The millstone on the neck (Lk 17:2-17:2)

“It would be better

For you

If a millstone

Were hung

Around your neck.

Then you would be

Thrown

Into the sea.

Rather than cause

One of these little ones

To stumble.”

 

λυσιτελεῖ αὐτῷ εἰ λίθος μυλικὸς περίκειται περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ καὶ ἔρριπται εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, ἢ ἵνα σκανδαλίσῃ τῶν μικρῶν τούτων ἕνα.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that it would be better for anyone (λυσιτελεῖ αὐτῷ) if a stone from a mill (εἰ λίθος μυλικὸς) were hung around their neck (περίκειται περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ).  Luke alone used the term μυλικὸς meaning mill.  They should be thrown into the sea (καὶ ἔρριπται εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν), rather than cause one of these little ones to stumble (ἢ ἵνα σκανδαλίσῃ τῶν μικρῶν τούτων ἕνα).  This saying about causing little believing children to sin or stumble can also be found in Mark, chapter 9:42, and Matthew, chapter 18:6, with some minor changes, with Matthew closer to MarkMatthew indicated that Jesus said that if anyone of them caused these little ones, who believed in him, to stumble, to sin, or be scandalized (ὃς δ’ ἂν σκανδαλίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων τῶν πιστευόντων εἰς ἐμέ), it would be better for them to fasten a great heavy millstone around their necks (συμφέρει αὐτῷ ἵνα κρεμασθῇ μύλος ὀνικὸς περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ) and thus sink and be drowned in the deep sea (καὶ καταποντισθῇ ἐν τῷ πελάγει τῆς θαλάσσης).  Mark indicated that Jesus said that if anyone of them caused these little ones, who believed in him, to be scandalized or stumble (Καὶ ὃς δ’ ἂν σκανδαλίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων τῶν πιστευόντων), it would be better for them (καλόν ἐστιν αὐτῷ μᾶλλον) to fasten a great heavy millstone around their necks (εἰ περίκειται μύλος ὀνικὸς περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ).  They should be thrown or cast into the deep sea (καὶ βέβληται εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν).  Causing the believing little children to sin meant it was better for that person to die in deep water with a heavy millstone around their neck.  This millstone was a stone for grinding various grains.  Luke never mentioned that they were believing little ones, just little ones.  Have you ever caused little children to sin?

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The swine go into the lake (Lk 8:33-8:33)

“Then the demons

Came out

Of the man.

They entered

The pigs.

The swine herd

Rushed down

The steep bank

Into the lake.

They were drowned.”

 

ἐξελθόντα δὲ τὰ δαιμόνια ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου εἰσῆλθον εἰς τοὺς χοίρους, καὶ ὥρμησεν ἡ ἀγέλη κατὰ τοῦ κρημνοῦ εἰς τὴν λίμνην καὶ ἀπεπνίγη.

 

Luke said that the demons came out of that man (ἐξελθόντα δὲ τὰ δαιμόνια ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου).  They entered the pigs (εἰσῆλθον εἰς τοὺς χοίρους).  The whole swine herd rushed down the steep bank (καὶ ὥρμησεν ἡ ἀγέλη κατὰ τοῦ κρημνοῦ) into the lake (εἰς τὴν λίμνην), where they drowned (καὶ ἀπεπνίγη).  All three synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 8:32, Mark, chapter 5:13, and Luke here, have Jesus cast out the demons into the nearby herd of pigs, with slight nuances in each story.  Mark said that Jesus allowed these evil spirits to have what they wanted.  However, Jesus showed his power.  The unclean spirit demons left the demoniac and entered the herd of pigs.  This herd then rushed down a steep bank into the sea.  Mark was the only synoptic to mention the number of pigs, 2,000, who were drowned or died in the sea.  Matthew said that Jesus then accommodated these evil spirits.  He told them to leave the 2 humans and go into the swine or pigs, which the demons did.  They entered the herd of pigs, but this herd then rushed down a steep bank into the sea, where they died in the water.  There is one problem, pigs can swim, so some might have survived.  Perhaps the unfamiliarity of these Jewish authors with pigs may have led to this harsh ending.  Anyway, the pig herd, without a particular size or 2,000 of them as mentioned by Mark, with the unclean spirits, ran into the sea off a steep bank and perished.  Have you ever seen anyone or any animal drown?

The unclean spirits enter the swine (Mk 5:13-5:13)

“Thus,

Jesus gave them

Permission.

The unclean spirits

Came out.

They entered

The swine.

The herd,

Numbering about two thousand,

Rushed down

The steep bank

Into the sea.

They were drowned

In the sea.”

 

καὶ ἐπέτρεψεν αὐτοῖς. καὶ ἐξελθόντα τὰ πνεύματα τὰ ἀκάθαρτα εἰσῆλθον εἰς τοὺς χοίρους, καὶ ὥρμησεν ἡ ἀγέλη κατὰ τοῦ κρημνοῦ εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, ὡς δισχίλιοι, καὶ ἐπνίγοντο ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ.

 

All three synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 8:32 and Luke, chapter 8:32-33, and Mark here, have Jesus cast out the demons into the herd of pigs nearby, with slight nuances in each story.  Jesus then accommodated or allowed what these evil spirits had wanted (καὶ ἐπέτρεψεν αὐτοῖς).  Then the unclean spirits demons left the demoniac (καὶ ἐξελθόντα τὰ πνεύματα τὰ ἀκάθαρτα).  They entered the herd of pigs (εἰσῆλθον εἰς τοὺς χοίρους).  This herd then rushed down a steep bank into the sea (καὶ ὥρμησεν ἡ ἀγέλη κατὰ τοῦ κρημνοῦ εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν).  Mark was the only synoptic to mention the number of pigs, 2,000 (ὡς δισχίλιοι), who were drowned or died in the sea (καὶ ἐπνίγοντο ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ).  There is one problem, pigs can swim, so that some might have survived.  Perhaps the unfamiliarity of these Jewish authors with pigs may have led to this harsh ending.  Anyway, the 2,000-pig herd with the unclean spirits ran into the sea off a steep bank and perished.

Do not cause children to sin (Mt 18:6-18:6)

“If anyone causes

These little ones,

Who believe in me,

To sin or stumble,

It would be better

For them

If a heavy millstone

Were fastened

Around their necks.

It would be better

For them

To be drowned

In the depth of the sea.”

 

ὃς δ’ ἂν σκανδαλίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων τῶν πιστευόντων εἰς ἐμέ, συμφέρει αὐτῷ ἵνα κρεμασθῇ μύλος ὀνικὸς περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ καὶ καταποντισθῇ ἐν τῷ πελάγει τῆς θαλάσσης.

 

This saying about causing little believing children to sin or stumble can also be found in Mark, chapter 9:42, and Luke, chapter 17:1-2, with some minor changes, with Matthew closer to Mark.  Jesus said that if anyone of them caused these little one, who believed in him, to stumble, to sin, or be scandalized (ὃς δ’ ἂν σκανδαλίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων τῶν πιστευόντων εἰς ἐμέ), it would be better for them to fasten a great heavy millstone around their necks (συμφέρει αὐτῷ ἵνα κρεμασθῇ μύλος ὀνικὸς περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ) and thus sink and be drowned in the deep sea (καὶ καταποντισθῇ ἐν τῷ πελάγει τῆς θαλάσσης).  Causing the believing little children to sin meant it was better for that person to die in deep water with a heavy millstone around their neck.  This millstone was a stone for grinding various grains.

The Exodus from Egypt (Wis 10:17-10:21)

“She gave to holy people

The reward of their labors.

She guided them

Along a marvelous way.

She became a shelter to them by day.

She became a starry flame

Through the night.

She brought them over the Red Sea.

She led them through deep waters.

But she drowned their enemies.

She cast them up

From the depth of the sea.

Therefore the righteous plundered the ungodly.

They sang hymns!

O Lord!

To your holy name!

They praised with one accord

Your defending hand.

Wisdom opened the mouths

Of those who were mute.

Wisdom made the tongues

Of infants speak clearly.”

This explanation of the exodus from Egypt is based on the stories from Exodus, chapters 13-15. Once again, it is wisdom that is leading the way. Day and night, wisdom provided shelter and starlight. She had brought them over the Red Sea, so that their enemies had drowned, but they were safe. Then they plundered the Egyptian soldiers. After that they sang hymns (ὕμνησαν) to the holy name of the Lord (Κύριε, τὸ ὄνομα τὸ ἅγιόν σου). Wisdom (ἡ σοφία) opened the mouths of the mute. She made infants speak clearly.