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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Jesus found them asleep again (Mk 14:40-14:40)

“Once more,

Jesus came.

He found them

Sleeping.

Their eyes

Were very heavy.

They did not know

What to say to him.”

 

καὶ πάλιν ἐλθὼν εὗρεν αὐτοὺς καθεύδοντας, ἦσαν γὰρ αὐτῶν οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ καταβαρυνόμενοι, καὶ οὐκ ᾔδεισαν τί ἀποκριθῶσιν αὐτῷ.

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 26:43, but there is an addition about the apostles being embarrassed and not able to say anything here.  In Luke, chapter 22, and John, chapter 22, there is nothing more about these 2nd and 3rd visits of Jesus.  Mark recounted that Jesus again came (καὶ πάλιν ἐλθὼν) and this time he again found his 3 disciples sleeping (εὗρεν αὐτοὺς καθεύδοντας), because their eyes were heavy or overburdened (ἦσαν γὰρ αὐτῶν οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ καταβαρυνόμενοι).  This was the 2nd time that he found his 3 trusted apostles sleeping.  There were no excuses, except that they were tired.  They did not know what to answer to Jesus (καὶ οὐκ ᾔδεισαν τί ἀποκριθῶσιν αὐτῷ).  They had failed to stay awake and be vigilant, pure and simple.

The second time the apostles were sleeping (Mt 26:43-26:43)

“Again,

Jesus came.

He found them

Sleeping.

Their eyes

Were heavy.”

 

καὶ ἐλθὼν πάλιν εὗρεν αὐτοὺς καθεύδοντας, ἦσαν γὰρ αὐτῶν οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ βεβαρημένοι.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 14:40, but there is an addition about the apostles being embarrassed and not able to say anything.  In Luke, chapter 22, and John, chapter 22, there is nothing more about these 2nd and 3rd visits of Jesus.  Matthew and Mark recount that Jesus again came (καὶ ἐλθὼν πάλιν) and found his 3 disciples sleeping (εὗρεν αὐτοὺς καθεύδοντας), because their eyes were heavy or overburdened (ἦσαν γὰρ αὐτῶν οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ βεβαρημένοι).  This was the 2nd time that he found his 3 trusted disciples sleeping.  There were no excuses, except that they were tired.  They had failed to stay awake and be vigilant.

 

The catastrophe of Eliakim (Isa 22:25-22:25)

“Says Yahweh of hosts.                                                                              

‘On that day,

The peg that was fastened

In a secure place

Will give way.

It will be cut down.

It will fall.

The load that was on it

Will perish.’

Yahweh has spoken.”

Something goes wrong. All the hopes that were placed on Eliakim fail. Yahweh, via Isaiah, said that the strongly fastened peg gave way. It fell down. The load was too heavy. They all perished. Somehow, without anything specific, Eliakim failed and his whole family suffered.

Do not mourn excessively (Sir 38:18-38:23)

“Grief may result in death.

A sorrowful heart

Saps one’s strength.

When a person is taken away,

Sorrow is over.

But the life of the poor

Weighs down the heart.

Do not give your heart

To sorrow!

Drive it away!

Remember your own end.

Do not forget!

There is no coming back.

You do the dead no good.

You injure yourself.

Remember his fate.

Yours is like it.

Yesterday it was his.

Today it is yours.

Me yesterday!

You today!

When the dead is at rest,

Let his remembrance rest also.

Be comforted for him

When his spirit has departed.”

Sirach did not want a long mourning period because grief could lead to the death of the person grieving. A sad heart can sap your strength. When the person was buried, the period of sorrow should end despite the fact that your heart is still heavy. Drive away sorrow and grief. Remember you own life. There is no coming back from the grave. You can’t do anything for the dead. You may injure yourself. Your fate will be the same as his. He was here yesterday and gone today. Your fate may be the same, here today and gone tomorrow. When the dead are at rest, let their remembrance die with them. Their spirit has departed, since we have the Greek idea of body and spirit.

Avoid a spoiled son (Sir 30:7-30:13)

“Whoever spoils his son,

Will bind up his wounds.

You will suffer heartache

At every cry.

An unbroken horse

Turns out stubborn.

An unchecked son

Turns out headstrong.

Pamper a child,

Then he will terrorize you.

Play with him,

Then he will give you grief.

Do not laugh with him,

Lest you have sorrow with him.

In the end

You will gnash your teeth.

Give him no freedom

In his youth.

Do not ignore his errors.

Bow down his neck

In his youth.

Beat his sides

While he is young,

Lest he become stubborn.

He will disobey you.

You will have sorrow of soul

From him.

Discipline your son.

Make his yoke heavy.

Thus you may not be offended

By his shamelessness.”

Once again, Sirach reflects the ideals of his time about the importance of discipline and corporal punishment of children. Above all, do not spoil your son! Otherwise, you will spend a lifetime healing his wounds and suffering heartaches at his every cry. The young boy is compared to a horse that is unbroken, stubborn, and headstrong. If you pamper your son, then he will terrorize you. Do not laugh or play with your son! Otherwise, you will end up gnashing your teeth. Do not give him any freedom when he is young! Do not ignore his mistakes! Beat him up on his sides when he is young! If not, he will become stubborn and disobey you. Then you will have a sorrowful soul. Make his iron collar heavy so that he does not end up shameless. Be tough on those kids!

Foolish jealousy (Prov 27:3-27:4)

“A stone is heavy.

Sand is weighty.

But a fool’s provocation

Is heavier than both.

Wrath is cruel.

Anger is overwhelming.

But who is able to stand before jealousy?”

Stones and sands are heavy and weighty. However, a fool’s provocation is heavier than both. Wrath and anger are cruel and overwhelming, but jealousy is worse than both. Thus we have a comparison between various bad actions like provocation, wrath, anger, and jealousy.