Tagged: mercy

Luke 18:1-8

This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on October 16th, 2016.


widow3As a modern day reader, and considering our familiarity with the Bible and the general structure of parables, our first inclination might be to think that the author is describing how the judge and the Lord in this parable are similar.  In fact, this parable sets up a contrast between how the Lord administers justice to those in need and the judge who administers justice after being inconvenienced by constant pleas from the widow.  While the judge gives justice because of badgering, the Lord gives justice to someone who “always prays and [does] not lose heart.”

This parable is focused on prayer and plays on the contrast in status between a judge and a widow.  In those times, the role of a judge was to maintain peaceful community and resolve disputes among the Israelites.  Women, on the other hand, relied on the support given by their husband.  When their husband was not in the picture anymore, they did not inherit property from their husband; instead, it was passed on to either the husband’s male offspring or his brothers.  In some cases, these widows were taken in by the other family members of her late-husband or left to fend for themselves.  Since there was no jury to hear the case of the widow, the judge carried the sole responsibility of dealing with her complaint in a fair and impartial manner – as according to the law set out in Deuteronomy.  Additionally, they were required to show the same amount of respect to the small cases as the large.

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