Blaine Robison, M.A.
Published 17 August 2016; Revised 26 June 2017
Scripture: The Scripture text of Luke 10 used below is prepared by Blaine Robison and based on the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. The essentially literal translation seeks to reflect the Jewish character of the author and writing. See my web article The Jewish New Testament. Other Bible versions are also quoted. Click here for Abbreviations of Bible Versions. Most versions can be accessed on the Internet. Messianic Jewish versions are CJB, DHE, GNC, HNV, MW, OJB, & TLV.
Sources: Bibliographic data for sources cited may be found at the end of the chapter commentary. Works without page numbers are cited ad loc. The Septuagint (LXX) is the Jewish translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, which was in use by Jews by the mid-2nd century BC. The LXX with English translation may be found here. Unless otherwise indicated references to the Talmud are from the Soncino Babylonian Talmud (1948); available online at Halakhah.com. Click here for Talmud Abbreviations. Dates of Israelite kings are from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Dates are from Risto Santala, The Messiah in the New Testament in the Light of Rabbinical Writings (1992). Online.
Syntax: Unless otherwise noted the definitions of Greek words are from F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (2009). See the Greek Guide for the meaning of grammar abbreviations. Definitions of Hebrew words are from The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (1981). The numbering system of the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance is identified with "SH" (Strong's Hebrew number) and "SG" (Strong's Greek number). Strong's Online.
Terminology: In order to emphasize the Jewish nature of the apostolic canon and its central figure I use the terms Tanakh (Old Testament), Torah (Law), Besekh (New Testament), Yeshua (Jesus), and Messiah (Christ). I use the title "The Account of Luke" because that is how Luke introduces his story (Luke 1:1).
Commission of the Seventy, 10:1-11
Announcements of Woe, 10:12-16
Report of the Seventy, 10:17-24
The Lawyer's Question, 10:25-29
Parable of the Good Samaritan, 10:30-37
Visitation with Martha and Miriam, 10:38-42
In A.D. 29 Yeshua went Jerusalem for Sukkot (Feast of Booths, John 7:10-53), which took place in October of that year, and afterwards returned to Galilee (John 8:59). There are nine weeks between the end of Sukkot and Hanukkah (John 10:22) and Santala places the ministry of Yeshua recorded in Luke 9:51—13:35 within this time frame. Some scholars place the events of Luke 10—13 between John 10:21 and John 10:22 and other authorities place Luke 10—13 after John 10:44.
Santala's chronology seems reasonable because Yeshua would surely not have remained in Jerusalem when the authorities had tried to stone him (John 8:59). In addition, there is no mention of the Twelve being with Yeshua in Jerusalem in John chapter seven and eight. According to the account of Luke 9:51—13:35 Yeshua's disciples were with him. Lastly, it seems unlikely that Yeshua would send out the seventy on their mission (Luke 10) in the midst of winter.
Late Autumn, A.D. 29
Commission of the Seventy, 10:1-16
1 Now after these things the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs before his appearance into every city and place where he was about to come.
Now: Grk. de, conj. used to indicate (1) a contrast to a preceding statement or thought, "but;" (2) a transition in presentation of subject matter, "now, then;" or (3) a connecting particle to continue a thought, "and, also" (BAG). The second usage applies here. after: Grk. meta, prep. of association or accompaniment, but used here as a sequential marker in a temporal sense. these things: pl. demonstrative pronoun. The opening clause alludes to the narrative of Luke 9:51-56 that describes actions of Yeshua in anticipation of his return to Jerusalem. the Lord: Grk. kurios may mean either (1) one in control through possession, and therefore owner or master; or (2) one esteemed for authority or high status, thus lord or master.
In the LXX kurios occurs over 9,000 times, principally to translate Heb. words for God, especially the sacred name YHVH. In contrast to its use for deity kurios also renders Heb. adôn (owner, master) 310 times, 190 of which refer to men in general recognition of superior rank (DNTT 2:511). In contrast to Matthew and Mark, Luke often uses "Lord" as a narrative personality without mention of his name (Luke 7:13, 19; 10:39, 41; 11:39; 12:42; 13:15; 17:5, 6; 18:6; 19:8; 22:61; 24:3). Readers would understand that "the Lord" was Yeshua. Luke probably did not use the title to mean the sacred name YHVH, but to simply acknowledge that Yeshua was his master and the supreme authority over all Israel.
appointed: Grk. anadeiknumi, aor., to hold up so as to exhibit or display, show forth and is used to mean (1) reveal something hidden, show clearly or (2) appoint or commission someone to a position. The verb occurs only twice in the Besekh (also Acts 1:24) and is used in the LXX for Heb. lakad, to take by lot (Josh 7:16-18) and Heb. manah, count, reckon, assign, appoint (Dan 1:11). The verb also appears in the Apocrypha (2Macc 9:14, 23, 25; 10:11; 14:12, 26; 1Esdr 1:35; 8:23), as well as in Josephus (Ant. XIV, 11:4; XX, 10:1), for appointing to a position of importance.
seventy: pl. of Grk. hebdomēkonta, adj., lit. "seven tens." The number 70 is highly significant in the Tanakh and Israelite culture. Genesis 10 lists 70 nations. The family of Jacob that went into Egypt numbered 70 (Gen 46:27). The oasis of Elim had twelve springs and 70 date palms (Ex 15:27). Israel had 70 elders (Ex 24:1). In the consecration of the tabernacle each tribe presented a silver bowl worth 70 shekels (Num 7:12-85). The sacrifices of bulls during Sukkot totaled 70 (Num 29:12–34), which Jewish rabbis viewed as symbolic of atonement for the nations (Sukkah 55b). others: pl. of Grk. heteros, a distributive pronoun used to distinguish one item from another, other, another or different. The pronoun alludes to the Twelve apostles whom Yeshua had sent on a mission (Luke 9:1-6).
Stern comments that just as the apostles numbered twelve to correspond with the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt 19:28; Luke 22:30; Rev 21:12–14), so the seventy correspond to the seventy elders Moses appointed in the wilderness, who received of the Spirit and prophesied (Num 11:16, 24–25). The apostolic narratives do not identify the seventy by name, but the church father Hippolytus (170-235) recorded their names in the historical monograph, On the Seventy Apostles, as well as did Dorotheus (c. 255-362), Acts of the Seventy Apostles. Luke is included in their number and his is the only narrative that mentions them. Origen (184-253) and Epiphanius (310-403) also include Luke in the same list. There is no reason not to take these lists as based on historical evidence.
Little consideration is given by commentators concerning how Yeshua identified and then recruited seventy men as heralds of the Kingdom. We know that Yeshua had many more disciples besides the Twelve (Matt 5:1; Mark 2:15; 3:7; Luke 6:13, 17; John 4:1; 6:60, 66). While Luke emphasizes his research for the narrative of Yeshua's life (Luke 1:3) he also includes himself among those who experienced Yeshua's ministry (Luke 1:1). It is very possible that Luke was an eyewitness of many of the events that only he records (Luke 9:52-56; 10:1-20; 12:1−18:14; 19:1-27, 39-44).
These seventy could be considered Yeshua's "Mighty Men," because eventually they would be filled with the Spirit and assume the leadership of local Messianic congregations throughout the Diaspora. Yeshua gave the seventy essentially the same instructions (verses 4-11 below) as he had given the Twelve for their mission (Matt 10:5-15), except that there was no restriction of cities they might enter (cf. Matt 10:5). Since the mission was to the lost house of Israel, then these seventy would be Jews, not Gentiles. They were probably a mixture of Judean Jews and Hellenized Jews, but all of them gained valuable experience for their later work in assisting Paul in spreading the Good News into the Diaspora.
and: Grk. kai, conj. that marks a connection or addition. Kai has three basic uses: (1) continuative – and, also, even; (2) adversative – and yet, but, however; or (3) intensive – certainly, indeed, in fact, really, verily, yea (DM 250f). The first use applies here. Kai is used in the LXX to translate the vav (ו) character added to words for conjunctive effect. There are over 50 conjunctions in biblical Greek (see the complete list here.). Kai is by far the most common conjunction in the Besekh, occurring over 9,000 times (BibleHub). The excessive use of conjunctions, including beginning verses with a conjunction, is evidence of either an original Hebrew text or Jewish Greek. In contrast to most Bible versions I translate all the instances of kai (and all the other conjunctions) as a reminder of Luke's Jewish writing style.
them: pl. pers. pron.; the seventy. in pairs: pl. of Grk. duo, the numeral two, lit. "twos." Many versions read "two by two." The pairing of messengers was no doubt based on the biblical principle that "by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed (Matt 18:16 NASB). Liefeld notes that sending messengers "two by two" was common among the early disciples (Mark 6:7; Luke 7:18-19; Acts 13:2; 15:27, 39-40; 17:14; 19:22). before: Grk. pro, prep. indicating precedence, either spatially, 'ahead, before,' or temporally, 'earlier than, before.' his appearance: Grk. prosōpon, lit. "face" as an anatomical term. The term is used here in the sense of both his physical presence and his resolution to go somewhere.
into every city: Grk. polis, a population center whose size or number of inhabitants could range broadly. and place: Grk. topos, a spatial area, place. The term may refer to the countryside or a district within the province. The seventy were sent to cities in which Yeshua planned to minister, and there is no record of Yeshua going into any Gentile cities. where he was about to: Grk. mellō, impf., a future oriented verb with a pending aspect, being in the offing, be about to, be going to. come: Grk. erchomai, pres. mid. inf., 'to come or arrive' with focus on a position from which action or movement takes place or 'to go' with the focus on the goal for movement. In reference to Yeshua this verb is used here for his moving or traversing an area in the ordinary physical sense.
Luke presents Yeshua's traveling as involving intentional planning, and to facilitate a broader proclamation of the kingdom he sent the seventy as he did the twelve. Santala suggests the point of origin for the sending took place in Perea (120) located on the east side of the Jordan, but Luke does not identify the location. It had to be a location at which Yeshua would remain in order for the seventy to return and make their report (verse 17 below). Geldenhuys says the cities in which the seventy witnessed were located in the Transjordan (303). When Yeshua sent the twelve he told them not to enter any Gentile or Samaritan city (Matt 10:5), but the only qualification Yeshua mentions for the seventy are locations in which he would later minister. So, he may have given the paired messengers specific assignments.
Textual Note: There are MSS that give the number of those sent as "seventy-two," which is represented in a number of versions (CEB, CEV, DRA, ERV, ESV, EXB, ICB, LEB, MRINT, NCV, NEB, NIRV, NIV, NJB, NLT, TEV). Metzger says the external evidence is almost evenly divided, but in fact an actual listing of the MSS shows twice as many MSS with "70" vs. those with "72" (GNT 250). Significant MSS with "72" include: Diatessaron (2nd c.), p75 (3rd c.), Vaticanus (4th c.), Ambrosiaster (4th c.), the Vulgate (5th c.), and Augustine (430). Significant MSS with "70" include Irenaeus (3rd c.), Clement (3rd c.), Tertullian (3rd c.), Sinaiticus (4th c.), Basil (379.), Origen (4th c.), Eusebius (339), Ambrose (397), Alexandrinus (5th c.), Jerome (420), and Cyril (444). Origen (254) has both numbers and Syriac versions (3rd-5th c.) are divided between the two numbers.
2 And he said to them, "The harvest indeed is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest so that he might send out laborers into his harvest.
Parallel: Matthew 9:37-38
And: Grk. de, conj. he said: Grk. legō, impf., to make a statement or utterance, whether oral or in written form; say, tell, declare. The imperfect tense denotes continuous action in past time. The Greek verb "say" functions as quotation marks for the text following since ancient writings did not contain punctuation. to: Grk. pros, prep. The root meaning is 'near' or 'facing,' but with the accusative case of the pronoun following the meaning is 'to, toward' (DM 110). Luke paints a picture of Yeshua looking into the faces of the seventy men to give them their charge. them: pl. pers. pron.; the seventy. The harvest: Grk. therismos, the gathering of crops when they reach the appropriate degree of ripeness; harvest. Major crops of the land of Israel included barley, wheat, grapes, figs, pomegranates, and olives (Deut 8:8). In the normal agricultural cycle harvest occurred about four months after planting.
indeed: Grk. mén, a particle of affirmation; indeed, verily, truly. Most versions don't translate the particle. is great: Grk. polus, adj., extensive in scope, here indicating high degree in amount or quality; many, much, great, large. The verb is assumed. On two other occasions Yeshua spoke of the bountiful harvest (Matt 9:37; John 4:35). but: Grk. de, conj. the laborers: pl. of Grk. ergatēs, one engaged in physical labor for pay, a field-laborer. are few: pl. of Grk. oligos, in reference to extent or quantity, here of persons, few. therefore: Grk. oun, conj. may be used to (1) denote that what it introduces is the result of or an inference from what precedes, "so, therefore, consequently, accordingly, then;" or (2) resume a subject once more after an interruption, "so, as has been said" (BAG).
pray: Grk. deomai, aor. pass. imp., direct a request with focus on appeal for assistance, the nature of which is nuanced by the context; ask, beseech, petition, pray, plead, request. We should note that this is the request of a someone working in the field. The request is not "send someone instead of me" but "send someone to help me." the Lord: Grk. kurios. See the previous verse. of the harvest: Grk. therismos. The "Lord of the harvest" might be a circumlocution for Yeshua, but more likely the Father since prayers are to be addressed to the Father (Matt 6:6, 9; John 16:23; Eph 2:18; 3:14; 5:20; Col 1:3, 12). so that: Grk. hopōs, conj. expressing an objective, purpose, or end in view; in order that, so that, that.
he might send out: Grk. ekballō, aor. subj., to cause to move out from a position, state or condition with variation in the degree of force or lack thereof as determined by the context; to bring out, cast out, drive out, put out, send out. The subjunctive mood is used to denote mild contingency or probability; it looks toward what is conceivable or potential. After Pentecost the sending would be accomplished by the Holy Spirit.
laborers: pl. of Grk. ergatēs. into: Grk. eis, prep., focus on entrance, frequently in relation to a direction toward a goal or place and consequent arrival; into. his harvest: Grk. therismos. Yeshua makes the point that the harvest belongs to the owner of the field, not the laborers. Moreover, just as he is sending out the seventy so the Lord of the harvest has the responsibility of sending out other laborers. Here the harvest figuratively represents souls who will embrace the good news of the Messiah and choose to follow him.
3 Go. Behold, I am sending you as lambs in the midst of wolves.
Parallel: Matthew 10:16
Go: Grk. hupagō, pres. imp., to proceed from a position, sometimes (1) with the focus on the departure point; go away, leave; or (2) with the focus on an objective or destination; go, be on one's way. The second usage applies here with a nuance of the first meaning. The present tense means to go and keep on going until the mission is complete. Behold: Grk. idou, aor. imp. of eidon, to see, and functioning as an exclamatory particle. Here the particle is used to secure attention and may be translated as 'behold,' 'look,' or 'see.' In this moment Yeshua tries to get his disciples to see what he sees, the waiting harvest.
I am sending: Grk. apostellō, pres., to cause to move from one position to another, but often to send as an authoritative personal representative. In the LXX apostellō translated Heb. shalach ("to stretch out or to send"), often in contexts of commissioning and empowering a messenger (DNTT 1:128). Geldenhuys suggests the verb expresses either pressing need or the directness with which they are sent to their destination (note 6, 304). you: pl. pers. pron. as: Grk. hōs, adv. lambs: pl. of Grk. arēn, a young sheep, lamb. The term occurs only here in the Besekh. in: Grk. en, prep. generally used to mark position, lit. "in" or "within." the midst: Grk. mesos, adj., middle, center, in the midst of, among.
of wolves: pl. of Grk. lukos, a wolf, a predatory carnivore. In the LXX lukos renders Heb. ze'ehb (SH-2061), wolf. While the wolf is surpassed in size by some dogs, it is the fiercest member of the dog family (Canidae). The wolf of the Middle East is large, light colored, and does not seem to hunt in packs. Like other wolves it is nocturnal. In Israel the wolf was the special enemy of sheep and goats ("wolf," ISBE). In the Tanakh the wolf appears in a figurative sense of the enemies of Judah (Jer 5:6; Hab 1:8), and corrupt and oppressive judges (Ezek 22:27; Zeph 3:3). Yeshua used the figure of the wolf to describe false prophets (Matt 7:15) and enemies of his disciples (Matt 10:16; Luke 10:13; cf. Acts 20:29). Yeshua's word picture was also given to the twelve in their commission (Matt 10:16), which reflected the reality that, "You will be hated by all because of my name" (Matt 10:22).
4 Carry not a moneybag, not a knapsack, not sandals; and greet no one along the road.
Parallel: Matthew 10:10
Carry: Grk. bastazō, pres. imp., may mean (1) to take up something from a position, lift with the hands; (2) sustain a burden, bear, carry; or (3) remove from a position, carry away. The first or second meanings could apply here. not: Grk. mē, a particle of qualified negation, subjective in nature, involving will and thought; not. Combined with the verb the negative particle represents an appeal for cooperation. a moneybag: Grk. ballantion, a bag used for carrying money; money-bag or purse. not: Grk. mē. a knapsack: Grk. pēra, a shoulder bag used for carrying provisions; a traveler's bag or a beggar's collecting bag. not: Grk. mē. 3).
sandals: pl. of Grk. hupodēma, anything bound under, a sandal (Mounce). The shoe was considered the humblest article of clothing and could be bought cheaply. Two types of shoes existed: slippers of soft leather and the more popular sandals with a hard leather sole. Thongs secured the sandal across the insole and between the toes. Going barefoot was a sign of poverty and reproach. During the first century, Jewish practice forbade the wearing of sandals with multilayered leather soles nailed together, as this was the shoe worn by Roman soldiers (HBD). Yeshua means they are not to take extra shoes, but does not forbid the wearing of shoes. They are to take nothing with them that may hamper them in accomplishing their task swiftly (Geldenhuys 304). The limitation on things that might be carried implies that the mission is for a short term, no more than a few days.
and greet: Grk. aspazomai, to address with some form of special recognition or expression of affection. The verb alludes to a Jewish practice to talk in a friendly way, chit-chat, engage in idle conversation, or gossip (Stern). no one: Grk. mēdeis, adj., 'no' or 'nobody.' along: Grk. kata, prep., the root meaning is "down" but with the accusative case of the noun following the meaning is "along" (DM 107). the road: Grk. hodos, with the focus on the concept of going the word typically has the sense of a route for traveling, hence a way, a road or a highway. It can also refer to the act of traveling; journey, way, trip. Geldenhuys notes that in the East salutations along the road could be of extremely long duration. Yeshua insists the disciples maintain complete focus on the completion of the assigned mission. Elisha gave a similar instruction to Gehazi as he left to lay Elisha's staff on the face of the Shunammite woman's dead child: "If you meet anyone, don't greet him. Or if anyone greets you, don't answer him" (2Kgs 4:29 TLV).
5 but into whatever house anyhow you might enter, first say, 'Shalom to this household.'
Parallel: Matthew 10:12-13
but: Grk. de, conj. into: Grk. eis, prep. whatever: Grk. hos, relative pron., who, which, what. house: Grk. oikia may mean either (1) a habitable structure, house; or (2) fig. a group within a house, household or family. The first meaning is intended here. anyhow: Grk. an, disjunctive particle that nuances a verb with contingency or generalization; would, ever, might. you might enter: Grk. eiserchomai, aor. subj., to go or enter into a geographical area, manufactured structure or other place defined in the context. first: Grk. prōton, adv., having to do with beforeness, with resultant meanings of (1) having a primary position in sequence and (2) standing out in significance or importance. The first meaning has application here. say: Grk. legō, pres. mid. See verse 2 above.
Shalom: Grk. eirēnē, peace, which is generally a reference to a state of harmony as a result from cessation of hostilities, whether in political or personal relationships. The Greek word corresponds to Heb. shalom, which means completeness, soundness, welfare, or peace (BDB 1022). In Jewish culture shalom is never peace in the negative sense, the absence of conflict, but the possession of everything that makes for man’s highest good. The biblical word "peace" is relational in scope and does not necessarily depict an emotional state. The use by Yeshua here alludes to the common greeting between Jews, within which is the common understanding that shalom is characteristic of the Messianic age and divine favor.
to this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pron. household: Grk. oikos, may mean (1) a structure for habitation; house, home; or (2) persons inhabiting a house, house, household, family. In Classical Greek oikos had a broader meaning than oikia. Both words meant a dwelling place and by extension the household of that dwelling. The nouns were distinguished by oikia denoting the actual dwelling space and oikos denoting the whole house, the family property and even the inheritance (DNTT 2:247). Oikos could be used for any kind of structure in which someone might stay, but also a temple. The LXX maintains this distinction and oikia, along with oikos, translates Heb. bayit (SH-1004), house as a dwelling habitation, household, descendants.
6 and if a son of shalom is there, your shalom will rest on him; but if otherwise, it will return to you.
and: Grk. kai, conj. if: Grk. ean, conj. that serves as a conditional particle and produces an aspect of tentativeness by introducing a possible circumstance that determines the realization of some other circumstance. a son: Grk. huios, a male offspring or descendant, whether by direct birth or by more remote ancestry. In the LXX huios renders Heb. ben ("son," "son of"), which is used in three distinctive ways: (1) to identify direct paternity, as the son of his father (Gen 5). (2) to mean not the actual father but a more distant ancestor (e.g., Gen 32:32); or (3) to mean in a broader sense of having the characteristics of (e.g., Ps 37:37; 89:22; Dan 3:25; cf. 2Th 2:3). The third usage applies here.
of shalom: Grk. eirēnē. See the previous verse. Liefeld suggests that "son of peace" is an idiomatic way of expressing not only a person's character but also the destiny he is worthy of. Such a person would be open to the kingdom message. is: Grk. eimi, pres. subj., a function word used in a wide variety of grammatical constructions, primarily to declare a state of existence, whether in the past ('was, were'), present ('are, is') or future ('will be'), often to unite a subject and predicate. The verb may also denote temporal existence, a sojourn, occurrence of phenomena or events, and time references (BAG). there: Grk. ekei, adv., in that place. your: pl. pers. pron. shalom: Grk. eirēnē.
will rest: Grk. epanapauō, fut. pass., come to stop at a point, used here of rest. The verb occurs only twice in the Besekh (also Rom 2:17). on: Grk. epi, prep., , expressing the idea of 'hovering,' used primarily as a marker of position or location; 'on, upon, over.' him: pers. pron., the son of shalom. but: Grk. de, conj. if: Grk. ei, conj., a contingency marker used here to introduce a circumstance assumed to be valid for the sake of argument. otherwise: Grk. mēge, negative particle, otherwise. it will return: Grk. anakamptō, fut., to turn back, to return. to you: pl. pers. pron. The phrase "it will return to you" is idiomatic of God withholding His shalom from individuals who do not welcome the kingdom of the Messiah (cf. Luke 2:14).
7 Moreover, remain in the same house, eating and drinking the things alongside of them; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house.
Moreover: Grk. de, conj. remain: Grk. menō, pres. imp., to be in a situation for a length of time; abide, dwell, lodge, remain, sojourn or stay. in: Grk. en, prep. the same: pers. pron. house: Grk. oikia. See verse 5 above. eating: Grk. esthiō, pres. part., to consume food, whether derived from grain, vegetables, fruits or meat of animals. In the LXX esthiō translates Heb. akal, to eat (SH-398; BDB 37), generally literal of eating food, first occurring in Genesis 2:16. and drinking: Grk. pinō, pres. part., to take in a liquid, to drink, usually of water or wine, used here in a figurative sense. In the LXX pinō renders the Qal of Heb. shathah, to drink, usually of water, but also of wine (SH-8354; BDB 1059). the things: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a demonstrative pron.
alongside of: Grk. para, prep. that conveys association; beside, alongside of, with. them: 3p-pl. pers. pron. Many versions translate the phrase as "what[ever] they provide" (e.g. AMP, ESV, ISV, LEB, NLT, NRSV, RSV) or "what[ever] they give you" (e.g., CEV, NASB, NET, NIV, NLV) or words to that effect. However, the literal translation as I've presented it here indicates that Yeshua emphasizes sharing fellowship with the host. The house is not to be treated as a "bed and breakfast" where the owner serves meals and remains aloof. for: Grk. gar, conj., is generally accepted as a contraction of ge ("yet") and ara ("then"), and in a broad sense means "certainly it follows that." Gar often functions to connect statements in narratives with preceding statements and is normally translated "for."
the laborer: Grk. ergatēs. See verse 2 above. is worthy: Grk. axios, adj., having worth or value, in the sense of being weighed on a scale; worthy, worthy of, deserving. of his: pers. pron. wages: Grk. misthos, reciprocation for performance, as payment for labor, pay, wages. Yeshua alludes to the expectation of payment after harvesting crops. Payment could be in currency as illustrated in the parable of the laborers in the vineyard (Matt 20:2) or in-kind of a percentage of the harvested produce which would then be sold and converted to currency as in the parable of the vineyard (Mark 12:2). The idiomatic saying (also found in 1Tim 5:18) implies that the disciples should view the things shared for eating and drinking, as well as the shelter provided by the son of shalom, as wages for their service to the Messiah.
Do not: Grk. mē, adv. keep moving: Grk. metabainō, pres. imp., to go or pass over, of movement of persons or things from one place to another (BAG). The verb is derived from the prep. meta ("with") and the verb bainō ("walk, step"). A usage in Josephus (Wars, VI, 3:4) indicates the verb was used to mean to change one's place of residence, move. from: Grk. ek, prep., to denote separation; from, out of, away from (BAG). house: Grk. oikia. to house: Grk. oikia. The phrase "house to house" means within a community. Once the disciples find the "son of Shalom" they are to remain with him while in that community. Moving about could be misinterpreted as an abuse of hospitality. Similarly John says that disciples of Yeshua are obligated to support the Lord's messengers who trust in God alone and do not rely on help from unbelievers (3Jn 1:5-8).
8 and into whatever city anyhow you might enter and they receive you, eat the things set before you;
and: Grk. kai, conj. into: Grk. eis, prep. whatever: Grk. hos, relative pron. city: Grk. polis. See verse 1 above. anyhow: Grk. an, disjunctive particle. See verse 5 above. you might enter: Grk. eiserchomai, pres. mid. subj. See verse 5 above. and they receive: Grk. dechomai, pres. mid. subj., to receive, frequently with the connotation of enthusiastic acceptance. you: pl. pers. pron. eat: Grk. esthiō, pres. imp. See the previous verse. the things: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article used as a demonstrative pron. set before: Grk. paratithēmi, pres. pass. part., to place something beside, to set before. you: pl. pers. pron.
There is no implication that Yeshua expected hosts might serve non-kosher food to his messengers or in such a circumstance these Jewish disciples were to eat non-kosher food. The issue may be more akin to the same principle declared by Paul (1Cor 10:27), which had to do with eating food offered to idols. The religious issue notwithstanding, the Lord's messenger should not expect a festival meal, but to be content with whatever the host was able to provide (cf. Php 4:11-12).
9 and heal the sick in it, and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.'
Parallel: Matthew 10:7-8
and: Grk. kai, conj. heal: Grk. therapeuō, pres. imp., may mean (1) to offer helpful service, help out, serve; or (2) the specific service of restoring a person to health. HELPS says the verb properly means "heal," reversing a physical condition to restore a person having an illness, disease, or infirmity. the sick: Grk. asthenēs, adj., may mean (1) weak in body, be sick; or (2) lack the capacity for something, be weak. in: Grk. en, prep. it: pers. pron.; i.e., the city of the previous verse. Many people in the world are skeptical about claims of divine healing, yet the reality is reported throughout the Scriptures and has been experienced by the people of God in history and the present. See my article Divine Healing for more information on this subject.
and say: Grk. legō, pres. imp. See verse 2 above. to them: pl. pers. pron. The pronoun refers to the residents of the city and not just the sick. The kingdom: Grk. basileia may mean (1) as abstract 'act of ruling' and thus 'kingship, royal power, royal rule, or kingdom; (2) a territory ruled over by a king; kingdom; or (3) the royal reign of God or kingdom of God as a chiefly eschatological concept, appearing in the Hebrew prophets (BAG). The term appears widely in the literature of Philo, Josephus, the LXX, and Jewish apocalyptic literature.
In the LXX basileia renders Hebrew noun derivatives of the verb malak (SH-4427), become a king; reign (DNTT 2:373). The nouns translated include (1) Heb. mamlakah (SH-4467) kingdom, sovereignty, dominion, or reign (Gen 10:10); (2) Heb. melek (SH-4428), king, (Josh 11:12); (3) Heb. mamlakuth (SH-4468), kingdom, dominion, reign (Josh 13:12); and (4) Heb. melukah (SH-4410), kingship, royalty (1Sam 10:16). It's important to note that the Hebrew words are used first and foremost for the reign of earthly rulers and only secondarily of God's kingship. The concept of God's kingly rule is only presented in connection with the Israelite monarchy. Even in the eschatological kingdom the ruler will be a Jewish descendant of David (Jer 23:5; 33:15; Ezek 34:23-24; 37:24-25; Hos 3:5; Zech 12:7-10).
of God: Grk. theos, the God of Israel. In secular Greek writings a number of deities, always represented in anthropomorphic form, were called theos. In ancient polytheistic culture theos was not one omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, Creator and ruler of the universe and certainly not spirit as described in Scripture (John 4:24). In the LXX theos primarily renders the general names of God: El, Eloah and Elohim, but also YHVH (DNTT 2:67-70). As with many other Greek words the LXX infused new meaning into theos. Usage of theos in the Besekh properly refers to the fullness of the triune God Elohim (Father-Son-Spirit) who created the heavens and the earth out of nothing (Gen 1:1), the only God in existence.
This God chose the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) and Israel out of all the nations on the earth for an everlasting covenant (Gen 17:7; Lev 24:8; Isa 44:6; 45:5-6, 14, 18, 21; 46:9; 61:8; Ezek 16:60; 37:26), making Him the "God of Israel" (Matt 15:31; Luke 1:68). Only to the chosen people did the true God reveal His name, His character and His commandments. All the other deities worshipped by religions in the world are the product of Satan-inspired imagination. has come near: Grk. engizō, perf., come or draw near, approach. The perfect tense reflects action completed in past time with continuing result in the present. The kingdom of God came with the birth of Yeshua (Luke 1:31-33). to: Grk. epi, prep. you: pl. pers. pron., the hearers of the message, principally the descendants of Jacob.
The hope that God would establish His reign as King over all the earth, with all idolatry banished, is expressed frequently in Scripture (e.g., Ex 15:18; Ps 22:28; 29:10; 93-99; 103:19; 145:10-13; Isa 34:23; 52:7; Dan 2:44; 4:3; 7:27; Micah 4:7; Obad 1:21; and Zech 14:9). The theme of God's kingdom is also found in intertestamental Jewish literature: Tobit 13:1; Sibylline Oracles 3:47-48, 767; Psalms of Solomon 17:3; Wisdom of Solomon 10:10; Assumption of Moses 10:1; Prayer of Azariah and the Three Men 33; and Enoch 84:2. Ancient Jewish prayer liturgy, such as Aleinu and Kaddish, include the phrase that "God may establish His Kingdom speedily" It was even laid down by the Sages that no benediction would be effective without reference to the Kingdom (Ber. 12a).
In the covenant with Israel God expressed His will for a kingdom, "you shall be to Me a kingdom [Heb. mamlakah; LXX basileios] of priests and a holy nation" (Ex 19:6). Of interest is that the LXX conveys the meaning of mamlakah here with an adjective meaning "kingly" or "royal" thereby signifying that as priests they would have the dignity and character of kings. Then, God promised David,
"When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever." (2Sam 7:12-13 ESV)
So, here are two kinds of kingdom: a priestly kingdom and a Davidic kingdom. Which kingdom did Yeshua announce? Yochanan the Immerser's message was of both kingdoms, but he saw them occurring simultaneously. The immersion of Spirit would be the inauguration of the priestly kingdom and the immersion of fire would be the judgment on the wicked and victory of the Davidic kingdom (cf. Matt 3:7-12).
In the history of Christianity the Church has thought of itself as the Kingdom of God (so Augustine, City of God). Beginning in the 19th century dispensational tradition interpreted the kingdom as a future eschatological event with political implications for a restored Israel, when Yeshua comes back and sets up his kingdom. The Second Coming will involve apocalyptic judgment and final consummation of all things. Probably most Evangelicals associate the kingdom with a sort of Christian commune in a place of mansions and streets of gold. Thus, to be saved means to have a place in heaven when one dies. None of these interpretations were included in the definition of the kingdom prophesied by the Hebrew prophets and proclaimed by Yeshua.
Yochanan the Immerser prepared the way for the Kingdom of God (cf. Matt 11:12; Luke 16:16). Yeshua then declared that the Kingdom had arrived in his person (Mark 1:15; Luke 10:9, 11). The Kingdom of God in the present age is the reign of God in human hearts (Luke 17:21), as Yeshua told Pilate "My Kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36). Yet, Yeshua also spoke of the kingdom to come in his Olivet Discourse (Matt 24:14; 25:1; Luke 21:31) and during the last supper (Mark 14:25). Stern says, "The concept of the Kingdom of God …refers neither to a place or time, but to a condition in which the rulership of God is acknowledged by humankind, a condition in which God’s promises of a restored universe free from sin and death are, or begin to be fulfilled" (16).
George Eldon Ladd (1911-1982), a professor of biblical theology at Fuller Theological Seminary, captured the essence of the Kingdom as present in Yeshua and also future with his simple description of "already" but "not yet." He argued that there are two true meanings to the kingdom of God: Firstly, he proposed that the kingdom of God is God's authority and right to rule. Secondly, he argued that it also refers to the realm in which God exercises his authority, which is described in Scripture both as a kingdom that is presently entered into and as one which will be entered in the future. He concluded that the kingdom of God is both present and future (The Gospel of the Kingdom: Scriptural Studies in the Kingdom of God. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1959; pp. 22-25).
According to Luke in the time between the resurrection and the ascension Yeshua taught his disciples more about the kingdom. They needed to understand that the kingdom was centered in their King as a present reality and not merely something for the disciples to anticipate in the future (cf. Matt. 11:12; 12:28; 16:19). The kingdom was not to be associated with an ecclesiastical organization, a political ideology or living in heaven. Rather, the kingdom would be Yeshua himself working through his messengers and disciples empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring healing and hope to suffering humanity, the same purpose he had in the first mission given to the apostles (Matt 10:8).
10 Moreover anyhow into whatever city you might enter and they do not receive you, having gone out into its streets, say,
Moreover: Grk. de, conj. anyhow: Grk. an, particle. See verse 5 above. into: Grk. eis, prep. whatever: relative pron. city: Grk. polis. See verse 1 above. you might enter: Grk. eiserchomai, aor. subj. See verse 5 above. and they do not: Grk. mē, adv. receive: Grk. dechomai, pres. mid. subj. See verse 8 above. you: pl. pers. pron. The hypothetical scenario describes not just the lack of any host willing to provide hospitality to the Lord's messenger, but poor receptivity of the good news of the Messiah perhaps by the preponderance of the city's population. Determination of the city's receptivity could also be measured by the reaction of the city's leadership. Receptivity could be passive, just an unwillingness to consider the message, or active, an aggressive opposition to the message.
having gone out: Grk. exerchomai, aor. pass., to move away from a place or position, to go or come out. into: Grk. eis, prep. its: pers. pron. streets: pl. of Grk. plateia (from platus, "broad area"), main thoroughfare, street. In the LXX plateia appears 42 times and is used to translate the Heb. rechob, "broad open place, plaza or square" (e.g., Gen 19:2; 2Sam 21:12; Ezra 10:9; Esth 4:1; Prov 1:20; 5:16; SS 3:2; Jer 5:1; Dan 9:25; Nah 2:4; Zech 8:4), which refers to a broad place or plaza in the city, usually near the city gate (BDB 932). Every ancient city had a plaza for markets, town assemblies and other gatherings. The focus of the activity is in public areas of the city. say: Grk. legō, pres. imp. See verse 2 above. The verb introduces a public announcement.
11 'Even the dust of your city having clung to our feet we wipe off against you; yet know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.'
Parallel: Matthew 10:14
Even: Grk. kai, conj. the dust: Grk. koniortos, dust of the ground. of your: pl. pers. pron. city: Grk. polis. See verse 1 above. having clung: Grk. kollaō, aor. pass. part., adhere to, stick to or attach to. to our: pl. pers. pron. feet: pl. of Grk. pous, the body part that is used for walking or running; the foot. we wipe off: Grk. apomassō, pres. mid., manipulate with the hands as in a kneading motion; wipe off, wipe oneself clean. This verb occurs only here in the Besekh. against you: pl. pers. pron. Jews considered themselves defiled by the dust of a heathen country (Tohoroth 4:5; Oholoth 17:5), which was represented by the prophets as a polluted land (Amos 7:17), when compared with the land of Israel, which was considered as a holy land (Ezek 45:1).
Clarke says that to shake the dust of any city of Israel from off one's clothes or feet was an emblematical action, signifying a renunciation of all further connection with them, and placing them on a level with pagan Gentile cities. The dust also represents death, due to the original curse on Adam (Gen 3:19), so to shake off the dust implies that those who reject the good news won't share in the resurrection of the righteous (cf. Sanh. 92a). Paul and Barnabas acted out this instruction in Pisidia after unbelieving Jews instigated a persecution against the apostles (Acts 13:51). In that situation Paul proclaimed the Messiah in the synagogue (Acts 13:14-16) and later to the "whole city" (Acts 13:44). Many Jews and Gentiles had responded favorably to the good news, so the shaking off dust was directed at their persecutors and not the city. Paul's action, then, should guide how we interpret Yeshua's instruction here.
yet: Grk. plēn, adv. introducing a modifying or incremental clause, functioning here as a conjunction; rather, except, however, nevertheless. know: Grk. ginōskō, pres. imp., to know, but has a variety of meanings, including (1) to be in receipt of information; (2) form a judgment or draw a conclusion; or (3) have a personal relationship involving recognition of another's identity or value. The second meaning dominates the thought here. In the LXX ginōskō renders Heb. yada, which has a similar wide range of meaning, but in most occasions refers to a personal knowledge, whether of knowing persons or knowing by experience, as well as knowing by learning from a teacher (DNTT 2:395). The verb does not depict intuition or theoretical knowledge. this: demonstrative pron. In other words, recognize this fact.
that: Grk. hoti, conj. that serves as a link between two sets of data, in this instance introducing a subordinate clause as complementary of a preceding verb. the kingdom of God: See verse 9 above. has come near: Grk. engizō, perf. See verse 9 above. The Lord's messengers have a duty to warn those who reject the kingdom message that failure to accept the Messiah will bring the judgment of God (cf. John 12:48). The nature of the adverse consequences is illustrated in the following verses that remind the hearers of God's judgment in the past.
Announcements of Woe, 10:12-16
12 I say to you that it will be more tolerable in that Day for Sodom than for that city.
Parallel: Matthew 10:15
I say: Grk. legō, pres. See verse 2 above. Yeshua offers his own pronouncement against cities that reject the kingdom message. to you: pl. pers. pron., the seventy messengers. that: Grk. hoti, conj. it will be: Grk. eimi, fut. mid. See verse 6 above. more tolerable: Grk. anektoteros, adj., capable of being put up with; easier, more endurable, more tolerable. Liefeld suggests that "more bearable" probably relates not so much to the degree of punishment as to the degree of culpability. in: Grk. en, prep. that: Grk. ekeinos, demonstrative pron., that, that one there. Day: Grk. hēmera may refer to (1) the daylight hours from sunrise to sunset, (2) the civil or legal day that included the night, (3) an appointed day for a special purpose or (4) a longer or imprecise period, such as a timeframe for accomplishing something or a time of life or activity (BAG). The third usage applies here.
In Scripture the construction "that day," alluding to an appointed day, is sometimes a day for God to bring deliverance and victory (Matt 24:36; 26:29; Luke 17:31; 2Tim 1:12, 18; 4:8; cf. Isa 10:27; 25:9; 29:18; Ezek 39:22; 45:22; Amos 9:11; Mic 4:6; Zech 13:1; 14:4, 8-9). Other times "that day" is a day for God to bring judgment and vengeance as indicated here (Matt 7:22; Luke 21:34; 2Th 1:9-10; cf. Isa 23:15; 24:21; 27:1; Jer 46:10; 49:26; Ezek 38:18-19; 39:11; Hos 1:5; Obad 1:8; Zeph 1:9-10, 15; Zech 12:9; 13:2).
for Sodom: Grk. Sodoma (a transliteration of Heb. S'dôm), one of five "cities of the valley" (Gen 13:12; 14:2; 19:29) of Abraham's time and a place of Lot's residence (Gen 13:10-12; 14:12; 19:1). The exact location is unknown, but it was probably situated in the Valley of Siddim (Gen 14:3, 8, 10-11) near the Dead Sea. The city was known for the wickedness of its inhabitants (Gen 18:10) and because of which the city was consumed by a fiery judgment of the Lord in spite of intercession by Abraham (Gen 18:22-32; 19:24). Not even ten righteous men could be found there. The example of God's judgment on Sodom is mentioned in other passages of the Besekh (Matt 10:15; 11:23-24; Luke 17:29; Rom 9:29; 2Pet 2:6; Jude 1:7).
than: Grk. hē, conj., used here comparatively. for that: Grk. ekeinos. city: Grk. polis. See verse 1 above. "That city" is the city that rejects the good news of the Messiah. The implication is clear. If Sodom could not escape divine judgment and punishment, what hope does any city have that rejects Yeshua? Conversely, the lesson of Sodom is that the strong presence of God's people in a city can prevent God's judgment.
13 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had taken place in Tyre and Sidon which took place in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
Parallel: Matthew 11:21
Woe: Grk. ouai, an interjection expressing a sense of profound grief, especially in the face of impending disaster or expressing certainty of assured disaster. A "woe" is a calamity of such proportions that it stretches the mind to think of anything worse. Geldenhuys says the word is not so much a curse as an expression of pity; "alas for you" gives the sense adequately (304). In the LXX ouai usually renders Heb. hoy (SH-1945; BDB 222), an interjection expressing dissatisfaction, pain or grief following an event of misfortune or punishment (1Kgs 13:30), but occasionally Heb. oy (SH-188; BDB 17), an impassioned interjection expressing grief and despair as a result of misfortune, calamity or judgment, translated as 'woe' or 'alas' (Num 21:29).
However, there are three times as many occasions of "woe" announced for future calamity or divine judgment, some on pagan nations (Isa 10:5; Jer 48:1, 46; 50:27), but most on Israel (Isa 5:8, 11, 18, 20, 21, 22; 10:1; 18:1; 28:1; 29:1, 15; 30:1; 31:1; 33:1; 45:10; Jer 13:27; 22:18; 24:16; 30:7; Ezek 13:3, 18; 16:23; 24:9; Hos 7:13; 9:12; Amos 5:18; 6:1; Hab 2:6, 12, 19; Zeph 2:5). Woes of judgment related to Israel were pronounced against the greedy, the immoral, the hedonists, the drunkards, the unjust judges, the ungodly leaders, the idolaters, and the false prophets.
The announcements of "woe" in the major and minor prophets are important for consideration because they provide the context for Yeshua's own use of the term. Ouai occurs 47 times in the Besekh, of which 31 are in the apostolic narratives, all spoken by Yeshua. In contrast to the usage of "woe" in the Tanakh Yeshua uses the term of potential punishment or judgment for sinful behavior. Yeshua pronounced "woe" against scribes and Pharisees (Matt 23:13-16, 23, 25, 27, 29; Luke 11:42-44, 46-47, 52), against the uncaring rich (Luke 6:24-25), against Judas (Mark 14:21; Luke 22:22) and against cities as in this verse (also Matt 11:21).
to you: pl. pers. pron. Chorazin: Grk. Chorazin, a transliteration of Korazin, a city on the northeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee about two miles northeast of Capernaum. Chorazin is mentioned in the Talmud (Menachoth 85a) as a place famous for its wheat. At this time it must have been an important place, but by the second half of the third century A.D. it had ceased to be inhabited (HBD). The name appears only twice in the Besekh (also Matt 11:21).
Woe: Grk. ouai. to you: pl. pers. pron. Bethsaida: Grk. Bēthsaida, a transliteration of Heb. Beit-Tsaidah, a location name meaning "house of fish." The city was also located on the northeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee near Chorazin. Josephus locates Bethsaida east of the Jordan and in lower Gaulanitis, the Tetrarchy of Philip (Wars II, 9:1; III, 3:5). Bethsaida was the birthplace of Philip (John 1:44). Also Bethsaida was the hometown of Andrew and Peter. This does mean that the men resided in the city at this time. It's noteworthy that John says Andrew and Peter were "of" Bethsaida, but not "from" it (John 1:44). See a map of Chorazin and Bethsaida here.
Chorazin and Bethsaida are held up as examples of cities that witnessed miracles performed by Yeshua, generally healing of various bodily ailments or exorcising demons. While no miracles are recorded as occurring in Chorazin its close proximity to Capernaum could be viewed as sharing in the miracles that occurred there and in that district (Matt 8:1-17; 17:24-27; Mark 1:39; 2:1-12; Luke 4:31-37). Bethsaida is specifically identified as a location of Yeshua curing illnesses and performing miracles, including healing a blind man with spit (Mark 8:22-25) and not far away feeding 5,000+ people with miracle bread and fish (Luke 9:10-17). The people reacted to the miracle food by attempting to seize Yeshua and make him king (John 6:15). The woes on Chorazin and Bethsaida probably targeted primarily the Jewish leaders who rejected Yeshua's teaching.
For: Grk. hoti, conj. if: Grk. ei, conj. the miracles: pl. of Grk. dunamis, (from dunamai, be capable for doing or achieving), having ability to perform something. Dunamis is used to mean (1) the ability to function effectively and rendered "power" or "might;" (2) an exhibition of singular capability; powerful, wondrous deed, or miracle; or (3) a personification of a powerful entity or structure, "power." The second meaning applies here. In the LXX dunamis is used to translate Heb. tsaba (SH-6635), army, war, warfare (Gen 21:22), or chayil (SH-2428), strength, efficiency, wealth, army (Deut 8:13). These terms are generally used to mean military forces (DNTT 2:602). Dunamis also stands for some other Hebrew words or used without Hebrew equivalent to refer to the strength of God that accomplishes great deeds on behalf of His people (Ex 7:4; Deut 3:24; Josh 4:24; Ps 68:28).
had taken place: Grk. ginomai, aor. pass., to transfer from one state to another, and here means come to be, become, take place, happen, occur. in: Grk. en, prep. Tyre: Grk. Turos, an ancient seaport of the Phoenicians situated northwest of Galilee, about 40 miles from Capernaum as the raven flies. Tyre consisted of two cities: a rocky coastal city on the mainland and a small island city just off the shore. Tyre lay about 25 miles south of Sidon. Dates of founding range from 2000 BC to 2750 BC. Tyre is mentioned 53 times in Scripture, the first at Joshua 19:29 in reference to the northern border of the tribe of Asher.
and Sidon: Grk. Sidōn. Like Tyre the city of Sidon was a Phoenician coastal city in the province of Syria northwest of Galilee. Sidon was considered a sister city of Tyre, although founded earlier before 2000 BC. The cities of Tyre and Sidon became thoroughly Hellenistic under the Seleucid kings and were treated as free cities by the Romans. Yeshua went to territory of Tyre and Sidon where he freed the daughter of a Syro-Phoenician woman from demonic oppression (Mark 7:24-30). Liefeld suggests that the comparison with the pagan Phoenician towns of Tyre and Sidon suggests utter rebellion against the Lord. Those ancient towns suffered drastic judgment for their proud opposition to God and his people (Isa 23:1-18; Jer 25:22; 47:4; Ezek 26:1-28:23; Joel 3:4-8; Amos 1:9-10).
which: Grk. ho, definite article but used here as a demonstrative pron. took place: Grk. ginomai, aor. mid. part. in: Grk. en, prep. you: pl. pers. pron. they would: Grk. an, particle. See verse 5 above. have repented: Grk. metanoeō, aor.,to have a serious change of mind and heart about a previous point of view or course of behavior, generally translated as "repent." In the LXX metanoeō almost always renders Heb. nacham (SH-5162), to be sorry, change one's mind or repent, sometimes used of God (1Sam 15:29; Jer 4:28; 18:8; Amos 7:3, 6; Jon 3:9, 10; 4:2; Zech 8:14) and other times of humans (Jer 8:6, 10; 31:19; Joel 2:13, 14).
In Greek culture metanoeō did not fully convey the intent of the biblical concept. In the Tanakh repentance is best represented by the word shuv (SH-7725), bring back to mind, to return, turn back, turn around. When used for repentance shuv means to turn away from evil in the sense of renouncing and disowning sin, and to turn toward the good or becoming obedient to God’s will as expressed in the commandments (TWOT 2:909, e.g., 1Kgs 8:33, 35, 48; 2Chr 7:14; Isa 59:20; Ezek 18:21; Hos 6:1; Jon 3:8). Jewish translators generally used epistrephō (SG-1994) or strephō (SH-4762), to translate shuv as repentance. These Greek verbs mean to turn, turn around, turn back or be transformed (DNTT 1:354).
However, the use of metanoeō by Yeshua and the apostles is obviously meant to express the force of shuv (DNTT 1:357). In the LXX metanoeō is used one time to render Heb. shuv: "Remember this, and show yourselves men; bring again [Heb. shuv] to mind, you transgressors." (Isa 46:8 mine). God goes on to say, "I bring near My righteousness, it is not far off; and My salvation will not delay. And I will grant salvation in Zion and my glory for Israel" (46:13). The use of metanoeō may reflect a desire to emphasize the beginning point of change with a decision of the will to receive the salvation being offered.
long ago: Grk. palai, adv., reference to time past, which may be (1) much earlier than present time, long ago or (2) relatively close to the present time, a while ago, already, recently. The first meaning applies here. sitting: Grk. kathēmai, pres. mid. part., be at rest on the haunches, to sit down or to take a seat. in: Grk. en, prep. sackcloth: Grk. sakkos, coarse cloth made of animal hair. The sackcloth was worn as a sign of mourning or repentance (Gen 37:34; 1Kgs 21:27). and ashes: pl. of Grk. spodos, ashes. To sit in ashes served as an image of utter dejection and contrition through grief and remorse (e.g., Job 42:6). Customs varied with respect to ashes, some sitting or lying on ashes (Job 2:8; Esth 4:3) and others putting ashes on the head (2Sam 13:19; Ezek 27:30). The repentance of a city manifested by sackcloth and ashes no doubt alludes to the repentance of Nineveh (Jon 3:5-8).
14 Yet for Tyre and Sidon it will be more tolerable in the judgment than for you.
Parallel: Matthew 11:22
Yet: Grk. plēn, conj. See verse 11 above. for Tyre and Sidon: See the previous verse. it will be: Grk. eimi, fut. mid. See verse 6 above. more tolerable: Grk. anektoteros, adj. See verse 12 above. in: Grk. en, prep. the judgment: Grk. krisis (from krinō, select or judge), judgment. The term refers to the scrutiny of conduct, the rendering of a right decision and the administration of justice. In the Besekh the term is used of the activity of God or the Messiah as judge, especially on the Last Day (Matt 10:15; 11:22, 24; 12:36; John 5:29; 12:31; 16:8, 11; 2Th 1:5; Heb 9:27; 10:27; Jas 5:12; 2Pet 2:9; 3:7; 1Jn 4:17; Jude 1:6; Rev 14:7; 18:10).
The Tanakh presents God as a very present judge of all humanity (Gen 6:5-7; 15:14; 18:25; Ps 7:8; 58:11; 82:8). Scripture also points to a future judgment of all nations by the God of Israel (e.g., Ps 9:8; 96:10, 13; 98:9; 110:6; Isa 2:4; 10:7; 51:5; Jer 1:10). than: Grk. hē, conj. for you: pl. pers. pron. The question naturally arises, "why would the day of judgment be "more tolerable" for Tyre and Sidon than for any city that rejected the message of Yeshua's disciples?" Probably the principle of harsher judgment is based on Yeshua's saying, "everyone who has been given much, much will be required" (Luke 12:48). The ancient cities of Sodom, Tyre and Sidon did not have the revelation of the Messiah.
15 And you, Capernaum, will not be lifted up to heaven. You will go down as far as Hades!
Parallel: Matthew 11:23
And: Grk. kai, conj. you: pron. of the first pers. Capernaum: Grk. Kapharnaoum (from the Heb. K’far-Nachum, "village of Nahum”) was located on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, about 2½ miles west of the entrance of the Jordan. Capernaum appears in the biblical record only 16 times, so it was probably founded after the return from exile. As an economic center in Galilee it was more significant than tradition has often allowed. The designation "city" in Mark 1:33 distinguishes it from a mere "fishing village." It had its own synagogue, in which Yeshua frequently taught. Apparently the synagogue was built by the Roman soldiers garrisoned in Capernaum (Matt 8:8; Luke 7:1-10).
Capernaum was a center for collecting custom fees and taxes (where Matthew worked) due to being an important center commanding both sea and land trade routes. Fishing and farming, as well as other light industries, were important to the local economy. Yeshua centered his ministry there (Matt 4:13), called many of his disciples in the vicinity of the city (Matt 4:18-24) and performed many miracles in and around the city (Matt 8:5-16). It was also in Capernaum that Yeshua provoked controversy by his declaration of being the Bread of Life following the feeding of the 5,000 (John 6:35, 48). The Jewish leaders responded with rejection and unbelief and Yeshua accordingly pronounced "woe" on the city. So strikingly did this prophecy come true that only recently has Tell Hum been identified confidently as ancient Capernaum (NIBD).
will not: Grk. mē, adv. See verse 4 above. be lifted up: Grk. hupsoō, fut. pass., may mean (1) cause to move from a position to one that is higher; lift upward; or (2) cause to be higher in status; elevate, exalt. In context both meanings have application. In the LXX hupsoō renders primarily Heb. rum and its derivatives, meaning to exalt or be high (DNTT 2:201). In a few passages the verb takes on a pejorative meaning of being proud, haughty or arrogant (Ps 37:20). The use of the verb in this verse no doubt alludes to an excessive pride of the city's inhabitants. It was the residence of a high officer of the king (Matt 9:9; John 4:46).
to heaven: Grk. ouranos, the area above the earth that encompasses the sky, interstellar space and the transcendent dwelling-place of God. In the LXX ouranos translates the Heb. hashamayim (lit. "the heavens") (DNTT 2:191). The Hebrew and Greek words for "heaven" are used in Scripture to refer to three different places (Ps 148:1-4). In terms of direction from the ground level of the earth the first heaven is the atmosphere in which birds fly (Gen 1:20; Rev 19:17). The second heaven is interstellar space (Gen 1:1, 8; Matt 24:29) and the third heaven is the location of the throne of God and the home of angels (1Kgs 8:30; Matt 6:9; 2Cor 12:2). The third heaven is intended here.
If we consider that "heaven" was commonly used as a Jewish circumlocution for God (e.g., "kingdom of heaven"), then being lifted up to God could be an assumption by Jewish leaders in the city of being specially favored by God. After all, they had been the beneficiaries of a synagogue built with money donated by a Roman centurion (Luke 7:5). Such largesse was surely a sign of God's favor. In this they were wrong. Their rejection of the Messiah would only invoke the wrath of the Father upon their community.
You will go down: Grk. katabainō, fut. mid., 2p-sing., proceed in a direction that is down; come or go down. The middle voice describes the subject as participating in the results of the action; stresses agent. Some versions render the verb as passive voice, "be brought down" or words to that effect (ASV, CEB, CJB, ESV, KJV, MW, NASB, NKJV, NRSV, RSV), implying God's act of judgment. However, the middle voice stresses the fact that the judgment results from the willful choice of people to reject Yeshua. Other versions correctly present the middle voice (AMP, GW, HCSB, ISV, NAB, NIV, NLT, NOG, OJB, TLV). to: Grk. heōs, adv. denoting a limit with either (1) a temporal meaning in reference to time or calendar, until; or (2) a terminal meaning in reference to a position or place, as far as. The second usage applies here.
Hades: Grk. hadēs, originally in Greek culture referred to the god of the underworld, but in later Greek hadēs became associated with a locale of the dead (BAG). In the LXX hadēs occurs over 70 times, in the majority of instances to translate Heb. sheol, (e.g., Gen 37:25; Ps 16:10; Eccl 9:10; Isa 14:11, 15; 38:10), the underworld which receives all the dead (DNTT 2:206). Josephus used the term hadēs with the same meaning (Ant. VI, 14:2). In Philo going down to the "shades below" is the last journey of life (On the Life of Moses, Book I, XXXV, 195). In the Tanakh little is known of sheol, except that it is a place of darkness devoid of joy (Job 17:13; Ps 6:5). However, during the intertestamental period many Jews embraced the doctrine of the immortality of the soul and resurrection, which altered the concept of hadēs.
Reward and punishment would begin after death and the souls of the righteous would enter heavenly blessedness, while the souls of the ungodly are punished in hadēs. Josephus records that this was the position of the Pharisees and the Essenes (Wars II, 8:14). This separation is clearly presented in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:22-26). Thus Hades lost its role as the resting place of all souls and became a place where the unredeemed dead are kept in anticipation of the final judgment. As a place of punishment Hades may be an equivalent term for gehenna, the Greek word for hell. However, the descriptions of hell that Yeshua gave (Matt 5:22; Mark 9:43) also correspond to the characteristics given of the lake of fire, the final place of punishment after the millennial reign (Rev 19:20; 20:10, 14-15).
As a location Hades can be equated with Tartarus, the deep abyss (2Pet 2:4) and the bottomless pit of (Isa 14:15; Rev 9:1). The early Jewish work Sibylline Oracles says, "For he [God] the earth established, placing it round about Tartarus" (Book I, 10). Hades is always described as being down, thus it is in a subterranean region of the earth, likely at its center (cf. Matt 11:23; 12:40; Luke 10:15; Eph 4:9). It is called bottomless, because every direction would be a ceiling. The Bible does not admit to any belief in Purgatory, and Hades is not a temporary abode where one's guilt is purged in order to qualify for the blessing of heaven. The phrase "as far as Hades" is not intended to imply that Hades has levels of punishment as in the nine levels of hell depicted in the Medieval work Inferno by Dante Alighieri. Rather the phrase denotes the opposite extreme from heaven as an ultimate destination.
Yeshua may have actually used the name Hades for the demonic prince mentioned in Revelation (Rev 1:18; 6:8), who rules over the spirits of the unbelieving dead that arrive in the Pit (cf. Ex 12:23; Jdg 9:23; Hos 13:14; Matt 11:23; 16:18; 1Cor 10:10; 15:55; 2Th 2:3). In his death and resurrection Yeshua conquered the demonic powers (Col 2:15). In 1 Corinthians 10:10 Paul uses the personal taunt of Hosea 13:14, "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" (NKJV). Eventually, Hades will be thrown into the lake of fire (Rev 20:13-14).
Stern and Liefeld note a similarity between the prophecy of judgment on Capernaum and the prophecy against the "star of the morning, son of the dawn" in Isaiah 14:15, commonly thought of as a taunt against Satan. The Greek text of Isaiah's prophecy verse 15 is almost identical with the Greek text here, the LXX using a different preposition, eis, "into." Since the Capernaum Jewish leaders made themselves adversaries of Yeshua they will suffer the same end as the chief Adversary. We should also note that the expressions "that day" in verse 12 above, "the judgment" of the previous verse and "brought down to Hades" in this verse refer to the day of Messiah's judgment (1Cor 5:5) that occurs before the millennium.
16 "The one hearing you hears me, and the one rejecting you rejects me; moreover the one rejecting me rejects the One having sent me."
Parallel: Matthew 10:40; Mark 9:37; Luke 9:48
The one hearing: Grk. akouō, pres. part. with the definite article., properly to hear aurally and in Scripture with the focus on willingness to listen or to heed the substance of what is said. In the LXX akouō consistently stands for Heb. shama, which not only means to apprehend with the ears, but also to accept and to act upon what has been heard (DNTT 2:173). you: pl. pers. pron.; i.e., the seventy. hears: Grk. akouō, pres. me: pers. pron. Yeshua's declaration reflects a legal principle held by first century Judaism. A man sent by another acted as an official messenger or a proxy for and with the full authority of the sender, as the Mishnah says, "the agent is as the one who sends him" (Ber. 5:5). The inherent responsibility of being sent meant that the sender had to be faithfully represented. His reputation was at stake.
So the hearers of the seventy should understand that the seventy as agents of Yeshua had full authority to speak in his behalf. Yeshua repeated this principle to his apostles during the last supper, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the one receiving whoever I should send, receives me; and the one receiving me, receives the One having sent me" (John 13:20 mine). Paul commended the congregation of Galatia for receiving him as Yeshua (Gal 4:14). Yeshua then reverses the axiom. and the one rejecting: Grk. atheteō, pres. part. with the definite article., may mean (1) to set aside as unworthy of consideration, and in a legal sense to invalidate, nullify or set aside; or (2) in relation to a person to reject, not recognize or break faith (BAG). The second meaning applies here. you: pl. pers. pron. rejects: Grk. atheteō, pres. me: pers. pron.
moreover: Grk. de, conj. the one rejecting: Grk. atheteō, pres. part. with the definite article. me: pers. pron. This rejecting represents an active response. This is not just unbelief, but refusal to accept Yeshua as the Messiah and King of Israel. rejects: Grk. atheteō, pres. the One: Grk. ho, definite article used as a demonstrative pron. Some versions render ho literally as "The one" (ISV, NAB, NET, NIRV, NRSV, TEV), but a few versions appropriately capitalize "One" (CJB, HCSB, ICB, NASB, NCV, OJB, TLV). Among Jews "The One" was a circumlocution for God (cf. Ps 3:3; 37:24; Isa 40:26; 45:7; 49:7; Amos 9:5-6; John 1:33; 6:46; 7:18; 11:27; 12:45; 15:21; Acts 10:42; Rom 5:17; 2Cor 4:6). having sent: Grk. apostellō, aor. part. See verse 3 above. me: pers. pron. The One who sent Yeshua was the Father (John 5:36; 6:57).
Yeshua declared this principle several weeks later when he arrived in Jerusalem: "The one rejecting me and not receiving my words has One judging him; the word that I spoke, that will judge him in the last day" (John 12:48 mine). Paul similarly warned the congregation in Thessalonica, "So then, the one rejecting does not reject man, but God, the One also giving His Holy Spirit into us" (1Th 4:8 mine).
Report of the Seventy, 10:17-24
17 Now the seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name."
Now: Grk. de, conj. Luke omits any mention of how long the mission lasted. the seventy: pl. of Grk. hebdomēkonta, adj. See verse 1 above. returned: Grk. hupostrephō, aor., to go back to a position, to return. Luke does not define the location, whether it was the place from where the seventy was sent or another place Yeshua identified for the reunion. Luke presents the seventy meeting with Yeshua as a complete group. Since the disciples were sent out in pairs, it is unlikely they would have all arrived back on the same day unless Yeshua had given them a specific day to meet him. with: Grk. meta, prep. joy: Grk. chara, joy as an emotional response that may be experienced in a variety of circumstances or of sharing in a celebration. saying: Grk. legō, pres. part. See verse 2 above.
Lord: Grk. kurios, voc. case. See verse 1 above. Kurios is the principal title by which disciples and members of the public addressed Yeshua during his earthly ministry, over twice as many times as any other title (e.g., Rabbi, Teacher, Master). The frequent use of kurios to address Yeshua in the flesh would not have considered deity. Unbelieving Jews called him kurios out of respect and disciples called him "Lord" in the sense of being their master. even: Grk. kai, conj. the demons: pl. of Grk. daimonion, refers to a deity or transcendent being of lesser or subordinate rank. In the Besekh the term only has a negative connotation of an evil spirit hostile toward man and God. Daimonion was historically derived from daiomai, to divide or apportion and may be connected with the idea of the god of the dead as a divider of corpses (DNTT 1:450).
The terms "demon" and "unclean spirit" are essentially synonymous in Scripture (Luke 9:42). Neither term refers to a ghost or a spirit of a dead person. Demons are subordinate to Satan and are his angels (Mark 3:22-23), and while active in the world, are destined for judgment (Matt 8:29; 25:41). Worship in false religions brings people into contact with demons that are the true reality behind the pagan deities (Lev 17:7; Deut 32:17; 2Chr 11:15; Ps 106:37; 1Cor 10:20f; Rev 9:20). In the LXX daimonion occurs only in Isaiah 34:14 for Heb. sa'iyr (SH-8163, 'satyr, demon,') and in Isa 65:11 for Heb. gad (SH-1409, 'fortune, or 'god of fortune'). The related term daimōn ('demon') occurs in Isaiah 13:21 for Heb. sa'iyr.
Scripture is silent on the origin of demons, but they are likely the angels who followed Satan and were cast down to earth (Rev 12:9; cf. Jude 1:6). Demons might be considered the foot soldiers in Satan's army. According to the cases reported in the apostolic narratives they have the power to cause great harm. Jewish scribes were steeped in belief in demons and had many names for them, such as powerful ones, harmers, destroyers, attackers, satyrs, and evil spirits. According to Jewish belief in the first century demons ascend from beneath the earth (cf. 1Sam 28:13) and fill the world. They have access to heaven, and though they belong to Satan's kingdom, God gives them authority to inflict punishments on sinners. Their power began in the time of Enosh (Gen 4:26), but will end in the days of the Messiah. Their main goal is to lead men into sin. They are the cause of some, but not all diseases, and they can also kill (DNTT 1:451).
are subject: Grk. hupotassō, pres. pass., to place or rank under, to be in compliance with requirements for order, to subject, so subordinate, to bring into compliance. Hupotassō is derived from hupo (under) and tassō (arrange, appoint), which originated as a military term where a rank structure is clearly defined (DNTT 1:476). The present tense here emphasizes a continuing authority over the demons. to us: pl. pers. pron.; i.e., the seventy. in: Grk. en, prep. The preposition may denote agency or means. your: pers. pron. name: Grk. onoma is used in its central sense of identifying someone with a proper name. In Hebrew literature "name" also carries the extended sense of qualities, powers, attributes or reputation. The mention of "name" alludes to the authority that Yeshua gave his messengers to act as his agent.
The commission to the seventy did not specifically order them to "cast out demons" as he said to the twelve (Matt 10:8), but the seventy understood the mission to "heal the sick" (verse 9 above) would in some cases require the removal of a demon. The seventy also recognized that exorcism could only be performed in the name of Yeshua (cf. Mark 9:38; Luke 9:49; Acts 16:18). Conversely, the name of Yeshua cannot be used as an incantation for exorcism by unbelievers (Acts 19:13-16).
Additional Note on Demons
The many mentions of demon-possessed people in the apostolic narratives indicate a Satanic invasion coincidental with the revelation of the Messiah. In these stories the individual is never blamed for being afflicted with a demon. They were victims, not offenders. There is NO evidence that the demonic oppression resulted from personal misconduct. The demonic activity was unprecedented in Israelite history, and the evidence indicates that the victims were random targets. Many scholars attribute the accounts of demons to ancient superstition and it is true that ancient people attributed some misfortune and suffering to unseen spirits. After all, they had the story of Job and a few other accounts in the Tanakh of adversarial spirit activity (Jdg 9:23; 1Sam 16:14-16, 23; 18:10; 19:9; 1Kgs 22:21-24). However, the apostles clearly present all the stories of demon-afflicted people as true life accounts. Yeshua did not cast out superstitions, but actual demons.
According to Scripture the disciple of Yeshua has three basic enemies: the world (Jas 4:4; 1Jn 2:16), the flesh (human weakness and desire, Matt 26:41; Jas 1:14) and the devil (1Pet 5:8). Oppression or possession by demon possession is still a reality, though some people want to deny their existence. Conversely, some people are too quick to blame demons for behavioral or psychological maladies. Satan does get the blame for many problems that are simply the result of human desires and weaknesses. Don't forget that even though Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the Serpent, God held the couple accountable for their choices. Unfortunately, the Serpent is still working to destroy God's people and to hinder the work of God around the world. For guidance for ministering to those struggling with spiritual battles see my web article Victory in Spiritual Warfare.
18 And he said to them, "I beheld Satan having fallen out of heaven as lightning.
And: Grk. de, conj. he said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 2 above. to them: pl. pers. pron. I beheld: Grk. theōreō, impf., may mean (1) to pay attention to; look at, observe, watch, behold; (2) conclude on the basis of personal experience; infer, see; or (3) have awareness in depth; perceive. The third meaning has application here. HELPS defines the verb as to gaze on for the purpose of analyzing; it denotes concentrating on the meaning of an action. The imperfect tense depicts continuous action in past time and is probably used here to give dramatic vividness to the narrative. Yeshua could have meant "I was contemplating," instead of implying a physical watching.
Satan: Grk. satanas, adversary, the chief enemy of God and all who belong to God. Satanas may be a name, but functions more as a descriptive title of his function as heavenly prosecutor. In both the Besekh and the LXX satanas transliterates the Heb. satan (pronounced "sah-tahn"), which means accuser or adversary (BDB 966). He appears a number of times in the Tanakh (Num 22:22, 32; 1Sam 29:4; 1Chr 21:1; Job 2:1; Zech 3:1). In the Besekh satanas is never used to describe a human. In the apostolic narratives Satan is depicted as an opponent of Yeshua and the good news (Mark 4:15), as a tempter (Mark 1:13) and as the head of a demonic empire (Mark 3:23-26).
Satan is a created being and not equal to God in power or knowledge. Of importance is that the Adversary is never identified as an angel, and is sometimes contrasted with angels (Zech 3:1; Matt 25:41; 2Cor 11:14; Rev 12:9). Bible commentators generally regard the taunt against the king of Babylon in Isaiah 14:11-15 and the lament for the king of Tyre in Ezekiel 28:11-19 as depicting the original perfection and downfall of the "anointed cherub." In contrast to the common depiction of angels the cherub (Heb. kerub, Ex 25:19) and seraphim (Heb. seraphim, Isa 6:2) are the only heavenly beings described as having wings. All the other heavenly messengers, translated as "angels," appeared as ordinary men.
having fallen: Grk. piptō, aor. part., to drop from a relatively high position to a lower position. from: Grk. ek, prep., lit. "out of." heaven: Grk. ouranos. See verse 15 above. The use of "heaven" here refers to the location of God's throne. In the Tanakh Satan had access to heaven, but the description here seems to imply that at some point he had been banned from appearing before God in heaven. Descriptions in the Besekh of his activities locate him in and around the earth. Satan tempted Yeshua in the wilderness (Matt 4:1). Satan sows tares among God's people (Matt 13:39). Satan entered into Judas (John 13:2, 27). Paul calls him the "prince of the power of the air" (Eph 2:2). Peter describes him as a roaring lion seeking someone to devour (1Pet 5:8). John received a vision depicting Satan and his angels as having been cast down to the earth (Rev 12:9).
as: Grk. hōs, adv. used here as a simile; like, as, similar to, just as. lightning: Grk. astrapē, a stream of light or flash of lightning, and in the Besekh generally means atmospheric lightning (Matt 24:27; Rev 4:5). Yeshua makes a scientific observation in that lightning normally travels from clouds (first heaven) to the ground. Each bolt can contain up to a billion volts of electricity. Since lightning is normally associated with thunder storms, lightning strikes are uncommon in Israel. (See a map of lightning strikes here.) Of interest is that other than the mention of lightning at the visitation of God on Mt. Sinai (Ex 19:16; 20:18) and a poetic reference to God using lightning to rout David's enemies (2Sam 22:15; Ps 18:14), there are no anecdotes in Scripture of lightning strikes. But, there are many references to lightning as a creation of God (Job 36:30, 32; 37:3; Ps 77:18; 97:4; 135:7; Jer 10:13; 51:16).
The statement of Yeshua here is not intended to be an historical anecdote about the fall of Satan. Rather, as Geldenhuys says, Yeshua explains the reason why the demons submitted to the disciples. The power of Satan had been broken. Liefeld expresses it this way, "When the disciples exorcise demons, the forces of evil are shaken, symbolizing the defeat of Satan himself." Satan is a conquered enemy and Yeshua is the Conqueror. Hallelujah!
19 "Behold, I gave you authority to trample upon snakes and scorpions, and upon all the power of the enemy, and nothing will ever harm you.
Behold: Grk. idou, aor. imp. See verse 3 above. I gave: Grk. didōmi, perf., to give, often with the focus on generosity. In the LXX didōmi generally renders Heb. natan, SH-5414, to give, used in one of three settings (1) by men one to another; (2) by men to God; and (3) by God to men (DNTT 2:41). you: pl. pers. pron. authority: Grk. exousia, the right to speak or act in a situation without looking or waiting for approval; authority, right, jurisdiction. BAG identifies a second meaning as ability to do something, capability, might, power. A few versions translate the noun as "power" (CEV, KJV, NAB), but most have "authority" (CJB, ESV, HCSB, ISV, NIV, NKJV, NLT, NRSV, OJB, RSV, TLV).
to trample: Grk. pateō, pres. inf., used of foot motion with crushing effect; walk over, trample. upon: Grk. epanō, adv. with the basic idea of superiority; above, over, on. snakes: pl. of Grk. ophis, snake in the literal sense, or having the habits or characteristics of a snake in reference to humans or other entities, especially of a demonic order (2Cor 11:3; Rev 12:9, 14-15; 20:2). Yeshua referred to his adversaries as a brood of snakes (Matt 23:33). and scorpions: pl. of Grk. skorpios, the scorpion, which was feared for its sting. Similar to "snake" the scorpion is fig. of demonic powers (cf. Rev 9:3, 5, 10). and upon: Grk. epi, prep. all: Grk. pas, adj., comprehensive in scope and generally understood as an aggregate; all, every.
the power: Grk. dunamis. See verse 13 above. of the enemy: Grk. echthros, someone openly hostile and animated by deep-seated hatred. While Yeshua warned his disciples they would have many enemies, he uses the term here of the principal enemy, the devil (cf. Matt 13:39). Yeshua affirms the he was the source of the power for the disciples to perform exorcism and defeat demonic possession. Stern suggests that this is a preview of the Messianic Age which accompanies Yeshua’s return in glory to rule on earth: "The suckling child shall play on the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the viper’s nest” (Isa 11:8)." However, Yeshua does not speak of the age to come but of the present victory the disciples experienced over demonic powers.
On the other hand Liefeld points out that Yeshua's statement alludes to the promise given to the Woman in the garden that her seed would bruise the Serpent's head (Gen 3:15). and nothing: Grk. oudeis, adj., a noun marker used to indicate negation of a person or thing as actually existing at a given place or moment; no one, nobody. The adjective admits no exceptions other than what is stated. will ever: Grk. ou mē, lit. "not, not." The double negative adds more weight to the promise. harm: Grk. adikeō, aor. subj., doing wrong or doing harm to others as defined by Torah. you: pl. pers. pron. Yeshua's promise does not negate the fact that disciples may have to face persecution, but that Satan and his demonic empire cannot defeat the faithful disciple.
20 "Yet do not rejoice in this, that spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."
Yet: Grk. plēn, adv. See verse 11 above. do not: Grk. mē, adv. See verse 4 above. rejoice: Grk. chairō, pres. imp., to be in a state marked by good feeling about an event or circumstance; be happy, glad, delighted, rejoice. in: Grk. en, prep. this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pron. that: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 11 above. spirits: pl. of Grk. pneuma, breath, wind or spirit as the animating force for bodily movement. Pneuma is used in reference to man's spirit, unclean spirits and the Holy Spirit. The term is used in this verse of unclean spirits or demons. are subject: Grk. hupotassō, pres. pass. See verse 17 above. to you: pl. pers. pron. The command "do not rejoice" does not exclude the disciples' taking joy in spiritual victories of delivered people but rather introduces a strong warning concerning spiritual pride in performing the exorcism.
Barclay appropriately comments that
"It will always remain true that a man's greatest glory is not what he has done, but what God has done for him. … Pride bars from heaven; humility is the passport to the presence of God." (136)
but: Grk. de, conj. rejoice: Grk. chairō, pres. imp. that: Grk. hoti, conj. your: pl. pers. pron. names: pl. of Grk. onoma. See verse 17 above. are written: Grk. graphō, perf. pass., to write or inscribe as a physical act, usually in reference to documents. in: Grk. en, prep. heaven: Grk. ouranos. See verse 15 above. The names written in heaven are presumptively those recorded in the Book of Life (Php 4:3; Heb 12:23; Rev 3:5; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27). The heavenly register parallels the practice common in ancient cities that kept a list of citizens according to their class or tribe and in which new citizens were entered and from which degraded citizens were expunged (Barnes).
As Stern notes the idea that a written record of the forgiven is kept in heaven has long been held in Israelite religion (Ex 32:32; Ps 69:28; 87:6; 139:16, Isa 4:3; Dan 12:1; Mal 3:16; 1En 47:3; Jub 19:9). The liturgy for Rosh-HaShanah (Jewish New Year) includes a prayer for being written in the Book of Life, and the Yom-Kippur (Day of Atonement) liturgy nine days later has a prayer for being "sealed" in the Book of Life, the idea being that the decision is made final on that day. The tragedy is that Rabbinic Judaism rejected the only means of having one's name recorded in heaven.
21 In that hour he exulted in the Holy Spirit, and said, "I acknowledge to you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to young children. Yes, Father, for this way became pleasing before you.
Parallel: Matthew 11:25
In: Grk. en, prep. that: pers. pron. hour: Grk. hōra may mean (1) a short space of time, the twelfth part of a day; hour; (2) fig. for a period of time in the day; "the hour was already late;" or (3) a point of time as occasion for action or for an event; time. The first meaning fits best here. Luke makes a connection between the return of the seventy and Yeshua's words (Geldenhuys). References to clock time in the Bible are never precise beyond the 60-minute hour. When Jews marked time by the "hour" it was based on the first hour being at sunrise coincidental with the morning sacrifice. Luke offers no hint at what hour of the day is intended here.
he exulted: Grk. agalliaō, aor. mid., be exuberantly joyful; rejoice, exult. The subject of the verb is obviously Yeshua. The verb is a strong word, referring to exceptional rejoicing and exultation (Geldenhuys). This passage is unique because nowhere else in the apostolic narratives is Yeshua described as engaging in exuberantly joyful behavior. The verb is used in the apostolic narratives of only four other specific individuals engaging in such rejoicing: (1) Miriam, the mother of Yeshua, in her joyful song (Luke 1:47); (2) Abraham, whom Yeshua said rejoiced to see his day (John 8:56); (3) David in his prophecy of the Messiah (Ps 16:9) whom Peter quoted in his Pentecost sermon (Acts 2:26); and (4) the Philippian jailer after believing in the Jewish Messiah (Acts 16:34).
in: Grk. en, prep. the Holy: Grk. hagios has two distinctive uses in Scripture: (1) as an adj. of things and persons dedicated or consecrated to God; and (2) as a pure substantive used of the name of God (Luke 1:44), and then of what is set apart for God to be exclusively His. In the LXX hagios translates Heb. qadosh (SH-6918), which means separate, sacred, holy, and is first used of God in Lev 11:44. The adjectival form is qodesh. Spirit: Grk. pneuma. See the previous verse. Pneuma is used frequently for transcendent beings (Matt 8:16; Heb 1:14), particularly the Holy Spirit as God's self-expression (Gen 1:2; Mark 1:10). The noun "Spirit" is not the title of a separate being, because God is Spirit (pneuma ho theos, John 4:24), just as God is the Word (John 1:1). In Scripture "holy" is only used as an adjective of "spirit" to refer to the Holy Spirit, a name or face of God.
The specific name "Holy Spirit" occurs only three times in the Tanakh (Ps 51:11; Isa 63:10, 11) given as Ruach Qodesh. The Holy Spirit is identified by three other forms in the Tanakh (Ruach Elohim, Gen 1:2; Ruach YHVH, Judg 3:10; and Ruach Adonai YHVH, Isa 61:1). The full name of "Holy Spirit" occurs 84 times in the Besekh, 11 of which are in Luke and 40 in Acts. All of the passages mentioning the Holy Spirit indicate that He is divine, not less or other than God.
Luke adds another element of Yeshua's union with the Holy Spirit. Yeshua was begotten by the Spirit (Matt 1:18, 20; Luke 1:35). At his immersion by Yochanan the Spirit descended on him (Matt 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22), so that he was perpetually empowered by the Spirit (Matt 12:28; Luke 4:14; John 1:32-33; Acts 10:38). Yeshua was led by the Spirit (Matt 4:1; Luke 4:1) and spoke by inspiration of the Spirit (Luke 4:18).
and said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 2 above. I acknowledge: Grk. exomologeō, pres. mid., to make a public statement or response indicating agreement or acknowledgement. Most versions render the verb with "praise" or "thank," but the verb means to fully agree with something and to acknowledge that agreement openly without reservation (HELPS). The verb emphasizes the unity of the Spirit and the Son in declaring truth. to you: pers. pron. Father: Grk. patēr, normally of a male parent or ancestor, but frequently in reference to God, which emphasizes both his activity as creator and sustainer. In the LXX patēr renders ab ("av"), which generally occurs in the human sense, but also of God as father in relation to Israel (Ex 4:22) (DNTT 1:616f).
In the Besekh the capitalized "Father" is a circumlocution for the God of Israel, whereas the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed removed the association with Israel and presented the Father as only the "Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth." Christian theologies speak of the "Fatherhood of God" as a "Christian truth," as if they invented the concept. Some dilute the biblical message to assert God as father to all mankind based on Paul's quotation of the Greek philosopher Epimenides in his Athenian sermon, "we also are His children" (Acts 17:28). However, in Scripture God only presents Himself as Father in reference to His covenantal relationship with Israel (e.g., Ex 4:22; Deut 1:31; 8:5; 32:6; Isa 43:6; 63:16; 64:8; Jer 3:19; 31:9; Hos 1:10: Mal 1:6; cf. 2Cor 6:18).
Yeshua acknowledged this covenantal relationship when he taught his Jewish disciples to pray "our Father" (Matt 6:9). Even though God prophesied through Jeremiah that Israel would call God "my Father" (Jer 3:19), Yeshua is the only individual in Scripture to do so. In the Besekh Yeshua says "my Father" 46 times, more than half of which are recorded by John. He also directly addressed his Father on several occasions (Matt 11:25-26; 26:39, 42; Luke 23:34, 46; John 11:41; 12:28; 17:1, 5, 11, 21, 24-25). Yet, Yeshua's use of "Father" in this personal sense was predicted. God informed David,
"When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 "I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me." (2Sam 7:12-14 NASB)
In addition, Ethan the Ezrahite prophesied that the son of David would declare, "You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation" (Ps 89:26).
Lord: Grk. kurios. See verse 1 above. of heaven: Grk. ouranos. See verse 15 above. The term may well encompass all three heavens. and of earth: Grk. gē can mean soil (as in receiving seed), the ground, land as contrasted with the sea, and the earth in contrast to heaven as it is used here. The LXX gē occurs more than 2,000 times and translates the Heb. word erets (DNTT 1:517). In the Tanakh erets designates either (a) the earth in a cosmological sense, or (b) "the land" in the sense of a specific territorial area, primarily the Land of Israel (BDB 75). God is often referred to as the God of heaven and earth (Gen14:19, 22; 24:3; Josh 2:11; 2Kgs 19:15; Ezra 5:11) because He made heaven and earth (Gen 1:1; 2:4; Ps 121:2; Isa 37:16) and in six days no less (Ex 20:11; 31:17).
that: Grk. hoti, conj. you have hidden: Grk. apokruptō, aor., to hide, conceal, keep secret, referring to divine providence, which God reserves to Himself the selective or timely disclosure of divine purpose. these things: pl. of Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. from: Grk. apo, prep. generally used to denote separation, and here indicates direction in relation to persons. the wise ones: pl. of Grk. sophos, adj., having a high level of discernment, understanding and insight; thus, wise generally, shrewd, clever, learned or intelligent. In the LXX sophos stands generally for Heb. chakam, wise (DNTT 3:1027). Chakam occurs frequently in the Tanakh (first in Gen 41:8 and often in the Wisdom literature) and has a range of meaning, including (1) skillful in technical work, (2) wise in political administration, (3) shrewd, crafty or cunning, (4) learned in the heavenly signs, and (5) wise ethically and religiously, one who fears God (BDB 314).
and intelligent ones: pl. of Grk. sunetos, acute in discernment; intelligent, sagacious. In the LXX sunetos renders primarily Heb. bin, understand, discern, first used in Genesis 41:33 of Pharaoh's criteria to select a regent (Joseph). This trait is later given as a criteria for Israel's leaders (Deut 1:13). Sunetos is also used for Heb. chakam (Ex 31:6). The two Greek terms (sophos and sunetos) are sometimes used together as here in a parallelism, so they may be viewed as a synonyms (Deut 1:13, 15; 1Sam 16:18; Prov 17:24; Isa 3:3; 29:14; Jer 4:22; 49:7; Hos 14:8; Matt 11:25; 1Cor 1:19). Yeshua likely intends the terms in a facetious sense of those classed by the world (or themselves) as experts in knowledge, but yet do not know the Father (cf. Luke 11:52; John 7:28; 8:44, 55).
and have revealed: Grk. apokaluptō, aor., to cause to be fully known, to reveal, disclose or make known. In the LXX of Isaiah 53:1 apokaluptō translates Heb. galah (SH-1540), to uncover or remove. The verb often occurs to denote truth or facts divinely hidden for a time and then revealed to those whom God chose to receive the truth, such as the apostles (Gal 1:6; Eph 3:5). Some things remain hidden and await to be revealed at the appointed time (Rom 8:18; 1Cor 2:10; 3:13; 2Th 2:3, 6, 8; 1Pet 1:5; 5:1). them: pl. pers. pron. to young children: pl. of Grk. nēpios, infant or minor, someone who has not yet reached Bar/Bat Mitzvah age. The term is used here of someone unlearned or uneducated, at least by Pharisee standards (cf. John 7:15; Acts 4:13; Rom 2:20). In other words, the Pharisees would have considered the disciples unworthy of divine revelation by virtue of their lack of education under a noted Sage.
Yes: Grk. nai, particle of affirmation or strong assertion; yes, indeed, certainly. Father: aforementioned. for: Grk. hoti, conj. this way: Grk. houtōs, adv. used to introduce the manner or way in which something has been done or to be done; thus, in this manner, way or fashion, so. A few versions have "this way" (AMP, MSG, NASB, NLT, TLV). became: Grk. ginomai, aor. mid. See verse 13 above. pleasing: Grk. eudokia, consideration of what is good and therefore worthy of choice; decision, intention or good will. Mounce adds favor and good pleasure. before: Grk. emprosthen, prep., expresses position that is in front or ahead; before, in front of. you: pers. pron.; i.e. the Father. Yeshua indicates that it gave the Father particular joy to reveal His deep truths.
22 "All things have been handed over to me by my Father. And, no one knows 'who is the Son' except the Father, and 'who is the Father' except the Son, and to whom if the Son might desire to reveal Him."
Parallel: Matthew 11:27; John 3:35; 10:15
All things: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. See verse 19 above. have been handed over: Grk. paradidōmi, aor. pass., to convey from one position to another. The verb has a wide variety of application and can mean (1) hand over, give over, deliver, entrust; (2) commend, commit; (3) hand down, transmit, or (4) allow, permit (BAG). to me: pers. pron. by: Grk. hupo, prep. denoting position, lit. "under," but used here to express agency. my Father: See the previous verse. The phrase "all things handed over by my Father" would at least be equivalent to "all authority in heaven and earth" (Matt 28:18; cf. 1Cor 15:24-25). Geldenhuys asserts the phrase is a way of Yeshua speaking of his divinity as recorded by John in his book (308). Yeshua then proceeds to explain something of what the "all things" include, which does point to his divine identity.
And no one: Grk. oudeis, adj. See verse 19 above. knows: Grk. ginōskō, pres. See verse 11 above. In this context the verb indicates the most intimate knowledge possible, both relational and informational. who: Grk. tís, interrogative pron; who, which, what. is: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 6 above. the Son: Grk. huios. See verse 6 above. The mention of "Son" lacks the usual descriptor "of God" or "of Man." The solitary form "Son" occurs occasionally in the Synoptic Narratives, but often in the narrative of John. Since the previous use of "Son" in Luke's history was "Son of Man" in 9:58, then this may be the intended meaning. On the other hand, since Yeshua is both Son of God (the Davidic King; 2Sam 7:12-14; Luke 1:32; John 1:49) and Son of Man (Daniel's divine deliverer; Dan 7:13-14; Luke 21:27), then the singular "Son" may merge both roles. For a full discussion of these titles see my article Who is Yeshua?
except: Grk. ei mē, lit. "if not." the Father: See the previous mention. Yeshua's statement may allude to the words of Solomon,
"Who has gone into heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in the palm of His hand? Who has wrapped the waters in a cloak? Who has established the ends of the earth? What is his name and what is the name of His son - if you know?" (Prov 30:4 TLV)
Similarly the Talmud declares,
"It was taught that seven things were created before the world was created; they are the Torah, repentance, the Garden of Eden, Gey-Hinnom, the Throne of Glory, the Temple, and the name of the Messiah." (Pesachim 54a; also Nedarim 39b)
and who: Grk. tís. is: Grk. eimi, pres. See the previous mention. the Father: See the previous mention. except: Grk. ei mē. the Son: See the previous mention. and to whom: Grk. hos, relative pron. if: Grk. ean, conj. See verse 6 above. Many versions do not translate this conjunction and so obscure the hypothetical nature of the proposition. the Son: See the previous mention. might desire: Grk. boulomai, pres. mid. subj., may mean (1) to have in one's mind or (2) to reach a decision upon deliberation, lit. "having purposed." With the infinitive verb "reveal" the emphasis is on desiring something, not a deliberative decision or resolution; thus, to wish, want or desire (BAG). We should note that the subjunctive mood is used for mild contingency or probability; it looks toward what is conceivable or potential. to reveal: Grk. apokaluptō, aor. inf. See the previous verse. Him: pers. pron.; i.e., the Father.
In this verse Yeshua, speaking of himself in the third person as he often does, affirms the unique relationship he has with the Father. This theme is especially developed in John's narrative. To people of the nations God was unknowable, but biblical history records that God revealed Himself to select people and they learned much about His character and capabilities. The coming of Yeshua made possible for many more people to know God on a very personal level. The grammar of the last clause is not intended to convey a revelation to a predestined few, but the desire to spread the knowledge of God far and wide. The tentative nature of the grammar reflects the reality of human disinterest in or rejection of the knowledge of God (cf. 2Chr 24:19; Neh 9:30; Jer 32:33; John 15:22-24).
23 And having turned to the disciples in private, he said, "Blessed are the eyes seeing the things you see,
Parallel: Matthew 13:16
And: Grk. kai, conj. having turned: Grk. strephō, aor. pass. part., may mean (1) to redirect a position, turn; (2) bring back to a location, return; or (3) make totally different, transform. The first meaning applies here. to: Grk. pros, prep. The opening description is of turning in order to face. the disciples: pl. of Grk. mathētēs, one who learns through instruction from a teacher, especially a rabbi (John 1:38, 49; 3:25). The term corresponds to the Heb. talmid, a student of a rabbi. In first century Jewish culture becoming a disciple required commitment, sacrifice and obedience (cf. Matt 10:24-25; 16:24; 19:27; Luke 9:57-58). Luke probably refers to the twelve disciples, as in the previous reference in Luke 9:54, and the distinction made in 10:1 of "seventy others."
in: Grk. kata, prep., lit. "down," but here indicates standing opposite. private: Grk. idios, belonging to oneself, used here adverbially to mean privately or separately. The expression "in private" indicates that Yeshua drew himself apart from the seventy to share in a conversation with the twelve. he said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 2 above. Blessed: pl. of Grk. makarios, enjoying special advantage, blessed, privileged, fortunate or happy. The Grk. word translates Heb. esher, which means happiness, joyfulness, blessedness and fortunate all at the same time (BDB 81). Esher comes from the root word ashar, which means to go (straight), or to walk. A few versions use the word "happy" (CEB, NEB, NLV, YLT), but this is inadequate because the root of the English word "happy" is "hap," which means chance.
For most people without God happiness comes as a result of good luck. However, the Hebrew viewpoint is that a "blessing" is a purposeful endowment (cf. Gen 1:28), ordinarily transmitted from the greater to the lesser. Blessedness can never be self-imposed nor come by accident. The only source of blessing is from God. are: There is no verb in the Greek text. The same grammar is followed in the beatitudes (Matt 5:3-11). the eyes: pl. of Grk. ophthalmos, the physical organ of sight; eyes. seeing: Grk. blepō, pres. part., may mean (1) possess the physical ability to see; (2) use one's eyes to take note of an object; (3) be looking in a certain direction; or (4) to have inward or mental sight. The first meaning applies here, but the verb also hints at the fourth meaning. the things: pl. of Grk. hos, relative pron. you see: Grk. blepō, pres., 2p-pl.
At the time the twelve disciples probably did not consider just how blessed they were. After all, they were eyewitnesses of the coming of the Messiah and some of the greatest miracles ever performed in history.
24 for I say to you, that many prophets and kings wished to experience the things you see, and did not see, and to hear the things you hear, and have not heard."
Parallel: Matthew 13:17
for: Grk. gar, conj. I say: Grk. legō, pres. See verse 2 above. to you: pl. pers. pron. that: Grk. hoti, conj. many: pl. of Grk. polus. See verse 2 above. prophets: pl. of Grk. prophētēs, one who is gifted with the ability for interpretation or revelation transcending normal insight or awareness, i.e., a prophet. In ancient Greek culture the word-group always had a religious meaning and referred to one who predicts or tells beforehand (DNTT 3:76). In Scripture the term "prophet" refers to one who spoke on God's behalf, whether in foretelling or forth-telling. The record of the Tanakh indicates considerable variance in the activity and ministry of Hebrew prophets.
Some prophets left literary works that later became Scripture. Others left no writings. Some gave advice to kings. Some prophesied in worship settings. Some saw visions. Some proclaimed a message in startling symbolic actions. Some were gentle, some were fiery, some were confrontational, some worshipful, some full of joy, others full of sadness. But, they all spoke for God under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2Pet 1:21). In this context the prophets are the ones who received some revelation concerning the Messiah (in historical order): Moses, Nathan, Joel, Jonah, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.
and kings: pl. of Grk. basileus, king or chief ruler. In the LXX basileus appears frequently to translate Heb. melek. In the Tanakh the title "king" was not associated with the size of territory governed (often a city), but the authority wielded. The executive and judicial functions (and sometimes legislative) of government were vested in one person. The mention of kings is likely limited to those who received a revelation from concerning the Messiah, specifically David (2Sam 7:12-14; Pss 2; 16; 22; 34; 68; 69; 110) and Solomon (Prov 28:21; 30:4). We should also include Hezekiah who had the prophecies of Isaiah and Micah, and Josiah who had the prophecies of Jeremiah. wished: Grk. thelō, aor., to have a desire for something or have a purpose for something; will, wish, desire.
to experience: Grk. horaō, aor. inf., may mean (1) to perceive with the physical eyes, see; or (2) to experience something, including extraordinary mental or inward perception. The verb could be taken either literally or metaphorically, perhaps both. The verb has a particular usage in Luke of the anticipation of experiencing an event prophesied by God or angels (Luke 2:15, 26; 9:27), as well as the actual fulfillment of the prophecy (Luke 2:17, 20, 30; 7:22, 27). The prophets who received the word of the Messiah Peter speaks of this desire to understand prophecy in his first letter.
"The prophets, who prophesied about this gift of deliverance that was meant for you, pondered and inquired diligently about it. 11 They were trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of the Messiah in them was referring in predicting the Messiah's sufferings and the glorious things to follow." (1Pet 1:10-11 CJB)
the things: pl. of Grk. hos, relative pron. you: pl. pers. pron. see: Grk. blepō, pres. See the previous verse. and did not: Grk. ou, adv. see: Grk. horaō, aor. and to hear: Grk. akouō, aor. inf. See verse 16 above. the things: pl. of Grk. hos. you hear: Grk. akouō, pres. and have not: Grk. ou. heard: Grk. akouō, aor. The things the apostles "saw" and "heard" refers not to just the extraordinary miracles and teaching of Yeshua's ministry, but the fulfillment of Messianic prophecy. However, even the apostles did not fully understand these things until after the resurrection (John 13:7) and Yeshua explained the Scriptures to them (Luke 24:44-46).
The Lawyer's Question, 10:25-29
Parallel: Matthew 19:16
25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, testing him, saying, "Teacher, what thing having done will I inherit eternal life?"
And: Grk. kai, conj. behold: Grk. idou, aor. mid. imp. of eidon, to see. In communities accustomed to oral communication, the verb would serve to nuance a narrative reduced to writing, especially to focus on exceptional moments in the narrative. Here the verb is used to secure attention and may be translated as 'behold,' 'look,' or 'see.' a certain: Grk. tis, indefinite pron., a certain one, some one, any one. This pronoun, occurring seven times in this chapter, is a favorite choice of Luke to describe people, places and things as a way to give emphasis in his narrative. The pronoun may imply that all that Luke knows about the matter is contained in the narrative.
lawyer: Grk. nomikos, having to do with law, or a legal expert, that is, an expert in Torah as well as the traditions that comprised Jewish law. Many versions render the word as "lawyer," but the term does not necessarily mean one who litigates in court as modern lawyers. In Mark's version of the story the questioner is identified as a scribe (Grk. grammateus). See my note on "scribe" in Mark 1:22. Matthew identifies the questioner as a nomikos and part of a group of Pharisees (Matt 22:34-35). Such a legal expert might serve as a secretary to an important person, a teacher, or a judge.
stood up: Grk. anistēmi, aor., to rise, stand up or get up and in its ordinary use refers to the physical motion of transition from a sitting or recumbent position or simply standing. In the LXX anistēmi normally renders Heb. qum, to arise, stand up, stand, (BDB 877). testing: Grk. ekpeirazō, pres. part., put to a test, tempt. Liefeld suggests that the fact that he wanted to "test" Yeshua may, but does not necessarily, indicate hostility. The verb may reflect a recent rabbinic discussion of the matter in which the lawyer participated without any successful answer being offered. The lawyer's question does not reflect a personal spiritual quest, but strictly an intellectual exercise.
him: pers. pron. saying: Grk. legō, pres. part. See verse 2 above. Teacher: Grk. didaskalos, voc., teacher or instructor who regularly engaged in the imparting of knowledge or skills, a vocation of special status among the Israelites. In the LXX didaskalos only occurs in 2 Maccabees 1:10 to denote Aristobulus, the head of the Egyptian Jewish community, who, having dedicated an exposition of the Pentateuch to King Ptolemy Philometor, is called a teacher clearly for this reason. Scholars speculate that the reason didaskalos does not occur in the Greek text of the Tanakh is that in Greek education teaching was concerned with imparting knowledge or technical skills, but Hebrew education is more concerned with ethical instruction and obedience.
In the Qumran texts moreh, "teacher," occurs more frequently, often with a qualifying phrase like "the righteous one," such as in the Damascus Document (CD 1:11; 20:32) and in the Commentary on Habakkuk (1QpHab 1:13; 2:2; 5:10; 7:4; 8:3; 9:9; 11:5), probably in reference to the founder of the sect (DNTT 3:767). See TDSS for the English translation. Moreh is derived from the verb yarah, to throw or shoot and thus "one who throws out," "points out," or "instructs," (Prov 5:13; Isa 9:15). Elsewhere didaskalos is used interchangeably with rhabbi (Matt 23:8; John 1:38; 3:2).
Since the conversation would have been in Hebrew, then the actual form of the word spoken should be considered. When people other than Yeshua's disciples addressed him or referred to him as didaskalos (as given in the Greek text, e.g., Matt 8:19; 9:11; Mark 4:38; 9:17; 10:35; Luke 8:49; John 8:4), they most likely said moreh or possibly rabbi. In fact, a few versions translate didaskalos here with "Rabbi" (CJB, HNV, OJB). However, given that the scribe was testing Yeshua, he probably said moreh rather than rhabbi. Noteworthy is that Yochanan the Immerser was also addressed as didaskalos (Luke 3:12) and rhabbi (John 3:26).
what thing: Grk. tis, indefinite pron. having done: Grk. poieō, aor. part., a verb of physical action that may refer to (1) producing something material; make, construct, produce, create; or (2) to be active in bringing about a state of condition; do, act, perform, work. In the LXX poieō renders chiefly Heb. asah (SH-6213), accomplish, do, make, work (first in Gen 1:7), and used of a wide range of human and divine activity. Poieō also renders the special word bara (SH-1254), 'shape, fashion, create,' used of God's creative deeds (first in Gen 1:1). will I inherit: Grk. klēronomeō, fut., means to inherit or be a legal heir. The word also means to acquire, obtain or come into possession of something. More frequently the verb means to be a recipient of a share in something, with focus on experience of divine conferral of promised benefits.
eternal: Grk. aiōnios, adj., can mean (1) relating to a period of time extending far into the past; long ages ago; (2) relating to time without boundaries or interruption; eternal; or (3) relating to a period of unending duration; permanent, lasting. In the LXX aiōnios renders Heb. olam, "a long duration, antiquity or indefinite futurity" (BDB 761), which is also used as an adverb meaning "for ever, for all time" (DNTT 3:827). life: Gr. zōē, alive in contrast with being dead. "Eternal life" is the ultimate prize and the quality of life manifested in glory, honor and immortality. Both the Pharisees and Essenes embraced the doctrine of the immortality of the soul and resurrection (Josephus, Wars II, 8:11, 14). Reward and punishment would begin after death and the souls of the righteous would enter heavenly blessedness.
Eternal life, however, is not just unending existence, but sharing in the life of God or the Kingdom of God. For that reason Yeshua taught that the abundant life, the best kind of life possible, begins now (Matt 10:39; John 6:35, 63; 10:10). It doesn't wait until after one dies. In Matthew and Mark's version the lawyer asks, "what is the greatest commandment of the Torah?" The question posed here occurs elsewhere on the lips of the rich young ruler (Matt 19:16). In that passage the ruler asks, "what good thing?" The question assumes some human responsibility in the attainment of eternal life. Liefeld cites a later Jewish tradition in which a rabbi and a merchant respectively ask "who desires life?" They then quote Psalm 34:12-14 as the means of achieving it (Abodah Zara 19b).
26 And he said to him, "What is written in the Torah? How do you read it?"
And: Grk. kai, conj. he said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 2 above. to: Grk. pros, prep. See verse 2 above. The preposition stresses a face-to-face meeting. him: pers. pron. What: Grk. tís, interrogative pron. See verse 22 above. is written: Grk. graphō, perf. pass. See verse 20 above. in: Grk. en, prep. the Torah: Grk. nomos may mean either (1) a principle or standard relating to behavior or (2) codified legislation, i.e. law. The usage of nomos in the Besekh has a much deeper meaning. In the LXX nomos translates torah, but torah does not mean simply "law" or "laws" as the English word conveys. Torah means "direction," "teaching" or "instruction" (BDB 435f). In the Tanakh torah refers primarily to commandments, statutes and ordinances decreed by God and given to Moses, but also customs or manners of man, e.g. direction given by priests (Deut 24:8; 33:10).
Torah sets forth the way a person is meant to live in an ethical and moral way in order to enjoy life to the full and to please God. In normal Jewish usage in the time of Yeshua Torah had a variety of specific applications. Torah could mean:
commandments, ordinances and statutes given through Moses to the nation of
Israel (e.g., Matt 12:5; Luke 2:22-27; John 1:17; 8:5; Jas 2:11); OR
How: Grk. pōs, adv. introducing a query concerning manner, way, or reason in respect to a matter; how? in what manner/way? do you read it: Grk. anaginōskō, pres., to know again, hence to recognize, and so 'read.' Apparently the lawyer had access to written scrolls of the Pentateuch. Yeshua's response was clever. Instead of answering the lawyer's question directly as he did in the case of the rich young ruler, Yeshua asks a question of his own. Answering questions with questions was a typical device in advancing dialog during rabbinic teaching and discussion. So Yeshua asks the lawyer's opinion of what he has studied in God's Word.
27 And answering he said, "You will love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself."
Parallel: Matthew 22:37, 39; Mark 12:30-31
And: Grk. de, conj. answering: Grk. apokrinomai, aor. pass. part., to answer or reply to someone, whether to a question, request, exhortation, command, etc. (BAG). In the LXX apokrinomai renders Heb. anah, to answer or respond to something said in conversation; to respond to an occasion and speak in view of circumstances or to testify or respond as a witness in a legal proceeding (BDB 772). he said: Grk. legō, aor., 3p-sing. See verse 2 above. The use of "answered and said" is typical Hebraic way of advancing the narrative of dialog (e.g., Gen 27:39; 40:18; Josh 24:16; Jdg 20:4; 1Sam 1:17). The verb "answered" emphasizes that a verbal response was made and "said" introduces the quotation. The lawyer then quotes from Deuteronomy 6:5. In the parallel passages it is Yeshua who speaks the following words when asked to name the greatest commandment.
You will love: Grk. agapaō, fut., 2p-sing., to have such an interest in another that one wishes to contribute to the other's well-being, even if it means making a personal sacrifice to do so. In the LXX agapaō translates aheb (SH-157), but aheb is a far more comprehensive word than agapaō. The Hebrew word is comparable to the English verb "love," which may be used with a variety of applications. The reader may note that the verb is not in the imperative mood, the usual mood of command. Instead the verb is in the indicative mood, the mood of certainty. The future tense normally expresses anticipation of an event in future time. In ancient Greek the future tense had five different uses, one of which is the expression of command. The idiom of the imperative future is clearly influenced by the LXX (DM 192), and the verb used here is exactly reproduced from the LXX of Deuteronomy 6:5.
the Lord: Grk. kurios. See verse 1 above. your: pron. of the second pers. God: Grk. theos, the God of Israel. See verse 9 above. with: Grk. ek, prep. See verse 7 above. all: Grk. holos, adj., signifier of a person or thing understood as a complete unit and not necessarily every individual part; all, whole, entire. your: pron. of the second pers. heart: Grk. kardia, the pumplike organ of blood circulation, used as metaphorically of selfhood or the combination of character, emotion, intelligence and the will. In the LXX kardia renders Heb. lebab (SH-3824), inner man, mind, heart, will (DNTT 2:181). and: Grk. kai. with: Grk. en, prep. all: Grk. holos. your: pron. of the second pers.
soul: Grk. psuchē may mean (1)a quality without which a body is physically dead; life; (2) that which possesses vital being; person; or (3) that which is integral to being a person beyond mere physical function; life (inner) self, soul. In the LXX psuchē corresponds to the Heb. nephesh (SH-53-15), that which "breathes" air (Gen 1:20). Nephesh is in the "blood" (Lev 17:11; Deut 12:23), and along with the ability to move (Gen 1:21) comprise the three characteristics that make man or animal, into a living creature. (By biblical definition plants are not living.) Nephesh also represents the inner self and the seat of desires, passions, appetites, and emotion. In Hebrew thought a person is a soul-body. Thus, "soul" does not refer to a non-physical part of a human being, but rather to the whole person. Human beings live as "souls;" they do not have souls (e.g., Acts 2:41; 7:14; 27:37; 1Pet 3:20).
and: Grk. kai. with: Grk. en, prep. all: Grk. holos. your: pron. of the second pers. strength: Grk. ischus, inner capacity for effective activity, strength. In the LXX ischus renders 30 different Hebrew words, often denoting manifestations of power (DNTT 3:713). It can express man's physical strength (Josh 8:3) or his intellectual power (Prov 8:14), but is used particularly for divine power (Num 14:13). In the passage Yeshua quoted, the Heb. word rendered "strength" is meod, which means muchness, force, abundance or might (BDB 547). Kasdan defines meod as "all that we have" (258). and: Grk. kai. with: Grk. en, prep. all: Grk. holos. your: pron. of the second pers. mind: Grk. dianoia, mental process relation to options for behavior, with focus on intention or purpose, and may be translated as mind-set, mind, disposition or understanding.
In the LXX dianoia occurs 75 times, 38 of which translate Heb. lebab (DNTT 3:124), making dianoia somewhat interchangeable with kardia. However, dianoia also renders other Hebrew words, such as machashabah (thought or plan, Dan 11:25) and binah (understanding, Dan 9:22). While in Greek culture dianoia refers to the act or faculty of thinking and reflection, in the LXX translating Hebraic thought the term cannot be separated from the person's disposition, i.e., his character expressed by his will. "For as he thinks within himself, so he is" (Prov 23:7). Of special interest is that this phrase does not appear in either the MT or the LXX of Deuteronomy 6:5, but the phrase is found in the parallel passages of Matthew and Mark.
Stern suggests the phrase may have been added by the translator of Matthew's original Hebrew work (30). The reason for the supposed inclusion would be to convey in a Greek cultural setting the full sense of the commandment—that everything one is, does and has must be used to love God. This supposition has no support from any Greek text. Lane suggests that "soul" and "mind" represent a double translation of the Heb. nephesh (431). Another alternative is that speaking in Hebrew the lawyer used binah as a midrash to interpret the combined metaphors of "heart" and "soul." Since in Matthew and Mark Yeshua spoke these words and here the lawyer spoke these words, then the clause probably reflects contemporary rabbinic interpretation.
In any event these four aspects of human personhood, or personality, do not indicate compartmentalism as occurs in the Hellenistic dualism of body and soul. These four terms are really redundant, their purpose to emphasize a unity of purpose to motivate action. This expectation of love does not mean that all persons will love God to the same degree or in the same way. It is not age specific and differences in age mean differences in physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual maturity. The point is that a person should love God with all his capabilities. Ultimately this kind of devotion is a choice. God chose Israel (Deut 7:8) and devoted Himself to their salvation and security. In return He expected that His people would demonstrate loyalty toward Him.
The lawyer then quotes the Torah commandment in Leviticus 19:18, omitting the verb "you shall love" but connects the second command with the former. and: Grk. kai. your: pron. of the second pers. neighbor: Grk. plēsion, indicating nearness whether in proximity or circumstance, generally rendered as "neighbor." Plēsion is used in the LXX to render Heb. rea, which means friend, companion, or fellow, including a fellow citizen (BDB 945f). as: Grk. hōs, adv. yourself: Grk. seautou, reflexive pron. This qualification is intended to invite self-examination. The expectation is not "love your neighbor as others do." Hillel had said: "Be a disciple of Aaron, love peace, pursue peace, love all men too, and bring them nigh unto the Law" (Ab. 1:12). Lane notes that the combination of Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18 has a number of antecedent parallels in Jewish literature, such as the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs (137-107 B.C.), Issachar 5:3; 7:6; Dan 5:3 (432).
The command to love one's neighbor no doubt includes the specific provisions in Leviticus 19 that lead up to the statement of the second great commandment in verse 18. God gave very practical guidelines so that the Israelites would know what he meant by loving one's neighbor. These expectations included leaving a portion of a harvested field for the poor, confronting sinful behavior, and refraining from any action that would cause harm to another's person or property. It's also noteworthy that the "stranger" (non-Israelite) was to be treated with the same degree of justice and love (Lev 19:33-34).
Additional Note on the Commands to Love
The scribe's reduction of Scripture to the two "love" commandments was a common practice in ancient Judaism. According to Jewish tradition God gave Moses 613 commandments. A continuing matter of discussion for rabbis was to determine what commandments were really essential, as illustrated by this example from the Talmud:
"R. Simlai [3rd cent. A.D.] when preaching said: Six hundred and thirteen precepts were communicated to Moses, three hundred and sixty-five negative precepts, corresponding to the number of solar days [in the year], and two hundred and forty-eight positive precepts, corresponding to the number of the members of man's body. … David came and reduced them to eleven [Psalm 15] … Isaiah came and reduced them to six [Isaiah 33:15-16] … Micah came and reduced them to three [Micah 6:8] … Again Isaiah came and reduced them to two [Isaiah 66:1]. … Amos came and reduced them to one … [Amos 5:4] … But it is Habakkuk who came and based them all on one, as it is said, 'But the righteous shall live by his faith'" [Hab 2:4] (Makk. 23b-24a)
However reducing the Torah to a principle predated the quotation above and Yeshua. A famous Talmudic story contrasts Hillel (c. 110 BC - AD 10) and Shammai (50 BC - AD 30):
"It happened that a certain heathen came before Shammai and said to him, 'Make me a proselyte, on condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot.' Thereupon he repulsed him with the builder's cubit which was in his hand. When he went before Hillel, he said to him, 'What is hateful to you, do not to your neighbor: that is the whole Torah, while the rest is the commentary thereof; go and learn it.'" (Shab. 31a)
Love is a measure of faithfulness (John 14:15, 23, 31). It is to be offered in sincerity and with respect. Love avoids evil and supports what is good. Love is particularly devoted to fellow disciples (John 13:34; 1Pet 2:17). Those of the household of faith in need have a claim on our generosity (Gal 6:10). Love would not contemplate wronging a brother. We should keep in mind that the Torah cannot be canceled if love fulfills it. Moreover, for love to fulfill Torah, then it must be an informed love. As a person devoted to God's will, the disciple takes the time to learn from Torah how God defines holiness, justice and the right things that a disciple should do for God and for his neighbor.
Some Christian psychologists and ministers have interpreted the second commandment as a justification for self-love. "How can you love others if you don't love yourself?" Such an assumption ignores both the grammar of the command and the reality that everyone loves himself. The word "as" is a preposition, not a conjunction. With a preposition the command is set in contrast to another condition or activity In other words, "as" presumes that you already love yourself. Paul said, "No one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it" (Eph 5:29 NIV). We pamper ourselves: we eat, we sleep, we bathe, we perfume, we curl, we exercise, we clothe ourselves, and much more. We do love ourselves. Considerable time is spent pursuing activities for personal happiness, as well as health and welfare.
Self-love is a slippery slope. Paul warned that in the last days people would be self-lovers (Grk. philautos, 2Tim 3:2), and he did not mean it as a good thing. Many vices can result from inordinate self-love, which Paul goes on to list:
"money-lovers, boasters, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without affection to kindred, irreconcilable, slanderers, uncontrolled, brutal, good-haters, 4 betrayers, reckless, conceited, pleasure-lovers rather than God-lovers, 5 having an appearance of godliness, but denying its power." (2Tim 2-5 mine)
Yeshua called his disciples to renounce self-love: "He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal" (John 12:25). The disciple cannot really fulfill this command with all its specific expectations in Leviticus 19 unless the self is surrendered to God and transformed by His grace (Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:9-10).
28 So he said to him, "You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live."
So: Grk. de, conj. he said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 2 above. to him: pers. pron., the lawyer. You have answered: Grk. apokrinomai, aor. pass. See the previous verse. correctly: Grk. orthōs, in conformity with what meets a standard, properly, rightly, correctly. As Liefeld notes this does not mean that the inquirer had grasped the full meaning of the Torah. Do: Grk. poieō, pres. imp. See verse 25 above. this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pron. The singular pronoun refers to the singular expectation to love, expressed in two directions, toward God and toward the neighbor. and: Grk. kai. you will live: Grk. zaō, fut. mid., be in the state of being alive. In the LXX zaō renders the Heb. verb chayah (SH-2421), and its derivatives, meaning to live or revive in the physical sense (Gen 3:22; Ex 33:20) and in other passages as longevity of life as a result of keeping God's commandments (Ps 119:44; Prov 4:4; cf. Ezek 33:11).
Yeshua is obviously not proposing that the lawyer earn salvation. The lawyer didn't ask, "how can I be saved from sin?" Zaō in this context probably has a dual sense. First, living by the two great commandments will gain the quality of life that is pleasing to God and beneficial to the individual and the community. Second, there is future life after death by resurrection. The resurrection life is first spiritual and means to know God (John 17:3; 1Jn 5:20) and to enjoy the life of God in the present age (Rom 6:4; Eph 2:6; Col 2:12; 3:1). The resurrection life is secondly physical in the transformation of the perishable with an imperishable body beginning with the age to come (Mark 10:30; Jude 1:21).
29 But wishing to justify himself, he said to Yeshua, "And who is my neighbor?"
But: Grk. de, conj. wishing: Grk. thelō, pres. part. See verse 24 above. to justify: Grk. dikaioō, aor. inf. BAG has these definitions: (1) show justice, do justice for someone; (2) justify, vindicate, treat as just; (3) used in connection with God's judgment, be acquitted, be pronounced and treated as righteous and thereby become righteous; (4) to make free or pure, in the passive voice (as in this verse) to be set free, made pure from. The verb occurs 39 times in the Besekh, 29 of which are in the works of Paul. In the LXX dikaioō renders Heb. tsadaq (SH-6663), to be just or righteous, to declare right, to vindicate, prove right, to acquit or be acquitted, or to be cleared of wrongdoing (e.g., Gen 38:26; 44:16; 2Sam 15:4; Ps 143:2; Isa 43:26) (DNTT 3:355). himself: Grk. heautou, reflexive pron.
As a forensic word dikaioō is a word picture of a trial with a heavenly Judge and a righteous standard against which people are measured and evaluated. One case before the court is an innocent person wrongly accused. The outcome of that trial vindicates the person's character and he is acquitted. Throughout the Tanakh the verb occurs only in this acquittal scenario. In other words the person is actually righteous and the verb describes the defense of that person's character. The same usage may also be found in the apostolic narratives (Matt 11:19; 12:37; Luke 7:29; 10:29; 18:14), and Paul also applies this sense in some passages (Rom 3:4; 4:2; 1Cor 4:4; 1Tim 3:16).
However, the use of the verb here implies that the lawyer would not be acquitted by God and he knew it. So, the lawyer employs a legal maneuver to limit the evidence considered by the court and consequently limit his own responsibility. he said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 2 above. to Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous, a transliteration of the Hebrew name Yeshua ("Jesus" in Christian Bibles). Yeshua means "YHVH [the LORD] is salvation" (BDB 221). The meaning of his name is explained to Joseph by an angel of the Lord, "You shall call his name Yeshua, for he will save his people from their sins" (Matt 1:21). By virtue of His incarnation and Jewish mother, Yeshua must still be a Jew. For more information on the meaning our Lord's name, his identity, and the history of translation of the name see my web article Who is Yeshua?
It may seem strange that the name of Yeshua, whose name means "salvation," is not mentioned in this chapter until this point. Luke began the chapter with identifying Yeshua simply as "the Lord" (verse 1 above) and the seventy address him as "Lord" (verse 17 above). This repetition of "Lord" is no doubt purposeful so that when the lawyer quotes Deuteronomy 6:5 he doesn't realize that the LORD (Heb. YHVH) whom he is to love is Yeshua. And: Grk. kai, conj. who: Grk. tís, interrogative pron. is: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 6 above. my: pers. pron. neighbor: Grk. plēsion. See verse 27 above. Regardless of the lawyer's motive this is a good question.
Additional Note on Justification
In most instances in the Besekh dikaioō depicts a trial in which the accused is guilty. The defendant before the bar of God is not only guilty of sinning, but dead in those trespasses (Eph 2:1). There is no acquittal but yet in response to humble confession and repentance God offers mercy and forgiveness, and then grants pardon and release from punishment, thereby creating a relationship of favor with God (Rom 3:2; 4:5; 5:1; 1Cor 6:11; Gal 2:16-17; 3:8, 11, 24; 5:4; Titus 3:7). In Christian theology justification is an act of God whereby He declares a person righteous on the basis of the person's belief in Yeshua. The English verb "justify" is the preferred translation of standard Christian versions in the letters of Paul due to its historical association with the Reformation doctrine of "justification by faith."
However, in modern English the "justify" word group has an unfamiliar ring to it, and can be easily confused with "vindicate." The standard definition presents a conundrum. How can God call a guilty sinner righteous who has yet to produce a single work of righteousness? We should note that Paul never actually says that justification declares a person righteous. "Declared righteous" is simply a dictionary definition of the verb dikaioō. However, justification represents God's desire to make people righteous (as BAG defines the verb), not merely declare them righteous. What good would it do for God to declare someone righteous and then allow that person to go on sinning as some Evangelicals believe of born-again persons? Being righteous and continued sinning are mutually exclusive. Paul rebuts antinomian teaching in the strongest terms (Rom 6:2).
In justification a person is "righteousified" by receiving the benefit of Messiah's righteousness provided as a perfect sin offering (Rom 3:24). Justification admits a person into the fraternity of the righteous and is a call to righteousness (cf. Matt 5:20; Rom 4:25; 6:11-18; 2Cor 5:21; Gal 5:5), just as God desires a holy people (Eph 5:27; Col 1:22). Righteousness takes its definition from the Torah. Moreover, a new heart provides the motivation for becoming righteous, but the divine work to make someone fully righteous does not occur in a moment of time. Righteousness is something to be pursued (1Tim 6:11; 2Tim 2:22; cf. Matt 5:6). A number of verses speak of righteousness resulting from "faith," but in those instances "pistis" should be translated as "faithfulness" (Rom 3:26; 4:5, 9, 11, 13; 9:30; 10:6; Gal 5:5; Php 3:9). The justified person must become a student of Scripture to achieve righteousness (2Tim 3:16).
Someone will no doubt point out that in Romans 3:20 Paul says that "by works of law" no flesh will be justified. That statement appears to contradict what he says in Romans 2:13 where he says "doers of the Law will be justified." The difference between the two axiomatic statements is the difference between "doers of Torah" (2:13) and "doers of legalism," which is the meaning of 3:20. The definition of "righteous" is keeping Torah standards, especially the principal commandments to love God and neighbor, which according to Yeshua summed up the Torah (Matt 22:37-40; cf. Rom 13:9). We would also point out that Paul does not make "made righteous" as coincidental with being born again. Rather he deals with a fundamental question: how does a person become righteous?
Parable of the Good Samaritan, 10:30-37
30 Yeshua replied and said, "A certain man was going down from Jerusalem toward Jericho, and fell among robbers, who both having stripped him and having inflicted wounds, and departed having left him half dead.
Yeshua replied: Grk. hupolambanō, aor. part. lit. to take or to receive and here means to take a subject to another stage in conversation; reply. and said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 2 above. A certain: Grk. tis, indefinite pron. See verse 25 above. man: Grk. anthrōpos, human being, man, here used of an adult male. In the LXX anthrōpos renders three Hebrew words: (1) adam, SH-444, used for a human male or generically for man and woman and as a contrast to animals (e.g., Gen 1:26, 27; 2:5; 1Sam 15:29); (2) ish, SH-376, adult male or husband (Gen 2:23, 24; Job 1:1) and (3) enosh, SH-582, man or mankind, often signifying the aspect of weakness and mortality (Job 5:17; Ps 8:4-5) (DNTT 2:564). For the sake of the story we might assume that the man was a Judean Jew.
was going down: Grk. katabainō, impf., proceed in a direction that is down; come or go down. The verb alludes to the changes in elevation of the hilly terrain in the area. from: Grk. apo, prep. See verse 21 above. Jerusalem: Grk. Ierousalēm, a transliteration of the Aramaic Yerushalem (SH-3390), a rough transliteration of the Heb. Yerushalayim (SH-3389), which means "possession" or "foundation of peace" (BDB 436). Ierousalēm is one of two forms of "Jerusalem" in Greek, the other being Hierosoluma (for the Heb. Yerushalayim). The Aramaic Yerushalem occurs only in the Aramaic portions of Ezra (4:8 + 22t) and Daniel (5:2 +2t). Due to the exile experience the spelling of Yerushalem was absorbed into the Hebrew language of the Jewish people. The Greek spelling of Ierousalēm appears 77 times in the Besekh, 65 of which are Luke's writings: 25 times in this account of Yeshua and 40 times in the account of the apostles.
What a precious name is Jerusalem! The city is situated some 2500 feet above sea level and eighteen miles west of the northern end of the Dead Sea, is renowned as the capitol of all Israel, afterwards of the Kingdom of Judah and the seat of central worship in the temple. At the time of the Exodus the city was inhabited by the Jebusites (Josh 15:8), but then captured by the tribe of Judah (Jdg 1:8). The city was first named in connection with David (2Sam 17:54). Later the city was taken possession of by David as King (2Sam 5:6) and became known as the City of David. By the end of David's reign the city had expanded to cover seven mountains: Mount Zion, Mount Ophel, Mount Moriah, Mount Bezetha, Mount Acra, Mount Gareb, and Mount Goath (Neil 289).
Jeremias estimated the resident population of the city in the time of Yeshua at about twenty–five to thirty thousand (252). For the faithful Jew the city of Jerusalem represented all that was dear in the covenant relationship with God. David spoke of Jerusalem "as a city that is bound firmly together, to which the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord" (Ps 122:3–4 ESV). Another psalmist expressed his affection thus, "If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget her skill, may my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy" (Ps 137:5–6 NASB).
toward: Grk. eis, prep., lit. "into." Jericho: Grk. Ierichō, a transliteration of the Heb. Yericho, a city lying 800 feet below sea level, lay about eight miles northwest of where the Jordan (Heb. Yarden) flows into the Dead Sea, some five miles west of the Jordan and 15 miles northeast of Jerusalem. There were actually two cities called Jericho that sat next to each other: Old Jericho, the site of the ancient Canaanite city, and New Jericho, the recently rebuilt Herodian city where Yeshua had his interview with Zacchaeus. The town had three distinctions at this time in history.
• Jericho was one of three places in the Land for the collection of customs and highway tolls. The other two were Capernaum and Caesarea. It was at these points that tax agents examined import and export goods and collected tolls on roads and bridges, because they were major trade intersections.
• Jericho was home to many priests and Levites who served rotational duty at the Temple in Jerusalem (Young 106).
• Jericho was near where Yochanan the Immerser conducted his ministry (Luke 3:3) and where Yeshua was immersed (Matt 3:13).
· Jericho was where Yeshua healed a blind man, Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-41). The story is set in the context of Yeshua's visit to Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-2). Most significant to the theme of Yeshua's visit is that Bartimaeus addressed Yeshua as both "Son of David" and "Rabbi."
and fell among: Grk. peripiptō, aor., to fall in with the effect of being surrounded, to fall among or to encounter. robbers: pl. of Grk. lēstēs, one who engages in forceful and illicit seizure of property; robber, bandit. The word is also used of one who engages in violent activity against the established social order; revolutionary, insurrectionist. In the LXX lēstēs occurs only a few times and translates three different words, all associated with violence: Heb. gedud, raider or band of raiders (Jer 18:22); parits, robber, violent one (Jer 7:11); and shôded, plunderer, destroyer, robber (Ob 1:5). Lightfoot distinguishes the thief (Grk. kleptēs) from the robber by saying the thief takes away a man's goods when the owner is not aware of it whereas a robber takes property openly, publicly and by force (3:351).
The significant difference in elevation between the two cities meant that the ancient road descended rather sharply and curved through rugged, rocky terrain as it ran toward the Jordan River (NIBD). There were plenty of places where robbers could easily hide, making the journey extremely hazardous for individuals traveling alone. Robbers were a constant menace to society as Scripture attests (Job 24:1-14; John 18:40; 2Cor 11:26). Strabo (64 BC─24 AD), the Greek geographer and historian, recorded that Pompey (106─42 BC), the Roman General, destroyed haunts of robbers near Jericho (Geography, XVI, 2:40).
who: pl. of Grk. hos, relative pron. There were at least two robbers, perhaps more. both: Grk. kai, conj. having stripped: Grk. ekduō, aor. part., to divest, strip or take off clothing. him: pers. pron. and having inflicted: Grk. epitithēmi, aor. part., may mean (1) to put or place something on or transfer to; or (2) to engage in violent treatment against; attack, assault. The verb depicts the physical use of the hands, in this case to cause harm. wounds: pl. of Grk. plēgē, physical damage inflicted by forceful application; blow or stroke. Its usage in Greek literature and the apostolic writings primarily has the sense of a flogging or a beating (Luke 12:48; Acts 16:23; 2Cor 6:5). The word can also refer to a bruise or wound, even a mortal wound, that results from a beating or other violent act (Acts 16:33; Rev 13:3, 12, 14).
and departed: Grk. aperchomai, aor., to be in movement from a position with or without mention of a destination, to go away, depart or leave. having left: Grk. aphiēmi, aor. part., has a range of meaning, but here means to let remain behind; leave, leave behind, give up, abandon. him half dead: Grk. hēmithanēs, adj., from hēmi ("half") and thnēskō ("to die"), half-dead, an idiomatic expression for resembling death. In practical terms the man was probably left in a coma. This unique Greek term occurs only here in the Besekh. The term is rare even in Greek literature, but it is found in 4th Maccabees 4:11. Young says the Greek term is an attempt to capture the force of the Talmudic Hebrew word goses (111). He is between life and death, beaten so badly that one cannot be certain whether he will survive. The common rabbinic saying was, "Most of the people in a dying condition really die" (Arak. 18a; cf. Gitt. 28a; Kidd. 71b; Shebu. 37b). So, it is highly doubtful this injured man would live.
31 Now by coincidence a certain priest was going down on that road, and having seen him, he passed by on the opposite side.
Now: Grk. de, conj. by: Grk. kata, prep. coincidence: Grk. sugkuria, happening together with, coincidence. Many versions translate the word as "chance." However, "chance" means the absence of any cause of events that can be predicted or controlled and generally considered synonymous with "luck." Yeshua is really saying, "it just so happened that…" In reality what many would call "chance" could be called God's providential arrangement of circumstances (HELPS). The term occurs only here in the Besekh. a certain: Grk. tis, indefinite pron. See verse 25 above. priest: Grk. hiereus, personnel in charge of worship practices at the sanctuary, originally the tabernacle and then later the Temple. In the LXX hiereus renders Heb. kohen. The first occurrence is of Melchizedek (Gen 14:18).
The priest's job description involved sacrificing at the altar and burning incense in the sacred place (Ex 28:1; 30:7), blessing the people (Num 6:22-26 ), determining the will of God (Ex 28:30), and instructing the people in God's instructions for holy and righteous conduct (Deut 31:9-12). In the Torah the chief qualification for serving as a priest was not age but the lack of any bodily defect (Lev 21:16-24). A priest could be disqualified from service for any act that would defile him or make him unclean. By rabbinic law age 13 qualified a man for the priesthood, but brother priests did not allow him to actually begin service until age 20 (Hullah 24a).
The priests were originally organized into 24 divisions or courses by David (1Chr 23:6; 24:7–18). According to Josephus only four of the original courses returned from captivity and those four were divided into the prescribed 24 courses. Josephus tallies the total number of priests in the courses at 20,000 (Against Apion, 2:8). Each of the twenty-four divisions served in the temple for one week, Sabbath to Sabbath, twice a year, and all priests were present for the three major pilgrim festivals (Jeremias 199). Ordinary priests lived in widely scattered parts of Judea and Galilee, including Jericho, and only came to Jerusalem when they were on duty. There were apartments at the Temple where priests could stay during their period of service.
During the week of service priests had to fulfill certain specific functions in the daily ceremonies. The ordinary priests were supervised by 15-20 chief priests who were assigned various aspects of Temple function and ministry. Each weekly course was furthered subdivided by daily courses to accomplish all the Temple duties. The director of the daily course (Heb. rosh beit av) selected the participating priests by lot and then supervised their work. There were about 156 daily courses since each weekly course consisted of four to nine daily courses (Jeremias 163).
Each and every day the morning sacrifice was offered, which included the incense offering, the burnt offering of a lamb, the food offering, the baked meal offering of the high priest, and the drink offering. Twenty-seven priests were chosen to perform all these rituals (Jeremias 201). The same routine would be repeated for the evening sacrifice. The total number of priests actually needed to serve to fulfill Mishnah requirements for the 24 courses was about 7,200 (Jeremias 203). Because of the thousands of priests available and the manner of selection, an individual priest might perform his sacred duty only a few times in his lifetime.
was going down: Grk. katabainō, impf. See verse 15 above. on: Grk. en, prep. that: Grk. ekeinos, demonstrative pron. road: Grk. hodos. See verse 4 above. The fact that the priest was headed away from Jerusalem and toward Jericho would imply the priest had concluded his duty at the Temple and was returning to his home. and having seen: Grk. horaō, aor. part. See verse 24 above. him: pers. pron. he passed by on the opposite side: Grk. antiparerchomai, aor., pass by opposite to; go by on the other side. Yeshua attributed no motive to the priest for passing by nor engaged in any criticism of the priest. He simply lets the conduct of the priest stand in contrast to the hero of the story.
The common interpretation is that the priest passed by because he assumed the injured man to be dead and priests were forbidden to have any contact with dead persons (Lev 21:1, 11). Moreover, anyone who touched a dead person would be unclean for seven days (Num 19:11). To remove the unclean status the individual had to wash himself on the third and seventh day (Num 19:12). Any priest who approached the sanctuary in an unclean state would be cut off from Israel (Num 19:13). The Sadducean priests took these Torah commands literally and admitted no exceptions to their observance. The Talmud records an incident in which a priest who had performed his duties while unclean was taken out of the temple court by young priests who broke his skull with clubs instead of taking him before a Beth Din (Sanhedrin 82b).
32 Likewise moreover a Levite also, having come to the place and having seen, passed by on the opposite side.
Likewise: Grk. homoiōs, adv., likewise, in similar manner, similarly. moreover: Grk. de, conj. a Levite: Grk. Leuitēs, a member of the tribe of Levi not descended from Aaron. They stood in a lower rank than the priests, but were assigned to specific ministry duties to assist the priests in connection with the sanctuary (Num 1:50; 3:9). Jeremias estimates the number of Levites at this time at 10,000 (208). The fact that Yeshua mentions Levites indicates a Jewish audience for his parable. Pagan Gentiles would know about priests, but Levites would be an unfamiliar term.
Levites were assigned as singers and musicians, and others performed a variety of humbler duties, such as cleaning and festival preparations. Levites also formed the police force of the Temple under the supervision of the Deputy High Priest (Jeremias 208-209). The number of Levites was also considerable. As the priests they were divided into 24 courses. According to Josephus, two hundred were needed each evening to close the Temple doors (Against Apion, 2:10; see fn 14). God's original plan for the Levites in addition to practical maintenance of the tabernacle was to communicate the meaning of Torah commandments to the adults (Deut 5:31; 17:9; 24:8) and parents would teach their children (Deut 6:7). It was David who changed the duties of Levites to give them a more direct role in leading Temple worship.
also: Grk. kai, conj. having come: Grk. erchomai, aor. part. See verse 1 above. There is no indication that the priest and Levite were traveling together. to: Grk. kata, prep. the place: Grk. topos is used to mean (1) a spatial area, as a locality or a location for some activity; place; (2) a position with obligation; responsibility; or (3) a circumstance that offers a chance to do something; opportunity. The first meaning applies here. and having seen: Grk. horaō, aor. part. See verse 24 above. passed by on the opposite side: Grk. antiparerchomai, aor. See the previous verse. The Levite presumptively passed by for the same reason as the priest. Barclay suggests that the Levite came nearer than the priest in viewing the body, but he hastened on for safety's sake (139). A man lying on the road could be a ruse.
Additional Note on Mercy
Liefeld, citing Joachim Jeremias (Parables of Jesus, Pearson Press, 1972), rejects the explanation of ritual defilement as the reason for the priest and Levite not helping the injured man. The points of rebuttal are as follows: (1) ritual purity was only significant when carrying out cultic activities; (2) the priest was going "down," i.e., away from Jerusalem, presumably having finished with those duties; (3) the Levite by implication was probably also going away from Jerusalem; and (4) when priests and Levites were on their way to serve in the temple, they traveled in groups; but these two were alone and therefore not on their way to Jerusalem. Also, the point of the story seems to require that the priest and the Levite be without excuse.
Yeshua obviously illustrates that the actions of the priest and Levite were contrary to love and did not reflect the mercy God expects (Mic 6:8; Matt 23:23). However, the Sadducean priest and Levite would have argued that Jeremias is not a Jew and is not qualified to judge them in their understanding of what it means to obey Torah commandments. The travel arrangements of priests and Levites to the Temple is irrelevant to evaluating their rationale. The Torah was clear. A priest (and a Levite) were absolutely not to touch a corpse. The injured man was "half-dead" (Heb. goses) which meant if he wasn't dead he would be very shortly and the rule of corpse-avoidance would certainly apply then. So, they have an excuse regardless of whether Christians approve of it.
Notably missing from the cast of characters in the story is a Pharisee. Unlike the priests and Levites, who generally belonged to the Sadducee party, Pharisees believed that saving a life trumps all requirements of the Torah (Yom. 85a). A Pharisee would not have been concerned about contracting uncleanness in helping an injured man. But, contrasting the priest and Levite with a Pharisee would not have achieved the teaching value of the parable. Replacing the Pharisee with a Samaritan to perform the good deed accomplished the goal.
33 But a certain Samaritan traveling, came to him; and having seen felt compassion,
But: Grk. de, conj. a certain: Grk. tis, indef. pron. See verse 25 above. Samaritan: Grk. Samaritēs, Samaritan, meaning one whose place of origin is Samaria (Heb. Shomron). In the Tanakh Shomron refers primarily to the city of Samaria, 42 miles north of Jerusalem, which was the capitol, residence, and burial place of the kings of Israel from the time of Omri, the sixth king of Israel (885-874 B.C.) (1Kgs 16:23-28; 22:37-39; 2Kgs 6:24-30). In the LXX Samaritēs occurs one time for Heb. Shômerôni, an inhabitant of Samaria (2Kgs 17:29).
In the apostolic narratives Samaria was a territory or district that lay between Judea on the south, Galilee on the north, the Mediterranean on the west and the Jordan River on the east. The chief city of Samaria was Sebaste, a Hellenistic city (Skarsaune 32). According to the apostolic narratives Yeshua never entered into the city limits of any Hellenistic city (cf. Matt 10:5). Contrary to common interpretation the Samaritans were descendants of Jacob (John 4:12) and part of the Jewish world. They were not Gentiles. For a discussion of the history and identity of the Samaritans see my web article Who Were the Samaritans?
traveling: Grk. hodeuō, pres. part., be on a trip, travel, journey. It is not clear which direction the Samaritan was traveling, whether toward Jerusalem or toward Jericho. came: Grk. erchomai, aor. See verse 1 above. to: Grk. kata, prep. him: pers. pron. and having seen: Grk. horaō, aor. part. See verse 24 above. felt compassion: Grk. splagchnizomai, aor. pass. (from splagchna, "the inward parts"), be inwardly moved by a circumstance or condition; have compassion, feel sympathy. Yeshua's choice of making a Samaritan the hero of his story is set in the context of intense prejudice by certain Judean Jews against Samaritans (cf. John 4:9). The animosity had been going on for centuries. Yet, this Samaritan exhibited no hostility toward the injured man, but showed his character by his compassion.
34 and having approached he bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and having put him on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.
and: Grk. kai, conj. having approached: Grk. proserchomai, aor. part., to approach from a point to a person or place; come, go to, approach. he bandaged: Grk. katadeō, to bind up, to bandage a wound. The verb occurs only here in the Besekh, but it also occurs in Josephus (Ant. V, 8:11; VIII, 14:5). In the LXX katadeō occurs six times, three times for binding something (Num 19:15; 1Kgs 20:38, Isa 46:1) and three times for treating a wound (Ezek 34:4, 16; Sir. 27:21). Yeshua's use of the verb to illustrate the Samaritan as a model of mercy may reflect the criticism by Ezekiel against the shepherds of Israel because they didn't bind up (Heb. chabash; LXX katadeō) the broken (Ezek 34:4), so YHVH promises to search for his lost sheep and bind up the broken (Ezek 34:16).
his: pers. pron. wounds: pl. of Grk. trauma, damage to the body as a result of blows, a wound. The term occurs only here in the Besekh. However, the noun does occur in the LXX for Heb. petsa, a bruise or wound (Gen 4:24; Ex 21:25; Prov 27:6; Isa 1:6), keeb, a pain (Job 16:6; Ps 69:26), and makkah, a blow, wound (Jer 10:19). pouring on: Grk. epicheō, pres. part., to pour upon, apply. The verb occurs only here in the Besekh. oil: Grk. elaion (for Heb. shemen), oil of the olive. The first use of the word is in Genesis 27:18 where Jacob anointed a stone with oil was an act which symbolized his promise that if God would bless him with safety and supplies, he would return to God a tenth and build a place of worship. The oil likely represented an advance payment on the tithe to demonstrate his commitment.
Later the priests of Israel (remember the priest in verse 31 above), would be anointed with oil when they were commissioned for service (Ex 28:41; 30:30). Abundance of olive oil was one of God’s promises to Israel (Deut 8:8). In the Besekh anointing with olive oil was for cosmetic purposes (Matt 6:17) and for blessing a guest in one's home (Luke 7:46). The medicinal use of olive oil on an open wound was a widespread practice (Isa 1:6; Mark 6:13; Jas 5:14). In the circumstance of anointing for healing, the use of the oil would have a soothing effect and serves as a symbol of God's blessing and protection (DNTT 2:712). The use of olive oil by Jews to treat wounds did not ascribe any mystical properties to the oil as occurred in pagan culture.
and wine: Grk. oinos, the fermented beverage of wine made from grapes. In the LXX oinos renders Heb. yanah, wine (Gen 9:21), and Heb. tirosh, fresh or new wine, i.e., newly made (Gen 27:28). The first mention of wine in the Bible is that made by Noah (Gen 9:21), from which he became drunken and his son Canaan took advantage of him. Wine was an important commodity and a popular beverage in ancient times (cf. Gen 14:18; Ps 104:15; Prov 3:10; Matt 9:17). The production of wine was a promised blessing of God (Gen 27:28, 37; Deut 7:13; 11:14; 33:28) and important for religious festivals (Deut 14:26; 16:13). Wine was given as a first fruits offering to the priests (Deut 18:4; Neh 10:37; 13:12) and poured out as a drink offering with sacrifices (Ex 25:29; Lev 23:13; Num 15:5; Deut 18:4).
Yeshua, too, drank wine (Luke 7:34), changed water into wine (John 2:2-10) and it featured prominently in the Last Supper (Luke 22:17, 20; 1Cor 11:22-27). Paul even advises Timothy to drink wine for health reasons (1Tim 5:23) and modern scientific research has confirmed the health benefits of the moderate use of wine. Throughout Scripture "wine" always refers to the fermented beverage made from grapes regardless of its age or potency, which explains why there are warnings about overindulgence (Prov 20:1; 23:20-21, 29-35; Rom 13:13; Gal 5:21; Eph 5:18; 1Pet 4:3) and instructions not to appoint congregation leaders who are addicted to "much wine" (1Tim 3:3, 8; Titus 1:7; 2:3). Prohibitions of wine-drinking were only directed to priests while offering Temple sacrifices (Lev 10:9; Ezek 44:21) and to Nazirites for their consecration (Num 6:2-3).
Wine also had a medicinal use as an antiseptic among Greeks and Jews as depicted in this story (Geldenhuys 314; Levine 124). The rabbis considered wine primarily as a beverage, but recognized its use as a medicament (Shabbat 78a). See the Encyclopedia Judaica article "Medicine" for information on biblical and Talmudic practices for treatment of physical ailments. There were other remedies that could be used to treat wounds, but the Samaritan used what he had available.
and: Grk. de, conj. having put: Grk. epibibazō, aor. part., cause to be on, of putting one on an animal to ride; put on, seat. The verb occurs only three times in the Besekh all in the writings of Luke (also Luke 19:35; Acts 23:24). him: pers. pron. on: Grk. epi, prep. his: pers. pron. own: Grk. idios, adj. See verse 23 above. donkey: Grk. ktēnos, a domesticated animal, whether cattle, donkey, or horse. A donkey was the most likely animal used in this situation. The phrase "own donkey" reflects private ownership and so hints at the Samaritan's prosperity. Yeshua didn't even own a donkey and had to borrow one for his famous ride into Jerusalem.
brought: Grk. agō, aor., may mean (1) to cause movement by taking the lead; lead, bring, carry, take; (2) to cause a specific time for something; spend; or (3) intransitive "to go" as an exhortation. The first meaning applies here and the verb depicts the Samaritan leading the donkey on foot. him: pers. pron. to an inn: Grk. pandocheion, an inn or a public house for the reception of strangers or travelers (cf. Jer 41:17). The term occurs only here in the Besekh. Alfred Edersheim describes the inn this way:
"On unfrequented roads, where villages were at great intervals, or even outside towns (Luke 2:7), there were regular khans, or places of lodgment for strangers. Like the modern khans these places were open, and generally built in a square, the large court in the middle being intended for the beasts of burden or carriages, while rooms opened upon galleries all around. Of course these rooms were not furnished, nor was any payment expected from the wayfarer. At the same time, some one was generally attached to the khan— a foreigner— would for payment provide anything that might be needful, of which we have an instance in the parabolic history of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:35). Such hostelries are mentioned so early as in the history of Moses (Gen 42:27; 43:21). Jeremiah calls them "a place for strangers" (Jer 41:17). In the Talmud their designations are either Greek or Latin, in Aramaic form— of them being the same as that used in Luke 10:34— that such places were chiefly provided by and for strangers." (Sketches of Jewish Social Life, Chap. 4)
and took care: Grk. epimeleomai, aor. pass., meet needs or wants, care for, take care of. of him: pers. pron. On the day of arrival at the inn the Samaritan took personal responsibility for the injured man's care. He wanted to make sure that the man would survive the night. Such care for a stranger is remarkable in a time when there were no hospitals or emergency care clinics.
35 and on the next day having taken out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, 'Take care of him; and that something you might spend, on my returning I will repay you.'
and: Grk. kai, conj. on: Grk. epi, prep. the next day: Grk. aurion generally means the next day, tomorrow, but also may lack a nocturnal interval and mean soon, in a short time (cf. 1Cor 15:32). having taken out: Grk. ekballō, aor. part. See verse 2 above. two: Grk. duo, the numeral two. denarii: pl. of Grk. dēnarion, a Roman silver coin, first minted in 211 B.C., about 4.55 grains. The coin could only be produced in Rome. The denarius is the most frequently mentioned currency in the Besekh. The denarius was probably equal to the daily wage of a farm laborer or soldier (Matt 20:2). and gave them: Grk. didōmi, aor. See verse 19 above. to the innkeeper: Grk. pandocheus, one who receives or welcomes everyone; innkeeper, host, landlord. The term occurs only here in the Besekh.
and said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 2 above. Take care: Grk. epimeleomai, aor. pass. imp. See the previous verse. of him: Grk. autos, 3p-sing. pers. pron. and that: Grk. hos, used as a demonstrative pron.; this, that. something: Grk. tis, indef. pron., used to refer to currency. you might: Grk. an, a contingency particle. See verse 5 above. spend: Grk. prosdapanaō, aor. subj., to spend in addition. The verb occurs only here in the Besekh. on: Grk. en, prep. my: Grk. egō, pron. of the first pers. returning: Grk. epanerchomai, pres. mid. inf., to come back, return. The verb occurs only two times in the Besekh (also Luke 19:15). I: Grk. egō. The twice use of the first person pronoun gives emphasis to the following promise.
will repay: Grk. apodidōmi, fut., to engage in reciprocity, usually used of a transaction involving money or goods, but here fig. of paying back as an obligation; pay back, repay, give back. you: Grk. su, pron. of the second pers. The payment here is not for the lodging, but for whatever the innkeeper might expend in caring for the wounded man.
36 Which of these three seems to you to have become a neighbor to the one having fallen among the robbers?"
Which: Grk. tís, interrogative pron. of these: pl. of Grk. houtos, demonstrative pron. three: Grk. treis, the numeral three. seems: Grk. dokeō, pres., the basic idea of receptivity and hence attractiveness to the intellect appears throughout the verb's usage, which may mean to entertain an idea or form an opinion about something on the basis of what appears to support a specific conclusion; think, opine, regard. to you: pers. pron. to have become: Grk. ginomai, perf. inf. See verse 13 above. a neighbor: Grk. plēsion, adv. See verse 27 above. to the one having fallen: Grk. empiptō, aor. part. with the definite article, to fall in or into, always in the context of peril. among: Grk. eis, prep., lit. "into." the robbers: pl. of Grk. lēstēs. See verse 30 above.
Yeshua turns the second commandment upside down by changing "neighbor" from someone who receives help to someone who gives help. We should also note that the innkeeper was a neighbor to the injured man because he apparently agreed to provide the care arranged by the Samaritan. The question is obviously designed to force an opinion from the legal expert, perhaps hoping that the scholar will realize that being a neighbor is the way to experience the "eternal" quality of life. Love is inevitably costly. A person can't experience God's kind of life without sacrificing for the sake of God and others. As Liefeld notes, the Judean scholar would have thought of the Judean victim as a good person and the Samaritan as an evil one. To the Judeans (Sadducees and Pharisees) a "good" Samaritan did not exist. Yeshua could have told the story with a Samaritan victim and a Judean helper, but the role reversal drives the story home by challenging the scholar's preconceptions.
37 and he said, "The one having shown mercy with him." Then Yeshua said to him, "Go and you do likewise."
and: Grk. de, conj. he said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 2 above. The one having shown: Grk. poieō, aor. part. with the definite article. See verse 25 above. mercy: Grk. eleos, kindness expressed for one in need, compassion, mercy or pity. In the LXX eleos normally represents Heb. chesed, which means proper covenant behavior, the solidarity which the partners in the covenant owe one another. Chesed results in one giving help to the covenant partner in his need. So the connotation of eleos meaning chesed may stretch from loyalty to a covenant to kindliness, mercy, and pity (DNTT 2:594). with: Grk. meta, prep. prep. of association or accompaniment. him: pers. pron. It is noteworthy that the Torah scholar cannot bring himself to say "Samaritan" in his reply.
Then: Grk. de, conj. Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous. See verse 29 above. said: Grk. legō, aor. to him: pers. pron. Go: Grk. poreuomai, pres. mid. imp., may mean (1) to move from one area to another, to go or to make one's way or (2) in an ethical sense, to conduct oneself, live, walk. and you: pers. pron. do: Grk. poieō, pres. imp. likewise: Grk. homoiōs, adv. See verse 32 above. In essence Yeshua's command answer's the scholar's original question. "Go and be a neighbor, including to people you don't particularly like" (cf. Ex 23:5). The way to life is through sacrificial love, but even more so it is to recognize that the Kingdom of God includes persons of diverse background.
Visitation with Martha and Miriam, 10:38-42
38 Now in their traveling, he entered into a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha received him into the house.
Now: Grk. de, conj. in: Grk. en, prep. their: pl. pers. pron. implying Yeshua with his disciples. traveling: Grk. poreuomai, pres. mid. inf., to move from one area to another, to go or to make one's way. The indefinite nature of the opening clause means that the placement of this narrative cannot be placed with certainty within the chronology of Yeshua's ministry, although the implication is that it follows the sending of the seventy. he entered: Grk. eiserchomai, aor. See verse 5 above. into: Grk. eis, prep. a certain: Grk. tis, indefinite pron. See verse 25 above. village: Grk. kōmē, village, smaller and less prestigious than a city (Grk. polis). Commentators are divided over whether this village was Bethany since John 11:1 identifies Bethany as the village of the two sisters. Bethany played an important role in the life of Yeshua.
While Luke mentions Bethany in his passion week narrative (19:29), he does not say that the "certain village" in this verse was Bethany. The unnamed village was likely located in Galilee or Perea. No passage actually says that Martha and Miriam lived at this time in Bethany. Alternatively, Bethany may have been the hometown of the family and this village was a subsequent choice, just as Yeshua moved from Nazareth to Capernaum. and a certain: Grk. tis. woman: Grk. gunē, an adult female person, without respect to age, marital or social status except as defined in the context. In the LXX gunē renders the Heb. ishshah ("woman"). named: Grk. onoma is used in its central sense of identifying someone. In Hebrew literature it also carries the idiomatic sense of qualities, attributes, reputation, powers or authority.
Martha: Grk. Martha, fem. name, a transliteration of Heb. Marta, "mistress" (BAG), i.e., a female head of household, suggesting that she was the oldest of the siblings. Danker and Thayer identify the name as Aramaic, an assumption probably resting on historical references. Plutarch, the Greek historian mentions a Syrian woman named Martha who had the gift of prophecy (Life of Marius 17:1-3, cited in BAG 492). Lightfoot (3:360) notes the name of Martha as very frequent in Talmudic writings identified as a mother or wife of various Sages, (e.g., Yeb. 6:4; 120a). This is the only woman named Martha in the entire Bible. Her name appears 13 times in the Besekh, three in Luke and ten in John. True to her name, Martha is portrayed as a person in charge.
received: Grk. hupodechomai, aor. mid., to receive under one's roof, to receive as a guest, entertain hospitably. him: pers. pron., i.e., Yeshua. Luke does not specifically mention the presence of disciples with Yeshua as in verse 23 above, but it is reasonable to assume their presence given their traveling together. into: Grk. eis, prep. the: Many versions translate the feminine article as "her." house: Grk. oikia. See verse 5 above. The mention of "her house" implies ownership, which may have come about by widowhood or inheritance.
39 and she had a sister called Miriam, who also having sat down at the feet of the Lord, was listening to his word.
and: Grk. kai, conj. she: Grk. hode, demonstrative pron., lit. "this," referring to what is present. had: Grk. eimi, impf. See verse 6 above. a sister: Grk. adelphē, fem. of adelphos, lit. "of the same womb," a female sibling. The feminine form occurs 24 times in the apostolic writings and is generally literal, but figurative uses occur also. called: Grk. kaleō, pres. pass. part., to identify by name or give a term to; call. Miriam: Grk. Mariam, fem. name, which is intended to stand for Heb. Miryam ("Miriam" in English). Mariam is also an exact transliteration of Aramaic Mariam, which is used in the Targums and may explain its presence in the apostolic writings (Thayer). The meaning of the name is not known for certain, although Thayer suggests "rebelliousness or obstinacy," a theory favored in Christianity.
The first Miriam in Scripture is the sister of Aaron and Moses (Ex 15:20) and with such a negative meaning its unlikely that the parents would have given this name to their daughter at birth. The best interpretation I've found is at BehindtheName.com which says that Miriam "was originally an Egyptian name, perhaps derived in part from mry "beloved" or mr "love." There are seven women identified as "Miriam" in the Besekh. Besides Miriam, sister of Martha, there is (1) Miriam of Nazareth, the mother of Yeshua (Matt 1:16), (2) Miriam of Magdala (Matt 27:56), (3) Miriam, the mother of Jacob and Joseph (Matt 27:56), (4) Miriam, the wife of Clopas (John 19:25), (5) Miriam, the mother of Mark (Acts 12:12), and (6) Miriam of Rome (Rom 16:6). Christian Bibles render the names of these women inaccurately as "Mary," which can only be to minimize their Jewish identity.
Lightfoot unfortunately associated Miriam, sister of Martha, with Miriam of Magdala and the "sinner" woman of the Luke's anointing story in chapter seven (3:110). The imagined story is that after the earlier deliverance from a life of sin, Miriam of Magdala ("Mary the harlot" among Christians) was restored to her family in Bethany. According to Lightfoot Bethany was also called Magdala, although he cites no source for this claim. Even a cursory reading of these stories reveals that Luke's anointing story occurs early in Yeshua's ministry in Galilee, whereas the later anointing story occurs in Bethany of Judea. Luke is a careful historian and when he knows the names of people he provides them, often with specific detail.
What should be noticed is that when Luke first introduces Miriam of Magdala in 8:2 he makes no connection with the "sinful woman" of the anointing story in chapter seven. Then, when Yeshua goes to a "certain village" in this story and meets Martha and Miriam, Luke makes no connection between this Miriam with the sinful woman of his earlier anointing story or with Miriam of Magdala. The three stories are too disparate to be woven into a whole. Indeed, the only time Miriam of Magdala is associated with anointing Yeshua is after his death (Mark 16:1).
who: Grk. hos, relative pron. also: Grk. kai, conj. having sat down: Grk. parakathizō, aor. pass. part., sit down beside. at: Grk. pros, prep. the feet: pl. of Grk. pous, the body part that is used for walking or running; the foot. The phrase "at the feet" depicts the posture of a disciple learning from a rabbi (cf. Paul's testimony, Acts 22:3). of the Lord: Grk. kurios; i.e., Yeshua. See verse 1 above. was listening: Grk. akouō, impf., may mean (1) to hear, with the focus on willingness to listen or to heed the substance of what is said; (2) hear with comprehension, understand; or (3) receive information aurally, hear, hear about. All three meanings have application here. In the LXX akouō consistently stands for Heb. shama, which not only means to apprehend, but also to accept and to act upon what has been apprehended (DNTT 2:173).
to his word: Grk. logos, vocalized expression, word, discourse, statement, message or speech. In Greek philosophical writings logos took on the meaning of a common universal law or truth and that which gives order in the universe. In the LXX logos stands principally for Heb. dabar, which has a range of meaning "speech, word, report, command, advice, counsel, thing, matter" (Gen 29:13; BDB 182) (DNTT 3:1087). The phrase "listening to his word" suggests the action of a devoted disciple. Liefeld says it was unusual for a woman in first-century Judaism to be accepted by a teacher as a disciple, but in fact a number of women followed Yeshua as disciples (Luke 8:1-3). Even the Pharisee party admitted women into its ranks (Moseley 106, 112).
40 But Martha was being involved about much service; and having come near she said, "Lord, is it not concerning to you that my sister left me alone to serve? Speak therefore to her that she might help me."
But: Grk. de, conj. Martha: Grk. Martha. See verse 38 above. was being involved: Grk. perispaō, impf. mid., may mean (1) be pulled or dragged away; or (2) become or be distracted, quite busy, or overburdened. The second meaning applies here. Danker defines the verb as "involved." The verb occurs only here in the Besekh. Most versions render the verb as "distracted," which gives the verb perhaps more negative meaning than Luke intended. about: Grk. peri, prep. with an orientational aspect relating to being near or having to do with something; about, concerning. much: Grk. polus, adj. See verse 2 above. service: Grk. diakonia, service of a practical nature, service for preparation of a meal or distribution of alms and charitable giving.
Although the concept of service is set forth in the Torah, the only occurrence of diakonia in the LXX is in Esther 6:3, 5 (for Heb. na'ar, retainer) and 1Maccabees 11:58 in reference to servants in the royal court. In first century Judaism diakonia is found in both Philo and Josephus, the latter in describing the Essenes (DNTT 3:545). Generally waiting on table was considered woman's work and beneath the dignity of a free man (cf. Luke 7:44-46; John 13:3-8). In contrast Josephus said that the Essenes refrained from marriage and keeping personal servants, but instead lived in mutual ministry to one another (Ant., XVIII, 1:5).
and come near: Grk. ephistēmi, aor. part., to come or stand near in a non-threatening mode. she said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 2 above. Lord: Grk. kurios, voc. case. See verse 1 above. Addressing Yeshua by the customary title accorded by disciples shows her respect for him. is it not: Grk. ou, adv. concerning: Grk. melei, pres., being an object of care or thought and so signifies to be of interest to, to be of concern to. to you: Grk. su, pron. of the second pers. that: Grk. hoti, conj. my: Grk. egō, pron. of the first pers. sister: Grk. adelphē. See the previous verse. left: Grk. kataleipō, aor., to leave behind or to leave to oneself. The verb may reflect a feeling of abandonment. me: Grk. egō. alone: Grk. monos, adj. signifying the exclusion of any other entity; alone, only.
to serve: Grk. diakoneō, pres. inf., to serve, especially in meeting of personal needs or attending to in some practical manner. The implication of the verb is "serving you with a meal." Speak: Grk. legō, aor. imp. The imperative mood is used here for an earnest entreaty. therefore: Grk. oun, conj. See verse 2 above. to her: pers. pron. that: Grk. hina, conj. she might help: Grk. sunantilambanomai, aor. mid. subj., join in handling a matter; help, assist. The verb occurs only twice in the Besekh (also Rom 8:26). me: pers. pron. Food and table fellowship figure prominently in the apostolic narratives. Martha was obviously concerned with meeting her hostess obligations and assuming her house was full of men she needed the assistance of her sister.
42 but only a few things are necessary, or just one. For Miriam chose the good portion, which will not be taken from her."
but: Grk. de, conj. only a few things: Grk. oligos, few, little, small. are: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 6 above. necessary: Grk. chreia, state or experience of necessity, need. or: Grk. hē, conj. used to denote an alternative. just one: Grk. heis, the numeral one. Most versions translate the noun as "one thing." Stern suggests that the point of Yeshua's response to Martha was that instead of fretting and worrying about so many things, she could have served Yeshua just one dish and then been able to relax and join her sister. Yeshua in effect acknowledged Martha's generosity in the meal preparations, but kindly reminded her that he didn't need much and a small meal or even one dish would have been sufficient. Yeshua doesn't demean Martha's servant attitude or chastise her for fixing a meal instead of sitting at his feet. After all, she was being a neighbor to him.
Christian commentaries have a tendency to read Christian theology into the narrative with the "one thing" being various means of grace. The arbitrary verse division was clearly intended to make the "one thing" apply to Miriam, when in reality it applies to Martha. For: Grk. gar, conj. Miriam: See verse 39 above. chose: Grk. eklegomai, aor. mid., to pick out for oneself; choose, select. the good: Grk. agathos, adj., achieving a high standard of excellence in meeting a need or interest, beneficial, useful, helpful or good. portion: Grk. meris, receive as portion, an allotted portion, share or part. The comment regarding Miriam may appear to be an apologetic. She had chosen "the good portion." This makes no sense in modern culture, but Christian commentators read all the means of grace into the idiomatic expression.
Gill offers the helpful observation that the idiom alludes to the Jewish saying "All Israel will have a portion in the age to come" (Mishnah, Sanhedrin 11:1). The adjective "good" describes what originates with God or that which is intrinsically good. Gill notes that the Greek word for "portion" also appears in the LXX of Psalm 73:26 where it says that "God is … my portion into the age." The Hebrew word "portion" can mean a tract of land associated with inheritance. So the "good portion" for Miriam was to learn more about the Messianic kingdom in the age to come of which Yeshua proclaimed and in which she expected to share.
which: Grk. hostis, relative pron. used in reference to an entity immediately preceding in the narrative. will not: Grk. ou, adv., particle of strong negation. be taken from: Grk. aphaireō, fut. pass., cause to be no longer there; to take away, remove, cut off. her: pers. pron. The announcement that her "good portion" would not be taken from her probably means that this opportunity for Miriam to learn would not be denied. The implication is that there are times when spiritual matters are more important than taking care of the body (cf. John 4:32), just as expectation of love is given to God first and then to the neighbor. And, as Liefeld notes, the spiritual priority of Miriam stands in sharpest contrast to the sterile religion of the priest and Levite.
BAG: Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. trans. W.F. Arndt & F.W. Gingrich. The University of Chicago Press, 1957.
Barclay: William Barclay, The Gospel of Luke. rev. ed. The Daily Study Bible Series. The Westminster Press, 1975.
Barnes: Albert Barnes (1798-1870), Notes on the New Testament: Explanatory and Practical (1884). Online
BDB: The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. London: Oxford University Press, 1907. Reprinted by Associated Publishers and Authors, Inc., 1981. Online at BibleHub.com.
Clarke: Adam Clarke (1760-1832), Commentary on the Holy Bible (1826). Ed. Ralph Earle. Baker Book House, 1967. Also online.
Danker: F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. The University of Chicago Press, 2009.
DM: H.E. Dana & Julius R. Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament. The Macmillan Co., 1955.
DNTT: Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 3 Vols. Colin Brown, ed. Zondervan Publishing House, 1975.
Geldenhuys: Norval Geldenhuys, Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1951. (NICNT)
Gill: John Gill (1697-1771), Exposition of the Entire Bible. Online.
GNT: The Greek New Testament, eds. Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Bruce M. Metzger, & Allen Wiegren. American Bible Society, 1966. [NA25]
HBD: Holman Bible Dictionary. Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1991.
HELPS: The Discovery Bible New Testament: HELPS Word Studies. eds. Gleason L. Archer and Gary Hill. Moody Press, 1987, 2011. (Online at BibleHub.com)
ISBE: International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Edited by James Orr. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1939. Online, 2011.
JE: Jewish Encyclopedia (1906), JewishEncyclopedia.com, 2002-2011.
Jeremias: Joichim Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus. Fortress Press, 1975.
Josephus: Flavius Josephus (Yosef ben Matityahu; c. 75-99 A.D.), Wars of the Jews. trans. William Whiston (1737). Online.
Lane: William L. Lane, The Gospel According to Mark. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1974. (NICNT)
Levine: Amy-Jill Levine, Annotations on "Luke," Jewish Annotated New Testament, eds. Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Brettler. Oxford University Press, 2011.
Liefeld: Walter L. Liefeld, Luke, Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol. 8. Software version 2.6. Zondervan Corp, 1989-1999.
Lightfoot: John Lightfoot (1602-1675), A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica (1859 ed.), 4 Vols. Hendrickson Pub., 1989. Online.
Metzger: Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 2nd ed. German Bible Society, 1994.
Moseley: Ron Moseley, Yeshua: A Guide to the Real Yeshua and the Original Church. Lederer Books, 1996.
Mounce: William D. Mounce, Mounce Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament. 2011. Online.
Neil: James Neil, Palestine Explored. James Nisbet & Co., 1882.
NIBD: Nelson's Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible. Herbert Lockyer, ed. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1986.
Skarsaune: Oskar Skarsaune, In the Shadow of the Temple: Jewish Influences on Early Christianity. InterVarsity Press, 2002.
Stern: David Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary, Jewish New Testament Publications, 1996.
Thayer: Joseph Henry Thayer, Greek–English Lexicon of the New Testament. Harper Brothers, 1889. Online.
TWOT: R. Laird Harris, ed., Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. 2 vols. Moody Press, 1980.
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