“The nobleman said
To the bystanders.
‘Take the mina
Give it to the one
Who has the ten minas!’”
καὶ τοῖς παρεστῶσιν εἶπεν Ἄρατε ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ τὴν μνᾶν καὶ δότε τῷ τὰς δέκα μνᾶς ἔχοντι.
Luke indicated that Jesus remarked that the nobleman said to the bystanders (καὶ τοῖς παρεστῶσιν εἶπεν) to take the mina from him (Ἄρατε ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ τὴν μνᾶν) and give it to the one who had earned 10 minas (καὶ δότε τῷ τὰς δέκα μνᾶς ἔχοντι). This seems harsh, but in sync with the character of the nobleman. This was similar to Matthew, chapter 25:28, perhaps indicating a Q source. Jesus, via Matthew, said that this master or slave owner said to his people to take the one talent from this wicked lazy slave (ἄρατε οὖν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ τὸ τάλαντον) and give it to the slave who already had 10 talents (καὶ δότε τῷ ἔχοντι τὰ δέκα τάλαντα). That did not seem fair, even though it was a mild punishment. This lazy slave ended up with nothing, but he really did not want anything. However, the ambitious industrious slave, who had increased his money, would get even more. Do you have enough money?
“Why then did you not
Put my money
Into the bank?
When I returned,
I could have collected it
καὶ διὰ τί οὐκ ἔδωκάς μου τὸ ἀργύριον ἐπὶ τράπεζαν; κἀγὼ ἐλθὼν σὺν τόκῳ ἂν αὐτὸ ἔπραξα.
Luke indicated that Jesus remarked that this nobleman asked this third slave why he had not put his money into a bank (καὶ διὰ τί οὐκ ἔδωκάς μου τὸ ἀργύριον ἐπὶ τράπεζαν), instead of wrapping it in a cloth. Then, when he returned (κἀγὼ ἐλθὼν) from his trip, he would have at least collected it with interest (σὺν τόκῳ ἂν αὐτὸ ἔπραξα). This is similar to Matthew, chapter 25:27, perhaps indicating a Q source. Jesus, via Matthew, said that this master told his slave that had hid his talent in the ground, that he should have at a minimum invested his money with the bankers (ἔδει σε οὖν βαλεῖν τὰ ἀργύριά μου τοῖς τραπεζείταις). Then, at least, when he returned (καὶ ἐλθὼν ἐγὼ ἐκομισάμην), he would have received his money plus the earned interest on it (ἐκομισάμην ἂν τὸ ἐμὸν σὺν τόκῳ). This master was a demanding harsh slave owner. The demands were very serious. Do you trust banks and bankers?
“I was afraid of you!
You are a harsh man!
What you did not deposit.
What you did not sow.”
ἐφοβούμην γάρ σε, ὅτι ἄνθρωπος αὐστηρὸς εἶ, αἴρεις ὃ οὐκ ἔθηκας, καὶ θερίζεις ὃ οὐκ ἔσπειρας.
Luke indicated that Jesus said that this third slave said that he was afraid (ἐφοβούμην) of the lord nobleman, because this nobleman was a harsh or severe man (γάρ σε, ὅτι ἄνθρωπος αὐστηρὸς εἶ). Once again, Luke used a word αὐστηρὸς, that means harsh, severe, grim, strict, exacting, or rigid, that is not found elsewhere in the Greek biblical literature. This man took what he had not deposited (αἴρεις ὃ οὐκ ἔθηκας). He reaped what he had not sown (καὶ θερίζεις ὃ οὐκ ἔσπειρας). This was similar to Matthew, chapter 25:24, perhaps indicating a Q source. Jesus, via Matthew, indicated that this slave said to his master or lord (εἶπεν Κύριε) that he knew that his master was a harsh or hard man (ἔγνων σε ὅτι σκληρὸς εἶ ἄνθρωπος), because he would reap or harvest crops where he had not sown them (θερίζων ὅπου οὐκ ἔσπειρας). He even gathered crops where he had not scattered seeds (καὶ συνάγων ὅθεν οὐ διεσκόρπισας). This third slave in each story was afraid of this harsh or severe demanding master. Do you know someone who is very demanding?
“Who among you
To your slave,
Who had just come in
Or tending sheep
In the field.
‘Come here at once!
Take your place
At the table’?”
Τίς δὲ ἐξ ὑμῶν δοῦλον ἔχων ἀροτριῶντα ἢ ποιμαίνοντα, ὃς εἰσελθόντι ἐκ τοῦ ἀγροῦ ἐρεῖ αὐτῷ Εὐθέως παρελθὼν ἀνάπεσε,
Once again, Luke uniquely has a saying of Jesus that is not in the other synoptic gospels. Jesus asked who among them would say to their slave (Τίς δὲ ἐξ ὑμῶν δοῦλον), who had just come in from the field (ὃς εἰσελθόντι ἐκ τοῦ ἀγροῦ), after plowing (ἔχων ἀροτριῶντα) or tending the sheep (ἢ ποιμαίνοντα), to immediately take his place reclining at the table with them (ἐρεῖ αὐτῷ Εὐθέως παρελθὼν ἀνάπεσε). Obviously, slavery was considered okay. Slaves were in a separate category from the land owners. No one would invite his slave to share a meal with them. Does that sound harsh to you?
To his disciples.
I say to you!
It will be hard
For a rich person
The kingdom of heaven.”
Ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι πλούσιος δυσκόλως εἰσελεύσεται εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν.
This saying about the difficulty of rich people trying to get into the kingdom of heaven can be found in Mark, chapter 10:24, and Luke, chapter 18:16, almost word for word. Jesus turned to his disciples (Ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ) with a strong harsh solemn proclamation (Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν). It would be hard or difficult for a wealthy rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven (ὅτι πλούσιος δυσκόλως εἰσελεύσεται εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν). Wealth would clearly be an obstacle to those who wanted to enter the kingdom of heaven.
“The disciples said to Jesus.
‘If such is the case
Of a man
With his wife,
It is better not to marry.’”
λέγουσιν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταί Εἰ οὕτως ἐστὶν ἡ αἰτία τοῦ ἀνθρώπου μετὰ τῆς γυναικός, οὐ συμφέρει γαμῆσαι.
This section about eunuchs, celibacy, and marriage is unique to Matthew. The disciples raised the question (λέγουσιν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταί) about a man with his wife (Εἰ οὕτως ἐστὶν ἡ αἰτία τοῦ ἀνθρώπου μετὰ τῆς γυναικός), no divorce in marriage, would it not be better to not marry at all (οὐ συμφέρει γαμῆσαι). They though that this restriction about marriage and divorce was too harsh or difficult.
“Whoever betrays secrets
He will never find
A congenial friend.
Love your friend.
Keep faith with him.
But if you betray his secrets,
Do not follow after him.
As a person destroys
So you have destroyed
The friendship of your neighbor.
As you allow a bird to escape
From your hand,
So you have let your neighbor go.
You will not catch him again.
Do not go after him.
He is too far off.
He has escaped
Like a gazelle from a snare.
A wound may be bandaged.
There is reconciliation after abuse.
But whoever has betrayed secrets
Is without hope.”
Sirach is very harsh against those who betray secrets. When you betray a secret you destroy any confidence that another person has in you. You can never be their friend again. If you love your friend, you will not betray his secrets. Once you betray him, do not follow after him. Your friendship is destroyed. You have let the bird out of your hand that will never return. So too, your friendly neighbor is gone for good. He is like a gazelle that has escaped from a trap. You will never get him back. Then Sirach indicated how strong he felt about this. He said that it was easier to have a wound bandaged, and abusive behavior forgiven than making up after betraying a secret. There was no hope for the betrayer. Wow! Be careful when someone tells you a secret.
From your youth,
When you have gray hair,
You will still find wisdom.
Come to her like one who plows.
Come to her like one who sows.
Wait for her good harvest.
When you cultivate her,
You will toil but little.
Soon you will eat of her produce.
She seems very harsh to the undisciplined.
Fools cannot remain with her.
She will be like a heavy stone to test them.
They will not delay in casting her aside.
Wisdom is like her name.
She is not really perceived by many.”
Once again, Sirach has a series of admonitions about wisdom. The young people should choose discipline. Even when they have gray hair, they should still seek wisdom. You have to have the discipline to plow and sow in order to get a good harvest of wisdom. You do not have to work too hard to eat of her products. However, this seems very harsh to the undisciplined since fools cannot remain with her. She seems to be a test like a heavy stone to these foolish undisciplined ones. The name of wisdom implies that only a few, not many people, will actually perceive her.
Break the teeth in their mouths!
Tear out the fangs of the young lions!
Let them vanish
Like water that runs away!
Let them be
Like grass trodden down and wither!
Let them be
Like the snail that dissolves into slime!
Let them be
Like the untimely birth that never sees the sun.
Sooner than your pots
Can feel the heat of thorns,
Whether green or ablaze,
May he sweep them away!”
If the description was harsh, so much more so is this brutal curse to the wicked. He wanted God, Yahweh, to do his dirty work. David wanted their teeth broken. He wanted their fangs taken out. He wanted the wicked to vanish like water than just flows away. He wanted them to be like grass that was trodden down and then withered away. He wanted them to be like a snail that turned to slime. He wanted them to be aborted or still born so that they would never see the sun. He wanted them swept away. This was no simple curse, but a demand for Yahweh to get rid of the wicked ones altogether.
“Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered.
‘Should the wise men answer with windy knowledge?
Should the wise men fill themselves with the east wind?
Should they argue in unprofitable talk?
Should they argue in words with which they can do no good?
But you are doing away with the fear of God.
You are hindering meditation before God.
Your iniquity teaches your mouth.
You choose the tongue of the crafty.
Your own mouth condemns you!
Your own lips testify against you.’”
This is now a second round of discourses, like a work of the Greek philosopher Plato. This time Eliphaz began again by ripping into Job, claiming that Job should be condemned by his own words. Wise men do not answer with windy knowledge. This was an unprofitable east wind talk that does no good. Job was doing away with the fear of God, hindering mediation about God. There was iniquity in the mouth of Job with his crafty tongue. He was condemned by his own mouth and lips. This was very harsh about Job after his original kind words in the first discourse.