“Woe to you!
You have taken away
The key of knowledge.
You did not enter yourselves.
But you hindered
Those who were entering.”
οὐαὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς νομικοῖς, ὅτι ἤρατε τὴν κλεῖδα τῆς γνώσεως· αὐτοὶ οὐκ εἰσήλθατε καὶ τοὺς εἰσερχομένους ἐκωλύσατε.
Luke indicated that Jesus cursed these Mosaic lawyers (οὐαὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς νομικοῖς) who had taken away the key to knowledge (ὅτι ἤρατε τὴν κλεῖδα τῆς γνώσεως). They never entered the knowledge themselves (αὐτοὶ οὐκ εἰσήλθατε), but they also hindered others from entering (καὶ τοὺς εἰσερχομένους ἐκωλύσατε) into this knowledge. This is similar to Matthew, chapter 23:13, perhaps a Q source, where Jesus said woe to these (Οὐαὶ δὲ ὑμῖν) Scribes and the Pharisees. Here in Luke, Jesus cursed just the Pharisees and the lawyers, without any mention of the Scribes. In Matthew, there was no doubt that Jesus was cursing the Scribes and the Pharisees (γραμματεῖς καὶ Φαρισαῖοι), who he also called hypocrites (ὑποκριταί). Jesus said that they locked people out of the kingdom of heaven (ὅτι κλείετε τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων). Although they could not get into or enter heaven themselves (ὑμεῖς γὰρ οὐκ εἰσέρχεσθε), they were stopping or not allowing others to enter (οὐδὲ τοὺς εἰσερχομένους ἀφίετε εἰσελθεῖν) the kingdom of heaven. Not only were they not going to heaven, they were stopping others from going to heaven, a serious charge. Here Luke was the against the lawyers who kept knowledge away from people. Was this knowledge of the kingdom, that they did not enter, and even hindered others from entering? Have you hindered other people from gaining knowledge?
“But the people
Did not receive Jesus,
Because his face
καὶ οὐκ ἐδέξαντο αὐτόν, ὅτι τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ἦν πορευόμενον εἰς Ἱερουσαλήμ
Now there was a note of discord here. Luke continued his unique story of Jesus traveling through Samaria, on his way to Jerusalem. Luke noted that the people of this Samaritan town did not want to receive Jesus (καὶ οὐκ ἐδέξαντο αὐτόν), because he was only passing by on his way to Jerusalem (εἰς Ἱερουσαλήμ). These Samaritans did not look favorably on the Jerusalem pilgrims who passed by their towns on the way to the Temple. After all, Jesus had steadfastly set his face (ὅτι τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ἦν πορευόμενον) to go there, not stopping or staying to worship at Mount Gerizim in Samaria. Thus, Jesus was not welcome, if he was going to the Judean place of worship in Jerusalem, and just visiting or passing through here. Would you be upset if someone said that they were planning to visit someone else but just stopped by?
“About that time, as it happened, King Antiochus had retreated in disorder from the region of Persia. He had entered the city called Persepolis. He attempted to rob the temples and control the city. Therefore the people rushed to the rescue with arms. King Antiochus and his army were defeated. The result was that he was put to flight by the inhabitants as he beat a shameful retreat. While he was in Ecbatana, news came to him of what had happened to Nicanor and the forces of Timothy. Transported with rage, he conceived the idea of turning upon the Jews the injury done by those who had put him to flight. He ordered his charioteer to drive without stopping until he completed the journey. But the judgment of heaven rode with him! In his arrogance he said.
‘When I get there,
I will make Jerusalem a cemetery of Jews.’”
A similar story can be found in 1 Maccabees, chapter 6, where the beginning of the story is the same. Some of the details are different. The town with the temple was called Elymais in 1 Maccabees, but magnificent former capital Persepolis here. Instead of returning to Babylon in 1 Maccabees, here it is the summer capital of Persia, Ecbatana. In 1 Maccabees, it is Lysias who seemed to be in charge, while here it appears to be Nicanor and Timothy. However, there is a major difference in the reaction of King Antiochus IV. In 1 Maccabees, when King Antiochus IV heard the news about the Jewish victory, he was depressed and fell sick. He then had deathbed repentance for all that he had done to the Jews. Here instead of that, he got angry and wanted to make Jerusalem a Jewish cemetery. However, it is later in this chapter that he has his deathbed repentance. On top of that, there are more details about his illness here.