The Pharisee prayer (Lk 18:11-18:11)

“The Pharisee,

Standing by himself,

Was praying thus.

‘God!

I thank you

That I am not

Like other people.

I am not

A thief,

A wicked person,

An adulterer,

Or even

Like this tax collector.’”

 

ὁ Φαρισαῖος σταθεὶς ταῦτα πρὸς ἑαυτὸν προσηύχετο Ὁ Θεός, εὐχαριστῶ σοι ὅτι οὐκ εἰμὶ ὥσπερ οἱ λοιποὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ἅρπαγες, ἄδικοι, μοιχοί, ἢ καὶ ὡς οὗτος ὁ τελώνης·

 

Luke has Jesus tell a parable about this Pharisee and a tax collector that is only found in this gospel.  Luke indicated that Jesus said this Pharisee stood by himself (ὁ Φαρισαῖος σταθεὶς ταῦτα πρὸς ἑαυτὸν).  He was praying (προσηύχετο) to God.  He said thank you to God (Ὁ Θεός, εὐχαριστῶ σοι) that he was not like other people (ὅτι οὐκ εἰμὶ ὥσπερ οἱ λοιποὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων).  He was not a thief, a robber, or a swindler (ἅρπαγες), unjust, unrighteous, or wicked (ἄδικοι), or an adulterer (μοιχοί), or even like this tax collector (ἢ καὶ ὡς οὗτος ὁ τελώνης).  This Pharisee considered himself a just, righteous person, not like other sinners who were evil.  Certainly, he was happy not to be a terrible Roman tax collector, like that other person in the Temple.  Thus, he uttered the prayer of an upstanding righteous Jewish person.  Do you thank God that you are better than other people?

 

Last group hired (Mt 20:6-20:7)

“About five o’clock,

The eleventh hour,

The landowner went out.

He found others standing around.

He said to them.

‘Why are you standing here

Idle all day?’

They said to him.

‘Because no one

Has hired us.’

He said to them.

‘You also go

Into the vineyard.’

 

περὶ δὲ τὴν ἑνδεκάτην ἐξελθὼν εὗρεν ἄλλους ἑστῶτας, καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς Τί ὧδε ἑστήκατε ὅλην τὴν ἡμέραν ἀργοί;

λέγουσιν αὐτῷ Ὅτι οὐδεὶς ἡμᾶς ἐμισθώσατο. λέγει αὐτοῖς Ὑπάγετε καὶ ὑμεῖς εἰς τὸν ἀμπελῶνα.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew.  This landowner of the vineyard went (ἐξελθὼν) to the market square at about 5:00 PM, the eleventh hour (περὶ δὲ τὴν ἑνδεκάτην).  He found some people still standing around (εὗρεν ἄλλους ἑστῶτας) in the square.  The landowner asked them (καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς) why were they standing around idle all day (Τί ὧδε ἑστήκατε ὅλην τὴν ἡμέραν ἀργοί).  They said to him (λέγουσιν αὐτῷ) that no one had hired them (Ὅτι οὐδεὶς ἡμᾶς ἐμισθώσατο).  Thus. he told them (λέγει αὐτοῖς) to go to work in his vineyard (Ὑπάγετε καὶ ὑμεῖς εἰς τὸν ἀμπελῶνα).  The Greek Orthodox text added the phrase about the earlier group.  He simply said that they would receive what was right, just, or fair (καὶ ὃ ἐὰν ᾖ δίκαιον λήψεσθε).  Remember, the first group had been working 11 hours before this last group began to work.

The third and fourth group of laborers (Mt 20:5-20:5)

“When the landowner

Went out again

About noon,

The sixth hour,

And about three o’clock,

The ninth hour,

He did the same.”

 

πάλιν δὲ ἐξελθὼν περὶ ἕκτην καὶ ἐνάτην ὥραν ἐποίησεν ὡσαύτως.

 

Jesus continued with this parable that is unique to Matthew.  This landowner needed more workers so that every 3 hours, he went into the marketplace to see if there were any day workers available.  Thus, this landowner of the vineyards went out again (πάλιν δὲ ἐξελθὼν) about noon, the sixth hour (περὶ ἕκτην), and about 3:00 PM, the ninth hour (καὶ ἐνάτην ὥραν).  He did the same (ἐποίησεν ὡσαύτως) as he had done at the third hour or 9 AM.  He asked them to work in the vineyard and he would pay them whatever was right, fair or just, without a specific agreed wage.

The second group of laborers (Mt 20:3-20:4)

“When the landowner

Went out

About nine o’clock,

The third hour,

He saw others standing idle

In the market place.

He said to them.

‘You also go

Into the vineyard.

I will pay you

Whatever is right.’

Thus,

They went out

To the vineyard.”

 

καὶ ἐξελθὼν περὶ τρίτην ὥραν εἶδεν ἄλλους ἑστῶτας ἐν τῇ ἀγορᾷ ἀργούς,

καὶ ἐκείνοις εἶπεν Ὑπάγετε καὶ ὑμεῖς εἰς τὸν ἀμπελῶνα, καὶ ὃ ἐὰν ᾖ δίκαιον δώσω ὑμῖν.

οἱ δὲ ἀπῆλθον.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew.  Jesus continued with this parable.  About 9 AM, the third hour (καὶ ἐξελθὼν περὶ τρίτην ὥραν), this land owner saw other people standing around idle in the market place (εἶδεν ἄλλους ἑστῶτας ἐν τῇ ἀγορᾷ ἀργούς).  He asked them if they wanted to work in his vineyard (καὶ ἐκείνοις εἶπεν Ὑπάγετε καὶ ὑμεῖς εἰς τὸν ἀμπελῶνα).  He did not promise them a specific wage for the day.  He simply said that he would pay them whatever was right, just, or fair (καὶ ὃ ἐὰν ᾖ δίκαιον δώσω ὑμῖν).  Some of them agreed and went out (οἱ δὲ ἀπῆλθον) into the vineyard fields to pick the grapes.

The eighth beatitude on persecution (Mt 5:10-5:10)

“Blessed are

Those who are persecuted

For righteousness’ sake,

Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

 

μακάριοι οἱ δεδιωγμένοι ἕνεκεν δικαιοσύνης, ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.

 

The happy, blessed, and fortunate ones (μακάριοι) would be those who were being persecuted for the sake of righteousness (οἱ δεδιωγμένοι ἕνεκεν δικαιοσύνης). The followers of Jesus would be persecuted. The reward for these righteous ones would be the kingdom of heaven (ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν). After each blessed action, there was a reward. Righteousness, like in the Old Testament, was a key characteristic for those who would enter the kingdom of heaven. Acting right, following the law, was at the center or the heart of being a just or righteous person.

Yahweh’s response (Hab 1:5-1:5)

“Look at the nations!

See!

Be astonished!

Be astonished!

A work

Is being done

In your days

That you would not believe

If you were told.”

Habakkuk had a dialog with Yahweh.  Yahweh was going to respond to him.  He told Habakkuk to look at all the other countries.  He would be astonished to see how much work Yahweh was doing among these other countries.  He would not believe it, even if Yahweh told him all about it.  Yahweh responded that he was just, but Habakkuk did not see or know it.  This is a text that would be later quoted in the Christian Acts of the Apostles, chapter 13.

The final praise of God (Dan 4:37-4:37)

“Now I,

King Nebuchadnezzar,

Praise

The king of heaven!

I extol

The king of heaven!

I honor

The king of heaven!

All his works

Are true!

His ways

Are justice!

He is able to

Bring low

Those who walk

In pride.”

The king continued, in the first-person singular, to praise, extol, and honor the king of heaven. All God’s works are true. All his ways are just. God is able to bring low those who walk in pride. The king was referring to himself and his new-found God.