English Standard Version
Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”
King James Bible
And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.
American Standard Version
And soldiers also asked him, saying, And we, what must we do? And he said unto them, Extort from no man by violence, neither accuse any one wrongfully; and be content with your wages.
And the soldiers also asked him, saying: And what shall we do? And he said to them: Do violence to no man; neither calumniate any man; and be content with your pay.
English Revised Version
And soldiers also asked him, saying, And we, what must we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither exact anything wrongfully; and be content with your wages.
Webster's Bible Translation
And the soldiers likewise asked him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said to them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely, and be content with your wages.
Weymouth New Testament
The soldiers also once and again inquired of him, "And we, what are we to do?" His answer was, "Neither intimidate any one nor lay false charges; and be content with your pay."
Luke 3:14 Parallel
CommentaryVincent's Word Studies
Strictly, soldiers on service: hence the participle, serving as soldiers, instead of the more comprehensive term στρατιῶται, soldiers by profession. Some explain it of soldiers engaged in police inspection in connection with the customs, and hence naturally associated with the publicans.
What shall we do?
The we in the Greek is emphatic, closing the question. Hence Rev., very aptly, and we, what must we do?
Do violence (διασείσητε)
Only here in New Testament. Lit., to shake violently; hence to agitate or terrify; and so to extort money from one by terrifying him. The corresponding Latin word concutere is used by later writers in the same sense. Xenophon says of Socrates' "I know of his once having heard from Crito that life at Athens was a hard thing for a man who desired to mind his own business. 'For,' said he, 'they bring actions against me, not because they are wronged by me, but because they think I would rather pay money than have any trouble'" ("Memorabilia," ii., 9, 1). For this process of blackmail, σείω, to shake, was used. Thus Aristophanes ("Knights," 840):
"Thou shalt make much money by falsely accusing and frightening" (σείων τε καῖ ταράττων).
And again ("Peace," 639):
"And of their allies they falsely accused (ἔσειον) the substantial and rich."
The word in this passage of Luke has the later, secondary meaning, to extort; and therefore the American Revisers rightly insist on, extort from no man by violence. It is used by medical writers, as, for instance, by Hippocrates, of shaking the palsied or benumbed limbs of a patient; or of a shaking by which the liver was relieved of an obstruction. Luke also uses two other compounds of the verb σείω: κατασείω, to beckon, Acts 12:17 (peculiar to Luke); and ἀνασέιω, to stir up, which occurs also in Mark 15:11. Both these are also used by medical writers.
Accuse any falsely (συκοφαντήσητε)
The common explanation of this word is based on the derivation from σῦκον, a fig, and φαίνω, to make known ; hence of informing against persons who exported figs from Attica, contrary to the law, or who plundered sacred fig-trees. As informers were tempted to accuse innocent persons by the reward paid for pointing out violators of the law, the verb acquired the meaning to accuse falsely. Such is the old explanation, which is now rejected by scholars, though the real explanation is merely conjectural. The fig-tree was the pride of Attica, ranking with honey and olives as one of the principal products, and there is no authority for the statement that there was a time when figs were scarce, and required legal protection against export. Neither is it proven that there was a sacred kind of fig. Rettig, in an interesting paper in the "Studten und Kritiken" (1838), explains that, as tribute in Attica was paid in kind as well as in money, and as figs represented a great deal of property, there was a temptation to make false returns of the amount of figs to the assessors; and that thus a class of informers arose who detected and reported these false returns, and received a percentage of the fine which was imposed. These were known as fig shewers. Another writer has suggested that the reference is to one who brings figs to light by shaking the tree; and so, metaphorically, to one who makes rich men yield up the fruits of their labor or rascality by false accusation. Whatever explanation we may accept, it is evident that the word had some original connection with figs, and that it came to mean to slander or accuse falsely. From it comes our word sycophant. The sycophants as a class were encouraged at Athens, and their services were rewarded. Socrates is said by Xenophon to have advised Crito to take a sycophant into his pay, in order to thwart another who was annoying him; and this person, says Xenophon, "quickly discovered on the part of Crito's accusers many illegal acts, and many persons who were enemies to those accusers; one of whom he summoned to a public trial, in which it would be settled what he should suffer or pay, and he would not let him off until he ceased to molest Crito and paid a sum of money besides." Demosthenes thus describes one: "He glides about the market like a scorpion, with his venomous sting all ready, spying out whom he may surprise with misfortune and ruin, and from whom he can most easily extort money, by threatening him with an action dangerous in its consequences....It is the bane of our city that it protects and cherishes this poisonous brood, and uses them as informers, so that even the honest man must flatter and court them, in order to be safe from their machinations." The word occurs only here and Luke 19:8, of Zacchaeus, the publican. The American Revisers hold to the A. V., and render neither accuse any one wrongfully, extortion being described by the previous word. Wyc., neither make ye false challenge. In the Sept. it is used in the sense of to oppress or deceive.
From ὄψον, cooked meat, and later, generally, provisions. At Athens, especially, fish. Compare ὀψάριον, fish, John 21:9, John 21:10, John 21:13. Hence ὀψώνιον is primarily provision-money, and so used of supplies and pay for an army. With this understanding the use of the word at Romans 6:23, "the wages of sin," becomes highly suggestive.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Do violence to no man. or, Put no man in fear.
wages. or, allowance.
"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
"You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.
And the crowds asked him, "What then shall we do?"
And he said to them, "Collect no more than you are authorized to do."
And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold."
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
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