Tithing (Lk 11:42-11:42)

“But woe to you!

Pharisees!

You tithe

Mint,

Rue,

And every kind

Of herb.

However,

You neglect

Justice

And the love of God!

It is these

You ought

To have practiced

Without neglecting

The others.”

 

ἀλλὰ οὐαὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς Φαρισαίοις, ὅτι ἀποδεκατοῦτε τὸ ἡδύοσμον καὶ τὸ πήγανον καὶ πᾶν λάχανον, καὶ παρέρχεσθε τὴν κρίσιν καὶ τὴν ἀγάπην τοῦ Θεοῦ· ταῦτα δὲ ἔδει ποιῆσαι κἀκεῖνα μὴ παρεῖναι.

 

Next Luke had the Lord Jesus curse the Pharisees the way that Matthew had done.  Jesus said woe to them, the Pharisees (ἀλλὰ οὐαὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς Φαρισαίοις)!  They had paid their tithes (ὅτι ἀποδεκατοῦτε) of mint (τὸ ἡδύοσμον), rue (καὶ τὸ πήγανον), and every kind of herb (καὶ πᾶν λάχανον).  However, they had neglected (καὶ παρέρχεσθε) justice (τὴν κρίσιν) and the love of God (καὶ τὴν ἀγάπην τοῦ Θεοῦ).  They ought to practice these things (ταῦτα δὲ ἔδει ποιῆσαι), without neglecting the other things (κἀκεῖνα μὴ παρεῖναι).  This is like Matthew, chapter 23:23, where Jesus cursed the Pharisees and the Scribes.  Matthew indicated that Jesus said woe to them because of their insistence on tithing.  He blamed them for their concern about the tithing of the various aromatic spices of mint, dill, and cumin plants, instead of the more serious matters of the law.  Thus, they neglected, the serious practice of justice, mercy, and faith.  They should have spent more time on these issues without neglecting the other things.  This seemed like a critique of misplaced priorities, with their legalistic sense of tithing being more important than justice, mercy, faith, and the Mosaic law itself.  Luke had almost the same critique here, but the tithing herbs are slightly different.  He also wanted their concerns to be about justice and God’s love.  Otherwise the critique was pretty much the same.  Do you neglect justice and mercy in your life?

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They have forgotten the law (Mt 23:23-23:23)

“Woe to you!

Scribes!

Woe to you!

Pharisees!

Hypocrites!

You tithe

Mint,

Dill,

And cumin!

You have neglected

The weightier matters

Of the law,

Justice,

Mercy,

And faith!

These you ought

To have practiced,

Without neglecting

The others.”

 

Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν, γραμματεῖς καὶ Φαρισαῖοι ὑποκριταί, ὅτι ἀποδεκατοῦτε τὸ ἡδύοσμον καὶ τὸ ἄνηθον καὶ τὸ κύμινον, καὶ ἀφήκατε τὰ βαρύτερα τοῦ νόμου, τὴν κρίσιν καὶ τὸ ἔλεος καὶ τὴν πίστιν· ταῦτα δὲ ἔδει ποιῆσαι κἀκεῖνα μὴ ἀφεῖναι.

 

Like Luke, chapter 11,42, Jesus continued to curse the Pharisees and the Scribes, much like earlier in verses 13, 14, and 15.  The first part of this diatribe is exactly the same as those earlier verses of Matthew.  Woe to you (Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν)!  Scribes (γραμματεῖς)!  Woe to you!  Pharisees (καὶ Φαρισαῖοι)!  Hypocrites (ὑποκριταί)!  There is no doubt that here Jesus was cursing the Scribes and the Pharisees.  This time it was their insistence on tithing.  He blamed them for their concern about the tithing of the various aromatic spices of mint, dill, and cumin plants (ὅτι ἀποδεκατοῦτε τὸ ἡδύοσμον καὶ τὸ ἄνηθον καὶ τὸ κύμινον), instead of more serious matters of the law (καὶ ἀφήκατε τὰ βαρύτερα τοῦ νόμου).  Thus, they neglected, the serious practice of justice (τὴν κρίσιν), mercy (καὶ τὸ ἔλεος), and faith (καὶ τὴν πίστιν).  They should have spent more time on these issues (ταῦτα δὲ ἔδει ποιῆσαι κἀκεῖνα) without neglecting the other things (μὴ ἀφεῖναι).  This seemed like a critique of misplaced priorities with their legalistic sense of tithing being more important than justice, mercy, faith, and the Mosaic law.

The letter of King Antiochus VII to Simon (1 Macc 15:2-15:9)

“The contents of the letter of King Antiochus were as follows.

‘King Antiochus

To Simon the high priest and the ethnarch

And to the nation of the Jews,

Greetings!

Whereas certain scoundrels

Have gained control of the kingdom of our fathers,

I intend to lay claim to the kingdom

So that I may restore it as it formerly was.

I have recruited a host of mercenary troops.

I have equipped warships.

I intend to make a landing in the country

So that I may proceed

Against those who have destroyed our country

Against those who have devastated many cities in my kingdom.

Now therefore I confirm to you

All the tax remissions that the kings before me have granted you.

I release you from all the other payments

From which they have released you.

I permit you to mint your own coinage as money for your country.

I grant freedom to Jerusalem and the sanctuary.

All the weapons which you have prepared

All the strongholds which you have built

All the strongholds that you now hold

Shall remain yours.

Every debt you owe to the royal treasury

Any such future debts shall be canceled for you

From henceforth and for all time.

When we gain control of our kingdom,

We will bestow great honor upon you,

Your nation and the temple,

So that your glory will become manifest in all the earth.’”

King Antiochus VII was about to take over for his brother because he was complaining about the scoundrels who had taken over his country, probably King Trypho. He sent his greetings to Simon and the whole Jewish nation. He talked about how he was going to land and take his country back, so that it is clear he is not there yet. However, he granted to Simon and Jews all the tax exemptions that his brother and father had granted them. He went one step further when he said that they could mint their own coins. This was a strong sign of an independent nation. He allowed them to keep all their weapons and strongholds. All future debts would be cancelled. That is unique and seems to be saying take my money, you do not have to pay it back. Once again, there is the hypothetical “when” he gained control then he was going to honor Simon. He wanted the Jewish glory manifested on the whole earth. He was offering a lot before he had anything.