Interpreting the present time (Lk 12:56-12:56)

“You hypocrites!

You know how

To interpret

The appearance of earth

And the sky.

But why do you not know

How to interpret

This present time?”

 

ὑποκριταί, τὸ πρόσωπον τῆς γῆς καὶ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ οἴδατε δοκιμάζειν, τὸν καιρὸν δὲ τοῦτον πῶς οὐ δοκιμάζετε;

 

Luke indicated that Jesus called these people hypocrites (ὑποκριταί).  They were able to know how to interpret (οἴδατε δοκιμάζειν) the appearances of the earth (τὸ πρόσωπον τῆς γῆς) and the sky (καὶ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ).  However, they did not know how to interpret (πῶς οὐ δοκιμάζετε) this present time (τὸν καιρὸν δὲ τοῦτον).  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 16:3, perhaps indicating a Q source, where Jesus asked them how come they were so good at discerning the overcast stormy weather signs in the heavens (τὸ μὲν πρόσωπον τοῦ οὐρανοῦ γινώσκετε διακρίνειν), but they were unable to interpret the signs of the times (τὰ δὲ σημεῖα τῶν καιρῶν οὐ δύνασθε), since the weather signs were in the heavenly skies also.  In other words, they were very good at predicting the weather, but had no idea about other heavenly things to come.  Are you good at predicting the weather?

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The weather signs (Mt 16:2-16:3)

“Jesus answered them.

‘When it is evening,

You say.

‘It will be fair weather

Because the sky is red.’

In the morning,

You say.

‘It will be stormy today

Because the sky is red

And threatening.’

You know how to interpret

The appearance of the sky.

But you cannot interpret

The signs of the times.”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ὀψίας γενομένης λέγετε Εὐδία, πυρράζει γὰρ ὁ οὐρανός·

καὶ πρωΐ Σήμερον χειμών, πυρράζει γὰρ στυγνάζων ὁ οὐρανός. τὸ μὲν πρόσωπον τοῦ οὐρανοῦ γινώσκετε διακρίνειν, τὰ δὲ σημεῖα τῶν καιρῶν οὐ δύνασθε;

 

Matthew is the only one who has this weather saying of Jesus, although Luke, chapter 12:54-56, has Jesus issue some weather commentary about northern and southern winds and rain.  Jesus told the Pharisees and Sadducees that they could read the signs in the sky about weather and storms, but they were unable to recognize the signs in their own world.  Most farmers are aware of the red sky in the morning was a warning, while the red sky at night was a delight.  Jesus answered them (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that at evening time, people would say that there would be good or fair weather if the setting sun in the sky was red (Ὀψίας γενομένης λέγετε Εὐδία, πυρράζει γὰρ ὁ οὐρανός).  On the other hand, if the sky was red today in the morning, they thought that it would be a stormy day (καὶ πρωΐ Σήμερον χειμών, πυρράζει γὰρ στυγνάζων ὁ οὐρανός).  Then he asked them how come they were so good at discerning the overcast stormy weather signs in the heavens (τὸ μὲν πρόσωπον τοῦ οὐρανοῦ γινώσκετε διακρίνειν), but they were unable to interpret the signs of the times (τὰ δὲ σημεῖα τῶν καιρῶν οὐ δύνασθε), since the weather signs were in the heavenly skies.

Learn the ways of Yahweh (Hos 14:9-14:9)

“Those who are wise,

Understand these things.

Those who are discerning,

Know them.

The ways of Yahweh

Are right.

The upright

Walk in them.

But transgressors

Stumble in them.”

Hosea ended with a final note about wisdom, probably a later addition. The wise ones would understand these things. The discerning ones would know them. The ways of Yahweh are right, so that the upright ones walk in his way. However, the transgressors stumble in the ways of Yahweh. Once again, the good will walk straight, but the evil ones will stumble and fall.

Insincere worship (Isa 29:13-29:14)

“Yahweh said.

‘These people draw near

With their mouths.

They honor me

With their lips.

However their hearts

Are far from me.

Their worship of me is

A human commandment

Learned by rote.

So I will again do

Marvelous things

With this people,

I will again do

Shocking things.

I will again do

Amazing things.

The wisdom of their wise

Shall perish.

The discernment of their discerning

Shall be hidden’”

This oracle of Yahweh, via Isaiah, centers on insincere worship. They adore the Lord with their mouths and lips, but their hearts are far away. They only praise the Lord because of human demands, as they recite rote prayers. However, Yahweh, the Lord, was going to do marvelous, amazing, and shocking things for his people. The wisdom of the wise would perish, while the discernment of the discerning was hidden.

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.

Fools (Prov 17:7-17:10)

“Fine speech is not becoming to a fool.

Still less is false speech becoming to a ruler.

A bribe is like a magic stone

In the eyes of those who gives it.

Wherever they turn,

They prosper.

Whoever forgives an affront

Fosters friendship.

But whoever dwells on disputes

Will alienate a friend.

A rebuke goes deeper into a discerning person

Than a hundred blows into a fool.”

Fools do not have fine speech. Rulers should not lie. A bribe is a like a magic stone for the one who gives bribes. Things seem to happen for them magically, as they prosper. If you forgive someone who has offended you, you are actually fostering friendship. However, if you dwell on disputes, you will alienate a friend. You can criticize a discerning person with some reward, but it would be foolish to try to change a fool with a 100 blows or lashes.