"[Current] Protestantism is a revolution...proclaiming 'the Apostle Paul' at the expense of the Master (Christ)." (Kierkegaard, Journals)


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Workers of Iniquity in Hebrew

Arguably, Jesus' intent in describing "workers of iniquity" in Matthew has the meaning of the term in the Original Testament. An Hebrew scholar friend gave me the references as follows:

Job 34:8, 34:22 Psalm 5:5, 6:8, 14:4, 28:3, 36:12, 53:4, 64:2, 92:7, 94:4,16,  101:8, 125:5, 141:4, 141:9, Isaiah 31:2, Hoshea 6:8

In Hebrew, the words are: POALEI AVEN.

Job 34:7-8

In Job 34:7-8, we read in the KJV from a speech by Elihu about Job -- criticizing him. Remember God will step in later and say all the men talking previously, including Elihu "have darkened my counsel," i.e., were in error. And Elihu says:

What man is like Job, who drinks up scorn like water? Who goes in company with the workers of iniquity, and walks with wicked men.

What does this mean in context? Gill has an interesting notion:

What man is like Job,.... This is said as wondering at the part he acted, that a man so wise and good as Job was esteemed to be should behave in such a manner as he did;

who drinketh up scorning like water? For a foolish and wicked man to do so is not strange nor uncommon; but for a man of such sense and grace as Job was to do this was astonishing; to have no more regard to his character than to expose himself to the scorn and ridicule of men: for a man to become a laughing stock to profane and wicked men for his religion and piety, it is no disgrace, but an honour to him; but by unbecoming words and gestures to make himself justly jeered and scoffed at is great indiscretion. Or it may be understood actively of his dealing very freely and frequently in scoffs and jeers, which he poured out very liberally and plentifully, and seemingly with as much delight as a man drinks water when thirsty; see Job 11:3.

Here, I see that Job's actions were like Jesus' actions. Jesus walked with sinners, and they accused Jesus of indiscretion by allowing ridicule of his actions. They ridiculed Jesus to his face. Thus, in Elihu's speech we see same wording as enemies of Christ later.

Yet, the point appears to be that workers of iniquity means, in an era prior to any written law, sinners against God's law written on our hearts.