‘They have Moses
And the prophets!
They should listen
λέγει δὲ Ἀβραάμ Ἔχουσι Μωϋσέα καὶ τοὺς προφήτας· ἀκουσάτωσαν αὐτῶν.
This parable story about the poor man Lazarus and an unnamed rich man is only found in Luke, not in the other gospels. Luke indicated that Jesus said that Abraham replied to this tormented rich man (λέγει δὲ Ἀβραάμ) that his brothers had Moses (Ἔχουσι Μωϋσέα) and the prophets (καὶ τοὺς προφήτας). Why wouldn’t they listen to them (ἀκουσάτωσαν αὐτῶν). Abraham had a sharp response to this rich man. They already had Moses and prophets. What more do they want? They, like him, were not listening. Do you listen to religious authorities?
“But Abraham said.
Your good things!
In like manner,
His evil things.
But now he is
You are in agony!’”
εἶπεν δὲ Ἀβραάμ Τέκνον, μνήσθητι ὅτι ἀπέλαβες τὰ ἀγαθά σου ἐν τῇ ζωῇ σου, καὶ Λάζαρος ὁμοίως τὰ κακά· νῦν δὲ ὧδε παρακαλεῖται σὺ δὲ ὀδυνᾶσαι.
This parable story about the poor man Lazarus and an unnamed rich man is only found in Luke, not in the other gospels. Luke indicated that Jesus remarked that Abraham said (εἶπεν δὲ Ἀβραάμ) to the rich man, calling him son (Τέκνον) that he should remember (μνήσθητι) that during his lifetime he had received good things (ὅτι ἀπέλαβες τὰ ἀγαθά σου ἐν τῇ ζωῇ σου). Lazarus, however, had received evil things (καὶ Λάζαρος ὁμοίως τὰ κακά). Thus, now he was being comforted here (νῦν δὲ ὧδε παρακαλεῖται) with Abraham, while he, the rich man, was in agony (σὺ δὲ ὀδυνᾶσαι). Abraham spoke to the rich man telling him that he had a good time during his lifetime, while Lazarus had not. Now the tables were turned, Lazarus would live in comfort, but he would be tormented. This was a clear sign of an afterlife with consequences based on current lifestyles. Which lifestyle would you prefer?
Where the rich man
Was being tormented,
He looked up.
He saw Abraham
By his side.”
καὶ ἐν τῷ Ἅιδῃ ἐπάρας τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ, ὑπάρχων ἐν βασάνοις, ὁρᾷ Ἀβραὰμ ἀπὸ μακρόθεν καὶ Λάζαρον ἐν τοῖς κόλποις αὐτοῦ.
This parable story about the poor man Lazarus and an unnamed rich man is only found in Luke, not in the other gospels. Luke indicated that Jesus said that the rich man was living in torment (ὑπάρχων ἐν βασάνοις) in Hades (καὶ ἐν τῷ Ἅιδῃ), the Greek name for hell, a permanent place of damnation as opposed to the vague Hebrew afterlife Sheol, the place of the dead. This rich man looked up or lifted up his eyes (ἐπάρας τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ). He saw Abraham (ὁρᾷ Ἀβραὰμ), far away (ἀπὸ μακρόθεν), with Lazarus in his bosom (καὶ Λάζαρον ἐν τοῖς κόλποις αὐτοῦ). Both Abraham and Lazarus were together, but far away since there was a clear difference between where the rich man and Lazarus with Abraham were. Just as in life, there was a difference between the rich man and Lazarus, so too in death. Do you believe that there will be options in the afterlife?
“Who among you fears Yahweh?
Who obeys the voice of his servant?
Who walks in darkness?
Who has no light?
Who trusts in the name of Yahweh?
Who relies upon his God?
But all of you are kindlers of fire!
You are lighters of firebrands!
Walk in the flame of your fire!
Walk among the branches
That you have kindled!
This is what you shall have
From my hand.
You shall lie down in torment!”
Second Isaiah reminds the faithful that if they fear and trust Yahweh they will be okay. If they obey the voice of his servant and rely on God, they will be fine. However, if they walk in darkness, there will be no light. He wanted them to start fires and walk in the flames of their own fires. They will be tormented, but Yahweh will lead them to safety.
“Therefore those who lived
In an unrighteous way,
In a life of folly,
Through their own abominations.
They went far astray
On the paths of error.
They accepted as gods
That even their enemies despised.
They were deceived like foolish infants.
Therefore as though like children,
Who cannot reason,
You sent your judgment to mock them.
But those who have not heeded
The warning of light rebukes
Will experience the deserved judgment of God.
When in their suffering,
They became incensed
At those creatures
That they had thought to be gods,
They were punished by means of them.
They saw the true God.
They recognized the true God
Whom they had before refused to know.
Therefore the utmost condemnation
Came upon them.”
Once again, we are reflecting on God’s actions in Egypt. The unrighteous ones (ἀδίκους) were tormented by their own abominations. They had accepted various animals as gods (θεοὺς) as if they were unknowing little infants. When they reached the age of reason you mocked their gods with mild rebukes or the so-called plagues. But they did not heed these mild rebukes or plagues. Finally they recognized the true God (Θεὸν ἐπέγνωσαν ἀληθῆ) and thus they received the ultimate condemnation at the end. This was an attempt to justify the killing of the first born of Egypt. The Egyptians should have known better.
“When they were tried,
Even though they were being disciplined in mercy,
They learned how the ungodly were tormented
When judged in wrath.
You tested them
As a parent does
But you examined the ungodly
As a stern king does
Whether absent or present,
They were equally distressed.
A twofold grief possessed them.
There was a groaning
At the memory of what had occurred.
That through their own punishments,
The righteous had received benefit.
It was the Lord’s doing.
Even though they had mockingly rejected him,
Who long before had been cast out and exposed,
At the end of the events
They marveled at him.
They felt thirst in a different way
From the righteous.”
The righteous began to understand that their trials and thirst for water in Deuteronomy, chapter 8, were nothing in comparison to the punishment that the ungodly (ἀσεβεῖς) had received. They were disciplined in mercy, while the ungodly were angrily tormented and judged. They were treated like children getting a paternal (ὡς πατὴρ) warning, while the ungodly were given a royal (βασιλεὺς) condemnation. The Lord (τοῦ Κυρίου) gave benefits to the Israelites because the Egyptians had mocked and rejected him. The thirst that the two of them had was completely different between the righteous (δικαίοις) and the ungodly. Finally, the ungodly marveled at the Lord.