Who is the wise manager? (Lk 12:42-12:42)

“The Lord said.

‘Who then is the faithful

And prudent

Household manager?

His master

Will put him

In charge

Of his slaves.

He will give them

Their correct allowance

Of food

At the proper time.’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν ὁ Κύριος Τίς ἄρα ἐστὶν ὁ πιστὸς οἰκονόμος ὁ φρόνιμος, ὃν καταστήσει ὁ κύριος ἐπὶ τῆς θεραπείας αὐτοῦ τοῦ διδόναι ἐν καιρῷ τὸ σιτομέτριον;

 

Luke indicated that Jesus, the Lord asked them (καὶ εἶπεν ὁ Κύριος) who was the faithful and prudent or wise household manager (Τίς ἄρα ἐστὶν ὁ πιστὸς οἰκονόμος ὁ φρόνιμος)?  His lord or master would put him (ὃν καταστήσει ὁ κύριος) in charge to care (ὃν καταστήσει ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ) for his other slaves.  He would then give to the other slaves (αὐτοῦ τοῦ διδόναι) their correct allowance or measure of food (τὸ σιτομέτριον) at the proper time (ἐν καιρῷ).  This is the only use of the word σιτομέτριον, meaning, a measured portion of food, in the biblical literature.  There is a similar parable about this good slave in Matthew, chapter 24:45, almost word for word, indicating a possible Q source.  Matthew indicated that Jesus asked who was the faithful and wise slave (Τίς ἄρα ἐστὶν ὁ πιστὸς δοῦλος καὶ φρόνιμος)?  This lord or master had put this slave in charge over his other household slaves (ὃν κατέστησεν ὁ κύριος ἐπὶ τῆς οἰκετείας αὐτοῦ).  He was to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time (τοῦ δοῦναι αὐτοῖς τὴν τροφὴν ἐν καιρῷ).  The lord or master had put one wise and faithful servant in charge of his other slaves.  Are you a wise and faithful servant of God?

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Wise faithful slave (Mt 24:45-24:47)

“Who then is the faithful

And wise slave?

His master

Has put him in charge

Over his household.

He was to give

The other slaves

Their allowance

Of food

At the proper time.

Blessed is that slave

Whom his master

Will find at work

When he arrives.

Truly!

I say to you!

He will put that one

In charge

Of all his possessions.”

 

Τίς ἄρα ἐστὶν ὁ πιστὸς δοῦλος καὶ φρόνιμος ὃν κατέστησεν ὁ κύριος ἐπὶ τῆς οἰκετείας αὐτοῦ τοῦ δοῦναι αὐτοῖς τὴν τροφὴν ἐν καιρῷ;

μακάριος ὁ δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος ὃν ἐλθὼν ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ εὑρήσει οὕτως ποιοῦντα·

ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ἐπὶ πᾶσιν τοῖς ὑπάρχουσιν αὐτοῦ καταστήσει αὐτόν.

 

There is a similar parable saying about this good slave in Luke, chapter 12:42-44, almost word for word.  Jesus asked who was the faithful and wise slave (Τίς ἄρα ἐστὶν ὁ πιστὸς δοῦλος καὶ φρόνιμος)?  Was he referring to his apostles and disciples?  The master had put this slave in charge over his household slaves (ὃν κατέστησεν ὁ κύριος ἐπὶ τῆς οἰκετείας αὐτοῦ).  He was to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time (τοῦ δοῦναι αὐτοῖς τὴν τροφὴν ἐν καιρῷ).  This slave would be blessed (μακάριος ὁ δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος) if this master came and found him at work (ὃν ἐλθὼν ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ εὑρήσει οὕτως ποιοῦντα).  Then in a solemn proclamation (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν), Jesus said that this hard-working wise slave would be put in charge of all the master’s possessions (ὅτι ἐπὶ πᾶσιν τοῖς ὑπάρχουσιν αὐτοῦ καταστήσει αὐτόν).  Do a good job and you will get a promotion.

The conclusion of the hymn (Sir 39:32-39:35)

“So from the beginning,

I have been convinced

Of all this.

I have thought this out.

I have left it in writing.

All the works of the Lord

Are good.

He will supply every need

In its time.

No one can say.

‘This is not as good as that.’

Everything proves good

In its appointed time.

So now,

Sing praise with all your heart!

Sing praise with your voice!

Bless the name of the Lord!”

Sirach concludes his hymn. He has been convinced of the power of the Lord all the time. He has thought about it. Now he has written it down here in this work. All the works of the Lord are good. Everything will be provided in its proper time. You cannot say that one thing is not as good as another, because everything is good in its appointed time. Therefore you should sing praises to the Lord with your voice. The name of the Lord is to be blessed.

When to leave a banquet (Sir 32:10-32:13)

“Lightning travels

Ahead of thunder.

Approval precedes

A modest person.

Leave in good time!

Do not be the last!

Go home quickly!

Do not linger!

Amuse yourself there,

To your heart’s content.

But do not sin

Through proud speech.

But above all,

Bless your Maker

Who fills you With his good gifts.”

Sirach thinks that there is a proper time to leave a banquet. Just as lightening precedes thunder by a few seconds, so too does approval precede a modest person. Do not be the last one to leave a banquet. Do not hang around, but go home quickly. While you are there at the banquet, amuse yourself to your heart’s content, but do not use sinful proud speech. More than anything else, bless your creator who has given you all his good gifts and graces.

The use of wine (Sir 31:25-31:31)

“Do not try to prove your strength

By drinking wine.

Wine has destroyed many people.

As the furnace tests

The work of the smith,

So wine tests hearts

When the insolent quarrel.

Wine is very life to human beings,

If you drink it in moderation.

What is life to one

Who is without wine?

It has been created

To make people happy.

Wine drunk at the proper time,

Is rejoicing to the heart.

Wine drunk in moderation

Brings gladness to the soul.

Wine drunk to excess

Leads to bitterness of spirit,

Leads to quarrels,

Leads to stumbling.

Drunkenness increases

The anger of a fool

To his own hurt.

It reduces his strength.

It adds wounds.

Do not reprove your neighbor

At a banquet of wine.

Do not despise him

In his merrymaking.

Speak no word of reproach to him.

Do not distress him

By making demands of him.”

Sirach warns that you should not try to show how strong you are by drinking wine since it has destroyed many people. Just as a furnace tests the iron work of a blacksmith, so too wine tests insolent people when they quarrel. However, wine does have a good purpose. It is life itself when taken in moderation. Without wine, our lives would not be happy. Wine at the proper time and in moderation rejoices and gladdens the heart and the soul. On the other hand, over indulging in wine can lead to a bitter spirit, quarrels, and stumbling around. The fool who drinks excessively increases his own anger to his own detriment. Drunkards lose their strength and sometimes get wounded. If you are at a banquet with wine, do not pick an argument with your neighbor. Do not dislike him for having a good time. Do not criticize him or ask him for anything. It is not the right time.

Degenerate children (Sir 22:3-22:8)

“It is a disgrace

To be the father

Of an undisciplined son.

The birth of a daughter

Is a loss.

A sensible daughter

Obtains a husband of her own.

But the daughter

Who acts shamefully

Is a grief to her father.

An impudent daughter

Disgraces her father.

She disgraces her husband.

She is despised by both.

Like music in time of mourning

Is an ill-timed conversation.

But thrashing is wisdom at all times.

Discipline is wisdom at all times.

Children who are brought up

In a good life,

Conceal the lowly birth of their parents.

Children who are disdainfully haughty

Stain the nobility of their kindred.

Children who are boorish

Stain the nobility of their kindred.”

What happens if you have bad kids, degenerate children? Sirach warns that an undisciplined son is a disgrace to his father. Notice that he says that the birth of a daughter is considered to be a loss. The obvious importance of the male son runs throughout all of these biblical writings. A sensible daughter is able to get her own husband. The shameful daughter, however, disgraces both her father and her husband. There is a proper time for everything, but thrashing and disciplining children is wise at all times. Once again, Sirach insists that children should be disciplined all the time. If your children are brought up well, this will conceal the lowly background of you, his or her parents. However, the opposite is also true. Children who are disrespectful, haughty, and boorish stain whatever noble birth the parents and their family may have.

The land and its ruler (Eccl 10:16-10:17)

“Woe to you!

O land!

When your king is a child or servant,

Your princes feast in the morning!

Happy are you!

O land!

When your king is a noble man,

Your princes feast at the proper time!

They have strength!

They are not for drunkenness!”

The land was always important for the Israelites. Qoheleth said that it was better to have a king who was a nobleman and not a child or servant. The princes would then feast at the proper time, not in the morning. Instead of being a woeful land, it would be a happy land because they would have strength and not be drunk.