Settle your case (Lk 12:58-12:58)

“Thus,

When you go

Before a magistrate,

With your accuser,

On the way there,

Make an effort

To settle the case.

Otherwise,

You may be dragged

Before the judge.

The judge

Might hand you over

To the officer.

The officer might

Throw you in prison.”

 

ὡς γὰρ ὑπάγεις μετὰ τοῦ ἀντιδίκου σου ἐπ’ ἄρχοντα, ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ δὸς ἐργασίαν ἀπηλλάχθαι ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ, μή ποτε κατασύρῃ σε πρὸς τὸν κριτήν, καὶ ὁ κριτής σε παραδώσει τῷ πράκτορι, καὶ ὁ πράκτωρ σε βαλεῖ εἰς φυλακήν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that if they were to go (ὡς γὰρ ὑπάγεις) before a magistrate (π’ ἄρχοντα), with their accuser or advisory (μετὰ τοῦ ἀντιδίκου σου), they should make an effort to settle the case (δὸς ἐργασίαν ἀπηλλάχθαι ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ) on the way there (ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ).  Otherwise, they may be dragged before the judge (μή ποτε κατασύρῃ σε πρὸς τὸν κριτήν).  Then the judge might hand them over to the officer (καὶ ὁ κριτής σε παραδώσει τῷ πράκτορι), who might throw them in prison (καὶ ὁ πράκτωρ σε βαλεῖ εἰς φυλακήν).  Matthew, chapter 5:25, had some similar common-sense advice that seems to come from the common Q source.  Jesus said that if they had a court case, try to settle it quickly before they got to court with the person that they owed money to.  They should be agreeable to their accuser (ἴσθι εὐνοῶν τῷ ἀντιδίκῳ σου).  They should try to solve this case with their accuser on the way to court (ἕως ὅτου εἶ μετ’ αὐτοῦ ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ).  Otherwise, this accuser would turn them over to a judge (μή ποτέ σε παραδῷ ὁ ἀντίδικος τῷ κριτῇ), who would in turn send them to a guard (καὶ ὁ κριτὴς τῷ ὑπηρέτῃ), who would throw them into jail or a prison (καὶ εἰς φυλακὴν βληθήσῃ).  Try to settle your cases out of court, because you could lose in court.  Have you ever had a court case that was difficult?

The disciples who fast (Lk 5:33-5:33)

“Then they said to Jesus.

‘John’s disciples,

Like the disciples

Of the Pharisees,

Frequently fast

And pray.

However,

Your disciples

Eat

And drink.’”

 

Οἱ δὲ εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτόν Οἱ μαθηταὶ Ἰωάνου νηστεύουσιν πυκνὰ καὶ δεήσεις ποιοῦνται, ὁμοίως καὶ οἱ τῶν Φαρισαίων, οἱ δὲ σοὶ ἐσθίουσιν καὶ πίνουσιν.

 

Luke used the ambiguous “they” to lodge a complaint against the disciples of Jesus.  They said to Jesus (Οἱ δὲ εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτόν) that John’s disciples (Οἱ μαθηταὶ Ἰωάνου) frequently fasted (νηστεύουσιν πυκνὰ) and often made prayers (καὶ δεήσεις ποιοῦνται).  Likewise, the disciples of the Pharisees also fasted and prayed (ὁμοίως καὶ οἱ τῶν Φαρισαίων).  However, the disciples of Jesus ate and drank (οἱ δὲ σοὶ ἐσθίουσιν καὶ πίνουσιν), since they did not fast.  Apparently, fasting was a unique Jewish practice in ancient times.  However, most religions of the world today have some kind of fasting or not eating certain foods or drinks for a specific amount of time.  Mark, chapter 2:18, and Matthew, chapter 9:14, are similar to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this incident, although there are some differences.  Mark had the disciples of John the Baptist acting together with the Pharisees, as they both agreed about fasting.  They wanted to know why the disciples of Jesus did not fast.  The disciples of John seemed to be on the side of the Pharisees, and not with the followers of Jesus.  Matthew had only the disciples of John the Baptist, without the Pharisees, show up wanting to know why the disciples of Jesus did not fast.  These disciples of John came to Jesus, since John was in jail.  They may have remained a separate group, since some people have traced followers of John the Baptist to the Mandaeans along the Iraq-Iran border.

John and Herod (Lk 3:19-3:20)

“John had rebuked

Herod,

The tetrarch ruler,

Because of Herodias,

His brother’s wife.

John also rebuked

Herod

For all the other evil things

That he had done.

Herod added

To all these evil things,

When he locked up

John in prison.”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἡρῴδης ὁ τετραάρχης, ἐλεγχόμενος ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ περὶ Ἡρῳδιάδος τῆς γυναικὸς τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ αὐτοῦ καὶ περὶ πάντων ὧν ἐποίησεν πονηρῶν ὁ Ἡρῴδης,

προσέθηκεν καὶ τοῦτο ἐπὶ πᾶσιν, κατέκλεισεν τὸν Ἰωάνην ἐν φυλακῇ

 

Both Mark, chapter 6:14-17, and Matthew, chapter 14:1-5, have the imprisonment of John much later in their works, while Luke has it right here at the beginning of his gospel story.  Luke said that John had rebuked Herod Antipas, the tetrarch (ὁ δὲ Ἡρῴδης ὁ τετραάρχης, ἐλεγχόμενος ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ) of Galilee because of Herodias (περὶ Ἡρῳδιάδος), his brother’s wife (τῆς γυναικὸς τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ αὐτοῦ) and all the other evil things that Herod had done (καὶ περὶ πάντων ὧν ἐποίησεν πονηρῶν ὁ Ἡρῴδης,).  Herod added to all these evil things (προσέθηκεν καὶ τοῦτο ἐπὶ πᾶσιν), when he locked up John in prison (κατέκλεισεν τὸν Ἰωάνην ἐν φυλακῇ).  The Roman educated Herod, was the ruler or tetrarch of Galilee and Perea from 4 BCE-39 CE, as a client region, in the Roman Empire.  This Herod Antipas was the son of Herod the Great.  He had built the capital city of Galilee Tiberias, since he was a favorite of the Roman Emperor Tiberius (14-37 CE).  Herod, the Roman ruler in Galilee seized John the Baptist and put him in jail.  John had been complaining that Herod Antipas had married the wife of his half-brother Philip, after he had divorced his first wife.  His first wife went back to her father and started a war with Herod Antipas.  Herod’s new wife was called Herodias.  John had called him out for this marriage with Herodias, his brother’s recently divorced wife.  John had told Herod that it was not lawful for him to have her as his wife.  Thus, Herod had John arrested and sent to prison.

Herod thinks that Jesus is John the Baptist (Mt 14:2-14:3)

“Herod said

To his servants.

‘This is John the Baptist.

He has been raised

From the dead.

This is why these powers

Are at work in him.’

Herod had seized John.

He had bound him.

He had put him in prison,

On account of Herodias,

His brother Philip’s wife.”

 

καὶ εἶπεν τοῖς παισὶν αὐτοῦ Οὗτός ἐστιν Ἰωάνης ὁ Βαπτιστής· αὐτὸς ἠγέρθη ἀπὸ τῶν νεκρῶν, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο αἱ δυνάμεις ἐνεργοῦσιν ἐν αὐτῷ.

Ὁ γὰρ Ἡρῴδης κρατήσας τὸν Ἰωάνην ἔδησεν καὶ ἐν φυλακῇ ἀπέθετο διὰ Ἡρῳδιάδα τὴν γυναῖκα Φιλίππου τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ αὐτοῦ·

 

This mention of Herod and John the Baptist can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 6:14 and 6:17, and Luke, chapter 9:7 and 3:19-20, and here.  As if this story was not complicated enough, Herod, the Roman ruler in Galilee, had already seized John the Baptist.  John had been complaining that Herod Antipas had married the wife of his half-brother Herod Boethus or Philip, after he had divorced his first wife, who went back to her father and started a war with Herod Antipas.  His new wife was called Herodias.  Thus, Herod Antipas said to his children or servants (καὶ εἶπεν τοῖς παισὶν αὐτοῦ) that he thought that Jesus was John the Baptist raised from the dead (Οὗτός ἐστιν Ἰωάνης ὁ Βαπτιστής· αὐτὸς ἠγέρθη ἀπὸ τῶν νεκρῶν).  How ironic since Jesus was to rise from the dead.  Herod thought the miraculous powers of John the Baptist were at work in Jesus (καὶ διὰ τοῦτο αἱ δυνάμεις ἐνεργοῦσιν ἐν αὐτῷ).  Herod knew that he had seized, bound, and, put John in jail (Ὁ γὰρ Ἡρῴδης κρατήσας τὸν Ἰωάνην ἔδησεν καὶ ἐν φυλακῇ ἀπέθετο).  In fact, he had him killed because of his new wife Herodias, who had been the wife of his brother Philip or Herod Boethus (διὰ Ἡρῳδιάδα τὴν γυναῖκα Φιλίππου τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ αὐτοῦ).

Debts (Mt 5:25-5:26)

“Come to terms quickly

With your accuser,

While you are

On the way

To court.

Otherwise,

Your accuser

May hand you over

To the judge.

The judge

May hand you over

To the guard.

You will be

Thrown into prison.

Truly,

I say to you!

‘You will never get out

Until you have paid

The last penny.’”

 

ἴσθι εὐνοῶν τῷ ἀντιδίκῳ σου ταχὺ ἕως ὅτου εἶ μετ’ αὐτοῦ ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ· μή ποτέ σε παραδῷ ὁ ἀντίδικος τῷ κριτῇ, καὶ ὁ κριτὴς τῷ ὑπηρέτῃ, καὶ εἰς φυλακὴν βληθήσῃ·

ἀμὴν λέγω σοι, οὐ μὴ ἐξέλθῃς ἐκεῖθεν ἕως ἂν ἀποδῷς τὸν ἔσχατον κοδράντην.

 

Jesus, via Matthew, had some common-sense advice that seems to come from the common source Q, since Luke, chapter 12:58-59, has almost exactly the same saying.  If you had a court case, try to settle it quickly before you get to court with the person that you owed money to.  You should be agreeable to your accuser (ἴσθι εὐνοῶν τῷ ἀντιδίκῳ σου).  You should try to solve this case with your accuser on the way to court (ἕως ὅτου εἶ μετ’ αὐτοῦ ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ).  Otherwise, this accuser would turn you over to a judge (μή ποτέ σε παραδῷ ὁ ἀντίδικος τῷ κριτῇ), who would in turn send you to a guard (καὶ ὁ κριτὴς τῷ ὑπηρέτῃ), who would throw you into jail or a prison (καὶ εἰς φυλακὴν βληθήσῃ).  Then Matthew has this solemn statement of Jesus (ἀμὴν λέγω σοι), just like Luke.  You would never get out of jail (οὐ μὴ ἐξέλθῃς ἐκεῖθεν) until you have paid off the last κοδράντην (ἕως ἂν ἀποδῷς τὸν ἔσχατον κοδράντην).  This κοδράντην was a 1/10 of a drachma, about .03 cents, generally translated as a penny.  Settle your debts before you go to court!

The release of King Jehoiachin (Jer 52:31-52:31)

“In the thirty-seventh year

Of the exile

Of King Jehoiachin

Of Judah,

In the twelfth month,

On the twenty-fifth day

Of the month,

King Evil-Merodach

Of Babylon,

In the year

That he began to reign,

Showed favor

To King Jehoiachin

Of Judah.

He brought him

Out of prison.”

This once again is similar to 2 Kings, chapter 25. However, the date is off by 2 days. Here it is the 25th and the not the 27th of the 12th month. The death of King Nebuchadnezzar about 562 BCE led to the reign of King Merodach who is also known as King Evil-Merodach or Merodach-Baladan. Merodach was also the name of a Babylonian god. This new king of Babylon freed King Jehoiachin of Judah, who was now 55 years old, from jail, after being in jail for 37 years.

Jeremiah renames Pashhur (Jer 20:3-20:3)

“The next morning,

When Pashhur released Jeremiah

From the stocks,

Jeremiah said to him.

‘Yahweh has named you

Not Pashhur,

But ‘Terror all around.’”

The next morning, when Pashhur released Jeremiah, after his day in jail, Jeremiah said to him that Yahweh was renaming him, not Pashhur, but “Terror all around.” Pashhur thus received a new symbolic name of terror.