The lost silver coin (Lk 15:8-15:8)

“A woman,

Had ten silver coins.

If she loses

One of them,

Does she not

Light a lamp,

Sweep the house,

And search diligently

Until she finds it?”

 

Ἢ τίς γυνὴ δραχμὰς ἔχουσα δέκα, ἐὰν ἀπολέσῃ δραχμὴν μίαν, οὐχὶ ἅπτει λύχνον καὶ σαροῖ τὴν οἰκίαν καὶ ζητεῖ ἐπιμελῶς ἕως οὗ εὕρῃ;

 

Next Luke had Jesus present 3 unique parables that do not appear elsewhere in the canonical gospels.  The first one is a short story about a lost coin, while the other two unique parables are longer.  Jesus said that this woman (Ἢ τίς γυνὴ) had 10 drachma silver coins (δραχμὰς ἔχουσα δέκα).  If she lost one of them (ἐὰν ἀπολέσῃ δραχμὴν μίαν), would she not light a lamp (οὐχὶ ἅπτει λύχνον), sweep the house (καὶ σαροῖ τὴν οἰκίαν), and search diligently or carefully (καὶ ζητεῖ ἐπιμελῶς), until she found it (ἕως οὗ εὕρῃ).  In this story, a woman with 10 drachmas lost one of them.  The Greek drachma was worth about a day’s pay so that 10 would have been about 2 weeks’ salary.  Thus, this lost drachma would roughly be about a day’s pay.  Would she not search her house with a lamp, sweeping everywhere?  Do you search for things when you lose them?

Jesus was upset (Lk 9:41-9:41)

“Jesus answered.

‘O faithless generation!

O perverse generation!

How much longer

Must I be with you?

How much longer

Must I bear with you?

Bring your son here!’”

 

ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν Ὦ γενεὰ ἄπιστος καὶ διεστραμμένη, ἕως πότε ἔσομαι πρὸς ὑμᾶς καὶ ἀνέξομαι ὑμῶν; προσάγαγε ὧδε τὸν υἱόν σου.

 

Jesus appeared to be exasperated with them.  Luke indicated that Jesus answered by saying (ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν) that they were a faithless (Ὦ γενεὰ ἄπιστος) and perverted generation (καὶ διεστραμμένη).  He wanted to know how many more days he would have to be with them (ἕως πότε ἔσομαι πρὸς ὑμᾶς)?  How much longer would he have to put up with them (καὶ ἀνέξομαι ὑμῶν)?  Finally, he said to the man to bring his son (προσάγαγε ὧδε τὸν υἱόν σου).  The response of Jesus to the father of the incurable epileptic son can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 17:17, Mark, chapter 9:19, and here in Luke, almost word for word.  Mark said that Jesus responded to them, as he called them out as a faithless generation.  Almost in desperation, he wondered how much longer he was going to be with them and how much longer would he have to bear with them.  He told them to bring the boy to him.  Matthew said that Jesus reprimanded his disciples, as Jesus called them out as a faithless, corrupt, and perverse generation.  He also wondered how much longer he was going to be with them and how much longer he had to put up with them.  He told them to bring the boy to him.  Have you ever been exasperated with certain people?

Evil comes from the human heart (Mk 7:21-7:23)

“It is from within,

From the human heart,

That evil intentions come.

Fornication,

Theft,

Murder,

Adultery,

Avarice,

Wickedness,

Deceit,

Licentiousness,

Envy,

Slander,

Pride,

And folly,

All these evil things

Come from within.

They defile a person.”

 

ἔσωθεν γὰρ ἐκ τῆς καρδίας τῶν ἀνθρώπων οἱ διαλογισμοὶ οἱ κακοὶ ἐκπορεύονται, πορνεῖαι, κλοπαί, φόνοι,

μοιχεῖαι, πλεονεξίαι, πονηρίαι, δόλος, ἀσέλγεια, ὀφθαλμὸς πονηρός, βλασφημία, ὑπερηφανία, ἀφροσύνη·

πάντα ταῦτα τὰ πονηρὰ ἔσωθεν ἐκπορεύεται καὶ κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον.

 

There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 15:19-20.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that it is from within the heart of a person (ἔσωθεν γὰρ ἐκ τῆς καρδίας τῶν ἀνθρώπων) that evil or wicked thoughts come forth spreading out (οἱ διαλογισμοὶ οἱ κακοὶ ἐκπορεύονται).  This included such evil things as fornication or pornography (πορνεῖαι), theft (κλοπαί), murders or killings (φόνοι), adulteries (μοιχεῖαι), avarice (πλεονεξίαι), wickedness (πονηρίαι), deceit (δόλος), licentiousness or wanton sensuality (ἀσέλγεια,), envy or the evil eye (ὀφθαλμὸς πονηρός), slander, abusive language, or blasphemy (βλασφημία), pride (ὑπερηφανία), and folly or foolishness (ἀφροσύνη).  This list in Mark was longer and different than the list in Matthew.  All these evil things came from within (πάντα ταῦτα τὰ πονηρὰ ἔσωθεν).  They come forth from the person (ἐκπορεύεται).  They are the things that defile a person (καὶ κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον).  You can clearly see what Jesus, his disciples, and the early Christian community considered as sins or defilements that made a person unclean or defiled.

The priesthood of the Levitical Aaron (Sir 45:6-45:7)

“The Lord exalted Aaron,

The brother of Moses.

He was a holy man

Like Moses.

He was of the tribe of Levi.

The Lord made

An everlasting covenant

With him.

He gave him

The priesthood of the people.”

It is interesting to note that this section on Aaron is much longer than the section about Moses, due to Sirach’s emphasis on the Levitical priests and their role. The Levitical priests were considered the direct descendants of Aaron, who was the brother of Moses. He, also like Moses, was a holy man that God exalted. However, there is a greater emphasis on the fact that Aaron belonged to the tribe of Levi. Although both Moses and Aaron were brothers, there was very little mention about Moses being of the tribe of Levi. Aaron was considered a priest, but Moses was not. The Lord then made an everlasting covenant with Aaron as he received the priesthood of the people, which Moses did not receive.

Remembering David and Yahweh (Ps 132:1-132:5)

A song of ascents

“Yahweh!

Remember in David’s favor.

Remember all the hardships he endured.

Remember how he swore to Yahweh.

Remember how he vowed to the mighty one of Jacob.

‘I will not enter my house.

I will not get into my bed.

I will not give sleep to my eyes.

I will not give slumber to my eyelids.

I will not do these things

Until I find a place for Yahweh,

A dwelling place for the mighty one of Jacob.’”

Psalm 132 is another in this series of pilgrimage songs or psalms on the ascent to Jerusalem. However, this longer psalm celebrates the transfer of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem at the time of David, based on 2 Samuel, chapter 7. This psalmist asks Yahweh to remember that he had favored David in all his hardships. He wanted Yahweh to remember that David had vowed to the mighty one of Jacob. David said that he would not enter his house, go to bed, and let his eyes sleep, or let his eyelids slumber until he had found a dwelling place for Yahweh, the mighty one of Jacob. Yahweh was called the mighty one of Jacob. Obviously this is an exaggeration that David would not sleep until he built a place for the Ark of the Covenant, considered to be the presence of Yahweh.

The compassionate God (Ps 78:38-78:41)

“Yet he,

Being compassionate,

Forgave their iniquity.

He did not destroy them.

Often he restrained his anger.

He did not stir up all his wrath.

He remembered that they were but flesh.

They were a wind that passes

And does not come again.

How often they rebelled against him

In the wilderness.

They grieved him in the desert!

They tested God again and again.

They provoked the Holy One of Israel.”

Instead of destroying them all, the compassionate God forgave them. He restrained his anger as he remembered that they were only human. They were like the wind that passes away never to return. They continued to rebel in the wilderness as they grieved him in the desert. Thus the wilderness time lasted longer than they had expected. They continually tested and provoked the God of Israel.

A call to Yahweh (Ps 16:1-16:3)

A Miktam of David.

“Preserve me!

O God!

In you I take refuge.

I say to Yahweh.

‘You are my Lord!

I have no good apart from you.’

As for the holy ones in the land,

They are the noble ones,

In whom is all my delight.”

Psalm 16 is a little longer psalm of personal faith in Yahweh. This is called a Miktam of David. Psalms 56-60 also have this title. It may refer to a wind instrument or a cymbal or tambourine. The Hebrew meaning of Miktam is uncertain. The psalmist or David asks God to preserve him. He takes his refuge in Yahweh, who is his lord. There is nothing good apart from God. The English language unites good and god with just a simple “o” difference. The psalmist delights only in the holy ones, the noble ones who live in the holy land.