Came to this place,
He looked up.
He said to him.
I must stay
At your house today!’”
καὶ ὡς ἦλθεν ἐπὶ τὸν τόπον, ἀναβλέψας ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτόν Ζακχαῖε, σπεύσας κατάβηθι· σήμερον γὰρ ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ σου δεῖ με μεῖναι.
Luke uniquely indicated that when Jesus came to this place (καὶ ὡς ἦλθεν ἐπὶ τὸν τόπον), he looked up (ἀναβλέψας ὁ Ἰησοῦς). Then, he called Zacchaeus by name (Ζακχαῖε). Jesus told him (ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτόν) to quickly come down from the tree (σπεύσας κατάβηθι·), because today it was necessary or proper for Jesus to stay at his house (σήμερον γὰρ ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ σου δεῖ με μεῖναι). How did Jesus know his name? Had they met each other before? Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus. Would you stay at the house of a stranger?
When he came
To the place
He passed by
On the other side.”
ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ Λευείτης κατὰ τὸν τόπον ἐλθὼν καὶ ἰδὼν ἀντιπαρῆλθεν
Luke continued his unique story. Jesus said that a Levite also (ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ Λευείτης) came to this same place (κατὰ τὸν τόπον ἐλθὼν) on the road. He saw the wounded man (καὶ ἰδὼν). Then he too crossed over to the other side of the road (ἀντιπαρῆλθεν), so as not to engage with this man. The same questions can be asked of this Jewish Levite that were asked about the priest. Was it because of ritual purity? Was he in a hurry, so that he did not have time to stop? Did he simply not care? Was it too much of a bother? Normally, the Levites do not come in for much criticism in the gospel narratives. Levites were sons of Levi, and tied to ritualistic practice at the Temple. For instance, the father of John the Baptist was Zechariah and his mother Elizabeth, both of them were descendants of Aaron. Zechariah was a priest in the Jerusalem Temple, while Elizabeth was from a Levite family. These Levites had Temple duties. Thus, they were religious ritual leaders in the Jewish community. Both the priest and the Levite represented the upper religious strata of the Jewish community. Do you think that religious leaders should set an example by their lifestyle?
“Now by chance,
Was going down
When he saw him,
He passed by
On the other side.”
κατὰ συγκυρίαν δὲ ἱερεύς τις κατέβαινεν ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ ἐκείνῃ, καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτὸν ἀντιπαρῆλθεν.
Luke uniquely continued this story or parable about who is my neighbor. Jesus said that by chance (κατὰ συγκυρίαν), a certain Jewish priest (δὲ ἱερεύς τις) was going down (κατέβαινεν) this same road (ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ ἐκείνῃ). He saw the badly wounded man (καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτὸν), but he passed by on the other side of the road (ἀντιπαρῆλθεν). There is a lot of speculation on why this priest did not help this man. Was it because of ritual purity? Was he in a hurry, so that he did not have time to stop? Did he simply not care? Was it too much of a bother? Certainly, a Jewish priest had standing in the Jewish community. Other than the high priest, he represented the most important level of Jewish society. What is certain is that this high-ranking religious leader did not engage in any way with the afflicted man on the other side of the road. He clearly saw him, as he specifically crossed over to the other side, so as not to be bothered by him. The ritual purity argument has been raised since a priest could not touch a corpse. However, there was no mention of a dead body. Do you always have an excuse on why you do not help other wounded people?
Go out from there!
Touch no unclean thing!
Go out from the midst of it!
You who carry
The vessels of Yahweh!
You shall not go out in haste.
You shall not go in flight.
Yahweh will go before you.
The God of Israel
Will be your rear guard.”
Second Isaiah wants the Israelites to depart from Babylon. However, they were not to touch any unclean things. They were to purify themselves, especially if they were going to carry the sacred vessels of Yahweh. They were not to leave in a hurry or flee Babylon. Yahweh would be before them, and at the same time, the God of Israel would be their rear guard.
Do not busy yourself
With many matters!
If you multiply activities,
You will not be held blameless.
If you pursue,
You will not overtake.
You will not escape.
There are those
But they are
So much the more in want.”
Sirach has some advice for those who are busy, relax! Do not be busy with lots of things. If you try to overtake someone, you probably will not. If you try to escape, you probably will not. Just look at those who are working so hard. They are struggling. They are in a hurry. However, if you look at them, they are still needy. Much hard work does not guarantee success.
“To show partiality is not good.
Yet for a piece of bread
A person may do wrong.
A miser is in a hurry to get rich.
He does not know that loss is sure to come.
Whoever rebukes a person,
Will afterward find more favor
Than one who flatters with the tongue.
Anyone who robs his father or his mother
‘That is no crime,’
Is partner to a thug.
The greedy person stirs up strife.
But whoever trusts in Yahweh
Will be enriched.
Those who trust in their own wits are fools.
But those who walk in wisdom
Come through safely.
Whoever gives to the poor
Will lack nothing.
But one who turns a blind eye
Will get many a curse.
When the wicked prevail,
People go into hiding.
But when the wicked perish,
The righteous increase.”
You should not show partiality in judging others. Sometimes people will do wrong things just for a piece of bread. The misers will hurry to gain wealth but they will lose it in the end. It is better to rebuke people than to flatter them. Anyone who robs his mother or father, and then says that it is not a crime, is already the companion of a common thief. The greedy misers are always stirring up strife and trouble. If you trust in your own wits, you are a fool. Those who walk in wisdom come out safe. If you give to the poor, you will not lack anything. However, if you turn a blind eye to the poor, you will be cursed. Then this section ends with a repeat of what was said earlier in this chapter about when the wicked prevail, then people go into hiding. When the wicked perish, then the righteous increase.
“Whoever walks in integrity
Will be safe.
But whoever follows crooked ways will fall into the pit.
Anyone who tills his land
Will have plenty of bread.
But one who follows worthless pursuits
Will have plenty of poverty.
The faithful will abound with blessings.
But whoever is in a hurry to be rich
Will not go unpunished.”
If you walk in integrity, you will be safe. However, if you follow the crooked ways, you will fall into the pit of death. Then repeating a phrase from chapter 12, if you till the land you will have plenty of bread. On the other hand, if you pursue worthless pursuits, you will end up with plenty of poverty. The faithful will have many blessings, but those who are in a hurry to become rich will not go unpunished.
If sinners entice you,
Do not consent!
If they say.
‘Come with us!
Let us lie in wait for blood!
Let us wantonly ambush the innocent!
Let us swallow them alive and whole!
Like those who go down to the Pit,
We shall find all kinds of costly things.
We shall fill our houses with booty.
Throw in your lot among us!
We will all have one purse.’
Do not walk in their way!
Keep your foot from their paths!
Their feet run to evil.
They hurry to shed blood.
For in vain is a net baited,
While the bird is looking on.
Yet they lie in wait,
To kill themselves.
They set an ambush
For their own lives.
Such is the end
Of all who are greedy for gain.
It takes away the life of its possessors.”
The main parental advice of these proverbs is to stay away from evil people. Do not let sinners entice you! Stay away from those who want to ambush innocent people in order to spill their blood. They seem to think that they can swallow people up like Sheol or the pit, the grave, does. This part appears to not sound enticing, but the kicker enticement was filling up your house with spoils and booty. They would all share together with one purse. Parents should warn their children not to walk in their paths or let their feet walk in their ways. These wicked ones hurry to shed blood. However, they set a net while the birds are watching so that their own ambush will kill them. This is the end for those who are greedy and want to kill others so that they would have their goods.
A psalm of David
“I call upon you!
Come quickly to me!
Give ear to my voice
When I call to you!
Let my prayer be counted as incense before you!
I lift up my hands as an evening sacrifice!”
Psalm 141 is a psalm of David as indicated in the title. Once again this is a direct appeal to Yahweh, asking for help to defeat his enemies. David called upon Yahweh to hurry up and hear his voice. He wanted his prayer to be like that of incense at the evening prayer with his lifted hands. This thus assumes a fixed liturgical worship service.
“‘I would hurry to find a shelter for myself,
From the raging wind and tempest.’
Confound their speech!
I see violence and strife in the city.
Day and night they go around it
On its walls.
Iniquity and trouble are within it.
Ruin is in its midst.
Oppression and fraud
Do not depart from its marketplace.”
David wanted to find a shelter for himself in the wilderness that would protect him from the raging wind and stormy rain. At the same time, he wanted Yahweh to confuse the speech of those in the city. Like today, he said that there was so much violence and strife in the city. Does that sound like the good old days? Violence in the cities has been around for over 2,500 years. So what is new? There was iniquity and trouble within the city both day and night, around the walls of the city. Ruin was coming to them because of the oppression and fraud of their marketplace. Those old fashioned business men were cheating in the marketplace. Wow! That is strange to hear.