Sit at the table (Lk 17:7-17:7)

“Who among you

Would say

To your slave,

Who had just come in

From plowing

Or tending sheep

In the field.

‘Come here at once!

Take your place

At the table’?”

 

Τίς δὲ ἐξ ὑμῶν δοῦλον ἔχων ἀροτριῶντα ἢ ποιμαίνοντα, ὃς εἰσελθόντι ἐκ τοῦ ἀγροῦ ἐρεῖ αὐτῷ Εὐθέως παρελθὼν ἀνάπεσε,

 

Once again, Luke uniquely has a saying of Jesus that is not in the other synoptic gospels.  Jesus asked who among them would say to their slave (Τίς δὲ ἐξ ὑμῶν δοῦλον), who had just come in from the field (ὃς εἰσελθόντι ἐκ τοῦ ἀγροῦ), after plowing (ἔχων ἀροτριῶντα) or tending the sheep (ἢ ποιμαίνοντα), to immediately take his place reclining at the table with them (ἐρεῖ αὐτῷ Εὐθέως παρελθὼν ἀνάπεσε).  Obviously, slavery was considered okay.  Slaves were in a separate category from the land owners.  No one would invite his slave to share a meal with them.  Does that sound harsh to you?

Highways and byways (Lk 14:23-14:23)

“Then the master said

To the slave.

‘Go out

To the roads

And lanes!

Compel people

To come in.

Thus,

My house

May be filled.’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν ὁ κύριος πρὸς τὸν δοῦλον Ἔξελθε εἰς τὰς ὁδοὺς καὶ φραγμοὺς καὶ ἀνάγκασον εἰσελθεῖν, ἵνα γεμισθῇ μου ὁ οἶκος·

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that this master told his slave (καὶ εἶπεν ὁ κύριος πρὸς τὸν δοῦλον) to go out (Ἔξελθε) to the the highway roads (εἰς τὰς ὁδοὺς) and hedge lanes (καὶ φραγμοὺς).  He was going to compel the people to come in (καὶ ἀνάγκασον εἰσελθεῖν).  Thus, he wanted his house filled (ἵνα γεμισθῇ μου ὁ οἶκος).  Once again, this is similar to Matthew, chapter 22:9.  The slaves were to go into the main streets or the meeting places on the roads (πορεύεσθε οὖν ἐπὶ τὰς διεξόδους τῶν ὁδῶν).  Then they should invite everyone or as many as they could find to this wedding banquet (καὶ ὅσους ἐὰν εὕρητε καλέσατε εἰς τοὺς γάμους).  This king was intent on having this wedding dinner full, just like here.  Have you gone to a wedding banquet with empty seats?

Get somebody in here (Lk 14:21-14:21)

“Thus,

The slave returned.

He reported this

To his master.

Then the owner

Of the house

Became angry.

He said

To his slave.

‘Go out at once

Into the streets

And into the lanes

Of the town!

Bring in

The poor,

The crippled,

The blind,

And the lame!’”

 

καὶ παραγενόμενος ὁ δοῦλος ἀπήγγειλεν τῷ κυρίῳ αὐτοῦ ταῦτα. τότε ὀργισθεὶς ὁ οἰκοδεσπότης εἶπεν τῷ δούλῳ αὐτοῦ Ἔξελθε ταχέως εἰς τὰς πλατείας καὶ ῥύμας τῆς πόλεως, καὶ τοὺς πτωχοὺς καὶ ἀναπήρους καὶ τυφλοὺς καὶ χωλοὺς εἰσάγαγε ὧδε.

 

Luke continued this parable.  Jesus said that this slave returned (καὶ παραγενόμενος ὁ δοῦλος).  Then he reported (ἀπήγγειλεν) to his master, the lord (τῷ κυρίῳ), all these things (ταῦτα).  The owner of the house (ὁ οἰκοδεσπότης) then became very angry (τότε ὀργισθεὶς).  He told his slave (εἶπεν τῷ δούλῳ αὐτοῦ) to go out at once (Ἔξελθε ταχέως) into the streets (εἰς τὰς πλατείας) and the lanes of the town (καὶ ῥύμας τῆς πόλεως,).  He was to bring in the poor (καὶ τοὺς πτωχοὺς), the crippled (καὶ ἀναπήρους), the blind (καὶ τυφλοὺς), and the lame (καὶ χωλοὺς) in there (ὧδε).  Once again, there are some differences with Matthew, chapter 22:8-9, who was less descriptive of those who were invited this time.  Jesus said that this king told his slaves (τότε λέγει τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ) that the wedding feast was ready (Ὁ μὲν γάμος ἕτοιμός ἐστιν).  Those originally invited were not worthy or deserving of his invitation (οἱ δὲ κεκλημένοι οὐκ ἦσαν ἄξιοι).  Therefore, they were to go into the main streets or the meeting places on the roads (πορεύεσθε οὖν ἐπὶ τὰς διεξόδους τῶν ὁδῶν).  Then they should invite everyone or as many as they could find to this wedding banquet (καὶ ὅσους ἐὰν εὕρητε καλέσατε εἰς τοὺς γάμους).  This king was intent on having this wedding dinner.  However, Luke extended the new invitations to the vulnerable in our society, the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame, a slightly different perspective.  Who would you invite to a dinner feast?

Diner invitations (Lk 14:12-14:12)

“Jesus said

To the one

Who had invited him.

‘When you give

A luncheon

Or a dinner,

Do not invite

Your friends!

Do not invite

Your brothers!

Do not invite

Your relatives!

Do not invite

Rich neighbors!

Otherwise,

They may invite you

In return.

You would then

Be repaid.’”

 

Ἔλεγεν δὲ καὶ τῷ κεκληκότι αὐτόν Ὅταν ποιῇς ἄριστον ἢ δεῖπνον, μὴ φώνει τοὺς φίλους σου μηδὲ τοὺς ἀδελφούς σου μηδὲ τοὺς συγγενεῖς σου μηδὲ γείτονας πλουσίους, μή ποτε καὶ αὐτοὶ ἀντικαλέσωσίν σε καὶ γένηται ἀνταπόδομά σοι.

 

Finally, Luke uniquely had Jesus turn to his Pharisee host.  Jesus spoke to the one who had invited him (Ἔλεγεν δὲ καὶ τῷ κεκληκότι αὐτόν).  He told him that when he would give a luncheon or dinner (Ὅταν ποιῇς ἄριστον ἢ δεῖπνον), he should not invite (μὴ φώνει) his friends (τοὺς φίλους σου), his brothers (μηδὲ τοὺς ἀδελφούς σου), his relatives (μηδὲ τοὺς συγγενεῖς σου), nor rich neighbors (μηδὲ γείτονας πλουσίους).  Otherwise, they might invite him back in return (μή ποτε καὶ αὐτοὶ ἀντικαλέσωσίν σε), in order to repay him (καὶ γένηται ἀνταπόδομά σοι).  In other words, do not invite your friends or relatives because they would probably invite you back again as a repayment.  That actually is the normal course of things.  Dinner parties usually circulate so that there is no undue burden on any one person.  But Jesus, via Luke, did not like that way of doing things.  Who do you invite to your parties?

The recent bad activities of Jerusalem (Ezek 23:40-23:42)

“They even sent

For men

To come from far away.

A messenger

Was sent.

They came.

You bathed yourself

For them.

You painted your eyes.

You decked yourself

With ornaments.

You sat

On a stately couch.

You had a table

Spread before it.

You had placed

My incense

With my oil

On it.

The sound

Of a raucous multitude

Was around you.

Many of the rabble

Were brought in drunk

From the wilderness.

They put bracelets

On the arms

Of the women.

They put beautiful crowns

Upon their heads.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, seemed to be aiming these remarks at the people of Jerusalem for their recent behavior. She, Jerusalem, had sent messengers to invite men from far away to come to Jerusalem. In order to get ready for them, Jerusalem bathed herself, painted her eyes, and put on her colorful ornaments. She sat on a stately couch with a table before it. She placed Yahweh’s incense and oil on this table. Then one could hear the sound of a loud raucous mob that had gathered around her. Many of these drunkard rabble rousers from the wilderness put bracelets on her arms and beautiful crowns on her head. This seems to be an allusion to an invitation for drunken foreigners to come to Jerusalem to take advantage of her.

The temple prostitutes (Bar 6:42-6:44)

“The women,

With cords around them,

Sit along the passageways.

The burn bran

For incense.

When one of them

Is led off

By one of the passers-by,

They are taken to bed

By him.

She then derides

The woman next to her,

Because she was not

As attractive

As herself.

Her cord

Was not broken.

Whatever is done

For these idols

Is false.

Why then must anyone think

That they are gods?

Why call them gods?”

Here there is a description of the temple prostitutes and their behavior. These women, with cords around them, would sit in the passageways at the temple, burning bran for incense. Then a passer-by would invite them or take them off to sleep with them. Strangely enough, when the woman would return, she would make fun of the other women who were not chosen to have sex with these passer-bys, because they were not as attractive as she was. These other women had no one to break their cords. Thus these false idols bring about all kinds of strange behaviors. That is why people might doubt that these were true gods. How could you call them gods?

The call to return to Israel (Jer 31:21-31:22)

“Set up road markers

For yourself!

Make yourself guideposts!

Consider well the highway!

Consider the road

By which you went.

Return!

O virgin Israel!

Return to these your cities!

How long will you waver?

O faithless daughter!

Yahweh has created

A new thing on the earth.

A woman encompasses a man.”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, seems to invite the Israelites to return home. He wants them to set up road markers and guideposts. He wants them to remember the highway road that they took, when they went away. He cries out to virgin Israel to return. They were to return to their cities. Yet, he wonders how long they would wait. After all, they were his faithless daughters. Somehow Yahweh was going to create a new thing where women would have more responsibility with men, perhaps woo the man rather than the other way around.