The shrewd one (Lk 16:8-16:8)

“His master commended

This dishonest manager

Because he had acted

Shrewdly.

The children

Of this age

Are more shrewd

In dealing

With their own generation

Than are

The children of light.”

 

καὶ ἐπῄνεσεν ὁ κύριος τὸν οἰκονόμον τῆς ἀδικίας ὅτι φρονίμως ἐποίησεν· ὅτι οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου φρονιμώτεροι ὑπὲρ τοὺς υἱοὺς τοῦ φωτὸς εἰς τὴν γενεὰν τὴν ἑαυτῶν εἰσιν

 

This parable story about the dishonest household manager or steward can only be found in Luke, not in any of the other gospel stories.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that this lord or master commended or praised this dishonest manager (καὶ ἐπῄνεσεν ὁ κύριος τὸν οἰκονόμον τῆς ἀδικίας) because he had acted shrewdly (ὅτι φρονίμως ἐποίησεν).  Once again, this term φρονίμως, meaning shrewdly, sensibly, wisely, or prudently, is unique to Luke among all the New Testament writers.  Jesus said that the children of this age (ὅτι οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου) were shrewder (φρονιμώτεροι) in dealing with their own generation (εἰς τὴν γενεὰν τὴν ἑαυτῶν εἰσιν) than are the sons or the children of light (ὑπὲρ τοὺς υἱοὺς τοῦ φωτὸς).  The sons of light are the righteous ones.  However, those people of this generation were more prudent, sensible, wise, or shrewd compared to the followers of Jesus, who tended to be imprudent in the eyes of the world.  Are you shrewd in business dealings?

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?

The wise bridesmaids (Mt 25:4-25:4)

“But the wise ones

Took flasks of oil

With their lamps.”

 

αἱ δὲ φρόνιμοι ἔλαβον ἔλαιον ἐν τοῖς ἀγγείοις μετὰ τῶν λαμπάδων ἑαυτῶν.

 

This parable story is unique to Matthew.  Jesus said that the wise bridesmaids took flasks of oil (αἱ δὲ φρόνιμοι ἔλαβον ἔλαιον ἐν τοῖς ἀγγείοις) with their lamps (μετὰ τῶν λαμπάδων ἑαυτῶν).  Just the opposite of the foolish ones, the wise or prudent bridesmaids took extra oil in vessels with them, so that they were better prepared for the future.  Their oil of righteousness made them ready for the bridegroom.

Half wise and half foolish (Mt 25:2-25:2)

“Five of them

Were foolish.

Five of them

Were wise.”

 

πέντε δὲ ἐξ αὐτῶν ἦσαν μωραὶ καὶ πέντε φρόνιμοι.

 

This parable story is unique to Matthew.  Jesus said that 5 of these bridesmaids were foolish or stupid (πέντε δὲ ἐξ αὐτῶν ἦσαν μωραὶ), while 5 were wise, intelligent, sensible or prudent (καὶ πέντε φρόνιμοι).  Thus, we have the wise prudent sensible ones and the foolish or stupid ones, equally split among these maidens.  This was like a metaphor for all humans, since half were good and half were bad.

Bad behavior (Am 5:10-5:13)

“They hate him

Who reproves

At the gate.

They abhor him

Who speaks the truth.

Therefore,

You trample

On the poor.

You take from them,

Levies of grain.

You have built houses

Of hewn stone.

But you shall not live

In them.

You have planted

Pleasant vineyards.

But you shall not drink

Their wine.

I know how many are

Your transgressions.

I know how great are

Your sins.

You afflict the righteous.

You take a bribe.

You turn aside

The needy

At the gate.

Therefore,

The prudent will keep silent

In such a time.

It is an evil time.”

Next, Amos listed all the bad behavior that the northern Israelites were involved with. They did not like any reprimanding at the city judgment gate. They did not like anyone who told the truth. They trampled the poor people, as they took away their grain. They had built beautiful stone houses, but they were not going to live in them. They had planted wonderful vineyards, but they would not drink the wine from them. Amos and Yahweh knew all about their various transgressions and how great their sins were. They took bribes, mistreated the righteous, and turned away the needy at the gate. The prudent people kept silent during this evil time.

The response of Daniel (Dan 2:14-2:16)

“Then Daniel responded

With prudence,

As well as discretion,

To Arioch,

The king’s chief executor.

Arioch had gone out

To execute

The wise men

Of Babylon.

Daniel asked Arioch,

The royal official.

‘Why is the decree

Of the king

So severe?’

Then Arioch explained

The matter

To Daniel.

Thus,

Daniel went in

To see the king.

He requested

That the king

Give him time.

He would tell the king

The interpretation.”

Daniel was less confrontational, since he was prudent and discrete. He met the king’s chief executor, Arioch, the royal official in charge of the execution of these wise men. Daniel wanted to know what was going on. Why was the king so severe to these wise men of Babylon? After Arioch explained the situation to Daniel, Daniel decided to go to see the king himself. He told the king that he needed more time, but that he would provide an interpretation for the king’s dream.

Words of fools and the wise (Sir 21:25-21:28)

“The lips of the babblers

Speak of what is not their concern.

But the words of the prudent

Are weighed in the balance.

The mind of fools

Is in their mouth.

But the mouth of the wise

Is in their mind.

When an ungodly man

Curses his adversary,

He curses himself.

A whisperer degrades himself.

He is hated in his neighborhood.”

Sirach indicates that foolish babblers talk about things that do not concern them. However, the words of the prudent wise ones are heavily weighted in the balance. The minds of the fools are in their mouths, but the reverse is true for the wise. In other words, the foolish speak without thinking, while the wise think before they speak. When an ungodly fool curses his enemy, he is actually cursing himself. The foolish whisperer is degrading himself, because his neighbors hate his whispering gossip.