To a distant country
To get royal power
Then he would return.’”
εἶπεν οὖν Ἄνθρωπός τις εὐγενὴς ἐπορεύθη εἰς χώραν μακρὰν λαβεῖν ἑαυτῷ βασιλείαν καὶ ὑποστρέψαι.
Luke indicated that Jesus said (εἶπεν οὖν) that a nobleman (Ἄνθρωπός τις εὐγενὴς) went to a distant country (ἐπορεύθη εἰς χώραν μακρὰν) to get royal power for himself (λαβεῖν ἑαυτῷ βασιλείαν). After that, he would return later (καὶ ὑποστρέψαι). This might have been a hint about the local leaders going to Rome to get their royal powers. It may also be about Jesus going to heaven and then returning at the last judgment or the Second Coming. However, there was the overriding theme of the need for responsibility, productivity, and not laziness. There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 25:14, where the story is about a man with a household of slaves and not a nobleman as here. The slaves were given money to take care of things while the rich man was gone. In Matthew, Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven would be like a man going on a journey (Ὥσπερ γὰρ ἄνθρωπος ἀποδημῶν). This very generous man called or summoned his slaves (ἐκάλεσεν τοὺς ἰδίους δούλους) to entrust them or give them his property and possessions, while he was gone (καὶ παρέδωκεν αὐτοῖς τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ). In Mark, 13:34, Jesus said that the end times would be like a man going on a journey (ὡς ἄνθρωπος ἀπόδημος). He left his house (ἀφεὶς τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτοῦ). He gave his slaves the authority (καὶ δοὺς τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ τὴν ἐξουσίαν) to perform their own individual tasks (ἑκάστῳ τὸ ἔργον αὐτοῦ). He commanded a doorkeeper to stand watch over this whole situation (καὶ τῷ θυρωρῷ ἐνετείλατο ἵνα γρηγορῇ). However, the story for Mark ended there, unlike Luke and Matthew that have more details about the slaves in this household. What do you do when you go on a long journey?
“The lazy person says.
‘There is a lion in the road!
There is a lion in the streets!’
As a door turns on its hinges,
So does a lazy person in bed.
The lazy person buries a hand in the dish.
He is too tired to bring it back to the mouth.
The lazy person is wiser in self-esteem
Than seven who can answer discreetly.”
In this short section about the lazy people, there is almost a direct repeat of what appeared in chapters 19 and 22 about the lazy man with the lion in the street and the lazy man with his hand in the dish. Both are striking examples of laziness. Afraid to go outside because of some supposed lion and being too tired to put his hand to his mouth to feed himself. This lazy person is only able to turn like hinge on a door, as he turns in his bed. Finally the lazy person is full of self esteem because he thinks that he is better than 7 other discreet people.
“Laziness brings on deep sleep.
An idle person will suffer hunger.
Those who keep the commandment will live.
Those who are heedless of their ways will die.
Whoever is kind to the poor
Lends to Yahweh.
Yahweh will repay them for their deed.”
Laziness and idleness will lead to nothing but sleep and hunger. If you want to live, keep the commandments. Otherwise you will die. If you are kind to the poor, you are lending to Yahweh, who will repay you for your deed.
“Go to the ant!
Consider its ways!
It prepares its food in summer.
It gathers its sustenance in harvest.
How long will you be there?
When will you rise from your sleep?
A little sleep,
A little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest,
Poverty will come upon you
Like a robber.
Want will come upon you
Like an armed warrior.”
This admonition is very clear. Do not be lazy, a lazybones person. He took the example of an ant. It has no chiefs, officers, or rulers, yet it provides for itself. The ants prepared the food in summer and gathered in the fall. So then he turned to the lazy one. He asked how long he was going to be resting. He either was sleeping, dosing, or folding his hands resting. If he did not get a move on, he would soon be poor. Poverty would come upon him like a robber or armed warrior. This is an idea that will be repeated.