“But even the hairs
Of your head
Are all counted.
Do not be afraid!
You are of more value
Than many sparrows.”
ἀλλὰ καὶ αἱ τρίχες τῆς κεφαλῆς ὑμῶν πᾶσαι ἠρίθμηνται. μὴ φοβεῖσθε· πολλῶν στρουθίων διαφέρετε.
Luke indicated that Jesus continued to talk about sparrows and humans. Jesus said that even the hairs of their heads (ἀλλὰ καὶ αἱ τρίχες τῆς κεφαλῆς ὑμῶν) were all counted (πᾶσαι ἠρίθμηνται). They were not to be afraid (μὴ φοβεῖσθε), since they were of more value than many sparrows (πολλῶν στρουθίων διαφέρετε). This verse is similar to Matthew, chapter 10:30-31, indicating a Q source. Jesus, via Matthew, said that God, the Father, could number all the hairs on their head (μῶν δὲ καὶ αἱ τρίχες τῆς κεφαλῆς πᾶσαι ἠριθμημέναι εἰσίν). They should not be afraid (μὴ οὖν φοβεῖσθε), because they are more valuable than many sparrows (πολλῶν στρουθίων διαφέρετε ὑμεῖς). If God the Father cared for these insignificant birds, how much more was he concerned about humans. There was a continual theme about not being afraid. Do you think that you are more valuable than a few stray birds?
“Are not five sparrows
Sold for two pennies?
Yet not one of them
In God’s sight.”
οὐχὶ πέντε στρουθία πωλοῦνται ἀσσαρίων δύο; καὶ ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν οὐκ ἔστιν ἐπιλελησμένον ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ.
Luke indicated that Jesus asked them about the value of 5 sparrows. Jesus said these sparrows were sold for two pennies or assarions (οὐχὶ πέντε στρουθία πωλοῦνται ἀσσαρίων δύο). This Roman Empire Greek “assarion” coin (ἀσσαρίων) was worth about 2 cents. So, this total would have been about 4 cents. Yet none of them are forgotten or neglected (καὶ ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν οὐκ ἔστιν ἐπιλελησμένον) in God’s sight (ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ). This verse is similar to Matthew, chapter 10:29, indicating a Q source. Jesus, via Matthew, compared human life to 2 sparrows, not 5 sparrows as here. He asked whether these 2 sparrows (οὐχὶ δύο στρουθία) that sold for a penny or a Greek “assarion” (ἀσσαρίου πωλεῖται), were more valuable than humans. Not one of these sparrows would fall to the ground without the heavenly Father (καὶ ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν οὐ πεσεῖται ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν ἄνευ τοῦ Πατρὸς ὑμῶν). Thus, if God was worried about these somewhat valueless sparrows, how much more would he be concerned about humans. Do you worry about sparrows?
“He gave to one slave
He gave to another slave
He gave to another slave
He gave to each slave
According to his ability.
Then he went away
καὶ ᾧ μὲν ἔδωκεν πέντε τάλαντα, ᾧ δὲ δύο, ᾧ δὲ ἕν, ἑκάστῳ κατὰ τὴν ἰδίαν δύναμιν, καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν. Εὐθέως
This parable is unique to Matthew, but there is something similar in Luke, chapter 19:13, where this nobleman gave 10 minas to 10 slaves. A mina was a gold coin worth about 100 drachmas or about $65,000 US. Here they are dealing with talents, which was even more valuable. There were 3,600 shekels in a talent. There were 60 minas to a talent. So that one talent was worth nearly $4,000,000 US. Thus, these talents were a lot of money. The first slave would have gotten around $20,000,000 US and the 2nd one about $8,000,000, enormous sums of money. This rich man gave to one of his slaves 5 talents (καὶ ᾧ μὲν ἔδωκεν πέντε τάλαντα) or about 20 million dollars. He gave 2 talents (ᾧ δὲ δύο) or about 8 million dollars to the 2nd slave and 1 talent (ᾧ δὲ ἕν) about 4 million dollars to the 3rd slave. They received this according to their ability (ἑκάστῳ κατὰ τὴν ἰδίαν δύναμιν). Then he went away immediately (καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν. Εὐθέως). He was a very trusting person.
“Jesus said to them.
‘Suppose one of you
Has only one sheep.
If it falls into a pit
On the Sabbath,
Will you not lay hold of it?
Will you not lift it out?
How much more valuable
Is a human being
Than a sheep!
It is lawful to do good
On the Sabbath.’”
ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Τίς ἔσται ἐξ ὑμῶν ἄνθρωπος ὃς ἕξει πρόβατον ἕν, καὶ ἐὰν ἐμπέσῃ τοῦτο τοῖς σάββασιν εἰς βόθυνον, C
πόσῳ οὖν διαφέρει ἄνθρωπος προβάτου. ὥστε ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν καλῶς ποιεῖν.
Matthew has Jesus respond to the Pharisees with his own example about sheep and humans. This is somewhat similar to Mark, chapter 3:3-4, and Luke, chapter 6:8-9, but Matthew was the only one who compared sheep to humans. Jesus posed a question to the Pharisees (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς). Suppose a man had only one sheep (Τίς ἔσται ἐξ ὑμῶν ἄνθρωπος ὃς ἕξει πρόβατον ἕν). Suppose this one sheep fell into a pit or a ditch on the Sabbath (καὶ ἐὰν ἐμπέσῃ τοῦτο τοῖς σάββασιν εἰς βόθυνον). Would this man not grab it and lift it out of the pit (καὶ ἐὰν ἐμπέσῃ τοῦτο τοῖς σάββασιν εἰς βόθυνον)? Just think, how much more valuable are human being when compared to a sheep (πόσῳ οὖν διαφέρει ἄνθρωπος προβάτου)! Thus, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath (ὥστε ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν καλῶς ποιεῖν). If you help sheep on the Sabbath, surely you can help humans on the Sabbath.
“Like snow in summer,
Like rain in harvest,
So honor is not fitting for a fool.
Like a sparrow in it’s flitting,
Like a swallow in its flying,
An undeserved curse goes nowhere.
Thus we have
A whip for the horse,
A bridle for the donkey,
A rod for the back of fools.”
Honor should not be given to fools because it is out of place, like snow in summer or rain at harvest time. Just like a sparrow or a swallow flitting and flying, an undeserved curse is useless. What works is a whip for a horse, a bridle for a donkey, and a whip for the back of fools. Fools are just slightly more valuable and tolerable than horses and donkeys.
“But where shall wisdom be found?
Where is the place of understanding?
Mortals do not know the way to it.
It is not found in the land of the living.
The deep says.
‘It is not in me.’
The sea says.
‘It is not with me.’
It cannot be gotten for gold.
Silver cannot be weighed out as its price.
It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir.
It cannot be valued in precious onyx or sapphire.
Gold and glass cannot equal it.
It cannot be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.
No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal.
The price of wisdom is above pearls.
The chrysolite topaz of Ethiopia cannot compare with it.
It cannot be valued in pure gold.”
The important question remains, “Where can this wisdom be found?” In a beautiful colorful response this biblical author says where it is not to be found. No mortal humans have this wisdom since it cannot be found among the land of the living. It cannot be found in the oceans or seas. You cannot buy it either. No matter how much gold or silver you have, wisdom is more valuable. You cannot measure it with precious stones, glass, or gold. Coral, crystals, topaz, and pure gold are all less valuable than wisdom. Ophir is the place to find gold, while Ethiopia was the place of topaz. Wisdom is beyond any human knowledge or any precious item here on earth.