Anaideia and the Friend at Midnight (Luke 11:8)

by Klyne Snodgrass
Anaideia and the Friend at Midnight (Luke 11:8)
Klyne Snodgrass
Journal of Biblical Literature
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The parable of the Friend at Midnight continues to vex interpreters, particularly because of the uncertainty of the meaning of avai6e~a,a hapax legomenon in both the NT and the LXX (Sir 25:22). The word signifies "shamelessness," but, as is well known, debate centers on four issues:

  1. Does "shamelessness," almost always a negative idea, possibly have a positive connotation in Luke 11:8? If it has the usual negative connotation, it means one either has no understanding of what is shameful or no hesitation in committing shameful acts. The shameless person has no proper sense of shame to guide conduct. If, however, there is a positive meaning, it is that one has a proper sense of shame and seeks to act in ways that will not bring shame.
    1. Does "his" shamelessness in 11:8 refer to the petitioner who comes in the middle of the night or does it refer to the man inside who gets up and provides food? If reference is to the petitioner, the shamelessness could be either negative (he has no sense of shame that prevents his coming in the middle of the night) or positive (he asks for food to avoid bringing shame on himself and his community by his being inhos- pitable). If reference is to the sleeping man, the shamelessness is almost certainly posi- tive, referring to the man's desire to avoid the shame of being inhospitable.
      1. Does avai6e~ahave any connotation of persistence?
      2. What does this text teach about God and prayer?

The difficulties are apparent in common translations of this text. The Greek of Luke 11:8-Myo .jkiv, ei ~ai

06 6hoet a6r@ irvaoraq ~LZLTO elvat 4ihov a670C, 6th ye qv avai6etav a6~oC ~yepeeiq Ghoet a67@ ooov ~p$<et-is translated in various ways:

KJV: I say to you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.

Appreciation is expressed to the PEW foundation for a grant undergirding my research on parables and to two of my student assistants, Nathan Pawl and Steve Kurz, for their assistance in locating texts.

RSV: I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him whatever he needs.

NEB: I tell you that even if he will not provide for him out of friend- ship, the veryshamelessness of the request will make him get up and give him all he needs.

NIV (1978): I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man's persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

NIV (1984): I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man's boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

NRSV: I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.

"Importunity" is hardly a serviceable word any more, but it conveys the idea of ask- ing persistently. Four of these translations, then, have selected the idea of persistence, which is surprising since avaise~aclearly means "shamelessness." What the change in the NIV (1984) intends is not clear. Is persistence involved, a negative sense of shame- lessness, or a positive sense of shamelessness?

I. The Intent and Referent with avai6e~a

Using the end of the fourth century CE as a reasonable range for analysis, the The- saurus Linguae Graecae data base includes at least 258 occurrences of avai6eta,l all of which are demonstrably negative except those places early Christian writers have assigned a positive use in dependence on Luke 11:8. It refers to people who have no proper sense of shame and willingly engage in improper conduct. No positive use of this word-referring to a good sense of what is shameful and a desire to avoid it--occurs except where Christians have adapted it after the beginning of the second century.

This means that the attempts by such people as J. Jeremias, K. Bailey, B. Scott, A. Johnson, and J. Nolland to understand avai6e~aas a positive term, applied to the man inside who rises to avoid shame, cannot succeed.* (Note Nolland's translation of avai

l Depending on how one counts; some texts are repeated. The Duke Papyri (from the Packard Humanities Institute CD-ROM) have five more occurrences, all showing the same under- standing as those in the TLG data base. I have not included cognates in this analysis, but the find- ings seem to be verified there as well. Where possible, I have used standard translations such as those in the Loeb series or the Fathers of the Church, but many of the occurrences have not previ- ously been translated.

Joachim Jeremias, The Parables ofJesus (2d rev. ed.; New York: Scribner's, 1972) 158; Ken- neth Bailey, Poet and Peasant: A Literary Cultural Approach to the Parables of Luke (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976) 125-33; Bernard Brandon Scott, Hear Then the Parable: A Commentary on the Parables ofJesus (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1989) 89-92; Alan F. Johnson, "Assurance for Man:

GELU in ll:8b as the need to avoid something shameful: ". . . because of the prospect of him being shamed, he will get up and give him as much as he needs."3) Particularly against the backdrop of Middle Eastern attitudes about hospitality,* this position is attractive and is one I found convincing until I examined the use of avai6eta. The evi- dence shows that this word has a thoroughly negative character. It is often listed as one of several outrageous and offensive acts. It appears most frequently with Bpaoo< ("rash- ness"), ijPp~< ("insolence"), and ~ohka ("recklessness"), but also with a6~~ia

("injustice"), a.sai;ia ("disorder"), a~ookia ("disorderliness"), ao6hye~a ("licentiousness"), PG~hupia ("coarse behavior"), ou~o$avzia ("vexatious prosecution"), ~pu$fi ("wanton- ness"), Gethia ("cowardice"), ve6oka ("lie"), kiaoka ("pollution"), ohtywpia ("negli- gence"), &LOW<("crudeness"), napavoia ("derangement"), novqpia ("wickedness"), nopveia ("unchastity"), i~apoq< ("effrontery"), ayvo~a ("ignorance"), ao~qpooBvq ("obscene conduct"), mhqpoq< (harshness"), npoGooia ("treason"), avapxia ("lawless- ness"), a.jB66eta ("self-willed), and aooda ("wastefulness").

Aristotle defined avaiGe~a as a combination of courage and false opinion (Topica 150b).5 Rather than being the avoidance of shame, it expresses an ignorance of shame and the absence of any sense of shame. As several texts say, it does not know the blush of shamehnd refers to one who pays no heed to disgrace.7(Cf. Demosthenes, Oration 21, Against Meidias 62: "No one has ever been so lost to shame as to venture on such con- duct as this."s) The person guilty of avaiseta does not know where the boundaries are and therefore may be capable of anything. (Cf. Demosthenes, Oration 24, Against Tim- ocrates 65: "It seems to me that, so far as effrontery [avai6eta] goes, such a man is ready to do anything.") It is used interchangeably with avato~uv~ia

("shamelessness" or "impudence"). Instead of the avoidance of shame, avai6e~a is the opposite of modesty and any sense of what causes shame. Note the following passages:

The Fallacy ofTranslating Anaideia by 'Persistence' in Luke 11:5-8," JETS 22 (1979) 123-31; John Nolland, Luke 9:21-18:34 (WBC 35B; Dallas: Word, 1993) 624-26. Anton Fridrichsen argued that the expression Gta ye 4v 6vaiGe~av airroO means that the man inside will get up and give to his friend to keep from being shameless ("Exegetisches zum Neuen Testament," SO 13 (1934) 42.

J. Duncan M. Derrett argued that the word has a neutral meaning and understood the reference to be to the man asking; that is, he asks without shame ("The Friend at Midnight: Asian Ideas in the Gospel of St. Luke," in Donum Gentilicum: New Testament Studies in Honour of David Daube [ed.

E. Bammel, C. K. Barrett, and W. D. Davies; Oxford: Clarendon, 19781 7M7). 3 Nolland, 622; note his attempt to justify a positive understanding of the word (pp. 62426; note especially on p. 626 his placing "need to" in brackets).

4 Too often demonstrated by recourse to modem Arab culture. See Bailey, Poet and Peasant, 11933; Derrett, "Friend," 7W1; and Evertt W. Huffard, "The Parable of the Friend at Midnight: God's Honor or Man's Persistence? ResQ 21 (1978) 154-60.

5 Cf. Athanasius, Against the Gentiles 32.2: 'We add a further point to complete our demon- stration for the benefit of those who shamelessly take refuge in denial of reason [ToiG &TI rrpbq &vaiG&tav ahoyiaq re~papp?vot5]."

Aeschines,Against Timarchus 105; Menander, Comic 1090 (repeated in other fragments of Menander and of Diphilus, Comic). The wording of the last clause is from a writer outside the boundaries of this study, the sixth-century writer Procopius of Caesarea in his Anecdota 10.5, but the description is helpful. a Literally: "No one has ever reached so much shamelessness . . . ."

Plato, Laws 647a: Does not, then, the lawgiver, and every man who is worth any- thing, hold this kind of fear in the highest honor, and name it "modesty" [aiSG];and to the confidence which is opposed to it does he not give the name "immodesty [avai6~~a],"

and pronounce it to be for all, both publicly and privately, a very great evil?

Xenophon, Banquet 8.36: For the goddess they worship is not Impudence


but Modesty [ai6G].

Plutarch, Moralia 31.2: This is the extremity of evil. For when shamelessness


and jealousy rule men, shame and indignation leave our race alto- gether, since shamelessness and jealousy are the negation of these things . . . , whereas shamelessness is not a counterfeit of shame, but its extreme oppo- site, masquerading as frankness of speech.

Longinus, On the Sublime 4.4 (speaking of a comparison of Spartan eye contact with the eyes of modest maidens): And fancy believing that every single man of them had modest pupils, when they say that people show their immodesty


in nothing so much as in their eyes.9

The word occurs most frequently in the accusations of lawyers about the shame- lessness of their opponents and in the descriptions of heretics or the actions of someone like Pilate.10 Illustrative of this "legal" use of the term is Pausanias's description of unhewn stones below the Acropolis in Athens called the "stone of outrage [UP~LS]"and the "stone of shamelessness [avai6eta],"stones on which prosecutors and defendants stood during trials (Description of Greece 1.28.5). Common in the orations are such expressions as "to such shamelessness has he come." Not surprisingly then, Dio Chry- sostom, in arguing against actors, dancers, and flute players, could say many evils come from such activities, the greatest of which is shamelessness, which he equated with over- weening pride (Discourse 7.122). Also instructive is Basil's comment: "Humility is the imitation of Christ, but highmindedness, boldness, and shamelessness are the imitation of the devil" (On the Renunciation of the World 31.648.21).

Possibly most telling is the short statement "God hates avaise~a,"a statement important enough to have been represented by symbols in the vestibule of a temple of Athena and to have been picked up by Christian writers." Correspondingly Dio Cassius

9 See also Achilles Tatius, The Adtientures ofLeucippe and Clitophon 1.4.5; Plutarch, Moralia, "On Compliancy" 528D-E; Epictetus 2.9.11-12; Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius 2.615; Basil, Letters 40.1.11; Enarratio in prophetam Isaiam 16.315.44. Gregory Nazianzus says of the ungodly: "All fear has been banished from their souls, shamelessness has taken its place" (In Defence of his Flight to Pontus 2.79).

'0 See esp. Demosthenes and Libanius, who account for 32 of the 258 occurrences of the word, and Athanasius, Basil, and John Chrysostom, who account for 57 more. On Pilate, see John Chrysostom, Homily 84 on John 18:37-19:lS.

l1 Plutarch, lsis and 0siri.s 363F-364A. Clement of Alexandria offers a slightly different ver- sion of the imagery (Stromuta 5.7). John Chrysostom also speaks of God hating shamelessness (see De Poenitentia 49.285). See also Aesop, Fables 183.3.18, which has another story about God (or a god) hating shamelessness; several accounts of this story exist.

Critical Notes 509

describes the Romans of a particular period as hating avai6eta even in the smallest

matters (Roman History 45.16.1).

As is evident already, Christian writers knew that avaiGeta was a thoroughly nega-

tive word, but in addition to numerous negative uses, they also spoke of a "good shame-

lessness,"l2 which is an oxymoron. By this they mean a boldness or even a desperation

that enables people to approach God or Christ to find help for life. One finds a few

occurrences of such thinking in Basil and Clement of Alexandria, a few more in John

Chrysostom, and then in Macarius/Pseudo-Macarius all the uses of avai8~ta refer to

good shamelessness.l3 All these positive uses seem to be drawn from the use of avaiGeta

in Luke 11:8.

The obvious question is whether Luke 11:8 is the first occurrence of a positive use

or the catalyst that allows positive uses to follow. In my estimation only the latter is fea-

sible. No bridge exists by which a hearer or reader could understand either avoidance of

shame or good shamelessness as in later Christian usage. In Luke 11:8 avaiseta refers

to the insensitivity, the rudeness, of the man who comes asking in the middle of the

night, as it is understood in the NEB translation.14 It is how the petitioned man evalu-

ates the conduct of the petitioner.15

Surprisingly, NT scholars know that avai6~ta is thoroughly negative, but they still find ways to argue for a positive use in this parable. A. Fridrichsen apparently started this thinking by arguing that shamelessness was a quality the sleeper wanted to avoid- even though the text has "his shamelessness."l6 Jeremias followed Fridrichsen, but with- out offering substantiation shifted the negative quality to be avoided to a positive quality to be preserved. In effect, he turned shamelessness into honor." J. Derrett suggested that the word had become neutral by Luke's time, but his whole discussion is question- able, not the least for the fact that it treats only cognates or related words. For example, he finds Sir 4:21 demonstrative: "There is a shame that leads to sin, as well as a shame that brings honor and favor." But the word translated "shame" in both cases is aio~vvq, not avaiGeta.18 Bailey labored under the knowledge that all previous occurrences are

12 Explicitly, John Chrysostom, De caeco et Zaechaeo 59.601.42-46: ". . . knowing that shamelessness is good for godliness, for if for property many are shameless, for salvation of the soul is it not best to put on the good shamelessness?" Cf. De Meretrice 152.12.

13 Basil,Ascetic Constitutions 31.1332.20; Clement of Alexandria, The Rich Man's Saloation 42.19:John Chrysostom, in addition to the items in n. 12, In pharisaeum et meretricem 61.729 and 732; Macarius, of several passages see The Fifty Spiritual Homilies 5.315-16 and 357-59.

14 Cf. Libanius, Oration 1.121, who considered it rude [hvai6eta] to accompany the emperor at sacrifice unless invited. That the petitioner is the shameless one is confirmed by Hem Vis. 3.2, as Klaus Berger points out ("Materialen zu Form und ijberlieferungsgeschichte neutestamentlicher Gleichnisse," NovT 15 [1973] 33-36).

15 David R. Catchpole,"Q and 'the Friend at Midnight' (Luke xi.5-8/9),"]TS 34 (1983) 411, without accepting the conclusions he draws with regard to v. 7 being the actual response of the petitioned man.

l6 Fridrichsen, "Exegetisches zum Neuen Testament," 42. According to Fridrichsen, the man inside acts in order not to be seen as a shameful man (avfip avat6fi<).

"This is the argument of Bailey, Poet and Peasant, 130. See Jeremias, Parables, 158.

l8 Derrett, "Friend," 82-85. The same argument is offered by Klaus Haacker, "Mut zum Bit- ten: Eine Auslegung von Lukas 11,5-8," TBei 17 (1986) 4.

negative, but because he could not make the shamelessness something appropriate to prayer and because of his structural analysis, he followed Jeremias in interpreting avai6e~aas referring to the sleeper's avoidance of shame. He offered the possibilities that avaise~a was originally avainoq ("blamelessness") or that aiGh~ (used of shame as a negative quality) plus an alpha privative yields "avoidance of shame," on the basis that two negatives make a positive.19 The problem is, as he already noted, that all the occur- rences of this word are negative, and his explanations do not provide a bridge to a posi- tive meaning. Scott likewise knew that the word refers to negative shamelessness, but argued that shamelessness makes no sense in the context. He too understood the refer- ence to be to the sleeper's shamelessness and argued that the man acts not out of honor (friendship) but out of shamelessness to avoid dishonor. "He has done out of shameless- ness what he ought to have done out of honor."20 This attempt is no more convincing than the others and requires far too much of a reader. Moreover, it does not do justice to what "shamelessness" intends-that is, that a person does not know or care about shame. B. Heininger attempted to argue that in the NT period avaiha was no longer thoroughly negative by pointing to Prov 7:13 and Sir 40:30, neither of which make his point.21 The use of avatGfiq in Prov 7:13 will not support a positive use, for it reports the shameless request of a prostitute. Sir 40:30 says only that in the mouth of the shameless begging will be sweet, which certainly is no positive use of shamelessness when in 4028 one finds, "It is better to die than to beg."

As far as I can see, no way exists to make shamelessness in this passage positive. It must be understood as a negative term describing the petitioner. The pronouns in 11:8 are admittedly somewhat confusing, but in my opinion all four occurrences of a6705 refer to the petitioner. Clearly both occurrences of a67@ refer to the petitioner; the first occurrence of a6706 does as well, for Qihov refers to the sleeper.= Even if this were not the case, avaise~a is so negative that the second a6706 would still have to refer to the man asking.

'9 Bailey, Poet and Peasant, 125-33. See also Nolland (Luke 9:21-18:34, 624-26), Johnson ("Assurance," 12%31), and William R. Herzog I1 (Parablesas Suboersice Speech [Louisville: West- minstergohn Knox, 19941 203,21%14), who follow Bailey's argument.

20 Scott, Hear, 88-91, quotation from p. 91.

"B, Heininger, Metaphorik, Enahlstruktur und szenisch-dramatische Gestaltung in den Sondergutgleichnissen bei Lukas (Munster: Aschendorff, 1991) 1067. He followed Wilhelm Ott (Gebet und Heil: Die Bedezltung der Gebetsparanese in der lukanischen Theologie [Munich: Kosel, 19651 27) in seeing 11:s as a disruptive redactional insertion. Heininger then connected 11:8 to

11:24 (how to pray) and 11:5-7 to 119-13, but I see no connection between Gta ye r$v avaiGetav airroc and the Lord's Prayer.

"See Craig L. Blomberg, Interpreting the Parables (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1990) 276, following Adolf Julicher, Die Gleichnisredenlesu (Freiburg: Mohr, 1888-89) 2.273. Blomberg points out that in Luke's usage of 6ta TO elvat the subject of the infinitive is usually the subject of the sentence (see Luke 2:4; 19:ll; Acts 18:3), but Blomberg notes also that Acts 27:4 does not fol- low this practice. See as well Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Gospel According to Luke (2 vols.; AB 28, 28A; Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1981, 1985) 2.912. Note the textual variants showing scribal attempts to clarify the reference. A similar confusion exists with $iAo~,which in ll:5a and 5b refers to the man inside, in 11:6 to the guest who arrived at midnight, andin ll:8a again to the man inside.

11. Does avai6eta Suggest Persistence?

That four of the six translations above interpret avai6eta as persistence is startling, for little or no evidence prior to Luke suggests that the word has this meaning. The con- nection of the parable with the emphasis on knocking and asking in 11:9-13 and the par- allels with Luke 18:l-8 have contributed to this interpretation, but the word and its parable do not. The man in the parable neither knocks nor repeats his request.23 In fact, the frequent assumption of a reluctance of the man inside to respond is unjustified.24 If 11:5-7 is one rhetorical question assuming an emphatic negative answer25-no one would respond as in v. 7-then no reluctance is implied.

Two suggestions have been made to substantiate a connotation of persistence with avai6eta. Bailey argued that the LXX use of the cognate expression axoo~po$fiv avat6q ("shameless turning away") to translate nnxl 73aiD ("enduring apostasy") in Jer 8:5 gives one clear reference of avai6eta meaning "continual." Possibly this is relevant, but one does not know if the translator was attempting to express the idea of persistence or to mark the shamelessness of the apostasy.26 David Catchpole assumed that some of the references from Josephus express persistence:' but an examination of the texts cited shows that this is not true. No doubt, shamelessness can often express itself in stubborn or persistent conduct, but that does not mean the word carries the connotation of persis- tence. (For example, one may be ill-mannered and angry, but "ill-mannered does not then carry the connotation of anger.)28

In]. W. 1$84//Ant. 13 $317, we find "How long, most shameless body (o@a avat6&, wilt thou detain the soul . . . ?"That "shameless" occurs in the same sen- tence with "how long" does not prove that "shamelessness" carries the connotation of persistence. This statement is merely the guilt-ridden complaint of one who wants to die. In]. W. 6 $199 Josephus describes people during the famine (caused by the Roman seige of Jerusalem) eating leather and withered grass and then says, "But why tell of the shameless resort to inanimate articles of food induced by the famine . . . ? [~ai

ti 6e2 jv ~x'ayb~ot~

avai8etav .sot htpoi, Myetv]" and then goes on to speak of the ultimate tragedy of a woman eating her own child. Famines by nature are persistent, but the use of avai6eta here refers to the rashness and disorderliness to which people were driven by the famine, not the persistence of the famine. The appearance of avai6eta in Ant. 17 $119 ("Have you indeed so much confidence in your shamelessness that you ask to be put to the torture . . . ?") also fails as proof that this word means "persistence." Rather, the word conveys brazen recklessness.

Contra Catchpole, who argued that v. 7 is the actual response of the sleeper and that v. 8 implies a persistent repetition ofthe request ("Q," 411). He also removed ll:8a (through avai6eta aiuroD) as redactional.

24 See esp. Fridrichsen ("Exegetisches zum Neuen Testament," 41) and Haacker ("Mut zum Bitten," 4), both of whom argue against this assumption.

25 Jeremias, Parables, 158.

"See Bdey, who himself recognized that the meaning could be merely "shameless apos- tasy" (Poetand Peasant, 126).

27 J.W.1 $84 (= Ant. 13 $317); 6 $199; and Ant. 17 $119. See Catchpole, "Q,"409-10.

28 Similar-and as inappropriate-is He~zog's attempt to say that bvaissta refers to greed (Parables,212-13). Greed can be shameless, but that does not mean that the word refers to greed.

Two other texts exist where one could more plausibly argue that persistence is inherent in the word. In Hem. Vis. 3.3.2the "lady" who reveals everything to Hermas asks him not to trouble her about revelation, for these revelations are fulfilled. Then she tells him, "Yet you will not cease asking for revelations, for you are shameless [ahh' 06 xaGq aizoupevo< axoaaLbIq&t<. avat64< yap el]." The only problem is that this text has probably been influenced by Luke 115-8. Note that the request not to be troubled any more [~ai POL aoxou< xapexe] is close to Luke 11:7.


In the remaining text Plutarch describes the error of compliancy and speaks of "loathing and resenting the brazen importunity [avai6eta] that overthrows and masters our reason" (Moralia,"On Compliancy" 533D).29Whether "brazen importunity" is the correct translation or whether "shamelessness" would be adequate is debatable, but the following context shows that persistence is present in this context. The next sentence refers to "those who wring concessions from us by their importunity," but the Greek translated "importunity" is 706% GuooxoGvza<. A few lines later Plutarch adds, "For being too weak to refuse we promise persistent suitors [TO?< h~xapoGotv] many things beyond our power." Is persistence here inherent in the word avai6e~a, or does it derive from the other words used in the context? I suspect the latter-that is, that the shame- lessness here only takes on a particular character-but even if the word does imply per- sistence in this context, the evidence is slim that would support an argument that the word means persistence and should be translated so in Luke 11:8.30

111. What Then of the Parable?

The problems have arisen with this parable because interpreters desired a more direct application to a theology of prayer than the parable seems to offer. We assume that the parable should be a comparison dealing with prayer, but many parables are not comparisons. We want to know in what way God is like the sleeper and how people who pray are like the petitioner. In fact, it appears that the desire to ward off wrong percep- tions about prayer led to the attempts to understand the parable of the sleeper's avoid- ance of shame. The whole point of the parable, however, is that God is not like the sleeper in that God is not reluctant but is eager to respond. In this way it is a parable of contrast.

The second factor making understanding difficult is that the parable has no nimshal,no explicit statement showing the purpose and intent of the parable. As virtu- ally all interpreters agree, this parable is an argument from the weaker to the stronger. It is a "how much more" argument, a procedure common in Jewish hermeneutics, but exactly what the "stronger" statement should be is left for the reader to supply.31 The

29 At 5283 he defines compliancy as excess of shame on the part of good people, which allows the shameless to act.

30 See also Johnson, who rejects the meaning "persistence" ("Assurance," 12331).

3' Whether the original form had a nimshal cannot be determined. Catchpole argued that the parable was originally in a collection of sayings in Q that consisted of Matt 6:7-8; Matt 6:s-1311 Luke 11:24; Matt 7:7//Luke 11:5-gin which 1l:Ua derives from Luke; Matt 7:8//Luke 11:lO; Matt 79-ll//Luke 11:ll-13; and Matt 6:2533//Luke 12:22-31 ("Q," 407-24; see n. 17), but I do not find his argument convincing. If this material was orignally a unified teaching on prayer, what was

Critical Notes 513

"how much more" argument is explicit in 11:13, and Luke may have felt it redundant to

include such a statement after the parable and after the sayings in w.9-12. In any case,

the parable says: If a human will get up in the middle of the night to grant the request of

a rude friend, will not God much more answer your requests? Because of the focus on

asking God for bread in 11:3, the primary intent seems to be that if a human will respond

to the request of a rude friend for bread, how much more will God provide bread in

response to the requests of his people?32

The parable does not invite rudeness in praying any more than it suggests that God is asleep. The parable does not teach that God is a friend,33 nor that a hearing is certain if we weary God through continual prayer.34 It argues as follows: "If among humans a request is granted even when or because the request is rude, how much more will your heavenly Father respond to your requests?"35 Indirectly the parable does encourage boldness in praying. If one is assured of being heard receptively-and particularly if one assumes the relation of a father to his children as in v. 11, praying boldly is much easier. One may legitimately say that Luke 11:9-10 and the structural relation between the parable of the Friend at Midnight and that of the Unjust Judge (Luke 18:l-8)36 empha- size perseverance in praying, and one can understand why the church adapted the para- ble in this direction. But nothing in the parable of the Friend at Midnight teaches persistence in prayer; rather, the parable teaches the certainty of a God who hears prayer and responds.

Klyne Snodgrass North Park Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL 60625

the impetus for both Matthew and Luke to separate it? See the critique by C. M. Tuckett, "Q, Prayer, and the Kingdom,"]TS 40 (1989) 367-76, and the reply by Catchpole, "Q, Prayer, and the Kingdom: A Rejoinder," ITS 40 (1989) 377-88.

32 This fits well with the focus of 12:2234 and helps explain why Luke omitted the statement in Matt 7:9 (assuming the shorter reamng is correct).

3 Contra Haacker, "Mut zum Bitten," 6; and Heininger, Metaphorik, 106. The man does not stand for God, contra David Daube, "Shame Culture in Luke," in Paul and Paulinism: Essays in Honour of C. K Barrett (ed. M. D. Hooker and S. G. Wilson; London: SPCK, 1982) 358.

34 Contra Heininger, Metaphorik, 107.

35 Cf. Daube's comment: 'The primary message of the simile of the Helper at Midnight is that, since even our human neighbor will undergo considerable inconvenience for our sakes if we press him in an emergency, surely Cod is always ready to hear the needy." ("Neglected Nuances of Exposition in Luke-Acts," ANRW 25/3.2332). His use of "if we press him," however, still points to persistence.

36 See Bailey, Poet and Peasant, 80-82.

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