίων εἶπαν) that what the disciples of Jesus were doing was not lawful to do on the Sabbath (Τί ποιεῖτε ὃ οὐκ ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν).  They posed it as a question.  Matthew, chapter 12:2, and Mark, chapter 2:24, are similar to Luke, so that Mark may be the source of this incident.  Matthew said that Pharisees saw the disciples of Jesus plucking the grain on the Sabbath.  Deuteronomy, chapter 25:24-25, stated that it was okay to pluck the ears with your hand, but you could not put a sickle to your neighbor’s standing grain or carry it away in a container.  However, Exodus, chapter 34:21, explicitly said that you could not harvest grain on the Sabbath, but did not mention any hand picking.  Thus, the Pharisees said to Jesus that his disciples were doing unlawful things on the Sabbath by plucking the grain   Notice that Jesus was not doing this, only his disciples were.

Do not tempt the Lord (Lk 4:12-4:12)

“Jesus answered

The devil.

‘It is said.

‘Do not put

The Lord,

Your God,

To the test.’”

 

καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὅτι Εἴρηται Οὐκ ἐκπειράσεις Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σο

 

Once again, this is like Matthew, chapter 4:7, but here it is the 3rd rather than the 2nd temptation.  The wording is almost the same, indicating a common source.  Jesus answered the devil with a short response (καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  Jesus told the devil that it has been said (ὅτι Εἴρηται) that he should not tempt or test the Lord his God (Οὐκ ἐκπειράσεις Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σο), as if the devil accepted God.  Jesus used this biblical quotation from Deuteronomy, chapter 6:16, where Yahweh was calling for no more rebellions like that at Massah, when they complained about the lack of water.  They were not to test Yahweh anymore.  So too, the devil was not to test Jesus anymore.

Only worship the Lord (Lk 4:8-4:8)

“Jesus answered him.

‘It is written.

‘Worship

The Lord

Your God!

Serve only him!’”

 

καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ Γέγραπται Προσκυνήσεις Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σου καὶ αὐτῷ μόνῳ λατρεύσεις.

 

Just like in Matthew, chapter 4:10, the wording is nearly the same, indicating perhaps a common Q source.  Once again, Jesus had a very direct response to the devil (καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ).  He referred to another scriptural writing (Γέγραπται) from Deuteronomy, chapter 6:13.  This was again a simple statement that you should only worship the Lord your God (Προσκυνήσεις Κύριον τὸν θεόν σου).  You should serve him alone (καὶ αὐτῷ μόνῳ λατρεύσεις).  In Deuteronomy, chapter 6:13, Yahweh had said they should only fear and serve Yahweh and swear by his name only.  The only main difference with Matthew, is that Jesus told the devil to go away.  That was not here in Luke.