The friendly request (Lk 11:5-11:5)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Suppose one of you

Has a friend.

Would you go

To him

At midnight?

Would you say

To him.

`Friend!

Lend me

Three loaves

Of bread!’”

 

Καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς Τίς ἐξ ὑμῶν ἕξει φίλον, καὶ πορεύσεται πρὸς αὐτὸν μεσονυκτίου καὶ εἴπῃ αὐτῷ Φίλε, χρῆσόν μοι τρεῖς ἄρτους,

 

Luke uniquely had this parable story about waking up a friend in the middle of the night.  Luke indicated that Jesus told his disciples (Καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς) this parable.  He asked them, who among them had a friend (Τίς ἐξ ὑμῶν ἕξει φίλον)?  Obviously, some of them had friends.  If they were to go to their friend (καὶ πορεύσεται πρὸς) at midnight (μεσονυκτίου), and say to him (καὶ εἴπῃ αὐτῷ), good friend (Φίλε), lend me 3 loaves of bread (χρῆσόν μοι τρεῖς ἄρτους), what do you think he would do?  Most of us would say leave us alone.  After all there were no fast food 24-hour service places to get food.  Luke has Jesus take up this question after his presentation on how to pray the Our Father.  What if you have a sudden visitor and not enough food?  What to do?  Wake up your next-door neighbor friend!  I do not know if that is a good idea.  Let’s see what happens.  Would you wake up a neighbor in the middle of the night?

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Love your enemies! (Lk 6:35-6:35)

“But love your enemies!

Do good!

Lend!

Expect nothing

In return!

Your reward

Will be great!

You will be

Children

Of the Most-High!”

 

πλὴν ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν καὶ ἀγαθοποιεῖτε καὶ δανίζετε μηδὲν ἀπελπίζοντες· καὶ ἔσται ὁ μισθὸς ὑμῶν πολύς, καὶ ἔσεσθε υἱοὶ Ὑψίστου,

 

Matthew, chapter 5:44 was more forceful when Jesus said that they were to love their enemies (ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν) and even pray for those who were persecuting them.  Here Luke indicated that Jesus said that they were to love their enemies (πλὴν ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν), as in Matthew.  However, they were to do good (καὶ ἀγαθοποιεῖτε).  They were expected to lend to others (καὶ δανίζετε), expecting nothing in return (μηδὲν ἀπελπίζοντες).  This was based on Exodus, chapter 22:25 that if they lent money, they should not charge interest to the poor.  Leviticus, chapter 25:27, said that if any of their relatives fall into difficulties and become dependent on them, they should support them as though they were resident aliens.  They were not to take interest or profit from them while they are living and eating in their house.  Yahweh would provide.  Their reward would be great (καὶ ἔσται ὁ μισθὸς ὑμῶν πολύς) because they would be children of the Most-High God (καὶ ἔσεσθε υἱοὶ Ὑψίστου).  Have you ever lent money to relatives?

The foolish giver (Sir 20:13-20:17)

“The wise make themselves beloved

By only a few words.

But the courtesies of fools are wasted.

A fool’s gift will profit nothing.

So it is with the envious

Who give under compulsion.

He looks for recompense sevenfold.

He has many eyes instead of one.

He gives little.

He upbraids much.

He opens his mouth

Like a town crier.

Today he lends.

Tomorrow he asks it back.

Such a one is a hateful man.

Such a one is hateful to God.

Such a one is hateful to humans.

The fool says.

‘I have no friends.

I get no thanks for my good deeds.

Those who eat my bread

Are evil-tongued.’

How many will ridicule him!

How often will they ridicule him!”

Wise people can make themselves loved with a few words. However, fools have a difficult time. Courtesies and gifts do not bring them any gain. The same is true of the envious people that are forced to give a gift. They are looking for a reward. These fools are looking to be compensated. They are looking all over with their many eyes. They give little. They are always criticizing. They are like town criers, shouting all the time. One day they lend things. Then the next day, they want them back again. These fools are hateful people to God and their fellow humans. These foolish people think that they have no friends. They get no thanks for their good deeds. They think that the people who eat with them are evil people. Thus they are often ridiculed by many people.

How to get along with people (Sir 8:10-8:13)

“Do not kindle the coals of sinners!

You may be burned in their flaming fire.

Do not let the insolent bring you to your feet!

They may lie in ambush against your words.

Do not lend

To one who is stronger than you!

If you do lend anything,

Count it as a loss.

Do not give surety

Beyond your means!

If you give surety,

Be prepared to pay.”

Do not provoke sinners or you may be burned by their flames. Do not get involved with the insolent or they might ambush you. Do not lend money to someone stronger than you. If you do, write it off as a loss. Do not offer surety or guarantees for others. If you do, do not offer more than you can pay. You should be prepared to pay whatever you guarantee.

Pledges (Prov 27:13-27:13)

“Take the garment

Of one who has given surety for a stranger.

Seize the pledge given as surety for foreigners.”

This is another repetition of the same proverb in chapter 20 about pledges and sureties for loans. It seems like not a good idea to lend to strangers, especially if you are the stranger. They are able to take the garments and pledges of strangers.

The library of Nehemiah (2 Macc 2:13-2:15)

“The same things are reported in the records

And in the memoirs of Nehemiah.

He also founded a library.

He collected the books about the kings and prophets,

And the writings of David.

He collected the letters of kings about votive offerings.

In the same way Judas also collected all the books

That had been lost on account of the war

That had come upon us.

Now they are in our possession.

So if you have need of them,

Send people to get them for you.”

We do have the book of Nehemiah. Whether there were other records or memoires that is mentioned in a library, we are not sure. Nowhere else is there a mention of a library, but Nehemiah and Ezra were 5th century BCE scholars who worked with the law. They may have been the first to have what might be called an unofficial canon of the Bible. He may have been the one who collected the works of the prophets and the books about the kings together with the Pentateuch to create the Hebrew Bible. Judas Maccabeus may have done the same thing. He may have gathered all the biblical books into a library since that is what the Bible means, a library of books. The other biblical moment would have been under King Josiah in the 7th century BCE, when they discovered the book of the law. These Jewish people were willing to lend them out. Alexandria was a major world library at this time. It was there in the 2nd and 3rd century BCE that the translation of the Hebrew Bible into the Greek Septuagint Bible took place. This is one of the few biblical occasions where someone is vaguely talking about the makeup of the Bible itself.