Interpreting the present time (Lk 12:56-12:56)

“You hypocrites!

You know how

To interpret

The appearance of earth

And the sky.

But why do you not know

How to interpret

This present time?”


ὑποκριταί, τὸ πρόσωπον τῆς γῆς καὶ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ οἴδατε δοκιμάζειν, τὸν καιρὸν δὲ τοῦτον πῶς οὐ δοκιμάζετε;


Luke indicated that Jesus called these people hypocrites (ὑποκριταί).  They were able to know how to interpret (οἴδατε δοκιμάζειν) the appearances of the earth (τὸ πρόσωπον τῆς γῆς) and the sky (καὶ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ).  However, they did not know how to interpret (πῶς οὐ δοκιμάζετε) this present time (τὸν καιρὸν δὲ τοῦτον).  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 16:3, perhaps indicating a Q source, where Jesus asked them how come they were so good at discerning the overcast stormy weather signs in the heavens (τὸ μὲν πρόσωπον τοῦ οὐρανοῦ γινώσκετε διακρίνειν), but they were unable to interpret the signs of the times (τὰ δὲ σημεῖα τῶν καιρῶν οὐ δύνασθε), since the weather signs were in the heavenly skies also.  In other words, they were very good at predicting the weather, but had no idea about other heavenly things to come.  Are you good at predicting the weather?

The four options (Jer 15:2-15:2)

“When they ask you.

‘Where shall we go?’

You shall say to them.

‘Thus says Yahweh.

‘Those destined for pestilence,

Go to pestilence!

Those destined for the sword,

Go to the sword!

Those destined for famine,

Go to the famine!

Those destined for captivity,

Go to captivity.’”

Yahweh told Jeremiah that these people had 4 options. They would either end up dying from pestilence, the sword, famine, or captivity. It seems like the sword was the quickest and the most fatal. The other options were more long lasting punishments, but some of them might be able to survive these punishments.

The land in mourning (Jer 12:4-12:4)

“How long will

The land mourn?

How long will

The grass of every field wither?

Due to the wickedness of those

Who live in it,

The animals

Are swept away.

The birds

Are swept away.

Because people said.

‘He is blind to our ways.’”

Jeremiah wanted to know how long the land would mourn. How long would the grass wither in the fields? Due to the wickedness of these people, the animals and the birds of this land were to be swept away. These people thought that Yahweh was blind to their evil ways.

The decree for the extermination of the Jews (Greek text only)

“Therefore we have decreed that those indicated to you in the letters written by Haman be destroyed. Haman is in charge of affairs and is our second father. He wishes that all these people, with their wives and children included, be utterly destroyed by the sword. We must be rid of our enemies, without pity or restraint, on the fourteenth day of the twelfth month, Adar, of this present year. Thus those who have long been hostile, and remain so, may go down to Hades violently in one single day. They will leave our government completely secure and untroubled hereafter.”

Interesting enough, Jews are not specifically mentioned in this decree at all, since this would be the obvious place to indicate who these people are. There is just this vague foreign “all these people,” who must be destroyed. Haman was the 2nd in command and in charge of this affair. He wanted all these people, including wives and children, destroyed by the sword without pity or restraint on the 14th day of the 12th month. Thus they will go violently down to Hades. They will leave the Persian government secure and untroubled. Notice that they are going to go down to Hades, who was the Greek god of the underworld, once again indicating a later Greek influence. Hades as a term is found in the Christian New Testament and not in the Hebrew Jewish Old Testament. This was the final section of this Greek text of the decree.

The signet ring (Esth 3:10-3:11)

“King Artaxerxes took his signet ring from his hand. He gave it to Haman to seal the decree that was to be written against the Jews. The king told Haman.

‘Keep the money.

Do whatever you want with those people.’”

The king is very cavalier with Haman. He gave him his signet ring so that whatever Haman wanted to write, the king’s seal would be upon it. Then he told him to keep the money. He could do whatever he wanted to do with these people. It almost seems like King Artaxerxes saw this as an afterthought since he had little concern about the whole affair. Do whatever you want, but don’t bother me.