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 are these slaves! (Lk 12:38-12:38)

“If the lord comes

During the middle

Of the night,

Or near dawn,

And finds them so,

Blessed are those slaves!

 

κἂν ἐν τῇ δευτέρᾳ κἂν ἐν τῇ τρίτῃ φυλακῇ ἔλθῃ καὶ εὕρῃ οὕτως, μακάριοί εἰσιν ἐκεῖνοι.

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus stated that these slaves had to be alert at night also, not just during the day.  Jesus said that if the lord came (ἔλθῃ) during the middle of the night, during the 2nd watch (κἂν ἐν τῇ δευτέρᾳ), or near dawn, during the 3rd watch (κἂν ἐν τῇ τρίτῃ φυλακῇ), and found them alert (καὶ εὕρῃ οὕτως), they would be blessed slaves (μακάριοί εἰσιν ἐκεῖνοι).  If the Lord found them alert at night, they would be happy, fortunate, or blessed.  Mark, chapter 13:35, said that Jesus warned his disciples to be vigilant.  They were to stay awake (γρηγορεῖτε οὖν) because they did not know (οὐκ οἴδατε) when the lord or the master of the house would come back (γὰρ πότε ὁ κύριος τῆς οἰκίας ἔρχεται).  It could be at some unexpected time, late in the evening (ἢ ὀψὲ), midnight (ἢ μεσονύκτιον), cockcrow (ἢ ἀλεκτοροφωνίας), or at morning dawn (ἢ πρωΐ).  Staying awake at night was a good idea.  Do you stay up late, waiting for people?

The lord will be pleased (Lk 12:37-12:37)

“Blessed are those slaves

Whom the lord

Finds alert

When he comes!

Truly!

I say to you!

He will fasten

His belt.

He will have them

Sit down to eat.

He will come

And serve them.”

 

μακάριοι οἱ δοῦλοι ἐκεῖνοι, οὓς ἐλθὼν ὁ κύριος εὑρήσει γρηγοροῦντας· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι περιζώσεται καὶ ἀνακλινεῖ αὐτοὺς καὶ παρελθὼν διακονήσει αὐτοῖς.

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said blessed, happy, or fortunate (μακάριοι) would be those slaves (οἱ δοῦλοι ἐκεῖνοι) whom the lord or master (ὁ κύριος) found alert or watching (εὑρήσει γρηγοροῦντας) when he came (οὓς ἐλθὼν).  With a solemn declaration (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν), Jesus said this lord would fasten his belt (ὅτι περιζώσεται) and have them sit down or recline at table (καὶ ἀνακλινεῖ αὐτοὺς).  Thus, he would come (καὶ παρελθὼν) and serve them (διακονήσει αὐτοῖς).  Jesus stated that these alert watchful servants would be happy or blessed.  The lord (ὁ κύριος) would then serve them at table.  The motto was to be always alert.  Are you always alert to what is going on around you?

 

You will receive (Lk 11:10-11:10)

“Everyone who asks,

Receives.

Everyone who seeks,

Finds.

Everyone who knocks,

The door will be opened.”

 

πᾶς γὰρ ὁ αἰτῶν λαμβάνει, καὶ ὁ ζητῶν εὑρίσκει, καὶ τῷ κρούοντι ἀνοιγήσεται.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that everyone who asks for things (πᾶς γὰρ ὁ αἰτῶν), receives them (λαμβάνει).  Everyone who seeks things (καὶ ὁ ζητῶν), finds them (εὑρίσκει).  Everyone who knocks (καὶ τῷ κρούοντι), that door will be opened for him (ἀνοιγήσεται).  This almost seems like a repeat of the preceding verse, but it is really an elaboration of the same concepts.  Matthew, chapter 7:8, has a similar saying of Jesus, almost word for word, indicating a common Q source.  Everyone who asked, would receive (πᾶς γὰρ ὁ αἰτῶν λαμβάνει) what he asked for.  The seeker will find (καὶ ὁ ζητῶν εὑρίσκει), what he is looking for.  The one knocking will see it open (καὶ τῷ κρούοντι ἀνοιγήσεται).  All is well that ends well.  You just need a little effort in your prayer to the heavenly Father.  Do you ask thing from God the Father?

The unclean spirit (Mt 12:43-12:43)

“When the unclean spirit

Has gone out of a person,

It wanders

Through waterless regions,

Looking for a resting place,

But it finds none.”

 

Ὅταν δὲ τὸ ἀκάθαρτον πνεῦμα ἐξέλθῃ ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, διέρχεται δι’ ἀνύδρων τόπων ζητοῦν ἀνάπαυσιν, καὶ οὐχ εὑρίσκει.

 

This saying about the unclean spirit can be found word for word in Luke, chapter 11:24, indicating a Q source.  This unclean spirit left a person or a man (Ὅταν δὲ τὸ ἀκάθαρτον πνεῦμα ἐξέλθῃ ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου), after an exorcism or healing of a person.  This evil spirit usually wandered in a waterless dry areas or desert (διέρχεται δι’ ἀνύδρων τόπων), which would be the favorite places for evil spirits.  However, it would not be able to find (καὶ οὐχ εὑρίσκει) any resting place that it was looking for (ζητοῦν ἀνάπαυσιν).

 

Found lover (Song 3:4-3:4)

Female lover

“Scarcely had I passed the sentinels,

When I found him

Whom my soul loves.

I held him.

I would not let him go

Until I had brought him

Into my mother’s house.

I brought him

Into the chamber

Of her that conceived me.”

This female lover finds her male lover but does not say where he was found. It was right after she had met the sentinel watchmen. However, she would not let him go. She brought him to her mother’s house into the room where she had been conceived. This is a strong move by woman driven by love.

The inability to enjoy a wealthy life (Eccl 6:1-6:6)

“There is an evil

That I have seen under the sun.

It lies heavy upon humans.

God gives wealth.

God gives possessions.

God gives honor to people.

Thus they lack nothing of all that they desire.

Yet God does not enable them

To enjoy these things.

But a stranger enjoys them.

This is vanity.

It is a grievous illness.

If a man beget a hundred children,

If a man lives many years,

However many are the days of his years,

But he does not enjoy life’s good things,

If he has no burial,

I say

That a stillborn child is

Better off than he.

‘It comes into vanity.

It goes into darkness.

In darkness

Its name is covered.

Moreover it has not seen the sun

It does not know anything.

Yet it finds rest rather than him.’

Even though he should

Live a thousand years twice over,

Yet enjoy no good,

Do not all go to the one place?”

Qoheleth finds another evil under the sun in his pessimistic mood. What happens to those who have everything that they desire? Somehow they are not able to enjoy all their wealth. Instead a stranger seems to enjoy them. This is another useless vain thing, another grievous illness among us. Even if someone had 100 children and a long life, but cannot enjoy them, what is the point of all this? If he does not even get a burial, this wealthy person with a large family and a long life is no better off than a stillborn child. This is an amazing comparison. He maintains that the stillborn is better off because it lives in darkness with no name, never seeing the sun, or knowing anything, but finds a better rest than this old rich guy with the large family. Even though this person might live 2,000 years, he would not enjoy any good things. After all, the stillborn and this old guy, as well as everyone else, will end up in the same place, dead.