The thief binds up people (Mk 3:27-3:27)

“But no one can enter

A strong man’s house

And plunder

His property,

Without first tying up

The strong man.

Then indeed,

He may plunder

His house.”

 

ἀλλ’ οὐ δύναται οὐδεὶς εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν τοῦ ἰσχυροῦ εἰσελθὼν τὰ σκεύη αὐτοῦ διαρπάσαι, ἐὰν μὴ πρῶτον τὸν ἰσχυρὸν δήσῃ, καὶ τότε τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτοῦ διαρπάσει.

 

There is something similar to this in Luke, chapter 11:21-22, and Matthew, chapter 12:29.  Here there is a reference to a strong man, probably Satan, who was overcome by another strong man, probably Jesus.  The strong man must be tied up before anyone can plunder his house.  Jesus, via Mark, appeared to be giving advice on how to rob a house.  No one would go into the house of a strong man (ἀλλ’ οὐ δύναται οὐδεὶς εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν τοῦ ἰσχυροῦ) to plunder seize, snatch, or rob his property or goods (εἰσελθὼν τὰ σκεύη αὐτοῦ ἁρπάσαι) without first tying up the strong man (ἐὰν μὴ πρῶτον τὸν ἰσχυρόν δήσῃ).  Then you would indeed be able to plunder or totally rob his whole house (καὶ τότε τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτοῦ διαρπάσει).  Thus, Satan would have to be bound up before you could enter his house to rob him.

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Tie up someone before stealing from them (Mt 12:29-12:29)

“How can one enter

A strong man’s house?

How can one plunder

His property?

Does he not first tie up

The strong man?

Then indeed the house

Can be plundered.”

 

ἢ πῶς δύναταί τις εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν τοῦ ἰσχυροῦ καὶ τὰ σκεύη αὐτοῦ ἁρπάσαι, ἐὰν μὴ πρῶτον δήσῃ τὸν ἰσχυρόν, καὶ τότε τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτοῦ διαρπάσει;

 

There is something similar to this in Luke, chapter 11:21-22, but there it is a strong man guarding his castle.  Here there is a vague reference to Satan, the strong man, who was overcome by another strong man.  Here Matthew seems to indicate that the strong man or Satan must be tied up before anyone can plunder his house.  Jesus, via Matthew, appears to be giving advice on how to rob a house.  How could you get into a strong man’s house (ἢ πῶς δύναταί τις εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν τοῦ ἰσχυροῦ)?  How could you plunder, seize, snatch, or rob his property (καὶ τὰ σκεύη αὐτοῦ ἁρπάσαι)?  First, you had to tie up the strong man (ἐὰν μὴ πρῶτον δήσῃ τὸν ἰσχυρόν), before you could plunder or totally rob his house (καὶ τότε τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτοῦ διαρπάσει).  Thus, Satan would have to be bound up before you could enter his house to rob him.

Past crimes (Hos 6:7-6:9)

“But like Adam,

They transgressed the covenant.

There they dealt faithlessly

With me.

Gilead is a city

Of evildoers,

Tracked with blood.

As robbers lie in wait

For someone,

So,

The priests

Are banded together.

They murder

On the way to Shechem.

They commit

A monstrous crime.”

Yahweh, via Hosea, compared the sin of Adam with the other later Israelites. They had broken the covenant. Perhaps the “there” mentioned here was the 40 years in the wilderness, when sometimes they were unfaithful to Yahweh. The city of Gilead, on the other side of the Jordan River, was a city of bloody evil people. Just as robbers wait for someone to come by to rob, so the priests have joined together to murder people on their way to the northern shrine at Shechem. They have committed all kinds of monstrous crimes. Perhaps, this northern Israelite Samaritan sanctuary was considered the great monstrosity. Notice the continual anti-clericalism of the prophets.

The righteous man (Ezek 18:5-18:9)

“If a man is righteous,

He does what is lawful.

He does what is right.

He does not eat

Upon the mountains,

He does not lift up his eyes

To the idols

Of the house of Israel.

He does not defile

His neighbor’s wife.

He does not approach a woman

During her menstrual cycle.

He does not oppress anyone.

But he restores

To the debtor

His pledge.

He commits no robbery.

He gives his bread

To the hungry.

He covers the naked

With a garment.

He does not take advantage.

He does not accrue interest.

He withholds his hand

From iniquity.

He executes true justice

Between contending parties.

He follows my statutes.

He is careful to observe

My ordinances.

He acts faithfully.

Such a one is righteous.

He will surely live.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Ezekiel outlined how the righteous man acts. First, he does what is lawful and right. He does not eat upon the mountains, the places of idol worship. He does not lift up his eyes to these Israelite idols. He does not defile his neighbor’s wife. He also does not approach a woman during her menstrual cycle. He does not oppress anyone. However, he pays off his loans. He does not rob people. He gives his bread to the hungry people. He clothes the naked. He does not take advantage of anyone. He does not accrue interest. He stays away from iniquity. He executes true justice. He judges between contending parties. He follows the statutes and ordinances faithfully. This righteous one will surely live.

Beware of killers (Sir 9:13-9:13)

“Keep far from those

Who have the power to kill.

You will not be haunted by the fear of death.

But if you do approach them,

Make no misstep.

They may rob you of your life.

Know that you are stepping among snares.

You are walking on the city battlements.”

Watch out for those who have the power to kill. You should worry about death. Do not approach them, but it you do, watch your step. They may rob you of your life. Know that you are walking among the traps in the city.

The prostitute (Prov 23:27-23:28)

“A prostitute is a deep pit.

An adulteress is a narrow well.

She lies in wait like a robber.

She increases the number of the faithless.”

Once again there is a warning about prostitutes and adulteress women who are trying to lure young men. They are like a deep pit or a narrow well. They will rob you since they lay in wait for you. These evil women are the cause of the increase in the number of the faithless. It is never the fault of the men, only the women. There are no admonitions to young women about males attempting to rape them. Perhaps they were more protected in this society.

The relative value of wealth (Ps 62:9-62:10)

“Those of low estate are but a breath.

Those of high estate are a delusion.

In the balances they go up.

They are together

Lighter than a breath.

Put no confidence in extortion.

Set no vain hopes on robbery.

If riches increase,

Do not set your heart on them.”

Suddenly there is a discussion about the relative value of wealth. Those of a low estate are like a breath, while those of a high estate are a delusion. Together they are a mere breath. David then asks them not to extort or rob each other, which seems like a good recommendation. If, however, your riches increased, he did not want them to set their heart on their new found wealth.