The tax collector prayer (Lk 18:13-18:13)

“But the tax collector,

Standing far off,

Would not even

Look up to heaven.

But he was beating

His breast.

Saying.

‘God!

Be merciful to me

A sinner!’”

 

ὁ δὲ τελώνης μακρόθεν ἑστὼς οὐκ ἤθελεν οὐδὲ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς ἐπᾶραι εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν, ἀλλ’ ἔτυπτεν τὸ στῆθος αὐτοῦ λέγων Ὁ Θεός, ἱλάσθητί μοι τῷ ἁμαρτωλῷ

 

Luke has Jesus continue with this parable about a Pharisee and this tax collector that is only found in this gospel.  Luke indicated that Jesus then turned to the tax collector (ὁ δὲ τελώνης), who was standing far off or a distance away (μακρόθεν ἑστὼς).  He would not even look up or lift his eyes to heaven (οὐκ ἤθελεν οὐδὲ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς ἐπᾶραι εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν).  He was beating his breast (ἀλλ’ ἔτυπτεν τὸ στῆθος αὐτοῦ), a common form of penance.  He prayed to God (λέγων Ὁ Θεός) that God would be merciful to him (ἱλάσθητί μοι) a sinner (τῷ ἁμαρτωλῷ).  Instead of thanking God for being good, this tax collector admitted his guilt, not looking up, but striking his breast, asking God to be merciful to him because he was a sinner.  We have two different regular activities, and two different attitudes.  The Pharisee was a better actor in doing the right thing, but had a bad attitude.  The tax collector was not doing the right thing, but had a better attitude.  Are you a good doer or do you have a good attitude?

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No future for the king or his children (Isa 14:20-14:21)

“You will not be joined

With them in burial,

Because you have destroyed

Your land.

You have killed

Your people.

May the descendants of evildoers

Nevermore be named!

Prepare slaughter for his sons,

Because of the guilt of their father.

Let them never rise

To possess the earth!

Let them never rise

To cover the face of the world

With cities.”

Isaiah pronounces no future for this king or his children. He will not be joined with them in burial. This Babylonian king had destroyed the land and killed his own people. These descendants of evildoers should never be mentioned anymore. His sons should be slaughtered because of his guilt. Thus they would never be able to rise up again to possess the earth or build cities.

The seraphim approach Isaiah (Isa 6:6-6:7)

“Then one of the seraphim

Flew to me.

He was holding

A live burning coal

That he had taken

From the altar

With tongs.

The seraph touched

My mouth with it.

He said.

‘Now that this has touched your lips,

Your guilt has departed.

Your sin blotted out.’”

One of the seraphim flew over to Isaiah, holding a burning coal taken from the altar with tongs. This seraph touched the mouth of Isaiah with the burning coals. Then he said that his guilt and sin had been blotted out and gone away. Isaiah was made clean.

Eliphaz wants Job to reconcile with God (Job 22:21-22:30)

“Agree with God!

Be at peace!

In this way good will come to you.

Receive instruction from his mouth.

Lay up his words in your heart.

If you return to the Almighty Shaddai,

You will be restored.

If you remove unrighteousness from your tents,

If you treat gold like dust,

If you treat the gold of Ophir like the stones of the torrent bed,

If the Almighty Shaddai is your gold,

If the Almighty Shaddai is your precious silver,

Then you will delight yourself in the Almighty Shaddai.

Lift up your face to God!

You will pray to him!

He will hear you.

You will pay your vows!

You will decide on a matter!

It will be established for you.

Light will shine on your ways.

When others are humiliated,

You say it is pride.

God saves the humble.

He will deliver even those who are guilty.

They will escape

Because of the cleanness of your hands.”

Eliphaz wanted Job to admit his guilt so that everything would be fine. He wanted him to just agree with God. Then Job would be at peace. He should listen to God and admit his failings. He wanted him to return to the almighty Shaddai. The almighty one should be his gold, silver, and precious metal. Then he could lift up his face to God since God would hear his prayers. God does not like the haughty, but prefers the humble. Eliphaz wanted Job to be humble before God. Thus even if he was guilty, God would forgive him because of his clean hands.