The lost silver coin (Lk 15:8-15:8)

“A woman,

Had ten silver coins.

If she loses

One of them,

Does she not

Light a lamp,

Sweep the house,

And search diligently

Until she finds it?”

 

Ἢ τίς γυνὴ δραχμὰς ἔχουσα δέκα, ἐὰν ἀπολέσῃ δραχμὴν μίαν, οὐχὶ ἅπτει λύχνον καὶ σαροῖ τὴν οἰκίαν καὶ ζητεῖ ἐπιμελῶς ἕως οὗ εὕρῃ;

 

Next Luke had Jesus present 3 unique parables that do not appear elsewhere in the canonical gospels.  The first one is a short story about a lost coin, while the other two unique parables are longer.  Jesus said that this woman (Ἢ τίς γυνὴ) had 10 drachma silver coins (δραχμὰς ἔχουσα δέκα).  If she lost one of them (ἐὰν ἀπολέσῃ δραχμὴν μίαν), would she not light a lamp (οὐχὶ ἅπτει λύχνον), sweep the house (καὶ σαροῖ τὴν οἰκίαν), and search diligently or carefully (καὶ ζητεῖ ἐπιμελῶς), until she found it (ἕως οὗ εὕρῃ).  In this story, a woman with 10 drachmas lost one of them.  The Greek drachma was worth about a day’s pay so that 10 would have been about 2 weeks’ salary.  Thus, this lost drachma would roughly be about a day’s pay.  Would she not search her house with a lamp, sweeping everywhere?  Do you search for things when you lose them?

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Blessed is the good servant! (Lk 12:43-12:43)

“Blessed is that slave

Whom his master

Will find at work

When he arrives,”

 

μακάριος ὁ δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος, ὃν ἐλθὼν ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ εὑρήσει ποιοῦντα οὕτως.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that this slave would be blessed, happy, or fortunate (μακάριος ὁ δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος) if his master or lord arrived (ὃν ἐλθὼν ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ) and found him doing his work (εὑρήσει ποιοῦντα οὕτως).  There is a similar saying about this parable of the good slave in Matthew, chapter 24:46, almost word for word, indicating a possible Q source.  In Matthew, Jesus said that this slave would be blessed (μακάριος ὁ δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος) if his master came and found him at work (ὃν ἐλθὼν ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ εὑρήσει οὕτως ποιοῦντα).  Everything would be wonderful if the master or lord of this slave came and found him diligently at work.  Are you always diligent at work?

The artisans (Sir 38:27-38:30)

“Every master artisan

Labors by night

As well as by day.

Those who cut the signets of seals,

Each is diligent

In making a great variety.

They set their heart

On painting a lifelike image.

They are careful

To finish their work.

The smith sits by the anvil.

He is intent on his iron-work.

The breath of the fire

Melts his flesh.

He struggles

With the heat of the furnace.

The sound of the hammer

Deafens his ears.

His eyes are

On the pattern of the object.

He sets his heart

On finishing his handiwork.

He is careful

To complete its decoration.

The potter sits at his work.

He turns the wheel

With his feet.

He is always deeply concerned

Over his products.

He produces them in quantity.

He moulds the clay with his arm.

He makes it pliable with his feet.

He sets his heart

To finish the glazing,

He takes care

In firing the kiln furnace.”

Sirach then explained in detail about the various skilled artists who work day and night to finish their creative works. First, there were those who made the various colorful painted seals as lifelike as possible. Then there were the blacksmiths who worked in iron with a hammer, anvil, and a hot furnace that affected their hands, ears, and eyes. Finally, there was the potter who made lots of different products. He molded the clay with his hands and feet. He finished it off by glazing it in the kiln furnace. All these artisans worked diligently until they completed their products.

A description of wisdom (Prov 8:12-8:21)

“I

Wisdom,

I live with prudence.

I attain knowledge.

I attain discretion.

The fear of Yahweh is hatred of evil.

I hate pride.

I hate arrogance.

I hate the way of evil.

I hate perverted speech.         

I have good advice.

I have sound wisdom.

I have insight.

I have strength.

Kings reign by me.

Rulers decree what is just.

Rulers rule by me.

Nobles govern by me.

All who govern rightly rule by me.

I love those who love me.

Those who seek me diligently

Find me.

Riches and honor are with me.

Enduring wealth is with me.

Prosperity is with me.

My fruit is better than gold,

Even fine gold.

My yield is better than choice silver.

I walk in the way of righteousness.

I walk along the paths of justice,

I endow with wealth those who love me.

I fill their treasuries.”

In an interesting use of a literary form, female wisdom describes herself in the first person singular, “I.” She is prudent, knowledgeable, and discreet. As God fearing, she hates evil, pride, arrogance, and perverted speech. On the other hand, she has good advice, sound wisdom, insight, and strength. All the kings, rulers, and nobles govern rightly because of her. She loves those who love her and seek her out diligently. When you have lady wisdom, then you have riches, honor, wealth, and prosperity. The fruit of wisdom is better than fine gold and silver. She walks in the way of righteousness along the paths of justice. Those who love her will be filled with wealth and treasures.

The happy ones follow the law (Ps 119:1-119:8)

Aleph

“Happy are those whose way is blameless!

They walk in the law of Yahweh.

Happy are those who keep his decrees!

They seek him with their whole heart.

They also do no wrong.

They walk in his ways!

You have commanded your precept.

You have commanded it to be kept diligently.

O that my ways may be steadfast!

That I may keep your statutes!

Then I shall not be put to shame.

I have my eyes fixed on all your commandments.

I will praise you with an upright heart.

I will learn your righteous ordinances.

I will observe your statutes.

Do not utterly forsake me!”

Psalm 119 is one of the longest psalms. However, there are not any titles to this acrostic alphabet psalm about the importance of the law. There are 8 verses to every consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet instead of just a line or two as in some of the other acrostic psalms. In this eulogy to the law, the happy ones are the blameless ones because they walk in the law of Yahweh. They are happy because they keep his decrees. They seek Yahweh with their whole hearts. They do not do anything wrong because they keep Yahweh’s commandments diligently. They are steadfast in their determination to follow the law. The psalmist will try not to be ashamed as he tries to follow the law. He gets personal since he has an upright heart. Using the first person singular, he wanted to learn all the right ordinances and statutes. He wanted to observe them. He asked Yahweh not to forsake him. This section on the first consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Aleph, comes to an end.