The great condemnation (Lk 20:47-20:47)

“The Scribes

Devour

Widows’ houses.

They say long prayers

For the sake of appearance.

They will receive

A greater condemnation.”

 

οἳ κατεσθίουσιν τὰς οἰκίας τῶν χηρῶν καὶ προφάσει μακρὰ προσεύχονται· οὗτοι λήμψονται περισσότερον κρίμα.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus continued with his condemnation of the Scribes.  He said that the Scribes devour widows’ houses (οἱ κατεσθίοντες τὰς οἰκίας τῶν χηρῶν).  They say long prayers for the sake of appearance (καὶ προφάσει μακρὰ προσευχόμενοι).  They will receive the greater condemnation (οὗτοι λήμψονται περισσότερον κρίμα).  Mark, chapter 12:40, and Matthew, chapter 23:14, are almost word for word like here in Luke.  They all talked about how these Scribes took advantage of widows and pretended to be men of prayer.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that these Scribes devoured widows’ houses (οἱ κατεσθίοντες τὰς οἰκίας τῶν χηρῶν), the same as Luke.  What did he mean by that?  They obviously took advantage of the generosity of widows.  For the sake of appearances, these Scribes said long prayers (καὶ προφάσει μακρὰ προσευχόμενοι).  Thus, they would receive a great severe condemnation (οὗτοι λήμψονται περισσότερον κρίμα.) for their behavior.  Once again, there was no mention of any Pharisees, just the Scribes.  In Matthew, this first part of the opening verse is exactly the same as the preceding verse.  Woe to you (Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν)!  Scribes (γραμματεῖς)!  Woe to you!  Pharisees (καὶ Φαρισαῖοι)!  Hypocrites (ὑποκριταί)!  There is no doubt that here Jesus was cursing both the Scribes and the Pharisees, who were devouring widow’s houses (ὅτι κατεσθίετε τὰς οἰκίας τῶν χηρῶν), as they were taking advantage of widows.  They also made long lengthy prayers (καὶ προφάσει μακρὰ προσευχόμενοι), so that they would look better and more pious.  However, they were about to receive a greater condemnation (διὰ τοῦτο λήψεσθε περισσότερον κρίμα) than they had expected.  Once again, the major difference was the role of the Pharisees in Matthew, that is not in Luke or Mark.  Are you a hypocrite?

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Watch what the Scribes do (Mk 12:40-12:40)

“The Scribes devour

Widows’ houses.

For the sake of appearance,

They say long prayers.

They will receive

The greater condemnation.”

 

οἱ κατεσθίοντες τὰς οἰκίας τῶν χηρῶν καὶ προφάσει μακρὰ προσευχόμενοι, οὗτοι λήμψονται περισσότερον κρίμα.

 

Next Mark talked about how these Scribes took advantage of widows and pretended to be men of prayer.  Something similar can be found in Luke, chapter 20:47, but not in MatthewMark indicated that Jesus said that these Scribes devoured widows’ houses.  What did he mean by that?  They obviously took advantage of the generosity of widows.  For the sake of appearances, these Scribes said long prayers.  Thus, they would receive a great severe condemnation for their behavior.  Once again, there was no mention of any Pharisees, just the Scribes.

Shut off heaven (Mt 23:14-23:14)

“Woe to you!

Scribes!

Woe to you!

Pharisees!

Hypocrites!

You devour widow’s houses!

For the sake of appearance,

You make long prayers!

Therefore,

You will receive

The greater condemnation.”

 

Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν, γραμματεῖς καὶ Φαρισαῖοι, ὑποκριταί, ὅτι κατεσθίετε τὰς οἰκίας τῶν χηρῶν, καὶ προφάσει μακρὰ προσευχόμενοι· διὰ τοῦτο λήψεσθε περισσότερον κρίμα.

 

This verse is missing in a number of manuscripts but can be found in other Greek Orthodox versions of this unique saying of Matthew.  This first part of the opening verse is exactly the same as the preceding verse.  Woe to you (Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν)!  Scribes (γραμματεῖς)!  Woe to you!  Pharisees (καὶ Φαρισαῖοι)!  Hypocrites (ὑποκριταί)!  There is no doubt that here Jesus was cursing the Scribes and the Pharisees, who were devouring widow’s houses (ὅτι κατεσθίετε τὰς οἰκίας τῶν χηρῶν), as they were taking advantage of widows.  They also made long lengthy prayers (καὶ προφάσει μακρὰ προσευχόμενοι·), so that they would look better and more pious.  However, they were about to receive a greater condemnation (διὰ τοῦτο λήψεσθε περισσότερον κρίμα) than they had expected.

 

The clan leaders of Judah (Zech 12:6-12:6)

“On that day,

I will make

The clan leaders of Judah

Like a blazing pot

On a pile of wood.

They will be

Like a flaming torch

Among sheaves.

They shall devour

To the right,

As well as to the left,

All the surrounding people.

However,

Jerusalem

Shall still be inhabited

In its place.”

The clan leaders of Judah would be like a flaming pot on a pile of wood or like a torch among dry grain.  Yahweh would have them devour everything on either side of them, to the right and to the left.  However, Jerusalem would be unaffected, since its inhabitants would stay there.

The worthless shepherd (Zech 11:15-11:16)

“Then Yahweh said to me.

‘Take once more

The implements

Of a worthless shepherd!

I am raising up

In the land

A shepherd

Who does not care

For the perishing.

He does not care

To seek the wandering.

He does not care

To heal the maimed.

He does not care

To nourish the sound.

But he devours

The flesh

Of the fat ones,

Tearing off even their hoofs.’”

Yahweh explained what a worthless shepherd would be like.  This useless shepherd did not care about those sheep that were dying, wandering, or maimed.  He never tried to help those that were in good health.  However, he wanted to devour the flesh of the fat sheep, even tearing off their hoofs.  This was a concise description of a bad leader.

Zechariah was impatient (Zech 11:8-11:9)

“In one month,

I disposed

Of the three shepherds.

I had become impatient

With them,

They also detested me.

Thus,

I said.

‘I will not be your shepherd.

What is to die,

Let it die!

What is to be destroyed,

Let it be destroyed.

Let those that are left

Devour the flesh

Of one another.’”

Zechariah disposed of 3 shepherds in one month.  Who were these shepherds?  They may have been local Israelite officials.  Apparently, Zechariah was not pleased with them, while they detested him, not a good working relationship.  Zechariah was not going to be their shepherd any longer.  If they were in trouble about to die, let them die.  If they were about to be destroyed, let them be destroyed.  Anyone left would probably devour each other.  Everyone for themselves.

Yahweh is on their side (Zech 9:14-9:15)

“Then Yahweh will appear

Over them.

His arrow goes forth

Like lightning.

Yahweh God

Will sound the trumpet.

He will march forth

In the whirlwinds of the south.

Yahweh of hosts

Will protect them.

They shall devour their enemies.

They shall tread down

Those shooting sling shot stones.

They shall drink

Their blood

Like wine.

They will be full of blood

Like a drenched bowl,

As the corners of the altar.”

Yahweh will clearly be on their side.  Yahweh was going to be like a lightning arrow.  He was going to sound the trumpet for them to march forward.  He was going to be like a whirlwind protecting them.  Thus, they would devour their enemies and tread down the sling shot shooters.  They would be so successful that they would drink the blood of their enemies like wine.  Their bowls would be so drenched with blood that it would look like the corners of the sacrificial altars in the Temple.