The graves (Lk 11:44-11:44)

“Woe to you!

You are

Like unmarked graves.

People walk

Over them

Without realizing it.”

 

οὐαὶ ὑμῖν, ὅτι ἐστὲ ὡς τὰ μνημεῖα τὰ ἄδηλα, καὶ οἱ ἄνθρωποι οἱ περιπατοῦντες ἐπάνω οὐκ οἴδασιν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus continued to pick on his dinner guests, the Pharisees.  Jesus cursed these Pharisees without naming them.  He said woe to them (οὐαὶ ὑμῖν) because they were like unmarked graves (ὅτι ἐστὲ ὡς τὰ μνημεῖα τὰ ἄδηλα) that people or men would walk over without realizing it (καὶ οἱ ἄνθρωποι οἱ περιπατοῦντες ἐπάνω οὐκ οἴδασιν).  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 23:27, where Jesus continued to curse the Pharisees and the Scribes.  There was no doubt that Jesus was cursing the Scribes and the Pharisees because of their false hearts.  They were like whitewashed tombs, that looked outwardly beautiful.  However, the inside of these unmarked tombs was full of the bones of dead people and other kinds of filth or impure things.  Thus, the Pharisees appear to look righteous on the outside to others.  However, on the inside, in their hearts, they were full of hypocrisy, iniquity, and lawlessness.  Matthew went into more detail than Luke did here, sitting with them at dinner.  Have you ever complained directly to people at a dinner party?

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Whitewashed tombs (Mt 23:27-23:28)

“Woe to you!

Scribes!

Woe to you!

Pharisees!

Hypocrites!

You are like

Whitewashed tombs,

Which outwardly

Look beautiful.

But inside,

They are full

Of the bones

Of the dead

With all kinds of filth.

Thus,

You also on the outside

Look righteous

To others.

However,

Inside you

Are full of hypocrisy

And iniquity.”

 

Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν, γραμματεῖς καὶ Φαρισαῖοι ὑποκριταί, ὅτι παρομοιάζετε τάφοις κεκονιαμένοις, οἵτινες ἔξωθεν μὲν φαίνονται ὡραῖοι, ἔσωθεν δὲ γέμουσιν ὀστέων νεκρῶν καὶ πάσης ἀκαθαρσίας.

οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς ἔξωθεν μὲν φαίνεσθε τοῖς ἀνθρώποις δίκαιοι, ἔσωθεν δέ ἐστε μεστοὶ ὑποκρίσεως καὶ ἀνομίας.

 

There is something similar in Luke, chapter 11:44.  Jesus continued to curse the Pharisees and the Scribes, much like earlier in verses 13, 14, 15 and 25.  The first part of this diatribe is exactly the same as those earlier verses.  Woe to you (Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν)!  Scribes (γραμματεῖς)!  Woe to you!  Pharisees (καὶ Φαρισαῖοι)!  Hypocrites (ὑποκριταί)!  There is no doubt that here Jesus was cursing the Scribes and the Pharisees.  This time it was a continuation against the false hearts of the Pharisees.  They were like whitewashed tombs (ὅτι παρομοιάζετε τάφοις κεκονιαμένοις), that looked outwardly beautiful (οἵτινες ἔξωθεν μὲν φαίνονται ὡραῖοι).  However, the inside of these unmarked tombs was full of the bones of dead people and other kinds of filth or impure things (ἔσωθεν δὲ γέμουσιν ὀστέων νεκρῶν καὶ πάσης ἀκαθαρσίας).  Thus, the Pharisees appear to look righteous on the outside to others (οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς ἔξωθεν μὲν φαίνεσθε τοῖς ἀνθρώποις δίκαιοι).  However, on the inside of them, in their hearts, they are full of hypocrisy and iniquity or lawlessness (ἔσωθεν δέ ἐστε μεστοὶ ὑποκρίσεως καὶ ἀνομίας).

The vision of the woman in the basket (Zech 5:5-5:7)

“Then the angel

Who talked with me

Came forward.

He said to me.

‘Look up!

See what this is

That is coming out.’

I said.

‘What is it?’

He said.

‘This is a basket coming out.

Then he said.

‘This is their iniquity

In all the land.’

Then a leaden cover

Was lifted.

There was a woman

Sitting in the basket.”

Next this angel revealed the 7th vision to Zechariah.  He told Zechariah to look up.  He asked him what he saw.  Zechariah responded that he saw a basket coming towards him.  The angel explained that the basket was full of iniquity from the whole land.  Then the lead cover of the basket was lifted to show a woman sitting in this basket, as if iniquity came from women.

The third curse against their towns (Hab 2:12-2:14)

“Woe to you!

You build a town

By bloodshed!

You found a city

On iniquity!

Is it not from Yahweh of hosts

That people labor,

Only to feed the flames?

Do nations weary themselves

For nothing?

The earth will be filled

With the knowledge

Of the glory of Yahweh,

As the waters cover the sea.”

Habakkuk issued his 3rd woe or curse against the Chaldeans, because they built their towns with bloodshed and founded their cities on iniquity.  They forced the people into building their cities with free labor.  However, the flames of a fire would come to destroy them.  They were wasting their time, because these towns and cities would not last.  The end result was that the earth would be filled with the knowledge and glory of Yahweh, just as water covered the sea.

Divine appeal (Mic 7:18-7:20)

“Who is a God

Like you?

You pardon iniquity.

You pass over

The transgressions

Of the remnant

Of your possessions.

He does not retain

His anger forever,

Because he delights

In showing clemency.

He will again have compassion

Upon us.

He will tread

Our iniquities

Under foot.

You will cast all our sins

Into the depths of the sea.

You will show faithfulness

To Jacob.

You will show

Unswerving loyalty

To Abraham,

As you have sworn

To our ancestors,

From the days of old.”

This Book of Micah ends with this psalm of praise to Yahweh, while asking for his mercy.  There is no other God like Yahweh, who has pardoned iniquity.  He has let go of the transgressions of his people.  His anger was short lived, because he delighted in granting clemency, since he had compassion for them.  He has stamped on and thrown out all their sins.  He has shown faithfulness and loyalty to Jacob and Abraham, just as he did to all their ancestors in the good old days.  Notice the change from the descriptive “he” to the more intimate “you”.

Ephraim is the bad child (Hos 13:12-13:13)

“Ephraim’s iniquity

Is bound up.

His sin is kept in store.

The pangs of childbirth

Come for him.

But he is an unwise son.

At the proper time,

He does not present himself

At the mouth of the womb.”

The iniquity of the territory of Ephraim, in the northern kingdom of Israel, has bound and tied them up. They have kept their own sins stored up. When the pangs of childbirth came for him, he was an unwise son. He failed to present himself at the mouth of the womb for childbirth. In other words, Ephraim refused to come out of the womb, a strange concept for us today.

The worthless sacrifices (Hos 12:11-12:11)

“In Gilead,

There is iniquity.

They shall surely come to nothing.

In Gilgal,

They sacrifice bulls.

Thus,

Their altars shall be

Like stone heaps

On the furrows

Of the field.”

The various idol worship places in Gilead and Gilgal will become useless. Their iniquity will amount to nothing. The altars where they sacrificed bulls in Gilgal will become like heaps of stone in a furrowed field.