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Chapter 180 - The plan of the young Pharisee
180,1. This district, otherwise, was notorious for its witty residents. Anyone wishing to take it up with them, especially with the Greeks, would have to be of sound mind. And the Pharisees therefore were conscious of what it was like arguing with the people and therefore retorted very little this time, and made their way home. But they brooded the more at home over how to cast suspicion on Me before the people, or to even basically destroy Me.
180,2. One of a better spirit among them however, to whom the deliberations were getting too drawn-out, finally said: ‘Brethren! For whatever my opinion may count, I suggest we now get our sleep, so that tomorrow we are all there with head and heart. Of what use all our brooding and scheming today? Tomorrow is another day. Let us see what tomorrow will bring and then we shall with Jehovah’s help be in the clear about what this man is about. That this is something most singular, cannot be questioned in the least, because the healing of the possessed at the shore, just from the boat, without him being touched is a phenomenon that to my knowledge has not been with us yet.
180,3. And therefore let us wait for what else follows tomorrow and we shall be more likely to judge properly. For it would be too risky to blindly condemn him, especially the way the people are worked up, since they have for a long time been siding with the Greeks rather than us, who have been a thorn in their flesh for some time. Therefore take note of my well-considered opinion. Tomorrow is another day, which could turn out more favorably for us than today.’
180,4. Says another: ‘Should we not do something about our being abused that way by the people? Should we go to sleep on that too and grow no gray hair over it and forget it as if it had never happened, taking no revenge?’
180,5. Says the better one: ‘Shake them down for a sacrifice, if you can. Or call the culprits to account today or tomorrow, if you can. What can one do against many? Keeping quiet about it seems the most advisable thing to me, at least for the present. But if you want to take action straight away, then no law will keep you from it. I for one however shall first wait for the outcome to this story before taking the appropriate action. Let ripen the apple on the tree, if you do not like biting into a sour one. Do you get me?’
180,6. After these words of the better Pharisee, who still was young and zestful and did not feel much solidarity with the old money-bag heroes, several Pharisees and scribes went to take their rest, but nevertheless still appointed one of their servants to keep watch, so that they would not over sleep the start of the magician’s story.
180,7. The better Pharisee however, after all the others, including the watch, had fallen into heavy sleep, went outside to work out how to sabotage the old ones’ evil schemes. He reasoned thus: ‘If only I could get to this wondrous man, I could show him how he could carry out his healings without my colleagues’ molestations. But how get to him? The agitated people surround the house and I notice that the sick already are being escorted and carried there. But I know what I will do. I will go over to the people and tell them straight where I stand, showing them my hostility towards the old money zealots and that I intend to confide something to the wondrous man, without which he shall hardly be allowed to carry on his healings. If the people let me, good, if not, I shall at least have followed my conscience.’
180,8. With these thoughts he goes back to the people, who in the moonlit night can make him out quite well as the familiar young rabbi.
180,9. Those Greeks who had formerly been Jews go to meet him at once, asking in a brutish manner what he is up to at such hour and whether he actually is a spy. But he says amicably and confidingly: ‘Dear men and friends, my skin is indeed covered with Pharisaical clothing and as you know I am a Pharisee in actuality, for as first-born of a well-to-do home in Jerusalem, I had to become what my unprincipled parents wanted. And therefore I am externally indeed a Pharisee, yet in my heart less so than all of you, although you now are Greeks.
180,10. My intentions are simply this: you know my colleagues as well as I do and what rights they arrogate to themselves. They are theologians and no one other than they is allowed to understand Scripture, although between ourselves, they probably understand any other thing better than Scripture, but they are selected for it by the Temple and they exercise their purported rights and you can do nothing about it.
180,11. They also are doctors and do not like anyone to come along and through his skill diminish their income. Through this also they enjoy a Temple privilege and know how to fight for their rights and you can do nothing about that.
180,12. They are also, in certain cases prescribed by Moses, judges and Lords of life and death over their subordinates, and can exercise such rights when and on whoever they like without being accountable for it. They have only to submit to the Temple, besides the yearly amount of lease for the Synagogue and school, a list every year and are praised the more for the length of the list of those whom they have judged.
180,13. Because all of these offices have for a long time been either sold or leased, here we are only lessee and I myself only a sub-lessee.
180,14. I tell you, such Synagogue or school costs much money in the Temple. And in order to bring in the more from those to whom assigned, it is loaded by the Temple with all kinds of frills which such renter then will not, with the law on his side, suffer to be diminished too easily.
180,15. One cannot of course become a buyer or renter of a Synagogue or school until consecrated by a Pharisee by the Temple, under the strictest oaths. Once a Pharisee however, it is no longer easy to become a non-Pharisee.
180,16. And see, although a true Jew should spit at such Temple fraud, they nevertheless are even acknowledged and sanctioned by the state and you can do nothing about it. I could tell you more, but it is sufficient to at least show you within what rights the Pharisees are moving, against which, for the time being, nothing can be undertaken.
180,17. Had I not used my good offices in the good cause with the old, vindictive colleagues, then you would have already been in big trouble, because they were about to send for a legion of soldiers to Capernaum, to hand the entire house over to the court. I therefore am your friend and not your enemy and even less a capricious, hostile spy. Only do not betray me please. But if some good advice on my part does not seem too remiss to you, then hear me with all patience.’
180,18. Say the three: ‘You seem genuine to us and so tell us what we should do. But do not dare to deceive us, or it would cost you your life.’
180,19. Says the young Pharisee: ‘I do not fear that, and if I had a hundred lives, I would give them as testimony to my sincerity. And so hear me: you know that, with the Pharisees, what matters to the exclusion of everything else, is income. Go over to them in the morning therefore and agree with them upon a sum for which the wonder-doctor residing here can heal the sick tomorrow morning without objection. And the old money-brokers shall give you the authority without further ado. If however you are not able to immediately put down the money, then promise to do so and it will still work out.
180,20. I would only add the following for the wondrous man: that he firstly leaves this area after the healing of the sick, or else the money-hungry Pharisees would straight away demand a second money-payment from you. And that secondly, since such wonder-doctors normally extend into the prophetic field, starting to work on the people spiritually, he should not start such here, not because of me, but the old ones, who in this respect are intolerable here precisely on account of you Greeks.
180,21. And finally, that the people do not refer to him as Son of David in front of the old foxes, for this is the scariest of all scares for my old colleagues. If all this is adhered to, then everything – as I wish with all my heart – may come off quietly. In the alternative case it may come to a terrifying row.
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