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Luke 19:22

And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:

Evil (πονηρός, sc#4190) is used 76x's in the New Testament. A derivative of πόνος, which in English is "pain, anguish," sc#4192. Wicked is a form of the Greek πονηρός" I am trying to determine a hermeneutic definition for evils or in this case "wicked"? Is it always an adversarial emotion or action?

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    I don't understand this question. πονηρός is, simply stated, the opposite of good (καλός ). In Genesis 2:9 LXX, the Tree of Good and Evil is the Tree of καλός and πονηρός.
    – user15733
    Sep 13, 2016 at 23:59
  • What exactly is a "hermeneutic definition"?
    – user33515
    Feb 18, 2018 at 20:05

2 Answers 2

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Matthew 5:45

that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil [G4190] and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

This operative Greek word has two broad meanings.

Thayer's Greek Lexicon

STRONGS NT 4190: πονηρός

  1. full of labors, annoyances, hardships; ...
  2. bad, of a bad nature or condition;

Luke 19:22

And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow

This servant was wicked because he condemned himself by his own words.

Is it always an adversarial emotion or action?

No.

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The key to this question is found in the preceding verse:

‘Lord, here is your pound, which I kept laid away in a napkin; for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man; you take up what you did not lay down, and reap what you did not sow.’

The implication is that the Lord will judge the servant on the basis of the servant's characterization of the Lord. He accuses the Lord of severity and so the Lord will judge him harshly.

The wickedness of the servant goes back to the fact that the Lord had entrusted him with money to invest but he failed to return a profit as the other servants did and excused himself on the grounds that he was afraid of the Lord's unrighteous severity. "You reap what you did not sow," the servant complains. In fact, from his relations with the preceding servants we know that the Lord is actually both trustworthy and extremely generous to his stewards.

The story serves as a lesson to the audience who, earlier in the chapter, condemned Jesus for associating with the tax-collector Zacchaeus. Like the Lord in the parable Zacchaeus was thought to be an oppressor who lined his pockets unjustly. In fact he was the polar opposite of the stereotype. "Half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any one of anything, I restore it fourfold," he says. Jesus responds by saying "Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham."

As for the derivation of the term πονηρός, Strong's' states that while it can mean "evil," its primary definition is "full of labors, annoyances, hardships," as well as "bringing toils, annoyances, perils." This perfectly fits the character of the wicked servant. For him, life is a burden and his employer is an evil taskmaster even though in fact he is supremely generous to those who perform their duties.

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