Blaine Robison, M.A.
Published 12 November 2023; Revised 1 December 2023
Scripture Text: The Scripture text used in this commentary 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. Scripture quotations may be taken from different Bible versions. Click here for Abbreviations of Bible Versions. Quotations marked with the initials "BR" indicate the translation of the commentary author.
Sources: Bibliographic data for works cited may be found at the end of the chapter commentary. Works without page numbers are cited ad loc. Important early Jewish sources include the following:
● DSS: the Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of Jewish manuscripts of Scripture and sectarian documents found in the Qumran caves. Most of the Qumran MSS belong to the last three centuries B.C. and the first century A.D. Online: DSS Bible; Vermes.
● LXX: The abbreviation "LXX" ("70") stands for the Septuagint, the Jewish translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, in use among Jews by the mid-2nd century B.C. Online. The LXX also included the Apocrypha, Jewish works produced from 400 B.C. to A.D. 1. Online.
● Josephus: The Works of Flavius Josephus (c. 75–99 A.D.), Jewish historian, trans. William Whiston (1737). Online.
● Philo: Works by Philo Judaeus of Alexandria, the Jewish philosopher (20 B.C.─A.D. 50), consisting of 45 monographs. Online.
Syntax: Unless otherwise noted definition of Greek words is from F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (2009), and definition of Hebrew words is from The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (1981), abbreviated as "BDB." See the Greek Guide for the meaning of grammar abbreviations.
Special Terms: In order to emphasize the Hebrew and Jewish nature of Scripture I use the terms Yeshua (Jesus), Messiah (Christ), ADONAI (for YHVH), Torah (Pentateuch, Law), Tanakh (Old Testament), and Besekh (New Testament).
Dates are from Risto Santala, The Messiah in the New Testament in the Light of Rabbinical Writings (1992). Online.
In Chapter Four Luke advances the narrative from Yeshua's immersion in the Jordan. The Holy Spirit led Yeshua into the desert of Judea where he fasted for forty days and then suffered testing from his nemesis, the devil. After rebuking three significant temptations Yeshua left the desert in victory and the power of the Spirit. Several months later Yeshua traveled to his hometown of Nazareth where he began his ministry in Galilee. In the local synagogue Yeshua made a formal announcement of his Messianic mission. The people were clearly surprised by his words and speculated on the meaning.
Yeshua interpreted their reaction as resistance and he recounted two anecdotes from Scripture to illustrate that God's compassion extends to Gentiles. The people took offense and rushed him out of town to throw him from a cliff, but he simply walked away from them. Then Yeshua traveled to Capernaum, which became the center of his ministry in Galilee. While in Capernaum he taught in the synagogue and performed miraculous healing of many.
Temptation in the Wilderness, 4:1-13
Announcement in Nazareth, 4:14-21
Confrontation in Nazareth, 4:22-30
Teaching in Capernaum, 4:31-37
Many Healings in Capernaum, 4:38-44
Date: October−November, A.D. 26
Temptation in the Wilderness, 4:1-13
1 And Yeshua, full of the Holy Spirit, left from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert,
Timeline Note: The following narrative proceeds immediately after Yeshua's immersion, which as indicated in the commentary on the previous chapter occurred in October (Tishri) of A.D. 26. Lightfoot also notes that the temptation of Yeshua began in the middle of Tishri (66).
And: Grk. de, conj. used to mark (1) a contrast to a preceding statement, "but;" (2) a transition in narrative or subject matter, "now, then;" or (3) a connective particle to continue a thought, "and, also," sometimes with emphasis, "indeed," "moreover" (Thayer). The third usage applies here. Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous, a transliteration of the Hebrew name Yeshua, "Jesus" in Christian Bibles. Yeshua is a contraction of the Hebrew name Y’hoshua ("Joshua"), which means "YHVH is salvation" (BDB 221). For more information on the meaning of his name and his identity see my article Who is Yeshua?
full: Grk. plērēs, adj., in a state or condition of being supplied abundantly with something, filled up, full of. of the Holy: Grk. Hagios, adj., set apart by or for God and therefore different; holy, hallowed and when used of God worthy of reverence. In the LXX hagios translates Heb. qadosh, which means separate, sacred, holy. Qadosh is first used of God in Leviticus 11:44.
Spirit: Grk. Pneuma (for Heb. ruach, Resh-Vav-Chet), wind, breath or spirit; which is used in the Besekh for the human spirit, supra-natural beings, and particularly the Holy Spirit. In Scripture "holy" is only used as an adjective of "spirit" to refer to the Holy Spirit. "Holy Spirit" is not the title of a separate being, because the Spirit is intimately associated with Elohim (Gen 1:2) and ADONAI (Gen 6:3). God's very nature is Spirit (John 4:24). 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 had come upon Yeshua immediately after his immersion (Luke 3:22).
left: Grk. hupostrephō (from hupo, by, and strephō, "to turn"), aor., may mean to (1) turn about; (2) turn away; or (3) turn back (LSJ). In a physical sense the verb means to turn by the agency of moving the body in relation to the point of departure. Generally the verb is used in the Besekh to mean "turn back," but here "turn away" is intended. The great majority of versions have "returned," but the narrative does not describe Yeshua going back to a place where he was formerly. The verb simply describes Yeshua turning away from the place of immersion toward a new destination. Some versions appropriately translate the verb as "left" (CSB, GW, TLB, MSG, NOG, NIRV, NIV, NJB, WE).
from: Grk. apo, prep. used generally as a marker of separation, whether from a circumstance, distance, place or time; from, away from. the Jordan: Grk. ho Iordanēs (Heb. Yarden, "the descender"). This important river runs through a deep valley known as the Jordan Rift. The river begins in the mountains of Syria, flows into the Sea of Galilee, which is 212 meters below sea level and after about 70 miles finally empties into the Dead Sea.
The Dead Sea is the lowest point on the face of the earth, 400 meters below sea level. Several tributaries flow into the Jordan emptying almost as much water as the Jordan itself. The deltas of these streams were ideal for cultivation. Many cities of antiquity were built close to the place where the tributaries and the Jordan met. The Jordan River and Jordan Valley played an important role in a number of memorable events in biblical history.
In the Tanakh the river is mentioned in the stories of the separation of Abram and Lot (Gen 13:11), Jacob wrestling with the angel at the ford of the Jabbok (Gen 32:22-26), and Israel crossing the river "on dry ground" under the leadership of Joshua (Josh 3:15-17). During the period of the judges and the early monarchy, the Jordan was a strong line of defense, not to be easily forded. In the later monarchy the Jordan River is featured in the miracles of Elijah (1Kgs 17:3; 2Kgs 2:8) and Elisha (2Kgs 2:14; 5:10-14).
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. was led: Grk. agō, impf. pass., to cause movement by taking the lead; lead, bring, carry, take. by: Grk. en, prep., with the root meaning of "within," is generally used to mark position; among, at, in, or within. With the dative case of the following noun the preposition denotes means, "by means of" (DM 105).
the Spirit: Grk. ho pneuma. Lightfoot supposes that Yeshua could have been teleported by the Spirit as happened to Philip (Acts 8:39-40). However, guidance by the Spirit is a natural byproduct of being full of the Spirit and hearing the voice of the Spirit. in: Grk. en. the desert: Grk. ho erēmos, an unpopulated region, desert or lonely place. In the LXX erēmos often translates Heb. midbar, which may refer to tracts of land used for pasturage, uninhabited land or dry land (BDB 484), first in Genesis 14:6. The location was likely the desert of Judea which ran along the west coast of the Dead Sea from Jericho. This territory receives less than 10 inches of annual rainfall.
2 forty days being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days, and they having ended, he was hungry.
forty: Grk. tesserakonta, the cardinal number forty. days: pl. of 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 second and third meanings have application here. The number of days is not an estimate, but a literal span of time. The occurrence of 40 days in Scripture is often weighted with meaning.
being tempted: Grk. peirazō, pres. pass. part., may mean (1) make an effort to do something; try, attempt; or (2) to try, make a trial of, put to the test; tempt, test, try. The second meaning applies here. In the LXX of this verse peirazō translates Heb. nasah (SH-5254), to test or try, which is used four times in the Torah for testing God (Ex 17:2, 7; Num 14:22; Deut 6:16). The majority of versions have "tempted" but some have "tested" (CEV, CJB, MSG, NRSVUE, NTE, TLV). See the "Additional Note: Three Temptations" below. by: Grk. hupo, prep. with the root meaning of "under" may denote position or agency (DM 112), here the latter.
Liefeld identifies three distinctive uses of the verb peirazō and its corresponding noun peirasmos: (1) The temptation of people from an evil source, i.e., luring them to do evil. God never does this nor can He himself be tempted in this way (Jas 1:13). (2) People may tempt or test God in the sense of provoking Him through unreasonable demands contrary to faith as Israel did in the wilderness (cf. Deut 6:16). (3) God tests (but does not tempt) His people to determine whether they would obey Him (Deut 8:2). These distinctions could be arbitrary and semantic only. Temptation is certainly a form of testing. In this story the temptation/testing was apparently done by the permission of God as happened in the testing of blameless Job (Job 1:12; 2:6).
the devil: Grk ho diabolos, properly, a slanderer; a false accuser; unjustly criticizing to hurt and condemn to sever a relationship (HELPS). Mark identifies the tempter as Satan (Mark 1:13). In the LXX diabolos translates Heb. ha-satan, "adversary," first in Job 1:6 as the celestial adversary (+13 times in Job alone). The nouns "devil" and "Satan" are not personal names, but synonyms used in Scripture to describe the activity of a celestial being who opposes God, His Messiah and His people. F.F. Bruce explains that the term Satan could mean:
"'counsel for the prosecution.' This is the regular function of this unpleasant character in the Old Testament. Every court must have a prosecutor, but this prosecutor enjoys his work so much that, when there are not sufficient candidates for prosecution, he goes out of his way to tempt people to go wrong, so that he may have the pleasure of prosecuting them (cf. 1Chr 21:1). His role as tempter is thus secondary to his role as prosecutor." (147)
Satan made his first appearance in the Garden of Eden masquerading as a serpent to tempt the first couple (cf. Gen 3:1; Rev 12:9). Next Satan appeared in his natural state when he gained permission to test Job (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6). The devil-Satan also appears as an adversary of Joshua the High Priest in post-exilic Jerusalem (Zech 3:1). Satan finally appears in the apostolic narratives, as here, to tempt Yeshua in the wilderness, and then later to incite Judas Iscariot to betray Yeshua (Luke 22:3).
The devil (aka "Satan") was created by God in the beginning with all the other angels. Precisely when and how Satan became evil remains a mystery. Hints as to his origin are found in 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, which indicate that the devil was originally created as a kerub, a glorious celestial being with wings (cf. Gen 3:24; Ex 25:20). In Isaiah 14:12 the Latin Vulgate translated Heb. helel, "shining one" as "Lucifer," and this name was preserved in early English versions (1395-1769) and some modern English versions (BRG, DRA, JUB, KJ21, TLB, MEV, NKJV).
Satan's downfall occurred because of a desire to be greater than ADONAI. God's repeated emphasis in Job on His creation of the universe hints that Satan may have come to consciousness in the waters that were formed on the second day. The creation scientist Dr. Henry Morris suggests that "Even though they [the angels] had later observed God create the earth, stars, and living beings [Job 38:4-7], they had not seen him create the universe itself. Thus, Satan may have persuaded himself that God, like the angels, must have simply 'evolved' somehow, out of the eternal primordial chaos" (The Remarkable Record of Job, Baker Book House, 1988; p. 52).
Satan then led a rebellion against God so that a third of the angels followed him (cf. Rev 12:3-4, 7-9). An early reference to the fall of angels is found in the book of Job. Eliphaz reported that he was visited in the night by a spirit (Job 4:14-15) who complained, "against His angels He charges error" (Job 4:18). As a result Satan has a large organization to do his bidding on earth (cf. Eph 6:12). The rebellion resulted in Satan and his followers being ejected from heaven and thrown down to the earth (cf. Isa 14:12-15; Ezek 28:17; Luke 10:18; Rev 12:9).
Yeshua will later inform his disciples of the devil, "He was a murderer from the beginning, and stood not in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaks the lie, he speaks of his own things; because he is a liar, and the father of it" (John 8:44 BR). The devil lied to Chavah (Gen 3:4) and incited Cain to commit murder (Gen 4:7). The devil "comes only to steal, slaughter, and destroy" (John 10:10 BR). Since the beginning Satan has been roaming the earth as a spiritual predator (1Pet 5:8).
Commentators note the special character of the three temptations recorded below. While there is some similarity to temptations common to man, the devil's enticement is to seduce Yeshua into denying his identity and his Messianic mission. The devil assumed that Yeshua possessed the same pride and hubris he himself possessed (and still does), and so could be induced to rebel against God's will as he did. In his self-deception the devil viewed himself as at least Yeshua's equal if not his superior and could not imagine that Yeshua was a serious threat to his existence.
And: Grk. kai, conj. he ate: Grk. esthiō, aor., to consume food. nothing: Grk. oudeis, adj. (from ou, "not" and heis, "one"), used to indicate negation of a person or thing as actually existing at a given place or moment; no one, none, nothing. The phrase is "he ate not one thing." in: Grk. en, prep. those: pl. of Grk. ekeinos, demonstrative pronoun typically used to refer to a noun (person or thing) immediately preceding in the Greek text; that, that one there. days: pl. of Grk. hēmera. Yeshua took no food with him and none would have been available in the wilderness. Two other men are noted as having gone 40 days without food, first Moses (Ex 34:28; Deut 9:9) and then Elijah (1Kgs 19:8). Matthew says that Yeshua fasted (Grk. nēsteuō). See my article Fasting.
and: Grk. kai. they: pl. of Grk. autos, an intensive personal pronoun, often used to distinguish a person or thing in contrast to another, or to give him (it) prominence. The pronoun may mean (1) self, (2) he, she, it, or (3) the same. The second meaning applies here in reference to the forty days. having ended: Grk. sunteleō, aor. pass. part., may mean (1) to bring to a close; complete, finish; or (2) bring about in accord with purpose, to put into effect; bring about, effect, establish, make. The first meaning applies here. The narrative implies that the devil showed upon the fortieth day.
he was hungry: Grk. peinaō, aor., hungry in the physical sense, or to have a strong desire for something due to poverty. People who have engaged in long fasts have testified that after the first few days they were not bothered by the feeling of hunger. So it was with Yeshua, and at the end of the forty days he experienced the sensation or state of weakness caused by the need for food. The mention of hungry emphasizes Yeshua's human nature.
Additional Note: Three Temptations
Only Matthew and Luke recount the details of three temptations Yeshua suffered in the desert. In these accounts Matthew's order of the second and third temptations are reversed in Luke. Commentators generally assert that Matthew has the literal sequence because of the reading of Matthew 4:10 in which Yeshua commands the devil to leave him and the next verse records the devil's compliance. Geldenhuys contends that Luke does not profess to relate all details chronologically (161), even though Luke makes this claim in 1:4. There are in fact many differences in the chronology of Matthew and Luke and of the two Matthew follows a more topical approach in his narrative.
3 And the devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, speak to this stone that it should become bread."
And: Grk. de, conj. the devil: Grk. ho diabolos. See the previous verse. said: Grk. legō, aor., to make a statement or utterance, whether oral or written, often used to introduce quoted material. The focus of the verb may be declarative, interrogative or imperative; answer, ask, declare, say, speak, tell, told. In the LXX legō translates Heb. amar, to utter, say, shew, command or think (Gen 1:3). The Greek verb "say" functions here as quotation marks for the text following since ancient writings did not contain punctuation. to him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun.
If: Grk. ei, conj., expresses a condition, thought of as real, or to denote assumptions, i.e. viewed as factual for the sake of argument (HELPS). The devil does not express doubt since he knows the truth. you are: Grk. eimi, pres., 2p-sing., to be, exist; a function word used 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 (BAG). The devil presents a challenge to Yeshua's awareness of his identity.
the Son: Grk. huios may refer to (1) a male offspring or descendant, whether by direct birth or by more remote ancestry; or (2) one who is closely associated in terms of relationship or condition apart from physical lineage. In the LXX huios translates Heb. ben ("son," "son of"), first in Genesis 5:4, which is used in three distinctive ways: (1) to identify direct paternity, as the son of his father (Gen 5). (2) a distant ancestor (Gen 32:32; Matt 1:1); or (3) having the characteristics of (Ps 89:22; Dan 3:25; cf. 2Th 2:3). All these meanings have application to Yeshua.
of God: Grk. ho theos, properly, God, the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Creator and owner of all things (Gen 1:1; John 1:1-3). In the LXX the singular theos translates Hebrew words for God, El, Eloah, and Elohim, as well as the sacred name YHVH (DNTT 2:67-70). Elohim is the one only and true God of Israel (BDB 42). In Hebrew thought the plural form of Elohim represents fullness, which excludes the possible existence of any other deity (Isa 44:6; 45:5-6; 46:9).
In Luke's narrative the title "Son of God" is a synonym of "Son of the Most High" (Luke 1:32, 35). Christianity has traditionally restricted the meaning of the title "Son of God" to deity. In the first century Jews also had a restrictive definition of "Son of God," that of a human. "Son of God" was used as a title for a male descendant of King David, the Messiah, who would establish the promised Kingdom.
"Son of God" was a title of the Davidic king inasmuch as the king functioned as God's regent on earth and was vested with God's authority (Boyarin 30; Leman 95). The title is used with this meaning by Yochanan the Immerser (John 1:34), Nathanael (John 1:49) and Martha (John 11:27). However, in this context the title clearly has the meaning established in Chapter One, i.e., fully man, the son of Miriam, and fully God, conceived by the Holy Spirit.
speak: Grk. epō, aor. imp., to speak or say by word or in writing something to someone. Many versions have either "command" or "tell." to this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun signifying a person or thing set forth in narrative that precedes or follows it; this. stone: Grk. lithos was a generic word for stone of various types, whether construction materials, millstones, grave stones, precious stones, tablets or small rocks. The devil imitates God's instruction to Moses to "speak to the rock" (Num 20:8). that: Grk. hina, conj. used to add an idea that completes an intention expressed; in order that, so that.
it should become: Grk. ginomai, aor. mid. subj., to become, which may be expressed in one of three ways: (1) come into existence begin to be, appear or be born; (2) to be made or performed by a person; or (3) equivalent to come to pass or come about. The first meaning applies here. In the LXX ginomai translates Heb. hayah, to fall out, come to pass, become, be (first in Gen 1:3). bread: Grk. artos refers to a baked product produced from cereal grain and also to food or nourishment in general. In the LXX artos translates primarily Heb. lechem, bread or food, first in Genesis 3:19.
The devil apparently pointed to a rock near where Yeshua was standing. The temptation no doubt alludes to God's provision of manna to Israel in the wilderness of Sinai. The devil taunts Yeshua because he was the rock that provided water for Moses and Israel in the wilderness (cf. Ex 17:6; Num 20:8, 11; Deut 8:15; Neh 9:15; Ps 78:20; 105:41; Isa 48:21; 1Cor 10:4). If water can come from a rock, so can bread. The nature of the temptation is an appeal to self-gratification without regard for the will of God.
4 And Yeshua answered to him, "It is written that, 'Man shall not live by bread alone.'"
Reference: Deuteronomy 8:3.
And: Grk. kai, conj. Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous. See verse 1 above. answered: Grk. apokrinomai, aor. pass., to answer or reply to someone, whether to a question, request, exhortation, command, etc. (BAG). In the LXX apokrinomai translates 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). Thayer says that apokrinomai in imitation of the Hebrew anah may mean "to begin to speak," but always where something has preceded (either said or done) to which the remarks refer.
to: Grk. pros, prep. used to denote proximity or motion; to, toward, with. Here the preposition emphasizes being in company with another and speaking face to face. him: Grk. autos, masc. personal pronoun. It is written: Grk. graphō, perf. pass., to write or inscribe a document, with focus on the physical act of writing, as well as the expression of thought. The phrase "it is written" is the standard formula in the Besekh for attesting an assertion of truth and divine inspiration of Scripture, followed by a quote from the Tanakh. Christian theologies have different theories of biblical inspiration but for the Jewish apostles it was a simple matter that God spoke and man wrote (e.g., Ex 17:14; 24:4; 34:27; Num 33:2; 36:5; Deut 30:10; 2Pet 1:20-21).
that: Grk. hoti, conj. used to (1) define a demonstrative pronoun; that; (2) introduce a subordinate clause as complementary of a preceding verb; (3) introduce a direct quotation; or (4) indicate causality with an inferential aspect. The third usage applies here. The conjunction is not translated in most versions. Yeshua then quotes from Deuteronomy 8:3. The context of this verse is an exhortation to obey the commandments, a reminder that the 40 years in the wilderness was a time of testing, a reminder of the promise made to the patriarchs of the land of Canaan as a possession, and a reminder that God had supplied manna for sustenance in order to teach the valuable lesson of the following aphorism.
Man: Grk. ho anthrōpos, human being, man or mankind. In the LXX of the verse quoted anthrōpos translates Heb. ha-adam, which is used of man or mankind, first in Genesis 1:26. As Gruber notes, Adam was the being God made, the one who is the father of us all (cf. Acts 17:26; Rom 5:14; 1Cor 15:45; 1Tim 2:13). The human race that descends from him is properly called "mankind." The truth of this saying is not just for the covenant community, but for the whole world.
shall not: Grk. ou, adv., a particle used in an unqualified denial or negation; not. live: Grk. zaō, fut. mid., to be in the state of being physically alive, to be possessed of vitality (Mounce). In the quoted verse of the LXX zaō translates Heb. chayah, to live. The Hebrew verb refers not simply to possessing physical life, but having a quality of life marked by health and prosperity (BDB 310).
by: Grk. epi, prep., generally a marker of position or location; on, upon, over. With the dative case of the noun following the preposition conveys that upon which something rests as a basis or support; "upon the ground of," "on the basis of" or simply "by" (Thayer). bread: Grk. artos. See the previous verse. alone: Grk. monos, adj., signifying the exclusion of any other entity; alone, only. The fullness of life cannot be experienced by focusing solely on material things.
The Textus Receptus added the clause "but by every word of God," which is preserved in the KJV and NKJV. This clause is not found in the earliest and best manuscripts, but was apparently added to conform to the parallel passage in Matthew 4:4 (Metzger).
5 And having led him up the devil showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time,
And: Grk. kai, conj. having led him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. up: Grk. anagō, aor. part., to conduct from a lower place to a higher, to lead or bring up. The verb alludes to going from a lower elevation to a higher elevation. Late manuscripts inserted the phrase "to a high mountain" to conform Luke's narrative to Matthew 4:12. However, in Matthew this action facilitates the third temptation, whereas here it is the second temptation.
Lumby says that the scene of the temptation is supposed to be the mountain near Jericho, thence called Quarantania. The tradition is not ancient, but the site is very probable, being rocky, bleak, and repellent. Nicoll suggests that Luke might very well have opted not to use Matthew's description to obviate the objection: where is the mountain so high that from its summit you could see the whole earth? He might prefer to leave the matter vague, i.e. taking Him up who knows how high!
the devil: The word for devil does not occur in the Greek text, but is added for clarification. showed: Grk. deiknumi, aor., may mean to show (1) so as to be observed by another, point out, make known; or (2) or so as to be understood by another, explain, demonstrate. The first usage applies here. him: Grk. autos. all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj., comprehensive in scope, but without statistical emphasis; all, every. the kingdoms: pl. of Grk. ho basileia, kingship, royal power, or territory ruled over by a king. For the use of the term the size of the territory was immaterial, ranging from a city to a country to an empire.
In the LXX basileia translates Heb. mamlakh, kingdom, sovereignty, dominion, reign (BDB 575), first in Genesis 10:10; and Heb. malkuth, royalty, royal power, reign, kingdom (BDB 574), first in Numbers 24:7. The word occurs some 40 times in Luke, but only eight times without the addition "of God." of the world: Grk. ho oikoumenē, the world as an inhabited area, but in the first century more specifically the world under Roman jurisdiction. In this case the term could refer to the provinces of the Empire.
in: Grk. en, prep. a moment: Grk. stigmē, a point, a moment of time, an instant. The noun occurs only here in the Besekh. of time: Grk. chronos may mean (1) a span or period of time, or (2) a point or definite moment in time. The second meaning applies here. Lightfoot notes that for Jews a moment of time was defined as "One fifty-eight thousand eight hundred and eighty-eighth part of an hour" (Berachot 7a). The description illustrates the supernatural power of the devil to influence imagination. In that split second Yeshua received a vision that displayed all the notable political powers that existed in the world.
6 and the devil said to him, "To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and to whom, if I should wish, I give it.
and: Grk. kai, conj. the devil: Grk. ho diabolos. See verse 2 above. said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 3 above. to him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun, i.e. Yeshua. To you: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person. I will give: Grk. didōmi, fut., generally to give something to someone, often with the focus on generosity, but may be used to mean bestow, hand over, impart, entrust, yield, put, or sacrifice (BAG). In the LXX didōmi generally translates Heb. natan, to give (first in Gen 1:29), which is 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).
all: Grk. hapas, adj., a totality of something; all, the whole, everything, all things. this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. See verse 3 above. authority: Grk. exousia, the right to speak or act in a situation without looking or waiting for approval; authority, right, jurisdiction. The term if often used of the power exercised by kings and officials. In the LXX exousia occurs 50 times, only 14 of which are in the Tanakh where it translates Heb. mimshal and its derivatives: dominion, kingdom, rule, or realm (2Kgs 20:13; 2Chr 8:6; Ps 114:2; 136:8; Dan 11:5); as well as Aram. sholtan, dominion (Dan 4:3; 7:6, 14, 27). In Daniel the Aramaic term denotes a global sovereignty. The noun exousia is found more commonly in the Apocrypha, where it is used with reference to the law, and with the meaning of permission to do something (DNTT 2:607).
and: Grk. kai. their: pl. of Grk. autos. glory: Grk. doxa, honor, opinion, renown; glory, an especially divine quality. In the LXX doxa translates Heb. kabôd, abundance, honor, glory, which most often conveys the majesty of that which belongs to God, to the Messiah or to angels. However, the term is also used of the abundance, wealth and splendor of men, especially royal assets (cf. Gen 45:18; 1Kgs 3:13; 1Chr 29:12, 28; Eccl 6:2; Esth 5:11). for: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 4 above. Here the conjunction emphasizes causality. it has been delivered: Grk. paradidōmi, perf. pass., to convey from one position to another, here of turning over something to another; hand over, deliver.
to me: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. Ever since the devil was expelled from Heaven and thrown down to the earth God has permitted the devil to exercise authority. Indeed, the devil is the "prince of this world" (John 12:31). The devil is the head of a supranatural organization opposed to God (cf. Mark 3:23-26; 8:33; Eph 6:12), and he exercises power and influence over world systems of government, education and false religion (1Jn 5:19). Nevertheless, God is still the supreme ruler of the earth (1Chr 29:12; Ps 22:28; 59:13; 103:19; Isa 40:22).
and: Grk. kai. to whom: Grk. hos, relative pronoun used to specify or give significance to the mention of a person, thing, or piece of information that precedes; who, which, what, that. 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. Inexplicably Bible versions do not translate the conjunction. I should wish: Grk. thelō, pres. subj., to have a desire for something or have a purpose for something; will, wish, desire. I give: Grk. didōmi, pres. it: Grk. autos.
The devil declared that he has complete discretion over to whom to grant ruling authority on the earth. The occurrence of wicked rulers since the beginning of time could be blamed on the devil. Of course, even though the devil may believe he is exercising his discretion in giving power to rulers, God exercises oversight of the appointment of rulers and their duration in office (1Sam 2:6; Isa 40:23; 45:1; Dan 2:21; 4:17, 25, 32; 5:21, 26; John 19:11; Rom 13:1; 1Pet 2:14).
7 Therefore, if you will worship before me, all will be yours."
Therefore: Grk. oun, an inferential conj., used here to indicate a conclusion connected with data immediately preceding, "so, therefore, consequently, then." if: Grk. ean, conj. See the previous verse. you: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person. Use of the pronoun especially singles out Yeshua, perhaps the devil pointing at him. will worship: Grk. proskuneō (from pros, "toward" and kuneō, "to kiss"), aor. subj., to do reverence to, which may be rendered either (1) to humans, to recognize another's prestige by offering special honor, ordinarily through a gesture of prostration; or (2) to transcendent beings or deity, to demonstrate honor and adoration ordinarily in a religious sense; worship. The second meaning applies here.
In the LXX proskuneō primarily translates Heb. shachah, to bend down, which is used both of bowing down before men and of worship toward deity (BDB 1005). Noteworthy is that the first usage of proskuneō for shachah is in Genesis 18:2, in which Abraham bowed down to the three heavenly visitors, and the second in Genesis 22:5, in which Abraham takes Isaac to the place of sacrifice and describes his intended actions as worship. Based on this first usage in Scripture "worship" involves both submission and sacrifice. In the Besekh proskuneō continues the Hebrew meaning.
before: Grk. enōpion, prep., from a word meaning "facing" with the basic idea of being 'in sight of' or 'in the presence of.' me: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. The phrase "before me" reinforces the verb "worship" to depict bowing down in front of the devil to acknowledge his authority. all: Grk. pas. adj. See verse 5 above. will be: Grk. eimi, fut. mid. See verse 3 above. yours: Grk. su. The devil's invitation reflects incredible chutzpah, because the devil is a liar (John 8:44). Such arrogance merits the wrath of God, and the day is coming for his just punishment (Rev 20:10).
8 And answering Yeshua said to him, "It is written, 'You shall worship ADONAI your God, and Him only you shall serve.'"
Reference: Deuteronomy 6:13; Matthew 4:10.
And: Grk. kai, conj. answering: Grk. apokrinomai, aor. pass. part. See verse 4 above. The verb emphasizes that the quotation that follows is a rebuttal. Yeshua: Grk. ho Iēsous. See verse 1 above. The definite article properly emphasizes "the one called." said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 3 above. to him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. It is written: Grk. graphō, perf. pass. See verse 4 above. See the Textual Note below. Yeshua then quotes from Deuteronomy 6:13. The context of this verse includes the first part of the Shema (Deut 6:4-9), which traditional Jews recite daily. While identified as a prayer the Shema is in reality a statement of belief and a declaration of loyalty to the God of Israel.
MT: "ADONAI Your God you shall fear, and Him serve [Heb. abad], and in His name take oaths." (Deut 6:13 BHIB)
LXX: "You shall fear the Lord your God, and to him only you shall serve, and to him you shall cleave to and by his name you shall swear an oath." (ABP)
You shall worship: Grk. proskuneō, fut. See the previous verse. The future tense is used to express a command (DM 192). As can be seen from the above quotes the verb "worship" does not occur in the quoted text. The same variance occurs in the parallel text of Matthew 4:10. The first clause of the quoted verse actually has "fear" or "stand in awe of," although from Yeshua's point of view the fear of the Lord is the basis for true worship. Yeshua likely made the substitution deliberately responding with the same term the devil used. The directive could have been meant in a very personal sense to the devil: "You will bend the knee" (cf. Isa 45:23; Rom 14:11; Php 2:10).
ADONAI: Grk. kurios may mean either (1) a person exercising absolute ownership rights, master; or (2) one esteemed for authority or high status, lord. Both meanings have application here. In the LXX kurios, occurring over 9,000 times, translates Hebrew terms for human positions of authority such as adôn ("lord"), ba'al ("husband") and gebir ("master"), but over 6,000 times substitutes for the sacred name YHVH, first in Genesis 2:21. Kurios is not a translation of YHVH, but was chosen to encompass all that the Hebrew text implied by use of the divine name (DNTT 2:512). See my article The Blessed Name.
Christian versions translate kurios with "the Lord," but the Messianic Jewish versions CJB, MJLT and TLV render kurios with ADONAI (note small caps) as a substitution for YHVH. Tracey Rich points out that there was no prohibition against pronouncing the sacred name in ancient times (The Name of God, Judaism 101). In fact, YHVH is often spoken by Bible characters in the Tanakh (Gen 4:1; 14:22; 15:2; Deut 3:24; 9:26; Josh 7:7; Jdg 6:22; 16:28; 1Sam 23:10).
your: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person. Use of the pronoun stresses that the devil has a superior, even if he chooses not to admit it. God: Grk. ho theos. See verse 3 above. Levine, a non-Messianic Jew, allows that the reference to "the Lord your God" can subtly refer to Yeshua (106). After all, Yeshua will identify himself with the sacred name (John 8:58). and: Grk. kai. Him: Grk. autos; i.e. "the Lord your God." only: Grk. monos, adj. See verse 4 above. you shall serve: Grk. latreuō, fut., to minister or serve, whether of God or man, often in the context of engaging in worship. In the quoted verse of the LXX latreuō translates Heb. avad, to work or serve, which emphasizes subjection to God and His will.
The Textus Receptus inserts "Get behind Me, Satan!" before "It is written," which is preserved in the KJV and NKJV. The inserted phrase in this verse has no support in the earliest and best manuscripts, but was apparently added to conform to the parallel passage in Matthew 4:10 (Metzger). Even so, the exact wording "Get behind Me, Satan" in Matthew 4:10 is found only in late manuscripts (GNT 9). The actual command is simply "Begone Satan."
9 Then the devil led him into Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here,
Reference: Matthew 4:5-6.
Then: Grk. de, conj. The conjunction signals the beginning of the final temptation. the devil led: Grk. agō, aor., to cause movement by taking the lead; lead, bring, carry, take. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. The movement reported here must have been a visionary experience, not unlike the transport of Ezekiel from Babylon to the holy city (Ezek 8:3), or Daniel to the Ulai Canal (Dan 8:2), or Paul to the third heaven (2Cor 12:2), or John the apostle to heaven (Rev 4:1-2). The devil is "the prince of the power of the air" (Eph 2:2), so that his mobility is not limited to walking. In physical terms Yeshua would not have been allowed to reach the destination mentioned here.
into: Grk. eis, prep. that focuses on entrance, frequently in relation to a direction toward a goal or place and consequent arrival; into, to, unto. Jerusalem: Grk. Ierousalēm, a transliteration of Heb. Yerushalaim, 660 times in the LXX, first in Joshua 10:1 (DNTT 2:324). The city is situated some 2500 feet above sea level and eighteen miles west of the northern end of the Dead Sea. The city was renowned as the capital of all Israel and the seat of central worship in the temple. Since the time of David the city covered seven mountains: Mount Zion, Mount Ophel, Mount Moriah, Mount Bezetha, Mount Acra, Mount Gareb, and Mount Goath (Neil 289). See the Bible map here.
and: Grk. kai, conj. set him: Grk. histēmi, aor., cause to be in a place or position; place, set, stand. on: Grk. epi, prep. the pinnacle: Grk. ho pterugion, a very high point in a building; apex, battlement, parapet. of the temple: Grk. ho hieron, a temple (from hieros, "sacred, holy"). When used of the temple in Jerusalem hieron applies to the entire temple building with all its courts open to worshippers, in contrast to naos, which refers to the sanctuary where only priests were allowed to enter for offering sacrifices (Luke 1:9, 21-22). See my comment on 2:27.
The exact location cannot be determined with any certainty. Thayer says that some understand the location as the top or apex of the sanctuary, others of the top of Solomon's porch, and others of the top of the Royal Portico (which Geldenhuys favors). Regarding the Royal Portico Josephus says was of such great height that "insomuch that if any one looked down from the top of the battlements, or down both those altitudes, he would be giddy" (Ant. XV, 11:5).
and: Grk. kai. said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 3 above. to him: Grk. autos. If: Grk. ei, conj. See verse 3 above. you are: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 3 above. the Son of God: See verse 3 above. The devil again displays his arrogant defiance. throw: Grk. ballō, aor. imp., cause movement toward a position, which may be used of a vigorous action and be translated as "cast, throw or hurl," or of a more subdued action and be translated as "put, place, lay or bring" (BAG). The first usage applies here. yourself: Grk. seautou, reflexive pronoun of the second person.
down: Grk. katō, adv., of a position that is relatively lower in position or perceived as such, down, downward, or below. from here: Grk. enteuthen, adv., hence, from this place. The Midrash, known as Pesikta Rabbati (c. A.D. 600−900) records a traditional belief that Messiah would manifest himself standing on the roof of the temple (Geldenhuys). The third temptation is to risk his life in a public spectacle to test the faithfulness of God. The insane taunt implies that Yeshua would need to be rescued or saved. In reality compliance would be a denial of his mission to be the Savior.
10 "for it is written that, 'He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you,'
for: Grk. gar, conj., a contraction of ge ("yet") and ara ("then"), and in a broad sense means "certainly it follows that; for." The conjunction has a causal function here. it is written: Grk. graphō, perf. pass. See verse 4 above. that: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 4 above. The following quotation is from Psalm 91:11. According to the DSS, LXX and Targum the psalm was authored by David and addressed to his son Solomon, probably as spiritual counsel for his future reign. The devil implies that the psalm has an application to the Messiah. If the promises of the psalm apply to Solomon, how much more his heir, the Messiah. See my commentary on Psalm 91.
He will command: Grk. entellō, fut. mid., to give instruction with magisterial claim; instruct, command, order. The Hebrew text has tsava, to lay charge (upon), give charge (to), command, order. His: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. angels: pl. of Grk. aggelos means messenger, whether human or heavenly (BAG). The Hebrew text has malak, a messenger, representative, courier or angel. The term is used here to mean a celestial messenger. Post-Tanakh Judaism developed an elaborate angelology (Stern 824). The Sadducees did not believe in angels (Acts 23:8). Josephus said that the Essenes in particular preserved the names of the angels (Wars II, 8:7).
Angels figure prominently in Scripture as ministering spirits (Mark 1:13; Heb 1:14). Angels are far different from popular assumptions about angels. Angels are not glorified humans. All individual angels mentioned in Scripture have masculine names or appear as men, contrary to popular art and media, which sometimes depicts them as female. In addition, only a special group of heavenly beings are mentioned in Scripture as having wings (Gen 3:24; Ex 37:9; Isa 6:2; Ezek 10:5; Rev 4:8), and these beings may not be angels at all. For a review of the varieties and classes of celestial beings see my article The Host of Heaven.
concerning: Grk. peri, prep. with an orientational aspect relating to being near or having to do with something; in behalf of, about, concerning. you: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person. to guard: Grk. ho diaphulassō, aor. inf., guard carefully, protect, defend. The verb occurs only here in the Besekh. The Hebrew text has shamar, to keep, watch, or preserve. you: Grk. su. It's possible that the devil was aware that Yeshua had a powerful angel in his service (Rev 1:1; 22:16), as well as a protective guard of more than twelve legions of angels available to him (Matt 26:53).
11 "and that, 'On their hands they will lift you, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'"
and: Grk. kai, conj. that: Grk. hoti, conj. On: Grk. epi, prep. their hands: pl. of Grk. cheir, the anatomical limb of the hand, the means of taking hold of something. they will lift: Grk. airō, fut., 3p-pl., may mean (1) to cause to move upward; raise up, lift; or (2) move by lifting or taking from one position to another; take away, remove, carry off. The first meaning applies here. Bible versions are divided between translating the verb as bear, lift, raise or support. The Hebrew text has nasa, to lift, carry, or take. you: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person.
lest: Grk. mēpote, adv., a marker cautiously expressing possibility and indicating a circumstance or attitude designed to counteract a consequence ordinarily considered undesirable; so that, lest. you strike: Grk. proskoptō, aor. subj., cause to strike against something with the result of experiencing harm; strike, stumble. your: Grk. su. foot: Grk. ho pous, the anatomical limb of the foot. against: Grk. pros, prep. See verse 4 above. With the accusative case of the noun following, the preposition denotes close proximity. a stone: Grk. lithos. See verse 3 above.
In the original context David assures Solomon that the angels will help guard him against moral and spiritual failure. However, the success of the angels' mission was dependent on Solomon abiding in the shelter of the Most High. The devil thus twists the meaning of the Scripture to imply that Yeshua was capable of spiritual failure and only the angels could prevent it.
12 And answering Yeshua said to him that, "It is said, 'You shall not test ADONAI your God.'"
And: Grk. kai, conj. answering: Grk. apokrinomai, aor. pass. part. See verse 4 above. Yeshua: Grk. ho Iēsous. See verse 1 above. said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 3 above. to him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. that: Grk. hoti, conj. It is said: Grk. ereō, perf. pass., denoting speech in progress, to speak or say. The verb emphasizes that the instruction was spoken by God to Moses who wrote it down. Yeshua then quotes from Deuteronomy 6:16.
You shall not: Grk. ou, adv. See verse 4 above. test: Grk. ekpeirazō, fut., make a trial of, put to the test, test thoroughly, tempt, try. In the LXX of the quoted verse ekpeirazō translates Heb. nasah, to test or try. Gill notes that the second person plural of the quoted verb is here changed into the second person singular to apply the words to the devil. ADONAI: Grk. kurios (for Heb. YHVH). See verse 8 above. your: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person. God: Grk. ho theos (for Heb. Elohim). See verse 3 above. The phrase "your God" serves as a reminder to the devil that he is not a god and that he is subject to his Creator.
The quoted verses concludes with the clause, "as you tested Him at Massah" and thus alludes to the first major incident of rebellion in the wilderness (Ex 15:23-24). The essence of the test of God was raised by the Israelites in the unbelieving question, "Is ADONAI among us or not?" (Ex 17:7). In quoting this verse Yeshua may have implied that the devil was behind the testing at Massah. Massah came to represent the ten times Israel tested God (Num 14:22). The repeated testing of God resulted in divine judgment of death in the wilderness (cf. Num 14:28-35; Ps 95:8-11).
Yeshua could certainly have applied the quotation to himself and thus refused to expose himself to danger in an unlawful manner while expecting an angelic deliverance. More likely Yeshua used the second person singular command "You" as applicable to the devil, reminding him that he too is subject to God's commandments just as human beings and that eventually he will suffer judgment for his rebellion. Yeshua thus intended the phrase "ADONAI your God" as a self-reference (cf. John 8:58), since he often speaks of himself in the third person.
13 And having finished every temptation the devil departed from him until an opportune time.
And: Grk. kai, conj. having finished: Grk. sunteleō, aor. part. See verse 2 above. every: Grk. pas, adj. See verse 5 above. temptation: Grk. peirasmos may mean either (1) a means to determine quality or performance, test or trial; or (2) exposure to possibility of wrongdoing, temptation. The second meaning applies here. In the LXX peirasmos translates Heb. massah, test, trial, or proving, first in Deuteronomy 4:34. The Greek noun also translates the name Moses gave the location at Rephidim when Israel tested God by complaining about the lack of water (Ex 17:7).
the devil: Grk. ho diabolos. See verse 3 above. departed: Grk. aphistēmi, aor., to withdraw oneself from a place, to depart, stay away or withdraw. For the devil his departure was a tactical retreat. from: Grk. apo, prep. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. until: Grk. achri, prep., a function word signifying an interval between two points with focus on continuity, here of an extension in time; as far as, until. an opportune time: Grk. kairos, time or season, which may refer to (1) a definite segment of time; (2) an opportune time; (3) the right time; or (4) a limited period of time. The second meaning applies here.
The devil accomplished his immediate goal of determining the strength of his eternal enemy. The temptations commonly employed against human beings met with failure, but this setback in no way deterred Satan from his ultimate goal of destroying his enemy. He would bide his time and look for other opportunities to be a hindrance to the Messianic mission. If he couldn't defeat his nemesis directly then he would work through those close to him. Luke records that "opportune time" as occurring in Yeshua's hometown Nazareth.
Date: Summer, A.D. 27
Announcement in Nazareth, 4:14-21
Timeline Note: Luke does not date the return of Yeshua to Galilee since his initial visit to Cana and Capernaum (John 2:1-12), but it occurs after the events described in John 4:1-45. Yeshua's ministry after his immersion and wilderness temptation was spent primarily in Judea and lasted at least six months. Yeshua celebrated Passover in Jerusalem (April 9-16, A.D. 27) during which he cleansed the temple (John 2:13-22), followed by his interview with Nicodemus (John 3:1-21). Yeshua then completed his time in Judea conducting immersion ministry, the duration of which is not stated (John 3:22).
Santala, as many commentators, dates the return to Galilee in the Winter of A.D. 27-28 (112). This conclusion is drawn from interpreting Yeshua's comment to his disciples while in Sychar of "four months until harvest" (John 4:35) as taking place in December. However, in that verse Yeshua also describes the fields of Samaria as being ripe for harvest, which could put the month anywhere from April to June. Conversely the entire verse is a parabolic saying based on agricultural experience and need have no connection to the actual time of year.
Another consideration is that the mention of Yeshua's thirst in John 4:7 suggests his visit to Sychar occurred in the summer (L. Morris 278). Finally, John 5:1 describes Yeshua returning to Jerusalem for a festival, probably Purim, which occurs in the Spring. Arriving in Nazareth in January and two months later returning to Jerusalem does not allow sufficient time for his Galilean ministry described by Luke. Therefore late summer of 27 seems the most likely time of Yeshua's return to Galilee.
14 And Yeshua returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and a report went out through all the surrounding country concerning him.
Reference: Matthew 4:12; Mark 1:14; John 4:3, 45.
And: Grk. kai, conj. Yeshua: Grk. ho Iēsous. See verse 1 above. returned: Grk. hupostrephō, aor. See verse 1 above. Here the verb has the meaning of "turning back" to a location previously visited. The declaration here alludes to Yeshua's early trips to Cana where he turned water into wine (John 2:1-10) and then to Capernaum where he spent a few days with his family (John 2:12). Yeshua next attended the Passover festival in Jerusalem (April 9-16) where he cleansed the temple (John 2:13:25), and afterward conducted his interview with Nicodemus (John 3:1-21).
The account of the Judean ministry closes with a report of Yeshua's disciples conducting an immersion ministry, although the location is not given (John 3:22). Yochanan, however, had moved his immersion ministry near Salim, in the territory of Herod Antipas. After Herod had Yochanan arrested Yeshua purposed to go into Galilee (Matt 4:12). En route he stopped in Sychar where he encountered the Samaritan woman and remained a few days (John 4:1-7, 39-43).
in: Grk. en, prep. the power: Grk. ho dunamis, the quality or state of being capable, here as an external exhibition of a singular capability. of the Spirit: Grk. ho Pneuma. See verse 1 above. This is the second mention of Yeshua being empowered by the Holy Spirit since the Spirit came upon him at his immersion (Luke 3:22). The phrase summarizes the spiritual victory coming out of the desert ordeal and equipping for the ministry ahead. The full presence of the Holy Spirit gave Yeshua both boldness and wisdom to handle the challenges of Galilean ministry.
into: Grk. eis, prep. Galilee: Grk. Galilaia from the Heb. Galil, lit. "circle" or "region." Galilee was the territory originally given to the tribes of Naphtali, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, and Dan. Galilee was bounded by the Province of Syria on the west and north, the Jordan and Sea of Galilee on the east and Samaria on the south. See the map here. Among Jews the territory was divided between Upper Galilee and Lower Galilee, although the dividing line between the two areas is no longer known (Josephus, Wars III, 3:1). In the time of Josephus the province included 204 cities and villages of which the names of forty are recorded by Josephus (Merrill 17).
Galilee is referred to as "Galilee of the nations" (Isa 9:1; Matt 4:15), which alludes to the fact of foreign domination by successive empires of Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, Greece and then Rome. International trade routes also passed through Galilee bringing many visitors of foreign nations. Josephus gives this description of Galilee:
"These two Galilees, of so great largeness, and encompassed with so many nations of foreigners, have been always able to make a strong resistance on all occasions of war; for the Galileans are inured to war from their infancy, and have been always very numerous; nor hath the country been ever destitute of men of courage, or wanted a numerous set of them; for their soil is universally rich and fruitful, and full of the plantations of trees of all sorts, insomuch that it invites the most slothful to take pains in its cultivation, by its fruitfulness; accordingly, it is all cultivated by its inhabitants, and no part of it lies idle. Moreover, the cities lie here very thick, and the very many villages there are here are every where so full of people, by the richness of their soil, that the very least of them contain above fifteen thousand inhabitants." (Wars III, 3:2).
Regardless of the presence of foreigners the population of Galilee was predominately Jewish (Merrill 16), which included both traditional or orthodox Jews, Hellenized Jews and Hellenistic Jews. Galilee was the home of Judas, the founder of the Jewish sect of Galileans, who instigated a rebellion in A.D. 6 against paying taxes to the Romans (Acts 5:37; Ant. XVIII, 1:1; XX, 5:2; Wars II, 8:1). While Judas and his followers perished from Roman retaliation, the movement lived on in the party of the Zealots (Ant. XVIII, 1:6). Thus, Galilee was the home of passionate hatred of the Romans and hunger for Messianic deliverance.
The narrative of Yeshua returning to Galilee alludes to his early trips to Cana where he turned water into wine (John 2:1-10) and then to Capernaum where he spent a few days with his family (John 2:12). According to Matthew, Yeshua did not begin his Galilean ministry until after John had been arrested (Matt 4:12).
and: Grk. kai. a report: Grk. phēmē, information about a happening or event; news, report, saying. went out: Grk. exerchomai, aor., to move away from a place or position. The verb indicates physical movement, no doubt eyewitnesses sharing their experiences. throughout: Grk. kata, prep., generally used to signify (1) direction, 'against, down;' (2) position, 'down, upon, in;' or (3) relation, 'according to, in reference to.' The preposition is used here of motion or extension through a space from top to bottom; hence through, throughout (Thayer).
all: Grk. holos, adj., signifier of a thing understood as a complete unit and not necessarily every individual part; all, entire, whole. the surrounding country: Grk. perichōros, adj., neighboring, the region round about (Thayer). concerning: Grk. peri, prep. See verse 10 above. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. The report would have been a recitation of the miracle that Yeshua previously performed in Cana, as well as his actions at the temple during Passover to remove offensive commerce (John 2:13-16; 4:45).
15 And he was teaching in their synagogues, being honored by all.
And: Grk. kai, conj. he: Grk. autos, personal pronoun, lit. "the same." The pronoun alludes to the mention of Yeshua in the previous verse. was teaching: Grk. didaskō, impf., to teach or instruct, used frequently of Yeshua in the apostolic narratives. In the LXX didaskō is used to translate nine different Hebrew verbs, primarily lamad, exercise in, learn, or teach (BDB 540), e.g., Deut 4:1, 10, 14 (DNTT 3:760). In contrast with Greek education Jewish teaching since the time of Moses has been especially concerned with communicating the ethical ordinances of the covenant. For Yeshua the principal focus of his Galilean ministry was teaching.
in: Grk. en, prep. their: pl. of Grk. autos. The plural pronoun denotes the Jewish residents of Galilee. synagogues: pl. of Grk. sunagōgē, a place of assembly, or the people gathered together in one place. In the Besekh the term typically refers to the place at which Jews gathered for worship and learning. In the LXX sunagōgē is generally used to translate the Heb. words edah, congregation (Ex 12:3) and qahal, assembly, convocation, or congregation (Ex 16:3) (DNTT 1:292ff). The origin of the Jewish synagogue is not known for certain, but scholars generally date its beginning during the Babylonian exile (Edersheim 299; NIBD 1019).
Pious Jews, far from their native land, without the ministry of the temple, no doubt felt the necessity to gather on the Sabbath in order to listen to the reading of Scripture and engage in prayer (cf. Ps 137; Jer 29:7; Ezek 14:1; 20:1). Eventually meetings came also to be held on other days, and at the same hours as the morning and evening services in the temple. According to Philo, the Jewish philosopher (20 B.C.─A.D. 50), synagogues were houses of prayer and schools of wisdom (On the Life of Moses II, 39). By the first century, synagogues emerged as the central institution of Jewish life as a place where study, worship, celebration, and various other kinds of meetings took place.
being honored: Grk. doxazō (from doxa, "glory"), pres. pass. part., enhance esteem or reputation through word (of praise) or action to honor. In the LXX doxazō translates Heb. navah, to beautify, adorn with praises (Ex 15:2), but principally kabad, to be weighty, to be honored or praised (Lev 10:3; Ps 15:4). by: Grk. hupo, prep., used here to denote agency. all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. See verse 5 above. This is a summary statement of Yeshua's Galilean ministry and the response of the general populace, notwithstanding his treatment in Nazareth. As indicated in the apostolic narratives Yeshua was widely regarded with great respect in Galilee.
16 And he came into Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and according to his custom, he entered into the synagogue on the day of the Sabbath, and he stood up to read.
And: Grk. kai, conj. he came: Grk. erchomai, aor., to come or arrive, with focus on a position from which action or movement takes place. into: Grk. eis, prep. Nazareth: Grk. Nazara, a variant spelling of Nazaret, which transliterates the Heb. Natzeret. A likely Hebrew root for Nazareth is the verb natzar (SH-5341), to watch, guard or keep (Merrill 116). Nazareth is situated among the hills of Galilee which constitute the south ridges of Lebanon, just before they sink down into the plain of Esdraelon (SBD).
Nazareth was located about seventy miles northeast of Jerusalem about halfway between the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean Sea. A Roman road from Capernaum westward to the coast passed near Nazareth, over which Roman legions frequently traveled. While not mentioned by name in the Tanakh or Josephus, Nazareth was a city of some importance and considerable antiquity, and not so insignificant as generally represented. Josephus notes that least of the towns in Galilee contained above fifteen thousand inhabitants (Wars III, 3:2), so Merrill suggests that in the time of Yeshua Nazareth had a population of 15,000 to 20,000 inhabitants.
where: Grk. hou, adv., where, in what place. he had been: Grk. eimi, impf. See verse 3 above. brought up: Grk. trephō, perf. pass. part., to fully develop because of being adequately nourished (HELPS); feed, nourish, bring up, rear, or provide for. The verbal phrase alludes to the narrative of Luke 2:39-40, 52. Thus, Yeshua spent his childhood and youth into adulthood in Nazareth. Familial relationships would have given him wider experience of neighboring communities in Galilee. The verbal clause implies that he had ceased to reside there (Plummer).
The narratives of a visit to Nazareth in Matthew (13:54-58) and Mark (6:1-6) seem to place the event in a different time. Many scholars assume that Luke removed the report from its original setting to tell the story in this context (Geldenhuys 170). Against this view is Luke's own insistence to Theophilus that his narrative is strictly chronological (Luke 1:3). More likely is that the narratives of Matthew and Mark are of a subsequent visit to Nazareth. Matthew early in his narrative reports Yeshua's leaving Nazareth for Capernaum (Matt 4:13), as Luke states in verse 31 below.
and: Grk. kai. according to: Grk. kata, prep. his: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. custom: Grk. eiōtha, doing what one is accustomed to do, i.e. on the basis of habit or tradition (HELPS). Yeshua grew up in a traditional Jewish home and his life was circumscribed by the Torah calendar of God's Appointed Times. He did not grow up as a "Christian" and knew nothing of the later traditions instituted by Christianity to replace what God had ordained. The eventual insistence in Christianity at the Council of Nicea I (A.D. 325) and Nicea II (787) that converted Jews totally abandon their traditions and calendar observance was a gross insult to their Jewish Messiah.
he entered: Grk. eiserchomai, aor., to go or enter into a geographical area, manufactured structure or other place defined in the context. into: Grk. eis. the synagogue: Grk. ho sunagōgē. See the previous verse. on: Grk. en. the day: Grk. ho hēmera, day, may refer to (1) the hours of sunrise to sunset, (2) the 24 hours that included the night, (3) an appointed day for a special purpose, or (4) an imprecise period (BAG). The third meaning applies here in reference to the seventh day.
of the Sabbath: pl. of Grk. ho sabbaton, a transliteration of Heb. shabbath (DNTT 3:405), which is derived from the verb shabath ("cease, desist, rest" BDB 991). In the commandments given at Sinai (Ex 20:8) and Moab (Deut 5:12) the instruction to rest is set in contrast to the work that provides one's livelihood. Sabbaton occurs in the Besekh generally of the seventh day of the week (e.g. Matt 12:5; Mark 2:27; Luke 4:16; John 19:31). As a faithful traditional Jew Yeshua observed the Sabbath on the seventh day of the week, later named Saturday. In fact, from the earliest time the Hebrew people rested on the seventh day because God rested on the seventh day (cf. Gen 2:2-3; Ex 16:23-29).
The plural form of the noun used here often denotes seven days or a week (cf. Matt 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1; Acts 20:7). Thus, the phrase "the day of the Sabbaths" may allude to the Jewish practice of numbering the days of the week from the Sabbath as (1) echad Shabbat, first day of the week; (2) teren Shabbat, second day of the week; (3) shelishi Shabbat, third day of the week; (4) b'rebii Shabbat, fourth day of the week; (5) chamishi shabbat, fifth day of the week; (6) erev Shabbat, the eve of the Sabbath (Lightfoot 2:375-376). So, "the day of the Sabbaths" would mean the last, or seventh day of the week. For the biblical background regarding Sabbath observance see my web article Remember the Sabbath.
and: Grk. kai. he 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 prone position or simply standing. to read: Grk. anaginōskō, aor. inf., to know again, here to recognize written characters, and so 'read.' A typical first-century synagogue service would have included the Shema, liturgical prayers while facing Jerusalem, Scripture readings, a message ("drash") on the Scripture passage, and a closing blessing (cf. Acts 13:15). Jewish custom prescribed reading the Scripture while standing (Gruber). See the Additional Note below on Parashah.
Additional Note: Parashah
The practice of reading from a portion of the Torah in a Sabbath service according to a predetermined schedule predates the first century (Megillah 4:9; 29a, 30b, 31a-b). For synagogue Sabbath services the Torah is divided into 54 Parashôt ("portions") for sequential reading. Parashôt appear in manuscripts as early as the Dead Sea Scrolls, but Jewish tradition assigns their creation to Ezra. For more information see the article The Parashah Cycle.
Stern comments that the custom in the synagogue now is to read through the Torah each year, with portions of several chapters read on Monday, Thursday and Shabbat mornings, ending and beginning over again on Simchat-Torah ("rejoicing in the Torah"), which comes at the end of Sukkot. At an earlier stage in Jewish history three years were taken to read through the Torah.
17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him, and having unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
And: Grk. kai, conj. the scroll: Grk. biblion, a book, a scroll or a document. The noun is the diminutive form of biblos, derived from an older form bublos, which originally meant the papyrus plant, or its fibrous stem, that was exported to Greece through the port of Byblos in Syria where the plant was prepared. In the LXX biblion translates Heb. sēpher, which was used for anything that has been written, such as a scroll, book, writing, letter, diary, or a legal document. A Jewish biblical scroll was wound around a wooden handle.
of the prophet: Grk. ho prophētēs, one who is gifted with the ability for interpretation or revelation transcending normal insight or awareness, i.e., a prophet. In the LXX prophētēs translates Heb. nabi, spokesman, speaker, or prophet; first in Genesis 20:7 where it is used of Abraham. In Scripture the term "prophet" primarily refers to a man appointed by God to serve as His messenger, whether in foretelling (predicting or telling beforehand) or forth-telling (declaring a message to be heeded).
The record of the Tanakh indicates considerable variance in the activity and ministry of the Hebrew prophets. They were a diverse group with different personalities, vocations and manner of ministry. Some 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).
Isaiah: Grk. Ēsaias, a Graecized form of Heb. Yesha'yahu ("YHVH is salvation"). Isaiah was the son of Amoz of the tribe of Judah and perhaps related to the royal house. He lived during the reigns of the Judean kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, and the first years of Manasseh. He married a prophetess and had two sons (Isa 7:3; 8:3). Isaiah was put to death by King Manasseh by being sawn in half (Yebamoth 49b; Ascension of Isaiah 1:9; 5:2; cf. Heb 11:37).
Isaiah received his call from God in a dramatic fashion, c. 740 BC (Isa 6:1), and prophesied for forty years during which he was an adviser to King Ahaz and King Hezekiah. He was contemporary with the prophets Micah and Hosea. He left a monumental literary work of 66 chapters, the longest of the prophetic books, containing almost half of the Messianic prophecies in the Tanakh. Isaiah wrote mostly warnings in the first half of his book (1−39) and mostly comfort and promise in the second half (40−66).
Highlights of the book include Isaiah's extraordinary vision of seraphim (6:1-7); the prediction of the Messiah's virgin birth, his nature and lineage 700 years in advance (7:14; 9:6; 11:1); the description of the early days of Lucifer before he fell and became the devil (14:12-15; cf. Ezek. 28:11-18); Judah's deliverance from Assyria (36:1−37:38); Hezekiah's miraculous healing and extended life (38:1-22); the precise prophecy of Cyrus, king of Persia 200 years before his birth (44:28; 45:1); the prophecy of the Suffering Servant's ministry (53:13−53:12); and the vision of the new heavens and the new earth (66:22).
was given: Grk. epididōmi, aor., may mean (1) convey to; or (2) give up control. The first meaning applies here. to him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. Lightfoot comments that the minister (Heb. chazan) of the synagogue kept the sacred books in his custody and brought them out to be read in the synagogue services. So, from the chazan Yeshua received the book, and to him he returned it. There is a question concerning whether Yeshua received the book of Isaiah by itself or joined with the other prophets. Generally the Torah and Prophets were in separate books or scrolls (Tractate Sopherim 3:1). The singular form of biblion implies that the scroll contained only the book of Isaiah.
Giving the scroll of Isaiah to Yeshua was in order for him to provide the second reading of the synagogue service called the Haftarah ("conclusion"). The Haftarah consists in portions read from the Prophets and Writings. Luke offers no explanation of how Yeshua came to read the Haftarah in the synagogue service. Lightfoot offers this background information:
"He that read in the Prophets was called Maphtir; and was appointed to that office by the ruler of the synagogue. … It is probable that Christ did at this time offer himself as a Maphtir, or as one that would read in the Prophets, and preach upon what he read; not beforehand appointed to it by the ruler of the synagogue, but rather approved of when he had offered himself. For those of Nazareth had heard of some miracles which he had wrought at Capernaum (v. 23) and therefore no wonder if they were very desirous to hear something from him answerable to those great things he had done."
The origin of the custom of reading a portion of the Prophets after the Torah reading is unknown, but certainly predates the first century. Jewish authorities offer two theories ("Haftarah," JE). The first suggestion is that the custom was instituted during the persecutions by Antiochus Epiphanes. According to this theory, when the reading of the Torah was prohibited, a substitute was found by reading a corresponding portion from the Prophets; and the custom was retained after the decree was repealed. The second suggestion is that the practice was instituted by the Pharisees against the Samaritans and the Sadducees, both of whom denied the authority of the Prophets.
The mention of reading the Haftarah in this passage and Acts 13:15 is the earliest evidence from Jewish literature of the custom. The earliest reference to the Haftarah in the Mishneh is found in Megillah 3:1, which mentions the practice of reading from the Prophets in Sabbath and Festival services. The Haftarah originally formed the concluding part of the service. While the schedule of Torah readings was fixed, there was flexibility in the choice of Haftarah readings.
and: Grk. kai. having unrolled: Grk. anaptussō, aor. part., to roll back, unroll, or unfold. The verb occurs only here in the Besekh. the scroll: Grk. ho biblion. Scrolls had to be handled carefully in unrolling them to avoid tearing the fabric. and: Grk. kai. found: Grk. heuriskō, aor., to acquire or obtain something, especially after seeking. the place: Grk. ho topos, a spatial area, here the physical location of a biblical passage. where: Grk. hou, adv. it was: Grk. eimi, impf. See verse 3 above. written: Grk. graphō, perf. pass. part. See verse 4 above.
Stern comments that since there is uncertainty about the practices of the time, it is not clear whether he found the place set by the lectionary for that Shabbat, or the place he himself chose, or the place where the scroll happened to open. The passage chosen was Isaiah 61:1-2, and with two points of variation the LXX is followed. The translation of Isaiah from a much older Hebrew text into Greek was accomplished between 170 and 132 B.C. (Tarn & Griffith 223). Luke's narrative supports, as proposed by Lightfoot, that Yeshua "unrolled it from folio to folio until he had found the place he designed to read and expound."
The entire incident was a providential appointment in order to make the Messianic declaration. Gruber comments that in modern services of traditional synagogues Haftarah readings include Isaiah 60, 62 and 63 (102). The portion in Isaiah 61:10−63:9 is also read, but the passage Yeshua read is skipped. According to a current Parashah calendar these Isaiah passages are read in the third and fourth Sabbaths of the sixth month (Elul) or August-September. However, since the Haftarah schedule was not fixed in the first century and on this occasion Yeshua chose the passage, the date was likely earlier in the summer, perhaps late June or early July.
The fact that the text of the Scripture quoted is in Greek and the text conforms to the LXX raises the question of whether Yeshua actually read from the LXX or a Hebrew text, which Luke offers the LXX translation. Scholars generally favor the latter option, but this explanation does not account for the differences between quotation presented by Luke and the traditional Hebrew text. The LXX was universally accepted by the Jews in the Diaspora as their canonical Bible and services were conducted in Greek (Schurer 3:163). Synagogues in Galilee, being more diverse than Judea, could well have used the LXX in services and Yeshua read from this text.
18 "The Spirit of ADONAI is upon me, because of which he has anointed me to announce good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth broken ones in liberty,
MT: "The Spirit of the Lord ADONAI is on me; because ADONAI has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken in heart, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening to those imprisoned." (BR)
LXX: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because of which He anointed me to announce good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the ones broken in heart, to proclaim a release to captives and recovery of sight to the blind." (BR)
The Spirit: Grk. Pneuma (for Heb. Ruach). See verse 1 above. of ADONAI: Grk. kurios (for Heb. Adonai-YHVH). See verse 8 above. is upon: Grk. epi, prep. me: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person, referring to the Servant of ADONAI who is anointed and empowered by the Spirit (Isa 42:1). Regarding the first clause, which also occurs in Isaiah 11:2 in relation to the shoot of Jesse, Gruber notes that the Rabbis affirmed that this statement refers to the Messiah (Sanhedrin 93b; Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezer 3:13). In the narrative context the declaration alludes to the repeated theme of Yeshua being empowered by the Holy Spirit (3:22; 4:1, 14).
because: Grk. heineka, prep., expresses cause or reason for something; on account of, because of. of which: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. See verse 6 above. The Holy Spirit made the following actions possible. he has anointed: Grk. chriō, aor., to anoint, setting one apart for special service. Israelite kings were crowned and priests were ordained in a ceremony of pouring olive oil on the head, which invested them with the authority of their positions (Lev 8:12; Ps 133:2; 1Sam 16:13; 2Sam 2:4; 5:3). me: Grk. egō. Anointing by the Spirit gave Yeshua a superior ordination. The announcement then declares a five-fold purpose of the anointing. The five actions have both literal and spiritual applications.
to announce good news: Grk. euaggelizō, aor. mid. inf., to announce the good message, and is used to mean (1) pass on information that provides good tidings to the recipient, and (2) spread good tidings of God's beneficial concern. The second meaning applies here. In the LXX euaggelizō translates Heb. basar, to publish or bear tidings, whether good or bad, first in 1Samuel 31:9 (DNTT 2:108-109). In the Isaiah context the "good news" is the message of God's covenantal faithfulness to His chosen people who are suffering (cf. Matt 15:24).
to the poor: Grk. ptōchos, in a needy condition that is the opposite of having much, usually of someone in a relatively indigent state. In Scripture the poor often have no means of earning wages. In the LXX of this verse ptōchos translates Heb. anav, poor, afflicted, humble, meek. In context the noun refers to those economically and legally oppressed by the rich and powerful. The first purpose of the Spirit-anointing is the bring good news to the poor and humble. The good news to the poor is the arrival of the Kingdom of God (Luke 6:20; 7:22; 16:16).
He has sent: Grk. apostellō (from apo, "away from" and stellō, "send"), perf., to cause to move from one position to another, but often to send as an authoritative personal representative. Originally in Greek culture apostellō was used of sending an envoy to represent a king or a personal representative with legal powers. In the LXX of the quoted verse apostellō translates Heb. shalach, "to stretch out or to send," which alludes to commissioning and empowering a messenger.
me: Grk. egō. Some versions insert another clause here. See the Textual Note below. to proclaim: Grk. kērussō, aor. inf., to make a public announcement in the manner of a herald; announce, declare, proclaim, publish. The verb always contains the suggestion of formality, gravity, and an authority which must be listened to and obeyed (Thayer). In the LXX kērussō translates Heb. qara, to call, proclaim, or read, and which emphasizes a public setting. release: Grk. aphesis, a discharge, a letting go, a release. The noun is also used fig. of pardon and forgiveness. In this verse of the LXX aphesis translates Heb. deror, liberty, which is also used of the release of slaves in the Sabbatical year (Jer 34:8, 15, 17; Ezek 46:17).
to captives: pl. of Grk. aichmalōtos (from aichmē, "a spear" and haliskomai "to be taken, conquered"), a captive in war, a prisoner. The noun occurs only here in the Besekh. In the LXX of the quoted verse the Greek term translates the participle of Heb. shabah, to take captive. The plural term could have a dual application. When Israelites were taken captive by conquering nations they were made slaves by their oppressors (Jer 25:14; 30:8; Zech 13:5). Some captured leaders of Israel were imprisoned (2Kgs 23:31-33; 24:12; 25; 25:27; 1Chr 3:17; Dan 6:16; Zech 9:11-12). Proclaiming liberty to captives is one of the special offices of "the Servant of ADONAI" (cf. Isa 42:7).
The second purpose of the Spirit-anointing is announcing the release of captives. The release would include slaves, a mandate of the Sabbatical year (Deut 15:12-17). However, freeing those imprisoned was not associated with the Sabbatical year or the Jubilee year. The promise of Isaiah was fulfilled in a literal sense when King Cyrus freed Israelites from captivity after seventy years of exile (2Chr 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4; Isa 44:28; 45:1). The mention of freeing captives is ironic considering Yochanan's imprisonment by Herod (Levine). However, Yeshua quotes this passage as relevant to his own ministry and in fulfillment he provides deliverance to those who were captives of Satan (verses 33-36 and 41 below).
and: Grk. kai, conj. recovery of sight: Grk. anablepsis, receipt or recovery of sight. The noun occurs only here in the Besekh. to the blind: Grk. tuphlos, adj., inability to see; blind. The phrase "recovery of sight to the blind" is found in the LXX, but not in any Hebrew text. The third purpose of the Spirit-anointing is opening blind eyes, and giving sight to the blind is another of the special offices of "the Servant" (see Isa 42:7, 16, 18). Some of the more remarkable miracles Yeshua performed was healing blindness (Matt 9:27-31; 20:30-34; Mark 8:22-26; Luke 11:14; John 9:1-7). More significant is the provision of light to the spiritually blind (John 1:9; 8:12; 9:5).
to send forth: Grk. apostellō, aor. inf. In the second use of the verb Thayer suggests that the meaning is "to allow one to depart," although the active voice would convey more than simple permission. broken ones: Grk. thrauō, pl. perf. pass. part., to break in pieces, shatter. The verb occurs only here in the Besekh. Many versions translate the participle as "those who are oppressed." in: Grk. en, prep. liberty: Grk. aphesis. The last clause is not found in Isaiah 61:1, but it could represent Yeshua's interpretation of the Hebrew clause that ends the verse: "and opening of the prison to those who are bound." However, the exact clause is found in Isaiah 58:6 as demonstrative of the type of fast that ADONAI prefers.
A number of manuscripts include the clause, "to bind up the brokenhearted," after the verbal phrase "He has sent me," but it is an obvious scribal supplement introduced in order to bring the quotation more completely in accord with the LXX text (Metzger). The clause is also found in the DSS and MT texts of Isaiah 61:1.
19 to proclaim the year of ADONAI's favor."
to proclaim: Grk. kērussō, aor. inf. See the previous verse. the year: Grk. eniautos, a cycle of time consisting of twelve months; year. It is noteworthy that the text says "year" and not "day." of ADONAI's: Grk. Kurios. See verse 8 above. favor: Grk. dektos, adj., may mean (1) acceptable, as of a time when acceptance takes place; or (2) accepted as of receiving a welcome. The first meaning applies here. In the LXX of the verse quoted dektos translates Heb. ratsōn, goodwill, favor or acceptable (BDB 953). The adjective denotes that most blessed time when salvation and the free favors of God profusely abound (Thayer).
Some commentators suggest that the "year of favor" alludes to the observance of Jubilee (Barnes, Benson, Brown, Ellicott, Gill, Lumby, Meyer, Poole, Vincent). God decreed to Israel, "You are to make the fiftieth year holy, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It is to be a Jubilee to you, when each of you is to return to his own property and each of you is to return to his family" (Lev 25:10). In the context of Isaiah 61, as Yeshua interprets the prophecy in verse 21 below, the "year of ADONAI's favor" is the year of the Messiah's arrival.
Properly speaking the favor of ADONAI results in salvation as declared by Isaiah, "In a favorable time I have answered You, and in a day of salvation I have helped You" (Isa 49:8). However, the year of Yeshua's visit to Nazareth was not a Jubilee year, but a Sabbatical year. God instructed that in the Sabbatical year all debts were to be canceled, Hebrew slaves given their freedom and the land allowed to rest from sowing and reaping (Ex 21:2; 23:11; Lev 25:1-7; Deut 15:1-12; Neh 10:21). In addition, the entire Torah was to be read to the people during Sukkot in the year of remission of debts (Deut 31:10-11). All of these actions exhibited God's favor to His people.
The neglect of observing the Sabbatical years contributed to the judgment of spending 70 years in exile (2Chr 36:21; cf. Lev 26:27-28; Jer 25:11; 29:10). As part of the reforms under Ezra and Nehemiah, the observance of the Sabbatical years was reinstituted (Neh 10:31). That counting was renewed at this time is stated explicitly in the Talmud (Arachin 32b). The ministry of the Messiah made a spiritual application of these practical goals by canceling the debt of sin, freeing people from the bondage of sin and giving people a relationship of rest to enjoy the fullness of life with God (cf. Heb 4:9).
Commentators rightly point out that the omission of the next phrase in Isaiah 61:2, "the day of vengeance of our God," is also significant. Yeshua's audience would suppose that the day of salvation would also be a day of judgment, especially on the pagan nations (cf. Isa 49:8, 25-26). As Yeshua will later affirm that his first coming was not for the purpose of judgment, but for redemption and salvation (John 10:10; 12:47). The delay of judgment means that the time of the Lord's favor benefits the nations also.
20 And having rolled up the scroll and having given it to the minister he sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.
And: Grk. kai, conj. having rolled up: Grk. ptussō, aor. part., to fold or roll up. The verb occurs only here in the Besekh. the scroll: Grk. ho biblion. See verse 17 above. and having given it: Grk. apodidōmi, aor. part., with the basic idea of reciprocity the verb may mean (1) give back, return, or restore; or (2) give or render as due. The first meaning applies here. The verb depicts the physical act of transferring from the hands of one person to another person. Tradition required that,
"When one hands a Torah scroll to another person it must be done with the right hand only, and he who receives it must also do so with the right hand only, because the Torah was delivered at Mount Sinai in this manner" (Sopherim 3:10; cf. Deut 33:2).
to the minister: Grk. hupēretēs, one who renders service; helper, attendant, assistant or servant. The term refers to one who serves a superior. Some versions translate the noun as "minister" (BRG, DRA, JUB, KJV, NMB, RGT). The CJB and OJB translate hupēretēs with Heb. shammash, "servant" an official in the congregation. Most versions have "attendant." In the LXX hupēretēs occurs only twice and translates Heb. ebed, "servant," used of an officer serving a king (Prov 14:35; Isa 32:5).
In the Jewish cultural context the term hupēretēs is used for individuals with significant authority and responsibilities, some working for judges and others for the chief priests (Matt 5:25; 26:58, Mark 14:65, John 7:32; Acts 5:22, 26). In several passages hupēretēs refers to one who was involved in proclaiming the story of Yeshua or advocating the cause of the Messiah (Luke 1:2; Acts 13:5; 26:16; 1Cor 4:1).
Some commentators (Barclay, Brown, Geldenhuys, Gill, Lightfoot and Lumby) associate the term with the chazan, the title of an important leader in the synagogue. The chazan had a variety of administrative and religious duties, including prayer and teaching behind a pulpit. He did not read the Torah, but stood next to the reader providing oversight to ensure that it was done properly. He selected seven readers each week who were well-educated in the Hebrew Scriptures (Moseley 9).
he sat down: Grk. kathizō, aor., to sit, to take one's seat. The narrative implies that Yeshua sat in a chair or on a bench on the bimah ("platform") facing the congregation. It was customary for Rabbis to teach while sitting (cf. Matt 5:1; 13:2; Luke 5:3; John 8:2). and: Grk. kai. the eyes: pl. of Grk. ho ophthalmos, the anatomical organ of sight, eye. of all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. See verse 5 above. in: Grk. en, prep. the synagogue: Grk. ho sunagōgē. See verse 15 above. were fixed on: Grk. atenizō, pres. part., look intently; to observe with great interest and a fastened or fixed gaze (HELPS). Metaphorically the verb means to fix the mind on something. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun; i.e., Yeshua.
The rapt attention represented an interest in the interpretation Yeshua would offer for his choice of reading. Ellicott comments that the Greek word atenizō is noticeable as being used twelve times by Luke (chiefly in the Acts), and twice by Paul (2Cor 3:7, 13), but no one else. It had been used by Aristotle in his scientific writings, and was probably a half-technical word which Luke's studies as a physician had brought into his vocabulary, and which Paul learnt, as it were, from him.
21 Then he began to say to them that, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your ears."
Then: Grk. de, conj. he began: Grk. archō, aor. mid., may mean (1) to rule or (2) to begin or commence something. The second meaning applies here. to say: Grk. legō, pres. inf. See verse 3 above. The infinitive expresses purpose. to: Grk. pros, prep. See verse 4 above. them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. that: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 4 above. The conjunction is used to introduce the following direct quotation. Today: Grk. sēmeron, adv., now, this day, today. this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun.
Scripture: Grk. graphē, writing, and in the Jewish context meaning the sacred Hebrew Bible (24 books) referred to by the acronym Tanakh, corresponding to the Protestant Old Testament (39 books) and its translation into Greek, the Septuagint (LXX). All the quotations from the Tanakh in the Besekh come from the LXX. The term "Scripture," which occurs over 50 times in the Besekh, summarizes the body of literature containing God's inspired, infallible, inerrant words penned by over 25 writers, from Moses to Malachi. This is the only Bible Yeshua and the apostles knew and as Scripture they upheld its authority over the traditions of men.
has been fulfilled: Grk. plēroō, perf. pass., to cause to abound in content to the maximum or to bring to fruition or completion, to fill or to complete. The perfect tense points to an action completed in past time with continuing results into the present. Thus, the portion of the quoted passage fulfilled in a literal sense is the assertion of anointing by the Spirit, a formal confirmation of Yeshua's identity as the Messiah, which occurred at his immersion. The Spirit-anointing then makes possible the accomplishment of the five spiritual goals as prophesied by Isaiah. Indeed, the five action-goals could be considered accomplished because divine prophecy is guaranteed to come to pass based on the immutability of God's Word (cf. Isa 7:7; 41:21-23; 42:9; 45:21; 46:10; 65:24).
in: Grk. en, prep. your: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. ears: pl. of Grk. ho ous, the anatomical organ of hearing, ear. Many versions translate the plural noun with the verb "hearing." The phrase "in the ears" is a common Hebrew idiomatic expression that affirms both receipt of the auditory impression and comprehension of the words (e.g. Gen 20:8; 23:13, 16; 50:4; Ex 17:14; 24:7; Num 14:28; Deut 31:30; 32:44). Given the comment in the next verse it is very likely that Yeshua followed up this declaration with a spiritual application of the quoted passage.
Confrontation in Nazareth, 4:22-30
22 And all were commending him and marveling at the words of grace that were coming from his mouth; and they were saying, "Is not this a son of Joseph?"
And: Grk. kai, conj. all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. were commending: Grk. martureō, impf., 3p-pl., bear witness, give evidence, testify, give a good report. In the LXX martureō occurs only 17 times: first for the Hebrew construction "this is a witness" to denote the commemorative function of a monument (Gen 31:48, 52), and then for Heb. anah, to answer or respond in legal testimony (Num 35:30; Deut 19:15, 18; 31:21) (DNTT 3:1041). him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. Paul used the verb to introduce his catalog of seventeen Hebrew heroes of faithfulness with the statement "our ancestors were commended" (Heb 11:2).
Commendations or compliments of Bible characters by God or others in Scripture distinguish certain individuals for their positive character traits, especially faithfulness. Other works of early Jewish literature contain similar catalogues of heroes in biblical history with comments of adulation. Judas Maccabeus' father Mattathias recalls the faithfulness under pressure of various Hebrew figures in 1Maccabees 2:51-61. See also 4Maccabees 16:20-21; 18:11-13 and Tobit 4:12. The lengthy account in Sirach 44:1−50:21 commences with the phrase "Let us now praise famous men."
The commendation of Yeshua may have been in regard to his skill at reading and interpreting the Scripture. and: Grk. kai. marveling: Grk. thaumazō, impf., 3p-pl., be extraordinarily impressed; to wonder, be amazed, astonished, impressed, surprised. This verb reflects the congregation's response to the content of Yeshua's teaching, especially his comment in verse 21. at: Grk. epi, prep., lit. "upon." the words: pl. of Grk. ho logos is used primarily for a vocalized expression of the mind, as communication ranging broadly in extent of content and variety of form; word, discourse, message or teaching.
In the LXX logos primarily translates Heb. dabar (SH-1697), speech or word, and used widely for a message, speech or saying of men (Gen 29:13; 34:18) or of God (Ex 4:28; 19:7) (DNTT 3:1087). In the Besekh logos is a common term used with regards to a person sharing a message or discourse and is a broad term meaning "reasoning expressed by words" (HELPS).
of grace: Grk. ho charis, disposition marked by inclination to generosity; also, a benefit conferred freely as an expression of good will. In the LXX charis occurs about 190 times, of which only about 75 have a Hebrew equivalent. Of these 61 translate Heb. hēn, favor, first in Gen 6:8 in regards to Noah receiving the favor of God, and the others translate Heb. racham (SH-7356), compassion, mercy, first in Gen 43:14 (DNTT 2:116). The term "favor" has the connotation of freely providing some benefit or blessing.
Sometimes the biblical term denotes favor extended by one person to another by acts of friendship, generosity, good will or honor (e.g. Gen 33:8, 10; 39:4; 47:29; 50:4), but often the favor or grace is extended by God, freely reaching to people because He is disposed to bless them. God's grace is especially directed to Israel (Ezra 9:8; Jer 31:2; Zech 12:10). The testimony here echoes the declaration of John the apostle that Yeshua came into his ministry "full of grace" (John 1:14).
that: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a relative pronoun. were coming: Grk. ekporeuomai, pres. mid. part., move from one place to another, to go out or to come out. from: Grk. ek, prep., which may be used to denote derivation or separation, here the former; from, out of, out from among. his: Grk. autos. mouth: Grk. stoma, the anatomical organ of the mouth. and: Grk. kai. they were saying: Grk. legō, impf., 3p-pl. See verse 3 above.
Is: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 3 above. not: Grk. ouchi, adv., an emphatic interrogative particle; not, not at all, definitely not. The effect of the negative particle is to dismiss something as non-factual (HELPS). this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. See verse 3 above. a son: Grk. huios. See verse 3 above. Some versions add the definite article, "the." However, the absence of the definite article emphasizes the fact that Yeshua had four half-brothers (Mark 6:3).
of Joseph: Grk. Iōsēph, a transliteration of Heb. Yosef, which is explained in Genesis 30:24 and means "he adds, increases" (BDB 415). Noteworthy is that Joseph is mentioned rather than Miriam. Indeed, the apostolic narratives identify Yeshua more frequently as the son of Joseph (also Matt 13:55; Luke 2:48; 3:23; 4:22; John 6:42) than of his mother. Almost all that is known about Joseph is given in the nativity narratives. God intended Joseph to be part of His plan to bring deliverance to His people. Joseph is identified as a righteous man (Matt 1:19) and when his betrothed Miriam was found pregnant he intended to divorce her quietly.
However, an angel of the Lord visited him in a dream, corrected his understanding of the situation, and commanded him to take Miriam as wife and accept the parental role for the anticipated baby. Indeed the success of the entire Messianic enterprise depended on the willingness of this godly man to assume the stewardship role of being Yeshua's father. Scholars generally assume that Joseph died sometime before Yeshua's public ministry began. Two verses are relevant to making this assumption: John 6:42 and John 19:26-27). See my comments there.
The initial reaction to Yeshua's teaching by many in the congregation was positive. Then someone posed the question that both diminished Yeshua and then dismissed his words as absurd. Others echoed the question to declare that the idea of the son of an ordinary man fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah to be ridiculous. As the old saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt, and in this case unbelief.
23 And he said to them, "Doubtless you will say to me this proverb, 'Physician, heal yourself.' Whatever we have heard has occurred in Capernaum, do also here in your hometown."
And: Grk. kai, conj. he said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 3 above. to: Grk. pros, prep. them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. Doubtless: Grk. pantōs, adv., expressing decisive reaction to or view of a matter variously nuanced in context; undoubtedly, doubtless, surely, certainly. you will say: Grk. ereō, fut., 2p-pl., call, say, speak of, tell. to me: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. proverb: Grk. parabolē, something serving through comparison or analogy to encourage a new perspective; parable, proverb, figure, illustration. In the LXX parabolē translates Heb. mashal (SH-4912), oracle, parable, proverb, first in Numbers 23:7.
Physician: Grk. ho iatros, one who provides medical care, a physician, from the verb iaomai, to cure or restore. heal: Grk. therapeuō, aor. imp., may mean (1) to offer helpful service, help out, serve; or (2) the specific service of restoring a person to health. The second meaning applies here. yourself: Grk. seautou, reflexive pronoun of the second person. Whatever: pl. of Grk. hosos, relative pronoun used to signify maximum inclusion, here signifying quantity; how much, how great, as much as.
we have heard: Grk. akouō, aor., 1p-pl., to hear aurally or listen, 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, but also to accept and to act upon what has been apprehended (DNTT 2:173). has occurred: Grk. ginomai, pl. aor. mid. part. See verse 3 above.
in: Grk. eis, prep. 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. Although the name of the city is not found in the Tanakh or earlier Jewish literature the city is mentioned twice by Josephus (Vita 72; Wars III, 10:8). Capernaum appears in the apostolic narratives (16 times), and was probably founded after the return from exile. As an economic center in Galilee it was more significant than tradition has often allowed. Capernaum was a center for collecting custom fees and taxes due to being an important center commanding both sea and land trade routes. See the map here.
do: Grk. poieō, aor. imp., 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. The second meaning applies here. also: Grk. kai. here: Grk. hōde, adv., in this place. in: Grk. en, prep. your: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person. hometown: Grk. ho patris (from patēr, "father"), of one's fathers, a place or region one can call home, one's native place. Associating the term with Nazareth justifies the translation of "hometown."
The reference to a miracle performed in Capernaum alludes to the narrative that when Yeshua returned to Galilee his first stop was Cana (John 4:46) where he encountered a royal official who had a sick son in Capernaum. While in Cana Yeshua pronounced healing for the official's son, and the miraculous healing from such a distance was regarded as a sign (John 4:54). From Cana Yeshua continued his journey to Nazareth. So Yeshua preemptively points out the thinking of people in the congregation wanting a "sign" to validate his claim of fulfilling prophecy.
24 And he said, "Truly, I say to you that, no prophet is acceptable in his home country.
Reference: John 4:44.
And: Grk. de, conj. he said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 3 above. Truly: Grk. amēn ("ah–mayn") reflects a strong affirmation, meaning "so let it be" or "truly." In the LXX amēn occurs only four times to transliterate the Heb. 'amen (ah–mayn), which means "it is true, so be it, or may it become true," (1Chr 16:36; Neh 5:13; 8:6). The Heb. root aman means "to confirm or support." The word amēn reflects an Hebraic conviction that God's words were to be reverently received. In typical Jewish usage the singular amēn points to something previously said (Stern 26). In the Synoptic narratives amēn occurs 57 times in declarative statements of Yeshua, of which 34 are unique.
The term amēn is often used in the apostolic narratives to introduce axiomatic statements in Kingdom instruction, parables and prophecies. Stern contends, though, that many of those occurrences follow Jewish practice and rather than introducing statements the "amen" actually affirms the sentence spoken immediately before. (Examine the context of Matt 5:18, 26; 6:2, 5, 16; 10:15, 42; 13:17; 18:18; 23:36; 24:34, 47; and 26:13). However, Yeshua sometimes uses "amen" to introduce a declaration as here (e.g., Matt 8:10; 11:11; 16:28; 17:20; 19:23; 21:21; 24:2; 25:12, 45; 26:21). Similar usage does occur in the Tanakh with the Hebrew term 'amen (1Kgs 1:36; Jer 28:6).
I say: Grk. legō, pres. to you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. that: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 4 above. Here the conjunction introduces the following quotation. Yeshua responds to the proverbial saying in the previous verse with another Jewish proverb. no: Grk. oudeis, adj., lit. "not one." See verse 2 above. prophet: Grk. prophētēs. See verse 17 above. The people regarded Yeshua as a prophet (Matt 21:11, 46; John 4:19; 7:40; 9:17) and by this saying Yeshua considered himself to be a prophet (cf. Luke 13:33).
is: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 3 above. acceptable: Grk. dektos, adj. See verse 19 above. in: Grk. en, prep. his: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. home country: Grk. ho patris. See the previous verse. In this axiomatic proverb of the general experience of the Hebrew prophets the term patris has a broad meaning, perhaps including all of Israel. Indeed the mild form of this proverb belies the fact that many of the Hebrew prophets were persecuted and even killed by their countrymen (cf. Matt 23:29-37; Heb 11:32-38).
25 Indeed in truth I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when heaven was shut up three years and six months, when a great famine came upon all the land,
Reference: 1Kings 17:1-7.
Indeed: Grk. de, conj. See verse 1 above. Many versions translate the conjunction as "but," which implies a sharp contrast or contradiction with what was said previously. However, the conjunction is used here to introduce and emphasize historical events that validate the proverb of verse 24. in: Grk. epi, prep., lit. "upon." truth: Grk. alētheia may mean (1) truthfulness, dependability, uprightness in thought and deed, (2) truth as opposed to what is false, or (3) reality as opposed to mere appearance (BAG). Danker has "that which is really so."
In the LXX alētheia regularly translates the Heb. emet, "firmness, faithfulness, truth" (BDB 54), first in Genesis 24:27, although Christian Bibles sometimes render the noun as "truth" and sometimes as "faithfulness" (DNTT 3:877). Emet is often used for truthfulness in God and piety in man. The Rabbis explain rather pedantically that emet contains the first, middle and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and that truth ought to be trustworthy through and through (Santala 72).
I tell: Grk. legō, pres. you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person, used of the congregation as a whole. Yeshua then reminds the congregation of two stories narrated in the book of "Kings" (Heb. M'lakhim). The two canonical books of Kings were originally one book of Hebrew text and according to Jewish tradition authored by Jeremiah (Baba Bathra 15a). The translation of Samuel and Kings into Greek (the LXX) resulted in one book with four divisions called the "Book of Kingdoms." "First and Second Kings" were labeled as "3rd and 4th Kingdoms."
The Latin Vulgate separated Kings from Samuel, but the current partition of Samuel and Kings did not come about until the publication of the Hebrew Bible by Daniel Bomberg in 1517 (Archer 260). Christian Bibles then followed suit. The complete book of Kings covers 400 years of the history of Israel and Judah from the end of the reign of David to the last Jewish king, Jehoiachin, and the destruction of the first temple (c. 970−587 BC).
there were: Grk. eimi, impf. See verse 3 above. many: pl. of Grk. polus, adj., whether of quantity ("many") or quality ("much"), here the former. widows: pl. of Grk. chēra, a woman bereft of her husband. The fact of many widows was the result of continuous warfare between the house of Judah and the house of Israel (cf. 1Kgs 14:30; 15:6, 16). in: Grk. en, prep. Israel: Grk. Israēl, a transliteration of the Heb. Yisrael, which means "God prevails" (BDB 975). The name has four applications in the Tanakh. First, the name first appears in Genesis 32:28 where the angel with whom Jacob struggled informed him that his name would be changed to Israel.
Second, the name denoted the people descended from Jacob (Gen 32:32; Ex 3:16). Third, the name was given to the land God bequeathed to the descendants of Jacob as an everlasting possession (Ex 6:8; Josh 11:22; Jdg 20:6; 1Sam 13:19). Fourth, the name was given to the northern kingdom of ten tribes ("house of Israel") that separated from Judah in the days of King Rehoboam (1Kgs 11:31; 12:16-17, 21). In the Besekh Israel is identified predominately as the people or elect-nation, but a few times the name is used of the promised land (Matt 2:20-21; 8:10; 10:23; Luke 7:9). As used here the name "Israel" denotes both the "land of Israel" and the "house of Israel" under King Ahab.
Thayer committed the egregious error of defining Israēl as "Palestine." His lexicon published in 1889 may have been influenced by the fact that the territory between Lebanon and Sinai was called "Palestine" at that time. However, at no time in biblical history was the holy land called Palestine, a name derived from "Philistine" and to use the term in any biblical context can only be described as antisemitic. Even modern Christian Bible maps repeat the error. See my article The Land is NOT Palestine.
in: Grk. en. the days: pl. of Grk. ho hēmera. See verse 2 above. of Elijah: Grk. Ēlias, the ninth century B.C. prophet whose life and ministry is narrated in 1Kings 17:1−2Kings 2:12. The original form of the Hebrew name is Eliyah ("Yah is God"), but in the Tanakh the name is predominately spelled Eliyahu (63 times). Both forms are transliterated in the LXX with Ēlias. Known for his unorthodox dress and lifestyle, Elijah prophesied during the reigns of Ahab and Ahaziah in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The English spelling "Elijah" was first introduced by John Wesley in his 1755 translation of the New Testament. The KJV-1768 version retained "Elias," but "Elijah" endured and was incorporated by succeeding English versions.
Elijah is identified as "the Tishbite" (Heb. Tishbiy) of Gilead" (1Kgs 17:1), which lay east of the Jordan River extending about 60 miles from near the south end of the Sea of Galilee to the north end of the Dead Sea. Commentators generally regard Tishbiy as a noun marking a location, but it could also be an adjective denoting the name of a people group (BDB 986). Josephus says that Elijah was from the city of Thesbon (Grk. Thessebōnēs) in Gilead (Ant. VIII, 13:2). The LXX provides the full description: "Elijah the Thesbite, the one from Thesbon of Gilead."
In other words Elijah was born in Thesbon, but later went to live in the Tishbiy territory. Of course, names of places were normally taken from their original inhabitants. Elijah's achievements included performing seven miracles, perhaps most notably the defeat of 850 pagan prophets on Mt. Carmel. Elijah also conducted a school of prophets (2Kgs 2:3-7) and trained Elisha to be his successor (1Kgs 19:16-19). Elijah did not die, but was taken to heaven in a whirlwind, not a chariot as commonly supposed (2Kgs 2:11).
when: Grk. hote, temporal adv., when, at which time. heaven: Grk. ho ouranos refers to the area above the earth that encompasses three "heavens:" first, the atmosphere (Matt 6:26); second, interstellar space (Matt 24:29); and third, the transcendent dwelling-place of God (Matt 6:9). In the LXX ouranos translates the Heb. hashamayim (lit. "the heavens”), which has the same range of meaning (Ps 148:1-4) (DNTT 2:191). A number of versions translate the noun as "the sky" because of the Tanakh report of no rain (1Kgs 17:1). However, the third heaven is in view here.
was shut up: Grk. kleiō, aor. pass., closed to prevent entry; locked, shut. The choice of the verb is a word picture of the inaccessibility of heaven or God to prayers of entreaty for relief. three: Grk. treis, adj., the number three. years: pl. of Grk. etos, a period of twelve months, year. and: Grk. kai, conj. six: Grk. hex, the number six. months: pl. of Grk. mēn, a period of 30 days based on the lunar cycle, month. Jeremiah's narrative does not actually specify the length of this time period of heaven being shut up, but does note that ADONAI came to Elijah in "the third year" (1Kgs 18:1). This was a matter of which Yeshua had personal knowledge.
when: Grk. hōs, adv., typically used for comparative purposes but here serves as a particle of time; as long as, since, when. a great: Grk. megas, adj., exceeding a standard and therefore impressive. The focus here is on degree or intensity. famine: Grk. limos, a condition of misery caused by an acute lack of food and impacting a large area. In the LXX limos translates Heb. ra'ab (1Kgs 18:2), meaning famine or hunger. Throughout Bible times famines were not infrequent, generally caused by a lack of adequate rainfall. came: Grk. ginomai, aor. mid. See verse 3 above.
upon: Grk. epi, prep. all: Grk. pas, adj. the land: Grk. ho gē can mean (1) soil receiving seed; (2) land as contrasted with the sea; (3) the earth in contrast to the heavens; (4) the inhabited globe, people, humanity; or (5) land enclosed within fixed boundaries (BAG). The fifth meaning applies here. The LXX uses gē to translate Heb. erets (DNTT 1:517). In the Tanakh erets has the same range of meaning as gē, but especially (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).
The famine resulted because Elijah prophesied to King Ahab that dew and rain would cease upon the land (1Kgs 17:1). According to Jacob ("James"), the half-brother of Yeshua, the precipitation stopped because Elijah prayed to God for this judgment (Jas 5:17). Elijah apparently reacted to the marriage of Ahab to Jezebel and the Baal idolatry that she promoted (1Kgs 16:31-33). According to Jeremiah's narrative the famine was severe in Samaria (1Kgs 18:2), which implies that the divine judgment was limited to the territory ruled by King Ahab. See Josephus, Ant. VIII, 13:2.
26 and Elijah was sent to none of them except to Zarephath of Sidon, to a woman, a widow.
Reference: 1Kings 17:9-24.
and: Grk. kai, conj. Elijah: Grk. Ēlias, See the previous verse. was sent: Grk. pempō, aor. pass., to dispatch someone as an agent, usually to convey a message or accomplish a task; send. to: Grk. pros, prep. none: Grk. oudeis, adj., lit. "not one." of them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. except: Grk. ei mē, lit. "if not." to: Grk. eis, prep. Zarephath: Grk. Sarepta, a transliteration of Heb. Tsarephath ("smelting place"), a coastal city between Tyre and Sidon (1Kgs 17:9-10; Josephus, Ant. VIII, 13:2). See the map here.
of Sidon: Grk. Sidōn, a transliteration of Heb. Tzidôn (from Heb. tzun, "to fish"), a city on the coast of Phoenicia. See the map here. Sidon was an influential, wealthy Phoenician city, and considered a sister city of Tyre, although founded earlier before 2000 BC. The city had been originally assigned to the tribe of Asher (Josh 19:28), but the Israelites were not able to capture it (Jdg 1:31; 3:3; 10:12). Zarephath is said to be "of Sidon" because it lay within the territory governed by Sidon. The Sidonians were a polytheistic Canaanite people.
to: Grk. pros. a 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 translates the Heb. ishshah ("woman, wife"), first in Genesis 2:22. a widow: Grk. chēra. See the previous verse. According to Jeremiah's narrative God sent Elijah to stay with the widow in Zarephath for his own sustenance during the famine. Her name is never mentioned. While there Elijah performed two extraordinary miracles. First, he declared the continuous supply of flour and oil to make bread (1Kgs 17:14). Second, when the woman's son fell sick and died Elijah raised him to life (1Kgs 17:22).
27 And there were many with skin diseases in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed, except Naaman the Syrian."
Reference: 2Kings 5:1-14.
And: Grk. kai, conj. The conjunction introduces a second story, this time from 2Kings. there were: Grk. eimi, impf., 3p-pl. See verse 3 above. many: pl. of Grk. polus, adj. See verse 25 above. The Tanakh mentions six men (2Kgs 5:1, 27; 7:3). with skin diseases: pl. of Grk. lepros, leprous, scaly, skin disease. In the LXX lepros translates Heb. tzara, which refers to one afflicted with the skin disorder called tzara'at (Lev 13:44).The term does not refer to Hansen's Disease, as commonly assumed. According to medical experts tzara'at might be psoriasis, favus or leucoderma (G.J. Wenham, The Book of Leviticus, 1979; p. 196), which rendered a person unclean (Lev 13:45).
in: Grk. en, prep. Israel: Grk. Israēl. See verse 25 above. in the time: Grk. epi, prep., used here to denote "in the days of" or "at the time of." of Elisha: Grk. Elisaios, a transliteration of Heb. Elisha ("God is salvation"). the prophet: Grk. ho prophētēs. See verse 17 above. The life and ministry of Elisha is narrated in 1Kgs 19:6−2Kgs 13:20. God directed Elijah to anoint Elisha, the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah in the hills of Samaria, as a prophet to be his successor. Elisha served as an assistant to Elijah for an unspecified period.
Elisha regarded Elijah as his spiritual father (2Kgs 2:12) so that when Elijah announced his imminent departure Elisha asked to receive a "double portion" of Elijah's spirit (2Kgs 2:9). The double portion reflected the law of inheritance (Deut 21:17). After Elijah was taken into heaven Elisha was empowered with the Spirit of God, which enabled him to perform twice as many miracles as Elijah. The prophetic ministry of Elisha, including leadership of a school of prophets (2Kgs 2:15), lasted some fifty years during the reigns of Jehoram, Jehu, Jehoahaz and Joash. Elisha died of an unspecified illness (2Kgs 13:14, 20).
and: Grk. kai. none: Grk. oudeis, adj. See verse 2 above. of them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. was cleansed: Grk. katharizō, aor. pass., to clean or cleanse, which is used of (1) physical removal of stains and dirt; (2) pronouncing clean in a ceremonial sense; (3) physical healing of skin disease that enabled communal restoration; and (4) removal of the guilt or defilement of sin. The third meaning is intended here. In the LXX of the referenced narrative (2Kgs 5:12) katharizō translates Heb. taher, to cleanse or purify, with the same range of meaning. In Jeremiah's narrative the verb refers to physical healing.
except: Grk. ei mē, lit. "if not." Naaman: Grk. Neeman, a transliteration of Heb. Na'aman. the Syrian: Grk. ho Suros, belonging to Syria, Syrian. Naaman was a prominent military leader in the army of the king of Aram (2Kgs 5:1). Jeremiah's narrative introduces Naaman as a valiant warrior but one suffering from a non-contagious skin disease. A compassionate Hebrew slave girl with knowledge of Elisha advised Naaman's wife that he should seek the assistance of the prophet in Samaria. He eventually sought out Elisha who directed him to immerse seven times in the Jordan. At first Naaman was insulted by the instruction, but a servant urged him to reconsider. Afterward Naaman followed the instruction and was totally healed so that his skin became like a child (2Kgs 5:14).
28 And hearing these things, all in the synagogue were filled with anger.
And: Grk. kai, conj. hearing: Grk. akouō, pl. pres. part. See verse 23 above. these things: neut. pl. of Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. in: Grk. en, prep. the synagogue: Grk. ho sunagōgē. See verse 16 above. were filled: Grk. pimplēmi, aor. pass., 3p-pl., to cause to be in a condition that allows for no further addition, to be filled. The verb in this context does not mean being filled as a vessel is filled with water, but being wholly imbued, affected, or influenced with or by something (Zodhiates).
with anger: Grk. thumos, a passionate state of mind. The term may indicate intense desire or passion or in the extreme wrath or anger, here the latter. Thumos as a human emotion could be described as being like the flame which quickly blazes up and just as quickly dies down. The transition from admiration to anger is striking. Luke does not explain the cause of the sudden anger, but two factors likely contributed to their antagonism. First, their response to Yeshua's Messianic announcement was unbelief (Matt 13:58). This was not the unbelief of Thomas who wanted evidence to ground his belief (John 20:25). Rather their unbelief was of rejection and refusal of any son of Joseph having authority over them.
Second, their negative reaction was fueled by their demand that Yeshua provide a miraculous sign and his refusal to do so. Thus, the biblical illustrations of God's favor being granted to non-Israelites were regarded as an insult, as if the residents of Nazareth did not merit God's favor. On the other hand the stories should have reminded these Israelites that they had a divine mission to share the knowledge of God with Gentiles (Isa 42:6; 49:6). Indeed Isaiah 61 from which Yeshua announced his Messianic kingdom declares God's intention for "righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations" (Isa 61:11).
29 And having risen up they drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, in order to throw him down.
And: Grk. kai, conj. having risen up: Grk. anistēmi, pl. aor. part. See verse 16 above. The verb depicts the physical act of standing up, but even more so the exhibition of an attitude ready to commit murder without regard to judicial process. they drove: Grk. ekballō, aor., 3p-pl., to cause to move out from a position, state or condition; to put out, drive out, send out, bring out, cast out. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. out: Grk. exō, adv. of place, outside, used of a position that beyond a limit or boundary. of the town: Grk. ho polis, a population center whose size or number of inhabitants could range broadly, a city or town.
and: Grk. kai. brought: Grk. agō, aor., 3p-pl. See verse 1 above. him: Grk. autos. to: Grk. heōs, adv. marking a limit and a point of termination; as far as, up to, even to, to. the brow: Grk. ophrus, the brow of a mountain, edge of a precipice. of the hill: Grk. ho oros, mountain, hill, or hill-country. In the LXX oros translates Heb. har, with the same range of meaning (BDB 223). Modern science distinguishes hills from mountains by classifying a hill as being less than 1,000 feet above its surroundings, but the distinction may depend upon local interpretation. In contrast, the biblical term is used to refer to any natural topographical feature that rose above a valley, plain or other surroundings regardless of height.
on: Grk. epi, prep. which: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. their: pl. of Grk. autos. town: Grk. polis. had been built: Grk. oikodomeō, plperf. pass., to erect a structure. Luke notes a detail pertaining to the origin of Nazareth in that it was built on a prominent hill or mountain that overlooks a vast area of land and sea. Merrill suggests the city may have taken its name from the name of the hill (116). in order: Grk. hōste, conj. which connects cause to necessary effect and emphasizes the result (HELPS); so that, therefore, so then, so as to. Here the conjunction if equivalent to "in order to" (Thayer).
to throw him: Grk. autos. down: Grk. katakrēmnizō, aor. inf., cast down headlong, throw over a precipice. The verb occurs only here in the Besekh. The infinitive expresses purpose. Luke describes the inexplicable transformation of a worshipping congregation into a raging mob bent on destruction of a prophetic voice because they took offense at the message.
30 But he, having passed through their midst, went away.
But: Grk. de, conj. he: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. having passed: Grk. dierchomai, aor. part., to move within an area from one area to another, to go through or to come. through: Grk. dia, prep. used as a prefix to a statement, which may express (1) instrumentality; through, by means of; or (2) causality; on account of, because of. The first usage applies here. The preposition conveys the thought of going all the way through, successfully across to the other side (HELPS). their: pl. of Grk. autos.
midst: Grk. mesos, middle, center, in the midst of, among. Yeshua's escape from the murderous mob is remarkable, but Luke offers no miraculous explanation. The resolution apparently came about by his own forceful personality, a look or a word that stopped men in their tracks and caused them to reflect on their actions. Consider the outcome of the incident of defusing the intention of Jewish leaders to stone a woman caught in adultery. Yeshua sent them away with the challenge of a few words (John 8:7). In Gethsemane when officers come to arrest him Yeshua causes them to fall back with a spoken word (John 18:6). So here, Yeshua, the Messianic King, manifested a fearless and fearful magisterial bearing that would not be intimidated or threatened.
went away: Grk. poreuomai, impf. mid., may mean (1) to move from one area to another; to go or to make one's way, journey, travel; or (2) in an ethical sense, to conduct oneself, live, walk. The first meaning applies here. In the LXX poreuomai renders mainly Heb. halak, to go, come, walk, first occurring in Genesis 3:14 (DNTT 3:946).
Scholars debate whether the visit to Nazareth recorded in Mark 6:1-6 and Matthew 13:53-58 refers to a different occasion, and if so whether it preceded or followed this visit. Plummer suggests that in going away he did not return to Nazareth. Geldenhuys, Lumby and Nicoll assume only one visit and agree with Plummer that after the attempt on His life he would not be likely to return. However, Meyer treats Luke's report as having happened first. Edersheim also treats Luke's account as preceding the visit narrated by Matthew and Mark (Chap. 10).
There are several details in these narratives that are not easily reconciled into one visit. Yeshua likely returned to demonstrate that he would not be intimidated in his hometown. He still had family living in Nazareth (Matt 13:56; Mark 6:3). In addition Yeshua recognized the Torah standard of giving at least two warnings to the disobedient (cf. John 21:16; 2Cor 13:1-2; Titus 3:10). Luke's report here does not mention any miracles being performed whereas in the other account Yeshua did heal a few people (Mark 6:5).
Teaching in Capernaum, 4:31-37
31 And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbaths;
Reference: Matthew 4:13; Mark 1:21.
And: Grk. kai, conj. he went down: Grk. katerchomai, aor., to go down or to come down, generally of moving in a geographical context from a higher to lower elevation. to: Grk. eis, prep. Capernaum: Grk. Kapharnaoum. See verse 23 above. a city: Grk. polis. See verse 29 above. The designation "city" distinguishes Capernaum from a mere "fishing village." of Galilee: Grk. Galilaia. See verse 14 above. After being rejected in his hometown of Nazareth, Yeshua made Capernaum the base of his ministry in Galilee (cf. Matt 9:1).
And: Grk. kai. he was teaching: Grk. didaskō, pres. part. See verse 15 above. The present tense expresses continual or repeated action (Rienecker). them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. on: Grk. en, prep. the Sabbaths: pl. of Grk. ho Sabbaton. See verse 16 above. Some versions translate the noun as "Sabbaths" (DARBY, MEV, MJLT, NKJV, YLT) or "Sabbath days" (AMPC, BRG, DRA, ISV, JUB, KJV, NMB, RGT). Verses 31 and 32 thus serve as a general introduction to Yeshua's ministry in Capernaum and a reference to his customary practice.
The reference to teaching on the Sabbath presumes teaching in the synagogue (verse 33 below), which had been built by Roman soldiers garrisoned in the city (Matt 8:8; Luke 7:1-10). As in Nazareth Yeshua's teaching could have been based on a passage chosen by him or on the Scripture assigned for that day by the lectionary. This clause followed by the next verse could characterize Yeshua's ministry for the whole of his time in Galilee.
32 and they were astonished at his teaching, because his message was with authority.
Reference: Mark 1:22.
and: Grk. kai, conj. they were astonished: Grk. ekplēssō, impf. mid., 3p-pl., to drive from one's senses through shock; be amazed, astonished. The imperfect tense expresses continuous action in past time. The congregation was repeatedly astonished, which probably motivated anticipation of their synagogue services. at: Grk. epi, prep. his: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. teaching: Grk. didachē, the act of teaching with content implied; doctrine, teaching. In reference to Yeshua such teaching is often the exposition and application of Torah. In the LXX didachē is found only in the superscription of Psalm 60:1 to translate the Piel inf. of Heb. lamad, "to exercise in, to learn" (BDB 540), an action attributed to David (DNTT 3:767).
According to Klaus Wegenast the Hebrew equivalent of didachē would in fact be talmud ("study," which is derived from lamad), as found in Avot 6:2, "you find no free man but he that occupies himself with the study of Torah" (DNTT 3:769). In the Besekh the term is often associated with a particular source, such as Yeshua (Matt 7:28; John 7:16f), the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matt 16:12), the apostles (Acts 2:42; 5:28; 13:12) or heretical sects (Heb 13:9; Rev 2:14-15, 24).
because: Grk. hoti, conj. his: Grk. autos. message: Grk. logos is used primarily for a vocalized expression of the mind and as communication ranging broadly in extent of content and variety of form; word, discourse, message or teaching. In the LXX logos primarily translates Heb. dabar, speech or word, and used widely for a message, speech or saying of men (Gen 29:13; 34:18) or of God (Ex 4:28; 19:7) (DNTT 3:1087). The noun alludes to the content of Yeshua's teaching.
was: Grk. eimi, impf. See verse 3 above. The imperfect tense stresses the consistency of the description. with: Grk. en, prep. authority: Grk. exousia. See verse 6 above. Unlike other rabbis Yeshua taught as one possessing independent authority (Matt 7:29; John 3:2). Jews expected the Messiah to function as an authoritative teacher as the Samaritan woman said, "I know that Messiah is coming (the one called Christos); when he comes, he will disclose everything to us" (John 4:25 BR). In his teaching Yeshua never spoke in the name of one of the Sages as commonly occurs in the Talmud. Yeshua never appealed to any other authority other than his Father or the Scriptures.
Stern suggests that in this context exousia stands for the Heb. s’mikhah ("leaning" or "laying"), a technical term for the ordination ceremony for a judge, elder, rabbi or scribe by a ceremony of laying on of hands (64). Ordination was conducted by a board of three elders, at least one of whom had also received s'mikah. Ordination granted the right to determine points of halakhah or application of Torah. The parallel passage in Mark 1:22 adds the clarifying comment, "not as the scribes."
In Israelite culture a scribe (Grk. grammateus) was a legal scholar and a teacher of the Torah. Scribes served as secretaries, teachers, lawyers, judges, priests and members of the Sanhedrin. As Jeremias describes (Chap. 10) the professional education of scribes took several years and then he was qualified to work in a non-ordained status. It was only when the scribe attained the age of 40 that he could be ordained and accepted into the prestigious company of ordained scholars (Sotah 22b).
As an ordained scholar the scribe was authorized to make his own decisions on matters of religious legislation and of ritual (Sanhedrin 5a), to act as a judge in criminal proceedings (Sanhedrin 3a) and to pass judgment in civil cases either as a member of the court or as an individual. In the summer of 27 Yeshua was still in his 29th year and a full decade away from being 40, and yet he taught as if he had the authority of formal ordination.
33 And in the synagogue was a man having a spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out in a loud voice,
And: Grk. kai, conj. in: Grk. en, prep. the synagogue: Grk. ho sunagōgē. See verse 16 above. Capernaum apparently had only one synagogue (Plummer). was: Grk. eimi, impf. See verse 3 above. a man: Grk. anthrōpos. See verse 4 above. having: Grk. echō, pres. part., to have, hold or possess with a wide range of application. The verb describes the man as being physically possessed; his body was being treated as a dwelling place (cf. Matt 17:18; Mark 1:26; John 13:27). The encounter between Yeshua and the possessed man provides a valuable lesson. Yeshua came to destroy the works of the devil (1Jn 3:8) not to settle for coexistence.
a spirit: Grk. pneuma without the definite article. See verse 1 above. The noun is used here of a supra-natural being. Describing the invasive entity as a "spirit" does not imply the lack of corporeal substance, but rather that the physical nature of the spirit is of an eternal quality in contrast to the flesh of humans created from the dust of the earth (Gen 2:7). In addition, the molecular structure of a spirit is also such as to permit cohabitation with a human.
of an unclean: Grk. akathartos, adj., impure or unclean. The term "unclean" does not pertain to physical hygiene, but may be used (1) in a religious sense of that which would cause one to be isolated from contact with God (Acts 10:14; 11:8; 2Cor 6:17); or (2) in an ethical or moral sense contrary to holiness, generally associated with wicked behavior (Eph 5:5; Rev 17:4). The second usage is in view here in that it marks a complete rebellion against the rule and will of God.
In the LXX akathartos translates Heb. tamê, unclean, used of religious uncleanness (Lev 11-15) and moral uncleanness (Ps 106:39; Isa 6:5; 64:6). Involvement in idolatrous practices or the occult makes one unclean because the source is unclean (Lev 19:31; Jer 13:27). The Tanakh contains several anecdotes about the activity of "evil spirits" (Jdg 9:23; 1Sam 16:14-16, 23; 18:10; 19:9; 1Kgs 22:21-24), and one time a spirit is described as "unclean" (Zech 13:2). In the Besekh the adjective "unclean" is used to describe "spirits" ten times, but only here does "unclean" modify "demon."
demon: Grk. daimonion (from daimōn, "evil spirit, demon"), a supra-natural being inferior to God but superior to humans, a fallen angel. In the Besekh the term only has a negative connotation of an evil spirit hostile toward man and God. The only exception is Acts 17:18 where the term is used for pagan deities. 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. According to the cases reported in the apostolic narratives they have the power to cause great harm.
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. 2Pet 2:4; Jude 1:6). In the book of Job the original sin of angels is alluded to in a demonic visitation to Eliphaz in which a spirit says, "against His angels He charges error" (Job 4:18; cf. 15:15). Demons are subordinate to Satan and part of his vast evil organization (cf. Matt 12:26; Mark 3:22-23; Luke 11:18; Eph 2:2; 6:12). 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; Baruch 4:7; 1Cor 10:20f; Rev 9:20).
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). Luke's syntax stresses that the man was possessed by the demon.
The many mentions of demon-possessed people in the apostolic narratives indicate a Satanic invasion unprecedented in Israelite history and coincidental with the revelation of the Messiah. In fact, there are no anecdotes of demon-possession in the Tanakh and all the mentions of the phenomenon are in the apostolic narratives. In these stories the individual is never blamed for being invaded by a demon. They were victims, not offenders. There is NO evidence that the demonic possession resulted from personal misconduct. The evidence indicates that the victims were random targets.
Some scholars attribute these accounts of demons to ancient superstition and it is true that ancient people attributed some misfortune and suffering to unseen spirits. However, the stories of demon-afflicted people in the apostolic narratives are presented as true life accounts. Yeshua and the apostles did not cast out superstitions, but actual demons.
and: Grk. kai. he cried out: Grk. anakrazō, aor., to let out a loud vocal sound. in a loud: Grk. megas, adj., lit. "great." See verse 25 above. The adjective is used here to denote volume. voice: Grk. phōnē can mean (1) an auditory impression, sound, noise defined in the context; (2) the faculty of producing speech, voice; or (3) a system of communication, language. The second meaning applies here. In the LXX phōnē generally translates Heb. qôl (sound, voice, BDB 876), used first of God's voice (Gen 3:8), and second the human voice (Gen 3:17) (DNTT 3:113). The unclean spirit expressed himself by using the vocal cords of the man.
Additional Note on Demons
Oppression or possession by demons is still a reality in modern times, 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 article Victory in Spiritual Warfare.
34 "Ha! What have we to do with you, Yeshua, Nazarene? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God."
Reference: Matthew 2:23; Mark 1:24.
Ha: Grk. ea, an interjection expressing surprise, fear and indignation. Most versions don't translate the interjection, and those that do render the term as "Ha" or "Ah." Lumby says the interjection is a wild cry of horror. What: Grk. tís, interrogative pronoun indicating interest in establishing something definite; who, which, what, why. have we: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person. The plural pronoun refers to the fraternity of demons (Gill). to do with you: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person.
The Greek text has lit. "what to us and to you," which is a Hebraism used to indicate that two parties have nothing to do with each other (Geldenhuys). Liefeld says that the declaration of the demon exemplifies the comment that "the demons believe and shudder" (Jas 2:19).
Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous, voc. See verse 1 above. The fact that the demon addressed Yeshua by name is striking. The apostolic narratives record only five people that used Yeshua's name in speaking to him, the first being on this occasion. Then there is the Gerasene demoniac (Mark 5:7; Luke 8:28), a Samaritan with a skin disease (Luke 17:13), Bartimaeus (Mark 10:47; Luke 18:38) and finally the thief on the cross (Luke 23:42). When people did address Yeshua they normally used a title, such as "Lord," "Rabbi," or "Teacher." The demon well knew the significance of the name Yeshua.
Nazarene: Grk. Nazarēnos, adj., voc., related to the noun Nazōraios, "Nazarene." Again the demon employs direct address to call Yeshua by a title. The special term does not occur in the LXX, nor any earlier or contemporary Jewish literature, nor any Greek literature. The adjective occurs six times in the Besekh, only in the narratives of Mark and Luke. Since an adjective is derived from a noun lexicons assume that Nazarēnos comes from Nazara, "Nazareth" (NASBEC). Danker and Mounce thus define the adjective as an inhabitant of Nazareth, the city where Yeshua spent his growing up years (verse 16 above).
A few versions correctly render the adjective as "Nazarene" (ASV, DARBY, EHV, HCSB, PHILLIPS, LSB, LEB, MSG, NET, YLT), but the great majority of versions translate the adjective as "of Nazareth," even though the name "Nazareth" is not in the Greek text. The common translation would require the noun to be in the genitive case. Since the adjective is vocative case (direct address), it stands independent of Yeshua's name. That the adjective functions as a title of distinction rather than a hometown reference is emphasized in its occurrence in the nominative case with the definite article, "the Nazarene" (Mark 10:47; 14:67; 16:6; Luke 24:19).
Moreover, in the nativity narrative of Matthew we find the declaration, "he will be called Nazarene," not "he will be from Nazareth" (cf. apo Nazaret, Matt 21:11). Matthew seems to make a connection between the holy family going to live in Nazareth and the word of prophets being fulfilled. Yet, no Messianic prophecy names Nazareth or any other Galilean town as the residence of the Messiah (cf. John 7:52). The adjective Nazarēnos is just as likely derived from the noun Nazōraios and as a title was unlikely intended to associate Yeshua with the city noted for unbelief and attempted murder of the Messiah. Nathaniel apparently had good reason to ask, "Can anything good come from Nazareth" (John 1:46).
The significance of Nazarēnos and Nazōraios may be found in the Hebrew root of these two nouns. In his commentary on Matthew 2:23 Meyer suggests the root of Nazōraios is the noun netzer, branch, sprout or shoot, found in Isaiah 11:1 where it is used to refer to the branch of Jesse, the father of David. Smith in his definition of "Nazarene," says that the noun represented "the filling out of the predictions in which the promised Messiah is described as a netser, i.e. a shoot or sprout, of Jesse, a humble and despised descendant of the decayed royal family."
The connection of the adjective Nazarēnos with the Isaiah promise of the netzer is made explicit in the story of the healing of Bartimaeus:
46 Then they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene [Grk. Ho Nazarēnos], he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" (Mark 10:47 NASU)
Describing the Messiah as a branch of Jesse emphasizes his humanity and Davidic origin. Isaiah lauds the descendant of Jesse with compliments that David exhibited in part, but will be seen in perfection in the Messiah. He will be full of the Spirit and endowed with wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge and the fear of God. He will judge others according to the righteousness defined by Torah and exhibit faithfulness to all that God desired.
Have you come: Grk. erchomai, aor., 2p-sing. See verse 16 above. to destroy: Grk. apollumi, aor. inf., may mean (1) cause severe damage; destroy, kill, ruin; or (2) experience disconnection or separation; lose, perish, die. The first meaning applies here with focus on loss of existence. In the LXX apollumi represents 38 different Hebrew words, most frequently, as here, abad (SH-6), to be lost, to perish or to destroy (DNTT 1:463). us: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person. Again the plural pronoun refers to the fraternity of demons (Plummer). The demon must have known that eternal punishment is his destiny (Matt 8:29; 25:41; Rev 20:10) and he hoped it had not arrived.
I know: Grk. oida, perf., to know in an objective sense, to have information about; also to have discernment about, to grasp the significance of the information received. The perfect tense denotes action completed in the past with continuing results into the present. The verb could mean "I have always known." The demon's knowledge would extend further back than his human host. who: Grk. tis. Here the interrogative pronoun is translated as "who" and implies the hypothetical question that someone might have asked of Yeshua, "who are you?" such as Paul posed to Yeshua on the Damascus road (Acts 9:5). you: Grk. su. are: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 3 above.
the Holy One: Grk. ho hagios, adj., set apart by or for God and therefore different; holy, hallowed and when used of God worthy of reverence. In the LXX hagios translates Heb. qodesh, apartness, sacredness (Ex 3:5) and Heb. qadosh, separate, sacred, holy (Ex 19:16). The presence of the definite article signifies an important divine name, "the Holy One" (Qadosh), which occurs especially Isaiah (1:4; 5:19; 41:14; 43:3, 14-15; 45:11; 47:4). of God: Grk. ho theos (for Heb. Elohim). See verse 3 above.
"The Holy One" is associated with Elohim (Ps 71:22; 78:41; Isa 29:23; 30:15; 43:3; 48:17; 54:5; 60:9) and YHVH (1Sam 2:2; Ps 89:18; 106:16; Prov 9:10; Isa 1:4; 10:20; 41:14; 43:14-15; 45:11; 47:4). The "Holy One of God" especially functions as a reference to the Messiah (Ps 16:10). The confession of the demon demonstrates that the title "Nazarene" was not intended in a pejorative sense of deficient character because he knew Yeshua's true identity. Plummer observes that it was not in flattery that the evil spirit thus addressed him, but in horror.
35 And Yeshua rebuked him, saying, "Be silent and come forth from him!" And the demon having thrown him into their midst, came out from him, having harmed him in nothing.
And: Grk. kai, conj. Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous. See verse 1 above. rebuked: Grk. epitimaō, aor., to express urgently to elicit compliance; reprimand, warn, reprove or rebuke. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun; i.e., the demon. Plummer notes that Yeshua required no faith from demoniacs. saying: Grk. legō, pres. part. See verse 3 above. Be silent: Grk. phimoō, aor. pass. imp., may mean (1) to shut a mouth with a tightening device or muzzle; or (2) to cause to cease making a sound, make speechless. The second meaning applies here. Yeshua immediately refuses the demon's homage and prevents the demon from speaking further. He never allowed demons to proclaim they knew him. Moreover, Yeshua reserved his pity for the victims and had none for demons.
and: Grk. kai. come forth: Grk. exerchomai, aor. imp. See verse 14 above. from: Grk. apo, prep. him: Grk. autos, i.e., the afflicted man. Yeshua expressed authority that had to be obeyed. Failure to obey could result in being sent to the bottomless pit or Hades (Luke 8:31; 2Pet 2:4). And: Grk. kai. the demon: Grk. ho daimonion. See verse 33 above. having thrown: Grk. rhiptō, aor. part., to throw with the focus on forceful action; throw off, or cast down. him: Grk. autos. into: Grk. eis, prep. their midst: Grk. ho mesos, adj. See verse 30 above. The physical convulsion became a spasm of visible deliverance (Lumby).
came out: Grk. exerchomai, aor. from: Grk. apo. him: Grk. autos. having harmed: Grk. blaptō, aor. part., to harm, hurt or injure. him: Grk. autos. in nothing: Grk. mēdeis, adj. (from mē, "not" and heis, "one"), not even one, nothing, none. The fact that the man suffered no harm in his deliverance would not have resulted from the charity of the demon, but the power of Yeshua's protection.
36 And astonishment came upon all and they were speaking to one another, saying, "What is this order, because with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!"
And: Grk. kai, conj. astonishment: Grk. thambos, amazement, astonishment, awe. The term refers to someone who becomes stunned (dumbfounded) at what they see or hear; a state of amazement due to the suddenness and unusualness of the phenomenon, with either a positive or a negative reaction, here positive (HELPS). came: Grk. ginomai, aor. mid. See verse 3 above. upon: Grk. epi, prep. all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. and: Grk. kai. they were speaking: Grk. sullaleō, impf., engage thoughts with, to talk with, to speak or discuss together.
to: Grk. pros, prep. one another: Grk. allēlōn, reciprocal pronoun; each other, one another. saying: Grk. legō, pl. pres. part. See verse 3 above. What: Grk. tís, interrogative pronoun. is this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. order: Grk. ho logos. See verse 22 above. The noun is used here in reference to the unequivocal directive Yeshua gave the demon to "be silent" and "come forth." because: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 4 above. with: Grk. en, prep. Here the preposition stresses means. authority: Grk. exousia. See verse 5 above. The noun is used here in the sense of having superior rank that must be obeyed.
and: Grk. kai. power: Grk. dunamis. See verse 14 above. The noun alludes to the ability to perform a miracle, especially of keeping the man from suffering harm. he commands: Grk. epitassō, pres., to arrange upon, give a charge, a command or an order. the unclean: Grk. akathartos, adj. See verse 33 above. spirits: pl. of Grk. pneuma. See verse 33 above. and: Grk kai. they come out: Grk. exerchomai, pres. mid., 3p-pl. See verse 14 above. The people marveled that Yeshua did not employ a religious incantation, charm or superstitious ceremony to expel the demon. According to Josephus, Jewish exorcism had been practiced from the time of King Solomon, who first articulated a procedure for it (Ant. VIII, 2:5).
37 And a report went out about him into every place of the surrounding region.
And: Grk. kai, conj. a report: Grk. ēchos, may mean (1) a sound that spreads out and makes an impact; sound, noise; or (2) information going out from place to place; news, report. The second meaning applies here. went out: Grk. ekporeuomai, impf. pass. See verse 22 above. about: Grk. peri, prep. See verse 10 above. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. into: Grk. eis, prep. every: Grk. pas, adj. place: Grk. topos. See verse 17 above. of the surrounding region: Grk. ho perichōros. See verse 14 above. News of the incredible exorcism quickly spread.
Many Healings in Capernaum, 4:38-44
38 Now having arisen from the synagogue, he entered into the house of Simon. And the mother-in-law of Simon was suffering a high fever, and they appealed to him for her.
Reference: Matt 8:14; Mark 1:30.
Timeline Note: The chronology of the Synoptic Narratives in recording the following story of healing refutes the scholarly assumption of Matthew and Luke copying from Mark. Matthew records the healing at Simon's house some weeks or even months after Yeshua arrived in Capernaum. Mark records the healing after the calling of fishermen as disciples, whereas here in Luke the healing comes before the meeting with fishermen.
Now: Grk. de, conj. having arisen: Grk. anistēmi, aor. part. See verse 16 above. Here the verb envisions the combined actions of standing after being seated for the service and then departing the building. from: Grk. apo, prep. the synagogue: Grk. ho sunagōgē. See verse 15 above. he entered: Grk. eiserchomai, aor. See verse 16 above. into: Grk. eis, prep. the house: Grk. ho 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.
of Simon: Grk. Simōn, which almost transliterates the Hebrew name Shimôn ("Shee-mown"), meaning "he has heard." The name "Simōn" does not occur in the LXX at all. In the Tanakh the Heb. name Shimôn appears for the first time as the second son of Jacob and Leah (Gen 29:33) and then the tribe descended from him (Num 1:22-23). His name is translated in the LXX as Sumeōn and in English "Simeon." The apostle may well have been named in honor of the patriarch. Simon was a fisherman by trade (Matt 4:18; Mark 1:16). He was originally from Bethsaida (John 1:44), but now lived in Capernaum. For a review of Simon's life and ministry see my article Simon Peter: Fisherman-Apostle.
According to Mark's narrative Simon shared the house with his brother Andrew (Mark 1:29). Epiphanius (310-403) wrote that while Simon was from Bethsaida he married a woman from Capernaum (Panarion, Book II, 15,5). Yeshua knew Simon having met him several months earlier in Judea (John 1:40). On that occasion Yeshua gave Simon a new Hebrew name Kefa, which was translated into Greek as Petros ("rock," John 1:42). Simon followed Yeshua from that point and witnessed Yeshua's ministry recorded in John 2:1−4:45. Simon's return to Capernaum may have occurred when Yeshua came back to Galilee and stopped in Cana.
And: Grk. de. the mother-in-law: Grk. penthera, a wife's mother. of Simon: Grk. Simōn. The mention of the mother-in-law is a subtle reminder that Simon was married (1Cor 9:5). was suffering: Grk. sunechō, pres. pass. part., to hold together or fast, but the passive voice indicates being afflicted with illness. a high: Grk. megas, adj., lit. "great." See verse 25 above. fever: Grk. puretos, scorching heat, used of bodily temperature raised significantly above the normal level of 98.6, fever. Ancient physicians distinguished fevers by the terms "great" and "small" (Rienecker).
and: Grk. kai, conj. they appealed: Grk. erōtaō, aor., 3p-pl., can mean (1) to ask with the focus on querying for information; or (2) to ask in the sense of making a request, frequently with the effort to soften the tone for what might sound peremptory. The second meaning applies here. to him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. for: Grk. peri, prep. her: Grk. autēs, fem. of autos. Present in the house besides Simon and Andrew were Jacob and John, the sons of Zebedee (Mark 1:29). So all these men joined in asking for Yeshua's help. In contrast Matthew does not mention the appeal to Yeshua.
39 And having stood over her he rebuked the fever, and it left her, and immediately having arisen she began to serve them.
Reference: Matt 8:15; Mark 1:31.
And: Grk. kai, conj. having stood: Grk. ephistēmi, aor. part., to come or stand near in a non-threatening mode. over: Grk. epanō, adv., in a spatial sense on the top of, above, over. her: Grk. autēs, fem. of autos, personal pronoun. Yeshua stepped up to the bed or rug on which the woman lay and bent over her (Rienecker). The parallel accounts of Matthew and Mark say that Yeshua touched her hand. This limited physical contact was not equivalent to "laying on of hands" (in the next verse) but a respectful gesture of concern.
he rebuked: Grk. epitimaō, aor. See verse 35 above. The verb denotes speaking an authoritative word. Only Luke employs this verb to explain the method of cure. the fever: Grk. ho puretos. See the previous verse. The word of Yeshua caused the body temperature to return to normal. The verbal clause, in the context of verse 36, implies that the fever had been caused by a spirit, as Luke will later report of a woman afflicted with a sickness caused by a spirit (Luke 13:11).
and: Grk. kai. it left: Grk. aphiēmi, aor., to release with a variety of applications, here to leave or leave behind. her: Grk. autēs. The narrative of Matthew and Mark indicate the high fever left upon Yeshua touching her hand. and: Grk. kai. immediately: Grk. parachrēma, adv., instantly, immediately, on the spot. Plummer notes that the mode of healing would interest and impress a physician; and Luke alone remarks on the suddenness with which her strength returned. It's entirely possible that Luke, living in Capernaum, was called to attend Simon's mother-in-law and witnessed the healing by Yeshua.
having arisen: Grk. anistēmi, aor. part. See verse 16 above. she began to serve: Grk. diakoneō, impf., to serve, especially in meeting of personal needs or attending to in some practical manner. The implication of the verb is probably "serving with a meal." them: pl. of Grk. autos. Being completely healed the woman felt duty-bound to attend to her household and guests.
40 Now at the setting of the sun, all those having ailing ones with various diseases brought them to him, and laying his hands on each one of them he was healing them.
Reference: Mark 1:32.
Now: Grk. de, conj. at the setting: Grk. dunō, pres. part., to go down, sink or set, in relation to the horizon. The verb alludes to the evening stages of civil twilight, nautical twilight and astronomical twilight that precede complete darkness. of the sun: Grk. ho hēlios (for Heb. shemesh), the sun, the star that is the central body of the solar system, created on the fourth day to "govern the day" (Gen 1:16-19). Its mean distance from the earth is about 93 million miles, its diameter about 864,000 miles, its mass about 330,000 times that of the earth and its surface temperature in excess of 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
The distance of the sun from the earth assures the right balance of heat, light and photosynthesis to sustain all of earth's physical and biological processes. In both the solar system and on the earth "there is nothing hidden from its heat" (Ps 19:6). The sun moves in an orbit through the Milky Way Galaxy (Ps 19:5-6), at a speed that scientists estimate to be 600,000 mph (BBMS 165). Since there is at least an hour between sunset and darkness there was still enough light for people to come and receive help.
all: pl. of Grk. hapas, adj. See verse 6 above. those: Grk. hosos, relative pronoun. See verse 23 above. having: Grk. echō, impf., 3p-pl. See verse 33 above. ailing ones: Grk. astheneō, pl. pres. part., experience weakness in body, being sick. with various: pl. of Grk. poikilos, adj., with many features; manifold, of various kinds. diseases: pl. of Grk. nosos, a generic term for physical maladies; disease, illness. brought: Grk. agō, aor., 3p-pl. See verse 1 above. them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. to: Grk. pros, prep. The preposition emphasizes face to face contact. him: Grk. autos. Friends and relatives helped the sick to come to Yeshua.
and: Grk. de. laying: Grk. epitithēmi, pres. part., to put, place or lay upon. his hands: Grk. ho cheir. See verse 11 above. on each: Grk. hekastos, adj., each unit being viewed individually; each, every, every one. one: Grk. heis, the numeral one. Each person was important and Yeshua offered equal treatment. of them: pl. of Grk. autos. he was healing: Grk. therapeuō, impf. See verse 23 above. them: pl. of Grk. autos. Yeshua was not concerned about contagion and so did not hesitate to touch the sick. Since healing power resided with him, it's reasonable to assume he had immunity to all diseases.
41 And demons also were coming out from many, crying out, and saying that "You are the Son of God!" And rebuking them he did not allow them to speak, because they knew him to be the Messiah.
Reference: Mark 1:34.
And: Grk. de, conj. demons: pl. of Grk. daimonion. See verse 33 above. also: Grk. kai, conj. were coming out: Grk. exerchomai, impf., mid. See verse 14 above. from: Grk. apo, prep. many: pl. of Grk. polus, adj. crying out: Grk. kraugazō, pl. pres. part., to utter a loud sound, cry (out), shout. Only Luke uses this verb in relation to the demons (Plummer). Again the demons are expressing dismay and terror, not honor. and: Grk. kai. saying: Grk. legō, pl. pres. part. See verse 3 above. that: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 4 above. The conjunction serves to introduce the following quotation.
You: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person. are: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 3 above. the Son of God: Grk. ho huios ho theos. See verse 3 above. Unlike the devil's equivocation (verse 3 above) the demons assert the truth of Yeshua's identity. Plummer suggests that there is not much difference between "Son of God" here and "Holy One of God" in verse 34. And: Grk. kai. rebuking them: Grk. epitimaō, pres. part. See verse 35 above. he did not: Grk. ou, adv., negative particle. allow: Grk. eaō, impf., let something happen or take place; allow, permit.
them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun; i.e., the demons. to speak: Grk. laleō, pres. inf., to make an oral statement and to exercise the faculty of speech; say, speak, talk. By his power Yeshua muted the demons' use of human vocal cords. because: Grk. hoti. they knew: Grk. oida, plperf., 3p-pl. See verse 34 above. The pluperfect tense denotes action in the past that is complete and the results of the action in existence at some point in past time. The demons, being fallen angels, knew from the beginning.
him: Grk. autos. to be: Grk. eimi, pres. inf. the Messiah: Grk. ho Christos (from chriō, "to anoint with olive oil"), the expected fulfiller of the hopes of Israel for an end-time deliverer, the Anointed One or Messiah. Christos is a royal title, not a last name. Jewish translators of the LXX chose Christos to translate Heb. Mashiach (SH-4899), "Anointed One," and in the Tanakh Mashiach is used for the Messiah (Ps 2:2; Dan 9:25-26). The English "Christ" transliterates the Greek title, but does not translate it.
In Greek culture christos had no religious connotation at all, but the LXX usage infused new meaning into the Greek word (DNTT 2:334). In this context "Son of God" and "Messiah" are functional synonyms. The correlation of these two titles can be seen in the testimonies of Nathanael (John 1:49), Martha (John 11:27), John (John 20:31) and Paul (2Cor 1:19) (cf. Matt 26:63; Mark 1:1). For a complete review of all that is written in the Tanakh predicting the Messiah see my article The Messiah.
42 Now daybreak having come and having gone out he went into a secluded place; and the crowds were seeking him, and they came up to him, and were detaining him, not to go away from them,
Reference: Mark 1:35-36.
Now: Grk. de, conj. daybreak: Grk. hēmera. See verse 2 above. Mark uses the adverb prōi, which means "early in the morning" and is often used of the fourth watch before six a.m. (BAG). having come: Grk. ginomai, aor. mid. part. See verse 3 above. Yeshua probably spent the night in Simon's house. and having gone out: Grk. exerchomai, aor. part. See verse 14 above. he went: Grk. poreuomai, aor. pass. See verse 30 above. into: Grk. eis, prep. a secluded: Grk. erēmos. See verse 1 above. The noun is used here of a solitary place that also provides freedom from disturbance (HELPS).
place: Grk. topos. See verse 17 above. Many versions have "a desert place," but the nearest arid region is on the southeast side of the Sea of Galilee, a walking distance of at least 20 miles. The destination was probably the nearby foothills. Plummer suggests that Yeshua's departure shows his anxiety [sic] to escape the multitude and secure time for refreshment of his spiritual nature. Mark notes that in that place he was praying. (It's not likely that the one who taught his disciples not to be anxious would himself experience anxiety.)
and: Grk. kai, conj. the crowds: pl. of Grk. ho ochlos, an aggregate of people or an assembled company of people; crowd, multitude, great number. In many passages the term denotes common people in contrast to the ruling classes and religious elite. were seeking: Grk. epizēteō, impf., may mean (1) try to find something; look for; search for; or (2) show strong interest in; seek, want. The first meaning applies here.
him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. After the successful ministry Yeshua provided in Capernaum local people no doubt arrived early at Simon's house for more of his teaching and of his miraculous cures. Not finding him they set out to locate him. Mark notes that Simon and his friends were included in the crowd. Plummer suggests that Peter in recounting the incident to Mark would say, "We went after him."
and: Grk. kai. they came: Grk. erchomai, aor., 3p-pl. See verse 16 above. to: Grk. heōs, prep. See verse 29 above. him: Grk. autos. The people were able to find the secluded place, probably because someone witnessed his departure. and: Grk. kai. were detaining: Grk. katechō, impf., 3p-pl., to hold fast, detain, retain. The imperfect tense emphasizes the intended or attempted action. him: Grk. autos. not: Grk. mē, adv., a particle of qualified negation, subjective in nature, involving will and thought; not. to go away: Grk. poreuomai, pres. mid. inf. from: Grk. apo, prep. them: pl. of Grk. autos. The people reacted with a kind of possessiveness, as if he was their property. They feared that this early departure from the city signaled an intention to leave the area.
43 but he said to them that, "It is necessary for me to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God to the other towns also; because I have been sent for this purpose."
Reference: Mark 1:38.
but: Grk. de, conj. he said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 3 above. to: Grk. pros, prep. them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. that: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 4 above. It is necessary: Grk. dei, pres., impersonal verb from deō ('lack, stand in need of') and thus conveys the idea of something that's necessary, something that must or needs to happen; "it is necessary, there is need of, it behooves, is right and proper." for me: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person.
to proclaim the good news: Grk. euaggelizō, aor. mid. inf., to announce the good message, and is used to mean (1) pass on information that provides good tidings to the recipient, and (2) spread good tidings of God's beneficial concern. The second meaning applies here. In the LXX euaggelizō stands for Heb. basar, to publish or bear tidings, whether good or bad, first in 1Samuel 31:9 (DNTT 2:108-109). The verb occurs 54 times in the Besekh, of which 24 are in Luke-Acts and 24 in the letters of Paul.
of the Kingdom: Grk. ho basileia. See verse 5 above. of God: Grk. ho theos. See verse 3 above. Luke clarifies that the good news concerned the arrival of the Kingdom of God, or the "Kingly Rule of God" (Edersheim 186). The teaching of Yeshua concerning the Kingdom of God, synonymous with "Kingdom of Heaven" in Matthew, is a uniquely Jewish doctrine. The first mention of the reign of God, properly ADONAI (Heb. YHVH), in Scripture is in the song of Moses after victory over the Egyptians (Ex 15:18). Then at Mount Sinai ADONAI announced His intention that His covenant people become "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Ex 19:6).
God's kingdom would be distinguished from the kingdoms of the world by adherence to the standards of holiness and righteousness set forth in the commandments of the Torah (cf. Deut 17:18-20; 28:1; Matt 5:19). God's intention for His kingdom was not realized in the centuries of the Israelite confederacy, but with the institution of the monarchy God promised an enduring kingdom ruled by the heir descended from David (2Sam 7:12-13; 1Chr 28:5; 2Chr 13:8; Isa 9:7; Ezek 34:23-24; 37:24-25; Hos 3:5; Zech 12:7-10).
Then the angel Gabriel informed Miriam that her son would bring about the Davidic kingdom and reign over "the house of Jacob" (Luke 1:32-33). Zechariah anticipated the reign of David's heir as making it possible to serve God without fear in holiness and righteousness (Luke 1:74-75). Yochanan the Immerser then prepared the way for the Kingdom of God by calling people to repent in order to be spiritually ready for the arrival of David's heir (Matt 3:1-3, 11-12).
By announcing the arrival of the Kingdom of God Yeshua heightened expectation created by Yochanan. Yeshua implied that the Kingdom was present in his person (Matt 3:2; Mark 1:15). In other words he was the promised Messianic King. What should be noted is that Yeshua never associated the Kingdom of God with a future ecclesiastical organization. Rather the Kingdom of God is the reign of the Jewish Messiah in human hearts (Luke 17:21). Over the course of his ministry Yeshua taught the people what it meant to live under his royal authority.
to the other: pl. of Grk. heteros, adj., a distributive pronoun that may (1) distinguish one item from another in a numerical sense, other, another; or (2) express dissimilarity of one item relative to another, whether generically or qualitatively; other, another or different. The second meaning applies here. towns: pl. of Grk. polis. See verse 29 above. also: Grk. kai. because: Grk. hoti. I have been sent: Grk. apostellō, aor. pass. See verse 18 above. Yeshua was conscious of the fact that he was not merely born in the world but sent into the world (cf. Luke 9:48; 10:16; John 5:23-24; 6:38-39).
for: Grk. epi, prep., "on the basis of." this purpose: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. The pronoun alludes to the mission directed by the Father of proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God to the chosen people (Matt 15:24).
44 And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
Reference: Matthew 4:23; Mark 1:39.
Luke again presents a summary statement of Yeshua's ministry. The time period is indefinite, perhaps several months. And: Grk. kai, conj. he was: Grk. eimi, impf. See verse 3 above. preaching: Grk. kērussō, pres. part. See verse 18 above. Based on the usage of the verb in that verse Luke may have implied that Yeshua repeated the message of Isaiah 60:1-2 wherever he taught. in: Grk. en, prep. the synagogues: pl. of Grk. ho sunagōgē. See verse 15 above. of Judea: Grk. Ioudaia, a fem. proper noun, Judea, a name applied to that part of Canaan occupied by those who returned after the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities (Zodhiates).
In the LXX Ioudaia occurs 45 times and transliterates Heb. Y'hudah ("praised"), first used for the geographical territory given to the tribe of Judah (Ruth 1:1; 1Sam 17:1); next the southern Kingdom of Judah distinguished from the northern Kingdom of Israel (2Kgs 14:11; 2Chr 11:5); and then the province to which Jews returned after the exile (Ezra 1:2, 3; 5:8; 7:14; Dan 5:3). Some lexicons (BAG, Danker and Thayer), as well as Geldenhuys in his comment on this verse, commit the egregious error of defining Ioudaia as "Palestine." See my article The Land is NOT Palestine.
The geographic term "Judea" is used here in the broad sense of including the entire holy land as first used in Luke 1:5 of the territory ruled by Herod the Great (cf. Acts 10:37). Colloquially the noun could mean "the land of the Jews." See the Textual Note below. The parallel narratives of Matthew and Mark say "Galilee." Since those narratives were published before Luke's history (so Irenaeus), Luke must have chosen to say "Judea" to emphasize that Yeshua was welcomed in all the synagogues of the land, and the Sabbath assemblies were his first choice of teaching venue.
Textual Note: Judea
"Judea" is the reading of the earliest manuscripts, p75 (3rd c.), Sinaiticus (4th c.) and Vaticanus (4th c.) and is found in the majority of Bible versions. However, other important manuscripts have "Galilee:" Alexandrinus (5th c.), Ephraemi (5th c.), the Vulgate (4th c.), Syriac (2nd-5th c.), Coptic (3rd-6th c.), Gothic (4th c.), Armenian (4th/5th c.), Ethiopian (6th c.) and Georgian (5th c.) (GNT 219).
The mention of teaching in Judea may seem at odds with the declaration of Yeshua moving his ministry to Galilee in verse 14 above. Metzger comments that later copyists corrected the reading to "Galilee" in accordance with the parallels in Matthew 4:23 and Mark 1:39. The Majority Text as does the Textus Receptus reads "Galilee." A number of versions preserve the mention of Galilee (ASV, AMP, AMPC, BRG, DARBY, DRA, HCSB, ISV, JUB, KJV, MSG, MEV, MW, NKJV, NLV, NMB, RGT, WEB, WE, YLT).
ABP: The Apostolic Bible Polyglot, trans. Charles Van Der Pool. The Apostolic Press, 2006. LXX-English Interlinear.
Archer: Gleason L. Archer, Jr., A Survey of Old Testament Introduction. Rev. ed. Moody Bible Institute, 2007.
BAG: Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 4th ed. 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 Whole Bible (1834). Baker Book House, 1949. Online.
BBMS: Henry Morris, Biblical Basis for Modern Science. Baker Book House, 1984.
Benson: Joseph Benson (1748-1821), Commentary of the Old and New Testaments. T. Carlton & J. Porter, 1857. 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.
Boyarin: Daniel Boyarin, The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ. The New Press, 2012.
Brown: David Brown (1803-1897), The Gospel According to Luke, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (1871), Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown. Online.
Bruce: F.F. Bruce, The Hard Sayings of Jesus. InterVarsity Press, 1983.
Clarke: Adam Clarke (1762-1832), Commentary on the Holy Bible: Luke (1826). 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.
Edersheim: Alfred Edersheim (1825-1889), The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (1883). New Updated Edition. Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1993. Online.
Ellicott: Charles John Ellicott (1819–1905), Commentary for English Readers (1878). Online.
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]
Gruber: Daniel Gruber, The Messianic Writings. Elijah Publishing, 2011. [Translation of the New Testament Majority Text and annotations by the author.]
HELPS: Gleason L. Archer and Gary Hill, eds., The Discovery Bible New Testament: HELPS Word Studies. Moody Press, 1987, 2011. (Online at BibleHub.com)
JE: Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906. The Kopelman Foundation, HTML 2002-2021. Online.
Jeremias: Joichim Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus. Fortress Press, 1975.
Leman: Derek Leman, A New Look at the Old Testament. Mt. Olive Press, 2006.
Levine: Amy-Jill Levine, Annotations on "The Gospel According to 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. Zondervan Pub. Co., 1984. Software version 2.6. Zondervan Corp, 1989-1999.
Lightfoot: John Lightfoot (1602-1675), Hebrew and Talmudical Exercitations upon Luke, A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica (1859 ed.), Vol. 3. Hendrickson Pub., 1989.
LSJ: Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott, An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon (1889). rev. by Sir Henry Stuart Jones. Clarendon Press, 1940. Online
Lumby: J. Rawson Lumby (1831–1895), Luke, The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges. Cambridge University Press, 1891. Online.
Merrill: Selah Merrill (1837-1909), Galilee in the Time of Christ. Religious Tract Society, 1891. Online.
Meyer: Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer (1800-1873), Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (1859). 21 vols. T&T Clark, 1880. Online.
Morris: Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1971. (New International Commentary on the New Testament)
Moseley: Ron Moseley, Yeshua: A Guide to the Real Jesus and the Original Church. Lederer Books, 1996.
Mounce: William D. Mounce, Mounce Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament. 2011. Online.
NASBEC: New American Standard Bible Exhaustive Concordance, Updated Edition. Foundation Publications, Inc., 1998.
Neil: James Neil, Palestine Explored. James Nisbet & Co., 1882.
NIBD: Nelson's Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible. Herbert Lockyer, ed. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1986.
Nicoll: W. Robertson Nicoll (1851–1923), The Expositor's Greek Testament (1897), 5 vols. Online.
Plummer: Alfred Plummer (1841-1926), A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to S. Luke. 5th edition. T&T Clark, 1922. Online.
Poole: Matthew Poole (1624–1679), A Commentary on the Holy Bible. Hendrickson Publishers, 1985. Online.
Rienecker: Fritz Rienecker (1897-1965), A Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament. 2 vol. Zondervan Pub. House, 1980.
Santala: Risto Santala, The Messiah in the New Testament in the Light of Rabbinical Writings. Keren Ahvah Meshihit, 1984, 1992. Online.
SBD: Sir William Smith (1813-1893), A Dictionary of the Bible. John Murray, 1893. Online. aka "Smith's Bible Dictionary."
Schurer: Emil Schurer (1844-1910), A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ. 2nd ed. 3 Vols. T&T Clark, 1890-1891. Online. Hendrickson Academic (5 vols.), 1993.
Stern: David Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary, Jewish New Testament Publications, 1996.
Thayer: Joseph Henry Thayer (1828-1901), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (1889). Hendrickson Publishers, 2003. Online.
Wenham: G.J. Wenham, The Book of Leviticus. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1979. The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, Vol. 3.
Zodhiates: Spiros Zodhiates (1922-2009), ed. The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament. AMG Publishers, 1992, 1993.
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