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ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδεσπότῃ


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Through the synoptic Greek gospels the writers have Jesus using the phrase οἰκοδεσπότ* in his comparison stories in his teachings.


Matthew has Jesus self identifying by this phrase, even if it's name calling by others that he's acknowledging. For example, as we read already this year in chapter 10, Jesus says this:


But when they persecute you in one town make your escape to the next. Believe me, you will not have covered the towns of Israel before the Son of the Human Being arrives. The disciple is not superior to his teacher any more than the servant is superior to his master, for what is good enough for the teacher is good enough for the disciple as well, and the servant will not fare better than his master. If men call [οἰκοδεσπότην] the master of the household the ‘Prince of Evil’, what sort of names will they give to his Servants?


That's J. B. Phillips's British English version, where he renders the disparaging phrase Βεελζεβοὺλ as the ‘Prince of Evil’ and the self appellation ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου as the Son of Man.

I myself changed his "Man" to my "the Human Being." In the context of Matthew's Jesus, I don't think that's a bad idea. That is it seems Jesus is constantly pointing to the Empire that's Way Beyond the Blue and contrasting it with the Empire of Rome and with the Human Kingdoms here on this Earth including in Israel and in Egypt, all places where he grew up.

And so when we listen to Jesus telling a new parable in Matthew 20, we see this. He starts his comparison story with these hierarchies, with those differences, in tact:

ὁμοία γάρ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδεσπότῃ ὅστις ἐξῆλθεν ἅμα πρωῒ μισθώσασθαι ἐργάτας εἰς τὸν ἀμπελῶνα αὐτοῦ.

J. B. Phillips has him start in this way (but again we need to change his English up here a bit to keep it consistent in relation to his chapter 10 rendering and to better reflect Matthew's Greek throughout):

For the Empire Eternal, Way Beyond the Blue, is like a Mortal Human Master of the household down here on Earth going out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard.

Edited by jkgayle
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