Beware of the Scribes! (Lk 20:46-20:46)

“Beware of the Scribes!

They like

To walk around

In long robes.

They love

To be greeted

With respect

In the market places.

They love

To have the best front seats

In the synagogues.

They love

The front places of honor

At banquets.”

 

Προσέχετε ἀπὸ τῶν γραμματέων τῶν θελόντων περιπατεῖν ἐν στολαῖς καὶ φιλούντων ἀσπασμοὺς ἐν ταῖς ἀγοραῖς καὶ πρωτοκαθεδρίας ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς καὶ πρωτοκλισίας ἐν τοῖς δείπνοις,

 

Luke had Jesus deliver a diatribe against the Scribes.  Jesus said to be aware of the Scribes (Προσέχετε ἀπὸ τῶν γραμματέων), because they like to walk around in long robes (τῶν θελόντων περιπατεῖν ἐν στολαῖς).  They love to be greeted with respect in the market places (φιλούντων ἀσπασμοὺς ἐν ταῖς ἀγοραῖς).  They love to have the best front seats in the synagogues (καὶ πρωτοκαθεδρίας ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς).  They love the front places of honor at banquets (καὶ πρωτοκλισίας ἐν τοῖς δείπνοις).  There is something similar in Mark, chapter 12:38-39, and Matthew, chapter 23:6-7 who had a much longer diatribe against both the Scribes and the Pharisees.  Mark indicated that as Jesus taught (Καὶ ἐν τῇ διδαχῇ), he told them to be aware of the Scribes (ἔλεγεν Βλέπετε ἀπὸ τῶν γραμματέων).  These Scribes walked around in long robes (τῶν θελόντων ἐν στολαῖς περιπατεῖν).  They loved to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces (καὶ ἀσπασμοὺς ἐν ταῖς ἀγοραῖς).  They loved the front seats in the assembly synagogues (καὶ πρωτοκαθεδρίας ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς).  They loved to have the chief places of honor at banquet feasts (καὶ πρωτοκλισίας ἐν τοῖς δείπνοις).  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that both the Pharisees and the Scribes loved to have the chief places of honor at banquet feasts (φιλοῦσιν δὲ τὴν πρωτοκλισίαν ἐν τοῖς δείπνοις) and the best or front seats in the assembly synagogues (καὶ τὰς πρωτοκαθεδρίας ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς).  They loved to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces (καὶ τοὺς ἀσπασμοὺς ἐν ταῖς ἀγοραῖς).  They loved to have people call them rabbi (καὶ καλεῖσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων Ῥαββεί), since this was an Aramaic term that generally meant great teacher or master.  While Luke and Mark only mentioned the Scribes, Matthew also named the Pharisees along with the Scribes as being these elite social butterflies.  Do you like the front row seats?

The best seats (Lk 11:43-11:43)

“Woe to you!

Pharisees!

You love

To have

The seat of honor

In the synagogues.

You love

To be greeted

In the market places.”

 

οὐαὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς Φαρισαίοις, ὅτι ἀγαπᾶτε τὴν πρωτοκαθεδρίαν ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς καὶ τοὺς ἀσπασμοὺς ἐν ταῖς ἀγοραῖς.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus the Lord cursed the Pharisees again.  This friendly dinner took a strange twist.  Jesus said that woe would come to them, the Pharisees, (οὐαὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς Φαρισαίοις) because these Pharisees loved (ὅτι ἀγαπᾶτε) to have the first seats or the seats of honor (τὴν πρωτοκαθεδρίαν) in the synagogues (ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς).  They loved to be greeted (καὶ τοὺς ἀσπασμοὺς) in the market places (ἐν ταῖς ἀγοραῖς).  There is something similar in Mark, chapter 12:39, and Matthew, chapter 23:6-7.  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that these Pharisees and Scribes loved to have the chief places of honor at banquet feasts and the best or front seats in the assembled synagogues.  They loved to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces.  Matthew also went on about the use of the term Rabbi.  Mark indicated that as Jesus told them to beware of the Scribes, but there was no mention of Pharisees, because these Scribes walked around in long robes.  They loved to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces.  They loved the front seats in the assembly synagogues   They loved to have the chief places of honor at banquet feasts   They were the elite social butterflies.  Do you like privileged public positions?

Mary meets Elizabeth (Lk 1:40-1:40)

“Mary entered

The house

Of Zechariah.

She greeted

Elizabeth.”

 

καὶ εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον Ζαχαρίου καὶ ἠσπάσατο τὴν Ἐλεισάβετ.

 

Luke had this simple meeting between Mary and Elizabeth.  Luke said that Mary entered the house of Zechariah (καὶ εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον Ζαχαρίου).  Then she greeted or paid her respects to Elizabeth (καὶ ἠσπάσατο τὴν Ἐλεισάβετ), as anyone would.  Apparently, these cousins knew each other, but how is not clear.

Beware of the Scribes (Mk 12:38-12:39)

“As Jesus taught,

He said.

‘Beware of the Scribes!

They like

To walk around

In long robes.

They like

To be greeted

With respect

In the market places.

They like

To have the best seats

In the synagogues.

They like

To have the places

Of honor

At banquets.’”

 

Καὶ ἐν τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ ἔλεγεν Βλέπετε ἀπὸ τῶν γραμματέων τῶν θελόντων ἐν στολαῖς περιπατεῖν καὶ ἀσπασμοὺς ἐν ταῖς ἀγοραῖς

καὶ πρωτοκαθεδρίας ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς καὶ πρωτοκλισίας ἐν τοῖς δείπνοις·

 

There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 23, who had a much longer diatribe against the Scribes and the Pharisees.  Luke, chapter 20:46, also had something similar to this.  Mark indicated that as Jesus taught (Καὶ ἐν τῇ διδαχῇ), he told them to beware of the Scribes (ἔλεγεν Βλέπετε ἀπὸ τῶν γραμματέων), but there was no mention of the Pharisees.  These Scribes walked around in long robes (τῶν θελόντων ἐν στολαῖς περιπατεῖν).  They loved to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces (καὶ ἀσπασμοὺς ἐν ταῖς ἀγοραῖς).  They loved the front seats in the assembly synagogues (καὶ πρωτοκαθεδρίας ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς).  They loved to have the chief places of honor at banquet feasts (καὶ πρωτοκλισίας ἐν τοῖς δείπνοις),  They were the elite social butterflies.

Rabbi (Mt 23:7-23:8)

“The Pharisees

And Scribes

Love to be greeted

With respect

In the marketplaces.

They loved

To have people

Call them rabbi.

But you are not

To be called rabbi.

You have one teacher.

You are all student brothers.”

 

καὶ τοὺς ἀσπασμοὺς ἐν ταῖς ἀγοραῖς καὶ καλεῖσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων Ῥαββεί.

ὑμεῖς δὲ μὴ κληθῆτε Ῥαββεί· εἷς γάρ ἐστιν ὑμῶν ὁ διδάσκαλος, πάντες δὲ ὑμεῖς ἀδελφοί ἐστε.

 

There is unique to Matthew.  Rabbi is a derogatory term for Matthew, rather than a term of respect as it was and is among the Jewish people.  Jesus said that the Pharisees and Scribes loved to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces (καὶ τοὺς ἀσπασμοὺς ἐν ταῖς ἀγοραῖς).  They loved to have people call them rabbi (καὶ καλεῖσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων Ῥαββεί), since this was an Aramaic term that generally meant great teacher or master.  Jesus was often called a teacher by Matthew, but not a rabbi.  Jesus warned them not to call anyone rabbi (ὑμεῖς δὲ μὴ κληθῆτε Ῥαββεί).  They only had one teacher (εἷς γάρ ἐστιν ὑμῶν ὁ διδάσκαλος), implying himself, Jesus, since all of them were brother students (πάντες δὲ ὑμεῖς ἀδελφοί ἐστε) learning from Jesus.  Matthew once again indicated his distaste for the Pharisees who called themselves rabbis.

The Chaldean response (Dan 2:4-2:4)

“Then the Chaldeans

Said to the king,

In Aramaic.

‘O king!

Live forever!

Tell your servants

The dream.

We will reveal

The interpretation.’”

The Chaldean wise men responded directly to the king. They greeted him in Aramaic with the salutation that he might live forever, as was the Persian and later Islamic custom. Notice that they spoke in Aramaic, another indication of a later work. These Chaldeans told the king that they would be able to interpret his dream for him.

The bronze man (Ezek 40:3-40:4)

“When he brought me there,

A man was there.

His appearance shone

Like bronze.

He had a linen cord

With a measuring reed

In his hand.

He was standing

In the gateway.

The man said to me.

‘Son of man!

Look closely!

Listen attentively!

Set your mind

Upon all

That I shall show you.

You were brought here

In order

That I might show it

To you.

Declare all

That you see

To the house of Israel!’”

Who was this bronze man? He was not a comic book superhero, but a man that appeared to be bronze. Was he a deeply tanned man? Was he an angel of God? Was he God himself? Many have interpreted him as an angel or messenger as in other later Second Temple literature. Genesis, chapter 18, has similar appearances of men who were either angels of God or God himself. Anyway, this bronze man greeted Ezekiel at the gateway. He had in his hand a linen cord to measure short distances and a measuring reed to measure long distances. Then this man also called Ezekiel the son of man, just like Yahweh had. This bronze man told him to look closely and listen attentively. He was to keep his mind focused on what this guy was going to show him. After Ezekiel had seen this, he was then to tell the house of Israel about it. For the next few chapters, this bronze man will be the guide who measured the Temple for Ezekiel.

Things to be ashamed of (Sir 41:17-41:23)

“Be ashamed of sexual immorality before your father or mother!

Be ashamed of a lie before a prince or a ruler!

Be ashamed of a crime before a judge or a magistrate!

Be ashamed of a breach of the law before the congregation!

Be ashamed of a breach of the law before the people!

Be ashamed of unjust dealing before your partner!

Be ashamed of unjust dealing before or your friend!

Be ashamed of theft in the place where you live!

Be ashamed of breaking an oath before the truth of God!

Be ashamed of breaking an agreement before the truth of God!

Be ashamed of leaning on your elbow at meals!

Be ashamed of surliness in receiving!

Be ashamed of surliness in giving!

Be ashamed of silence before those who greet you!

Be ashamed of looking at a prostitute!

Be ashamed of rejecting the appeal of a relative!

Be ashamed of taking away someone’s portion!

Be ashamed of taking away someone’s gift!

Be ashamed of gazing at another man’s wife!

Be ashamed of meddling with his maidservant!

Do not approach her bed!

Be ashamed of abusive words before friends!

Do not be insulting after making a gift!

Be ashamed of repeating what you hear!

Be ashamed of revealing secrets!

Then you will show proper shame.

Then you will find favor with everyone.”

Sirach indicates a long list of things that you should really be ashamed of. They include sexual immorality, lying, crimes, law breaking, unjust dealings, theft, and breaking oaths before your parents, rulers, judges, congregations, friends, roommates, and God. Besides these actions, you should also be ashamed of bad manners at meals, surliness when giving and receiving gifts, being silent when greeted, looking at prostitutes, refusing your relatives, taking someone’s gift, gazing an someone’s wife, meddling with the female servants, abusive words among friends, insulting other’s gifts, repeating what you hear, and betraying secrets. These are the proper things to be ashamed of so that everyone will like you.

King Ptolemy VI sees the destruction at Azotus (1 Macc 11:4-11:7)

“When King Ptolemy approached Azotus, they showed him the burnt out temple of Dagon, Azotus, and its suburbs destroyed. The corpses were lying about. The charred bodies of those whom Jonathan had burned in the war had been piled in heaps along his route. They also told the king what Jonathan had done, to throw blame on him. However, the king kept silent. Jonathan met the king at Joppa with pomp. They greeted one another and spent the night there. Jonathan went with the king as far as the river called Eleutherus. Then he returned to Jerusalem.”

It was hard to tell what King Ptolemy of Egypt thought about the destruction at Azotus. There were dead bodies piled up all over the place. The temple of Dagon had been destroyed. They told the king that Jonathan had done all this. Jonathan then met the king at Joppa. They greeted each other and stayed 1 night together. The next day, Jonathan left the king at the River Eleutherus, which is north of Tripolis, to return to Jerusalem.

Menace against the Temple (1 Macc 7:33-7:38)

“After these events, Nicanor went up to Mount Zion. Some of the priests from the sanctuary and some of the elders of the people came out to greet him peaceably. They wanted to show him the burnt offering that was being offered for the king. But he mocked them. He derided them. He defiled them. He spoke arrogantly. In anger he swore this oath.

‘Unless Judas and his army are delivered

Into my hands this time,

Then if I return safely

I will burn up this house.’

He went out in great anger. At this, the priests went in and stood before the altar and the temple. They wept and said.

‘You choose this house to be called by your name.

This house is to be for your people.

This house is a house of prayer and supplication.

Take vengeance on this man and on his army!

Let them fall by the sword!

Remember their blasphemies!

Let them live no longer!’”

Nicanor went to Jerusalem. Actually some of the priests and elders greeted him peacefully. Remember that Alcimus was the high priest and friend of King Demetrius I. They wanted to show him that they had made burnt offerings in his honor. However, Nicanor turned on them as he mocked them, derided them, and defiled them. Arrogantly and angrily, he said that unless they delivered Judas to him, he was going to burn down the Temple. Then he left in anger. The priests then wept praying that this was the house of God for his people. God should take vengeance on this man and his army since he had blasphemed this Temple. He should not let him live.