The great condemnation (Lk 20:47-20:47)

“The Scribes

Devour

Widows’ houses.

They say long prayers

For the sake of appearance.

They will receive

A greater condemnation.”

 

οἳ κατεσθίουσιν τὰς οἰκίας τῶν χηρῶν καὶ προφάσει μακρὰ προσεύχονται· οὗτοι λήμψονται περισσότερον κρίμα.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus continued with his condemnation of the Scribes.  He said that the Scribes devour widows’ houses (οἱ κατεσθίοντες τὰς οἰκίας τῶν χηρῶν).  They say long prayers for the sake of appearance (καὶ προφάσει μακρὰ προσευχόμενοι).  They will receive the greater condemnation (οὗτοι λήμψονται περισσότερον κρίμα).  Mark, chapter 12:40, and Matthew, chapter 23:14, are almost word for word like here in Luke.  They all talked about how these Scribes took advantage of widows and pretended to be men of prayer.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that these Scribes devoured widows’ houses (οἱ κατεσθίοντες τὰς οἰκίας τῶν χηρῶν), the same as Luke.  What did he mean by that?  They obviously took advantage of the generosity of widows.  For the sake of appearances, these Scribes said long prayers (καὶ προφάσει μακρὰ προσευχόμενοι).  Thus, they would receive a great severe condemnation (οὗτοι λήμψονται περισσότερον κρίμα.) for their behavior.  Once again, there was no mention of any Pharisees, just the Scribes.  In Matthew, this first part of the opening verse is exactly the same as the preceding verse.  Woe to you (Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν)!  Scribes (γραμματεῖς)!  Woe to you!  Pharisees (καὶ Φαρισαῖοι)!  Hypocrites (ὑποκριταί)!  There is no doubt that here Jesus was cursing both the Scribes and the Pharisees, who were devouring widow’s houses (ὅτι κατεσθίετε τὰς οἰκίας τῶν χηρῶν), as they were taking advantage of widows.  They also made long lengthy prayers (καὶ προφάσει μακρὰ προσευχόμενοι), so that they would look better and more pious.  However, they were about to receive a greater condemnation (διὰ τοῦτο λήψεσθε περισσότερον κρίμα) than they had expected.  Once again, the major difference was the role of the Pharisees in Matthew, that is not in Luke or Mark.  Are you a hypocrite?

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Shut off heaven (Mt 23:14-23:14)

“Woe to you!

Scribes!

Woe to you!

Pharisees!

Hypocrites!

You devour widow’s houses!

For the sake of appearance,

You make long prayers!

Therefore,

You will receive

The greater condemnation.”

 

Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν, γραμματεῖς καὶ Φαρισαῖοι, ὑποκριταί, ὅτι κατεσθίετε τὰς οἰκίας τῶν χηρῶν, καὶ προφάσει μακρὰ προσευχόμενοι· διὰ τοῦτο λήψεσθε περισσότερον κρίμα.

 

This verse is missing in a number of manuscripts but can be found in other Greek Orthodox versions of this unique saying of Matthew.  This first part of the opening verse is exactly the same as the preceding verse.  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, who were devouring widow’s houses (ὅτι κατεσθίετε τὰς οἰκίας τῶν χηρῶν), as they were taking advantage of widows.  They also made long lengthy prayers (καὶ προφάσει μακρὰ προσευχόμενοι·), so that they would look better and more pious.  However, they were about to receive a greater condemnation (διὰ τοῦτο λήψεσθε περισσότερον κρίμα) than they had expected.

 

Trust in the Lord (Sir 11:20-11:22)

“Stand by your agreement!

Attend to it! Grow old in your work! Do not wonder

At the works of a sinner! Trust in the Lord!

Keep at your job!

It is easy in the sight of the Lord

To suddenly make

The poor become rich,

In an instant.

The blessing of the Lord

Is the reward of the pious.

Quickly God causes his blessings to flourish.”

You should trust in the Lord. Keep and attend to your agreements. Grow old at your work. Stay at your job. Do not wonder about the works of sinners. The Lord can make a poor man rich instantaneously. The blessing of the Lord is the reward for the pious ones. He can make his blessings flourish.

The sacrifice for the dead in hope of the resurrection (2 Macc 12:43-12:46)

“Judas Maccabeus also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver. He sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. For if he was not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, so that they might be delivered from their sin.”

Judas Maccabeus took up a collection from each man so that he had 2,000 silver drachmas, about $50,000 USA. He sent this money to Jerusalem for a sin offering. This is where the text becomes interesting. This biblical author accounts for the resurrection. This is a clear indication that he or they believed in the resurrection of these dead soldiers. Why pray for the dead if they do not rise? If you fall asleep in godliness, they will have a splendid reward. In fact, they made atonement for the dead so that they could be delivered from sin. This is the only text that indicates that you can affect the dead after they have died. This is often viewed as a justification for purgatory since something can happen to the dead before they are fully resurrected. The Latter Day Saints, Mormons, also believe that people can be saved after their death. Clearly this is a prayer or atonement for a person who has died, not a living person. Here is the mention of the resurrection a little over 100 years before the time of Jesus of Nazareth.