They watched Jesus.
They sent spies,
To be righteous themselves.
To trap him.
They might hand him over
To the jurisdiction
Of the governor.”
Καὶ παρατηρήσαντες ἀπέστειλαν ἐνκαθέτους ὑποκρινομένους ἑαυτοὺς δικαίους εἶναι, ἵνα ἐπιλάβωνται αὐτοῦ λόγου, ὥστε παραδοῦναι αὐτὸν τῇ ἀρχῇ καὶ τῇ ἐξουσίᾳ τοῦ ἡγεμόνος
Luke said that the chief priests and the Scribes were watching Jesus very closely (Καὶ παρατηρήσαντες). They sent spies (ἀπέστειλαν ἐνκαθέτους). Luke used the word ἐνκαθέτους, that means hired to lie in wait, lying in wait, or a spy, as the only time this word appeared in all the Greek biblical literature. They pretended to be honest righteous men themselves (ὑποκρινομένους ἑαυτοὺς δικαίους εἶναι). Luke has another unique usage of the word ὑποκρινομένους that means to reply, to answer on a stage, to pretend, or act the part. They were trying to trap or catch Jesus with his own words (ἵνα ἐπιλάβωνται αὐτοῦ λόγου). Thus, they might be able to hand him over (ὥστε παραδοῦναι αὐτὸν) to the rule or jurisdiction (τῇ ἀρχῇ) and authority of the Roman client governor (καὶ τῇ ἐξουσίᾳ τοῦ ἡγεμόνος). There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 22:15-16, and in Mark, chapter 12:13. Mark said that the Pharisees sent some of their own people to Jesus (Καὶ ἀποστέλλουσιν πρὸς αὐτόν τινας τῶν Φαρισαίων). The Pharisees were always testing or tempting Jesus and his disciples, but they were not mentioned in Luke. They also sent along some Herodians (καὶ τῶν Ἡρῳδιανῶν), who were the followers or political supporters of King Herod Antipas, the Roman client tetrarch king of Galilee, the one who had John the Baptist beheaded. Both these groups were out to trap Jesus or catch him by using his own words against him (ἵνα αὐτὸν ἀγρεύσωσιν λόγῳ). Matthew said that the Pharisees went away (Τότε πορευθέντες οἱ Φαρισαῖοι) for a while, but they plotted or gathered together (συμβούλιον ἔλαβον) to entrap or entangle Jesus in what he had said (ὅπως αὐτὸν παγιδεύσωσιν ἐν λόγῳ). These Pharisees sent their own disciples to Jesus (καὶ ἀποστέλλουσιν αὐτῷ τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτῶν), along with some Herodians (μετὰ τῶν Ἡρῳδιανῶν), just like Mark had mentioned. They were out to trick or trap Jesus. Have you ever tried to trap anyone?
“With much seductive speech
She persuades him.
With her smooth talk
She compels him.
Right away he follows her.
He goes like
An ox goes to the slaughter.
He bounds like
A stag toward the trap.
He goes until
An arrow pierces its entrails.
He is like
A bird rushing into a snare.
He does not know
That it will cost him his life.”
Her seductive speech and smooth talk persuades and compels him. The simpleton follows her like an ox going to slaughter. He is like a male deer bounding towards a trap. He would keep going until arrows would pierce him. He was like a bird rushing into a trap. He was completely unaware that this action would cost him his life.
Do not let this escape from your sight!
Keep sound wisdom!
They will be life for your soul.
They will be an adornment for your neck.
Then you will walk on your way securely.
Your foot will not stumble.
If you sit down,
You will not be afraid.
If you lie down,
Your sleep will be sweet.
Do not be afraid of a sudden panic!
Do not be afraid of the wicked attack!
Yahweh will be your confidence.
He will keep your foot from being caught.”
Once again, we are back at a parental admonition. We are to keep sound wisdom and prudence. Never let them out of your sight because they are the life of your soul. They are the decorations for your neck. You will then walk securely and not stumble. If you sit down, you will not be afraid. If you lie down, you will have a sweet sleep. Do not be afraid of a sudden panic or a wicked attack. Have confidence in God because he will keep your foot from getting caught in a trap.
“They set a net for my steps.
My soul was bowed down.
They dug a pit in my path.
However, they have fallen into it themselves.”
These enemies or lions have set a net to catch David. His soul was bowed down. After his enemies built a pit to trap him on his path, they and not David fell into the pit that they had built for him. This then has a musical interlude meditative pause at this point in the psalm, Selah..
“Judas made war on the descendents of Esau in Idumea, at Akrabattene, because they kept lying in wait for Israel. He dealt them a heavy blow. He humbled them and despoiled them. He also remembered the wickedness of the sons of Baean, who were a trap and a snare to the people as they ambushed them on the highways. They were shut up by him in their towers. He encamped against them. He vowed their complete destruction. He burned with fire their towers and all who were in them.”
The descendents of Esau are not exactly gentiles since Esau was the brother of Jacob. In fact they were all Semites, not gentiles, since they were all related. Nevertheless, Judas Maccabeus attacked them in Idumea in Akrabattene, which was on the border of Judea and Idumea, south of Judea. They were wicked people who would attack people on the highways like highway robbers. He burned them in their towers.