“But Abraham said.
Your good things!
In like manner,
His evil things.
But now he is
You are in agony!’”
εἶπεν δὲ Ἀβραάμ Τέκνον, μνήσθητι ὅτι ἀπέλαβες τὰ ἀγαθά σου ἐν τῇ ζωῇ σου, καὶ Λάζαρος ὁμοίως τὰ κακά· νῦν δὲ ὧδε παρακαλεῖται σὺ δὲ ὀδυνᾶσαι.
This parable story about the poor man Lazarus and an unnamed rich man is only found in Luke, not in the other gospels. Luke indicated that Jesus remarked that Abraham said (εἶπεν δὲ Ἀβραάμ) to the rich man, calling him son (Τέκνον) that he should remember (μνήσθητι) that during his lifetime he had received good things (ὅτι ἀπέλαβες τὰ ἀγαθά σου ἐν τῇ ζωῇ σου). Lazarus, however, had received evil things (καὶ Λάζαρος ὁμοίως τὰ κακά). Thus, now he was being comforted here (νῦν δὲ ὧδε παρακαλεῖται) with Abraham, while he, the rich man, was in agony (σὺ δὲ ὀδυνᾶσαι). Abraham spoke to the rich man telling him that he had a good time during his lifetime, while Lazarus had not. Now the tables were turned, Lazarus would live in comfort, but he would be tormented. This was a clear sign of an afterlife with consequences based on current lifestyles. Which lifestyle would you prefer?
“It is from within,
From the human heart,
That evil intentions come.
All these evil things
Come from within.
They defile a person.”
ἔσωθεν γὰρ ἐκ τῆς καρδίας τῶν ἀνθρώπων οἱ διαλογισμοὶ οἱ κακοὶ ἐκπορεύονται, πορνεῖαι, κλοπαί, φόνοι,
μοιχεῖαι, πλεονεξίαι, πονηρίαι, δόλος, ἀσέλγεια, ὀφθαλμὸς πονηρός, βλασφημία, ὑπερηφανία, ἀφροσύνη·
πάντα ταῦτα τὰ πονηρὰ ἔσωθεν ἐκπορεύεται καὶ κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον.
There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 15:19-20. Mark indicated that Jesus said that it is from within the heart of a person (ἔσωθεν γὰρ ἐκ τῆς καρδίας τῶν ἀνθρώπων) that evil or wicked thoughts come forth spreading out (οἱ διαλογισμοὶ οἱ κακοὶ ἐκπορεύονται). This included such evil things as fornication or pornography (πορνεῖαι), theft (κλοπαί), murders or killings (φόνοι), adulteries (μοιχεῖαι), avarice (πλεονεξίαι), wickedness (πονηρίαι), deceit (δόλος), licentiousness or wanton sensuality (ἀσέλγεια,), envy or the evil eye (ὀφθαλμὸς πονηρός), slander, abusive language, or blasphemy (βλασφημία), pride (ὑπερηφανία), and folly or foolishness (ἀφροσύνη). This list in Mark was longer and different than the list in Matthew. All these evil things came from within (πάντα ταῦτα τὰ πονηρὰ ἔσωθεν). They come forth from the person (ἐκπορεύεται). They are the things that defile a person (καὶ κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον). You can clearly see what Jesus, his disciples, and the early Christian community considered as sins or defilements that made a person unclean or defiled.
“The good person
Brings good things out
Of a good treasure.
The evil person
Brings evil things
Out of an evil treasure.”
ὁ ἀγαθὸς ἄνθρωπος ἐκ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ θησαυροῦ ἐκβάλλει ἀγαθά, καὶ ὁ πονηρὸς ἄνθρωπος ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ θησαυροῦ ἐκβάλλει πονηρά.
This is similar to Luke, chapter 6:45, thus indicating a possible Q source. Matthew has Jesus continue the same dichotomy theme that only good can come from good people and only bad can come from bad persons. This is a common-sense statement that talks about good and evil men. The good or kind person (ὁ ἀγαθὸς ἄνθρωπος) brings good things out of his good treasure or store house (ἐκ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ θησαυροῦ ἐκβάλλει ἀγαθά). The evil or wicked person (καὶ ὁ πονηρὸς ἄνθρωπος) brings evil things out of his evil treasure or store house (ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ θησαυροῦ ἐκβάλλει πονηρά). There is never any ambiguity.
“Woe to you!
You get evil gain
For your houses!
You set your nest
To be safe
From the reach of harm.
You have devised shame
For your house,
By cutting off many people.
You have forfeited
The very stones
Will cry out
From the wall.
From the woodwork.”
Habakkuk’s 2nd woe or curse against the Chaldeans was about their house or dynasty. They had gathered evil things, so that they could build up their dynasty or houses. They set their houses on high perches, safe from the reach of any harm. By cutting off so many people to protect their own lives, they have brought shame to their dynasty. Thus, the very stones and the plaster of their walls and woodwork would respond and cry out to them.
Who forsake Yahweh!
You forgot my holy mountain!
You set a table for Gad,
The god of Fortune.
You filled cups of mixed wine for Meni,
The god of Destiny.
I will destine you to the sword.
All of you shall bow down
To the slaughter.
When I called,
You did not answer.
When I spoke,
You did not listen.
But you did what was evil
In my eyes.
What I did not delight in.”
Yahweh comes out really strong against the worshippers of Gad and Meni. Gad was, of course, the name of one of the sons of Jacob. The territory of Gad was on the eastern side of the Jordan River. Gad was also the name of a Canaanite or Aramaic god of good fortune, like a lucky god. Meni, on the other hand, was the god of destiny, but very little is known about him. Obviously, Yahweh was not happy about the worship of these gods. Thus they were to be slaughtered by the sword, but there is no mention of when and where this would take place. Yahweh had called, but they did not answer. When he spoke. they did not listen. They did evil things that displeased Yahweh. The result was their pending death.
“The evil intent of human art has not misled us.
The fruitless toil of painters has not misled us,
A figure stained with varied colors,
Whose appearance arouses yearning in fools,
So that they desire the lifeless form of a dead image.
These are lovers of evil things.
They are fit for such objects of hope.
There are those who make them.
There are those who desire them.
There are those who worship them.”
The righteous were not misled by human (ἀνθρώπων) art or painters with vivid colors. The appearance of these idols (εἶδος) led fools to desire the lifeless form of a dead image (τε νεκρᾶς εἰκόνος). The idol worshippers loved evil things, whether they were the makers of these idols, only desiring them, or actually worshiping them.
“But just penalties
Will overtake them on two counts.
They thought wrongly
In devoting themselves to idols.
They swore unrighteously
Through contempt for holiness.
It is not the power of the things
By which people swear,
But the just penalty
For those who sin,
That always pursues the transgression
Of the unrighteous.”
These idol worshipers will be penalized for doing two evil things. First, they thought wrongly about God (περὶ Θεοῦ) in devoting themselves to idols (προσχόντες εἰδώλοις). Second, they swore unrighteously (ἀδίκως ὤμοσαν ἐν δόλῳ) in contempt of holy things. They will receive a just penalty for their sins, as these are the transgressions of the unrighteous (ἀδίκων).
‘You give your mouth free rein for evil.
Your tongue frames deceit.
You sit and speak against your kin.
You slander your own mother’s child.
These things you have done.
I have been silent.
You thought that I was one just like yourself.
But now I rebuke you.
I lay the charge before you.’”
God continued with his rebuke of the wicked by telling them how they had sinned with their mouth. The wicked ones give free rein to their mouth to say all kinds of evil things with their deceitful tongue. They speak against their own relatives. They slander their own brothers and sisters. They did all these things, but God was silent. They thought that it might be okay since God would have done the same thing. They were wrong. Now they are rebuked as God laid out the charges against them.
“Those who walk blamelessly,
Those who do what is right,
Those who speak the truth from their heart,
Those who do not slander with their tongue,
Those who do no evil to their friends,
Those who do not take up a reproach against their neighbor,
Those in whose eyes the wicked are despised,
Those who honor and fear Yahweh,
Those who stand by their oath even to their hurt,
Those who do not lend money at interest,
Those who do not take a bribe against the innocent,
Those who do these things
Shall never be moved.”
Now we find out for sure who can be admitted to the worship of Yahweh. What are the moral pre-requisites? Here we have the list of those allowed into the temple of Yahweh. They walk blamelessly, doing what is right. They speak the truth from their heart. They do not slander. They do not do any evil things to their friends and neighbors. They despise the wicked. They honor and fear Yahweh. They stand by their own even in rough times. They do not lend money at interest. They do not take bribes that hurt the innocent. Doing all these things will get you entrance into the Temple of Yahweh.
“Yahweh my God!,
If I have done this,
If there is wrong in my hands,
If I have requited my ally with harm,
If I plundered my enemy without cause,
Let the enemy pursue me.
Let him overtake me.
Let him trample my life to the ground.
Lay my soul in the dust.
David set up a series of hypothetical things that he might have done. If he has done any of these things he should be pursued, overtaken, and trampled to the ground. His soul or liver should be crushed to dust. What were the potential evil things he might have done. Had his hands done any wrong thing? Had he turned on his allies and friends? Had he plundered his enemy unjustly? It was all right to plunder the enemy if there was a good cause. This seems unrelated to his defeated dead son. However, he felt he was being punished by Yahweh for something he did. Once again, there is a pause for a musical interlude, a Selah.