The millstone on the neck (Lk 17:2-17:2)

“It would be better

For you

If a millstone

Were hung

Around your neck.

Then you would be

Thrown

Into the sea.

Rather than cause

One of these little ones

To stumble.”

 

λυσιτελεῖ αὐτῷ εἰ λίθος μυλικὸς περίκειται περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ καὶ ἔρριπται εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, ἢ ἵνα σκανδαλίσῃ τῶν μικρῶν τούτων ἕνα.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that it would be better for anyone (λυσιτελεῖ αὐτῷ) if a stone from a mill (εἰ λίθος μυλικὸς) were hung around their neck (περίκειται περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ).  Luke alone used the term μυλικὸς meaning mill.  They should be thrown into the sea (καὶ ἔρριπται εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν), rather than cause one of these little ones to stumble (ἢ ἵνα σκανδαλίσῃ τῶν μικρῶν τούτων ἕνα).  This saying about causing little believing children to sin or stumble can also be found in Mark, chapter 9:42, and Matthew, chapter 18:6, with some minor changes, with Matthew closer to MarkMatthew indicated that Jesus said that if anyone of them caused these little ones, who believed in him, to stumble, to sin, or be scandalized (ὃς δ’ ἂν σκανδαλίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων τῶν πιστευόντων εἰς ἐμέ), it would be better for them to fasten a great heavy millstone around their necks (συμφέρει αὐτῷ ἵνα κρεμασθῇ μύλος ὀνικὸς περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ) and thus sink and be drowned in the deep sea (καὶ καταποντισθῇ ἐν τῷ πελάγει τῆς θαλάσσης).  Mark indicated that Jesus said that if anyone of them caused these little ones, who believed in him, to be scandalized or stumble (Καὶ ὃς δ’ ἂν σκανδαλίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων τῶν πιστευόντων), it would be better for them (καλόν ἐστιν αὐτῷ μᾶλλον) to fasten a great heavy millstone around their necks (εἰ περίκειται μύλος ὀνικὸς περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ).  They should be thrown or cast into the deep sea (καὶ βέβληται εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν).  Causing the believing little children to sin meant it was better for that person to die in deep water with a heavy millstone around their neck.  This millstone was a stone for grinding various grains.  Luke never mentioned that they were believing little ones, just little ones.  Have you ever caused little children to sin?

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Do not cause children to sin (Mk 9:42-9:42)

“If any of you

Put a stumbling block

Before one

Of these little ones,

Who believe in me,

It would be better

For you

If a great millstone

Were hung

Around your neck.

It would be better

If you were thrown

Into the sea.”

 

Καὶ ὃς ἂν σκανδαλίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων τῶν πιστευόντων, καλόν ἐστιν αὐτῷ μᾶλλον εἰ περίκειται μύλος ὀνικὸς περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ καὶ βέβληται εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν.

 

This saying about causing little believing children to sin or stumble can also be found in Matthew, chapter 18:6, and Luke, chapter 17:1-2, with some minor changes.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that if anyone of them caused these little ones, who believed in him, to be scandalized or stumble on a block (Καὶ ὃς δ’ ἂν σκανδαλίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων τῶν πιστευόντων), it would be better for them (καλόν ἐστιν αὐτῷ μᾶλλον) to fasten a great heavy millstone around their necks (εἰ περίκειται μύλος ὀνικὸς περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ).  They should be thrown or cast into the deep sea (καὶ βέβληται εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν).  Causing the believing little children to sin meant it was better for that person to die in deep water with a heavy millstone around their neck.  This millstone was a stone for grinding various grains.

 

Give water in the name of Christ (Mk 9:41-9:41)

“Whoever gives you

A cup of water

To drink,

Because you bear

The name of Christ,

Truly!

I say to you!

He will

By no means

Lose his reward.”

 

Ὃς γὰρ ἂν ποτίσῃ ὑμᾶς ποτήριον ὕδατος ἐν ὀνόματι, ὅτι Χριστοῦ ἐστε, ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι οὐ μὴ ἀπολέσῃ τὸν μισθὸν αὐτοῦ.

 

This verse of Mark is similar to Matthew, chapter 10:42, but not in LukeMatthew had the gift of water to the little ones, not the disciples.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that whoever gave them a cup of cold water to drink (Ὃς γὰρ ἂν ποτίσῃ ὑμᾶς ποτήριον ὕδατος), because they bear the name of Christ (ἐν ὀνόματι, ὅτι Χριστοῦ ἐστε), would be rewarded.  Jesus spoke with a solemn pronouncement (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).  They would not lose their reward (οὐ μὴ ἀπολέσῃ τὸν μισθὸν αὐτοῦ).  Why would they lose their reward anyhow?  Once again, Jesus spoke with authority.  There is an explicit mention of Christ (Χριστοῦ) that was rare in Mark.  People would not lose anything by giving cold water to his Christian disciples, a very small gesture.

Explanation of the parable of the lost sheep (Mt 18:14-18:14)

“Thus,

It is not the will

Of my Father in heaven

That one of these little ones

Should be lost.”

 

οὕτως οὐκ ἔστιν θέλημα ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ Πατρὸς ὑμῶν τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς ἵνα ἀπόληται ἓν τῶν μικρῶν τούτων.

 

This explanation of the lost sheep parable can also be found in Luke, chapter 15:7, with some minor changes, as Luke has this lost sheep as a repentant sinner.  Jesus explained that it was not the will of his heavenly Father (οὕτως οὐκ ἔστιν θέλημα ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ Πατρὸς ὑμῶν τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς) that these little ones should be lost or perish (ἵνα ἀπόληται ἓν τῶν μικρῶν τούτων).  Thus, this was the simple straightforward explanation.  The heavenly Father did not want to lose anyone, just like the good shepherd did not want to lose one of his lost sheep.

Do not cause children to sin (Mt 18:6-18:6)

“If anyone causes

These little ones,

Who believe in me,

To sin or stumble,

It would be better

For them

If a heavy millstone

Were fastened

Around their necks.

It would be better

For them

To be drowned

In the depth of the sea.”

 

ὃς δ’ ἂν σκανδαλίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων τῶν πιστευόντων εἰς ἐμέ, συμφέρει αὐτῷ ἵνα κρεμασθῇ μύλος ὀνικὸς περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ καὶ καταποντισθῇ ἐν τῷ πελάγει τῆς θαλάσσης.

 

This saying about causing little believing children to sin or stumble can also be found in Mark, chapter 9:42, and Luke, chapter 17:1-2, with some minor changes, with Matthew closer to Mark.  Jesus said that if anyone of them caused these little one, who believed in him, to stumble, to sin, or be scandalized (ὃς δ’ ἂν σκανδαλίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων τῶν πιστευόντων εἰς ἐμέ), it would be better for them to fasten a great heavy millstone around their necks (συμφέρει αὐτῷ ἵνα κρεμασθῇ μύλος ὀνικὸς περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ) and thus sink and be drowned in the deep sea (καὶ καταποντισθῇ ἐν τῷ πελάγει τῆς θαλάσσης).  Causing the believing little children to sin meant it was better for that person to die in deep water with a heavy millstone around their neck.  This millstone was a stone for grinding various grains.

The disciples of Jesus (Mt 10:42-10:42)

“Whoever gives

Even a cup of cold water

To one of these little ones,

In the name of a disciple,

Truly,

I say to you,

None of these

Will lose their reward.”

 

καὶ ὃς ἐὰν ποτίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων ποτήριον ψυχροῦ μόνον εἰς ὄνομα μαθητοῦ, ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, οὐ μὴ ἀπολέσῃ τὸν μισθὸν αὐτοῦ.

 

This verse of Matthew is similar to Mark, chapter 9:41.  Jesus said that whoever gave a cup of cold water to drink to these small or little ones (καὶ ὃς ἐὰν ποτίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων ποτήριον ψυχροῦ), if only in the name of his disciples (μόνον εἰς ὄνομα μαθητοῦ,), they would not lose their reward (οὐ μὴ ἀπολέσῃ τὸν μισθὸν αὐτοῦ).  Once again, Jesus spoke with authority (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).  They would not lose anything by giving this small gesture of cold water to his disciples or the little ones or the less important in society.  These least important in society might be his disciples themselves.

The plan against Babylon (Jer 50:45-50:46)

“Therefore hear the plan

That Yahweh has made

Against Babylon!

Hear the purposes

That he has formed

Against the land

Of the Chaldeans!

Surely the little ones

Of the flock

Shall be dragged away.

Surely their fold

Shall be appalled

At their fate.

At the sound

Of the capture

Of Babylon,

The earth shall tremble.

Her cry shall be heard

Among the nations.”

Once again, this is the like the preceding chapter against the Edomites. Instead of the Edom, Babylon is inserted. Yahweh clearly wants to get rid of the Chaldeans.   Even the little ones would be dragged away. The shepherds and the sheep would be appalled at what was happening. The fall of the Babylonians would be so loud that the earth would tremble like an earthquake. The sounds of their cries from Babylon would be heard among all the nations.