Tax collectors and sinners (Lk 5:30-5:30)

“The Pharisees

And their Scribes

Were complaining

To Jesus’ disciples.

They said.

‘Why do you eat

And drink

With tax collectors

And sinners?’”

 

καὶ ἐγόγγυζον οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς αὐτῶν πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ λέγοντες Διὰ τί μετὰ τῶν τελωνῶν καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν ἐσθίετε καὶ πίνετε;

 

Luke said that the Pharisees and their Scribes were complaining or grumbling (καὶ ἐγόγγυζον οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς αὐτῶν) to Jesus’ disciples (πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ).  They wondered (λέγοντες) why they were with Jesus eating and drinking (ἐσθίετε καὶ πίνετε) with tax collectors and sinners (Διὰ τί μετὰ τῶν τελωνῶν καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν).  Mark, chapter 2:16, and Matthew, chapter 9:11, are similar to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this incident.  In Matthew, it was only the Pharisees and not the Scribes who are complaining.  Mark and Luke have both these Pharisees and their Scribes grumble about this dinner party.  They saw that Jesus and his disciples was eating and drinking with these sinners and tax collectors.  Then they asked the disciples of Jesus, and not Jesus himself, why was Jesus eating with these tax collectors and sinners?  These Pharisees were a political party, a social movement, and a religious school of thought that became the basis for later Rabbinic Judaism.  They had they own expert explanations of Jewish law that sometimes appeared to be hypocritical or arrogant, with the letter of the law above its spirit.  They had a form of Judaism that extended beyond the Temple.  The Pharisees in the New Testament engaged in conflicts with Jesus and his disciples, as here.  However, Paul the Apostle may have been a Pharisee before his conversion.  Maybe Jesus and some of his followers were Pharisees, so that these arguments with the Pharisees may have been internal arguments.  Or is this portrait of the Pharisees in the New Testament a caricature, since the late first century Christians were fighting with the emerging Rabbinic Pharisees?  Their position towards the Scribes was a mixed bag.  These Scribes were religious experts who determined the traditions to be followed, as professional copiers of manuscript documents, although they had a wider role in Jewish society.

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Seeking signs (Mt 12:38-12:38)

“Then some of the Scribes

And Pharisees

Said to him,

‘Teacher!

We wish

To see a sign

From you.’”

 

Τότε ἀπεκρίθησαν αὐτῷ τινες τῶν γραμματέων καὶ Φαρισαίων λέγοντες Διδάσκαλε, θέλομεν ἀπὸ σοῦ σημεῖον ἰδεῖν.

 

This seeking of signs was common among all the synoptic gospel writers, Matthew, here and chapter 16:1-4, Mark, chapter 8:11-12, and Luke, chapter 11:29.  Once again, the Scribes and Pharisees wanted a sign.  These Scribes were religious experts who determined the traditions to be followed.  They were professional copiers of manuscript documents, although they had a wider role in Jewish society.  The Pharisees, on the other hand, were a political party, a social movement, and a religious school of thought that became the basis for later Rabbinic Judaism.  They had they own expert explanations of Jewish law that sometimes appeared to be hypocritical or arrogant, with the letter of the law above its spirit.  They had a form of Judaism that extended beyond the Temple.  The Pharisees in the New Testament, engaged in conflicts with Jesus and his disciples, as here.  Some of these scribes and Pharisees (Τότε ἀπεκρίθησαν αὐτῷ τινες τῶν γραμματέων καὶ Φαρισαίων) asked Jesus, as they called him a teacher or rabbi (λέγοντες Διδάσκαλε).  They wanted to see a sign from Jesus (θέλομεν ἀπὸ σοῦ σημεῖον ἰδεῖν).

Did Jesus blaspheme? (Mt 9:3-9:4)

“Then some of the scribes

Said to themselves.

‘This man is blaspheming.’”

But Jesus,

Perceiving their thoughts,

Said.

‘Why do you think evil

In your hearts?’”

 

καὶ ἰδού τινες τῶν γραμματέων εἶπαν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς Οὗτος βλασφημεῖ.

καὶ εἰδὼς ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὰς ἐνθυμήσεις αὐτῶν εἶπεν Ἵνα τί ἐνθυμεῖσθε πονηρὰ ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν;

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 2:6-8, and Luke, chapter 5:21-22, about the scribes and blasphemy.  Interesting enough, Matthew does not mention the Pharisees here.  Some of these scribes seem to be talking to themselves, but not to others (καὶ ἰδού τινες τῶν γραμματέων εἶπαν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς).  These scribes were religious experts who determined the traditions to be followed.  They were professional copiers of manuscript documents, although they had a wider role in Jewish society.  They might have been the fore-runners of the rabbinic class that was developing at that time.  They thought that Jesus was blaspheming (Οὗτος βλασφημεῖ).  Blasphemers used scurrilous or irreverent language about God.  Jesus seemed to know what they were thinking (καὶ εἰδὼς ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὰς ἐνθυμήσεις αὐτῶν) and saying to themselves.  He asked them why they had such evil thoughts in their hearts (εἶπεν Ἵνα τί ἐνθυμεῖσθε πονηρὰ ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν).  Thus, Jesus turned the tables on them by exposing their evil thoughts.