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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The people against Jesus (Lk 20:20-20:20)

“Thus,

They watched Jesus.

They sent spies,

Who pretended

To be righteous themselves.

They tried

To trap him.

Thus,

They might hand him over

To the jurisdiction

And authority

Of the governor.”

 

Καὶ παρατηρήσαντες ἀπέστειλαν ἐνκαθέτους ὑποκρινομένους ἑαυτοὺς δικαίους εἶναι, ἵνα ἐπιλάβωνται αὐτοῦ λόγου, ὥστε παραδοῦναι αὐτὸν τῇ ἀρχῇ καὶ τῇ ἐξουσίᾳ τοῦ ἡγεμόνος 

 

Luke said that the chief priests and the Scribes were watching Jesus very closely (Καὶ παρατηρήσαντες).  They sent spies (ἀπέστειλαν ἐνκαθέτους).  Luke used the word ἐνκαθέτους, that means hired to lie in wait, lying in wait, or a spy, as the only time this word appeared in all the Greek biblical literature.  They pretended to be honest righteous men themselves (ὑποκρινομένους ἑαυτοὺς δικαίους εἶναι).  Luke has another unique usage of the word ὑποκρινομένους that means to reply, to answer on a stage, to pretend, or act the part.  They were trying to trap or catch Jesus with his own words (ἵνα ἐπιλάβωνται αὐτοῦ λόγου).  Thus, they might be able to hand him over (ὥστε παραδοῦναι αὐτὸν) to the rule or jurisdiction (τῇ ἀρχῇ) and authority of the Roman client governor (καὶ τῇ ἐξουσίᾳ τοῦ ἡγεμόνος).  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 22:15-16, and in Mark, chapter 12:13.  Mark said that the Pharisees sent some of their own people to Jesus (Καὶ ἀποστέλλουσιν πρὸς αὐτόν τινας τῶν Φαρισαίων).  The Pharisees were always testing or tempting Jesus and his disciples, but they were not mentioned in Luke.  They also sent along some Herodians (καὶ τῶν Ἡρῳδιανῶν), who were the followers or political supporters of King Herod Antipas, the Roman client tetrarch king of Galilee, the one who had John the Baptist beheaded.  Both these groups were out to trap Jesus or catch him by using his own words against him (ἵνα αὐτὸν ἀγρεύσωσιν λόγῳ).  Matthew said that the Pharisees went away (Τότε πορευθέντες οἱ Φαρισαῖοι) for a while, but they plotted or gathered together (συμβούλιον ἔλαβον) to entrap or entangle Jesus in what he had said (ὅπως αὐτὸν παγιδεύσωσιν ἐν λόγῳ).  These Pharisees sent their own disciples to Jesus (καὶ ἀποστέλλουσιν αὐτῷ τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτῶν), along with some Herodians (μετὰ τῶν Ἡρῳδιανῶν), just like Mark had mentioned.  They were out to trick or trap Jesus.  Have you ever tried to trap anyone?

Watch what the Scribes do (Mk 12:40-12:40)

“The Scribes devour

Widows’ houses.

For the sake of appearance,

They say long prayers.

They will receive

The greater condemnation.”

 

οἱ κατεσθίοντες τὰς οἰκίας τῶν χηρῶν καὶ προφάσει μακρὰ προσευχόμενοι, οὗτοι λήμψονται περισσότερον κρίμα.

 

Next Mark talked about how these Scribes took advantage of widows and pretended to be men of prayer.  Something similar can be found in Luke, chapter 20:47, but not in MatthewMark indicated that Jesus said that these Scribes devoured widows’ houses.  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.  Thus, they would receive a great severe condemnation for their behavior.  Once again, there was no mention of any Pharisees, just the Scribes.

The Roman soldiers mock Jesus (Mt 27:28-27:30)

“They stripped Jesus.

They put a scarlet robe

On him.

They twisted

Some thorns

Into a crown.

They put it

On his head.

They put a reed

In his right hand.

They knelt

Before him.

They mocked him.

They said.

‘Hail!

King of the Jews!’

They spat

On Jesus.

They took the reed.

They struck him

On the head.”

 

καὶ ἐκδύσαντες αὐτὸν χλαμύδα κοκκίνην περιέθηκαν αὐτῷ,

καὶ πλέξαντες στέφανον ἐξ ἀκανθῶν ἐπέθηκαν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ καὶ κάλαμον ἐν τῇ δεξιᾷ αὐτοῦ, καὶ γονυπετήσαντες ἔμπροσθεν αὐτοῦ ἐνέπαιξαν αὐτῷ λέγοντες Χαῖρε, Βασιλεῦ τῶν Ἰουδαίων,

καὶ ἐμπτύσαντες εἰς αὐτὸν ἔλαβον τὸν κάλαμον καὶ ἔτυπτον εἰς τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 15:17-19, but not in Luke.  In John, chapter 19:2-3, there is something similar.  Matthew said that these Roman soldiers stripped Jesus of his clothes (καὶ ἐκδύσαντες αὐτὸν).  They put a scarlet robe on him (κοκκίνην περιέθηκαν αὐτῷ), a Roman soldier’s tunic.  Thus, he might have looked like a king in a purple robe.  Then they twisted some thorns into a crown (καὶ πλέξαντες στέφανον ἐξ ἀκανθῶν).  They put this crown on his head (πέθηκαν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ) like a Roman laurel or gold crown.  They put a reed in his right hand (καὶ κάλαμον ἐν τῇ δεξιᾷ αὐτοῦ) like a royal scepter.  Then these Roman soldiers knelt before him (καὶ γονυπετήσαντες ἔμπροσθεν αὐτοῦ) as they mocked him, saying “Hail! King of the Jews (ἐνέπαιξαν αὐτῷ λέγοντες Χαῖρε, Βασιλεῦ τῶν Ἰουδαίων)!”  Then they spat on Jesus (καὶ ἐμπτύσαντες).  They took the reed from his hand (εἰς αὐτὸν ἔλαβον τὸν κάλαμον) and struck him on the head (καὶ ἔτυπτον εἰς τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ).  They were mocking this pretended king of the Jews.

The response of Shemaiah to Jeremiah’s letter (Jer 29:24-29:28)

“Shemaiah of Nehelam

Sent a letter to

All the people

Who are in Jerusalem,

The priest Zephaniah,

The son of Maaseiah,

As well as to all the priests.

Saying.

‘Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

Yahweh has made you priest

Instead of the priest Jehoiada.

Thus there may be officers

In the house of Yahweh

To control any madman

Who plays the prophet.

Thus you can put him

In the stocks

With a collar.

Now why have you not rebuked

Jeremiah of Anathoth

Who plays the prophet for you?

He has actually sent to us

In Babylon,

Saying.

‘It will be a long time.

Build houses!

Live in them!

Plant gardens!

Eat what they produce!’”

Apparently this prophet Shemaiah of Nehelam in Babylon was upset at the letter that Jeremiah sent. So he responded with another letter to the priests at Jerusalem, especially Zephaniah, who had the same father as the slain prophet Zedekiah, so that he would have been his brother. He indicated that Zephaniah had replaced Jehoiada as the chief priest. Thus he had the power to control mad men who pretended to be prophets. In particular, he named Jeremiah as this kind of mad man who told them in Babylon to stay there, build houses, live in them, plant gardens, and eat from them. Shemaiah thought that this was a crazy idea.

Yahweh did not send false prophets (Jer 23:21-23:22)

“I did not send the prophets.

Yet they ran.

I did not speak to them.

Yet they prophesied.

But if they had stood

In my council,

Then they would have proclaimed

My words to my people.

They would have turned them

From their evil way,

From the evil of their doings.”

Yahweh clearly indicated that he had not sent these prophets who pretended to run and prophesize in his name. They were never part of his council. If they had been, they would have proclaimed to the people to turn away from their evil ways of doing things. However, they did not do that.

The false prophets and priests (Jer 8:10-8:12)

“Therefore I will give their wives to others.

I will give their fields to conquerors.

Because from the least to the greatest,

Everyone is greedy for unjust gain.

From prophet to priest,

Everyone deals falsely.

They have treated

The wound of my people carelessly.

Saying.

‘Peace!

Peace!’

When there is no peace.

They acted shamefully.

They committed an abomination.

Yet they were not at all ashamed.

They did not know how to blush.

Therefore they shall fall

Among those who fall.

At the time that I punish them,

They shall be overthrown.’

Says Yahweh.”

This is a copy word for word of the same thing that was found in chapter 6. Yahweh was going to give away their wives and their fields, since he is not happy about the false priests and prophets. This goes for the least of the people to the most important ones in Jerusalem. All of them were greedy for monetary gain. They were all careless with his people. They pretended that there was peace when there was no peace there. They acted shamefully, but they were not ashamed since they didn’t even know how to blush. These priests and prophets would fall with all the others, as they will be overthrown at the time of punishment.