Zacchaeus defends himself (Lk 19:8-19:8)

“Zacchaeus stood there.

He said

To the Lord.

‘Look!

Lord!

I will give

To the poor

Half of my possessions.

If I have defrauded

Anyone of anything,

I will pay back

Four times as much.’”

 

σταθεὶς δὲ Ζακχαῖος εἶπεν πρὸς τὸν Κύριον Ἰδοὺ τὰ ἡμίσειά μου τῶν ὑπαρχόντων, Κύριε, τοῖς πτωχοῖς δίδωμι, καὶ εἴ τινός τι ἐσυκοφάντησα ἀποδίδωμι τετραπλοῦν.

 

Luke indicated that Zacchaeus stood there (σταθεὶς δὲ Ζακχαῖος).  He then said to the Lord Jesus (εἶπεν πρὸς τὸν Κύριον), calling him Lord (Κύριε) that he was willing to give to the poor (τοῖς πτωχοῖς δίδωμι) half of his possessions (Ἰδοὺ τὰ ἡμίσειά μου τῶν ὑπαρχόντων).  He said that if he had defrauded anyone of anything (καὶ εἴ τινός τι ἐσυκοφάντησα), he was willing to pay it back 4 times as much (ἀποδίδωμι τετραπλοῦν).  Once again, Luke used the Greek word ἐσυκοφάντησα, that means to accuse falsely or defraud people, that was not found in any of the other Greek biblical writers.  Zacchaeus made a big deal about how he was not like the other tax collectors.  Despite his wealth, he was willing to give half of it away to some unnamed poor people.  Anytime, he was accused of defrauding people, he would give them 4 times what they were claiming.  This restoration of 4 times goes back to Exodus, chapter 22:1, about stealing sheep.  The thief had to pay four sheep for any one stolen sheep.  Thus, Zacchaeus seemed like a very fair person, leaning over backwards to help people.  Yet he was still wealthy.  Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus.  How do you treat people who claim that you are defrauding them?

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The coastal lands would be held responsible (Joel 3:4-3:4)

“What are you to me?

O Tyre!

O Sidon!

All the regions

Of Philistia!

Are you paying me back

For something?

If you are paying me back,

I will turn your deeds back

Upon your own heads,

Swiftly,

As well as speedily.”

It is obvious from this passage that Yahweh and Joel were referring to the neighbors of Jerusalem, the coast cities of Tyre and Sidon as well as the coastal Philistine cities, not the whole world. How could they pay back what they had done? Yahweh was going to turn their deeds back on them in a swift speedy way.

God knows about their unfaithfulness (Isa 65:6-65:7)

“See!

It is written before me!

‘I will not keep silent.

But I will repay.

I will indeed repay into their laps

For their iniquities

With their ancestor’s iniquities together.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Because they offered incense

On the mountains,

They reviled me on the hills.

I will measure into their laps

Full payment for their actions.’”

Their actions have not gone unnoticed. Yahweh saw what was happening since it was written before him. He was not going to be silent. He wanted them to pay back for what they did. They would not only have to pay for their own sins and iniquities, but also repay for the sins of their ancestors. They have offered incense on the mountains and reviled Yahweh in the hills. He was going to measure out for them the full payment for their actions.

Live with your neighbors (Prov 24:28-24:29)

“Do not be a witness

Against your neighbor without cause.

Do not deceive with your lips!

Do not say.

‘I will do to others

As they have done to me.

I will pay them back

For what they have done.’”

Do not cause a problem with your neighbors. Do not go to court against them with no good reason, without a cause. Do not deceive others with your lips by telling lies. Do not reverse the good you have done by using the concept of vengeance. Do not do to others what they have done to you. Do not pay them back for what they did to you. Vengeance is not yours.