Your Friday Firestorm #57

And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.

(Luke 16:9)



  1. Am I the only person who, when young, constantly confused mammon and manna? I also thought “you who unto the savior” was people yelling “you hoo! you hoo!” and trying to get his attention. (I’ve heard rumors I wasn’t alone and this was why they changed the words to the song in the last hymnal update)

  2. I thought that hymn was about Jesus’ love for the chocolate drink.

  3. Another example of the KJV struggling to convey meaning to modern ears.

    NET Bible does this:

    16:9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by how you use worldly wealth, so that when it runs out you will be welcomed into the eternal homes.

    Their footnote reads: “The point is not that money is inherently evil, but that it is often misused so that it is a means of evil . . . The call is to be generous and kind in its use. Zacchaeus becomes the example of this in Luke’s Gospel (19:1-10).

  4. Steve (2),
    If the quarreling masses hadn’t forced us to abandon nested comments, I would be giving you a high five from an indented position directly below your comment.

  5. RJH, You just converted anyone on the fence to NET Bible. Thank you.

  6. RJH those other versions are corrupted meanderings by nefarious scribes. I pay them no heed.

  7. NET= New Eeevill Translation ;)

    Does “mammon of unrighteousness” imply the existence of “mamon of righteousness”?

  8. I just saw a BBC documentary that is airing here that kind of got me happy about the KJV again.

  9. I still have to keep myself from saying “Yoo-hoo”, unto Jesus when I sing that song!

    Well, the NET version sort of puts a little damper on the storm…

  10. “… people yelling “you hoo! you hoo!” and trying to get his attention.”

    Huh. I still think it means this, and refuse to be convinced otherwise.

  11. Apparently “mammon” was neutral, so it needs adjectives to be “bad”.
    From the Dictionary of Demons and Deities,
    “Mammon (Aram. status emphaticus mamōnāʾ), the etymology of which is not completely certain, probably is a maqtāl form of the root ʾmn with the meaning of ‘that in which one puts trust’, with ‘money, riches’ as a derivative meaning (J. A. Fitzmyer, The Gospel according to Luke II [New York 1985] 1109… It occurs in both Hebrew and Aramaic texts of the post-biblical period…; in Greek transcription (μαμωνᾶς = mamōnāʾ) it is found only in four synoptic passages (Lk 16:9.11.13//Mt 6:24). **Although a neutral term in itself**, in later Jewish usage (esp. the Targumim) the word develops a predominantly negative meaning with connotations of the improper, the dishonest, the sinful aspect of wealth.”

    Similar entries in other resources.

  12. Next thing you know they’ll be changing the words to Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam to eliminate any fun a young child can get out of singing the songs in Primary.

    As for the text, I long puzzled over that verse until I studied the full chapter seriously for a Seminary class I was teaching – knowing that my students were going to grill me on why the Savior was teaching about embezzlement of funds.

    The line in verse 8 is most telling I think to illustrate that the Savior is using the story to explain how the faithful should approach their preparations for the future. This servant took actions to ensure he would be well cared for in spite of his loss of employment. The obligation is on those who follow the Savior to do similarly in preparing ourselves for returning to live with our Father in Heaven or in preparing for the return of the Savior. I find there is a close connection to Luke 12:44-46 where the Savior discusses being prepared for His coming at all times since none know when he will come.

  13. Of course, by Luke 12:44-46, I meant the JST versions of those verses.

  14. observer (fka eric s) says:

    Just sounds like a friend-making *FAIL* to me.

  15. Does that mean we actually have to like rich people? Another way in which all the liberals are wrong!

  16. I’m not sure if the modern church accepts these “everlasting habitations” in the first place. Laws regarding these vary from state to state, but eternal laws do not.

  17. Thomas Parkin says:

    I still sing yoohoo unto Jesus, out of stubbornness. To my credit, I sing it in my normal singing voice, and don’t try to draw attention to myself.

  18. When ever I see the word ‘mammon’ I think of mammoths. Ye cannot serve God and mammoths.

  19. I never mistook mammon for manna or mammoths, but for mammaries. Which works quite well in this scripture.

  20. StillConfused says:

    Nested comments gone? Oh boo-hoo. I loved that. How about just a “like” and “you suck” button on each comment that we can check of if we sustain or unsustain said commenter?

  21. Ben, its a mistranslation of the KJV. It SHOULD read, “. . . friends of the mammon even the unrighteous.

  22. 20 – I’m not ready for a “you suck” button. I don’t think I could handle that.

  23. B. Russ, no button required in your case.

  24. Uh oh, my mood ring is showing “red”.

  25. #1 – for years in primary I had no idea what a “shallmeno” was, I thought it was a kind of parable or sign or something. Then I finally figured out that the line in the song was “By this shall men know, ye are my disciples…” and it started to make a little more sense.

  26. [editor’s note: the answer to your question, Jacob, is “yes”.]

  27. Jacob M,
    If you have further questions on the subject, please read this.

  28. Sorry! One tasteless joke too many! :)

    The song miscues remind me of one of my favorite posts from Brother Matsby, where he asks if when we sing “For the Strength of the Hills”, do we think of the Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag, and then feel a great desire to hurt our ward music chairperson the next week.


    This is the link to the post of which I just referred to.

  30. I thought the hymn was “How Great Thou Aren’t” until I was 13.

  31. “I’m not sure if the modern church accepts these ‘everlasting habitations’ in the first place. Laws regarding these vary from state to state, but eternal laws do not.”

    This is the first I’ve ever considered the Rule Against Perpetuities and the Fee Entail in the context of an eternal reward. Below follows some highly unnecessary legal analysis.

    As to the RAP, if I remember my property class at all, the rule is that the gift must vest within the time frame of “the lives in being plus 21 years.” I suppose that if we only receive our eternal reward when we die, and thus are fully eternal beings at the time we are given the gift, then the RAP is a nullity, since the “lives in being” always have, and always will, exist.

    As to the Fee Entail, presumably our eternal habitation is not transferable to begin with, so the discussion here is also moot. That said, if it was transferable, that would suggest their would be such a thing as real estate agents in heaven, and I can’t imagine a blissful paradise in which real estate agents exist.

    Finally, I nominate myself for a Niblet for most pointless comment.

  32. Mommie Dearest says:

    I vote yes for the nested comments.
    That scripture is way too confusing. Especially today, I’m fighting a deadline.

  33. NRSV (my fave) reads this way:

    “And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth, so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into their eternal homes.”

    I’ve read the comments in today’s blog, as well as the Harper Collins Study Bible NRSV notes, and I still have no clue what it means. Make sure you hedge your bets? Steve, is this a trick Firestorm?

  34. A few more comments.

    “the parable tells a story of an inefficient (v. 1) steward who, facing dismissal for his indolence, meets the crisis with uncharacteristic vigour and ingenuity. The master, though defrauded, recognizes the initiative and, himself working fom the perspective of ‘unrighteous mammon’, actually commends the steward’s shrewdness. There is nothing to say that he reinstates him, but sharing in his worldly stance, he can appreciate a sensible move, indeed an ingenious one, when he sees it. ‘If only’, says the parable, ‘the sons of light had the same appreciation of the crisis confonting them in the drawing near of the Kingdom, and the same energy in meeting it.’”- Oxford Bible Commentary

    “Yeshua is not praising this corrupt manager’s goal of “looking out for Number One,” but his cleverness and intelligence in pursuing his mistaken goal. Further, his comment that the worldly are more creative in working toward their aims than those enlightened by trusting God are in pursuing the goals God has set forth for them seems to be true today as well as then. Many well-intentioned people are bound, when seeking solutions, by lack of imagination, freedom and grounding in reality….Yeshua urges his followers not to use the materials of this world in a wicked way but for noble ends, so that their friends, God the Father and Yeshua the Son, may welcome them into the eternal home, just as the manager can expect his newly purchased “friends” to welcome him into their worldly homes.”- Jewish New Testament Commentary

  35. I think the REAL firestorm should be about this MASTHEAD! :-(

  36. I think the verse makes perfect sense. You should always have a backup plan. And if you cannot get rich and powerful by doing good things, it is always helpful to know and be friends with powerful evil men, who can give you a comfy position in the Family….

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