The lost silver coin (Lk 15:8-15:8)

“A woman,

Had ten silver coins.

If she loses

One of them,

Does she not

Light a lamp,

Sweep the house,

And search diligently

Until she finds it?”

 

Ἢ τίς γυνὴ δραχμὰς ἔχουσα δέκα, ἐὰν ἀπολέσῃ δραχμὴν μίαν, οὐχὶ ἅπτει λύχνον καὶ σαροῖ τὴν οἰκίαν καὶ ζητεῖ ἐπιμελῶς ἕως οὗ εὕρῃ;

 

Next Luke had Jesus present 3 unique parables that do not appear elsewhere in the canonical gospels.  The first one is a short story about a lost coin, while the other two unique parables are longer.  Jesus said that this woman (Ἢ τίς γυνὴ) had 10 drachma silver coins (δραχμὰς ἔχουσα δέκα).  If she lost one of them (ἐὰν ἀπολέσῃ δραχμὴν μίαν), would she not light a lamp (οὐχὶ ἅπτει λύχνον), sweep the house (καὶ σαροῖ τὴν οἰκίαν), and search diligently or carefully (καὶ ζητεῖ ἐπιμελῶς), until she found it (ἕως οὗ εὕρῃ).  In this story, a woman with 10 drachmas lost one of them.  The Greek drachma was worth about a day’s pay so that 10 would have been about 2 weeks’ salary.  Thus, this lost drachma would roughly be about a day’s pay.  Would she not search her house with a lamp, sweeping everywhere?  Do you search for things when you lose them?

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One hundred sheep (Lk 15:4-15:4)

“Which one of you

Having a hundred sheep,

And losing

One of them,

Does not leave

The ninety-nine

In the wilderness?

You would

Go after the one

That was lost,

Until you found it.”

 

Τίς ἄνθρωπος ἐξ ὑμῶν ἔχων ἑκατὸν πρόβατα καὶ ἀπολέσας ἐξ αὐτῶν ἓν οὐ καταλείπει τὰ ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ καὶ πορεύεται ἐπὶ τὸ ἀπολωλὸς ἕως εὕρῃ αὐτό;

 

Luke indicated that Jesus questioned them whether anyone of them (Τίς ἄνθρωπος ἐξ ὑμῶν) who had 100 sheep (ἔχων ἑκατὸν πρόβατα), but lost one of them (καὶ ἀπολέσας ἐξ αὐτῶν ἓν), would then not leave the 99 in the open field wilderness (οὐ καταλείπει τὰ ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ)?  He would go after the one that was lost (καὶ πορεύεται ἐπὶ τὸ ἀπολωλὸς), until he found it (ἕως εὕρῃ αὐτό).  This parable of the lost sheep can also be found in Matthew, chapter 18:12, with some minor changes, perhaps a Q source.  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that this person, man, or shepherd had 100 sheep (ἐὰν γένηταί τινι ἀνθρώπῳ ἑκατὸν πρόβατα).  One of these sheep wandered away from the rest of them and was lost (καὶ πλανηθῇ ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν).  Thus, would he not leave the other 99 sheep in the mountains (οὐχὶ ἀφήσει τὰ ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα ἐπὶ τὰ ὄρη)?  He would then search for the lost sheep that had wandered away (καὶ πορευθεὶς ζητεῖ τὸ πλανώμενον).  This was a simple question.  Would you leave 99 sheep to search for one lost sheep?

Ask! (Lk 11:9-11:9)

“I tell you!

Ask!

It will be given you.

Search!

You will find it.

Knock!

The door

Will be opened

For you.”

 

Κἀγὼ ὑμῖν λέγω, αἰτεῖτε, καὶ δοθήσεται ὑμῖν· ζητεῖτε, καὶ εὑρήσετε· κρούετε, καὶ ἀνοιγήσεται ὑμῖν·

 

Luke indicated that Jesus told them with a solemn proclamation (Κἀγὼ ὑμῖν λέγω) that they should only ask (αἰτεῖτε), and then it would be given to them (καὶ δοθήσεται ὑμῖν).  They were to search (ζητεῖτε), and they would find it (καὶ εὑρήσετε).  Just knock (κρούετε), and the door would be opened for them (καὶ ἀνοιγήσεται ὑμῖν).  Matthew, chapter 7:7, has a similar saying of Jesus, almost word for word, indicating a common Q source.  Jesus told them to ask (Αἰτεῖτε), and they would get it (καὶ δοθήσεται ὑμῖν).  Seek (ζητεῖτε), and they would find it (καὶ εὑρήσετε).  Knock (κρούετε), and it would be opened (καὶ ἀνοιγήσεται ὑμῖν).  Everything seemed so easy.  All they had to do was request things from the Father and he would grant it.  Do you make simple requests to God the Father?

Jesus’ parents return to Jerusalem (Lk 2:45-2:45)

“When they

Did not find him,

They returned

To Jerusalem,

To search

For him.”

 

καὶ μὴ εὑρόντες ὑπέστρεψαν εἰς Ἱερουσαλὴμ ἀναζητοῦντες αὐτόν.

 

Luke said that now Joseph and Mary reversed courses.  When they did not find him (καὶ μὴ εὑρόντες) among their friends and relatives, they returned to Jerusalem (ὑπέστρεψαν εἰς Ἱερουσαλὴμ) to search for him there (ἀναζητοῦντες αὐτόν).  This was the natural thing to do.  It probably took them another day to get back to Jerusalem.  However, they were going to try and find him in Jerusalem, assuming that he was still there.

 

The parable of the lost sheep (Mt 18:12-18:13)

“What do you think?

A shepherd

Has a hundred sheep.

If one of them has gone astray,

Does he not leave

The ninety-nine

On the mountains?

He goes in search

Of the one that went astray.

If he finds it,

Truly!

I say to you!

He rejoices over it

More than over the ninety-nine

That never went astray.”

 

Ἦλθεν γὰρ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου σῶσαι τὸ ἀπολωλός.

Τί ὑμῖν δοκεῖ; ἐὰν γένηταί τινι ἀνθρώπῳ ἑκατὸν πρόβατα καὶ πλανηθῇ ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν, οὐχὶ ἀφήσει τὰ ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα ἐπὶ τὰ ὄρη καὶ πορευθεὶς ζητεῖ τὸ πλανώμενον;

καὶ ἐὰν γένηται εὑρεῖν αὐτό, ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι χαίρει ἐπ’ αὐτῷ μᾶλλον ἢ ἐπὶ τοῖς ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα τοῖς μὴ πεπλανημένοις.

 

This parable of the lost sheep can also be found in Luke, chapter 15:3-6, with some minor changes.  In some Orthodox texts there is a line that the Son of Man had come to save those who were lost or destroyed (Ἦλθεν γὰρ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου σῶσαι τὸ ἀπολωλός).  Jesus then asked them to think (Τί ὑμῖν δοκεῖ) about this parable, although he did not call it a parable like Luke did.  A person or shepherd had 100 sheep (ἐὰν γένηταί τινι ἀνθρώπῳ ἑκατὸν πρόβατα).  One of these sheep wandered away from the rest of them and was lost (καὶ πλανηθῇ ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν).  Thus, would he not leave the other 99 sheep in the mountains (οὐχὶ ἀφήσει τὰ ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα ἐπὶ τὰ ὄρη)?  He would then search for the lost sheep that had wandered astray (καὶ πορευθεὶς ζητεῖ τὸ πλανώμενον).  Jesus then had a solemn pronouncement (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).  If he found that one sheep (καὶ ἐὰν γένηται εὑρεῖν αὐτό) he would rejoice over that more than over the 99 sheep that had never wandered away (ὅτι χαίρει ἐπ’ αὐτῷ μᾶλλον ἢ ἐπὶ τοῖς ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα τοῖς μὴ πεπλανημένοις).  Every sheep was precious in the sight of this good shepherd.

Pearls and the kingdom of heaven (Mt 13:45-13:46)

“Again,

The kingdom of heaven is

Like a merchant

In search of fine pearls.

On finding one pearl

Of great value,

He went

And sold

All that he had.

Then he bought it.”

 

Πάλιν ὁμοία ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν ἐμπόρῳ ζητοῦντι καλοὺς μαργαρίτας·

εὑρὼν δὲ ἕνα πολύτιμον μαργαρίτην ἀπελθὼν πέπρακεν πάντα ὅσα εἶχεν καὶ ἠγόρασεν αὐτόν.

 

Again, only Matthew has this parable about the pearl merchant and the kingdom of heaven (Πάλιν ὁμοία ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν).  This kingdom was like a precious pearl, like a merchant in search of fine pearls (ἐμπόρῳ ζητοῦντι καλοὺς μαργαρίτας).  If this pearl expert found one precious pearl of great value (εὑρὼν δὲ ἕνα πολύτιμον μαργαρίτην), he would go away and sell all that he had (ἀπελθὼν πέπρακεν πάντα ὅσα εἶχεν).  Then, he would buy this precious pearl (καὶ ἠγόρασεν αὐτόν).  There was also a play on words, since in Jewish society, pearls often meant piety and study of the Torah.  Once again, you would sell everything you had, and give up everything, just so that you can have the great precious pearl of the kingdom of heaven.

Seekers (Mt 7:7-7:8)

“Ask!

It will be given you.

Search!

You will find it.

Knock!

The door

Will be opened to you.

Everyone

Who asks,

Receives.

Everyone

Who searches,

Finds.

Everyone

Who knocks,

The door

Will be opened.”

 

Αἰτεῖτε, καὶ δοθήσεται ὑμῖν· ζητεῖτε, καὶ εὑρήσετε· κρούετε, καὶ ἀνοιγήσεται ὑμῖν.

πᾶς γὰρ ὁ αἰτῶν λαμβάνει καὶ ὁ ζητῶν εὑρίσκει καὶ τῷ κρούοντι ἀνοιγήσεται.

 

This saying of Jesus is exactly the same as in Luke, chapter 11:9-10, indicating a common Q source.  Jesus told them to ask (Αἰτεῖτε), and they would get it (καὶ δοθήσεται ὑμῖν).  Seek (ζητεῖτε), and they would find (καὶ εὑρήσετε).  Knock (κρούετε), and it will be opened (καὶ ἀνοιγήσεται ὑμῖν).  Everyone who asked would receive (πᾶς γὰρ ὁ αἰτῶν λαμβάνει) what he asked for.  The seeker will find (καὶ ὁ ζητῶν εὑρίσκει) what he is looking for.  The one knocking will see it open (καὶ τῷ κρούοντι ἀνοιγήσεται).  All is well that ends well.  You just need a little effort.