Treasures in heaven (Lk 12:33-12:33)

“Sell your possessions!

Give alms!

Make purses

For yourselves

That do not wear out!

Have an unfailing treasure

In heaven!

There,

No thief

Comes near!

No moth

Destroys!”

 

Πωλήσατε τὰ ὑπάρχοντα ὑμῶν καὶ δότε ἐλεημοσύνην· ποιήσατε ἑαυτοῖς βαλλάντια μὴ παλαιούμενα, θησαυρὸν ἀνέκλειπτον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, ὅπου κλέπτης οὐκ ἐγγίζει οὐδὲ σὴς διαφθείρει·

 

Luke indicated that Jesus told them to sell their possessions (Πωλήσατε τὰ ὑπάρχοντα ὑμῶν) and then give alms to charity (καὶ δότε ἐλεημοσύνην).  They were to make their own purses (ποιήσατε ἑαυτοῖς βαλλάντια) that did not wear out (ὴ παλαιούμενα).  Their unfailing treasure (θησαυρὸν ἀνέκλειπτον) should be in heaven (ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς), where no thief could get near it (ὅπου κλέπτης οὐκ ἐγγίζει) and no moth would destroy it (οὐδὲ σὴς διαφθείρει).  This is the only time that the word ἀνέκλειπτον appears in the New Testament literature, meaning unfailing, not giving up.  The same idea but in different words can be found in Matthew, chapter 6:19-20.  Matthew had Jesus say that they should not store up treasures (Μὴ θησαυρίζετε ὑμῖν θησαυροὺς) here on earth (ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς), because it was too much trouble to store things.  Either moths (ὅπου σὴς) would eat up the garments or rust would consume them.  This is one of the 3 times that moths are mentioned in the biblical New Testament.  The other was the Luke comparative and later in Matthew.  Garments were often considered treasures.  Rust was a more common term and applied to other goods.  Otherwise, thieves might break in and steal it anyhow (καὶ ὅπου κλέπται διορύσσουσιν καὶ κλέπτουσιν).  The opposite of the earthly treasures were the heavenly treasures (θησαυρίζετε δὲ ὑμῖν θησαυροὺς ἐν οὐρανῷ) that you should store up.  Moths and rust could not consume them (ὅπου οὔτε σὴς οὔτε βρῶσις ἀφανίζει).  Thieves could not break in and steal them either (καὶ ὅπου κλέπται οὐ διορύσσουσιν οὐδὲ κλέπτουσιν).  Clearly, heaven was a better place to store up treasures than the dangerous earth.

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Earthly and heavenly treasures (Mt 6:19-6:21)

“Do not store up

For yourselves

Treasures on earth.

Moths

And rust

Will consume them.

Thieves

Will break in

And steal them.

But store up

For yourselves

Treasures in heaven.

Where neither moth

Nor rust

Consumes them.

Where thieves

Do not break in

And steal them.

Where your treasure is,

There will your heart be also.”

 

Μὴ θησαυρίζετε ὑμῖν θησαυροὺς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, ὅπου σὴς καὶ βρῶσις ἀφανίζει, καὶ ὅπου κλέπται διορύσσουσιν καὶ κλέπτουσιν·

θησαυρίζετε δὲ ὑμῖν θησαυροὺς ἐν οὐρανῷ, ὅπου οὔτε σὴς οὔτε βρῶσις ἀφανίζει, καὶ ὅπου κλέπται οὐ διορύσσουσιν οὐδὲ κλέπτουσιν

ὅπου γάρ ἐστιν ὁ θησαυρός σου, ἐκεῖ ἔσται καὶ ἡ καρδία σου.

 

This is another unique saying of Jesus in Matthew, although the idea can be found in Luke, chapter 12:33-34, with the last verse exactly the same.  You should not store up treasures (Μὴ θησαυρίζετε ὑμῖν θησαυροὺς) here on earth (ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς), because it was too much trouble to store things.  Either moths (ὅπου σὴς) would eat up the garments or rust would consume them.  This is one of the 3 times that moths are mentioned in the biblical New Testament.  The other was the Luke comparative and later in Matthew.  Garments were often considered treasures.  Rust was a more common term and applied to other goods.  Otherwise, thieves might break in and steal it anyhow (καὶ ὅπου κλέπται διορύσσουσιν καὶ κλέπτουσιν).  The opposite of the earthly treasures were the heavenly treasures (θησαυρίζετε δὲ ὑμῖν θησαυροὺς ἐν οὐρανῷ) that you should store up.  Moths and rust could not consume them (ὅπου οὔτε σὴς οὔτε βρῶσις ἀφανίζει).  Thieves could not break in and steal them either (καὶ ὅπου κλέπται οὐ διορύσσουσιν οὐδὲ κλέπτουσιν).  Finally, we have the wonderful saying about where your treasure is (ὅπου γάρ ἐστιν ὁ θησαυρός σου), there is your heart (ἐκεῖ ἔσται καὶ ἡ καρδία σου).  What you really care about is what is important to you.

Daughters and married women (Sir 42:11-42:14)

“Keep strict watch

Over a headstrong daughter.

She may make you a laughingstock to your enemies.

She may make you a byword in the city.

She may make you a byword in the assembly of the people.

She may put you to shame in public gatherings.

See that there is no lattice in her room.

See that there is no spot

That overlooks the approaches to the house.

Do not let her parade her beauty before any man.

Do not let her spend her time among married women.

From garments comes the moth.

From a woman comes woman’s wickedness.

Better is the wickedness of a man

Than a woman who does good.

It is a woman

Who brings shame,

Who brings disgrace.”

Here Sirach warns against headstrong daughters. They will make their fathers a laughing stock in the city, in the assembly, and in any gathering. Do not let her have any patterns in her room windows that overlook the entrance to the house. Don’t let anyone see her beauty or how good she looks. However, the biggest warning is against her sitting around with married women. They will put ideas into her headstrong mind. Then Sirach lashes out at these married women, and maybe all women. He rails against female wickedness. Just as moths can be found in garments, so too wickedness can be found in women. He even stupidly proclaims that a man’s wickedness is better than a woman’s good deeds. How is that for anti-feminism? He adds on by saying that it is women who bring shame and disgrace, as if to say that men are never at fault.

The vision of Eliphaz (Job 4:12-4:21)

“Now a word came stealing to me.

My ear received the whisper of it.

Amid thoughts from visions of the night,

When deep sleep falls on mortals,

Dread came upon me.

Trembling made all my bones shake.

A spirit glided past my face.

The hair of my flesh bristled.

It stood still.

But I could not discern its appearance.

A form was before my eyes.

There was silence.

Then I heard a voice.

‘Can mortals be righteous before God?

Can human beings be pure before their Maker?

Even in his servants he puts no trust.

His angels he charges with error.

How much more those who live in houses of clay,

Whose foundation is in the dust,

Who are crushed like a moth.

Between morning and evening,

They are destroyed.

They perish forever without any regarding it.

If their tent-cord is plucked up within them,

They die devoid of wisdom.’”

Eliphaz had some kind of vision or heavenly revelation. It is not clear when this took place. Somehow this non-Israelite had a divine intervention in his life like a whisper at night in his ear while he was asleep. Dread came upon him as a spirit glided past his face and the hair on his body bristled or stood up. He could not see what this was, but he could hear a voice asking how can mortal human beings be righteous, upright, and innocent? If the angels or God’s servants make errors and are not trustworthy, how much more humans made of clay and dust. Man as clay and dust is reminiscent of Genesis, chapter 2. Between morning and evening, humans could be crushed like moths, completely destroyed. Humans can die without wisdom or a pre-mature death, if their tent-cord is plucked.   This is the only biblical usage of a tent-cord. It must have been the thing that held the tent up so that if it was missing, the tent collapsed. So too with humans, death came when something essential was missing.