Luke Jewish New Testament and comment David H. Stern

chapter 18
1. Then Yeshua told his talmidim a parable, in order to impress on them that they must always keep praying and not lose heart.
2. “In a certain town, there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected other people.
3. There was also in that town a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me a judgment against the man who is trying to ruin me.’
4. For a long time he refused; but after awhile, he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God, and I don’t respect other people;
5. but because this widow is such a nudnik, I will see to it that she gets justice — otherwise, she’ll keep coming and pestering me till she wears me out!’”
Because this widow is such a nudnik, literally, "because this widow causes me trouble, bothers me." The Yiddish word "nudnik" means "someone who persistently bores, pesters, nags." It captures precisely the particular kind of bothering and trouble the corrupt judge experiences.

6. Then the Lord commented, “Notice what this corrupt judge says.
7. Now won’t God grant justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Is he delaying long over them?
Is he delaying long over them? It would seem so — the words were spoken nearly two thousand years ago, and the final vindication is yet to come. But 2 Ke 3:8-9 sets things in the right perspective: God is not slack in his dealings with humanity in the sense that people understand the term "slackness," for with him "one day is like a thousand years" (Kefa quotes Psalm 90:4). And God's motive for delaying? To bring people to repentance (Ro 2:4-6).

Yeshua depicts an Oriental judge who can be approached without the bureaucratic entanglements of the modern West, a man without conscience but with a human weakness that ultimately leads him to grant genuine justice in spite of himself. If a corrupt judge finally gives in to a widow's pestering, how much more will God, who is altogether just, respond to his chosen people's continual prayers (as opposed to the widow's occasional visits), such as, "Adonai, how long will you look on? Rescue me from their destructions, my only one from the lions" (Psalm 35:17), or, "O God, how long will the adversary insult? Will the enemy blaspheme your name forever?" (Psalm 74:10).

8. I tell you that he will judge in their favor, and quickly! But when the Son of Man comes, will he find this trust on the earth at all?”
9. Also, to some who were relying on their own righteousness and looking down on everyone else, he told this parable:
10. “Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Parush and the other a tax-collector.
The Parush had high social status, while the tax-collector was despised (see Mt 5:46N).

11. The Parush stood and prayed to himself, ‘O God! I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity — greedy, dishonest, immoral, or like this tax-collector!
Prayed to himself and not to God, in spite of his addressing God. He wasn't in contact with God at all but merely boasted and justified himself. Alternatively, "prayed about himself."

12. I fast twice a week, I pay tithes on my entire income,..’"
I fast twice a week. There is no evidence that the Pharisees as a group fasted twice a week, although they did fast "frequently" (Mt 9:14). The Talmud speaks of one who "undertakes to fast every Monday and Thursday throughout the year" as not unusual but nevertheless not the norm (Ta'anit 12a). Within the framework of trusting God, fasting was and is a normal part of a believer's life (Isaiah 58:1-12, Mt 6:16-18, 9:14-17).

I pay tithes on my entire income. The requirement to pay ten percent of income is based on Leviticus 27:30-33 and Numbers 18:21-26; and it is discussed in tractate Ma'aserot of the Talmud, which sets forth which products must be tithed and states the principle that only tithed produce may be eaten (thus untithed produce is not kosher). The Mishna says, "A person who undertakes to be reliable must tithe what he eats, what he sells and what he buys; and he may not stay as a guest with an 'am-ha'areti (an unlearned man)" (Demai 2:2). But in general tithing all of one's income was regarded as beyond the call of duty. I would suppose this Parush felt he was doing something special and unique for God, for which God owed him thanks and reward. Such a mentality is. of course, neither peculiar to Pharisees in particular nor unbelievers in general; on the contrary, it is those who consider themselves believers who seem to be especially susceptible to this sort of false pride.

13. But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes toward heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God! Have mercy on me, sinner that I am!’
Sinner that I am, literally, "the sinner." He experienced the depth of his own sin and was utterly remorseful and repentant, and as a result God forgave him (v. 14).

14. I tell you, this man went down to his home right with God rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but everyone who humbles himself will be exalted.”
10-14 Because those who reject the Gospel sometimes accuse evangelists of acting "holier-than-thou," it is noteworthy that it was Isaiah who first used that phrase, referring to Israel in rebellion against God: "[They] say, 'Stand apart, don't come near me, for I am holier than thou'"(Isaiah 65:5). Unfortunately, God's people are susceptible to this most offensive of sins, against which both Tanakh and New Testament severely warn, religious pride.

15. People brought him babies to touch; but when the talmidim saw the people doing this, they rebuked them.
People brought him babies to touch. Yeshua was to lay hands on them and bless them. SeeMk 10:16N.

16. However, Yeshua called the children to him and said, “Let the children come to me, and stop hindering them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
17. Yes! I tell you that whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will not enter it at all!”
18. One of the leaders asked him, “Good rabbi, what should I do to obtain eternal life?”
19. Yeshua said to him, “Why are you calling me good? No one is good but God!
See Mk 10:18N.

20. You know the mitzvot - 'Don’t commit adultery, don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t give false testimony, honor your father and mother,..' (Exodus 20:12–13(16); Deuteronomy 5:16–17(20))
Yeshua cites the sixth through ninth and the fifth of the Ten Commandments (see Mt 5:2IN), the ones concerning relationships with other people.

21. He replied, “I have kept all these since I was a boy.”
22. On hearing this Yeshua said to him, “There is one thing you still lack. Sell whatever you have, distribute the proceeds to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come, follow me!”
23. But when the man heard this, he became very sad, because he was very rich.
Sell whatever you have and distribute the proceeds to the poor. Rabbi Yitzchak of Troki, the sixteenth-century Karaite polemicist whose Chizzuk-Emunah remains the most comprehensive summary of traditional Judaism's arguments against the New Testament, writes that although Christians claim the Law of Moses was too demanding and Yeshua's law is easier to observe, his decree that this young ruler should give away his entire inheritance to the poor is far more strict than the Torah, which requires only that he give a tenth of the income the inheritance produces and nothing from the capital.

But why should Rav Yitzchak assume that Yeshua's prescription for this man was intended for everyone? A doctor does not ask all his patients to take the same medicine. Yeshua was making known not God's will for all men at all times, but his will for this man then. The man became very sad precisely because he had a different will of his own. On the other hand, for those whose attachment to their wealth stands in the way of their faith God's will today may be the same as for this rich man.

You will have riches in heaven. Compare Sirach 29:11, "Lay up treasure for yourself according to the commands of the Most High, and it will bring you more profit than gold."

24. Yeshua looked at him and said, “How hard it is for people with wealth to enter the Kingdom of God!
25. It’s easier for a camel to pass through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God!”
26. Those who heard this asked, “Then who can be saved?”
27. He said, “What is impossible humanly is possible with God.”
28. Kefa said, “Look, we have left our homes and followed you.”
29. Yeshua answered them, “Yes! I tell you that everyone who has left house, wife, brothers, parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God,
30. will receive many times as much in the ‘olam hazeh, and in the ‘olam haba eternal life.”
31. Then, taking the Twelve, Yeshua said to them, “We are now going up to Yerushalayim, where everything written through the prophets about the Son of Man will come true.
32. For he will be handed over to the Goyim and be ridiculed, insulted and spat upon.
33. Then, after they have beaten him, they will kill him. But on the third day he will rise.”
34. However, they understood none of this; its meaning had been hidden from them, and they had no idea what he was talking about.
35. As Yeshua approached Yericho, a blind man was sitting by the road, begging.
36. When he heard the crowd going past, he asked what it was all about;
37. and they told him, “Yeshua from Natzeret is passing by.”
38. He called out, “Yeshua! Son of David! Have pity on me!”
See Mt 1:1N on Son of David.

39. Those in front scolded him in order to get him to shut up, but he shouted all the louder, “Son of David! Have pity on me!”
40. Yeshua stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he had come, Yeshua asked him,
41. “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said, “Lord, let me be able to see.”
42. Yeshua said to him, “See again! your trust has healed you!”
43. Instantly he received his sight and began following him, glorifying God; and when all the people saw it, they too praised God.

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