Translation Chapter 19

‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)at the house of Zakkai

19 ‘Īsā entered Jericho and was passing through. 2A man named Zakkai was there. He was chief tax-collector and he was rich. 3 He wanted to see who ‘Īsā was, but was not able to because of the crowd, and because he was a short man. 4So he ran ahead and climbed into a sycamore fig tree in order to see ‘Īsā, who was about to pass that way. 5When ‘Īsā came to that place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Hurry and come down, Zakkai. I must stay at your house today.’

6 Zakkai hurried down and welcomed ‘Īsā joyfully. 7Everyone who saw this began to complain, ‘He’s gone to be the guest of a sinner![1].’

8But Zakkai stood up and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Master! I’m going to give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I’ve cheated anyone out of anything, I’m going to give back four times as much.’

9‘Īsā said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Ibrāhīm[2]. 10For the Son of Man[3]came to seek and to save the lost.’

The parable of the king, the servants and the money

11While the people were listening to this, ‘Īsā went on to tell a parable, because he was close to Jerusalem, and they were thinking that the kingdom of Allah[4]was about to appear at once. 12 So he said, ‘There was a man of noble birth who was about to go to a distant country to have himself made king and then return. 13 He called ten of his servants and gave them each one mina[5]and said to them, “Trade with this money, because I am coming back.”

14 ‘But his citizens hated him and sent representatives after him to say, “We do not want this man to rule over us.”

15 ‘He was appointed king and returned to his own land. He then sent for the servants to whom he’d given the money, to find out how they had got on with their trading.

16 The first servant arrived and said, “Master, your mina has earned ten more minas.”

17‘“Well done, you excellent servant!” the master replied, “Since you’ve been trustworthy with a very small amount, you can take charge of ten cities.”

18 ‘The second servant came and said, “Master, your mina has made five more minas.”

19‘“And you can take charge of five cities,” his master told him.

20‘Then another servant came and said, “Master, here’s your mina. I wrapped it in a cloth and stored it away. 21 I was afraid of you, because you’re a hard man. You pick up what you didn’t put down, and you reap what you didn’t sow.”

22 ‘His master replied, “You useless servant! I will condemn you with your own words! You knew, did you, that I’m a hard man, picking up what I didn’t put down and reaping what I didn’t sow? 23 Why didn’t you put my money in the bank? Then when I came I could have got it back with interest.”[6]

24 ‘“Take the mina from him,” the master said to the servants standing by, “and give it to the one who has ten minas.”

25 ‘”But master,” they said, “he’s got ten minas.”

26 ‘“I tell you, everyone who has will be given more, but anyone who does not have, even what they do have will be taken away. 27 But as for those enemies of mine who did not want me to rule over them; bring them here and slay them in my presence.”’

Al-Masīh ‘Īsā (hpbuu) rides into Jerusalem as King

28 When ‘Īsā had finished speaking, he went on ahead, making his way up to Jerusalem. 29As he drew near Bethpage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, he sent ahead two of the disciples, 30 saying to them, ‘Go into the village over there. As you enter it, you’ll find a colt tied up, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and lead it here. 31 If someone asks you why you’re untying it, tell them, “The Lord needs it.”’

32 The disciples who were sent left and found everything just as ‘Īsā had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’

34 The disciples replied, ‘The Lord needs it.’

35 They led the colt to ‘Īsā, put their cloaks on it and then seated ‘Īsā on it[7].36 As he rode along, others were spreading their cloaks on the road.37 By this time he was close to where the road descends from the Mount of Olives, and the whole crowd of his disciples started to praise Allah joyfully and in loud voices for all the powerful miracles they had seen. 38They shouted,

‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord![8]

            Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’

39 Some of the Pharisees who were in the crowd said to ‘Īsā, ‘Teacher, tell your disciples to stop saying these things.’

40 ‘I tell you,’ he answered, ‘if they keep quiet, the stones would shout out.’

‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)weeps over Jerusalem

41 As ‘Īsā approached Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it. 42 He said, ‘If only you, even you, had recognised on this day what would bring you peace. But now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will set up a barricade around you. They will surround you and close in on you from every side. 44 Then they will dash you and your children within you to the ground. They will not leave one stone upon another, because you did not recognise the time when you were visited.’[9]

‘Īsā al-Masīh (hpbuu)clears al-Bayt ul-Muqaddas of those who were trading there

45 ‘Īsā entered al-Bayt ul-Muqaddas and began to drive out those who were selling things there[10].46 He said to them, ‘It is written, “My house will be a house of prayer”[11], but you’ve made it “a den of robbers.”’[12]

47 ‘Īsā taught every day in al-Bayt ul-Muqaddas. The chief imāms[13], ulemā and leaders of the people were trying to kill him. 48 But they could not find an opportunity to do it, because all the people were hanging on his words.

 

[1]Tax collectors were regarded as ‘sinners’ by many Jews because they worked for the Romans who were occupying Palestine and were thus regarded as traitors. They were also often greedy and corrupt.

[2]On the theme of ‘children of Ibrāhīm’, compare al-Masīh ‘Īsā’s words here with Injīl, Luke 3:8 where Prophet Yahyā (pbuh)says to the Jews who were coming to him,

Produce fruit that shows you have repented, and do not begin to say among yourselves, “We have Ibrāhīm as our father.” For I say to you that Allah is able from these stones to raise up children for Ibrāhīm.’

[3]The Son of Man’ is a title al-Masīh ‘Īsā (hpbuu)often used for himself. For more details, see Appendix E, ‘The Title: “the Son of Man”‘.

[4]Or, ‘reign of Allah’. Allah SWT always has reigned and always will reign. However, many Jews of ‘Īsā al-Masīh’s day were waiting and hoping for the age to come, when Allah’s reign would be complete and unopposed. At that time, Allah would completely overthrow evil, put the world right and rescue his people from their pagan enemies. It seems that these people’s expectation of the immediate appearance of the kingdom of Allah is connected to their belief that Prophet ‘Īsā (hpbuu)is al-Masīh, the expected king from the house of Prophet Dāwūd (pbuh), and that Hazrat ‘Īsā is approaching Jerusalem, the seat of royal power. For more details, see Appendix D, ‘The Kingdom of Allah’.

As events unfold, it appears that these people were both right and wrong. Prophet ‘Īsā (hpbuu)is al-Masīh, the King, but they had misunderstood what kind of Masīh he would be and what kind of kingdom he would bring.

[5]A mina was about three months’ wages.

[6]According to the sharī’ah revealed through Prophet Mūsā (pbuh), the taking of interest from a fellow member of the Ban-i Isrā’īl was harām, see Taurāt, Exodus 22:25, Leviticus 25:36-37, Deuteronomy 23:19-20. The master is not condoning the taking of interest, but is probably saying something like, ‘If your estimation of me as a hard man... is correct (in actual fact it is not correct), then why did you not act in keeping with my supposed character by putting the money in the bank and then collecting it with interest?’

[7]Al-Masīh ‘Īsā (hpbuu)riding into Jerusalem on a donkey fulfils the prophecy ofBook of the ProphetZechariah 9:9 from about 500 BC:

Rejoice greatly...
    Shout in triumph, Daughter Jerusalem!
Look! Your king is coming to you,
    righteous and victorious,
humble and riding on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

[8]See Zabūr, Psalm 118:26.

[9]Al-Masīh ‘Īsā’s prophecy in v43-44 was fulfilled about 40 years later in AD 70, when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman armies.

[10]Traders sold animals and other material that was used for qurbānī, such as oil and salt. They also changed money.

[11]See Book of the ProphetIsaiah 56:7.

[12]SeeBook of the ProphetJeremiah 7:11.

[13](Also in 20:1, 19) Often translated, ‘chief priests’ – this type of imām was descended from Prophet Hārūn (pbuh)and served in al-Bayt ul-Muqaddas. Their role is summarised in 1stBook of Chronicles 23:13:

Hārūn was set apart, he and his descendants for ever, to dedicate the most holy things, to offer qurbānī in the presence of the LORD, to serve him and to give blessings in his name for ever.