Ten of his slaves.
He gave them
He said to them.
Until I come back.’”
καλέσας δὲ δέκα δούλους ἑαυτοῦ ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς δέκα μνᾶς, καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς Πραγματεύσασθε ἐν ᾧ ἔρχομαι.
Luke indicated that Jesus said that this nobleman summoned 10 of his slaves (λέσας δὲ δέκα δούλους ἑαυτοῦ). He gave them each 10 minas (ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς δέκα μνᾶς). Luke had this nobleman give 10 minas to 10 slaves. Luke was the only biblical writer to use this term μνᾶς, that means a mina, a Greek monetary unit equal to 100 drachmas. He used this word 9 times, mostly in this parable. A rough equivalent would be $20.00 USA. In ancient times, it was worth about a quarter of a year’s salary. This nobleman told them (καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς) to do business (Πραγματεύσασθε) with these minas until he came back (ἐν ᾧ ἔρχομαι). Once again, Luke used a word that is not found in any of the other Greek biblical writers, Πραγματεύσασθε, that means to busy oneself, or transact business trades. Matthew, chapter 25:15, has something similar, perhaps this is a Q source. In Matthew, the rich owner was dealing with talents, which was even more valuable. There were 3,600 shekels in a talent. There were 60 minas to a talent. Thus, these talents were a lot of money. This very trusting rich person gave to one of his slaves 5 talents (καὶ ᾧ μὲν ἔδωκεν πέντε τάλαντα). He gave 2 talents (ᾧ δὲ δύο) to the 2nd slave and one talent (ᾧ δὲ ἕν) to the 3rd slave. They received this according to their ability (ἑκάστῳ κατὰ τὴν ἰδίαν δύναμιν). Then he went away immediately (καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν Εὐθέως). In each case, money was given to slaves in the household. Luke had 10 slaves, but Matthew only had 3. In Luke, there was an explicit saying to do business, while it was only implicit in Matthew, where some received more than others. Luke had all of them receive the same amount, with a greater emphasis on equality. Has someone ever entrusted you with some money?
To a distant country
To get royal power
Then he would return.’”
εἶπεν οὖν Ἄνθρωπός τις εὐγενὴς ἐπορεύθη εἰς χώραν μακρὰν λαβεῖν ἑαυτῷ βασιλείαν καὶ ὑποστρέψαι.
Luke indicated that Jesus said (εἶπεν οὖν) that a nobleman (Ἄνθρωπός τις εὐγενὴς) went to a distant country (ἐπορεύθη εἰς χώραν μακρὰν) to get royal power for himself (λαβεῖν ἑαυτῷ βασιλείαν). After that, he would return later (καὶ ὑποστρέψαι). This might have been a hint about the local leaders going to Rome to get their royal powers. It may also be about Jesus going to heaven and then returning at the last judgment or the Second Coming. However, there was the overriding theme of the need for responsibility, productivity, and not laziness. There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 25:14, where the story is about a man with a household of slaves and not a nobleman as here. The slaves were given money to take care of things while the rich man was gone. In Matthew, Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven would be like a man going on a journey (Ὥσπερ γὰρ ἄνθρωπος ἀποδημῶν). This very generous man called or summoned his slaves (ἐκάλεσεν τοὺς ἰδίους δούλους) to entrust them or give them his property and possessions, while he was gone (καὶ παρέδωκεν αὐτοῖς τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ). In Mark, 13:34, Jesus said that the end times would be like a man going on a journey (ὡς ἄνθρωπος ἀπόδημος). He left his house (ἀφεὶς τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτοῦ). He gave his slaves the authority (καὶ δοὺς τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ τὴν ἐξουσίαν) to perform their own individual tasks (ἑκάστῳ τὸ ἔργον αὐτοῦ). He commanded a doorkeeper to stand watch over this whole situation (καὶ τῷ θυρωρῷ ἐνετείλατο ἵνα γρηγορῇ). However, the story for Mark ended there, unlike Luke and Matthew that have more details about the slaves in this household. What do you do when you go on a long journey?
“From now on,
Five in one household
Will be divided
Three against two,
And two against three.”
ἔσονται γὰρ ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν πέντε ἐν ἑνὶ οἴκῳ διαμεμερισμένοι, τρεῖς ἐπὶ δυσὶν καὶ δύο ἐπὶ τρισίν
This is a unique saying of Jesus only found here in Luke. Jesus said that from now on (ἔσονται γὰρ ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν), if there are 5 people in a house (πέντε ἐν ἑνὶ οἴκῳ), they would be divided (διαμεμερισμένοι) 3 against 2 (τρεῖς ἐπὶ δυσὶν) and 2 against 3 (καὶ δύο ἐπὶ τρισίν). There will not be uniformity in households. The time of division had come. Do you think that Jesus was a divider?
Was still speaking,
From the synagogue leader
Came to say.
Do not trouble
The Teacher anymore!’”
Ἔτι αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος ἔρχεταί τις παρὰ τοῦ ἀρχισυναγώγου λέγων ὅτι Τέθνηκεν ἡ θυγάτηρ σου, μηκέτι σκύλλε τὸν Διδάσκαλον.
Luke said that while Jesus was still speaking (Ἔτι αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος), someone from the house of the synagogue leader came (ἔρχεταί τις παρὰ τοῦ ἀρχισυναγώγου) to tell him (λέγων) that his daughter was dead (Τέθνηκεν ἡ θυγάτηρ σου). They should not trouble this teacher anymore (μηκέτι σκύλλε τὸν Διδάσκαλον). Now we are back to the original story about the dying daughter of the synagogue leader. Mark, chapter 5:35, was similar to Luke, almost word for word, while Matthew had this little girl already dead. Mark said that while Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the synagogue leader’s household. They told him that his daughter was dead. Thus, there was no need to trouble the teacher anymore. Notice that they called Jesus “teacher.” The idea of curing the young girl was gone, since she had died. Thus, Matthew was right when he said that she was dead. Have you had a tragic death in your family?
“A disciple is not above
A slave is not above
It is enough
That the disciple is
To be like his teacher.
The slave is
To be like his master.
If they have called
The master of the house
How much more
Will they malign
Those of his household.”
Οὐκ ἔστιν μαθητὴς ὑπὲρ τὸν διδάσκαλον οὐδὲ δοῦλος ὑπὲρ τὸν κύριον αὐτοῦ.
ἀρκετὸν τῷ μαθητῇ ἵνα γένηται ὡς ὁ διδάσκαλος αὐτοῦ, καὶ ὁ δοῦλος ὡς ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ. εἰ τὸν οἰκοδεσπότην Βεελζεβοὺλ ἐπεκάλεσαν, πόσῳ μᾶλλον τοὺς οἰκιακοὺς αὐτοῦ.
Something similar can be found in Luke, chapter 7:40, and in John, 13:16. Obviously, no disciple is greater than his teacher (Οὐκ ἔστιν μαθητὴς ὑπὲρ τὸν διδάσκαλον). A slave or servant is not greater than his master or lord (οὐδὲ δοῦλος ὑπὲρ τὸν κύριον αὐτοῦ). The student or disciple of the teacher should become like his teacher (ἀρκετὸν τῷ μαθητῇ ἵνα γένηται ὡς ὁ διδάσκαλος αὐτοῦ). The servant or slave should be like his master or lord (καὶ ὁ δοῦλος ὡς ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ). If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul (εἰ τὸν οἰκοδεσπότην Βεελζεβοὺλ ἐπεκάλεσαν), how much more will they malign those of his household (πόσῳ μᾶλλον τοὺς οἰκιακοὺς αὐτοῦ). Thus, the disciples of Jesus should expect some of the same bad treatment that Jesus endured. Just as earlier, Jesus was called the leader of the demons in 9:34. Beelzebul was an ancient Canaanite god known as the “Lord of the flies,” but had become another name for the devil or demons in early Christianity and late Judaism.
“Thus says Yahweh.
‘I am making you a terror
To all your friends.
They shall fall
By the sword of their enemies
While you look on.
I will give all Judah
Into the hand
Of the king of Babylon.
He shall carry them captive
He shall kill them
With the sword.
I will give
All the wealth of the city,
All its gains,
All its prized belongings,
All the treasures of the kings of Judah
Into the hand of their enemies.
They shall plunder them.
They shall seize them.
They shall carry them to Babylon.
With all who dwell in your house,
Shall go into captivity.
You shall go to Babylon.
There you shall die.
There you shall be buried!
With all your friends,
To whom you have prophesied falsely.’”
Jeremiah then uttered a destructive oracle of Yahweh to Pashhur, his friends, as well as the people of Judah and Jerusalem. Pashhur would be a terror to himself and his friends. All his friends would die by their enemy’s swords as he looked on. Judah would be handed over to Babylon as they would be brought into captivity, where they would die. The Babylonians were going to take all the wealth from the city of Jerusalem with all its prized possessions, along with all the treasures of Judah. Their enemies would plunder them and carry them off to Babylon. Pashhur with his whole household would be brought into captivity where they would all die and be buried. All of this would take place to Pashhur, his friends, and those to whom he falsely prophesized. There would not be a happy ending to this story. He crossed Jeremiah one too many times.
“She opens her mouth with wisdom.
The teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household.
She does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up.
They call her happy.
Her husband also calls her happy,
He praises her.
‘Many women have done excellently.
But you surpass them all.’”
The perfect good wife speaks wisdom and kindness. She spends her time making the household better, and not in idleness. Her children call her happy and blessed, as does her husband. He has praise for her. He proclaims that she surpasses all the excellent women that are out there.
“She opens her hand to the poor.
She reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid for her household,
When it snows.
All her household are clothed in crimson.
She makes herself coverings.
Her clothing is fine linen.
Her clothing is purple.
Her husband is known in the city gates.
He takes his seat among the elders of the land.”
This perfect wife opens up and reaches out to the poor and the needy. She is not afraid of snow, since her household has crimson warm garments. She makes her own clothes, fine linen, and purple. Thus her husband can sit at the city gates with the elders of the land, while she takes care of everything in the household.
“She seeks wool.
She seeks flax.
She works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant.
She brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is still night.
She provides food for her household.
She gives tasks to her servant girls.”
The good wife seeks wool and flax to work with her willing hands. She provides and gets food for the household like a ship at sea. She gets up early in the morning so that she can provide food for her household. She prepares tasks for her female servants. Obviously, this good wife is a well to do female with her servants.
“Know well the condition of your flocks.
Give attention to your herds.
Riches do not last forever.
A crown does not endure for all generations.
When the grass is gone,
The new growth appears.
The herbage of the mountains is gathered.
The lambs will provide your clothing.
The goats provide the price of a field.
There will be enough goats’ milk for your food.
This is the food of your household.
This will nourish your servant-girls.”
You have to take good care of your farm animals. You should know the condition of your flock and your herds. Wealth, like the crown of a king, does not last forever. When the grass is gone, a new growth will appear. The vegetables or herbage of the mountains will be gathered. The lamb’s wool will be made into clothing. The goat’s milk will provide you with food. There will be enough food for your household and your servants. This is a warning to the rich not to take their situation too lightly since things could change.