“The nobleman said
To the bystanders.
‘Take the mina
Give it to the one
Who has the ten minas!’”
καὶ τοῖς παρεστῶσιν εἶπεν Ἄρατε ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ τὴν μνᾶν καὶ δότε τῷ τὰς δέκα μνᾶς ἔχοντι.
Luke indicated that Jesus remarked that the nobleman said to the bystanders (καὶ τοῖς παρεστῶσιν εἶπεν) to take the mina from him (Ἄρατε ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ τὴν μνᾶν) and give it to the one who had earned 10 minas (καὶ δότε τῷ τὰς δέκα μνᾶς ἔχοντι). This seems harsh, but in sync with the character of the nobleman. This was similar to Matthew, chapter 25:28, perhaps indicating a Q source. Jesus, via Matthew, said that this master or slave owner said to his people to take the one talent from this wicked lazy slave (ἄρατε οὖν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ τὸ τάλαντον) and give it to the slave who already had 10 talents (καὶ δότε τῷ ἔχοντι τὰ δέκα τάλαντα). That did not seem fair, even though it was a mild punishment. This lazy slave ended up with nothing, but he really did not want anything. However, the ambitious industrious slave, who had increased his money, would get even more. Do you have enough money?
Said to this slave.
‘I will judge you
By your own words.
You wicked slave!
Did you not,
That I was a harsh man.
What I did not deposit.
What I did not sow?’”
λέγει αὐτῷ Ἐκ τοῦ στόματός σου κρίνω σε, πονηρὲ δοῦλε. ᾔδεις ὅτι ἐγὼ ἄνθρωπος αὐστηρός εἰμι, αἴρων ὃ οὐκ ἔθηκα καὶ θερίζων ὃ οὐκ ἔσπειρα;
Luke indicated that Jesus remarked that the nobleman said to this slave (λέγει αὐτῷ) that he was going to judge him (κρίνω σε) by his own words, what came out of his own mouth (Ἐκ τοῦ στόματός σου). The nobleman called him a wicked slave (πονηρὲ δοῦλε) because he knew (ᾔδεις) that this nobleman was an austere harsh rigid man (ὅτι ἐγὼ ἄνθρωπος αὐστηρός εἰμι). This nobleman repeated what was just said in verse 21, that he took what he did not deposit (αἴρων ὃ οὐκ ἔθηκα) and he reaped what he did not sow (καὶ θερίζων ὃ οὐκ ἔσπειρα). This was similar to Matthew, chapter 25:26, perhaps indicating a Q source. Jesus said, via Matthew, that this master was not happy with his slave who hid his talent money. This lord or master responded to this slave (ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ εἶπεν αὐτῷ). He called him a wicked lazy slave (Πονηρὲ δοῦλε καὶ ὀκνηρέ). He knew that this master was a hard man, since he reaped where he had not sown (ᾔδεις ὅτι θερίζω ὅπου οὐκ ἔσπειρα) and he gathered where he had not scattered (καὶ συνάγω ὅθεν οὐ διεσκόρπισα), repeating the slave’s own words. Notice that Luke did not call this slave lazy, just wicked or evil, while Matthew did. Are you a demanding person?
“The idler is
Like a filthy stone.
Every one hisses
At his disgrace.
The idler is
Like the filth of dunghills.
Any one that picks it up
Will shake it off his hand.”
Sirach compares the idle lazy person to a filthy stone, like used toilet paper. Everyone hisses at his disgrace in not doing any work. The idler is like the filthy excrement of the dunghills. He is like the highly offensive term “a piece of shit.” Anyone that picks it up, immediately shakes it off. This is strong criticism of those idle people who do not work.
“Through negligent sloth
The roof sinks in.
Through negligent indolence
The house leaks.
Feasts are made for laughter.
Wine gladdens life.
Money meets every need.
Do not curse the king,
Even in your thoughts.
Do not curse the rich,
Even in your bedchamber.
A bird of the air
May carry your voice.
Some winged creature tells the matter.”
Qoheleth reminds us that if we negligent and lazy, the roof will sink in and our house will leak. In an interesting comment on life, he says that feasts were made for laughter. Wine adds gladness to our lives, just as money meets every need, or more or less solves all problems. Then he reminded people to be careful about their words and thoughts. Do not even think about cursing the king. Don’t say anything about the rich even in your bedroom. The reason is that a little bird may carry you voice to someone who might not like what you are thinking or saying. The same is true for some winged creature who might reveal what you were saying and thinking.
“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 is a repetition of what was said in chapter 6 about the lazy sleeper, word for word. This admonition is very clear. You either were sleeping, dosing, or folding your hands while resting. If you did not get a move on, you would soon be poor. Poverty would come upon you like a robber or an armed warrior.
“I passed by the field
Of a lazy person.
I passed by the vineyard
Of a stupid person.
It was all overgrown with thorns.
The ground was covered with nettles.
Its stone wall was broken down.
Then I saw it.
I considered it.
I received instruction.”
This wise person passed by the fields of a lazy person as well as the vineyards of a stupid person. These fields were overgrown with thorns and nettles. The stone wall fences were broken down. Once again, this indicates a strong agricultural society where there were general rules on how to keep up your farming fields. The wise one saw it, looked at it, considered it, and received instructions about it. This un-kept farm field was a big deal.
“Those who are generous are blessed.
They share their bread with the poor.
Drive out a scoffer!
Then strife also goes out.
Quarreling and abuse will cease.
Whoever loves a pure heart,
Will have the king as a friend.
Whoever is gracious in speech,
Will have the king as his friend.
The eyes of Yahweh keep watch over knowledge.
But he overthrows the words of the faithless.
The lazy person says.
‘There is a lion outside!
I shall be killed in the streets!’”
The generous people are blessed because they share their bread with the poor. Get rid of the scoffers, the mockers, and strife will go away. Arguments and abuse will cease if the mockers are gone. If you have a pure heart and gracious speech you will have the king as a friend. Yahweh watches over knowledge, but he overthrows the words of the faithless. The lazy person is afraid to go outside because he says that he is scared of being killed by a lion.
“It is honorable to refrain from strife.
But every fool is quick to quarrel.
The lazy person does not plow in the autumn season.
There is nothing to be found.
The purposes in the human mind are like deep water.
But the intelligent will draw them out.
Many proclaim themselves loyal.
But who can find one worthy of trust?”
The honorable people stay away from arguments and strife, but the fools are quick to start an argument. The lazy person does not plow in the correct season so that when harvest comes, they have nothing to harvest. The human mind is deep, but the intelligent people can draw out the purposes of humans. Many people maintain that they are loyal, but it is hard to find a trustworthy person.
“The fear of Yahweh is life indeed.
Filled with the fear of Yahweh,
One rests secure.
Filled with the fear of Yahweh,
One suffers no harm.
The lazy person buries a hand in the dish.
He will not even bring it back to the mouth.
Strike a scoffer.
The simple will learn prudence.
Reprove the intelligent.
They will gain knowledge.”
The fear of God is life itself. If you fear Yahweh, you will always be secure and suffer no harm. Some people are so lazy they do not even feed themselves, but let her hands stay on the dish buried in their food. The simple can learn prudence. The intelligent can gain knowledge. Everything stems from the fear of Yahweh.
“Those who are hot-tempered
Stir up strife.
But those who are slow to anger
The way of the lazy
Is overgrown with thorns.
But the path of the upright
Is a level highway.”
The hot tempered angry people stir up strife. If you are slow to anger, you can calm contentious situations. The way of the lazy people is overgrown with thorns, but the upright have a nice level highway. Watch your temper! Do not be lazy!