Whose wife? (Lk 20:33-20:33)

“In the resurrection,

Therefore,

Whose wife

Will this woman be?

Seven brothers

Had married her.”

 

ἡ γυνὴ οὖν ἐν τῇ ἀναστάσει τίνος αὐτῶν γίνεται γυνή; οἱ γὰρ ἑπτὰ ἔσχον αὐτὴν γυναῖκα.

 

Luke indicated these Sadducees asked Jesus in the resurrection time (ἐν τῇ ἀναστάσει), whose wife would this woman be (ἡ γυνὴ οὖν…τίνος αὐτῶν γίνεται γυνή), since all 7 brothers had married her (οἱ γὰρ ἑπτὰ ἔσχον αὐτὴν γυναῖκα).  This story with the 7 brothers married to one woman was the set up for this question about the afterlife.  The Sadducees asked whose wife would she be among these 7 brothers in the resurrected life?  They were testing Jesus and questioning the concept of the resurrection after death.  This kicker question of the Sadducees can also be found in Matthew, chapter 22:28, and in Mark, chapter 12:23, almost word for word.  Mark said that in the resurrection (ἐν τῇ ἀναστάσει), when they would rise up again (ὅταν ἀναστῶσιν), the Sadducees wanted to know whose wife would she be (τίνος αὐτῶν ἔσται γυνή)?  All 7 of these brothers had married her (οἱ γὰρ ἑπτὰ ἔσχον αὐτὴν γυναῖκα).  Matthew indicated that these Sadducees asked about the future resurrection (ἐν τῇ ἀναστάσει οὖν).  Whose wife of the 7 brothers would she be (τίνος τῶν ἑπτὰ ἔσται γυνή)?  All 7 brothers had married her (πάντες γὰρ ἔσχον αὐτήν).  They assumed that the afterlife would be a continuation of this present earthly life.  What would happen to people who had multiple husbands or wives?  How was Jesus going to answer their tricky question?  Would you be confused in the future eternal life?

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The widowed wife died (Lk 20:32-20:32)

“Finally,

The woman

Also died.”

 

ὕστερον καὶ ἡ γυνὴ ἀπέθανεν.

 

Luke indicated that the Sadducees ended their story by saying that finally (ὕστερον), this woman, who was the wife of the 7 brothers, also died (καὶ ἡ γυνὴ ἀπέθανεν).  This story about the death of the woman who had married 7 brothers can also be found in Matthew, chapter 22:26-27, and in Mark, chapter 12:22.  Mark indicated that the Sadducees said that finally, last of all, this woman widow herself died (ἔσχατον πάντων καὶ ἡ γυνὴ ἀπέθανεν).  Matthew had the Sadducees conclude that last of all, this woman widow herself died (ὕστερον δὲ πάντων ἀπέθανεν ἡ γυνή).  This was a nice simple but improbable story.  Have you ever heard of a woman who had 7 husbands?

Third brother (Lk 20:31-20:31)

“The third brother

Married her.

In the same way,

All seven brothers

Died childless.”

 

καὶ ὁ τρίτος ἔλαβεν αὐτήν, ὡσαύτως δὲ καὶ οἱ ἑπτὰ οὐ κατέλιπον τέκνα καὶ ἀπέθανον.

 

Luke indicated that the Sadducees continued with their story about the 7 brothers.  They said that the third brother married this widow or took her as a wife (καὶ ὁ τρίτος ἔλαβεν αὐτήν).  Then in the same way, all 7 brothers died, leaving her childless (ὡσαύτως δὲ καὶ οἱ ἑπτὰ οὐ κατέλιπον τέκνα καὶ ἀπέθανον).  Matthew, chapter 22:26-27, and Mark, chapter 12:21-22, said almost the same thing.  Mark indicated that the third brother did the same as the second brother (καὶ ὁ τρίτος ὡσαύτως).  Thus, the same thing happened to the second and third brothers as happened to the first brother.  They all died childless after marrying the same woman.  The Sadducees said that none of the 7 brothers had any children or offspring (καὶ οἱ ἑπτὰ οὐκ ἀφῆκαν σπέρμα).  Matthew indicated that likewise, the same thing happened to the second and third brother all the way down to the seventh brother (ὁμοίως καὶ ὁ δεύτερος καὶ ὁ τρίτος, ἕως τῶν ἑπτά).  There was a definite pattern here.  Do you think that this woman got to know that family pretty well?

Second brother (Lk 20:30-20:30)

“Then the second

Did also the same.”

 

καὶ ὁ δεύτερος

 

Luke indicated that the Sadducees said that the second brother (καὶ ὁ δεύτερος) did the same, that is he died with a childless widow.  This story about the woman who married 7 brothers can be found in Matthew, chapter 22:26, and in Mark, chapter 12:21, very similar.  Mark was a little more elaborate when he said that the 2nd brother married the widow of the 1st brother or took her as his wife (καὶ ὁ δεύτερος ἔλαβεν αὐτήν).  Then he died (καὶ ἀπέθανεν) with no children or offspring (μὴ καταλιπὼν σπέρμα).  Matthew simply indicated the same thing happened to the 2nd brother (ὁμοίως καὶ ὁ δεύτερος).  So far 2 brothers down, 5 more to go.  Do you know any large families with 7 brothers?

Seven brothers (Lk 20:29-20:29)

“Now there were

Seven brothers.

The first one married.

And died childless.”

 

ἑπτὰ οὖν ἀδελφοὶ ἦσαν· καὶ ὁ πρῶτος λαβὼν γυναῖκα ἀπέθανεν ἄτεκνος·

 

Luke indicated that the Sadducees said that there were 7 brothers (ἑπτὰ οὖν ἀδελφοὶ ἦσαν·).  The first one married or took a wife (καὶ ὁ πρῶτος λαβὼν γυναῖκα), but died childless (ἀπέθανεν ἄτεκνος).  This story about the woman and 7 brothers can be found in Matthew, chapter 22:25, and in Mark, chapter 12:20, almost word for word.  This story was fairly well known.  Mark said that there were 7 brothers (ἑπτὰ ἀδελφοὶ ἦσαν).  The first one married or took a wife (καὶ ὁ πρῶτος ἔλαβεν γυναῖκα).  Then he died (καὶ ἀποθνῄσκων).  He was childless, since he had no seed descendants or offspring (οὐκ ἀφῆκεν σπέρμα).  Matthew said that the first one married (καὶ ὁ πρῶτος γήμας).  Then he died (ἐτελεύτησεν).  He was childless since he had no descendants or offspring (καὶ μὴ ἔχων σπέρμα).  Thus, he left his widowed wife to his brother (ἀφῆκεν τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ).  You can see where this story is going.  Do you know anyone who married his or her dead brother’s or sister’s widow or widower?

Mosaic law of taking a dead man’s wife (Lk 20:28-20:28)

“These Sadducees

Asked him a question.

‘Teacher!’

Moses wrote for us

That if a man’s brother dies,

Leaving a wife childless,

The man shall marry

The widow.

He will raise up children

For his brother.’”

 

λέγοντες Διδάσκαλε, Μωϋσῆς ἔγραψεν ἡμῖν, ἐάν τινος ἀδελφὸς ἀποθάνῃ ἔχων γυναῖκα, καὶ οὗτος ἄτεκνος ᾖ, ἵνα λάβῃ ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ ἐξαναστήσῃ σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ.

 

Luke said that these Sadducees asked Jesus a question (λέγοντες), respectfully calling him “Teacher (Διδάσκαλε)!”  They said that Moses wrote for them (Μωϋσῆς ἔγραψεν ἡμῖν) in Deuteronomy, chapter 25:5-10, that if a man’s brother dies (ἐάν τινος ἀδελφὸς ἀποθάνῃ), leaving a wife childless (ἔχων γυναῖκα, καὶ οὗτος ἄτεκνος ᾖ), that man should marry the widow (ἵνα λάβῃ ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα) to raise up children or seed for his brother (καὶ ἐξαναστήσῃ σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ).  Luke was the only Greek biblical writer to use this word ἄτεκνος, that means childless.  Matthew, chapter 22:24, and Mark, chapter 12:19, are almost word for word as here in LukeMark said that these Sadducees addressed Jesus very respectfully as “Teacher (Διδάσκαλε).”  They quoted a Mosaic text that Moses had written for them (Μωϋσῆς ἔγραψεν ἡμῖν),  If a man’s brother should die (ὅτι ἐάν τινος ἀδελφὸς ἀποθάνῃ) leaving behind a wife (καὶ καταλίπῃ γυναῖκα) without any children (καὶ μὴ ἀφῇ τέκνον), his living brother should take his dead brother’s widow as his wife (ἵνα λάβῃ ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα).  He would then raise up the descendant children or seeds for his brother (καὶ ἐξαναστήσῃ σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ).  Matthew indicated that these Sadducees also addressed Jesus very respectfully as “Teacher” or “Rabbi (λέγοντες Διδάσκαλε).”  They quoted a Mosaic text, as Moses said (Μωϋσῆς εἶπεν).  If a man died without any children (Ἐάν τις ἀποθάνῃ μὴ ἔχων τέκνα), his brother should marry the widow (ἐπιγαμβρεύσει ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ).  He would then raise up the descendants for his brother (καὶ ἀναστήσει σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ).  This levirate law goes back as far as Tamar in Genesis, chapter 38:1-30, with the story of Judah’s 3 sons and Tamar, the original wife of Er.  The brother of the deceased was supposed to marry his brother’s widow if he had no sons.  The widow was not to marry outside her family.  It also assumes that the brother lived close by or in the same house as his brother.  There was no indication of whether the brother was married or not, but this seems to assume a younger brother.  This was an attempt to prolong the heritage and name of a person, which was common in ancient times.  The punishment for the brother’s refusal was an insult, rather than any physical punishment.  Would you marry the wife or husband or your dead brother or sister?

I have married a wife (Lk 14:20-14:20)

“Another said.

‘I have just

Been married.

Therefore,

I cannot come.’”

 

καὶ ἕτερος εἶπεν Γυναῖκα ἔγημα, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο οὐ δύναμαι ἐλθεῖν.

 

Luke uniquely continued with another excuse.  Jesus said that another person told the slave (καὶ ἕτερος εἶπεν) that he had just been married (Γυναῖκα ἔγημα).  He had a new wife.  Therefore, because of his new wife (καὶ διὰ τοῦτο). he was not able to come to the feast (οὐ δύναμαι ἐλθεῖν).  This man did not ask to be politely excused, like the earlier two men.  Maybe, he thought that this was a good excuse.  Would you go to a wedding dining feast if you were just married?