Evil comes from the human heart (Mk 7:21-7:23)

“It is from within,

From the human heart,

That evil intentions come.

Fornication,

Theft,

Murder,

Adultery,

Avarice,

Wickedness,

Deceit,

Licentiousness,

Envy,

Slander,

Pride,

And folly,

All these evil things

Come from within.

They defile a person.”

 

ἔσωθεν γὰρ ἐκ τῆς καρδίας τῶν ἀνθρώπων οἱ διαλογισμοὶ οἱ κακοὶ ἐκπορεύονται, πορνεῖαι, κλοπαί, φόνοι,

μοιχεῖαι, πλεονεξίαι, πονηρίαι, δόλος, ἀσέλγεια, ὀφθαλμὸς πονηρός, βλασφημία, ὑπερηφανία, ἀφροσύνη·

πάντα ταῦτα τὰ πονηρὰ ἔσωθεν ἐκπορεύεται καὶ κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον.

 

There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 15:19-20.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that it is from within the heart of a person (ἔσωθεν γὰρ ἐκ τῆς καρδίας τῶν ἀνθρώπων) that evil or wicked thoughts come forth spreading out (οἱ διαλογισμοὶ οἱ κακοὶ ἐκπορεύονται).  This included such evil things as fornication or pornography (πορνεῖαι), theft (κλοπαί), murders or killings (φόνοι), adulteries (μοιχεῖαι), avarice (πλεονεξίαι), wickedness (πονηρίαι), deceit (δόλος), licentiousness or wanton sensuality (ἀσέλγεια,), envy or the evil eye (ὀφθαλμὸς πονηρός), slander, abusive language, or blasphemy (βλασφημία), pride (ὑπερηφανία), and folly or foolishness (ἀφροσύνη).  This list in Mark was longer and different than the list in Matthew.  All these evil things came from within (πάντα ταῦτα τὰ πονηρὰ ἔσωθεν).  They come forth from the person (ἐκπορεύεται).  They are the things that defile a person (καὶ κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον).  You can clearly see what Jesus, his disciples, and the early Christian community considered as sins or defilements that made a person unclean or defiled.

The mouth speaks from the heart (Mt 15:18-15:20)

“But what comes out

Of the mouth

Proceeds from the heart.

This is what defiles a man.

Out of the heart

Come

Evil thoughts,

Murder,

Adultery,

Fornication,

Theft,

False witness,

And slander.

These are what

Defile a man.

But to eat

With unwashed hands

Does not defile a man.”

 

τὰ δὲ ἐκπορευόμενα ἐκ τοῦ στόματος ἐκ τῆς καρδίας ἐξέρχεται, κἀκεῖνα κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον.

ἐκ γὰρ τῆς καρδίας ἐξέρχονται διαλογισμοὶ πονηροί, φόνοι, μοιχεῖαι, πορνεῖαι, κλοπαί, ψευδομαρτυρίαι, βλασφημίαι.

ταῦτά ἐστιν τὰ κοινοῦντα τὸν ἄνθρωπον· τὸ δὲ ἀνίπτοις χερσὶν φαγεῖν οὐ κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον.

 

There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 6:20-23.  Jesus indicated that the true defilement was what came out of a person’s mouth, not what went into it.  He clearly explained defilement.  What came out of the mouth (τὰ δὲ ἐκπορευόμενα ἐκ τοῦ στόματος) proceeded from the heart (ἐκ τῆς καρδίας ἐξέρχεται).  That is what defiled a man (κἀκεῖνα κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον).  Out of the heart came (ἐκ γὰρ τῆς καρδίας ἐξέρχονται) such things as evil or wicked thoughts, plots or deliberations (διαλογισμοὶ πονηροί), murders or killings (φόνοι), adulteries (μοιχεῖαι), sexual immoralities, fornication or pornography (πορνεῖαι), theft (κλοπαί), false witness or false testimony (ψευδομαρτυρίαι), and slander, abusive language, or blasphemy (βλασφημίαι).  These were the things that defiled a man or person (ταῦτά ἐστιν τὰ κοινοῦντα τὸν ἄνθρωπον).  You can clearly see what Jesus, his disciples, and the early Christian community considered as sins or defilements that made a person unclean.  But to eat with unwashed hands did not defile a man (δὲ ἀνίπτοις χερσὶν φαγεῖν οὐ κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον) or make him unclean.  Notice that there is no mention of any unclean foods as in Mark.  Perhaps the Jewish Christians around Matthew still held to Jewish dietary laws.

The desolate mountains of Israel (Ezek 36:2-36:3)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

The enemy

Has said of you.

‘Aha!

The ancient heights

Have become

Our possession.’

Therefore,

Prophesy!

Say!

‘Thus says Yahweh God!

They made you desolate!

Indeed,

They crushed you

From all sides.

Thus,

You became

The possession

Of the rest

Of the nations.

You became

An object

Of gossip.

You became

An object

Of slander

Among the people.’”

Yahweh God, via Ezekiel, reminded the Israelites that their enemies had laughed at them because their ancient high mountains had become their own possessions. Thus, Ezekiel was to prophesy about these mountains, since they were truly desolate and crushed from all sides. They had become the possession of various countries. They had become an object of gossip and slander to all the people.

The bad people in Jerusalem (Ezek 22:6-25:9)

“The princes of Israel

In you,

Everyone

According to his power,

Has been bent

On shedding blood.

Fathers are treated

With contempt.

Mothers are treated

With contempt

In you.

The alien,

Residing within you,

Suffers extortion.

The orphans

Are wronged

In you.

The widows

Are wronged

In you.

You have despised

My holy things.

You have profaned

My Sabbath.

There are men

In you

Who slander

To shed blood.

There are men

In you

Who eat

Upon the mountains.

Men commit lewdness

In your midst.”

A lot of bad things were happening in Jerusalem. The princes of Israel had been shedding blood. Parents, both mothers and fathers, were treated with contempt. The alien residents suffered extortion. The orphans and the widows were wronged. The people of Jerusalem have despised Yahweh’s holy things and profaned his Sabbath. They slander and shed blood. They eat on the mountains. They commit lewd actions in their midst.

Slander (Sir 28:13-28:16)

“Curse the gossips!

Curse the double-tongued!

They destroy the peace of many.

Slander has shaken many.

Slander has scattered them

From nation to nation.

Slander has destroyed strong cities.

Slander has overturned

The houses of the great.

Slander has driven virtuous women

From their homes.

Slander has deprived them

Of the fruit of their toil.

Whoever pays heed to slander

Will not find rest.

They will not settle down in peace.”

The gossips, the whisperers, the double-tongued, and the slanders are all to be cursed because they destroy the peace of many people. In particular, Sirach singles out slander, the slurring of other people and their reputation. Slander has shaken and scattered many people in various countries. It has destroyed cities and different rulers. Slander has driven virtuous women from their homes. It has deprived people of the results of their work. If you listen to slander, you will not find rest. You will not settle in peace.

Evildoers (Ps 101:5-101:5)

“One who secretly slanders his neighbor,

I will destroy.

A haughty look,

I will not endure.

An arrogant heart

I will not endure.”

David would destroy those who secretly slander his neighbor. How would he know about this if it was a secret? He would not tolerate haughty looks or arrogant hearts.

Beware of sins of the tongue (Ps 50:19-50:21)

“God says.

‘You give your mouth free rein for evil.

Your tongue frames deceit.

You sit and speak against your kin.

You slander your own mother’s child.

These things you have done.

I have been silent.

You thought that I was one just like yourself.

But now I rebuke you.

I lay the charge before you.’”

God continued with his rebuke of the wicked by telling them how they had sinned with their mouth.   The wicked ones give free rein to their mouth to say all kinds of evil things with their deceitful tongue. They speak against their own relatives. They slander their own brothers and sisters. They did all these things, but God was silent. They thought that it might be okay since God would have done the same thing. They were wrong. Now they are rebuked as God laid out the charges against them.