Beware of the Scribes! (Lk 20:46-20:46)

“Beware of the Scribes!

They like

To walk around

In long robes.

They love

To be greeted

With respect

In the market places.

They love

To have the best front seats

In the synagogues.

They love

The front places of honor

At banquets.”

 

Προσέχετε ἀπὸ τῶν γραμματέων τῶν θελόντων περιπατεῖν ἐν στολαῖς καὶ φιλούντων ἀσπασμοὺς ἐν ταῖς ἀγοραῖς καὶ πρωτοκαθεδρίας ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς καὶ πρωτοκλισίας ἐν τοῖς δείπνοις,

 

Luke had Jesus deliver a diatribe against the Scribes.  Jesus said to be aware of the Scribes (Προσέχετε ἀπὸ τῶν γραμματέων), because they like to walk around in long robes (τῶν θελόντων περιπατεῖν ἐν στολαῖς).  They love to be greeted with respect in the market places (φιλούντων ἀσπασμοὺς ἐν ταῖς ἀγοραῖς).  They love to have the best front seats in the synagogues (καὶ πρωτοκαθεδρίας ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς).  They love the front places of honor at banquets (καὶ πρωτοκλισίας ἐν τοῖς δείπνοις).  There is something similar in Mark, chapter 12:38-39, and Matthew, chapter 23:6-7 who had a much longer diatribe against both the Scribes and the Pharisees.  Mark indicated that as Jesus taught (Καὶ ἐν τῇ διδαχῇ), he told them to be aware of the Scribes (ἔλεγεν Βλέπετε ἀπὸ τῶν γραμματέων).  These Scribes walked around in long robes (τῶν θελόντων ἐν στολαῖς περιπατεῖν).  They loved to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces (καὶ ἀσπασμοὺς ἐν ταῖς ἀγοραῖς).  They loved the front seats in the assembly synagogues (καὶ πρωτοκαθεδρίας ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς).  They loved to have the chief places of honor at banquet feasts (καὶ πρωτοκλισίας ἐν τοῖς δείπνοις).  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that both the Pharisees and the Scribes loved to have the chief places of honor at banquet feasts (φιλοῦσιν δὲ τὴν πρωτοκλισίαν ἐν τοῖς δείπνοις) and the best or front seats in the assembly synagogues (καὶ τὰς πρωτοκαθεδρίας ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς).  They loved to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces (καὶ τοὺς ἀσπασμοὺς ἐν ταῖς ἀγοραῖς).  They loved to have people call them rabbi (καὶ καλεῖσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων Ῥαββεί), since this was an Aramaic term that generally meant great teacher or master.  While Luke and Mark only mentioned the Scribes, Matthew also named the Pharisees along with the Scribes as being these elite social butterflies.  Do you like the front row seats?

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Mosaic law of taking a dead man’s wife (Lk 20:28-20:28)

“These Sadducees

Asked him a question.

‘Teacher!’

Moses wrote for us

That if a man’s brother dies,

Leaving a wife childless,

The man shall marry

The widow.

He will raise up children

For his brother.’”

 

λέγοντες Διδάσκαλε, Μωϋσῆς ἔγραψεν ἡμῖν, ἐάν τινος ἀδελφὸς ἀποθάνῃ ἔχων γυναῖκα, καὶ οὗτος ἄτεκνος ᾖ, ἵνα λάβῃ ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ ἐξαναστήσῃ σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ.

 

Luke said that these Sadducees asked Jesus a question (λέγοντες), respectfully calling him “Teacher (Διδάσκαλε)!”  They said that Moses wrote for them (Μωϋσῆς ἔγραψεν ἡμῖν) in Deuteronomy, chapter 25:5-10, that if a man’s brother dies (ἐάν τινος ἀδελφὸς ἀποθάνῃ), leaving a wife childless (ἔχων γυναῖκα, καὶ οὗτος ἄτεκνος ᾖ), that man should marry the widow (ἵνα λάβῃ ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα) to raise up children or seed for his brother (καὶ ἐξαναστήσῃ σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ).  Luke was the only Greek biblical writer to use this word ἄτεκνος, that means childless.  Matthew, chapter 22:24, and Mark, chapter 12:19, are almost word for word as here in LukeMark said that these Sadducees addressed Jesus very respectfully as “Teacher (Διδάσκαλε).”  They quoted a Mosaic text that Moses had written for them (Μωϋσῆς ἔγραψεν ἡμῖν),  If a man’s brother should die (ὅτι ἐάν τινος ἀδελφὸς ἀποθάνῃ) leaving behind a wife (καὶ καταλίπῃ γυναῖκα) without any children (καὶ μὴ ἀφῇ τέκνον), his living brother should take his dead brother’s widow as his wife (ἵνα λάβῃ ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα).  He would then raise up the descendant children or seeds for his brother (καὶ ἐξαναστήσῃ σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ).  Matthew indicated that these Sadducees also addressed Jesus very respectfully as “Teacher” or “Rabbi (λέγοντες Διδάσκαλε).”  They quoted a Mosaic text, as Moses said (Μωϋσῆς εἶπεν).  If a man died without any children (Ἐάν τις ἀποθάνῃ μὴ ἔχων τέκνα), his brother should marry the widow (ἐπιγαμβρεύσει ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ).  He would then raise up the descendants for his brother (καὶ ἀναστήσει σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ).  This levirate law goes back as far as Tamar in Genesis, chapter 38:1-30, with the story of Judah’s 3 sons and Tamar, the original wife of Er.  The brother of the deceased was supposed to marry his brother’s widow if he had no sons.  The widow was not to marry outside her family.  It also assumes that the brother lived close by or in the same house as his brother.  There was no indication of whether the brother was married or not, but this seems to assume a younger brother.  This was an attempt to prolong the heritage and name of a person, which was common in ancient times.  The punishment for the brother’s refusal was an insult, rather than any physical punishment.  Would you marry the wife or husband or your dead brother or sister?

A true teacher (Lk 20:21-20:21)

“Thus,

They asked Jesus.

‘Teacher!

We know

That you are right

In what you say

And teach!

You show deference

To no one!

You teach

The way of God

In accordance with truth!’”

 

καὶ ἐπηρώτησαν αὐτὸν λέγοντες Διδάσκαλε, οἴδαμεν ὅτι ὀρθῶς λέγεις καὶ διδάσκεις καὶ οὐ λαμβάνεις πρόσωπον, ἀλλ’ ἐπ’ ἀληθείας τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ διδάσκεις·

 

Luke indicated that this group questioned Jesus (καὶ ἐπηρώτησαν αὐτὸν) respectfully, calling him teacher (λέγοντες Διδάσκαλε).  They knew that Jesus spoke correctly (οἴδαμεν ὅτι ὀρθῶς λέγεις) and taught correctly (καὶ διδάσκεις).  Jesus did not receive anyone (καὶ οὐ λαμβάνεις πρόσωπον), except on the basis of truth (ἀλλ’ ἐπ’ ἀληθείας), because he taught (διδάσκεις) the way of God (τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  This was similar to Matthew, chapter 22:16, and Mark, chapter 12:14, almost word for word.  Mark said that the Pharisees and the Herodians came and spoke to Jesus (καὶ ἐλθόντες λέγουσιν αὐτῷ).  They called Jesus their teacher or rabbi (Διδάσκαλε).  They said that they knew that Jesus was sincere or truthful (οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἀληθὴς), because Jesus did not show any deference to anybody (εἶ καὶ οὐ μέλει σοι περὶ οὐδενός).  He did not regard people with partiality based on their appearances (οὐ γὰρ βλέπεις εἰς πρόσωπον ἀνθρώπων).  Thus, Jesus taught the truthful way of God (ἀλλ’ ἐπ’ ἀληθείας τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ διδάσκεις).  Matthew said that the Pharisees sent their own disciples, not themselves, to Jesus (καὶ ἀποστέλλουσιν αὐτῷ τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτῶν).  But they also sent along some Herodians (μετὰ τῶν Ἡρῳδιανῶν) also, the followers or political supporters of King Herod Antipas, the Roman client tetrarch king of Galilee, the one who had John the Baptist beheaded.  This group spoke to Jesus in flattering terms (λέγοντας).  They called Jesus their teacher or rabbi (Διδάσκαλε,).  They said that they knew that Jesus was sincere or truthful, since he knew the truthful way of God (οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἀληθὴς εἶ καὶ τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  He taught truthfulness (ἐν ἀληθείᾳ διδάσκεις).  Jesus did not show any deference to anybody (καὶ οὐ μέλει σοι περὶ οὐδενός).  He did not regard people with partiality based on their appearances (οὐ γὰρ βλέπεις εἰς πρόσωπον ἀνθρώπων).  They were buttering up Jesus with these flattering statements about how he was so sincere and truthful, since he had not shown any deference or partiality to anybody.  Do you flatter people to trick them?

The dialogue with the blind beggar (Lk 18:40-18:41)

“When he came near,

Jesus asked him.

‘What do you want me

To do for you?’

He said.

‘Lord!

Let me see again!’”

 

ἐγγίσαντος δὲ αὐτοῦ ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτόν

Τί σοι θέλεις ποιήσω; ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Κύριε, ἵνα ἀναβλέψω.

 

Luke indicated that when the blind beggar came near to Jesus (ἐγγίσαντος δὲ αὐτοῦ), he asked him (ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτόν) what he wanted Jesus to do for him (Τί σοι θέλεις ποιήσω).  The blind beggar replied (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν), calling Jesus the Lord (Κύριε), that he wanted to see again (ἵνα ἀναβλέψω).  Both Mark, chapter 10:51, and Matthew, chapter 20:32-33, are similar.  Mark indicated that Jesus responded to Bartimaeus (καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  He wanted to know what he wished that Jesus could do for him (εἶπεν Τί θέλεις ποιήσω).  The blind Bartimaeus replied to Jesus (ὁ δὲ τυφλὸς εἶπεν αὐτῷ) by addressing him as Rabbi or master teacher (Ῥαββουνεί).  He wanted to see again, to regain his sight (ἵνα ἀναβλέψω).  This did not seem that unusual.  Matthew said that Jesus called (ἐφώνησεν αὐτοὺς) the two blind men.  He wanted to know what they wanted him to do for them (καὶ εἶπεν Τί θέλετε ποιήσω ὑμῖν).  They then called Jesus Lord (λέγουσιν αὐτῷ Κύριε).  They wanted their eyes opened (ἵνα ἀνοιγῶσιν οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ ἡμῶν) so that they could see.  In all three synoptics, the blind man or men wanted to see again, a simple request.  Do you want to see better?

The best seats (Lk 11:43-11:43)

“Woe to you!

Pharisees!

You love

To have

The seat of honor

In the synagogues.

You love

To be greeted

In the market places.”

 

οὐαὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς Φαρισαίοις, ὅτι ἀγαπᾶτε τὴν πρωτοκαθεδρίαν ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς καὶ τοὺς ἀσπασμοὺς ἐν ταῖς ἀγοραῖς.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus the Lord cursed the Pharisees again.  This friendly dinner took a strange twist.  Jesus said that woe would come to them, the Pharisees, (οὐαὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς Φαρισαίοις) because these Pharisees loved (ὅτι ἀγαπᾶτε) to have the first seats or the seats of honor (τὴν πρωτοκαθεδρίαν) in the synagogues (ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς).  They loved to be greeted (καὶ τοὺς ἀσπασμοὺς) in the market places (ἐν ταῖς ἀγοραῖς).  There is something similar in Mark, chapter 12:39, and Matthew, chapter 23:6-7.  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that these Pharisees and Scribes loved to have the chief places of honor at banquet feasts and the best or front seats in the assembled synagogues.  They loved to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces.  Matthew also went on about the use of the term Rabbi.  Mark indicated that as Jesus told them to beware of the Scribes, but there was no mention of Pharisees, because these Scribes walked around in long robes.  They loved to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces.  They loved the front seats in the assembly synagogues   They loved to have the chief places of honor at banquet feasts   They were the elite social butterflies.  Do you like privileged public positions?

The sign of Jonah (Lk 11:29-11:29)

“When the crowds

Were increasing,

Jesus began to say.

‘This generation

Is an evil generation.

It asks for a sign.

But no sign

Will be given to it,

Except the sign of Jonah.’”

 

Τῶν δὲ ὄχλων ἐπαθροιζομένων ἤρξατο λέγειν Ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη γενεὰ πονηρά ἐστιν· σημεῖον ζητεῖ, καὶ σημεῖον οὐ δοθήσεται αὐτῇ εἰ μὴ τὸ σημεῖον Ἰωνᾶ.

 

Luke said that the crowds were increasingly pressing (Τῶν δὲ ὄχλων ἐπαθροιζομένων) around Jesus.  Thus, he began to talk (ἤρξατο λέγειν).  He said that this generation was an evil generation (Ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη γενεὰ πονηρά ἐστιν).  They seek signs (σημεῖον ζητεῖ), but no sign will be given to them (καὶ σημεῖον οὐ δοθήσεται αὐτῇ), except the sign of Jonah (εἰ μὴ τὸ σημεῖον Ἰωνᾶ).  This seeking of signs was common among all the synoptic gospel writers, Matthew, chapter 12:38-39, Mark, chapter 8:11-12, and Luke, here.  Matthew said that the Scribes and Pharisees wanted a sign rather than the vague “they” here in Luke.  They called Jesus a teacher or rabbi (Διδάσκαλε).  They wanted to see a sign from Jesus (θέλομεν ἀπὸ σοῦ σημεῖον ἰδεῖν).  Mark said that Jesus was not going to give them any sign at all.  He said that Jesus sighed deeply in his spirit.  He asked them why was this generation seeking a sign?  With a rare solemn proclamation in Mark, Jesus told them point blank that no sign would be given to this generation.  Sometimes miracles were considered heavenly signs, but Mark continued to call miracles works of power and not signs, as other gospel writers sometimes referred to them.  Are you always looking for signs from heaven on what to do?

Eternal life (Lk 10:25-10:25)

“Just then,

A certain lawyer

Stood up

To test Jesus.

He said.

‘Teacher!

What must I do

To inherit eternal life?’”

 

Καὶ ἰδοὺ νομικός τις ἀνέστη ἐκπειράζων αὐτὸν λέγων Διδάσκαλε, τί ποιήσας ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσω;

 

Luke said that just then, a certain lawyer stood up (Καὶ ἰδοὺ νομικός τις ἀνέστη) to test Jesus (ἐκπειράζων αὐτὸν).  He said, calling Jesus a teacher (λέγων Διδάσκαλε), what did he have to do to inherit eternal life (τί ποιήσας ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσω)?  Although there was a question like this in all 3 synoptics, there are nuanced differences.  Matthew, chapter 22:35-36, had a Pharisee lawyer ask the question about the greatest commandment, and not about eternal life.  Mark, chapter 12:28, had a Scribe, not a Pharisee lawyer ask the same question about the greatest commandment.  In Luke, here, there was an unnamed lawyer, probably an expert in the Mosaic law, who wanted to know about how to gain eternal life.  Mark had this unnamed Scribe approach Jesus, because he had heard the disciples discussing, disputing, or arguing with each other.  He saw how Jesus had answered their questions so well.  He was not there to test him, as here in Luke and Matthew, but he did question Jesus.  Matthew had a lawyer, who was a Pharisee, question Jesus to explicitly test him.  This Pharisee lawyer probably was someone skilled in the Mosaic law.  He addressed Jesus in a very respectful tone calling him “Teacher” or rabbi (Διδάσκαλε), like Luke.  He wanted to know which commandment of the law was the greatest, since there were 613 commandments in late Judaism.  Thus, it would seem like a legitimate question with so many commandments or laws.  Luke had the question about eternal life, but the other 2 synoptics questioned Jesus about the most important commandment.  These questions were related, but not the same.  3 different people, with different motives, posed this question.  Do you question people to learn something or to test them?