Greek Study Luke 16:1-13
v1 πλουσιος adj. "rich"
οικονομον (ος) "manager" - steward. A trusted manager of a person's estate.
διεβληθη (διαβαλλω) aor. pas. "accused" A Hapax; expressing an aggressive accusation.
διασκορπιζων (διασκορπιζω) pres. part. "squandering, scattering” the essence of the charge, we are not told in what way the manager squandered.
v2 αποδος (αποδιδωμι) aor. imp. "give render, produce”
τον λογον "an account" – word - final accounts, this is not an audit, it is a closing of the books. The dishonesty/squandering is forgone by this point so the steward is not trying to hide responsibility, he has already been found wanting. The remainder of the verse affirms this.
v3 ο κυριος (ος) μου "my master/lord. "employer” is best use here. The word is used here, in v5 and v8 but in v8 it is problematical.
σκαπειν (σκαπτω) pres. inf. "[I'm not strong enough] to dig" a complementary infinitive usually follows the verb it is completing, here it is a “dependent statement of perception” – a musing if you will so to be translated idiomatically as "what shall I do now that my employer is taking the accounts away from me, I'm not strong enough for manual labor and I'm not up for charity."
v4 μετασταθω (μεθιστημι) aor. subj. "[when] I a fired".
υοικους, of his former debtors. His employer’s debtors will help finance his forced bout
v5 προσκαλεσαμενος (προσκαλεομαι) aor. part. "he called in" – there is another pun here, when Jesus “calls” disciples, Luke uses this same word (5:1)
v6 Two examples are provided describing the nature of the embezzlement, vv6-7.
βατους (ος) acc. "[nine hundred] gallons" - [one hundred] barrels [of olive oil]. The Hebrew batos was about 9 gallons – this total was three years' wages for a laborer.
v7 κορους (ος) acc. "[a thousand] bushels [of wheat]" - A cors is a dry measure of about twelve bushels, 390 liters; or ten years' wages for a laborer!
v8a We now comes the contentious verse. There are three basic ways to approach it:
- The verse is part of the parable, where the narrator notes the employer’s response and comments on it;
- The verse is wholly part of Jesus' application of the parable, "The Lord (Jesus) commended the worldly manager ....", or
- The first half of the verse is part of the parable and the second half is Jesus' application, or even an editorial comment by Luke Danker opts for this.
ο κυριος (ος) "the master" - employer or Jesus. The use of the definite article alone here is at issue, and it DOES make a difference whether Jesus is passing on a second hand commendation of the servant’s dishonesty or commending the action Himself.
επηνεσεν (επαινεω) aor. "commended" – this cannot be ignored, although note this is the only use of the word in Luke, so sarcasm is possible if unlikely. It is usually suggested that the master praised his employee because:
- the discounted invoice made the master look generous;
- the manager had rewritten the invoice removing improperly added interest, interest applied in defiance of the Law; or
- the master admired the shrewdness of his employee. The third option seems best.
So the master praised the crooked manager because he knew how to look after himself from a worldly point of view.
v8b Application, v8b. Jesus seems to draw thiw observation from the parable, the "righteous", unlike the worldly wise, when faced with the day of judgment don't use their resources well. Knowing life on earth is transient, instead of using mammon to secure a place in eternity they use it in the here and now. They bet on the wrong horse knowing in advance it is going to lose.
του αιωνος τουτου gen. "[the people] of this age/world" – attributive so "those who belong to this age" or better "worldly people" who stand over and against τους υιους του φωτος, "the sons of light". Similar language was used by the Qumran community and this is a Palestinian way of our secular/sacred divide.
φρονιμωτεροι adj. "[are more] shrewd [.......than]"
εις την ενεαν την εαυτων "in dealing with their own kind" an idiomatic phrase; "the people of this world look out for themselves better than we do!"
v9 The utilitarian element here is echoed in the Didache, if you can't be perfect do the best you can.
ποιησατε (ποιεω) aor. imp. "use/make”
της αδικιας (α) gen. "unrighteous [wealth]" Mammon entails everything that makes up this world's resources upon which humans rely: time, energy, talents, possessions and specifically that which these generate, "money". As for "mammon" being "unrighteous", the sense is here is "the things of this world in which one puts their trust".
φιλους (ος) "friends" - There the exhortation in this verse may be about the generous allocation of wealth to the poor, a kindness repaid in eternity (where Lazarus is poor no more.” By giving alms, the poor become friends, and since the poor, like Lazarus, are found in eternal dwellings, they will be there to welcome us when we arrive. Is this works righteousness? More like James, the obligations of faith – more in the OT prophetic line.
δεξωνται (δεχομαι) aor. mid. subj. "They may welcome you" - possibly a Hebraistic passive with God as the agent (so you may be received by God)", but it is more likely "they" are "the poor."
v10 The saying reveal the divine expectation for the proper use of μαμωνας, This saying of Jesus reinforces the point of the parable, that the "children of the age to come" are anything but sensible when it comes to using mammon wisely.
ο πιστος "whoever can be show faith" in ελαχιστοω adj. "very little"
v11 ουκ εγενεσθε (γινομαι) aor. "[if] you have not been" πιστοι adj. "faithful". It is an interesting idea that we are mere custodians, rather than owners, repeated in v12.
το αληθινον adj. "with true riches" - the real thing as opposed to unrighteous mammon.
v12 Note the allusion again to "someone else's property". Is the "someone else" God or is this just a general statement, i.e. trustworthiness dealing with others?
tω αλλοτριω dat. adj. "someone else's property"
το υμετερον adj. "property of your own" An eschatological interpretation is dominant among commentators; that which is on loan to us on earth does not compare with what we will possess in eternity.
v13 δουλευειν (δουλευω) pres. inf. "[can] serve" δυσι κυριοις (ος) dat. "two lords" ‘serving” or “slavery” implies an exclusive relationship.
mishsei (misew) fut. "will hate" – begins a string of future tenses- ανθεξεται (αντεχομαι) fut. "he/you will be loyal to
καταφρονησει (καταφρονεω) fut. "despise" hold in little respect and here is the root of our modern problem, in that we respect mammon over God. a