11:41 But give from your heart to those in need, 1 and 2 then everything will be clean for you. 3
12:33 Sell your possessions 4 and give to the poor. 5 Provide yourselves purses that do not wear out – a treasure in heaven 6 that never decreases, 7 where no thief approaches and no moth 8 destroys.
1 tn Grk “Give the things inside as alms.” Three different approaches have been taken to the syntax and meaning of this phrase: (1) τὰ ἐνόντα (ta enonta, “the things inside”) is an accusative of respect (“give alms with respect to the things inside”); (2) τὰ ἐνόντα is an adverbial accusative (“give alms inwardly,” i.e., from the heart); (3) the word translated “alms” represents a mistranslation of the original Aramaic term “cleanse,” so the statement urges the hearers to “cleanse the things inside.” According to D. L. Bock (Luke [BECNT], 2:1115) the latter meaning is unlikely because the present verse is independent of Matt 23:26, not parallel to it, and makes good sense as it stands.
sn In Jewish culture giving alms to the poor was a very important religious observance; it was meant to be an act of mercy, kindness, and love (D. L. Bock, Luke [BECNT], 2:1114). The implication from the text is that the Pharisees gave alms, but without any of the spiritual concern which should have motivated those generous actions. Here Jesus commands the Pharisees to give from within themselves to those in need instead of just giving of their possessions. In so doing they would show true inner purity acceptable to God. This is in keeping with the author’s social concerns elsewhere in the Gospel (cf., e.g., 1:52-53, 4:18-19, 6:20-21, 14:13).
2 tn Grk “and behold.” The Greek word ἰδού (idou) at the beginning of this clause has not been translated because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1).
3 sn The expression everything will be clean for you refers to the agreement that should exist between the overt practice of one’s religious duties, such as almsgiving, and the inner condition of one’s heart, including true love for God and the poor; one is not only to wash the outside of the cup and plate, but the inside as well, since as Jesus said, God created the inside too. Religious duties are not to be performed hypocritically, i.e., for the applause and esteem of people, but rather they are to be done out of a deep love for God and a sensitivity to and concern for the needs of others. Then, everything will be clean, both hearts and lives.
4 sn The call to sell your possessions is a call to a lack of attachment to the earth and a generosity as a result.
5 tn Grk “give alms,” but this term is not in common use today.
6 tn Grk “in the heavens.”
7 tn Or “an unfailing treasure in heaven,” or “an inexhaustible treasure in heaven.”
8 tn The term σής (shs) refers to moths in general. It is specifically the larvae of moths that destroy clothing by eating holes in it (L&N 4.49; BDAG 922 s.v.). See Jas 5:2, which mentions “moth-eaten” clothing.