Do not cause children to sin (Mt 18:6-18:6)

“If anyone causes

These little ones,

Who believe in me,

To sin or stumble,

It would be better

For them

If a heavy millstone

Were fastened

Around their necks.

It would be better

For them

To be drowned

In the depth of the sea.”

 

ὃς δ’ ἂν σκανδαλίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων τῶν πιστευόντων εἰς ἐμέ, συμφέρει αὐτῷ ἵνα κρεμασθῇ μύλος ὀνικὸς περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ καὶ καταποντισθῇ ἐν τῷ πελάγει τῆς θαλάσσης.

 

This saying about causing little believing children to sin or stumble can also be found in Mark, chapter 9:42, and Luke, chapter 17:1-2, with some minor changes, with Matthew closer to Mark.  Jesus said that if anyone of them caused these little one, who believed in him, to stumble, to sin, or be scandalized (ὃς δ’ ἂν σκανδαλίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων τῶν πιστευόντων εἰς ἐμέ), it would be better for them to fasten a great heavy millstone around their necks (συμφέρει αὐτῷ ἵνα κρεμασθῇ μύλος ὀνικὸς περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ) and thus sink and be drowned in the deep sea (καὶ καταποντισθῇ ἐν τῷ πελάγει τῆς θαλάσσης).  Causing the believing little children to sin meant it was better for that person to die in deep water with a heavy millstone around their neck.  This millstone was a stone for grinding various grains.

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The teacher of wisdom (Sir 51:31-51:36)

“Draw near to me!

You!

Who are uneducated!

Lodge in the home of instruction!

Why do you say

That you are lacking in these things?

Why do you endure such great thirst?

I opened my mouth.

I said.

Acquire wisdom for yourselves

Without money.

Put your neck under her yoke.

Let your souls receive instruction.

It is to be found close by.

See with your own eyes.

I have labored but little.

I found for myself much serenity.

Hear but a little of my instruction!

You will acquire silver.

You will gain much gold.”

Now this author or Sirach assumes a teaching mode. He wants the uneducated to come to his house of instruction. If you admit that you are lacking something, then maybe you can learn a thing or two. You have to thirst for knowledge in order to drink from the fountain of knowledge. He wanted them to acquire knowledge without any charges. However, they would have to put their neck under the yoke of wisdom in order to receive this instruction. You can see how much serenity Sirach has achieved. If you listen to a little of his instruction, you will make a lot of money by acquiring silver and gold.