Known better (Lk 19:22-19:22)

“The nobleman

Said to this slave.

‘I will judge you

By your own words.

You wicked slave!

You knew,

Did you not,

That I was a harsh man.

I take

What I did not deposit.

I reap

What I did not sow?’”

 

λέγει αὐτῷ Ἐκ τοῦ στόματός σου κρίνω σε, πονηρὲ δοῦλε. ᾔδεις ὅτι ἐγὼ ἄνθρωπος αὐστηρός εἰμι, αἴρων ὃ οὐκ ἔθηκα καὶ θερίζων ὃ οὐκ ἔσπειρα;

 

Luke indicated that Jesus remarked that the nobleman said to this slave (λέγει αὐτῷ) that he was going to judge him (κρίνω σε) by his own words, what came out of his own mouth (Ἐκ τοῦ στόματός σου).  The nobleman called him a wicked slave (πονηρὲ δοῦλε) because he knew (ᾔδεις) that this nobleman was an austere harsh rigid man (ὅτι ἐγὼ ἄνθρωπος αὐστηρός εἰμι).  This nobleman repeated what was just said in verse 21, that he took what he did not deposit (αἴρων ὃ οὐκ ἔθηκα) and he reaped what he did not sow (καὶ θερίζων ὃ οὐκ ἔσπειρα).  This was similar to Matthew, chapter 25:26, perhaps indicating a Q source.  Jesus said, via Matthew, that this master was not happy with his slave who hid his talent money.  This lord or master responded to this slave (ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ εἶπεν αὐτῷ).  He called him a wicked lazy slave (Πονηρὲ δοῦλε καὶ ὀκνηρέ).  He knew that this master was a hard man, since he reaped where he had not sown (ᾔδεις ὅτι θερίζω ὅπου οὐκ ἔσπειρα) and he gathered where he had not scattered (καὶ συνάγω ὅθεν οὐ διεσκόρπισα), repeating the slave’s own words.  Notice that Luke did not call this slave lazy, just wicked or evil, while Matthew did.  Are you a demanding person?

Severe man (Lk 19:21-19:21)

“I was afraid of you!

You are a harsh man!

You take

What you did not deposit.

You reap

What you did not sow.”

 

ἐφοβούμην γάρ σε, ὅτι ἄνθρωπος αὐστηρὸς εἶ, αἴρεις ὃ οὐκ ἔθηκας, καὶ θερίζεις ὃ οὐκ ἔσπειρας.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that this third slave said that he was afraid (ἐφοβούμην) of the lord nobleman, because this nobleman was a harsh or severe man (γάρ σε, ὅτι ἄνθρωπος αὐστηρὸς εἶ).  Once again, Luke used a word αὐστηρὸς, that means harsh, severe, grim, strict, exacting, or rigid, that is not found elsewhere in the Greek biblical literature.  This man took what he had not deposited (αἴρεις ὃ οὐκ ἔθηκας).  He reaped what he had not sown (καὶ θερίζεις ὃ οὐκ ἔσπειρας).  This was similar to Matthew, chapter 25:24, perhaps indicating a Q source.  Jesus, via Matthew, indicated that this slave said to his master or lord (εἶπεν Κύριε) that he knew that his master was a harsh or hard man (ἔγνων σε ὅτι σκληρὸς εἶ ἄνθρωπος), because he would reap or harvest crops where he had not sown them (θερίζων ὅπου οὐκ ἔσπειρας).  He even gathered crops where he had not scattered seeds (καὶ συνάγων ὅθεν οὐ διεσκόρπισας).  This third slave in each story was afraid of this harsh or severe demanding master.  Do you know someone who is very demanding?

 

You are more valuable than birds (Lk 12:24-12:24)

“Consider the ravens!

They neither sow

Nor reap.

They have neither

A storehouse

Nor a barn.

Yet God feeds them.

Of how much more

Value are you

Than the birds!”

 

κατανοήσατε τοὺς κόρακας, ὅτι οὔτε σπείρουσιν οὔτε θερίζουσιν, οἷς οὐκ ἔστιν ταμεῖον οὐδὲ ἀποθήκη, καὶ ὁ Θεὸς τρέφει αὐτούς· πόσῳ μᾶλλον ὑμεῖς διαφέρετε τῶν πετεινῶν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus told his disciples to think about the ravens (κατανοήσατε τοὺς κόρακας).  They neither sow (ὅτι οὔτε σπείρουσιν) nor reap (οὔτε θερίζουσιν).  They have neither a storehouse (οἷς οὐκ ἔστιν ταμεῖον) nor a barn (οὐδὲ ἀποθήκη).  Yet God feeds them (καὶ ὁ Θεὸς τρέφει αὐτούς).  Of how much more value are you than the birds (πόσῳ μᾶλλον ὑμεῖς διαφέρετε τῶν πετεινῶν).  Once again, Matthew, chapter 6:26, has a similar Jesus saying, almost word for word, indicating a common Q source.  Luke called the birds ravens, but Matthew did not.  Matthew had Jesus tell his disciples to look and see the birds of the heavenly skies (ἐμβλέψατε εἰς τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ).  These birds did not sow or scatter (ὅτι οὐ σπείρουσιν) or gather crops (οὐδὲ συνάγουσιν) into a granary or barn (εἰς ἀποθήκας).  They were freeloaders.  Yet they were able to eat off the land, because the heavenly Father fed them (καὶ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος τρέφει αὐτά).  Are the disciples or followers of Jesus not more valuable than these birds (οὐχ ὑμεῖς μᾶλλον διαφέρετε αὐτῶν)?  Matthew said the Father fed the birds, but Luke said that it was God who fed them.  Birds did not do any farm work, yet they did not have to worry about food.  Are you worried about where your next meal is coming from?

The rebuke of the slave with one talent (Mt 25:26-25:27)

“But his master replied.

‘You wicked slave!

You lazy slave!

You knew,

That I reap

Where I have not sown.

I gather

Where I have not scattered.

Then you ought to have

Invested my money

With the bankers.

On my return,

I would have received

What was my own

With interest.”

 

ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Πονηρὲ δοῦλε καὶ ὀκνηρέ, ᾔδεις ὅτι θερίζω ὅπου οὐκ ἔσπειρα, καὶ συνάγω ὅθεν οὐ διεσκόρπισα;

ἔδει σε οὖν βαλεῖν τὰ ἀργύριά μου τοῖς τραπεζείταις, καὶ ἐλθὼν ἐγὼ ἐκομισάμην ἂν τὸ ἐμὸν σὺν τόκῳ.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew, but there is something similar in Luke, chapter 19:22-23.  Jesus indicated that this master was not happy with his slave who hid his talent money.  This lord or master responded to this slave (ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ εἶπεν αὐτῷ).  He called him a wicked lazy slave.  He knew that this master was a hard man, since he reaped where he had not sown (ᾔδεις ὅτι θερίζω ὅπου οὐκ ἔσπειρα).  He gathered where he had not scattered (καὶ συνάγω ὅθεν οὐ διεσκόρπισα), repeating his own words.  The master then told this slave that he should have at a minimum invested his money with the bankers (ἔδει σε οὖν βαλεῖν τὰ ἀργύριά μου τοῖς τραπεζείταις).  Then, at least, when he returned (καὶ ἐλθὼν ἐγὼ ἐκομισάμην), he would have received his money plus the earned interest on it (ἐκομισάμην ἂν τὸ ἐμὸν σὺν τόκῳ).  This master was a harsh but generous slave owner.

The slave with one talent (Mt 25:24-25:25)

“Then the slave who had received

One talent

Also came forward.

He said.

‘Master!

I knew that

You were a harsh man.

You reap

Where you did not sow.

You gather

Where you did not

Scatter seed.

I was afraid.

I went off.

I hid your talent

In the ground.

Here you have

What is yours.’”

 

προσελθὼν δὲ καὶ ὁ τὸ ἓν τάλαντον εἰληφὼς εἶπεν Κύριε, ἔγνων σε ὅτι σκληρὸς εἶ ἄνθρωπος, θερίζων ὅπου οὐκ ἔσπειρας, καὶ συνάγων ὅθεν οὐ διεσκόρπισας·

καὶ φοβηθεὶς ἀπελθὼν ἔκρυψα τὸ τάλαντόν σου ἐν τῇ γῇ· ἴδε ἔχεις τὸ σόν.

 

This parable is unique to Matthew, but there is something similar in Luke, chapter 19:20-21, where the slave had wrapped the money in a piece of cloth.  This slave who had received one talent came forward to his master (προσελθὼν δὲ καὶ ὁ τὸ ἓν τάλαντον εἰληφὼς).  He said to his master or lord (εἶπεν Κύριε) that he knew that his master was a harsh or hard man (ἔγνων σε ὅτι σκληρὸς εἶ ἄνθρωπος), because he would reap or harvest crops where he had not sown them (θερίζων ὅπου οὐκ ἔσπειρας).  He even gathered crops where he had not scattered seeds (καὶ συνάγων ὅθεν οὐ διεσκόρπισας).  Thus, this slave said that he was afraid (καὶ φοβηθεὶς), so he went and hid his talent in the ground (ἀπελθὼν ἔκρυψα τὸ τάλαντόν σου ἐν τῇ γῇ).  Then he seemed happy to return this one talent worth $4,000,000 US back to his master, as he said “Look! here it is (ἴδε ἔχεις τὸ σόν)!”  He was glad to be rid of this burden of protecting this money from possible thieves or robbers.

The birds do not worry (Mt 6:26-6:27)

“Look at the birds

Of the air!

They do not sow.

They do not reap.

They do not gather

Into barns.

Yet your heavenly Father

Feeds them.

Are you not

Of more value than they?

Can any of you,

By worrying,

Add a single hour

To your life span?”

 

ἐμβλέψατε εἰς τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, ὅτι οὐ σπείρουσιν ὅτι οὐ σπείρουσιν οὐδὲ συνάγουσιν εἰς ἀποθήκας, καὶ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος τρέφει αὐτά· οὐχ ὑμεῖς μᾶλλον διαφέρετε αὐτῶν;

τίς δὲ ἐξ ὑμῶν μεριμνῶν δύναται προσθεῖναι ἐπὶ τὴν ἡλικίαν αὐτοῦ πῆχυν ἕνα;

 

Once again, Luke, chapter 12:24-26, has a similar Jesus saying, almost word for word, indicating a common Q source.  Luke called the birds ravens.  Matthew has Jesus tell his disciples to look and see the birds of the heavenly skies (ἐμβλέψατε εἰς τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ).  The word “οὐρανοῦ” means heaven, sky, or air.  These birds do not sow or scatter (ὅτι οὐ σπείρουσιν), reap or harvest (ὅτι οὐ σπείρουσιν), or gather crops (οὐδὲ συνάγουσιν) into a granary or barn (εἰς ἀποθήκας).  They are freeloaders.  Yet they are able to eat off the land, because the heavenly Father feeds them (καὶ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος τρέφει αὐτά).  Are the disciples or followers of Jesus not more valuable than these birds (οὐχ ὑμεῖς μᾶλλον διαφέρετε αὐτῶν)?  Is worrying going to add one cubit or one hour to your life span or age (τίς δὲ ἐξ ὑμῶν μεριμνῶν δύναται προσθεῖναι ἐπὶ τὴν ἡλικίαν αὐτοῦ πῆχυν ἕνα).  Probably, the opposite is true.  Don’t worry!  Be happy!

Planting seeds (Eccl 11:4-11:6)

“Whoever observes the wind

Will not sow.

Whoever regards the clouds

Will not reap.

Just as you do not know

How the breath comes to the bones

In the mother’s womb,

So you do not know

The work of God

Who makes everything.

In the morning,

Sow your seed.

At evening,

Do not let your hand be idle.

You do not know

Which will prosper,

This or that,

Whether both alike will be good.”

If you wait for the perfect wind or the perfect clouds, you will never sow or reap. You have no idea how breath comes to bones in a mother’s womb. So too you have no idea how crops grow. Qoheleth reminds us that God made everything. In the morning, you sow your seeds, but you should not be idle in the evening. You are not sure which seeds will prosper, this one, that one, or both, only God knows.