Another parable (Lk 18:9-18:9)

“Jesus also told

This parable

To some people

Who trusted in themselves.

They believed that

They were righteous.

They regarded others

With contempt.”

 

Εἶπεν δὲ καὶ πρός τινας τοὺς πεποιθότας ἐφ’ ἑαυτοῖς ὅτι εἰσὶν δίκαιοι καὶ ἐξουθενοῦντας τοὺς λοιποὺς τὴν παραβολὴν ταύτην.

 

Luke has Jesus tell another parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector that is only found in this gospel.  Luke indicated that Jesus said (Εἶπεν δὲ) that some people trusted in themselves (Εἶπεν δὲ καὶ πρός τινας τοὺς πεποιθότας ἐφ’ ἑαυτοῖς) that they were righteous (ὅτι εἰσὶν δίκαιοι).  They regarded or despised others with contempt (καὶ ἐξουθενοῦντας τοὺς λοιποὺς).  Thus, here was this parable (τὴν παραβολὴν ταύτην) for them.  Jesus explicitly called this a parable that was meant for these self-righteous people who trusted in themselves.  At the same time, they looked down on others.  Do you look down on others?

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The righteous ones (Ezek 33:12-33:13)

“You!

Son of man!

Say to your people!

‘The righteousness

Of the righteous

Shall not save them

When they transgress.

As for the wickedness

Of the wicked,

It shall not make them

Stumble

When they turn

From their wickedness.

The righteous

Shall not be able

To live

By their righteousness

When they sin.

Although I say

To the righteous

That they shall surely live.

Yet if they trust

In their righteousness,

Then commit iniquity,

None of their righteous deeds

Shall be remembered.

But in the iniquity

That they have committed,

They shall die.”

Yahweh told Ezekiel, the son of man, to warn the righteous ones of his people. They cannot save themselves when they transgress the laws of Yahweh. However, if the wicked ones turn from their wickedness, they would not stumble. The righteous ones should not be so self-righteous. If they sin, they will not be able to live by their own righteousness. These righteous ones shall surely live, if they do not commit iniquity. Then they can trust in their righteousness. On the other hand, if they commit iniquity, none of their righteous deeds would be remembered. In fact, the committed iniquity would bring them death, so that they would die.

The righteous will rejoice (Ps 64:10-64:10)

“Let the righteous rejoice in Yahweh!

Take refuge in Yahweh!

Let all the upright in heart glory!”

This psalm ends with the righteous rejoicing in Yahweh, the God of Israel. They have taken refuge in Yahweh. The upright of heart can now glory in Yahweh. Thus we have a happy ending to the complaints about the wicked enemies. God has justified the righteous. Once again, they can be self-righteous.

Walk in integrity (Ps 26:11-26:12)

“But as for me,

I walk in my integrity.

Redeem me!

Be gracious to me!

My foot stands on level ground.

In the great congregation

I will bless Yahweh.”

This psalm ends with the innocent David’s self-righteous plea that he had always walked in integrity. He wanted Yahweh to redeem him. He wanted Yahweh to be gracious to him. He had kept his feet on the level right path. In the congregations he blessed Yahweh. Therefore he was on the right side with Yahweh.

Yahweh rewards David (Ps 18:20-18:24)

“Yahweh rewarded me,

According to my righteousness.

According to the cleanness of my hands,

He recompensed me.

I have kept the ways of Yahweh.

I have not wickedly departed from my God.

All his ordinances were before me.

His statutes I did not put away from me.

I was blameless before him.

I kept myself from guilt.

Therefore Yahweh has recompensed me,

According to my righteousness,

According to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.”

Once again, like 2 Samuel, chapter 22, Yahweh rewarded David for his righteousness. His hands were clean because he kept the ways of Yahweh. He never departed from God. He held all his statutes and ordinances before him. He was blameless and guiltless. Therefore Yahweh had compensated him because of his cleanliness. Yahweh had been good to him because David had followed him. David clearly was self righteous and felt that he deserved the rewards that he received from Yahweh.

Elihu continues to speaks for God (Job 36:1-36:4)

“Elihu continued, and said.

‘Bear with me a little!

I will show you.

I have yet something to say on God’s behalf.

I will bring my knowledge from far away.

I ascribe righteousness to my Maker.

Truly my words are not false.

One who is perfect in knowledge is with you.’”

Elihu has no qualms about himself. He becomes both like a prophet speaking for God and a wise man with perfect wisdom. He kept asking Job to let him explain himself. He was not speaking falsely since he was speaking for God with perfect knowledge. Elihu now sounds like the self-righteous person that he was condemning Job for being.

The good works of Job (Job 29:11-29:17)

“When the ear heard it,

It commended me.

When the eye saw,

It approved.

I delivered the poor who cried.

I helped the orphan who had no helper.

The blessing of the wretched came upon me.

I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.

I put on righteousness.

It clothed me.

My justice was like a robe and a turban.

I was eyes to the blind.

I was feet to the lame.

I was a father to the needy.

I championed the cause of the stranger.

I broke the fangs of the unrighteous.

I made them drop their prey from their teeth.”

Job becomes self-righteous as he listed off all his good works. Both ears and eyes approved what he had done. He answered the cry of the poor and the orphan. He blessed the wretched. He brought joy to the widows. He dressed as if he were righteous with a robe and a turban. He was the eyes for the blind and the feet for the lame. He was the father to the needy. He championed the causes of strangers. He made the unrighteous drop their prey. What a great guy! He was almost perfect in all that he did for others.