The tax collectors
Were coming near
Ἦσαν δὲ αὐτῷ ἐγγίζοντες πάντες οἱ τελῶναι καὶ οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἀκούειν αὐτοῦ
Luke uniquely talked about Jesus and his closeness to sinners and tax collectors, although there are indications like this elsewhere. Luke said that all the tax collectors (πάντες οἱ τελῶναι) and sinners (καὶ οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ) were coming near (Ἦσαν δὲ αὐτῷ ἐγγίζοντες) to listen to Jesus (ἀκούειν αὐτοῦ). Perhaps this was an exaggeration when he said all tax collectors, but certainly quite a few. These sinners were the ones willing to listen to Jesus. Tax collectors were considered tools of the Roman authorities and linked with the public sinners as not part of the righteous social strata in Israel. Do you know any public sinners?
And their Scribes
To Jesus’ disciples.
‘Why do you eat
With tax collectors
καὶ ἐγόγγυζον οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς αὐτῶν πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ λέγοντες Διὰ τί μετὰ τῶν τελωνῶν καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν ἐσθίετε καὶ πίνετε;
Luke said that the Pharisees and their Scribes were complaining or grumbling (καὶ ἐγόγγυζον οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς αὐτῶν) to Jesus’ disciples (πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ). They wondered (λέγοντες) why they were with Jesus eating and drinking (ἐσθίετε καὶ πίνετε) with tax collectors and sinners (Διὰ τί μετὰ τῶν τελωνῶν καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν). Mark, chapter 2:16, and Matthew, chapter 9:11, are similar to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this incident. In Matthew, it was only the Pharisees and not the Scribes who are complaining. Mark and Luke have both these Pharisees and their Scribes grumble about this dinner party. They saw that Jesus and his disciples was eating and drinking with these sinners and tax collectors. Then they asked the disciples of Jesus, and not Jesus himself, why was Jesus eating with these tax collectors and sinners? These Pharisees were a political party, a social movement, and a religious school of thought that became the basis for later Rabbinic Judaism. They had they own expert explanations of Jewish law that sometimes appeared to be hypocritical or arrogant, with the letter of the law above its spirit. They had a form of Judaism that extended beyond the Temple. The Pharisees in the New Testament engaged in conflicts with Jesus and his disciples, as here. However, Paul the Apostle may have been a Pharisee before his conversion. Maybe Jesus and some of his followers were Pharisees, so that these arguments with the Pharisees may have been internal arguments. Or is this portrait of the Pharisees in the New Testament a caricature, since the late first century Christians were fighting with the emerging Rabbinic Pharisees? Their position towards the Scribes was a mixed bag. These Scribes were religious experts who determined the traditions to be followed, as professional copiers of manuscript documents, although they had a wider role in Jewish society.