Zacchaeus defends himself (Lk 19:8-19:8)

“Zacchaeus stood there.

He said

To the Lord.

‘Look!

Lord!

I will give

To the poor

Half of my possessions.

If I have defrauded

Anyone of anything,

I will pay back

Four times as much.’”

 

σταθεὶς δὲ Ζακχαῖος εἶπεν πρὸς τὸν Κύριον Ἰδοὺ τὰ ἡμίσειά μου τῶν ὑπαρχόντων, Κύριε, τοῖς πτωχοῖς δίδωμι, καὶ εἴ τινός τι ἐσυκοφάντησα ἀποδίδωμι τετραπλοῦν.

 

Luke indicated that Zacchaeus stood there (σταθεὶς δὲ Ζακχαῖος).  He then said to the Lord Jesus (εἶπεν πρὸς τὸν Κύριον), calling him Lord (Κύριε) that he was willing to give to the poor (τοῖς πτωχοῖς δίδωμι) half of his possessions (Ἰδοὺ τὰ ἡμίσειά μου τῶν ὑπαρχόντων).  He said that if he had defrauded anyone of anything (καὶ εἴ τινός τι ἐσυκοφάντησα), he was willing to pay it back 4 times as much (ἀποδίδωμι τετραπλοῦν).  Once again, Luke used the Greek word ἐσυκοφάντησα, that means to accuse falsely or defraud people, that was not found in any of the other Greek biblical writers.  Zacchaeus made a big deal about how he was not like the other tax collectors.  Despite his wealth, he was willing to give half of it away to some unnamed poor people.  Anytime, he was accused of defrauding people, he would give them 4 times what they were claiming.  This restoration of 4 times goes back to Exodus, chapter 22:1, about stealing sheep.  The thief had to pay four sheep for any one stolen sheep.  Thus, Zacchaeus seemed like a very fair person, leaning over backwards to help people.  Yet he was still wealthy.  Luke was the only synoptic with this story of Zacchaeus.  How do you treat people who claim that you are defrauding them?

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The Pharisee prayer (Lk 18:11-18:11)

“The Pharisee,

Standing by himself,

Was praying thus.

‘God!

I thank you

That I am not

Like other people.

I am not

A thief,

A wicked person,

An adulterer,

Or even

Like this tax collector.’”

 

ὁ Φαρισαῖος σταθεὶς ταῦτα πρὸς ἑαυτὸν προσηύχετο Ὁ Θεός, εὐχαριστῶ σοι ὅτι οὐκ εἰμὶ ὥσπερ οἱ λοιποὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ἅρπαγες, ἄδικοι, μοιχοί, ἢ καὶ ὡς οὗτος ὁ τελώνης·

 

Luke has Jesus tell a parable about this Pharisee and a tax collector that is only found in this gospel.  Luke indicated that Jesus said this Pharisee stood by himself (ὁ Φαρισαῖος σταθεὶς ταῦτα πρὸς ἑαυτὸν).  He was praying (προσηύχετο) to God.  He said thank you to God (Ὁ Θεός, εὐχαριστῶ σοι) that he was not like other people (ὅτι οὐκ εἰμὶ ὥσπερ οἱ λοιποὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων).  He was not a thief, a robber, or a swindler (ἅρπαγες), unjust, unrighteous, or wicked (ἄδικοι), or an adulterer (μοιχοί), or even like this tax collector (ἢ καὶ ὡς οὗτος ὁ τελώνης).  This Pharisee considered himself a just, righteous person, not like other sinners who were evil.  Certainly, he was happy not to be a terrible Roman tax collector, like that other person in the Temple.  Thus, he uttered the prayer of an upstanding righteous Jewish person.  Do you thank God that you are better than other people?

 

The Son of Man is coming (Lk 12:40-12:40)

“You also must be ready!

The Son of Man

Is coming

At an unexpected hour.”

 

καὶ ὑμεῖς γίνεσθε ἕτοιμοι, ὅτι ᾗ ὥρᾳ οὐ δοκεῖτε ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἔρχεται.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus concluded his story about the thief in the night by saying that they must be ready (καὶ ὑμεῖς γίνεσθε ἕτοιμοι) because the Son of Man (ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) would be coming (ἔρχεται) at an unexpected or unknown hour (ὅτι ᾗ ὥρᾳ οὐ δοκεῖτε).  Matthew, chapter 24:44, had something similar, almost word for word, indicating a Q source.  Jesus said that they had to be ready or prepared (διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ὑμεῖς γίνεσθε ἕτοιμοι) for the coming of the Son of Man (ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἔρχεται) because he would be coming at an unexpected hour (ὅτι ᾗ οὐ δοκεῖτε ὥρᾳ).  The Son of Man was the second coming of Jesus, the end times, the final judgment day.  Are you ready for the coming of the Son of Man?

 

Treasures in heaven (Lk 12:33-12:33)

“Sell your possessions!

Give alms!

Make purses

For yourselves

That do not wear out!

Have an unfailing treasure

In heaven!

There,

No thief

Comes near!

No moth

Destroys!”

 

Πωλήσατε τὰ ὑπάρχοντα ὑμῶν καὶ δότε ἐλεημοσύνην· ποιήσατε ἑαυτοῖς βαλλάντια μὴ παλαιούμενα, θησαυρὸν ἀνέκλειπτον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, ὅπου κλέπτης οὐκ ἐγγίζει οὐδὲ σὴς διαφθείρει·

 

Luke indicated that Jesus told them to sell their possessions (Πωλήσατε τὰ ὑπάρχοντα ὑμῶν) and then give alms to charity (καὶ δότε ἐλεημοσύνην).  They were to make their own purses (ποιήσατε ἑαυτοῖς βαλλάντια) that did not wear out (ὴ παλαιούμενα).  Their unfailing treasure (θησαυρὸν ἀνέκλειπτον) should be in heaven (ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς), where no thief could get near it (ὅπου κλέπτης οὐκ ἐγγίζει) and no moth would destroy it (οὐδὲ σὴς διαφθείρει).  This is the only time that the word ἀνέκλειπτον appears in the New Testament literature, meaning unfailing, not giving up.  The same idea but in different words can be found in Matthew, chapter 6:19-20.  Matthew had Jesus say that they should not store up treasures (Μὴ θησαυρίζετε ὑμῖν θησαυροὺς) here on earth (ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς), because it was too much trouble to store things.  Either moths (ὅπου σὴς) would eat up the garments or rust would consume them.  This is one of the 3 times that moths are mentioned in the biblical New Testament.  The other was the Luke comparative and later in Matthew.  Garments were often considered treasures.  Rust was a more common term and applied to other goods.  Otherwise, thieves might break in and steal it anyhow (καὶ ὅπου κλέπται διορύσσουσιν καὶ κλέπτουσιν).  The opposite of the earthly treasures were the heavenly treasures (θησαυρίζετε δὲ ὑμῖν θησαυροὺς ἐν οὐρανῷ) that you should store up.  Moths and rust could not consume them (ὅπου οὔτε σὴς οὔτε βρῶσις ἀφανίζει).  Thieves could not break in and steal them either (καὶ ὅπου κλέπται οὐ διορύσσουσιν οὐδὲ κλέπτουσιν).  Clearly, heaven was a better place to store up treasures than the dangerous earth.

Keep awake! (Mk 13:35-13:35)

“Therefore,

Keep awake!

You do not know

When the master

Of the house

Will come.

It could be

In the evening,

Or at midnight,

Or at cockcrow,

Or at dawn.”

 

γρηγορεῖτε οὖν· οὐκ οἴδατε γὰρ πότε ὁ κύριος τῆς οἰκίας ἔρχεται, ἢ ὀψὲ ἢ μεσονύκτιον ἢ ἀλεκτοροφωνίας ἢ πρωΐ·

 

This saying of Jesus is similar to Matthew, chapter 24:42, and Luke, chapter 12:38, about the thief at night.  Mark said that Jesus warned his disciples to be vigilant.  They were to stay awake (γρηγορεῖτε οὖν) because they did not know (οὐκ οἴδατε) when the lord or the master of the house would come back (γὰρ πότε ὁ κύριος τῆς οἰκίας ἔρχεται).  It could be at some unexpected time, late in the evening (ἢ ὀψὲ), midnight (ἢ μεσονύκτιον), cockcrow (ἢ ἀλεκτοροφωνίας), or at morning dawn (ἢ πρωΐ).

Be ready (Mt 24:42-24:44)

“Keep awake therefore!

You do not know

On what day

Your Lord is coming.

But understand this!

If the owner

Of the house

Had known

In what part

Of the night

The thief was coming,

He would have stayed awake.

He would not have

Let his house

Be broken into.

Therefore,

You also must be ready!

The Son of Man

Is coming

At an unexpected hour.”

 

γρηγορεῖτε οὖν, ὅτι οὐκ οἴδατε ποίᾳ ἡμέρᾳ ὁ κύριος ὑμῶν ἔρχεται.

ἐκεῖνο δὲ γινώσκετε ὅτι εἰ ᾔδει ὁ οἰκοδεσπότης ποίᾳ φυλακῇ ὁ κλέπτης ἔρχεται, ἐγρηγόρησεν ἂν καὶ οὐκ ἂν εἴασεν διορυχθῆναι τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτοῦ.

διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ὑμεῖς γίνεσθε ἕτοιμοι, ὅτι ᾗ οὐ δοκεῖτε ὥρᾳ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἔρχεται.

 

There is one sentence of this saying of Jesus in Matthew that is similar in Mark, chapter 13:35, and also in Luke, chapter 12:39-40, about the thief at night.  Jesus warned his disciples to be vigilant.  They were to stay awake (γρηγορεῖτε οὖν) because they did not know on what day (ὅτι οὐκ οἴδατε ποίᾳ ἡμέρᾳ) the Lord was coming (ὁ κύριος ὑμῶν ἔρχεται).  They had to understand or realize (ἐκεῖνο δὲ γινώσκετε) that if an owner of a house had known at what time of the night a thief was coming (ὅτι εἰ ᾔδει ὁ οἰκοδεσπότης ποίᾳ φυλακῇ ὁ κλέπτης ἔρχεται), he would have been alert and stayed awake (ἐγρηγόρησεν ἂν).  He would not have let his house be broken into (καὶ οὐκ ἂν εἴασεν διορυχθῆναι τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτοῦ).  Therefore, they had to be ready or prepared (διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ὑμεῖς γίνεσθε ἕτοιμοι) for the coming of the Son of Man (ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἔρχεται) because he would be coming at an unexpected hour (ὅτι ᾗ οὐ δοκεῖτε ὥρᾳ).

Liars (Sir 20:24-20:26)

“A lie is an ugly blot

On a person.

It is continually

On the lips of the ignorant.

A thief is preferable

To a habitual liar.

But the lot of both

Is ruin.

A liar’s way

Leads to disgrace,

His shame is

Ever with him.”

A lie is like an ugly blot on a person. Ignorant people continually lie. A thief is better than a habitual liar, although both are headed to ruin. The way of a liar will lead to disgrace, because his shame is always with him.