Climbing the Mount of Olives III.B: The Parables of Matthew 24:45–25:30

A Menorah Surrounded with Burning Angels in the Style of Paul Klee. Midjourney. 9/1/2022. Selected from among 8 images for its angelic central ‘candle’ and the six original temple candles from the Second Temple period. Midjourney has a hard time with numbers, and this was the only image that got the numbers right. There are also two candles in waiting to the sides, anticipating the development of tradition: a movement from 7 to 9, from the days of the week to what happens to be the Seraphic number in Pseudo-Dionysius. I also appreciated that the central angel also evokes the horns of the altar, and a fish diving.

For the previous article in this series, see here. The central trunk of this project is here.

B: Parables of Covenant Faithfulness

(d) 24:45–51: Question or parable encouraging faithful governance at the household scale, because the ruler/servant doesn’t know when the (true) master will return

45 Τίς ἄρα ἐστὶν ὁ πιστὸς δοῦλος καὶ φρόνιμος ὃν κατέστησεν ὁ κύριος ἐπὶ τῆς οἰκετείας αὐτοῦ τοῦ δοῦναι αὐτοῖς τὴν τροφὴν ἐν καιρῷ; 46 μακάριος ὁ δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος ὃν ἐλθὼν ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ εὑρήσει οὕτως ποιοῦντα· 47 ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ἐπὶ πᾶσιν τοῖς ὑπάρχουσιν αὐτοῦ καταστήσει αὐτόν. 48 ἐὰν δὲ εἴπῃ ὁ κακὸς δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ· Χρονίζει μου ὁ κύριος, 49 καὶ ἄρξηται τύπτειν τοὺς συνδούλους αὐτοῦ, ἐσθίῃ δὲ καὶ πίνῃ μετὰ τῶν μεθυόντων, 50 ἥξει ὁ κύριος τοῦ δούλου ἐκείνου ἐν ἡμέρᾳ ᾗ οὐ προσδοκᾷ καὶ ἐν ὥρᾳ ᾗ οὐ γινώσκει, 51 καὶ διχοτομήσει αὐτὸν καὶ τὸ μέρος αὐτοῦ μετὰ τῶν ὑποκριτῶν θήσει· ἐκεῖ ἔσται ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων.

~~~

45 “Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. 48 But if that wicked slave says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ 49 and he begins to beat his fellow slaves, and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50 the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know. 51 He will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The Church of All Nations on the Mount of Olives. Midjourney. 9/1/2022.

This parable’s general point is really very straightforward: if you are the economic leader of a group (a household such as a church or nation) do not use violence to exploit your fellow slaves, and instead do your duty to feed those under you. Do not expect that you can get away with wrongdoing forever, especially violent abuse and the excessive consumption that it enables. This also calls back to the egalitarian disciplines of Matthew 23: imitators of Jesus boldly address figures of authority as fellow slaves relative to God, all while refusing titles of authority themselves.[1]

The language here deliberately evokes Herod’s feast in Matthew 14, where he fatefully shed the blood of the prophet John the Baptist. That violent and excessive feast sits between Matthew 13’s repetition of the crucial phrase “weeping and gnashing of teeth” and the feeding of the 5000 lost sheep of Israel. In these ways, the text draws a lot of links between Matthew 24 and Matthew 13–14, effectively recruiting narratives from the center of Matthew to deepen and elucidate its closing narrative.

Matthew’s main modification to the underlying textual tradition here involves the introduction of the stichworter “weeping and gnashing of teeth” in order to strengthen this text’s connection with Matthew 13. [2] The weeping, in the context of Matthew’s Gospel, should be taken as a penitent and mournful weeping: the word’s first use in Matthew refers to Rachel weeping for her lost children. (Matthew 2:18). It is the sort of weeping happens at or before communion, when the cost of our faithlessness at all social scales is really understood. Jesus also weeps all around the Mount of Olives, both in Matthew 23 and in Matthew 26. Recall that Matthew 24:30 just emphasized that mourning is the response that attends the Son of Man coming in power and glory. [3]

In contrast, the gnashing of teeth is the opposite of penance: in context, the image regularly evokes a beastlike rage. [4] We should imagine people behaving like beastly empires, greedily gnashing their teeth like hungry lions. Wherever this image is evoked it is common for the narrative to turn against the violent beasts. Presumably, they then gnash their teeth in pain, a pun that is furious in multiple senses.[5] The two core patterns of behavior condemned in this section, violence and excessive consumption, are therefore summed up in the common image of gnashing teeth. Also consider the famous story of Daniel in the lion’s den from Daniel 6, immediately prior to our crucial Son of Man passage in Daniel 7. That story evokes the way Daniel peacefully tamed the Babylonian imperial beast. The lions were supposed to gnash their teeth at him. Instead they laid down, lamblike, beside Judah’s lionized representative.

With respect to these beastlike systems of anti-reconciliation, Daniel 7 joins Torah in offering the hope that these beasts are not immortal, any more than the Babylonian godmen and their empires. The other beasts’ days are surely limited, even if that limit is indefinite and therefore potentially longer than a human life. [6] This underlying logic also rests behind the generalization of Matthew’s eschatological thought from Judah to other nations: we know that an end to unjust regimes always comes, whether through repentance and weeping like in Nineveh, or through the violence that they ultimately bring down on themselves when other violent nations attack them back. We should always be ready for the day when that happens. As the rest of Matthew 24 reminds us, this churning cycle of violence is not the end or the goal, but is just something terrible that happens along the way. Instead, the goal is what lies on the other side of the repentant weeping that cuts apart the world of illusions and lies, revealing the true beings (person, national, tribal or international) underneath. [7] When the Son of Man comes in his power and glory there is mourning, because we truly understand the suffering of the world instead of turning our heads away, and because there is repentance. In the meantime, more proximate ends still come, sometimes violently. Those are accompanied by the futile, self-destructive and bestial defiance of the tooth gnashers, but that is not the end, as the persistent spirit of the Psalms that deal with these teeth-gnashers reveals.

In rhetorically equalizing the powerful and their servants as fellow slaves, this parable also follows a persistent pattern that underlies Christian opposition to slavery throughout history: because all humans are equal before God and we are forbidden to use violence, the deep logic of slavery is abolished. This, in turn, provides the rationale for a policy of abolition. Violence and inequality are intimately linked: the privilege of being able to inflict violence with legal impunity was and is a defining feature of class status. This is why Christian non-violence ultimately led into white abolitionism among Quakers and then others in North America, for example. The egalitarian thrust of Christian faith will also eventually work its way into Trinitarian theology, providing a theological basis for the abolition of slavery in the sermons of Gregory of Nyssa. [8] Notice that the parable already anticipates reform at social scale in its original setting. It is a critique of the leader of a household, and language this language refers equally well to spiritual leadership of the Temple-house and Kingly leadership of a royal house. The connection enables important wordplay in 2 Samuel 7, where David aims to build God a house (Temple), but God responds by giving David an olamic royal house instead. [9] Throughout this parable’s history, it has been applied at group scale, especially taking this text as advice to group leaders in the church or in secular social bodies.[10] In this way, the text’s reception history illustrates the underlying logic that animated the original Jesus movement, even if it wasn’t always understood in this historically holistic way: competent readers properly generalized from the judgment on Herod and the priesthood to their own contexts, both ecclesial and secular. This sets the stage for Christian abolitionist work as a matter of public policy and church governance.

In this parable, the day of judgment is associated with cutting into pieces, which can horrifically describe both personal and national scale death. Note that if the image is taken literally, the parable quickly becomes incoherent: if someone were to be sliced in half, they wouldn’t be weeping or gnashing their teeth. They would be much too dead for that. Especially given this incoherence at the fleshy level, it makes sense that the tradition includes voices that negate the violent application from early on. For example, Jerome saw excommunication as the most extreme interpretation of this “cutting” available.[11] Excommunication does involve a kind of social death and separation that makes relatively apt use of the image, applying it in a spiritual sense that is at least more compatible with the foundational Christian teaching on enemy love. In this sense, the proposal is a substantial improvement over a fleshy reading.

Still, it is even better to soulfully root the parable in its immediate social and historical context. For a king to be divided implies the division of his kingdom as well. Daniel 5:28 illuminates the language here. The verse also nicely illustrates the punning style that also deeply marks Matthew:

Peres means that your kingdom has been divided and given to the Persians.

The meaning of “peres” is a play on “division” and “Persians.[11.5] Daniel’s ability to interpret signs is fundamentally linked to his appreciation of puns.

We can do Jerome a bit better as well, if we appreciate the parable from its social location, one of marginalization that contrasted with Jerome’s relative power. Because the parable places the judgment in God’s hands rather than the king-slave’s hands, it describes historical processes external to the community of faith rather than prescribing behavior for Christians. In the prophetic tradition of Israel, Matthew’s Jesus is primarily predicting the fall of the House of Herod and his temple. The message is that the Romans will divide the spoils of the house that Herod was charged with overseeing, because Herod has been beating the food out of the Galileans for too long and living off the fat of their exploitation. Of special note is the fact that the 7-candled Menorah that illuminated the heart of the Temple was carried off to Rome and used in their triumphs. What Matthew’s Jesus has to say about all of this, as Daniel said about the abuse of the first Temple’s treasures during the Babylonian captivity, is that none of this will be allowed to go on forever. In the case of the Edomite domination of Judah, it wouldn’t even persist for another lifetime/generation. As with the other parables here, their application to other group contexts is then warranted and required by the parable of the sheep and the goats, which turns the fall of Jesus and Judah into prototypes for personal and national life. More on that soon enough.

In our own terms, we can expand from this original context and say that this cutting in two describes the physical and cultural processes of dissociation and dissolution that violence and greed ultimately foster. We might also appeal to the language of hypocrites, understood as pretenders and actors, to illustrate the kind of psychological division involved. In Matthew 23, recall that hypocrites were criticized for greedily devouring the houses of widows. Fittingly enough, the masks of these performers, designed to amplify the voice, could also be read as a great hungry maw. [11.75] The resulting network of meaning deeply draws together Greco-Roman economic and cultural domination, false pretense, the psychological division of the self, dissociation, violence, greed and social dissolution. Where violence and accumulation occur, it does sow social divisions. The result is a loss of the cohesion of a social body, potentially leading to its division into smaller tribal groups or sects, which are assimilated (often violently) by more coherent and coordinated groups. We might also be led, then, to ponder the division of the spoils of Jesus that will soon occur in Matthew 27: Jesus, too suffers his nation’s division. But unlike the violent and greedily hungry Edomite Herod, he and his Davidic people, faithful to the new covenant, will rise again even as they are thrown out among the nations. And so we keeping hearing Psalm 118 play: the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

Ethiopian Seraphs Dancing Around a Bright Light and a Flowing Stream, Icon in the Style of Ivanka Demchuk. Midjourney. 8/24/22. Ivanka Demchuk is a living Ukranian icon artist. You can support her work here. In light of the devastating and brutal conflict in Ethiopia, you may want to consider supporting and getting engaged with peacebuilding work with Conciliation Resources or another organization.

(e) 25:1–13: Parable of the ten bridesmaids, five foolish and five wise. It encourages preparation for a long wait, centering an image of illumination that resonates deeply with Matthew and Torah’s fivefold structure.

25.1 Τότε ὁμοιωθήσεται ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν δέκα παρθένοις, αἵτινες λαβοῦσαι τὰς λαμπάδας ἑαυτῶν ἐξῆλθον εἰς ὑπάντησιν τοῦ νυμφίου. 2 πέντε δὲ ἐξ αὐτῶν ἦσαν μωραὶ καὶ πέντε φρόνιμοι. 3 αἱ γὰρ μωραὶ λαβοῦσαι τὰς λαμπάδας αὐτῶν οὐκ ἔλαβον μεθʼ ἑαυτῶν ἔλαιον· 4 αἱ δὲ φρόνιμοι ἔλαβον ἔλαιον ἐν τοῖς ἀγγείοις μετὰ τῶν λαμπάδων ἑαυτῶν. 5 χρονίζοντος δὲ τοῦ νυμφίου ἐνύσταξαν πᾶσαι καὶ ἐκάθευδον. 6 μέσης δὲ νυκτὸς κραυγὴ γέγονεν· Ἰδοὺ ὁ νυμφίος, ἐξέρχεσθε εἰς ἀπάντησιν αὐτοῦ. 7 τότε ἠγέρθησαν πᾶσαι αἱ παρθένοι ἐκεῖναι καὶ ἐκόσμησαν τὰς λαμπάδας ἑαυτῶν. 8 αἱ δὲ μωραὶ ταῖς φρονίμοις εἶπαν· Δότε ἡμῖν ἐκ τοῦ ἐλαίου ὑμῶν, ὅτι αἱ λαμπάδες ἡμῶν σβέννυνται. 9 ἀπεκρίθησαν δὲ αἱ φρόνιμοι λέγουσαι· Μήποτε οὐ μὴ ἀρκέσῃ ἡμῖν καὶ ὑμῖν· πορεύεσθε μᾶλλον πρὸς τοὺς πωλοῦντας καὶ ἀγοράσατε ἑαυταῖς. 10 ἀπερχομένων δὲ αὐτῶν ἀγοράσαι ἦλθεν ὁ νυμφίος, καὶ αἱ ἕτοιμοι εἰσῆλθον μετʼ αὐτοῦ εἰς τοὺς γάμους, καὶ ἐκλείσθη ἡ θύρα. 11 ὕστερον δὲ ἔρχονται καὶ αἱ λοιπαὶ παρθένοι λέγουσαι· Κύριε κύριε, ἄνοιξον ἡμῖν· 12 ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν· Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, οὐκ οἶδα ὑμᾶς. 13 γρηγορεῖτε οὖν, ὅτι οὐκ οἴδατε τὴν ἡμέραν οὐδὲ τὴν ὥραν.

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25 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. 11 Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ 13 Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

The Church of All Nations on the Mount of Olives. Midjourney. 9/1/2022.

On the face of it, the message of the parable is even simpler and more straightforward than the previous one. Be prepared because, once again, you cannot know the hour or the day. How many ways can Jesus tell us that it is fruitless to waste time and energy predicting the exact moment when a Day of the Lord will come? If we want to expand on the point in a particularly illuminated way, we might recall that God’s time is not bound by the calendar or the stars. God’s Aidios ‘time’ is beyond all time, and God’s Aion holds the light and lives of the stars, and by extension it is what sets the calendar. The calendar does not set it. Therefore, the Day of the Lord is not a singular temporal event and it is not bound by calendrical rules, unlike the days of the Egyptian gods. [12] Rather, the Day of the Lord holds all of the various days of the Lord as it structures all of history at all of its various scales.

Nonetheless, for the original audience, being ready and knowing that the Day would come within their prototypical generation was very fruitful. In fact, those who act in the knowledge that the Day will come, in each generation and nation, are the ones who he knows and will know when the time comes. (See verse 12 above). To disambiguate that last sentence: the point it is not that they will know the exact time when he will come, but rather that he will know them when the end of their aion (at whatever scale, baptismal or fleshy) inevitably comes.

As with so much here, the warning about people falsely calling him “Lord, Lord” calls back to the Covenant on the Mount. There, Jesus Mosaically concludes the discussion with a blessing of stone, a curse of sand, and an injunction to faithfulness, because only those who hear and heed will be rewarded with the gift of persevering stability in history. [13] There in the Covenant on the Mount, the warning is especially focused on those who falsely claim to have worked wonders in his name, but who were not faithful to his covenant. In this we also see a complete Mosaic theme that is also expressed in Matthew 24, through the emphasis on the non-finality of war: momentary power doesn’t matter, whether it is the power of the sword, or the even greater spiritual dynamism that motivates soldiers to wield swords. What matters is covenant faithfulness. The rest is slipping sand. The primary targets of this parable and these linked warnings are the false prophets who led people to their deaths when Judah fell: they claimed to have the light of Torah in them and the anointing of God, but they were the foolish virgins in the story, unprepared and unaware of what time it really was. They had some light for a time, but not enough for what was coming.

This, in turn, helps us elucidate the image of five illuminated lamps and five darkened lamps. Matthew’s gospel emerges in a context where different camps were claiming to be the true heirs to the wisdom of the five books of Torah, which means “Teaching” rather than “Law” in Hebrew. Torah’s fivefold structure inspires the bones of Matthew, organized around five bodies of teaching. The consistent claim of Matthew’s Jesus is that he and his students are those rightful heirs to the tradition: he, too, threw his hat in that ring. In context we might pose the underlying question like this: who really had the light of Torah in them, those who thought the Temple would not fall, or those who predicted that it would, in spite of the fact that they were accused of being traitors for speaking prophetically? Those who were prepared for catastrophe, preserving enough of the Davidically royal, prophetic and illuminating oil of truth, knew that YHWH wasn’t dependent on Herod’s house. Rather, Herod’s house was dependent on YHWH. However, he and his priests had not been faithful to the Mosaic covenant. So by the light of Torah and the prophets, anyone could see that God would show that his Temple was not too big to fail, however enormous the rocks Herod stacked. Here in the fifth and final “book” of Matthew’s Gospel [14] Jesus is reinforcing the same message that Moses articulated at the end of Deuteronomy, the final book of Torah: the violent nation has a choice between life and death. It chooses national death. That darkness is an indispensable aspect of the light of Torah: the night in its day.

An interesting question here is whether Matthew’s five bodies of teaching are meant to replace the five books of Torah, or if they are honoring Torah by imitation. Rhetorically in its original context, the comparison between the five virgins must hold the question of who has the properly illuminated reading of Torah. To read a true displacement of Torah into the rhetoric of Matthew’s Jesus is anachronistic. Rather, there is a process of differentiation that is occurring, and Matthew’s Gospel is right in the middle of it, propounding the new covenant that the prophets foretold. However, Matthew is eager to emphasize that this is in the interest of the preservation of both new and old. See Matthew 9:14–17, and note that Matthew’s variant of this story emphasizes mutual preservation through differentiation. If only the church had adopted a similar posture of healthy and differentiated connection throughout its history, there would have been no Shoah. Consider the wineskins:

14 Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” 15 And Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak, for the patch pulls away from the cloak, and a worse tear is made. 17 Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; otherwise, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”

Both wedding banquets evoke the Passover meal and, by extension, communion as the locus of encounter with the divine presence. Another good question might then arise: can the bridesmaids in this story have a proper liturgical meal, a proper wedding feast with God, with only five female attendees? (Here I am making a point that will pertain to the parable, not necessarily suggesting that the parable was written to evoke this particular question.) We see one answer in the Babylonian Talmud: no, there would need to be ten men. There we find beautiful arguments rooted in the principle of gezereh sheva, a principle of intertextual reading that also deeply informs Matthew and our own reading of it. [15] The Babylonian Talmud reaches the conclusion that a minimum of ten men are required for various forms of worship and for certain governance functions, especially the consecration of land. [16] In the tradition of rabbinic discourse, in 18:14–20 Matthew’s Jesus offers his own entry into what was apparently already a discussion during the Second Temple period. Notice that the central judicial function of liturgy, binding heaven and earth as a Temple does, is centered in the answer that Jesus gives. Here, as in the end of Matthew, he promises his Enduring Nearness rather than a Second Coming:

14 So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost. 15 “If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. 16 But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19 Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

Importantly, to be gathered in Messiah’s name is not the same as being gathered while taking his name in vain. In fact, they’re opposites. The point of the teaching is that where at least two people (regardless of sex or gender) gather with an intention to actually follow his teachings faithfully, Jesus is present and is administering justice as each party works to remove the planks from their own eyes. If two can’t manage this on their own, they may go to a larger group for help. This is how they can be invited into communion, the wedding feast of the Messiah where he is truly present among them and with them. It only takes two, but they must be two who are, in fact, faithfully pursuing their own plank removal, because they are actually acting under his covenantal authority or in his name. Where that is absent, regardless of the scale, the social body is cut up: those who don’t practice reconciliation are to be treated like tax collectors. That is to say we should recognize that they are participating in Empire, but we should still invite them to recline at the table with us (Matthew 9:10). Even if some of them will betray us, it is to their own destruction, and it is fundamentally God’s job to sort that out, not ours.

A Six-Winged Seraph Reflected in Water in the Style of Paul Klee. Midjourney. 8/22/22.

(d’ ) 25:14–30: Parable or answer to (d) encouraging faithful governance at the household scale, because the ruler/servant doesn’t know when the (true) master will return

14 Ὥσπερ γὰρ ἄνθρωπος ἀποδημῶν ἐκάλεσεν τοὺς ἰδίους δούλους καὶ παρέδωκεν αὐτοῖς τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ, 15 καὶ ᾧ μὲν ἔδωκεν πέντε τάλαντα ᾧ δὲ δύο ᾧ δὲ ἕν, ἑκάστῳ κατὰ τὴν ἰδίαν δύναμιν, καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν. εὐθέως 16 πορευθεὶς ὁ τὰ πέντε τάλαντα λαβὼν ἠργάσατο ἐν αὐτοῖς καὶ ἐκέρδησεν ἄλλα πέντε· 17 ὡσαύτως ὁ τὰ δύο ἐκέρδησεν ἄλλα δύο· 18 ὁ δὲ τὸ ἓν λαβὼν ἀπελθὼν ὤρυξεν γῆν καὶ ἔκρυψεν τὸ ἀργύριον τοῦ κυρίου αὐτοῦ. 19 μετὰ δὲ πολὺν χρόνον ἔρχεται ὁ κύριος τῶν δούλων ἐκείνων καὶ συναίρει λόγον μετʼ αὐτῶν 20 καὶ προσελθὼν ὁ τὰ πέντε τάλαντα λαβὼν προσήνεγκεν ἄλλα πέντε τάλαντα λέγων· Κύριε, πέντε τάλαντά μοι παρέδωκας· ἴδε ἄλλα πέντε τάλαντα ἐκέρδησα. 21 ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ· Εὖ, δοῦλε ἀγαθὲ καὶ πιστέ, ἐπὶ ὀλίγα ἦς πιστός, ἐπὶ πολλῶν σε καταστήσω· εἴσελθε εἰς τὴν χαρὰν τοῦ κυρίου σου. 22 προσελθὼν δὲ καὶ ὁ τὰ δύο τάλαντα εἶπεν· Κύριε, δύο τάλαντά μοι παρέδωκας· ἴδε ἄλλα δύο τάλαντα ἐκέρδησα. 23 ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ· Εὖ, δοῦλε ἀγαθὲ καὶ πιστέ, ἐπὶ ὀλίγα ἦς πιστός, ἐπὶ πολλῶν σε καταστήσω· εἴσελθε εἰς τὴν χαρὰν τοῦ κυρίου σου. 24 προσελθὼν δὲ καὶ ὁ τὸ ἓν τάλαντον εἰληφὼς εἶπεν· Κύριε, ἔγνων σε ὅτι σκληρὸς εἶ ἄνθρωπος, θερίζων ὅπου οὐκ ἔσπειρας καὶ συνάγων ὅθεν οὐ διεσκόρπισας· 25 καὶ φοβηθεὶς ἀπελθὼν ἔκρυψα τὸ τάλαντόν σου ἐν τῇ γῇ· ἴδε ἔχεις τὸ σόν. 26 ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· Πονηρὲ δοῦλε καὶ ὀκνηρέ, ᾔδεις ὅτι θερίζω ὅπου οὐκ ἔσπειρα καὶ συνάγω ὅθεν οὐ διεσκόρπισα; 27 ἔδει σε οὖν βαλεῖν τὰ ἀργύριά μου τοῖς τραπεζίταις, καὶ ἐλθὼν ἐγὼ ἐκομισάμην ἂν τὸ ἐμὸν σὺν τόκῳ. 28 ἄρατε οὖν ἀπʼ αὐτοῦ τὸ τάλαντον καὶ δότε τῷ ἔχοντι τὰ δέκα τάλαντα· 29 τῷ γὰρ ἔχοντι παντὶ δοθήσεται καὶ περισσευθήσεται· τοῦ δὲ μὴ ἔχοντος καὶ ὃ ἔχει ἀρθήσεται ἀπʼ αὐτοῦ. 30 καὶ τὸν ἀχρεῖον δοῦλον ἐκβάλετε εἰς τὸ σκότος τὸ ἐξώτερον· ἐκεῖ ἔσται ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων.

~~~

“For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15 to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. 17 In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18 But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20 Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29 For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 30 As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

The Church of All Nations on the Mount of Olives. Midjourney. 9/1/2022.

This third parable continues with the same basic exhortation as the previous two: in the first instance, it emphasizes patient and faithful perseverance within its generation as a replacement behavior for misguided efforts at predicting the exact Day of the Lord. Just as Matthew 13 talked about “the end” by focusing on agricultural and economic metaphors of exponential growth, here section (d’) echoes section (d) by exploring the same themes. Like (d), this parable also focuses on ‘slaves’ who are in fact in charge of households, and throughout the history of interpretation this parable has also been generally applied to people in positions of governing authority, especially within the church. Even when extended to individuals, it is done in a way that highlights whatever sphere in which they govern or act as priests. [16.5] Section (d) looked at the violence and greed of the tooth gnashers. To this end, the parable engages in some particularly nice wordplay with the word βάλλω/ balló, which means both “invest” and “plant”. The root meaning is “throw”, and so the language fittingly emphasizes the prudent risk that is involved in both endeavors. [17]

So why does the foolish servant throw his money in a hole? If you want to grow more seeds, you throw them in the ground instead of gnashing your teeth as you gobble them all up. But if you want to grow more money, you circulate it instead of throwing it in the ground. This is meant to be hilarious, before it turns dark. The formal structure of the pun encapsulates the text’s emphasis on discerning the spiritual form behind appearance: things that appear the same on the surface can be spiritual opposites, and things that appear to be opposites on the surface can be spiritually the same. Even a fool like me with my stupid puns can see this. After all, throwing seeds in the ground is a sign of trust and hope in the future, but throwing money in the ground is the opposite.

Of course, parables (d) and (d’) aren’t fundamentally about investing either money or seeds, but are instead about how we invest our words, our thoughts and the lives that are guided by them. These, in turn, structure what we do with our bread. The point is that lives of covenant faithfulness, inseparably paired with the proclamation of the good news of the lawgiver who proclaimed that covenant, will lead to the exponential growth of the Son of Man’s reign. The underlying logic of investment presumes an intergenerational process of growth that holds the whole lifecycle, the beginning and middle and end of many aions (lifetimes), within the broader Aion (Lifetime) that manifests in its many copies. [18]

Matthew’s Jesus is both conservative and transformative: he is always engaging with what is, but reworks it by placing it in a broader context. His engagement with the Canaanite woman is a paradigmatic example of how Matthew contextualizes for reversal, [18.25] often effecting the maternal Aufhebung of the part by lifting it up in a greater, more securely attaching whole. [18.5] In this way, we can see that Matthew 24 engages with widespread speculation about the end, a tradition in Daniel and related literature, but clearly opposes efforts to calculate it. Instead he urges covenant faithfulness that produces exponential growth, even as each living thing ends in due course. The more general spiritual reality that generates each life, whether biological or political, still persists intergenerationally. Jesus doesn’t say this from a place of superior detachment: his own end will come and go over the next few chapters of Matthew, and from the falling seed of his body there will grow the largest spiritual movement in human history. His own Aion has served as the pattern for many, many other aions. That is the essence of generation, and it is what Matthew 13 and these parables center as well.

There is still more play to appreciate in the lovely language here. The Temple functioned as a bank, [19] which connects this investment language to Herod’s temple in another way. Since Herod is the worthless slave in charge of the household, his temple was a poor investment, a fruitless and foolish burial of seeds that were turned to money through brutally crushing taxes. [20] No, you don’t establish a government by building a giant temple-bank, paid from the stomachs of starving farmers. You grow faith by planting true and beautiful and good words in the human heart, and this is what enduring governance is made from. With this parable, Jesus mocks the temple-bank, and assures his disciples that it will fall. He also urges them to focus their attention on doing what Herod did not, which is investing wisely, rather than trying to fight them personally. They’ll fall in time. We all do. The question is whether you get back up like planted grain, or stay down like coins buried in the dirt.

There is also a play on the central question of the disciples and many commentators since: when will Jesus return? The word used for “return” here is the same basic word for “coming” that is found in the Septuagint’s version of Daniel 7. In addition to its theurgic references to the coming of a God, overlapping with parousia, it is also used economically in papyruses, much like the word “returns” in English. [21] In this sense, the play that we see in English with “on my return” also works in Greek: the language is playing with the “coming of the Son of Man” in Daniel 7 and is re-envisioning it as the “returns of the Son of Man”. Do you want to know about the day of his return? He gets his returns when the Gospel seeds that were planted in our hearts burst out in faithfulness to his Covenant, and we, in turn, expand his loving reign. That is the real bank of the real Temple that will endure. The intergenerational action of life finds its rest in action.

Like the rest of the New Testament, Matthew’s numbers are chosen carefully and convey additional meaning. Interpretations of the numbers should be offered, because they are presumably meant to be interpreted, even if this is somewhat speculative. In this case, the general implication of the numbers is clear enough: it doesn’t matter if you were given a lot or a little in this aion, your reward in the coming aion will be great. Whether 5 or 2, you did well with a few things and you will receive both joy and increased responsibility. The word “joy” here is also the Aramaic word for a love feast, and so once again communion and Passover are in view as the reward. [22] We can easily connect the 5 to the number 5 in the previous discussion of Torah and Matthew’s own structure. This parable then asks: was the Word of Wisdom been invested well? [22.5] We might also consider more speculatively that there are a total of 7 talents invested well, doubling to a total of 14. How do you calculate the time of Passover again? Ah, you take the 7 days of the week, which is also the length of a typical bridal feast, and double it to 14. This is the number of Passover and the number of David as well, two points which both fit nicely together in the context of Matthew’s genealogy. Intended or not, the author of Matthew would surely appreciate this callback to the Davidic genealogy on the eve of the Messiah’s Passover. [23]

Can we identify a significance to the 2, beyond the fact that it is a smaller number that receives an equal ultimate reward? Not as securely. Still, recall that two sparrows are sold for a penny, but not a single disciple falls outside the Father’s care. (10:29) In the fury of the moment, we can see the master’s hand, like every sparrow fallen and like every grain of sand. Similarly, and relatedly, Matthew’s author would certainly be pleased if we noted that where two or three are gathered in faithful obedience to his commands, he is abidingly present with them as discussed just above in (e). They, too are ready to be multiplied, seedlike, through public circulation or even through burial. These various observations just reinforce the basic themes that are present in the text, if we think Matthew 25 is a part of Matthew after all.

With this reading, we have found a lot of significance in all of the various parts of the parable even as they reinforce its central point. This is what a consilient and soulful hermeneutic looks for, and it is the appropriate approach to a parable in a text like Matthew, which is known to be densely literary, intellectual, and intertextual. There is an unfortunate tendency that remains in our commentary tradition, rooted in an older insistence that a parable only had a single point, and that every other detail was extraneous and should not be explored in more depth. This caution is rooted in a warranted concern that certain styles of allegorical reading can easily carry the reader far from the original intention, context or soul of the text. You can like that, or not, but if our goal is to historically reconstruct meaning then this kind of loose allegory doesn’t serve that particular goal. What distinguishes our approach from this freer form of allegory is the insistence on still reading the textual narrative as a whole, and the insistence on elucidating symbols in their original social and historical context. Ironically, both excessively ‘spiritual’ allegory and excessively ‘fleshy’ narrowness in our reading share the same problem: they lack soul. Still, we need to appreciate that the work of historical reconstruction was made vastly more difficult by the Roman genocide against ancient Judah: the original interpretive community was substantially wiped out, and freer allegory graciously filled the breach for a time.

These notes lead us into our analysis of our final point about the parable: its apparent brutality, which rightly raises concerns today as it did at the Origen of Biblical Studies. The concern is always foundational for faithful followers of Jesus because of the Covenant on the Mount.

A number of contemporary academic interpreters have tried to mobilize the old suspicion of closely reading parables in an effort to stave off the harsh light in which the master, analogized to God, is depicted. The basic idea is that this is not the main point of the parable and so we are hermeneutically obligated to set it aside as incidental. [24], [24.5] The better approach is more like Matthew: conservative, in the sense that nothing is set aside, but also transformative, in the sense that it will be lifted up and made ultimately secure through the broader narrative context.

What needs to be said about the harshness, here, is that Matthew’s God really is furious about injustice. Where people are starved and robbed by corrupt authorities, secular or spiritual, the only appropriate response is a brightly burning rage at the evil that is being done. This anger burns even more brightly when the evil is done while taking the Lord’s name in vain. So for example, when we think of the physical and spiritual rape centers that the Catholic Church (and others) called ‘Indian Schools’, only an enormous and mobilizing fury is sufficient to express the depths of the problem. Consider that shortly after the visit of Pope Francis to Canada, the government released the church from its financial obligations to the survivors. Here we have a token of bad faith. The sort of release that Jesus proclaims must be a generous release of funds that far exceeds whatever the government required. Otherwise, they are just digging their own grave with the money they’ve saved (but not invested in the work of faith). With regret and dread, we watch the institution that systematically enabled so much child abuse, as it crawls back into that outer darkness where abusers greedily and violently gnash their teeth. Meanwhile, while pleading poverty, the Church raises vast sums of money to build more temples.[25] This is not the way of Jesus or the way of God: the God of Matthew’s Jesus will judge this Herodian pattern rightly, which means harshly, in the fullness of time. Truly, this is a church that is walking in the deepest darkness, the most profound ignorance of God.

That is how the imagery of darkness is meant to work here, and notice how it carries forward the ideas of illumination from the previous section. Darkness commonly represents both spiritual blindness and sin, a common association throughout the New Testament. [25.25] The logic is profound: those who are spiritually blind are not able to understand the invisible general structure of things, which is why they are hypocritical. It is also why they fall into the same ditch again and again. They may well pretend to appeal to general standards of justice, but they only apply them selectively and unjustly in the service of their own particular interests and desires. So they behave in unfair ways, and we again become a Church looking for the splints in the eyes of others instead of the planks in their own eyes. (Matthew 7:3) Our spiritual vision is therefore occluded as we build systems of domination and control based on hypocrisy and slander, and it is because of this very blindness that we will wander into a ditch. (Matthew 15:4)

The advice Jesus gives regarding those in this darkness is that you should leave them alone if they won’t look at the plank in their own eye: his followers don’t have to destroy them, because they will destroy themselves in time, presumably at the hands of some other competing blind group.

So who really has the light of the Messiah? Certainly not an institution that behaves like my Wholly Roman Church. Now does this mean that I think God will torture the Catholic Church forever in the coming life? No, it does not. Instead, it means that the institution stands under judgment: it is meant to be a light to the world, but our light in Ottawa right now is darkness. That means the situation is doubly dark, because the Slanderer is successfully masquerading as an angel of light. The harshest critiques in the community of the baptized must be for our own: we are covenantally bound to remove the planks from our own eyes, including the eyes of our own churches and our own people, as a matter of first importance. In this way, the language of darkness and mourning is ultimately deeply solidaristic. I say all of this as a Catholic who recently traveled back to some of the ‘Indian Country’ near my birthplace, on my way to the Mount of Olives. [25.5] And I write it as a Catholic who grew up in the churches of the Order of the Sacred Heart in Yankton, South Dakota, under the wicked ‘covering’ of a pedophile priest. The Order of the Sacred Heart administered a lot of the ‘Indian Schools’ where a great deal of sexual abuse took place. While I wasn’t subjected to it myself, I still remember a feeling of danger and of rot that pervaded the place. On some level, we could smell the innocent blood in the church. From this location beneath an oppressive religious system, one which mirrors the experience of Jesus, we can understand the strange comfort in the dire warning here: evil doesn’t last forever. It will get everything that is due to it in time, unless it changes. (And don’t hold your breath: it rarely does.) And still Jesus is there, even there, standing in solidarity with all of the survivors, standing forever against the beasts through his cross and resurrection.

Will there be an opportunity for those pedophile priests to truly repent and be saved, either in this life or the next? I do hope so. This is why I emphasize that the mourning of true repentance, which is not to be confused with whatever apparently just happened in the Pope’s visit, remains an option. By the power of Christ, we can extend to them a mercy that so many Christian sexual abusers withhold from their victims, as they use the threat of endless torture to control their targets and their families and their congregations, further enabling their abuse here and now. In rejecting that abuse pattern, the mental rape that often goes with the physical one, the beasts are also being overcome. Crucially, this whole reading comes through a deep engagement with the images of darkness, weeping and gnashing teeth in the text. These are not evasive maneuvers that desperately try to set aside the full brunt of Israel’s prophetic tradition, God’s rage at injustice, and the weight of these dire warnings. Especially by applying this at a group scale, as Matthew’s Jesus is also applying it, we can properly apply the anger to the powers and principalities that trap individual souls, including the souls of the abusers who they bind for destruction, like Isaac was bound for a topheth of the sort in Ben-hinnom. (See Matthew 8:10–12 and related discussions). [25.75], [25.8] The message of Jesus in his context is like this one, in our own: the sort of false ‘repentance’ we are seeing from the Catholic Church today is what leads to church death, and to national death, intergenerationally. We as a church must mark the warning well, turn, repent and then go beyond this. We should go beyond doing what is merely required by law and actually learn how to love our friends, like those who welcomed the Pope with generous hearts, only to be turned into props yet again. Then, someday, we may even be a people who can learn to love our enemies.

It is either this, or our institutions will rightly die so that future generations don’t have to suffer under their greedy, sweaty, vicious, beastly, panting weight. And when it is dead, as with Herod’s regime, the people will say, “Thank God, it is dead at last. They buried all that money in buildings when they should have circulated it in love, and in the end they got what they deserved. It was taken from them and given to someone who had more love and more faith.” Or as Ken Young, a survivor of the residential schools and a former regional chief has put it succinctly in calling the Catholic Church on its disgusting bluff:

“Write a cheque today — never mind bothering your parishioners to raise it.” [26]

The temple was a bank, and of course there is plenty of money sloshing around in the Vatican’s bank accounts as well. The gall of the world’s largest and richest organization pleading poverty on a matter like this simply boggles the mind. It is simply a brazen display of bad faith. Or as a Galilean peasant might have put it to Herod: we’re starving out here. Give back some of what you took out of us and our land. Build into the people, and then the people will build whatever actually needs to be built. Unlike your doomed temple, what is built from the heart up will last.

On the other side of all of the suffering that this faithlessness has wrought, I do hope that genuine repentance will finally come and replace all of the greedy tooth gnashing. What if all will be made alive in Christ, on the other side of those truly bitter tears? That is, at least, better than yet another generation of pedophile priests threatening children with endless torture if they don’t keep their filthy little mouths shut.

But we won’t shut up. The final article in our series is here.

Ethiopian Seraphs Dancing Around a Bright Light and a Flowing Stream, Icon in the Style of Ivanka Demchuk. Midjourney. Ivanka Demchuk is a living Ukranian icon artist. You can support her work here. In light of the devastating and brutal conflict in Ethiopia, you may want to consider supporting and getting engaged with peacebuilding work with Conciliation Resources or another organization.
Looking up inside the church of all nations on the mount of olives. Inside beautiful blue, cerulean dome filled with stars. Style of Paul Klee. Midjourney. 10/12/22

Footnotes

[1] https://danheck.medium.com/climbing-the-mount-of-olives-part-i-matthew-23-ec6fb5358c8e#381f

[2] Ulrich Luz, Matthew 21–28: A Commentary, ed. Helmut Koester, Hermeneia — a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 2005), 221–222.

Matthew found the text in Q 12:42–46 attached to the previous text about the burglar. The Q text is relatively well preserved, in Matthew better than in Luke. Luke is obviously thinking of a socially elevated household with numerous slaves (θεράπεια) and a steward (οἰκονόμος), who must give the daily rations (σιτομέτριον) to the servants (παῖδες) and attendants (παιδίσκαι) who are under him. Therefore, he makes a number of changes that taken together are consistent. To Matthew we can attribute “hypocrites” in v. 51b*, the insertion in v. 51c* of the conclusion from Q 13:28 with the wailing and gnashing of teeth that he especially likes, and perhaps in v. 48* the insertion of “wicked.” For the most part, the rest of the small changes are probably Lukan stylistic improvements.

[3] https://danheck.medium.com/climbing-the-mount-of-olives-iii-a-matthew-24-25-6c019dc43389#3500

[4] https://danheck.medium.com/climbing-the-mount-of-olives-part-ii-the-aion-in-matthew-5e13902e2769#d3a3

[5] Francis Brown, Samuel Rolles Driver, and Charles Augustus Briggs, Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977), 359.

†חָרַק S2786 TWOT755 GK3080 vb. gnash or grind the teeth, only poet. (NH id.; Arabic حَرَقَ (ḥaraqa) file, rub together, grate or grind (teeth); Aramaic ܚܰܪܶܩ (ḥareq) id.) — Qal Pf. 3 ms. ח׳ Jb 16:9; Impf. יַחֲרֹק ψ 112:10; וַיַּחַרְקוּ־ La 2:16; Inf. abs. חָרֹק ψ 35:16; Pt. חֹרֵק ψ 37:12; — grind the teeth in rage against: ח׳ שׁניו על ψ 37:12; 35:16; abs. without על 112:10 La 2:16 (only here c. שֵׁן sing.); c. בְּ instr. (Ges 119. 3 b. R. Da § 73 R. 6) ח׳ בשׁניו על־ Jb 16:9.

Sample usage in context:

Ps 112:10

10 The wicked see it and are angry;

they gnash their teeth and melt away;

the desire of the wicked comes to nothing.

~~~

La 2:16–22.

16 All your enemies

open their mouths against you;

they hiss, they gnash their teeth,

they cry: “We have devoured her!

Ah, this is the day we longed for;

at last we have seen it!”

~~~

Ps 35:15–28

But at my stumbling they gathered in glee,

they gathered together against me;

ruffians whom I did not know

tore at me without ceasing;

16 they impiously mocked more and more,

gnashing at me with their teeth.

17 How long, O LORD, will you look on?

Rescue me from their ravages,

my life from the lions!

18 Then I will thank you in the great congregation;

in the mighty throng I will praise you.

19 Do not let my treacherous enemies rejoice over me,

or those who hate me without cause wink the eye.

20 For they do not speak peace,

but they conceive deceitful words

against those who are quiet in the land.

21 They open wide their mouths against me;

they say, “Aha, Aha,

our eyes have seen it.”

22 You have seen, O LORD; do not be silent!

O Lord, do not be far from me!

23 Wake up! Bestir yourself for my defense,

for my cause, my God and my Lord!

24 Vindicate me, O LORD, my God,

according to your righteousness,

and do not let them rejoice over me.

25 Do not let them say to themselves,

“Aha, we have our heart’s desire.”

Do not let them say, “We have swallowed you up.”

26 Let all those who rejoice at my calamity

be put to shame and confusion;

let those who exalt themselves against me

be clothed with shame and dishonor.

27 Let those who desire my vindication

shout for joy and be glad,

and say evermore,

“Great is the LORD,

who delights in the welfare of his servant.”

28 Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness

and of your praise all day long.

~~~

Ps 37:12–15

The wicked plot against the righteous,

and gnash their teeth at them;

13 but the LORD laughs at the wicked,

for he sees that their day is coming.

14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows

to bring down the poor and needy,

to kill those who walk uprightly;

15 their sword shall enter their own heart,

and their bows shall be broken.

[6] https://danheck.medium.com/understanding-ol%C4%81m-for-christian-theology-after-auschwitz-e41638e1f423#0e96

[7] For an exposition of the classical roots of this notion of the false self, see: Maximus’ Theory of Sin — Jordan Daniel Wood — YouTube

For a more contemporary expression, see: Thomas Merton New Seeds of Contemplation | PDF | Self | Solitude (scribd.com)

[8] Ramelli, Ilaria L. E.,‘Gregory Nyssen: Theological Arguments against the Institution of Slavery’, Social Justice and the Legitimacy of Slavery: The Role of Philosophical Asceticism from Ancient Judaism to Late Antiquity, Oxford Early Christian Studies (Oxford,2016;online edn,Oxford Academic, 22 Dec. 2016), https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198777274.003.0006

[9] https://danheck.medium.com/climbing-the-mount-of-olives-part-ii-the-aion-in-matthew-5e13902e2769#3228

[10] Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels, Collected out of the Works of the Fathers: St. Matthew, ed. John Henry Newman, vol. 1 (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1841), 838–842.

HILARY. Though the Lord had given above a general exhortation to all in common to unwearied vigilance, yet He adds a special charge to the rulers of the people, that is, the Bishops, of watchfulness in looking for His coming. Such He calls a faithful servant, and wise master of the household, careful for the needs and interests of the people entrusted to Him.

GLOSS. (ord.) For rare indeed is such faithful servant serving his Master for his Master’s sake, feeding Christ’s sheep not for lucre but for love of Christ, skilled to discern the abilities, the life, and the manner of those put under him, whom the Lord sets over, that is, who is called of God, and has not thrust himself in.

ORIGEN. Or, he that makes progress in the faith, though he is not yet perfect in it, is ordinarily called faithful, and he who has natural quickness of intellect is called prudent. And whoever observes will find many faithful, and zealous in their belief, but not at the same time prudent; for God hath chosen the foolish things of the world. (1 Cor. 1:27.) Others again he will see who are quick and prudent but of weak faith; for the union of faith and prudence in the same man is most rare. To give food in due season calls for prudence in a man; not to take away the food of the needy requires faithfulness. And this the literal sense obliges us to, that we be faithful in dispersing the revenues of the Church, that we devour not that which belongs to the widows, that we remember the poor, and that we do not take occasion from what is written, The Lord hath ordained, that they which preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel, (1 Cor. 9:14.) to seek more than plain food and necessary clothing, or to keep more for ourselves than we give to those who suffer want. And that we be prudent, to understand the cases of them that are in need, whence they come to be so, what has been the education and what are the necessities of each. It needs much prudence to distribute fairly the revenues of the Church. Also let the servant be faithful and prudent, that he lavish not the intellectual and spiritual food upon those whom he ought not, but dispense according as each has need; to one is more behoveful that word which shall edify his behaviour, and guide his practice, than that which sheds a ray of science; but to others who can pierce more deeply let him not fail to expound the deeper things, lest if he set before them common things only, he be despised by such as have naturally keener understandings, or have been sharpened by the discipline of worldly learning.

CHRYSOSTOM. This parable may be also fitted to the case of secular rulers; for each ought to employ the things he has to the common benefit, and not to the hurt of his fellow-servants, nor to his own ruin; whether it be wisdom or dominion, or whatever else he has.

RABANUS. The lord is Christ, the household over which He appoints is the Church Catholic. It is hard then to find one man who is both faithful and wise, but not impossible; for He would not pronounce a blessing on a character that could never be, as when He adds, Blessed is that servant whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

ORIGEN. That he may reign with Christ, to whom the Father has committed all that is His. And as the son of a good father set over all that is his, He shall communicate of His dignity and glory to His faithful and wise stewards, that they also may be above the whole creation.

RABANUS. Not that they only, but that they before others, shall be rewarded as well for their own lives as for their superintendence of the flock.

ORIGEN. And every Bishop, who ministers not as a fellow servant, but rules by might as a master, and often an harsh one, sins against God; also if he does not cherish the needy, but feasts with the drunken, and is continually slumbering because his Lord cometh not till after long time.

[11] Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels, Collected out of the Works of the Fathers: St. Matthew, ed. John Henry Newman, vol. 1 (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1841), 840.

JEROME. The Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for Him, is to rouse the stewards to watchfulness and carefulness. He shall cut him in sunder, is not to be understood of execution by the sword, but that he shall sever him from the company of the saints.

[11.5] John Joseph Collins and Adela Yarbro Collins, Daniel: A Commentary on the Book of Daniel, ed. Frank Moore Cross, Hermeneia — a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1993), 252.

The allegory of the weights or money values might have been adapted easily enough to the context of Daniel 5, which contrasts Belshazzar with Nebuchadnezzar and predicts the imminent rise of the Medes and Persians. Apparently the author neither knew nor perceived this aspect of the riddle. The words admitted of other word-plays, however. מנא suggested numbering but also the notion of fate (compare Isa 65:11*, which speaks of filling cups of wine for מני, “fate”). תקל (weigh) can also be read as the imperfect of קלל (be light); thus Rashi wrote, “You have been weighed before him and have been found light in every way.” This wordplay may be reflected in the MT “found wanting.” The motif of weighing the actions of people is common in eschatological contexts: 1En 41:1; 2En 52:15; T. Abraham 13:10 (of individuals); 4 Ezra 3:34* (of nations).106 פרס is recognized as a play on “divide” and “Persia.” The range of possible meaning is extended by the fact that Daniel does not directly interpret the words but uses related verbal forms in new sentences. The element of tension between the writing and its interpretation confirms the mysterious character of the writing and helps explain why the Chaldeans could not decipher it.

[12] Climbing the Mount of Olives Part II.1: The Aion in Matthew | by Daniel Heck | Jul, 2022 | Medium

Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels, Collected out of the Works of the Fathers: St. Matthew, ed. John Henry Newman, vol. 1 (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1841), 840.

[13] Outlining Matthew in its Conceptual Matrix of Intergenerational Governance | by Daniel Heck | Medium

[14] https://danheck.medium.com/outlining-matthew-in-its-conceptual-matrix-of-intergenerational-governance-da3561554736#ffc9

[15] On the principle of gezereh sheva, which extensively informs our work here, especially as it relates to table fellowship and communion:

https://danheck.medium.com/outlining-matthew-in-its-conceptual-matrix-of-intergenerational-governance-da3561554736#86c5

[16] Babylonian Talmud, Megillah 23b:4 with Connections (sefaria.org)

מַתְנִי׳ אֵין פּוֹרְסִין עַל שְׁמַע, וְאֵין עוֹבְרִין לִפְנֵי הַתֵּיבָה, וְאֵין נוֹשְׂאִין אֶת כַּפֵּיהֶם, וְאֵין קוֹרִין בְּתוֹרָה, וְאֵין מַפְטִירִין בַּנָּבִיא,

MISHNA: One does not recite the introductory prayers and blessing [poresin] before Shema; nor does one pass before the ark to repeat the Amida prayer; nor do the priests lift their hands to recite the Priestly Benediction; nor is the Torah read in public; nor does one conclude with a reading from the Prophets [haftara] in the presence of fewer than ten men.

וְאֵין עוֹשִׂין מַעֲמָד וּמוֹשָׁב, וְאֵין אוֹמְרִים בִּרְכַּת אֲבֵלִים וְתַנְחוּמֵי אֲבֵלִים, וּבִרְכַּת חֲתָנִים, וְאֵין מְזַמְּנִין בְּשֵׁם — פָּחוֹת מֵעֲשָׂרָה. וּבְקַרְקָעוֹת — תִּשְׁעָה וְכֹהֵן, וְאָדָם כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן.

And one does not observe the practice of standing up and sitting down for the delivery of eulogies at a funeral service; nor does one recite the mourners’ blessing or comfort mourners in two lines after the funeral; or recite the bridegrooms’ blessing; and one does not invite others to recite Grace after Meals, i.e., conduct a zimmun, with the name of God, with fewer than ten men present. If one consecrated land and now wishes to redeem it, the land must be assessed by nine men and one priest, for a total of ten. And similarly, assessing the value of a person who has pledged his own value to the Temple must be undertaken by ten people, one of whom must be a priest.

גְּמָ׳ מְנָא הָנֵי מִילֵּי? אָמַר רַבִּי חִיָּיא בַּר אַבָּא אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן, דְּאָמַר קְרָא: ״וְנִקְדַּשְׁתִּי בְּתוֹךְ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל״, כׇּל דָּבָר שֶׁבִּקְדוּשָּׁה לֹא יְהֵא פָּחוֹת מֵעֲשָׂרָה.

GEMARA: The Gemara asks: From where are these matters, i.e., that ten people are needed in each of these cases, derived? Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: It is as the verse states: “And I shall be hallowed among the children of Israel” (Leviticus 22:32), which indicates that any expression of sanctity may not be recited in a quorum of fewer than ten men.

מַאי מַשְׁמַע? דְּתָנֵי רַבִּי חִיָּיא: אָתְיָא ״תּוֹךְ״ ״תּוֹךְ״, כְּתִיב הָכָא: ״וְנִקְדַּשְׁתִּי בְּתוֹךְ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל״, וּכְתִיב הָתָם: ״הִבָּדְלוּ מִתּוֹךְ הָעֵדָה״,

The Gemara asks: From where in the verse may this be inferred? The Gemara responds that it must be understood as Rabbi Ḥiyya taught: It is inferred by means of a verbal analogy [gezera shava] between the words “among,” “among.” Here, it is written: “And I shall be hallowed among the children of Israel,” and there, with regard to Korah’s congregation, it is written “Separate yourselves from among this congregation” (Numbers 16:21). Just as with regard to Korah the reference is to ten men, so too, the name of God is to be hallowed in a quorum of ten men.

וְאָתְיָא ״עֵדָה״ ״עֵדָה״, דִּכְתִיב הָתָם: ״עַד מָתַי לָעֵדָה הָרָעָה הַזֹּאת״ — מָה לְהַלָּן עֲשָׂרָה, אַף כָּאן עֲשָׂרָה.

The connotation of ten associated with the word “among” in the portion of Korah is, in turn, inferred by means of another verbal analogy between the word “congregation” written there and the word “congregation” written in reference to the ten spies who slandered Eretz Yisrael, as it is written there: “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation?” (Numbers 14:27). Consequently, just as there, in the case of the spies, it was a congregation of ten people, as there were twelve spies altogether, and Joshua and Caleb were not included in the evil congregation, so too, here, in the case of Korah, the reference is to a congregation of ten people. The first several items mentioned in the mishna are expressions of sanctity, and they consequently require a quorum of ten.

וְאֵין עוֹשִׂין מַעֲמָד וּמוֹשָׁב פָּחוֹת מֵעֲשָׂרָה. כֵּיוָן דְּבָעֵי לְמֵימַר: ״עִמְדוּ יְקָרִים עֲמוֹדוּ, שְׁבוּ יְקָרִים שֵׁבוּ״ — בְּצִיר מֵעֲשָׂרָה לָאו אוֹרַח אַרְעָא.

§ We learned in the mishna: And one does not observe the practice of standing up and sitting down for the delivery of eulogies at a funeral service with fewer than ten men present. As this is not an expression of sanctity, it is therefore necessary to explain why a quorum is required. The Gemara explains: Since the leader of the funeral procession is required to say: Stand, dear friends, stand; sit down, dear friends, sit down, when there are fewer than ten it is not proper conduct to speak in such a dignified style.

וְאֵין אוֹמְרִים בִּרְכַּת אֲבֵלִים וּבִרְכַּת חֲתָנִים (וְכוּ׳). מַאי בִּרְכַּת אֲבֵלִים? בִּרְכַּת רְחָבָה. דְּאָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן: בִּרְכַּת אֲבֵלִים בַּעֲשָׂרָה, וְאֵין אֲבֵלִים מִן הַמִּנְיָן. בִּרְכַּת חֲתָנִים בַּעֲשָׂרָה, וַחֲתָנִים מִן הַמִּנְיָן.

We also learned in the mishna that one does not recite the mourners’ blessing and the bridegrooms’ blessing with fewer than ten men present. The Gemara asks: What is the mourners’ blessing? The blessing recited in the square next to the cemetery. Following the burial, those who participated in the funeral would assemble in the square and bless the mourners that God should comfort them, as Rabbi Yitzḥak said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The mourners’ blessing is recited only with ten men present, and mourners themselves are not included in the count. The bridegrooms’ blessing is also recited only with ten men present, and bridegrooms themselves are included in the count. Consequently, only nine other men are needed.

וְאֵין מְזַמְּנִין עַל הַמָּזוֹן בַּשֵּׁם פָּחוֹת מֵעֲשָׂרָה (וְכוּ׳). כֵּיוָן דְּבָעֵי לְמֵימַר ״נְבָרֵךְ לֵאלֹהֵינוּ״ — בְּצִיר מֵעֲשָׂרָה לָאו אוֹרַח אַרְעָא. We learned further in the mishna:

And one does not invite others to recite Grace after Meals, i.e., conduct a zimmun, in order to thank God for one’s nourishment, with the name of God, with fewer than ten men present. Since one is required to say: Let us bless our Lord, in the presence of fewer than ten it is not proper conduct to mention the name of God.

וְהַקַּרְקָעוֹת תִּשְׁעָה וְכֹהֵן, וְאָדָם כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן (וְכוּ׳). מְנָא הָנֵי מִילֵּי? §

If one consecrated land and now wishes to redeem it, the land must be assessed by nine Israelites and one priest, for a total of ten. And similarly, assessing the value of a person who has pledged his own value to the Temple must be undertaken by ten people, one of whom must be a priest. The Gemara asks: From where are these matters, that consecrated land must be assessed by ten people, one of whom is a priest, derived?

[16.5] Ulrich Luz, Matthew 21–28: A Commentary, ed. Helmut Koester, Hermeneia — a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 2005), 259.

2. The slaves are the apostles, the teachers, the doctors, or the bearers of office in the church — bishops, priests, deacons, prelates, preachers, and so on. A distinction is usually made between the parable of the talents and the previous parable of the virgins, which spoke of all Christians. It is interesting that it was often precisely the interpretations influenced by the Reformation that held to this understanding, while with the Catholic exegetes of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the tendency was greater to understand the slaves as all Christians. Their reasoning was that when Jesus told the story everyone had heard it. The basic exegetical principle was: “Without convincing arguments one may not limit the sense of Scripture.” Thus Catholic exegetes emphasize here the priesthood of all!

[17] William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 163–164.

βάλλω fut. βαλῶ; 2 aor. ἔβαλον, 3 pl. ἔβαλον Lk 23:34 (Ps 21:19); Ac 16:23 and ἔβαλαν Ac 16:37 (B-D-F §81, 3; Mlt-H. 208); pf. βέβληκα (on this form s. lit. in LfgrE s.v. βάλλω col. 25). Pass.: 1 fut. βληθήσομαι; 1 aor. ἐβλήθην; pf. βέβλημαι; plpf. ἐβεβλήμην (Hom.+) gener. to put someth. into motion by throwing, used from the time of Hom. either with a suggestion of force or in a gentler sense; opp. of ἁμαρτάνω ‘miss the mark’.

① to cause to move from one location to another through use of forceful motion, throw

ⓐ w. simple obj. scatter seed on the ground (Diod S 1, 36, 4; Ps 125:6 v.l. [ARahlfs, Psalmi cum Odis ’31]) Mk 4:26; 1 Cl 24:5; AcPlCor 2:26; in a simile, of the body τὸ σῶμα … βληθέν vs. 27; εἰς κῆπον Lk 13:19; cast lots (Ps 21:19; 1 Ch 25:8 al.; Jos., Ant. 6, 61) Mt 27:35; Mk 15:24; Lk 23:34; J 19:24; B 6:6.

ⓑ throw τινί τι Mt 15:26; Mk 7:27. τὶ ἔμπροσθέν τινος Mt 7:6 (β.=throw something before animals: Aesop, Fab. 275b H.//158 P.//163 H.). τὶ ἀπό τινος throw someth. away (fr. someone) Mt 5:29f; 18:8f (Teles p. 60, 2 ἀποβάλλω of the eye). τὶ ἔκ τινος: ὕδωρ ἐκ τοῦ στόματος ὀπίσω τινός spew water out of the mouth after someone Rv 12:15f; β. ἔξω = ἐκβάλλειν throw out J 12:31 v.l.; 2 Cl 7:4; s. ἐκβάλλω 1. Of worthless salt Mt 5:13; Lk 14:35; of bad fish throw away Mt 13:48 (cp. Κυπρ. I p. 44 no. 43 κόπρια βάλλειν probably = throw refuse away); τὶ ἐπί τινα: throw stones at somebody J 8:7, 59 (cp. Sir 22:20; 27:25; Jos., Vi. 303); in a vision of the future dust on one’s head Rv 18:19; as an expression of protest τὶ εἴς τι dust into the air Ac 22:23 (D εἰς τ. οὐρανόν toward the sky); cast, throw nets into the lake Mt 4:18; J 21:6; cp. vs. 7; a fishhook Mt 17:27 (cp. Is 19:8). Pass., into the sea, lake Mt 13:47; Mk 9:42; βλήθητι εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν throw yourself into the sea Mt 21:21; Mk 11:23. — Throw into the fire (Jos., Ant. 10, 95 and 215) Mt 3:10; Mk 9:22; Lk 3:9; J 15:6; into Gehenna Mt 5:29; 18:9b; 2 Cl 5:4; into the stove Mt 6:30; 13:42, 50 (cp. Da 3:21); Lk 12:28; 2 Cl 8:2. β. ἑαυτὸν κάτω throw oneself down Mt 4:6; Lk 4:9 (cp. schol. on Apollon. Rhod. 4, 1212–14a εἰς τὸν κρημνὸν ἑαυτὸν ἔβαλε; Jos., Bell. 4, 28). — Rv 8:7f; 12:4, 9 (schol. on Apollon. Rhod. 4, 57; 28 p. 264, 18 of throwing out of heaven ἐκβληθέντα κατελθεῖν εἰς Ἅιδου), 13; 14:19; 18:21; 19:20; 20:3, 10, 14f; thrown into a grave AcPlCor 2:32 (cp. τὰ νεκρούμενα καὶ εἰς γῆν βαλλόμενα Just., A I, 18, 6). — Of physical disability βεβλημένος lying (Jos., Bell. 1, 629) ἐπὶ κλίνης β. Mt 9:2; cp. Mk 7:30. Throw on a sickbed Rv 2:22. Pass. abs. (Conon [I B.C./I A.D.] 26 Fgm. 1, 17 Jac. βαλλομένη θνήσκει) lie on a sickbed (cp. Babrius 103, 4 κάμνων ἐβέβλητο [ἔκειτο L-P.]) Mt 8:6, 14. ἐβέβλητο πρὸς τὸν πυλῶνα he lay before the door Lk 16:20 (ἐβέβλητο as Aesop, Fab. 284 H.; Jos., Ant. 9, 209; Field, Notes 70). — Fig. εἰς ἀθυμίαν β. τινά plunge someone into despondency 1 Cl 46:9.

ⓒ to cause or to let fall down, let fall of a tree dropping its fruit Rv 6:13; throw down 18:21a, to destruction ibid. b.

② to force out of or into a place, throw (away), drive out, expel ἐβλήθη ἔξω he is (the aor. emphasizes the certainty of the result, and is gnomic [B-D-F §333; Rob. 836f; s. Hdb. ad loc.]) thrown away/out, i.e. expelled fr. the fellowship J 15:6. drive out into the desert B 7:8; throw into prison Mt 18:30; Rv 2:10 (Epict. 1, 1, 24; 1, 12, 23; 1, 29, 6 al.; PTebt 567 [53/54 A.D.]). Pass. be thrown into the lions’ den 1 Cl 45:6 (cp. Da 6:25 Theod. v.l.; Bel 31 Theod. v.l.); εἰς τὸ στάδιον AcPl Ha 4, 13. Fig. love drives out fear 1J 4:18.

③ to put or place someth. in a location, put, place, apply, lay, bring

ⓐ w. simple obj. κόπρια β. put manure on, apply m. Lk 13:8 (POxy 934, 9 μὴ οὖν ἀμελήσῃς τοῦ βαλεῖν τὴν κόπρον).

ⓑ w. indication of the place to which τὶ εἴς τι: put money into the temple treasury Mk 12:41–44; Lk 21:1–4 (in the context Mk 12:43f; Lk 21:3f suggest sacrifical offering by the widow); τὰ βαλλόμενα contributions (s. γλωσσόκομον and cp. 2 Ch 24:10) J 12:6; put a finger into an ear when healing Mk 7:33; difft. J 20:25, 27 (exx. from medical lit. in Rydbeck 158f); to determine virginal purity by digital exploration GJs 19:3; put a sword into the scabbard J 18:11; place bits into mouths Js 3:3; εἰς τὴν κολυμβήθραν take into the pool J 5:7; cp. Ox 840, 33f; πολλὰ θηρία εἰς τὸν Παῦλον many animals let loose against Paul AcPl Ha 5, 4f (here β. suggests the rush of the animals); β. εἰς τὴν καρδίαν put into the heart J 13:2 (cp. Od. 1, 201; 14, 269; Pind., O. 13, 16 [21] πολλὰ δʼ ἐν καρδίαις ἔβαλον; schol. on Pind., P. 4, 133; Plut., Timol. 237 [3, 2]; Herm. Wr. 6, 4 θεῷ τῷ εἰς νοῦν μοι βαλόντι). Of liquids: pour (Epict. 4, 13, 12; PLond III, 1177, 46 p. 182 [113 A.D.]; Judg 6:19 B) wine into skins Mt 9:17; Lk 5:37f; water into a basin (TestAbr B 3 p. 107, 18 [Stone p. 62] βάλε ὕδωρ ἐπὶ τῆς λεκάνης ἵνα νίψωμεν τοὺς πόδας τοῦ ξένου [cp. TestAbr A 3 p. 80, 1 [Stone p. 8] ἔνεγκέ μοι ἐπὶ τῆς λ.]; Vi. Aesopi W 61 p. 92, 29f P. βάλε ὕδωρ εἰς τ. λεκάνην καὶ νίψον μου τοὺς πόδας; PGM 4, 224; 7, 319 βαλὼν εἰς αὐτὸ [the basin] ὕδωρ) J 13:5; wormwood in honey Hm 5, 1, 5; ointment on the body Mt 26:12. — βάρος ἐπί τινα put a burden on some one Rv 2:24. δρέπανον ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν swing the sickle on the earth as on a harvest field Rv 14:19. Cp. ἐπʼ αὐτὸν τὰς χείρας J 7:44 v.l. (s. ἐπιβάλλω 1b). Lay down crowns (wreaths) before the throne Rv 4:10.

ⓒ other usage ῥίζας β. send forth roots, take root like a tree, fig. (Polemon, Decl. 2, 54 ὦ ῥίζας ἐξ ἀρετῆς βαλλόμενος) 1 Cl 39:8 (Job 5:3).

④ to bring about a change in state or condition, εἰρήνην, μάχαιραν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν bring peace, the sword on earth Mt 10:34 (Jos., Ant. 1, 98 ὀργὴν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν βαλεῖν); χάριν ἐπʼ αὐτήν God showed her (Mary) favor GJs 7:3. τὶ ἐνώπιόν τινος: σκάνδαλον place a stumbling-block Rv 2:14.

⑤ to entrust money to a banker for interest, deposit money (τί τινι as Quint. Smyrn. 12, 250 in a difft. context) w. the bankers (to earn interest; cp. Aristoxenus, Fgm. 59 τὸ βαλλόμενον κέρμα; so also Diog. L. 2, 20) Mt 25:27.

⑥ to move down suddenly and rapidly, rush down, intr. (Hom.; Epict. 2, 20, 10; 4, 10, 29; POslo 45, 2; En 18:6 ὄρη … εἰς νότον βάλλοντα ‘in a southern direction’. Cp. Rdm.2 23; 28f; Rob. 799; JStahl, RhM 66, 1911, 626ff) ἔβαλεν ἄνεμος a storm rushed down Ac 27:14. (s. Warnecke 36 n. 9). — B. 673. Schmidt, Syn. III 150–66. DELG. M-M. TW.

[17] William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 163–164.

βάλλω fut. βαλῶ; 2 aor. ἔβαλον, 3 pl. ἔβαλον Lk 23:34 (Ps 21:19); Ac 16:23 and ἔβαλαν Ac 16:37 (B-D-F §81, 3; Mlt-H. 208); pf. βέβληκα (on this form s. lit. in LfgrE s.v. βάλλω col. 25). Pass.: 1 fut. βληθήσομαι; 1 aor. ἐβλήθην; pf. βέβλημαι; plpf. ἐβεβλήμην (Hom.+) gener. to put someth. into motion by throwing, used from the time of Hom. either with a suggestion of force or in a gentler sense; opp. of ἁμαρτάνω ‘miss the mark’.

① to cause to move from one location to another through use of forceful motion, throw

ⓐ w. simple obj. scatter seed on the ground (Diod S 1, 36, 4; Ps 125:6 v.l. [ARahlfs, Psalmi cum Odis ’31]) Mk 4:26; 1 Cl 24:5; AcPlCor 2:26; in a simile, of the body τὸ σῶμα … βληθέν vs. 27; εἰς κῆπον Lk 13:19; cast lots (Ps 21:19; 1 Ch 25:8 al.; Jos., Ant. 6, 61) Mt 27:35; Mk 15:24; Lk 23:34; J 19:24; B 6:6.

ⓑ throw τινί τι Mt 15:26; Mk 7:27. τὶ ἔμπροσθέν τινος Mt 7:6 (β.=throw something before animals: Aesop, Fab. 275b H.//158 P.//163 H.). τὶ ἀπό τινος throw someth. away (fr. someone) Mt 5:29f; 18:8f (Teles p. 60, 2 ἀποβάλλω of the eye). τὶ ἔκ τινος: ὕδωρ ἐκ τοῦ στόματος ὀπίσω τινός spew water out of the mouth after someone Rv 12:15f; β. ἔξω = ἐκβάλλειν throw out J 12:31 v.l.; 2 Cl 7:4; s. ἐκβάλλω 1. Of worthless salt Mt 5:13; Lk 14:35; of bad fish throw away Mt 13:48 (cp. Κυπρ. I p. 44 no. 43 κόπρια βάλλειν probably = throw refuse away); τὶ ἐπί τινα: throw stones at somebody J 8:7, 59 (cp. Sir 22:20; 27:25; Jos., Vi. 303); in a vision of the future dust on one’s head Rv 18:19; as an expression of protest τὶ εἴς τι dust into the air Ac 22:23 (D εἰς τ. οὐρανόν toward the sky); cast, throw nets into the lake Mt 4:18; J 21:6; cp. vs. 7; a fishhook Mt 17:27 (cp. Is 19:8). Pass., into the sea, lake Mt 13:47; Mk 9:42; βλήθητι εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν throw yourself into the sea Mt 21:21; Mk 11:23. — Throw into the fire (Jos., Ant. 10, 95 and 215) Mt 3:10; Mk 9:22; Lk 3:9; J 15:6; into Gehenna Mt 5:29; 18:9b; 2 Cl 5:4; into the stove Mt 6:30; 13:42, 50 (cp. Da 3:21); Lk 12:28; 2 Cl 8:2. β. ἑαυτὸν κάτω throw oneself down Mt 4:6; Lk 4:9 (cp. schol. on Apollon. Rhod. 4, 1212–14a εἰς τὸν κρημνὸν ἑαυτὸν ἔβαλε; Jos., Bell. 4, 28). — Rv 8:7f; 12:4, 9 (schol. on Apollon. Rhod. 4, 57; 28 p. 264, 18 of throwing out of heaven ἐκβληθέντα κατελθεῖν εἰς Ἅιδου), 13; 14:19; 18:21; 19:20; 20:3, 10, 14f; thrown into a grave AcPlCor 2:32 (cp. τὰ νεκρούμενα καὶ εἰς γῆν βαλλόμενα Just., A I, 18, 6). — Of physical disability βεβλημένος lying (Jos., Bell. 1, 629) ἐπὶ κλίνης β. Mt 9:2; cp. Mk 7:30. Throw on a sickbed Rv 2:22. Pass. abs. (Conon [I B.C./I A.D.] 26 Fgm. 1, 17 Jac. βαλλομένη θνήσκει) lie on a sickbed (cp. Babrius 103, 4 κάμνων ἐβέβλητο [ἔκειτο L-P.]) Mt 8:6, 14. ἐβέβλητο πρὸς τὸν πυλῶνα he lay before the door Lk 16:20 (ἐβέβλητο as Aesop, Fab. 284 H.; Jos., Ant. 9, 209; Field, Notes 70). — Fig. εἰς ἀθυμίαν β. τινά plunge someone into despondency 1 Cl 46:9.

ⓒ to cause or to let fall down, let fall of a tree dropping its fruit Rv 6:13; throw down 18:21a, to destruction ibid. b.

② to force out of or into a place, throw (away), drive out, expel ἐβλήθη ἔξω he is (the aor. emphasizes the certainty of the result, and is gnomic [B-D-F §333; Rob. 836f; s. Hdb. ad loc.]) thrown away/out, i.e. expelled fr. the fellowship J 15:6. drive out into the desert B 7:8; throw into prison Mt 18:30; Rv 2:10 (Epict. 1, 1, 24; 1, 12, 23; 1, 29, 6 al.; PTebt 567 [53/54 A.D.]). Pass. be thrown into the lions’ den 1 Cl 45:6 (cp. Da 6:25 Theod. v.l.; Bel 31 Theod. v.l.); εἰς τὸ στάδιον AcPl Ha 4, 13. Fig. love drives out fear 1J 4:18.

③ to put or place someth. in a location, put, place, apply, lay, bring

ⓐ w. simple obj. κόπρια β. put manure on, apply m. Lk 13:8 (POxy 934, 9 μὴ οὖν ἀμελήσῃς τοῦ βαλεῖν τὴν κόπρον).

ⓑ w. indication of the place to which τὶ εἴς τι: put money into the temple treasury Mk 12:41–44; Lk 21:1–4 (in the context Mk 12:43f; Lk 21:3f suggest sacrifical offering by the widow); τὰ βαλλόμενα contributions (s. γλωσσόκομον and cp. 2 Ch 24:10) J 12:6; put a finger into an ear when healing Mk 7:33; difft. J 20:25, 27 (exx. from medical lit. in Rydbeck 158f); to determine virginal purity by digital exploration GJs 19:3; put a sword into the scabbard J 18:11; place bits into mouths Js 3:3; εἰς τὴν κολυμβήθραν take into the pool J 5:7; cp. Ox 840, 33f; πολλὰ θηρία εἰς τὸν Παῦλον many animals let loose against Paul AcPl Ha 5, 4f (here β. suggests the rush of the animals); β. εἰς τὴν καρδίαν put into the heart J 13:2 (cp. Od. 1, 201; 14, 269; Pind., O. 13, 16 [21] πολλὰ δʼ ἐν καρδίαις ἔβαλον; schol. on Pind., P. 4, 133; Plut., Timol. 237 [3, 2]; Herm. Wr. 6, 4 θεῷ τῷ εἰς νοῦν μοι βαλόντι). Of liquids: pour (Epict. 4, 13, 12; PLond III, 1177, 46 p. 182 [113 A.D.]; Judg 6:19 B) wine into skins Mt 9:17; Lk 5:37f; water into a basin (TestAbr B 3 p. 107, 18 [Stone p. 62] βάλε ὕδωρ ἐπὶ τῆς λεκάνης ἵνα νίψωμεν τοὺς πόδας τοῦ ξένου [cp. TestAbr A 3 p. 80, 1 [Stone p. 8] ἔνεγκέ μοι ἐπὶ τῆς λ.]; Vi. Aesopi W 61 p. 92, 29f P. βάλε ὕδωρ εἰς τ. λεκάνην καὶ νίψον μου τοὺς πόδας; PGM 4, 224; 7, 319 βαλὼν εἰς αὐτὸ [the basin] ὕδωρ) J 13:5; wormwood in honey Hm 5, 1, 5; ointment on the body Mt 26:12. — βάρος ἐπί τινα put a burden on some one Rv 2:24. δρέπανον ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν swing the sickle on the earth as on a harvest field Rv 14:19. Cp. ἐπʼ αὐτὸν τὰς χείρας J 7:44 v.l. (s. ἐπιβάλλω 1b). Lay down crowns (wreaths) before the throne Rv 4:10.

ⓒ other usage ῥίζας β. send forth roots, take root like a tree, fig. (Polemon, Decl. 2, 54 ὦ ῥίζας ἐξ ἀρετῆς βαλλόμενος) 1 Cl 39:8 (Job 5:3).

④ to bring about a change in state or condition, εἰρήνην, μάχαιραν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν bring peace, the sword on earth Mt 10:34 (Jos., Ant. 1, 98 ὀργὴν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν βαλεῖν); χάριν ἐπʼ αὐτήν God showed her (Mary) favor GJs 7:3. τὶ ἐνώπιόν τινος: σκάνδαλον place a stumbling-block Rv 2:14.

⑤ to entrust money to a banker for interest, deposit money (τί τινι as Quint. Smyrn. 12, 250 in a difft. context) w. the bankers (to earn interest; cp. Aristoxenus, Fgm. 59 τὸ βαλλόμενον κέρμα; so also Diog. L. 2, 20) Mt 25:27.

⑥ to move down suddenly and rapidly, rush down, intr. (Hom.; Epict. 2, 20, 10; 4, 10, 29; POslo 45, 2; En 18:6 ὄρη … εἰς νότον βάλλοντα ‘in a southern direction’. Cp. Rdm.2 23; 28f; Rob. 799; JStahl, RhM 66, 1911, 626ff) ἔβαλεν ἄνεμος a storm rushed down Ac 27:14. (s. Warnecke 36 n. 9). — B. 673. Schmidt, Syn. III 150–66. DELG. M-M. TW.

[18] https://danheck.medium.com/climbing-the-mount-of-olives-part-ii-the-aion-in-matthew-5e13902e2769#60c6

[18.25] https://danheck.medium.com/climbing-the-mount-of-olives-iii-a-matthew-24-25-6c019dc43389#f12b

[18.5] https://danheck.medium.com/understanding-the-aidios-aion-aionios-distinction-for-christian-theology-3e8e3da0cde6#75f7

[19] Craig S. Keener, The Gospel of Matthew: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2009), 600–601.

Temples, including the Jerusalem temple, functioned as banks, and moneylenders were also common elsewhere in the Gentile world. Most people lacked capital, but those who had it could multiply their investment fivefold or even tenfold (Lk 19:16–18); doubling one’s investment (Mt 25:20, 22) might be regarded as a reasonable minimum return to expect in the ancient economy (Derrett 1970: 24, though citing here Hammurabi; cf. Hock 1988: 140). Burying money (Mt 25:18; cf. Hor. Sat. 1.1.41–42) at least kept that capital safe; ancient law viewed merely wrapping it in a napkin, however, as disrespecting its safety altogether (Lk 19:20; Derrett 1970: 24; Jeremias 1972: 61).

[20] https://danheck.medium.com/outlining-matthew-in-its-conceptual-matrix-of-intergenerational-governance-da3561554736#54f5

[21] https://danheck.medium.com/climbing-the-mount-of-olives-iii-a-matthew-24-25-6c019dc43389#ce33

[22] Craig S. Keener, The Gospel of Matthew: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2009), 600.

Although Matthew may know that the Aramaic word translated into Greek as “joy” can also mean “feast” or “wedding feast” (Jeremias 1972: 60n.42; Gundry 1982: 506), purely Greek-speaking readers would lose very little: the term “joy” can connote banqueting with the master (cf. 25:10), and the context of the preceding parable supports this interpretation. Some of Jesus’ contemporaries stressed the “joy” of the righteous in the world to come.

[22.5] In the history of interpretation, Origen is both temporally close and conceptually closest to an understanding of the talents as the Word of God, exemplified in the first instance through Torah.

Ulrich Luz, Matthew 21–28: A Commentary, ed. Helmut Koester, Hermeneia — a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 2005), 259–260.

3. The talents were interpreted in a number of different ways. The oldest interpretation related it to the Word of God. Origen related the five, the two, and the one talent to the varying levels of understanding the Scriptures. To those with five talents a spiritual understanding of Scripture is given. Those with two have lifted themselves slightly above the literal meaning of Scripture, while those with only one talent are the ones who do not move beyond the letter that they received at the beginning. In the ancient church the talents were already related in terms of 1 Cor 12:12–31* to the charismata, or in scholastic terminology to the gratia gratis data. Jerome and those influenced by him interpret the two talents as understanding and works, the single talent of the third slave as reason.102 The number five led some to interpret the five talents as the physical senses. That opens the door to understanding the talents also as the natural gifts that a person possesses.104 Finally, counted among the talents were also other goods such as social position, wealth, and influence. A lovely idea from Bengel is that one’s time is a talent received as a gift.106 After the Middle Ages the dominant tendency is to see in the talents everything a person is and has, since indeed there is nothing that a person has not received from God. To be sure, it was then difficult to limit the talents according to the person’s “own ability” or, according to the translation of the Vulgate, the propria virtus. These were interpreted either as one’s natural attributes or as faith. The Catholic Maldonat rejected as dangerous the traditional interpretation of the propria virtus in terms of faith, because of course we do not have faith “from ourselves.”

[23] https://danheck.medium.com/outlining-matthew-in-its-conceptual-matrix-of-intergenerational-governance-da3561554736#3968

See especially: c Johannes Schneider, “Ἔρχομαι, Ἔλευσις, Ἀπ-, Δι-, Εἰσ-, Ἐξ-, Ἐπ-, Παρ-, Παρεισ-, Περι-, Προσ-, Συνέρχομαι,” ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964–), 666.

In the pap.1 it is also used for receipt of letters, for transferring, e.g., property by inheritance or purchase, for making an agreement or for undertaking other enterprises.

[24] [A] Ulrich Luz, Matthew 21–28: A Commentary, ed. Helmut Koester, Hermeneia — a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 2005), 255.

To take God’s will seriously is to orient oneself courageously to the open possibilities of his future and not in fear to the existing realities of the present. That reflects the dynamic of the kingdom of God, which is as tiny as a mustard seed and will become as large as a tree. Dupont formulates the point nicely in terms of the kingdom of God: “Love is not afraid of risk.” At the same time, however, this formulation reveals something of the weakness of the parable. There are so many differences between love and the decisive, risk-taking behavior of small capitalists that the point of contact between the parable’s imagery and life is only formal: courage, a willingness to take risks, paying attention to possible profits. That is the first weakness of this parable. It also leaves open the question why love does not need to be afraid. For Jesus the courage of love is that we need have no fear before God and we know that we are supported by him even when called on to give account in the coming judgment. However, the parable says nothing about the image of God. It does not indicate whether God is indeed greedy and hard as the third slave thinks he is. That is its second weakness. This was probably not an issue for Jesus’ hearers, because they were familiar with the totality of his proclamation of the kingdom of God and because they experienced in Jesus himself God’s gracious acceptance. Probably for them the narrator Jesus was obviously the commentary and key of the parable; thus they could correctly incorporate the single point about which it is concerned. Taken alone, however, it is ambiguous. It leaves unanswered the question whether God is indeed the “hard” judge.

[25] https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/2022/08/22/from-optimism-to-disgust-in-the-time-it-takes-to-remove-a-headdress

From optimism to disgust in the time it takes to remove a headdress

OPINION-NIIGAAN SINCLAIR — Wpg. Free Press August 23, 2022

IT’S been exactly a month since Pope Francis visited Canada to apologize for the church’s role in residential schools.

There’s been much goodwill. Good words. Big promises for changes by bishops and priests. The Pope even wore a headdress.

Some might even call it a moment of reconciliation between the Catholic Church and Indigenous peoples.

Well, that was fun while it lasted. Last Saturday, The Canadian Press reported on a secret 2015 deal between Stephen Harper’s Conservative government and Catholic leaders to “forever discharge” the church from its legal obligations to raise $25 million for residential school survivors.

Negotiated during Harper’s final days in office, the document states: “Canada does hereby remise, release and forever discharge the Catholic entities, its directors, officers, shareholders, agents, lawyers, and employees of and from all manners of actions, causes of action, suits, debts, dues, accounts, bonds whatsoever against the releasees.”

Obtained via an Access to Information request, the unpublicized deal allows the church to renege on its obligations under the 2005 Residential School Settlement Agreement.

It also pays for the church’s legal costs.

At the time, Catholic leaders had raised only $4 million of the $25 million promised to residential school survivors.

Critics pointed to the fact the church had raised $300 million for new buildings at the exact same time but its leaders were adamant, arguing that raising the remaining $21 million for survivors was too difficult.

Appealing to a Saskatchewan judge in July 2015, Catholic leaders offered a $1.2-million one-time payment to discharge the remaining $21 million owed.

The judge agreed. Canadian officials appealed the decision, saying the judge made “palpable and overriding errors in his assessment of the facts.”

Then came the October 2015 federal election, which saw Harper’s government soundly defeated by Justin Trudeau and the Liberals.

Sometime during that month, the secret deal was hatched and signed by a deputy minister under former Aboriginal and Northern Affairs minister Bernard Valcourt.

Suddenly, the federal appeal being dropped, the case closed, and the Catholic church got away with paying one-fifth of its legal compensation to survivors.

Now Canadians know why, and that they paid for the church’s legal bills, too.

Harper’s awful treatment of Indigenous peoples is nothing new, but this represents a new low for the Catholic Church.

It’s been well documented how the church has failed to fulfil nearly every promise under the 2005 Residential School Settlement Agreement, from the $29 million direct lump cash payment (millions short and mostly used for legal fees) to the $28 million of “in-kind” services (which ended up in mostly missionization and conversion efforts).

The church kept this deal secret for almost seven years and would have got away with it if not for last year’s discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at Catholic-run residential schools — which resulted in international attention and further scrutiny from media.

There certainly would have not been any visit from Pope Francis.

Speaking of, it is undoubtedly true that Catholic leaders — if not the Pope himself — knew that the church had reneged on it’s legal obligations, making last September’s “new” promise of a $30-million fundraising campaign look more like a public relations campaign than anything else.

It also makes promises the church will act differently towards Indigenous communities ring hollow.

The fact is that the Catholic church continues to lie, cheat and negotiate backroom deals to deny survivors compensation. Little has changed beyond the Pope wearing a headdress and a well-publicized public relations tour of Canada.

It’s heartbreaking for those of us who thought last month’s papal visit represented a moment of hope, and it’s particularly upsetting, because it didn’t have to be this way.

The truth, something the Catholic church says it stands for, was never considered. Instead, the institution used its political power and a willing government heading out the door to skip out on what was the right thing to do.

Last July, church officials reported that $4.6 million had been raised from the “new” $30 million promised for survivors.

Forgive me if I don’t hold my breath waiting for the rest of it.

Meanwhile, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Marc Miller has announced that he may potentially review the agreement made in 2015.

No amount of money will repair this situation made by Catholic hands and Catholic decisions.

No headdress will begin to cover it up.

niigaan.sinclair@freepress.mb.ca “

[25.25] William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 932.

σκότος, ους, τό (as a masc. word Hom. et al. and so in the Attic writers [EFraenkel, ZVS 43, 1910, 195ff; σκότος and φῶς], as well as Jos., Ant. 19, 216; 217; as a neut. Pind. et al. and H. Gk. gener., also in LXX [Thackeray p. 159]; pseudepigr.; Philo; Jos., Bell. 6, 140, Ant. 1, 27; apolog.; PWarr 21, 25; 30 [III A.D.]. — B-D-F §51, 2; Mlt-H. 127. Only in Hb 12:18 does ὁ σκ. appear as a v.l. in the t.r.) ‘darkness’

① darkness, gloom, lit., of the darkness in the depths of the sea B 10:10. Of dark clouds ApcPt 10:25. Of the darkening of the sun (σκότος at the death of Aeschyl., acc. to Aristoph.: Ael. Aristid. 32, 32 K.=12 p. 145 D. At the death of Alexander ἐγένετο σκότος: Ps.-Callisth. 3, 33, 26. Others HUsener, RhM n.s. 55, 1900, 286f) Mt 27:45; Mk 15:33; Lk 23:44; GPt 5:15; Ac 2:20 (Jo 3:4: here σκ. means ‘bearer of darkness’; s. 4, end). Of the darkness of chaos (Gen 1:2; Mel., P. 82, 611; Theoph. Ant. 1, 6 [p. 70, 19]) 2 Cor 4:6. Of the darkness of nonexistence 1 Cl 38:3 (Sb 8960, 19 [grave-epigram I B.C.] σκότους πύλας); JosAs 8:10 ἀπὸ τοῦ σκότους εἰς τὸ φῶς). Of the darkness of the place of punishment far removed fr. the heavenly kingdom (Philo, Exsecr. 152 βαθὺ σκότος. Cp. Wsd 17:20; PsSol 14:9. — σκ. κ. βόρβορος ‘gloom and muck’ await those who are untrue to the Eleusinian Mysteries, Ael. Aristid. 22, 10 K.=19 p. 421 D. Of the darkness of death and the underworld in Hom. and the Trag. As the domain of evil spirits PGM 36, 138; Theoph. Ant. 2, 7 [p. 110, 5]) τὸ σκ. τὸ ἐξώτερον the darkness outside Mt 8:12; 22:13; 25:30 (also ApcEsdr 4:37 p. 29, 16 Tdf.; cp. Vi. Aesopi W 31 P., where Aesop advises a man: ῥῖψον αὐτὴν [his wife] εἰς τὸ σκότος. — RTaylor, Theology 33, ’42, 277–83). Also ὁ ζόφος τοῦ σκότους (ζόφος 2) 2 Pt 2:17; Jd 13. — Of the darkness in which the blind live (Soph., Oed. R. 419; Eur., Phoen. 377; 1534; Dt 28:29) w. ἀχλύς (q.v. 1) Ac 13:11. [διὰ τὸ] σκότος ἀφα̣[νής] unnoticed because of the darkness AcPl Ha 3, 27 (other restorations suggested in app.).

② the state of being unknown, darkness, fig. τὰ κρυπτὰ τοῦ σκότους the things that are hidden in darkness and therefore are known to nobody 1 Cor 4:5.

③ the state of spiritual or moral darkness, darkness, of darkening by sin, of the state of unbelievers and of the godless, opp. φῶς (Herm. Wr. 7, 2a; Philo, Det. Pot. Ins. 101, Somn. 2, 39; TestLevi 19:1; TestNapht 2:10; OdeSol 11:19; TestAbr B 7 p. 111, 22 [Stone p. 70]; TestJob 43:6; JosAs 15:13; Mel., P. 68, 491; Orig., C. Cels. 6, 67, 6. — S. σκότος as gnostic term Iren. 1, 4, 2 [Harv. I 36, 2]; Hippol., Ref. 10, 16, 4) Mt 4:16 (Is 9:1; s. σκοτία); 6:23b; J 3:19; Ac 26:18; Ro 2:19; 2 Cor 6:14; 1 Th 5:4f; 1 Pt 2:9; 1J 1:6; 1 Cl 59:2; B 14:7 (Is 42:7); 18:1; AcPl Ha 8, 32//BMM verso 4. Opp. δικαιοσύνη B 5:4. Cp. 14:5f. W. σκιὰ θανάτου (σκιά 2b) Lk 1:79 (schol. on Soph., El. 1079 p. 149 P. ἐν σκότει γενέσθαι τ. θανάτου. For σκότος=darkness of death cp. Plut., Mor. 296ab, an oath ‘by the σκότος near the oak tree, where the men of Priene had been killed in such great numbers’; s. also New Docs 4, 149). — Sins are τὰ ἔργα τοῦ σκότους Ro 13:12; Eph 5:11. — On ἡ ἐξουσία τοῦ σκότους Lk 22:53; Col 1:13 s. ἐξουσία 6. On οἱ κοσμοκράτορες τοῦ σκότους τούτου Eph 6:12 s. κοσμοκράτωρ. — In a related sense, and in contrast to φῶς, σκότος has the sense

④ bearer/victim/instrument of darkness Mt 6:23a; Lk 11:35; Eph 5:8 (s. KKuhn, NTS 7, ’61, 339f [Qumran]). S. also 3 above. — B. 61. DELG. M-M. EDNT. TW. Sv.

[25.5] https://danheck.medium.com/ii-2-b-reading-the-sign-of-your-presence-in-matthew-on-seeking-something-real-behind-appearance-8ac83306c407#1616

[25.75] https://danheck.medium.com/climbing-the-mount-of-olives-part-ii-the-aion-in-matthew-5e13902e2769#7b32

[25.8] https://danheck.medium.com/climbing-the-mount-of-olives-part-i-matthew-23-ec6fb5358c8e#a0aa

[26] https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-deal-catholic-church-fundraising-1.6557533#:~:text=Politics-,Canada%20agreed%20to%20'forever%20discharge'%20Catholic%20entities%20from%20raising%20$25,a%20final%20release%20document%20says.

Canada agreed to ‘forever discharge’ Catholic entities from raising $25M for residential school survivors

Info is in final release document of 2015 agreement, signed before Trudeau government sworn in

Stephanie Taylor · The Canadian Press · Posted: Aug 20, 2022 1:46 PM ET | Last Updated: August 21

Pope Francis meets with residential school survivors in Iqaluit, Nunavut, during his recent visit to Canada. In 2015, Canada signed a deal with Catholic entities that ‘forever discharged’ them from a promise to try to raise $25 million for survivors. (Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images)

Canada agreed to “forever discharge” Catholic entities from their promise to raise $25 million for residential school survivors and also picked up their legal bill, a final release document shows.

The Canadian Press obtained a signed copy of the 2015 agreement through federal access-to-information laws, marking what appears to be the first time the document has been widely publicized.

“That’s a very, very important set of records,” said Ry Moran, an associate librarian at the University of Victoria and founding director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

“Like all questions around accountability, the question is, ‘Who made the decision? How was that decision made? Who ultimately signed off on this?’ “

Indigenous leaders and legal experts have long questioned why Ottawa opted to give up an appeal of a court decision that meant Catholic entities didn’t have to pay their remaining financial obligations under the historic Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement.

The actions of the Catholic groups involved — and by extension, the Catholic Church as an institution — as well as Ottawa have been under renewed scrutiny since the uncovering of what are believed to be hundreds of unmarked graves at former residential school sites, which First Nations began announcing last year.

2015 decision dropped appeal

The dispute in question arose years before and culminated in a court decision handed down by a Saskatchewan judge in July 2015.

The residential schools settlement obligated the 48 Catholic entities involved to pay $79 million, which was broken into three parts, including making “best efforts” to raise $25 million for residential school survivors.

There was a disagreement between Ottawa and the Catholic entities about one part of their obligations.

Pope Francis recently completed a six-day ‘pilgrimage of penance’ in Alberta, Quebec and Nunavut. First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities reflected on his apology and visit with hope, disappointment and calls for action.

At issue was whether lawyers for both sides had struck a deal freeing the church groups from all their financial commitments — including the $25 million for survivors — in exchange for a payment of $1.2 million, or only had an agreement covering a more narrow part of their financial responsibilities.

Ultimately, Justice Neil Gabrielson ruled the agreement covered all the church’s financial commitments, allowing Catholic entities to walk away from their fundraising promise to survivors after raising less than $4 million.

Records obtained by The Canadian Press show that a month after that July 2015 decision, federal officials filed a “protective notice of appeal” while negotiating a final release agreement with the Catholic groups.

By Oct. 30, 2015, a final agreement was signed by the former deputy minister in what had been called Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Canada, freeing the Catholic entities of their financial obligations.

“Canada does hereby remise, release and forever discharge the Catholic entities, its directors, officers, shareholders, agents, lawyers, and employees, of and from all manners of actions, causes of action, suits, debts, dues, accounts, bonds whatsoever against the releasees,” it reads.

It continues: “Canada further covenants and agrees not directly or indirectly to join, assist, aid, or act in concert in any manner whatsoever with any person or entity in making any financial claim or demand whatsoever against the releasees.”

Language raises questions about chance of review

The signed agreement was released as part of more than 200 pages of briefing documents and court records prepared for Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller last fall after he committed to finding out what happened that led Canada to abandon its appeal. Many of the government records were redacted either in part or in full.

The process by which the government dropped its appeal of the 2015 ruling began under the Harper government, and the appeal was formally abandoned in November 2015 after the Trudeau Liberals formed government. But Miller has said there is no evidence the new cabinet knew of the agreement.

Miller has, in at least one media interview, expressed openness to the idea of reviewing the government’s 2015 decision.

However, Canada’s agreement to “forever discharge” the Catholic entities and the broad language of the signed document raise questions about whether that can happen.

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller is shown earlier this month during an apology to the Peepeekisis Cree Nation on behalf of the Canadian government. The agreement, signed in 2015, was released as part of over 200 pages of briefing documents and court records prepared for Miller last fall. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

“The minister committed to understanding the circumstances and events that led the appeal to be dropped by the government of the day,” Miller’s office said in a statement Friday.

“He further committed to ensuring that the Catholic Church be held to account.”

A spokesperson also deferred questions to the Department of Justice about the legal fees paid by Canada.

Government documents suggest the decision to appeal hinged on whether the Catholic entities would try to relieve themselves further and broaden it to focus on their non-financial commitments under the settlement agreement.

“Should discussions around the order result in a release that is limited to three financial obligations, Canada will not pursue the appeal,” reads a document dated September 2015. It included an illegible signature from a former minister in Stephen Harper’s then Conservative government, which at the time was in the middle of a federal election campaign.

Miller said it belonged to Bernard Valcourt, Harper’s former minister of Aboriginal affairs.

The document noted releasing them from some of their non-financial obligations “could pose significant risk for Canada.”

“Of particular concern to Canada would be releasing the Catholic entities from obligations such as co-operating in the defence or resolution of all Indian Residential Schools abuse claims outside of the settlement agreement.”

Chance of successful appeal was low: ex-AFN regional chief

While it said the court ruling could free Catholic entities from the “$21.5-million shortfall” of their fundraising campaign for survivors, “the likelihood of compelling the Catholic entities to meet their remaining fundraising obligations is very low.”

Finally, the document said appealing would mean Canada would be back at “square one” when it came to trying to get any agreement in place over settlement money with the Catholic entities.

Ken Young, a former regional chief at the Assembly of First Nations and a residential school survivor, said he doubts Canada would have been successful in an appeal.

“Canada could have litigated until the cows came home,” he said in a recent interview. “I think we’re in a new phase.”

Young, who is critical of how the Catholic churches said fundraising would depend on their “best efforts,” believes leaders have since learned their lesson.

He points to a promise made by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops for dioceses to raise $30 million for reconciliation-related efforts over five years. As of July, they reported raising $4.6 million.

Young believes the bishops will keep their word, but said given the wealth of the Vatican and the Catholic Church as an institution, fundraising shouldn’t be necessary.

“Write a cheque today — never mind bothering your parishioners to raise it.”

[200] John Joseph Collins and Adela Yarbro Collins, Daniel: A Commentary on the Book of Daniel, ed. Frank Moore Cross, Hermeneia — a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1993), 329–333.

Detailed Commentary

I. 8:1–2*. Introduction

1*. In the third year: This vision is dated in sequence after that of chap. 7. For the formula, compare Dan 1:1*. The choice of the third year may be in imitation of that passage.

Daniel: The name is reinforced with the first-person pronoun, אני דניאל. Compare 7:15*, 28*.

after that which appeared to me in the beginning: “That which appeared” refers to the vision in chap. 7. The explicit attempt to relate the two visions is understandable if some time elapsed between their composition, whether by the same author or not.

2*. [I saw in the vision]: This phrase occurs twice in the verse in the MT and also in 4QDana but not in the Greek. Dittography is likely.

I was in the fortified city Susa: Susa was one of the royal residences in the Achaemenid Empire and was renamed Seleucia on the Eulaeus in the Hellenistic period.9 Josephus calls it the “metropolis” of Persia. Elam came under Babylonian control in the time of Nebuchadnezzar.11 A district of Babylon in Achaemenid times bore the name Shushan, probably because it was inhabited by Elamites. The reference here is clearly to the city in Elam.

Opinion has been divided as to whether Daniel was in Susa in body or only in spirit. Josephus says that he went out into the plain with his companions and thus evidently assumes that he was actually there. It is quite conceivable that a high Babylonian official, as Daniel is supposed to have been, would have had occasion to visit Susa. The Syriac version, however, states that Daniel saw in his dream that he was in Susa, that is, that he was there only in the vision.14 The view that he was in Susa in spirit was taken up by Calvin and is generally held by modern commentators.16 Precedent for such transportation in the spirit can be found in Ezek 8:3*; 11:24*; 40:2*. Because there is evident influence of Ezekiel on this chapter in any case, it is likely that Daniel was supposed to be similarly transported.

The location of the vision in Susa, while still in the reign of a Babylonian king, is a clue from the author that the vision concerns the Persian Empire. It is integral to the strategy of the book that Daniel is supposed to see things that happen at a much later time.

the fortified city: This is the standard designation of Susa in the Hebrew Bible (Esth 1:2*, 5*; 2:3*, 5*; etc.; Neh 1:1*). It is a designation of the city, not an installation within it. Compare the ubiquitous references to יב בירתא, “Elephantine the fortress,” in the Elephantine papyri. The terms בירתא and קריתא are used interchangeably for Samaria in the Samaria papyri.

the canal Ulai: This canal had the same name in Akkadian and was later called Eulaeus in classical sources. It has been identified as a large artificial canal.18 Compare the location of Ezekiel’s vision by the river Chebar (Ezek 1:1*).19

II. 8:3–14*. The Vision

3*. behold, a ram: Rams figure prominently in the Animal Apocalypse, where they represent the kings of Israel (1En 89:42–48) and finally Judas Maccabee (90:13). There was, of course, a long tradition of representing Israel as sheep (e.g., Ezekiel 34), and the metaphor of the shepherd was applied to kings throughout the Near East. Ram gods were especially important in Egyptian prophecy.21 In v 20*, below, however, we will be told that this ram represents the kings of Media and Persia. This association has been explained against an astrological background.22 A fragmentary text attributed to Teucer of Babylon contains a list of the signs of the zodiac, each corresponding to a particular country. The ram (κριός) corresponds to Persia. The other animal in Daniel’s vision, the horned goat, is the sign of Capricorn (αἰγόκερως) and corresponds to Syria on this list. This latter identification is less satisfactory, however, because the reference in Daniel is to the king of Greece prior to the division of his empire among the Diadochi. There is also uncertainty as to whether this astral geography was known in Daniel’s time. Teucer is believed to have lived in the first century c.e., and although the “astral geography” may be older, its availability in the second century is undocumented. The relevance of the astral geography, then, is questionable.

standing by the canal: The ram is by the canal, like Daniel himself, in Susa.

with two horns: Josephus (Ant 10.11.7 §270) reads “many horns,” but it is clear from v 20* that the horns represent Media and Persia, respectively. Hence the second is longer and arises last. The representation of Media and Persia as two horns of the same kingdom departs from the view of the four kingdoms standard throughout the book, which treats Media separately. It lends some support to the view that an older vision is being adapted here.26 Jerome interprets the ram as Darius the Mede, whom he identifies as Cyrus’s uncle, Cyaxares, and the long horn as Cyrus himself, but in the following verse Jerome takes the ram as Darius, son of Arsames, who was overthrown by Alexander.

4*. east, west, north, and south: The MT, which lacks “east,” can be taken to refer to Persian expansion toward Greece, including Asia Minor to the north and Egypt to the south, but Persian expansion toward the east would then be left out of account (contrast Esth 1:1*, which gives the extent of the empire as “from India to Ethiopia”).28 The more probable text, attested in Papyrus 967 and 4QDana, had a more comprehensive view of the Persian Empire or simply meant to indicate that the ram was attacking in all directions.

It did as it wished: Compare Dan 11:3*, 13*, 36*.

and grew great: הגדיל can be used positively of Yahweh (Ps 126:2*, 3*) but often has a connotation of rebellion (Jer 48:26*, 42*). Montgomery detects a nuance of affectation, but “grew great” seems justified with reference to the Persian Empire.

5*. I was reflecting: The choice of verb (מבין) provides variation from the predominant reliance on the root ראה. Compare the use of משׂתכל in 7:8*, in contrast to the predominant חזה.

a he-goat came from the west: Jerome and the Peshitta take the goat as Alexander, but it is clear from vv 8* and 21* that he is not the goat but the great horn. For the he-goat (עתוד) as a symbol of princely power, see Isa 14:9*; Ezek 34:17*; Zech 10:3*. Plutarch reports an apparition of two stately goats going through the motions of battle before Sulla’s defeat of Marius.30

without touching the ground: Compare Isa 41:3*, where it is said of Cyrus that “he will not tread a path with his feet,” and also the emphasis on the speed of the Chaldeans in Hab 1:6–8* (cf. 1QpHab 3:2–12).

a conspicuous horn: Compare the horn that grows on the sheep (Judas) in 1En 90:9. The singularity of the horn reflects the singular importance of Alexander the Great. Josephus confuses the imagery by having the horn sprout after the defeat of the ram.

7*. It cast it to the ground and trampled it: Compare the trampling by the fourth beast in Dan 7:7*. It is repeated, with a new object, at 8:10*.

8*. The he-goat grew very great: The aggrandizement of the pagan empires is viewed as a gradual crescendo leading up to the assault of the little horn on the heavenly host. We find a similar crescendo in chap. 11. In contrast, the four-kingdom passages in chaps. 2 and 7 do not have such a developmental aspect.

the great horn was broken: The transparent reference to the death of Alexander has been recognized from Josephus on.

Four grew in its place: These are Alexander’s generals who succeeded him, the Diadochi: Ptolemy Lagus, Philip Aridaeus, Antigonus, and Seleucus Nicanor.

9*. a small horn: The image is borrowed from chap. 7 but fits the context nicely. Chapter 8 differs from chap. 11 in skipping over the history of the Hellenistic kingdoms before Antiochus Epiphanes.

and to the glorious [land]: The readings of the versions presuppose צבא (θʼ) or צפון (OG), which can be understood as attempts to make sense of the more difficult MT reading. From the visionary’s viewpoint, the goal of the little horn’s action was the Jerusalem Temple, and the following verses are largely concerned with the attack on the Jerusalem cult.

10*. It grew great up to the host of heaven: The host of heaven (צבא השמים) connotes both the stars and heavenly beings, either gods or angels. The stars were the visible manifestation of the heavenly beings, but the precise relationship between them is elusive. The distinction, however, is not always observed. At Ugarit the stars appear to be members of the divine council,33 and they are still acknowledged as part of the Canaanite pantheon by Philo of Byblos. Stars were also regarded as divine by Greek philosophers.35 In the Hebrew Bible the “host of heaven” sometimes signifies the pagan deities, which the Israelites are forbidden to worship; thus Deut 4:19*: “Beware lest you lift up your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and worship them and serve them, things that the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.”36 On other occasions the host of heaven is thought to be rebellious against Yahweh. Therefore in Isa 24:21* we are told that “the Lord will punish the host of heaven in heaven and the kings of the earth on the earth. They will be gathered together as prisoners in a pit.” Similarly, in the Book of the Watchers, Enoch is shown “the prison for the stars of heaven and the host of heaven” (1En 18:14). It can also signify Yahweh’s heavenly retinue; thus in 1 Kgs 22:19* (2 Chron 18:18*) Micaiah ben Imlah sees “the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right and on his left.” The divine title יהוה צבאות indicates a positive relationship between Yahweh and the heavenly host. We meet the “prince of the host of Yahweh” (שׂר צבא יהוה) in Josh 5:14*, and the stars fight from heaven for Israel against Sisera in Judg 5:20*.38 In the Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice from Qumran, Yahweh’s hosts are mentioned together with his angels. In 1En 104:2, 4, 6, the righteous are promised that they will shine like the lights of heaven, have joy like the angels of heaven, and become companions to the host of heaven. The parallel to Dan 8:10* in Dan 11:36* says that the king will magnify himself “above every god” (ויתגדל על כל אל). In the context of Daniel 11, it is clear that this includes a reference to the pagan gods, allegedly slighted by Antiochus Epiphanes. In Daniel 8, however, the host must be identified with the “good angels,” and the “prince of the host” (8:11a*, if indeed the reading is not corrupt) is the God of the traditional Jerusalem cult.

The elevation of the little horn to the stars has a clear biblical precedent in Isa 14:12–15*:

“How you are fallen from heaven, Day Star,

son of Dawn [Helal ben Shachar]…

You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven;

above the stars of God I will set my throne on high;

I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north;…

I will make myself like the Most High.’

But you are brought down to Sheol,

to the depths of the Pit.”

This passage is an allegory of the career of the king of Babylon but evidently presupposes a myth about the unsuccessful aspiration of the Day Star. Because Isaiah 14 is concerned with a Babylonian king, a number of scholars have assumed that this tradition is of Babylonian origin and, specifically, that it was related to the negative portrayal of Nabonidus by the Babylonian clergy. The motif of ascent above the stars is not found in the cuneiform texts relating to Nabonidus, however, or in any Babylonian source. The reference to “the mount of assembly in the far north” (Isa 14:13*) suggests that it was originally a Canaanite myth. In fact, there is a fragmentary Ugaritic myth that tells how ‛Aṯtar, the morning star, attempted to take over Ba‛al’s throne but proved inadequate. This myth provides a more plausible background for Isaiah’s taunt song than the hypothetical Babylonian tradition.

it threw down some of the host and some of the stars to the earth: The host appears as stars in the vision. The motif of throwing down the stars is not found in Isaiah 14. It is found in Rev 12:4*, where the dragon sweeps a third of the stars of heaven with his tail and casts them to earth. The author of Revelation was well acquainted with Daniel but alludes to various traditions, especially in chap. 12, and the red dragon owes something to the portrayal of Typhon/Typhoeus in Greek and Egyptian tradition. Typhon is said to make an assault on the stars and to knock some of them from the sky in the elaborate retelling of the myth by Nonnus of Panopolis in Egypt in the fifth century c.e.48 One of Typhon’s motives was to gain the throne of Zeus. There is no question of influence on Nonnus from the biblical tradition, and the Typhon myth has been thought to be of Semitic origin.49 The motif of knocking down the stars was known in the ancient eastern Mediterranean world apart from Daniel, and although we cannot identify a source from which Daniel might have adapted it, it is likely to have been a traditional motif.

A Ladder with Nine Rungs with Gleaming Light on Top in the Style of Paul Klee. Midjourney. 8/24/22. I was nonetheless pleased with the ~14 rungs.

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Community Organizer. Enemy Lover. Pastor. Practices honest, serious, loving and fun discourse. (Yes, still just practicing.) Author of According to Folly, etc.

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Daniel Heck

Daniel Heck

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Community Organizer. Enemy Lover. Pastor. Practices honest, serious, loving and fun discourse. (Yes, still just practicing.) Author of According to Folly, etc.