Saturday, July 25, 2009

Luke 22 to Luke 24:1-12

LukeExeg.2211. CONSPIRACY OF THE CHIEF PRIESTS AND THE SCRIBES (22:l-2=Mark 14:1-2)22:1. Luke is not quite correct when he identifies the two feasts. The feast of Unleavened Bread began at sundown on Nisan 14--the beginning of the fifteenth day by Jewish reckoning--and Iasted for a period of seven days (Lev. 23:5-6). The Passover coincided only with its first day. The paschal lambs were slaughtered on the afternoon of Nisan 14, and the solemn meal itself was eaten during the evening that constituted the beginning of the fifteenth day.2. In the process of abbreviating Mark, Luke omits the interesting note that the chief priests and the scribes wished to accomplish Jesus' death before the beginning of the festival. According to Luke, it was Jesus' popularity with the people that gave him a measure of protection (cf. vs. 6).2. JUDAS' PLOT TO BETRAY JESUS (22:3-6=Mark 14:10-11)It is scarcely conceivable that the story of Jesus' betrayal by one of his disciples should have been invented by the early church. Modern suggestions that Judas is a personification of the Jewish people fail to carry conviction.Early in the nineteenth century Thomas de Quincey advanced the precocious theory that Judas was a high-minded individual who wished to compel Jesus to declare his messiahship and thus to hasten the inauguration of the kingdom of God, and similar idealizing portraits of Judas continue to appear. However interesting, such theories have no evidential support. Mark's version suggests that avarice was Judas' motive, and Matthew makes that motive explicit. Luke blames it all on Satan (cf. John 13:2, 27; 14:30; and Paul's belief that the hierarchy of demonic forces who are "the rulers of this age" were the ultimate agents responsible for the crucifixion of "the Lord of glory" [I Cor. 2:8]).
--Jerusalem in New Testament TimesThe process of apologizing for Judas began at an early date. Matthew declared that the traitor, overcome with remorse, soon returned the money he had accepted and then committed suicide (Matthew 27:3-5). Luke says nothing of this. According to our evangelist, Judas used his "blood money" to buy a field, and his death was the consequence of a punitive miracle: "Falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out" (Acts 1:18). The Gospel of John was concerned about the christological problem involved: Was Jesus' judgment or foreknowledge at fault? The author guards against any such misapprehension by pointing out that Jesus was aware at the very outset (John 6:70-71) of the role that Judas would play.What did Judas betray? Mark and the other Synoptists imply that he merely identified Jesus for the agents whom the chief priests had sent to effect the arrest, and probably we need look no further for an answer. Some modern scholars suspect that the traitor gave the Sanhedrin inside information about Jesus' secret claim to be Messiah. Our sources do not lend this hypothesis any support. There is no suggestion that Judas gave witness against Jesus or appeared at the trial.3. Iscariot: See on 6:14-16.4-6. Captains: As in vs. 52 (cf. Acts 4:1; 5:24, 26), the officers of the temple police.3. PREPARATION FOR THE PASSOVER (22:7-13=Mark 14:12-16)As in the story of the entry into Jerusalem (19:29-32=Mark 11:1-4), both Mark and Luke imply that Jesus had a prophet's foreknowledge of the course events would take (cf. I Sam. 10:2-6).7. Both Mark and Luke ignore the Jewish custom of dividing "days" at sunset (see on vs. 1).8. Peter and John for Mark's "two of his disciples."9-13. When you have entered the city: It is assumed that, contrary to custom, Jesus had spent the day elsewhere than in Jerusalem. Many interpreters arbitrarily associate the large upper room of these verses with that mentioned in Acts 1:13 and locate it in the house of John Mark's mother which we are told in Acts 12:12 served as a meeting place after the Crucifixion for Jesus' erstwhile followers. They are then enabled to identify the man carrying a jar of water as John Mark and the householder as John Mark's father. Sober exegesis cautions against such a dubious chain of inferences. Furnished: Carpeted and supplied with couches on which guests could recline at a meal. They prepared the passover: The purchase, slaughter, and roasting of the paschal lamb and the provision of unleavened bread, bitter herbs, and wine.4. THE LAST SUPPER (22:14-23)The RSV follows the so-called Western text of Luke at this point and omits vss. 19b and 20. There is good reason, quite apart from principles of textual criticism (see Intro., p. 20), to believe that this "short" text of Luke is original. Vss. 19b and 20 in the KJV are in almost verbal agreement with I Cor. 11:24b-25 and presumably were interpolated by early copyists.Marcan contacts with the Western text of Luke are vss. 14 (rewritten), 18 (abbreviated), 19a, and 22. Some interpreters believe that Luke's account is only an editorial rearrangement and expansion of Mark's, but it is more probable that Luke had access in this instance to an independent tradition and that he has revised and supplemented it with excerpts from his primary source. If this latter hypothesis is correct, the Last Supper is attested in the N.T. by three independent accounts: I Cor. 11:17-34; Mark 14:17-26; Luke 22:14-23. John has no narrative of the Last Supper, but ch. 6 of his Gospel is an elaborate and symbolic interpretation of it.No doubt the Christian sacrament of the Lord's Supper was influenced in its observance and interpretation by beliefs and customs current among contemporary mystery cults, many of which had sacramental meals. But the hypothesis that the early church borrowed the rite is untenable. There is every reason to accept the Christian tradition that the Lord's Supper originated as a commemoration of Jesus' last supper with his disciples.The Pauline and the Mark-Matthew accounts of the Last Supper have much in common, and both are earlier than Luke's. Nevertheless the possibility remains that the latter rests on a more primitive tradition. It exhibits the following striking variations: (a) the cup comes before the bread; (b) the cup is not associated with the establishment of a new covenant; and (c) the main emphasis of the account is on the supper as a feast of anticipation (vss. 16, 18). The disciples recalled that, during Jesus' last meal with them, he had spoken solemnly of his impending death but had also confidently predicted a reunion around a banquet table in the kingdom of God. Similar traits may be noted in the regulations for the conduct of the Eucharist in the Didache (9:1-3), an early second-century book of Christian discipline.One further preliminary question is of crucial importance: Was the Last Supper Jesus' Passover meal? This is the representation both in Mark-Matthew and in Luke, but there are grounds for believing that the meal took place twenty-four hours before that feast was to be celebrated.The problem is created by a striking conflict between the Synoptic accounts of the date of the Crucifixion and that in the Gospel of John. All agree that Jesus died on a Friday. But Mark, followed by Matthew and Luke, says that this was the Passover while John declares that it was the day before (John 18:28; 19:14, 31, 42). In this instance John is almost certainly correct. Mark 14:1-2 looks like an excerpt from an early source that the compiler has not thoroughly revised. Here we are told that the chief priests and the scribes were anxious to bring about Jesus' death before the beginning of the festival, and there is no reason to believe that they changed their plans. Paul describes Christ as "our paschal lamb [who] has been sacrificed," and compares the Christian era to the Jewish feast of Unleavened Bread (I Cor. 5:7-8). The paschal lambs were slaughtered a few hours before the evening that marked the first part of the Passover day (see on vs. 1). Finally, since the Passover was a sacred day, it is almost inconceivable that Jesus could have been arrested, examined before the Sanhedrin, tried before Pilate, crucified, and buried during the course of it.If Jesus died on the Cross some hours before the beginning of Nisan 15, it is clear that the Last Supper was not Jesus' Passover meal. Therefore it should not be interpreted in the light of Passover symbolism. Nevertheless the church soon came to think of it as the Christian substitute for the Jewish feast, and the passion narrative was redrafted at some pre-Marcan level to make the two coincide.14. Editorial revision of Mark. The apostles is more impressive than Mark's "the twelve."15-16. If these verses were part of some special Lukan tradition it would appear also to have identified the supper with the Passover meal. Another interpretation is possible but remote: Jesus' fervent desire to eat this passover before his death will not be realized. This latter construction is more attractive when we omit again with several ancient MSS --an emendation of the text favored by Westcott and Hort and RSV. Until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God: The idea of a messianic feast in the new age was a familiar one in Jewish apocalyptic.17-18. The cup is also mentioned before the bread in I Cor. 10:16, 21. The practice at a Jewish meal was for the head of the house to bless the chalice of wine, drink from it, and then pass it to each member of the company in turn. Luke's wording of vss. 17b-18 implies that only the disciples drank of the wine. Vs. 18 is in close agreement with Mark 14:25, but may have been taken over nonetheless from Luke's special tradition.19a. An insert from Mark 14:22. Bread: "Loaf"--Moffatt. This is my body: The verb "to be" would not have been expressed in Aramaic, and therefore too much weight cannot be given to it in the Greek. Probably to be paraphrased: "This means my body"--Moffatt. Jesus interpreted his acted parable of the breaking of the loaf as a representation of the fate that awaited him. But it is probable that Mark and Luke and their readers understood the words in terms of the realistic sacramentalism that is already evident in Paul's references to the rite (I Cor. 10:14-22; 11:23-30). If they originally carried this meaning, the interpreter would be impelled to regard them as an early interpolation by Hellenistic Christians, for such sacramental ideas appear to have been alien to the Jewish framework of thought that Jesus shared.21-23. Jesus' oblique reference to one of his table companions as a traitor precedes the narrative of the supper in Mark's account (Mark 14:18-21). Vs. 22 is apparently an excerpt from Mark 14:21.E. THE FAREWELL DISCOURSE (22:24-38)Note the much more elaborate farewell discourse in John 13-17.1. TRUE GREATNESS (22:24-27)Note 9:46-48 (Mark 9:33-37). Similar in content to Mark 10:42-45, which Luke omitted at the point where we might have expected him to use it (following 18:34). Differences in phraseology and content support the hypothesis that these verses were derived from some special source. Mark's variant urges those who would be great to achieve their ambition by the way of service. Luke's tradition counsels those already in positions of leadership to demonstrate the graces of humble service (cf. John 13:2-16). In both versions Jesus enforces his advice by reference to his own example--but with diverse sayings.24. Editorial. In Mark's version Jesus' words were addressed to the ten disciples after his reply to the request of the sons of Zebedee for places of preferment in the new age.25-26. Benefactors:In Luke only. A favorite title of the Hellenistic monarchs who had ruled over Egypt and Syria. The youngest: The one to whom the least inviting duties would be assigned. In this instance the Greek comparative has the value of a superlative.27a. It may have been this verse in Luke's source that prompted him to locate the passage after the account of the Last Supper.27b. Mark's variant: "For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45). Codex Bezae expands the saying as it appears in most MSS of Luke to read: "For I did not come among you as one who sits at a table, but as one who serves, and you have been happy to have me serve you."2. THE DISCIPLES AS THE FUTURE RULERS OF THE TWELVE TRIBES (22:28-30)No doubt Matthew 19:28 is a variant, but differences make it improbable that the two versions were drawn from the same source. Rev. 3:21 may be still another phrasing. The idea of the apostles as rulers in the new age with the risen Christ is probably one that originated after the Resurrection.28. Translate trials with the RSV.29-30. The RSV should be followed in construing kingdom with the verb governed by my Father, and in regarding the clause in vs. 30 as the object of I appoint for you. Jesus delegates privilege and responsibility in the kingdom that is to be his. Eat and drink ... in my kingdom has no counterpart in Matthew's version. Possibly an interpolation suggested to Luke by the after-supper setting he has given the saying. Matthew's version reads "twelve thrones." The thought of Judas' impending defection may have prompted Luke to omit the numeral. Judging: probably used in the O.T. sense of "ruling."3. PREDICTION OF THE DISCIPLES' DESERTION AND A COMMISSION TO SIMON (22:31-32)According to Mark, Jesus' disciples "all forsook him, and fled" after his arrest (Mark 14:50). According to Paul, the first of the appearances of the risen Christ--on which the faith of the early Christian community was based--was vouchsafed to Cephas (I Cor. 15:5a; cf. Luke 24:34). The passage under discussion may reflect familiarity with both these traditions. It asserts that Jesus had foreseen his disciples' loss of faith and had entrusted Simon with the responsibility of restoring it. These verses replace Mark's prediction of the scattering of the disciples and of the Galilean appearance of the risen Christ (Mark 14:27-28).31. And the Lord said (KJV): An introduction vouched for by Codex Sinaiticus and the bulk of the MSS but omitted by Codex Vaticanus and a few allies. The double vocative is characteristic of Luke. The role attributed to Satan is similar to that in the prologue to the book of Job. You in this verse is plural, i.e., the disciples.32. You represents the Greek singular. Even Simon's faith would be shaken, but Jesus had interceded with God to save it from utter collapse. And when you have turned again: Probably a reference to Simon's recovery of faith after the Resurrection. Moffatt interprets it as a Hebraism meaning "and you in turn." Strengthen your brethren: Cf. the similar commission in John 21:15-17.4. PREDICTION OF PETER'S DENIAL (22:33-34=Mark 14:29-31a)According to Mark, the prediction was uttered on the Mount of Olives. Luke shifts the scene to the upper room.33. An editorial revision of Mark 14:29 and 31a that makes Peter's declaration of loyalty more positive.34. The cock will not crow ... until, i.e., "before daybreak." This day: The Jewish "day" was reckoned from sunset to sunset. Contrast Luke's use of the word in vs. 7.5. SAYING ABOUT BUYING A SWORD (22:35-38)35. A reminder to the disciples that they had been cordially welcomed and entertained during the course of their first mission. Luke has overlooked the fact that he had included these particular instructions in his account of the mission of the seventy (10:4), not of the twelve (9:3). See on 10:1.36. The attitude of the Jewish people has changed. Jesus' disciples will now need money, provisions, and even means of defense. It is possible (despite Matthew 26:52-54) that Jesus contemplated the emergence of a situation in which his followers would have to resist aggression by the use of force. Most interpreters refuse to believe that Jesus was speaking literally. Some allegorize sword in the sense of Eph. 6:17. Others see in the saying only a vivid, pictorial description of the altered temper of the populace.37. The quotation is from Isa. 53:12 and is usually regarded as an allusion to the whole verse. The only unambiguous reference in the Gospels to the poems of the servant of the Lord. At a later date the church found an answer in those O.T. passages to the meaning of Jesus' death, and it is possible that Jesus himself had also reflected on them. But the verse has little connection with what precedes and follows and may not have been an original part of the present complex. What is written about me: Practically a repetition of 37a, but the reading has much better MS support than the alternative in the KJV.38. Two swords: Allegorized as "worldly and spiritual" authority by the bull Unam Sanctam of Boniface VIII (A.D. 1302). The disciples took Jesus literally and any hypothesis that they were mistaken is too subtle to be probable. It is enough was his comment that their resources were adequate for their immediate needs. But most interpreters regard the phrase as a Semitism meaning "Enough of this!" (Goodspeed). Jesus' metaphor had been misunderstood, and he therefore abruptly dismissed the subject.F. THE ARREST (22:39-65)1. JESUS' PRAYER ON THE MOUNT OF OLIVER (22:39-46; cf. Mark 14:32, 35-38a)One act of solitary prayer and one discovery of sleeping disciples, instead of three of each as in Mark. The story represents Jesus in doubt, even at the end of his ministry, of the course that God would have him pursue. If he were to remain in Jerusalem, it seemed certain that a violent death awaited him. He was ready to face it if that should prove his Father's will. But perhaps he should withdraw from the nation's capital and resume a less dangerous itinerant mission in Galilee. He sought by petitionary prayer to clarify his duty and resolve his doubts.Because the only possible auditors of Jesus' prayer were overcome by sleep, and he himself was prevented by his arrest from telling his followers of his experience, many interpreters have argued that the story must be a legend. But it is probable that the disciples formed at least some impression of the crisis he faced. Heb. 5:7 is another account of it. The incident is not one that the early church is likely to have invented. The Fourth Evangelist omitted the scene altogether. It did not fit into his conception of how a divine being would have acted. "The whole story bears the hallmark of human truth.... The sorrow and sufferings of the solitary Son of man, profound as they are, leave on every sympathetic heart, be it the heart of the believer or unbeliever, such an impression as may never be wiped out" (Joseph Klausner, Jesus of Nazareth, tr. Herbert Danby [New York: The Macmillan Co., 1925], p. 332).39-40. The place: Where Jesus and his disciples were accustomed to spend the night? This interpretation would explain how Judas knew where to find them, but would also require the assumption that Luke was utilizing some non-Marcan tradition (see on 21:37-38). Probably the evangelist simply chose the noun to avoid the Semitic name "Gethsemane" (see Intro., p. 4). The command to the disciples is given at the beginning as well as at the end of the incident and replaces Mark's "Sit here, while I pray" (Mark 14:32b).41. Luke omits the item in Mark's version that Peter, James, and John accompanied Jesus somewhat farther than the rest of the eleven, and also Jesus' words: "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death ..." (Mark 14:33-34).42. Reminiscent of the opening words of the Lord's Prayer (Matthew's version): "Father ... thy will be done." The Aramaic "Abba" of Mark's version is omitted. This cup, the Passion.43-44. Missing from Codex Vaticanus and a number of other important MSS, and probably an embellishment of the Lukan text by some Christian scribe.45-46. For sorrow: In Luke only. Rise and pray, etc.: Cf. 11:4b, and see Exeg., ad loc.2. BETRAYAL AND ARREST (22:47-54a; cf. Mark 14:43, 45-49a)47-48. The Synoptists give the impression that Jesus' arrest was the work of a more or less unorganized mob. In all probability it was effected by a detachment of the temple police who acted on instructions from the Sanhedrin. In Mark's account Judas kissed Jesus to identify him for arrest. According to Luke, his intention was anticipated and frustrated by Jesus' question.49-51. A scene that Marcion omitted from his gospel. The scuffle precedes the arrest (contrast Mark and cf. John 18:10-11). The literary history of this incident throws light on the process by which new details could be introduced into a narrative and could transform a natural event in one channel of the tradition into a miracle. According to Mark, an unnamed follower of Jesus struck off an ear of an unnamed slave of the high priest. Matthew (26:52-54) expands the account with a rebuke to the disciple. Luke identifies the severed member as the right ear, declares that Jesus touched it and healed the slave, and intercalates another version of Jesus' rebuke. In the Gospel of John (18:10-11), the disciple becomes Simon Peter, the slave Malchus, the ear the right one, and the rebuke still another saying, but there is no suggestion that any miracle was performed. Suffer ye thus far: A number of interpretations are possible (a) "Let me do this much!" (Goodspeed; cf. Moffatt); (b) No more of this! (RSV); (c) "Let events take their course--even to my arrest" (Creed and Klostermann, ad loc.). The last possibility merits serious consideration by the interpreter.52-53a. Luke adds to Mark the item that chief priests and elders as well as the captains of the temple came out to apprehend Jesus. This provides the evangelist with an impressive setting for Jesus' words, but it is improbable that members of the highest court of Judaism would participate personally in such a nocturnal and clandestine adventure.53b. In Luke only. Probably both literal and symbolic: Evil men love darkness as a cover for their evil deeds (John 3:19); and the power of Jesus' enemies over him is satanic in origin.54a. Jesus' arrest follows his dignified protest (contrast Mark and cf. John 18:3-12). The high priest's house: Annas' (John 18:13), or Caiphas' (Matthew 26:57)? See on 3:1-2a.3. PETER'S DENIAL (22:54b-62; cf. Mark 14:54, 66b-72)The early church is not likely to have fabricated a derogatory story about its most honored apostle. While the details may be explained as literary elaboration, it is probable that the narrative has a historical nucleus in Peter's own honest admission. By attaching the introduction (Mark 14:54) directly to the body of the account (Mark 14:66b-72) Luke has moved the incident forward so that it precedes the hearing before the Sanhedrin.54b-55.They: No doubt Luke means "the officers" (Mark and Matthew). A fire for warmth in the cool of a spring night. The courtyard: Open to the sky, surrounded by the various rooms of the high priest's house, and approached from the street by a vestibule.56-60. Minor variations from Mark: a maid, some one else, and still another, for "one of the maids of the high priest," "the maid," and "the bystanders"; indirect comment for direct address in the first and last quotations (and vice versa in the second); after an interval of about an hour in vs. 59 for "after a little while."61a. A dramatic addition to the Marcan source.61b-62. Mark's "twice" is omitted (cf. Matthew and John) to make the account conform to an altered version of the prediction (vs. 34). Note the omission of "the second time" in vs. 60.4. MOCKERY AND MISTREATMENT OF JESUS (22:63-65=Mark 14:65)63-65. Follows the hearing before the Sanhedrin in Mark, where it is implied that members of the court joined in subjecting Jesus to indignities. Who is it that struck you? One of the most interesting of the occasional agreements of Luke and Matthew against Mark. Missing from the best MSS of Mark, but well attested in Matthew 26:68.G. THE CONDEMNATION (22:66-23:25)1. HEARING BEFORE THE SANHEDRIN (22:66-71)A free revision and abbreviation of Mark. All preliminary details of Jewish court procedure and the charge that Jesus had prophesied the destruction and rebuilding of the temple are omitted (Mark 14:55-61a), and one early morning interrogation of Jesus by the Sanhedrin replaces a nocturnal sitting of the court (Mark 14:55-64) and an adjourned session at daybreak (Mark 15:1).Various conclusions have been drawn by interpreters from the discrepancies between Mark's account and what is known of Jewish court procedure: (a) Jesus' appearance before the Sanhedrin was a formal trial but the gospel record is too inadequate to give us a true picture of it; (b) the trial was illegal from beginning to end but Mark's account reports it with fair accuracy; and (c) the hearing was a preliminary investigation for the purpose of preparing a charge against Jesus that could be submitted to Pilate. The last hypothesis presents the fewest difficulties. (See Vol. VII, p. 887; also quotation from Montefiore, below.) The possibility cannot be dismissed that the whole narrative is an anti-Semitic doublet of the trial before Pilate (see Intro., p. 6).66. The scene shifts from the courtyard of the high priest's house to the council chamber--the "Hall of Hewn Stones" along one of the inner courts of the temple according to rabbinical tradition; a courthouse at the southwest corner of the temple area according to Josephus (Jewish War V. 4. 2).67-70. Based on Mark 14:61b-62. But Luke divides Mark's question, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?" To the first query Jesus refuses the answer. Any discussion of his messiahship with his interrogators would be fruitless and events would shortly speak louder than words. To the second Jesus replies with a modification of Mark's unequivocal "I am" that has been variously interpreted as an affirmative or as an evasive answer.71. The Sanhedrists understood the answer as an affirmative, but made no declaration (as in Mark and Matthew) that the death sentence was a worthy penalty for a messianic pretender.2. JESUS BROUGHT BEFORE PILATE (23:1-5=Mark 15:1b-3)
LukeExeg.231Luke's account of Jesus' condemnation by Pilate (vss. 1-25) includes the following variations from Mark 15:1-15: the accusations against Jesus by the Sanhedrin; the threefold protest by Pilate of the prisoner's innocency; Pilate's attempt to rid himself of responsibility for the trial by referring Jesus to the jurisdiction of Herod Antipas; and the mockery of Jesus by Herod and his retinue rather than by the Roman soldiery. These striking differences have been frequently cited as evidence that Luke was employing a special source at this point in preference to Mark. While this hypothesis cannot be casually dismissed, it falls short of demonstration. That Mark's version is still basic to Luke's is clear from the reproduction of Mark 15:2 in vs. 3, the use of the Barabbas episode, and the account of Pilate's ultimate capitulation to the demands of the Jews. And the non-Marcan matter, by heightening the tendency in the gospel tradition to place the blame for Jesus' crucifixion on the shoulders of the Jews, serves one of the leading interests of Luke-Acts (see Intro., p. 6) and suggests that Luke himself has been responsible for its composition.23:1. Before Pilate: According to one tradition, in the former palace of Herod the Great at the western outskirts of the city; according to another, in the Castle of Antonia, which overlooked the temple area at its northwest corner. The Roman procurator had his official residence at Caesarea but came to Jerusalem at the time of the great festivals to supervise the preservation of order.2. An expansion of Mark's "And the chief priests accused him of many things." The indictment charged Jesus with seditious activity, counsel, and utterance. Since Luke has already quoted Jesus' saying about the tribute money (20:25), he must have intended the reader to regard at least the second count as a deliberate falsehood. Christ a king: An explanation of "Messiah" for Pilate's benefit.3. See Mark 15:2. Pilate centers his interest on the last accusation. You have said so: Cf. on 22:70. Sometimes interpreted as a recognized Semitic formula for "Yes." More probably, as Luke understood it (see vs. 4), a noncommittal answer.4-5. In Luke only. And the multitudes: For the first time we are told that the trial was open to the public. Jesus' accusers refuse to accept Pilate's pronouncement that the prisoner appears to be innocent and they renew their charges. Judea: Used in this instance for the whole of Palestine (see on 1:5).3. JESUS' EXAMINATION BY HEROD ANTIPAS (23:6-16)It is not improbable that Herod Antipas was in Jerusalem at the time of the Passover festival, but Mark says nothing of any tradition that the tetrarch had been involved in the proceedings against Jesus. Furthermore if Mark (15:25) is correct when he says that the Crucifixion took place at "the third hour"--about 9 A.M.--there would scarcely have been time for this Lukan episode in addition to the meeting of the Sanhedrin and the trial before Pilate. In at least parts of the early church Ps. 2:2 was interpreted as a prediction that Herod Antipas and Pilate would act in concert against Jesus (Acts 4:27-28) and this Lukan story may have been suggested by such exegesis. As noted above, it served to heighten Jewish and to minimize Roman responsibility for Jesus' crucifixion. The extant passion fragment of the Gospel of Peter, from the first half of the second century, carries the motif a step further. Pilate is practically whitewashed and the major onus for the crime against Christ is laid upon Herod.6-7. Pilate seizes on the reference to Jesus' Galilean activities (vs. 5) as an excuse to transfer the prisoner to Herod's jurisdiction.8-9. For Herod's interest in Jesus see 9:7-9 and 13:31. Jesus' refusal to submit to cross-examination would remind Luke's readers of the behavior predicted of the Servant of the Lord in Isa. 53:7.10-12. Omitted by the Sinaitic Syriac and by some modern editors but Lukan in language and style. The mockery of Jesus by Herod and his soldiers replaces that by the Roman soldiery after the condemnation in Mark 15:16-20. We know nothing from any other source of the enmity between Herod and Pilate that we are told was composed by this interchange of courtesies.13-16. Pilate interprets Herod's contemptuous dismissal of Jesus as tantamount to acquittal and declares himself confirmed in his conviction of the prisoner's innocence.His proposal to chastise him and release him takes the place of Mark's statement (Mark 15:15) that Jesus was scourged before being crucified (in accordance with Roman criminal procedure). The RSV translation of vs. 15 has much better MS support than that in the KJV.4. JESUS SURRENDERED TO THE JEWS BY PILATE (23:17-25; cf. Mark 15:11-12a, 13-15)This is a free revision of Marcan matter. We are not prepared by Luke for the demand that Barabbas should be released. For a discussion of the historicity of the Barabbas incident and the claim in the First and Second Gospels that it was the procurator's custom to pardon one prisoner at the Passover festival see the commentaries on Matthew and Mark, Vol. VII, pp. 594, 895.17. KJV; RSV mg. Serves to ease the transition to the Barabbas episode, but is missing from an impressive group of Greek MSS (including Codex Vaticanus) and presumably an interpolation from Mark 15:6.18-23. They: the Sanhedrists and the people. As in Mark, Pilate is pictured as acting against his better judgment under the clamant compulsion of a mob. But Luke represents him as even more anxious to acquit Jesus (see Intro., p. 6). Vs. 19 (cf. vs. 25a) is derived from Mark 15:7. To identify the insurrection with that hinted at in 13:1 is pure conjecture.24-25. Luke's narrative almost suggests that it was Jews who took Jesus away to be crucified. But Roman soldiers would execute a Roman sentence and their presence at the Cross is noted in vs. 36.H. CALVARY (23:26-56)1. SIMON OF CYRENE COMPELLED TO CARRY THE CROSS (23:26=Mark 15:21)26. The structure of the second half of the verse has been influenced by the form of Jesus' sayings in 9:23 and 14:27. It was Roman custom that a condemned criminal should carry the crossbeam to which his arms were to be affixed, perhaps in the hope that this indignity might serve as a further deterrent to evildoers. The Synoptic story that a certain passer-by was compelled to do this for Jesus was used by Basilides in the early second century to substantiate the Docetic theory that Simon had been crucified instead of the divine Christ. The Fourth Evangelist may have been trying to undermine this heresy when he wrote: "Jesus ... went out, bearing his own cross" (John 19:17). Cyrene: A North African city on the Mediterranean coast with a large Jewish population (Acts 2:10; 6:9; 13:1). It is not clear whether Simon was a repatriated Jew of the Dispersion or a pilgrim on the way to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. Mark's version implies that his sons later became well-known members of the Christian community, but the words "the father of Alexander and Rufus" are omitted by Luke as of no interest or meaning to his circle of readers.2. THE ROAD TO CALVARY (23:27-32)27. Editorial. Reminiscent of--and possibly suggested by--Zech. 12:10-14. Probably Luke thought only of the women as stricken with grief and of the great multitude of the people as attracted to the scene by curiosity.28-31. Similar in tone to 19:41-44 and possibly taken by Luke from the same source.28. An introduction to the prophetic warning of disaster. The daughters of Jerusalem--to be distinguished from the Galilean women of vs. 49--have far greater reason for tears than the tragedy that has befallen Jesus. Luke's first readers would think of the siege of Jerusalem, and the whole passage may be colored by memories of that catastrophe.29. Motherhood will be a curse in those days instead of a blessing, either because mothers will be torn with anxiety for the fate of their children (19:44) or because children will interfere with any attempt of their mothers to flee the city (21:21-23a).30. A quotation from Hos. 10:8b. A prayer for death, not as in Rev. 6:16 for concealment.31. A proverbial saying with many rabbinical parallels. Probable meaning in this context: If the innocent Jesus must suffer so terribly, what will be the fate of the guilty city? Less probable alternative: If Jerusalem in the heyday of its prosperity perpetrates such a deed as Christ's crucifixion, what horrors will it inflict in the dreadful time that is coming?32. An editorial emendation of Mark, who mentions the "two robbers" only after telling of Jesus' crucifixion (Mark 15:27).3. THE CRUCIFIXION (23:33-38)Crucifixion was a cruel and spectacular method of execution, first employed by the Carthaginians and then taken over by the Romans as one means of imposing the death penalty. According to Christian tradition, Peter, an unenfranchised Jew, was crucified and Paul, a Roman citizen, was beheaded. The outstretched arms of the victim were nailed or tied to a crossbeam and then this plank was lashed or nailed to a vertical pole. Support was sometimes given to the naked body by allowing the legs to straddle a projection, and the feet were tied or nailed to the vertical pole. Death usually resulted from a slow process of exhaustion rather than from loss of blood.33. Luke omits the Aramaic "Golgotha" of Mark's version and translates The Skull. Calvary was a translation of the Greek Krani6on, borrowed from the Vulg. Presumably the place was a skull-shaped mound, although "Mount Calvary" is not a term that can be traced any earlier than the fourth century. No certain identification of the site is possible. Heb. 13:12 says it lay "outside the gate."34a. Forgive them: The Jews? Or the Roman soldiers responsible for executing the sentence? The omission of the prayer by Codex Vaticanus, the original text of Codex Bezae, and other important MSS makes it highly improbable that it stood from the beginning in Luke's Gospel. But the scribe who inserted it did so with a deep and true understanding of the Galilean teacher. It is one of the most typically "Christian" utterances credited to Jesus in the gospel tradition (cf. Acts 7:60).34b. Jesus' garments became the perquisites of his executioners. No doubt the detail was recorded by the evangelists (cf. Mark 15:24b) because it fulfilled the messianic interpretation of Ps. 22:18.35. A revision and abbreviation of the mockery recorded in Mark 15:31-32a, which on its part may have been suggested by Ps. 22:7-8. Luke distinguishes the attitude of the people from that of the rulers (Sanhedrists), perhaps under the influence of Ps. 22:17.36-37. The soldiersjoined in the derision. Ps. 69:21b may have influenced Luke's revision of Mark 15:23, 36. No doubt the evangelist thought of the offer of vinegar as an act of torture.38. See Mark 15:26. It was a Roman custom to hang a placard--titulus--about the neck of the condemned criminal or fasten it to the cross, setting forth the legal charge against him. This gospel note is an important historical datum in any discussion of Jesus' messianic consciousness. In letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew (KJV; RSV rag.): Missing from Codex Vaticanus and most of its allies, and probably an interpolation in codices Sinaiticus and Bezae (and later MSS) from John 19:20, where the words are intended to symbolize the universality of Jesus' kingship.4. THE PENITENT CRIMINAL (23:39-43)According to Mark 15:32b, both robbers who were crucified with Jesus joined the bystanders and Sanhedrists in mocking him. Luke distinguishes a repentant from an obdurate sinner.39. Are you not the Christ? The reading in codices Vaticanus and Sinaiticus and in most other ancient MSS.40-42. But this man has done nothing wrong: Because vs. 42 shows that the speaker, accepted Jesus' messianic claim, B. S. Easton argues that this clause must mean "is dying for claims that are true." But such exegesis is unnecessarily subtle.43. The penitent criminal is promised more than he asked. His felicity will not be postponed until Jesus inaugurates his kingdom. It will begin this very day in heaven. Paradise: A word borrowed from the Persian. The idea that the souls of the righteous would go at death to their eternal reward gradually found a place in Jewish thought beside the earlier belief that disembodied spirits would dwell in Sheol pending the resurrection and final judgment, and sometimes coalesced with it (see on 16:19-31).5. MIRACLES THAT MARKED THE LAST HOURS ON THE CROSS (23:44-45; cf. Mark 15:33, 38)44-45a. Luke omits the Marcan notice that Jesus was crucified at 9 A.M. (Mark 15:25) but reproduces the statement that there was darkness over the whole land from midday to three in the afternoon, no doubt to symbolize the cosmic nature of the tragedy that was being enacted. While the sun's light failed (RSV): Probably even Mark's version was intended to imply an eclipse but Luke makes this explanation explicit. The fact that an eclipse was astronomically impossible at the time of the Passover full moon may have suggested the inferior reading translated by the KJV: And the sun was darkened.45b. Follows Christ's death in Mark's account. The curtain of the temple: The veil that separated the Holy of Holies from contiguous parts of the temple and that was lifted only once a year by the high priest when he entered the presence of God to make sacrificial propitiation for the sins of the people. This gospel miracle gives symbolic expression to the Christian faith that Christ's death made possible the direct access of men to God and is reminiscent of the argument in the Epistle to the Hebrews (cf. especially Heb. 10:19-22).6. JESUS' DEATH (23:46-49)A radical revision of Mark 15:37, 39-40.46. A loud voice: A possible hint that Jesus' death was due to the failure of some vital organ. Luke substitutes an apt quotation from Ps. 31:5 for the one from Ps. 22:1 that had stood in his Marcan source as Christ's last words, regarding an expression of trust and faith as more appropriate than a bitter cry of despair.47. "Certainly this man was innocent!" for Mark's "Truly this man was a son of God." A Roman centurion at the Cross had admitted its founder's innocence of any crime against the state (see Intro., pp. 5-6).48. An editorial generalization. The behavior of "the crowd," as Luke represents it in the passion story, is often contradictory.49. And all his acquaintances: Probably Luke thought of them as including Jesus' disciples, for he had omitted Mark's earlier comment that they had all forsaken him and fled (Mark 14:50). Pss. 38:11 and 88:8a may have influenced the composition of this verse. Mark's list of faithful women (15:40b) is omitted, perhaps because Luke had already mentioned a somewhat different group by name (8:2b-3; cf. also 24:10).7. JESUS' BURIAL (23:50-56; cf. Mark 15:42-43, 46-47)50-51. A member of the council: If Joseph was sympathetic to Jesus and his message despite his membership in the Sanhedrin, had he taken any part in the proceedings of that court against him? Luke appears to have sensed a difficulty in Mark's account at this point, for he declares that the councilor had not consented to their purpose and deed; cf. John 19:38, where we are told that Joseph had kept his devotion to Jesus a secret "for fear of the Jews." Arimathea: No certain identification is possible. Usually regarded as a corruption of "Ramathaim" (I Sam. 1:1), a Judean village near the Samaritan border. A city of the Jews: A geographical note inserted by Luke for the benefit of his Gentile readers (cf. 4:31; 8:26).52-53. The Romans had no scruples about leaving a dead body on a cross over night, but it was a breach of Jewish law to do so (Deut. 21:23). A rock-hewn tomb: The Greek could mean "a tomb built of stones," but no doubt Luke was simply paraphrasing Mark's "a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock." Where no one ... laid: In Luke only; cf. the similar notice in 19:30 (Mark 11:2) and see Exeg., ad loc. Mark's comment that a stone was rolled against the door of the tomb is omitted but the detail is presupposed in 24:2.54-56a. The day of Preparation, i.e., Friday (see Mark 15:42). "The sabbath was dawning" (RSV mg.): A Jewish idiom; in Palestine at the Passover season about 6 P.M. Who had come with him from Galilee: A somewhat irritating repetition of a subordinate clause in vs. 49. Because of the near approach of the Sabbath the customary embalming of the body had to be postponed. According to Mark 16:1, the women purchased the necessary spices after the sabbath was past.J. DISCOVERY OF THE EMPTY TOMB (24:1-12=Mark 16:1-6a)
Vss. 1-5 are a free revision and abbreviation of the narrative in Mark. Vss. 6b-11 are an editorial addition, but vs. 10a appears to be dependent on Mark 16:1.I Cor. 15:3-8 is the most important passage in the N.T. for an understanding of the early Christian faith in Christ's resurrection. Written not more than twenty-five years after the event, it recalls the tradition that the Apostle to the Gentiles had already imparted to his Corinthian converts (I Cor. 15:5), and claims that his teaching in the matter was apostolic doctrine (I Cor. 15:9-11). In it Paul declares that the Christian conviction that Christ had triumphed over the Cross was based on appearances of the risen Lord. It asserts that the first of these had been vouchsafed to Cephas, and implies that Paul thought of his own vision of the risen Christ as similar to those of his predecessors, and as the last in the series.There is a trace in Luke's Gospel of this early apologetic. In 24:34, when Cleopas and his companion return to Jerusalem from Emmaus to report their experience to the larger company, they are greeted with the words: "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!"Paul gives no indication that he was familiar with the doctrine of the empty tomb. There is not the remotest reference to it in any of his letters, and his own conviction that the resurrection body is not the body of this flesh but a spiritual body waiting for the soul of man in heaven (I Cor. 15:35-55; II Cor. 5:1-4) makes it improbable that he would have found it congenial. Nevertheless it appealed to Mark as the all-important fact, and in his Gospel--whose original text probably ended with Mark 16:8--it displaced all other resurrection tradition.Both Matthew and Luke took over and revised Mark's story of the empty tomb, but both also supplemented it with a cycle of resurrection narratives. Matthew records appearances of the risen Christ to his disciples in Galilee, while the locale of Luke's stories (cf. John 20) is restricted to Jerusalem and its vicinity.24:1-3. Of the Lord Jesus (KJV; RSV mg.): Missing from Codex Bezae and the O.L. MSS.4. In Mark's version the women see "a young man ... in a white robe" as soon as they enter the tomb. Here two men ... in dazzling apparel appear only after the discovery and perplexity noted by the evangelist in vss. 3b and 4a. No doubt angelic appearances are implied (cf. Acts 1:10).5a. An expansion of Mark's "and they were amazed."5b. More graphic than its counterpart in Mark. Among the dead, i.e., in a tomb.6a. In KJV; RSV mg. Missing from Codex Bezae and the O.L. MSS, and no doubt introduced into the archetypes of others to harmonize Luke with Mark and Matthew.6b-7. Since Luke locates all the resurrection appearances of Christ in or about Jerusalem, these verses replace Mark 14:28: "But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee." The reference is to the prophecies recorded in 9:22 and 44, and Luke now implies that the women were numbered among the disciples to whom they were addressed.8-9. Instead of fleeing in terror from the tomb and saying nothing to anyone, as in Mark, the women remembered the prophecy after the angels had recalled it and returned to the company of disciples to report what they had seen and heard. And to all the rest prepares the reader for the reference to others besides the eleven in the stories that follow (vss. 13, 22-24, 33).10. Luke had suppressed the names of the women in 23:49 and 55 (contrast Mark 15:40, 47) but now mentions three of them. The list is as in Mark 16:1, with Joanna (Luke 8:3) substituted for "Salome." Mary the mother of James: "James the younger" according to Mark 15:40. Possibly "James the son of Alphaeus" of Luke 6:15 (Mark 3:18).11. The implication that none of the disciples took the trouble to investigate the women's story is contradicted by vs. 24, and it may have been this apparent discrepancy that suggested to some scribe the interpolation of vs. 12.12. In KJV; RSV mg. Missing from Codex Bezae and the O.L. MSS, and no doubt an interpolation based on John 20:3-10.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Posted for a curious friend.

3:1. Revising the myth, J represented the serpent not as a demon whose origin, whatever it may have been, owed nothing to God, but as a beast of the field which ... God had made. Nor was he, even in intention, a benefactor of the human race, but a subtle liar. He deliberately misled the woman in telling her that by eating of the forbidden tree she and her husband would be like God, knowing good and evil (vs. 5), for he knew all the time that the sole result would be consciousness of sex with, in the thought of J, its consequent misery.
3. Lest you die: God had warned the man and the woman that if they should eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree, the consequence would be death. There can be little doubt that this was a feature of the earlier myth. There it was, it would seem, a mere threat, impossible of fulfillment. In the event, the best that the offended deity could do was to prevent man's access to the tree of life (cf. vs. 22). J could not tolerate the idea that God would threaten what he could not perform, nor could he, without defeating the purpose of his narrative (see Exeg. on vs. 23), have the warning put into effect. At the same time he was under the necessity of preserving the salient points of the original tale (cf. Exeg. on vs. 22), of which the warning of immediate death was one.
It is hardly possible that J intended the sentence in vs. 19, "you are dust, and to dust you shall return," to be taken as the implementation of the warning. For in the first place it is difficult to suppose that he, artist that he was, would have been content to leave unexplained the awkward fact that action had been thus delayed. And secondly there is no suggestion in vs. 19abb that man's "return to the ground" was a consequence of his disobedience; the implication is rather that this was his natural end.
The inference would seem to be unavoidable that for J not death itself but man's attitude toward death as the final frustration of a frustrated life was the last consequence of the alienation from God which his rebellion had caused. And, as will be shown below (see Exeg. on vs. 7), this attitude was the inevitable result of the radical disordering of human relationships which was the immediate consequence of his act. Thus J has here again revised the original myth. Facing the problem of how to deal with the threat which was not fulfilled, he was brought to a new understanding of man's fear of death--"the king of terrors" (Job 18:14)--in which all other fears are bound up. No magic tree of life could cure this malady, let alone give immortality, so J omitted all mention of it from his narrative.
4-5. The account of the temptation of the woman in vss. 1-6 is written with superlative skill, and reveals further the psychological penetration of the author. The serpent appeals to the human desire to be like God. This is a right and reasonable desire. The later command, "ye shall be holy; for I the LORD your God am holy" (Lev. 19:2; cf. Matt. 5:48), makes it clear that man is possessed of the potentiality to become like God--in character. This likeness is to come through submission to God's will. The serpent in telling the woman that likeness to God is to be achieved by defiance of his command tacitly suggests that the likeness which is within human reach is likeness not in character but in power. He suggests that man can make himself the equal of God.
6. The woman sees that the tree is good for food and ... a delight to the eyes. Deceived by the serpent, she is now deceiving herself. All that she wants to do, she tells herself, is to satisfy two legitimate desires, for food and for beauty. By what right has God forbidden their satisfaction? Her real desire, however, is for power. It is difficult to say whether or not this same self-deception is implicit in the next clause, that the tree was to be desired to make one wise. Both the fact that this was not something which could actually be seen and the explicit subject the tree, unnecessary after the preceding clause, suggest that this clause is a gloss (cf. Gunkel, Genesis, p. 17). If this is the case, the glossator may simply be carrying J's description of the woman's thought a little further: the desire for wisdom, too, is a legitimate desire which God has no right to thwart. On the other hand, his reference may be to a wisdom which is not of God, the wisdom of magic, an instrument of power. If so, it would seem that J in describing the woman's self-deception had been careful to tell only how she had consciously justified her action to herself, thus suggesting that she had refused to admit her real motive. The glossator then, feeling that this was too subtle to be grasped by the ordinary man, added the clause to make explicit what J in his sensitivity had left implicit.
7. The perfidy of the serpent was immediately apparent on the eating of the fruit. Far from becoming like God, knowing good and evil (vs. 5), they knew only that they were naked. The concreteness of the statement is characteristically Semitic. The nakedness of which they hitherto "were not ashamed" (2:25) becomes an intolerable indecency, demanding that it be covered now that the consciousness of sex has sprung to life within them. It must not be supposed that J regarded the sexual relationship as in itself evil. Having been ordained by God (cf. 2:18, 21-23), this could only be good. But it had been infected with evil when man in his desire for power had disobeyed God. This had impaired the relationship between man and God and so had thrown the relationship between the man and his wife into disorder.
Whatever the context of the earlier myth may have been, in the present form of the story the actors, the first man and the first woman, constitute the whole human race. The relationship between them thus symbolized all human relationships. It is difficult to say whether J would have consciously subscribed to the statement that the sexual relationship is the basic human relationship. It is unlikely that he thought in such terms. Nevertheless in view of the psychological penetration which marks the story as a whole there can be little doubt that he was, however inarticulately, aware of the definitive character of this relationship. The representation that the awakening of sex consciousness was accompanied by a consciousness of guilt thus contains a recognition of the fact that all human relationships are disordered. Alienation from God has brought with it alienation from man. Loneliness is the specter which haunts unredeemed humanity.
8. The idea that God, like a man of substance, strolled in his garden in the evening was presumably derived from the earlier myth. In the statement that the man and his wife hid themselves from God the author, again in concrete terms, records their sense of guilt.
B. DISCOVERY (3:9-13)
10. The economy of the narrative should be noted. Nothing is said of what the culprits thought when God called to them, or of how they emerged from their hiding place and stood guiltily at a distance (ibid., p. 19). And yet there is no loss of effect. The concrete directness of the writing gives the narrative strength and clarity.
11. The impression conveyed by the record of the questioning which follows is not that God had to make an inquisition to find out what had happened, but rather that he at once knew the cause of man's shame and was compelling him and his wife to convict themselves. This is in agreement with the clear though implicit representation in the account of the sentencing of the serpent, the woman, and the man--that God was in complete and enduring control of the situation which confronted him. With this vs. 22 may again be contrasted: there God fears that man may put himself pennanently beyond his control by attaining immortality. Vss. 9-19, 23 thus provide a further example not only of the skill with which J has revised the earlier myth, but also of his unshakable conviction of the omnipotence and omniscience of God and of man's inescapable dependence upon him.
C. THE CURSE (3:14-19)
14-15. The curse pronounced upon the serpent explains etiologically: (a) why serpents have no legs--the myth seems to imply that formerly they had walked like other animals--and (b) why, as was supposed, they ate dust. Thus in vs. 14 two physical characteristics--one real, the other imaginary--of the animal are accounted for. Vs. 15, on the other hand, deals with a psychological characteristic, not only of the serpent but also of man--the ineradicable hostility between them. The verse is accordingly on another level than vs. 14. This may suggest that it is secondary, a suggestion which perhaps receives a certain support from the fact that its meaning is not altogether clear. It is a matter of dispute as to whether the author thinks of the serpent's attack upon man as fatal, causing man's death by striking at his heel as surely as man causes the serpent's death by crushing his head. To this question Gunkel (ibid., p. 21) gives an affirmative answer, Skinner (Genesis, p. 80) a negative, and with this agrees the messianic interpretation placed upon the verse by Targ. Jonathan, Targ. Jerusalem, the medieval Christian exegetes, and Calvin (see ibid., pp. 80-82, for an outline of this development and for a summary of the allegorical interpretation the verse has received).
There is, furthermore, the difficulty that the Hebrew verb shûph, rendered bruise, adequately describes the effect of man's action against the serpent but scarcely that of the serpent's action against man. It may be, as Gunkel suggests (Genesis, p. 21), that the use of shûph is due to a scribal error, and that shA)aph, which seems to have the required double meaning of "crush" and "aim at," was original (see, however, Skinner, Genesis, pp. 79-80). Finally, it is perhaps not without significance that the verse reveals a certain reflectiveness not unlike that which informs 2:24, the J authorship of which has already been called into question on independent grounds.
16. Thy sorrow and thy conception (KJV) is a more literal rendering of the Hebrew than your pain in childbearing (RSV). Since, however, for a Hebrew woman conception was not a burden but a joy, the word can scarcely be original here. Instead, "thy grief" should be read; cf. the LXX, "thy groaning."
The first half of the verse provides an etiological explanation of the pain suffered by women in childbirth, the agony of which is frequently referred to in the O.T. (cf. e.g., Isa. 13:8; Jer. 4:31). It is a question whether the second half,
yet your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you,
speaks of sexual desire in woman, or whether it alludes to her natural desire for children--in which case thy desire shall be to thy husband (KJV) would perhaps be the better rendering. In either case the reference is to the wife's dependence upon her husband and so to the necessity she was under to endure the arbitrary treatment customary in the age in which the story was written. Most significant is the fact that J, far in advance of his time, sees that this domination of woman by man is an evil thing. The implication is that the relationship between husband and wife was intended by God to be a mutual and complementary relationship of love and respect, not a relationship in which one dominates the other. And the further implication is that all human relationships were intended to be mutual relationships--though the expression of this mutuality would necessarily differ with the character of the relationship; i.e., the mutuality between friend and friend differs from that between parent and child, for instance. Thus all attempts at domination, so characteristic of human conduct, are a consequence of the disorder which has infected the relationship of man to man, and at the same time make for further disorder and for the further alienation of man from God.
This being the case, J2's melancholy attitude as regards sex (in contrast to the matter-of-fact attitude of j1; see Exeg. on 34:1-31) becomes understandable. On all sides he was confronted by Baalism. This, being a fertility religion, was concerned above all else with the reproductive powers of nature, and this concern had issued in sexual license. To the temptation of this religion the Israelite peasant only too easily succumbed, and this led to further alienation from Yahweh. It is not surprising therefore that J2 reveals a tendency to regard the sexual relationship as the focal point of evil, the center of the tragic infection which blasts human hopes and reduces life to dust.
17. The penalty laid upon the man (read "the man" for Adam; in the J narrative )AdhAm, "man," is not elsewhere a proper name; see vss. 9, 12, etc.) is that of expulsion from the garden "to till the ground from which he was taken" (vs. 23). This involved toil--for you shall eat of it should be read "you shall till it," required by vs. 23--as unremitting as it was frustrating--the word rendered toil (RSV) also has the meaning "pain" or sorrow (KJV). The frustration is the result of God's curse, cursed is the ground because of you. Man's relationship with nature, like his relationships with God and with his fellow men, is in disorder.
18. That this verse is not from the same hand as vs. 19a is shown by the awkward double occurrence of eat (cf. Holzinger, Genesis, p. 35; Rudolf Smend, Die Erzählung des Hexateuch [Berlin: Georg Reimer, 1912], p. 19) and by the fact that it breaks the connection between vss. 17 and 19. It is a gloss by one who presumably felt that J's meaning was not sufficiently clear: it might be thought that he was representing the simple necessity of tilling the ground as the punishment for man's disobedience. This was indeed for J part of the punishment; it was not the whole of it. For (as has been pointed out in the Exeg. on vs. 17; see also that on vs. 19) he regarded the sense of frustration which dogged the peasant--and every man--in his work as the more terrible consequence of man's sin. It is this point which the glossator is concerned to stress in vs. 18a. Vs. 18b, noting the contrast between man's present food and the fruit of the garden, may be from a still later hand, as is suggested by Holzinger (Genesis, pp. 35-36), who, however, retains vs. 18a as part of the original narrative.
19. Till you return to the ground: The reference is to the burial of the dead. For out of it you were taken refers back to 2:7, and stresses one of the salient points, of the story. You are dust, and to dust you shall return would seem to have been taken by J from an independent poem, for it says that man was made not from the ground but from dust--which led to the intrusion of "the dust of" in 2:7.
It has already been noted that there is no suggestion here that man would have lived forever had he not eaten of the forbidden fruit (cf. Gunkel, Genesis, pp. 22-23; Skinner, Genesis, p. 83). Rather the implication is (see Exeg. on vs. 3) that man would have regarded death not as the last fearful frustration but as his natural end. The fear of death is a consequence of the disorder in man's relationships, as a result of which they are no longer characterized by mutuality but by domination. Man, aware of his need for others, attempts to compel them to fill his need that he may be secure. In this he may even be successful for a time. But he is always haunted by the fear that those whom he dominates will free themselves from him, and he tries to quiet this fear by further aggression. In this, too, he may be temporarily successful. From the fear of death, however, he cannot escape. For in the depths of his soul he knows that the structure of relationships which he has erected to protect himself is fundamentally without substance. In the end it will crumble and he will be compelled to face the fact which he had always tried to deny--that he is man and not God. Man's disordered relationships and his fear of death are inextricably bound up together, the consequence of his alienation from God.
20. In view of the fact that nowhere in his narrative does J record the naming of man, it is unlikely that this verse is from his hand. In any case it would not belong here, between the sentence passed upon the man and its execution, and before the woman had become the mother of anything living. It is, however, scarcely a casual gloss, for the name "Hawwah" (Eve) seems to be traditional; it is therefore probably an insertion from the Eden saga which thus (cf. also vss. 21, 22, and 24 in part) appears to have remained extant for some time after J had produced his revision of it.
The fact that the verse was intruded here, rather than after the notice of man's expulsion from the garden, would seem to suggest that in this earlier recension of the myth children had been born to the man and his wife while they were still in Eden. If this is so, then the awareness which J reveals of the distortion in human nature, reaching down to its very depths and manifesting itself in all man's relationships, owes little to the original myth. It derives from Yahwism, the religion which Israel had brought from the desert and which threw light upon the religion of Canaan, discerning its values and rejecting its errors, and in the process relating itself to the peasant culture into which Israel had entered.
21. This verse also, scarcely necessary though not impossible after vs. 7, is probably from the Eden story. If, as has been suggested, that recension regarded sex consciousness as a natural attribute of man, the notice in its original context will have followed immediately upon the account of the making of the man and the woman. If the verse is not from J it is not necessary to emend Adam to "the man."
22. The reasons for supposing that this verse is an intrusion from the Eden myth upon which J based his story of the garden have already been stated and need not be repeated here. It was presumably inserted in part to supply some reference to the tree of life which J had chosen to ignore, in part because he regarded as intolerable and morally dangerous the implication that immortality could be attained apart from, not to say in spite of, God; and also because he could not permit the suggestion that the disorder in human relationships, springing from man's alienation from God and giving rise to the fear of death, could be healed by external means. But the very fact that the addition was made suggests that J had been more drastic in his revision of the original myth than popular acceptance would allow--a significant, interesting indication of the extent to which he, writing to maintain and strengthen the unity of Israel, was limited in his treatment of non-Yahwist material.
While the verse obscures the thought of J, it is far from being without value. For in its total biblical context it affirms that man, for all his fantastic self-deception, cannot make himself the equal of God; that not knowing good and evil but knowing the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent (cf. John 17:3) is eternal life; and that the love of God is so great that man cannot make permanent and irremediable the tragic frustration which he has brought upon himself.
But the Eden saga was drawn upon not only to supply the missing reference to the tree of life. The other insertions from this recension (vss. 20, 21, together with 2:24) seem to reveal a certain uneasiness concerning J's tendency noted above (see Exeg. on these verses) to regard the sexual relationship as the focal point of evil. It was to correct this that these verses were inserted by one who had been reflecting upon the great story lying before him, who recognized in its tragic verdict on sex a certain validity but who nevertheless could not accept it without qualification. This was provided, to a slight degree, by vss. 20-21 which by implication reaffirmed the older representation that sex consciousness was a natural human attribute; and, more clearly, by the affirmation of the naturalness and sanctity of the marriage act in 2:24.
Finally, it should be noted that in the creation narrative as a whole (chs. 1-3) the melancholy pessimism of J2 as regards sex is qualified by the relatively optimistic attitude of P: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it. ... And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good" (1:27-28a, 31a). And it is the narrative as a whole which has the finality of the Word of God.
23. With the excision of vss. 20-22 this verse is left as the immediate and original continuation of vs. 19. The initial therefore must accordingly be rendered "and," no change being involved in the Hebrew. Of Eden is redactional linking with the Eden fragments which have been inserted into the story.
This verse concludes the original J story. It is a story written to account for man's tragic experience of alienation from God, and neither the fact that it is based upon and is a drastic revision of an older myth, nor the fact that it is one-sided in its judgment as to the meaning of sex, nor the fact that it regards the necessity of work as a result of disobedience should be permitted to obscure this truth. It is not a historical account of "the Fall," nor is the doctrine of original sin based upon it. Indeed, it may be said that without the experience of alienation from God, of which that doctrine is the metaphysical explanation, the story would never have been written. Starting from that experience, the author voices his conviction--a conviction rooted in his knowledge of God--that man's sense of alienation from God springs from his own act, that it is not natural, that it would never have arisen had man been obedient.
24. This verse has suffered in transmission and must be restored, with the LXX, "And he drove out the man, and caused him to dwell to the east of the garden of Eden; and he stationed the cherubim and a flaming sword [lit., in Hebrew, "the flame of the sword"], which turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life." The reference to Eden and to the tree of life indicates that the verse is another insertion from the Eden saga--the garden of being redactional harmonization--made at the same time as vs. 22 to explain why it was that the man, being banished, could never get back to the tree of life. The role of the cherubim here is that of guardians of a holy place, as it is in Exod. 37:7-9 and I Kings 6:23-27 (cf. "covering cherub" in Ezek. 28:16; also Exod. 26:31; I Kings 6:29, 32). In II Sam. 6:2; Ps. 18:10; Ezek. 1:1, they are represented as the supporters of Yahweh's throne. They were winged beings with two faces (cf. Ezek. 41:18-19)--of a man and of a lion--or with four (cf. Ezek. 1:10)--of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle (cf. Rev. 4:7). With them may be compared the sphinx in Egypt and the hybrid figures stationed before Assyrian temples and palaces. "The flame of the sword"--it can scarcely have been conceived as in the hand of one of the cherubim--is an independent symbol, a representation of lightning (Skinner, Genesis, p. 89). It is possible that originally this only was mentioned and that the cherubim, and is a gloss (cf. Gunkel, Genesis, pp. 24-25, who, however, derives the cherubim and the flame from parallel sources).
In its present context the verse makes explicit what had been implicit in vs. 23--that man could never redeem himself. Redemption would be possible only when God by his own act once again opened the way to the tree of life.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Luke 19:47 to 21:38

47-48. An editorial expansion of a single verse in Mark serves as an introduction to 20:1-8. The three groups named constituted the membership of the Sanhedrin. In addition to their functions as the court of final appeal in matters of religion, they had jurisdiction over the temple and its ritual, and no doubt regarded Jesus' act of cleansing the temple courts as a challenge to their authority and prestige. The chief priests: Heads of the leading priestly families. Daily: Luke ignores Mark's apparent chronological scheme of six days from the date of the Entry to that of the Crucifixion. There are indications also in Mark that the earliest evangelist has telescoped his material (Mark 14:49).

No doubt the Sanhedrin had heard of Jesus' activities in Galilee and had been watching him for some time with suspicion. As long as he remained in the northern province he was under the jurisdiction of Herod Antipas and they could take no direct action against him, but as soon as he entered Judea he came into the sphere of their authority. As a religious teacher he would appear to them of little consequence, but as one whose ministry might cause a political disturbance, or lead to a messianic uprising, he would be an object of concern and distrust. This story is the first of a series that describes attempts by members of the Sanhedrin, or by Sadducees who controlled that body, to trap Jesus into an admission that could be framed as a charge warranting the death penalty and laid before the Roman procurator.
20:1-2. According to Mark's version, the incident took place on the day after the cleansing of the temple, and it was that act which was challenged. Luke's one day is vague, and according to the Third Evangelist it was Jesus' teaching the people in the temple, and preaching the gospel for which the deputation from the Sanhedrin demanded his authority. The purpose of the double-barreled question was to wrest from Jesus some explicit messianic claim.
3-4. Rabbinical debates were often conducted in the form of question and counter-question, the latter framed in some measure to convey the answer to the former. It is probable therefore that Jesus intended to do more than impale his opponents on the horns of a dilemma. He wished to suggest that there was a close connection between his ministry and John's and that his own authority also came from heaven. This in itself does not necessarily imply a messianic consciousness on his part.
5-8. The questioners found the counter-question embarrassing, and their refusal to answer it freed Jesus from any need of replying to their initial challenge. Mark declares that the deputation hesitated to say that John's authority was "from men" because "they were afraid of the people." Luke makes them anticipate violent consequences: All the people will stone us.
C. H. Dodd interprets this story as a parable that Jesus used to illustrate his message of the kingdom of God, but his case is not impressive (The Parables of the Kingdom [New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1936], pp. 124-32). It is possible that vss. 9-12 were once part of a true parable, but the additional matter appears to make the whole an allegory that reflects the theological beliefs of the early church. The owner of the vineyard is God; the vineyard itself is Israel; the tenants are the hierarchs of Judaism; the servants are the prophets of O.T. times; the beloved son is Jesus Christ; the murder of the heir is the crucifixion of the Son of God; the dispossession and destruction of the wicked tenants are God's plan of history; and the new tenants are probably to be understood as the apostles.
9. To the people for Mark's "to them"--the deputation from the Sanhedrin. This parable for Mark's generalized "in parables." Israel as God's vineyard is a metaphorical equation at least as ancient as the parable in Isa. 5:1-7. The opening verse of Mark's account has been obviously modeled on the wording of that O.T. passage, but this dependence is scarcely noticeable in Luke's abbreviated version. Farm land was frequently owned by absentee landlords in biblical times and tenants were often sharecroppers. For a long while: A Lukan addition, possibly to emphasize the antiquity of God's covenant with Moses.
10-12. When the time came: According to Lev. 19:23-25, in the fifth year. In Mark's version a long series of servants attempted to collect the master's share of the fruit of the vineyard. Luke limits the number to three.
13-15a. Details that lack verisimilitude if the story is a parable based on real life, but pregnant with meaning if it is a Christian allegory. In Mark's account the wicked tenants killed the owner's son and cast him out of the vineyard. It is possible that Luke has altered the order of these events to make the narrative correspond to the Christian tradition that Jesus was crucified "outside the gate" (Heb. 13:12; cf. John 19:17).
15b-16. As in Isa. 5:4-6 a rhetorical question provided with an answer. The reference is clearly to God and his judgment. In real life an owner of a vineyard could scarcely take the law into his own hands after such a fashion. To others: Probably the Christian apostles are meant--with the implication that the church is the true Israel. The destruction of Jerusalem by Titus and his allocation of Palestinian lands to Roman veterans of the Jewish war are not implied. Luke adds to his source the protest of Jesus' listeners against the fate he prophesies: God forbid!
17. A quotation from Ps. 118:22 that was messianically interpreted both in late Judaism and in early Christianity (Acts 4:11; I Pet. 2:4-7)
18. Substituted by Luke for the quotation from Ps. 118:23 in Mark. Apparently a combination of phrases from Isa. 8:14 and Dan. 2:34. Luke may have found them already conjoined in some early Christian collection of proof texts (testimonia).
19-20. Luke rewrites his Marcan source. Spies for Mark's "some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians." Luke refers to the Pharisees in the phrase who pretended to be sincere, but never mentions the Herodians in his Gospel. He may not have known who they were or may have thought that reference to them would have little meaning for his Gentile readers. So as to deliver him up to ... the governor states a purpose implicit in Mark's account.
21-22. Tribute: An annual poll tax collected by the Romans from every adult male in Judea after the deposition of Archelaus in A.D. 6. The levy was very unpopular, for it was interpreted as a mark of Jewish subjugation to a foreign power. The question was cleverly framed. If Jesus were to give an affirmative answer, he would alienate all fervent nationalists. If he were to answer "No," he would lay himself open to the charge of treason (cf. 23:2).
23-24. Craftiness: An apt substitution by Luke for Mark's "hypocrisyú" A coin: A denarius, a silver coin (of sixty grains) worth about twenty cents, minted by the Romans, and in Jesus' day bearing the likeness and inscription of Augustus or Tiberius. The reproduction of the head of the deified emperor violated the Jewish law against images and irritated Jewish sensibilities. The coinage issued in Judea by the procurators was made of bronze or copper and carried only such inoffensive emblems as olive branches or palms.
25. A celebrated saying often interpreted as wholly noncommittal. Jesus' answer to his enemies was a clever evasion of the trap they had set for him. But this can hardly be correct. Jesus clearly asserts that the tax is to be paid. He repudiated the position of those extremists who held that a loyal and patriotic Jew could not obey the Roman state and still serve God or regard him as King. If coins were circulating with Caesar's image on them, they belonged to the emperor and he had a perfect right to demand them. But at the same time there were duties and debts that men owed to God. The two loyalties were not incompatible. It should be unnecessary for the interpreter to point out that this saying does not support any social theory that would put our secular responsibilities in one compartment of living and our religious duties in another. Nor does it provide us with a theoretical discussion of the relationships of church and state such as Paul develops in Rom. 13:1-7.
26. An editorial elaboration of Mark's comment on the impression Jesus' answer had made on his interlocutors.
5. QUESTION ABOUT THE RESURRECTION (20:27-40; Cf. Mark 12:18-28a, 32b, 34b)
27. The Sadducees accepted only the written tradition as authoritative. Because the doctrine of a life to come, based on belief in a physical resurrection, arose after the Pentateuch was compiled and is not reflected in it, they were justified by their premises when they declared that there is no resurrection (cf. Acts 28:8).
28. The reference is to the so-called "levirate" marriage law in Deut. 25:5-6. A survival in ancient Hebrew legislation of ideas once associated with ancestor worship, the regulation appears to have been largely in abeyance in Jesus' day.
29-33. Not an attempt at cheap humor, but an effort to show that Moses could not have contemplated any resurrection. His legislation demonstrates that the doctrine leads to absurdity.
34-35. Luke rewrites his Marcan source. Some interpreters believe he is collating it with an independent tradition. Read this age and that age with the RSV. For marry and are given in marriage (vs. 34) some ancient MSS have "procreate" and "are born," and these readings are preferred by some modern editors as a better introduction to vs. 36. Those who are accounted worthy: Luke's version makes Jesus anticipate only "a resurrection of the just" (cf. 14:14).
36. An expansion of Mark's "but are like angels in heaven." In this age marriage is an institution necessary for the propagation of the race, but its necessity disappears when men and women become equal to angels and do not die any more. Some ancient authorities omit and are sons. Sons of the resurrection: A Semitism comparable to "the sons of this age" (vs. 34).
37-38. In the passage about the bush: Exod. 3:2-6. Jesus' deduction of the doctrine of the resurrection from this O.T. passage is less direct in Luke's version than in Mark's, but in both instances its verbal exegesis is typically rabbinical. It would be nonsense for Moses to speak of the Lord as God of the patriarchs if they were only men who had lived and died long ago. The argument may have been adapted from Jewish sources. Interesting parallels have been cited from IV Macc. 7:19 and 16:25 (first century B.C.). For all live to him, i.e., "all the just" (23:43) rather than "all the patriarchs."
39-40. A conclusion constructed out of Marcan phrases (Mark 12:28a, 32b, 34b). Luke omits the story of the question about the greatest commandment because he has already used a variant of it (10:25-28).
The Jewish hope of a Messiah arose out of an idealization of Israel under the rule of David and the longing of the nation for the return of its former glories as a united kingdom under some member of the Davidic line. Perhaps its earliest articulation in O.T. literature is in Nathan's speech to David (II Sam. 7:12-16). Micah, Isaiah, and some of the psalmists took over the popular hope, purged it of its more nationalistic and materialistic traits, and spoke of the religious, spiritual, and ethical qualities that the "son of David" would display. In postexilic times the idea of the new age came to be formulated in terms of a theocracy, and the hope of a Davidic Messiah gradually fell into the background. After the Maccabean revolt of 168 B.C. the hope was largely displaced by the expectation of a supernatural being--the "Son of man"--who would be God's vicegerent in the miraculous inauguration of the new age. But Pss. Sol. 17-18, written about the middle of the first century B.C., show that the older category of thought continued to be popular in some quarters of Judaism. They speak of a descendant of the Davidic house whom God will raise up to overthrow the rule of the Gentiles, to gather the dispersed tribes of Israel, and to establish God's kingdom with its capital at Jerusalem (cf. Matthew 9:27; 12:23; 15:22; 21:9, 15; Mark 10:47-48; John 7:42).
The early church undertook to demonstrate that Jesus had fulfilled Jewish messianic expectations by his birth at Bethlehem and his lineal descent from David, but there is little trace of this early Christology except in the opening chapters of Matthew and Luke. It was quickly discarded in favor of more adequate ways of thinking such as "Son of man," "Son of God," "Lord," and "Word of God." There are references to the earlier belief in the opening sentence of Paul's Epistle to the Romans (1:3), and in two liturgical passages in the book of Revelation (5:5; 22:16), but nowhere else in the N.T.
The passage under consideration is a forthright repudiation of the theory that the Messiah must be "David's son," and a hint that he is more properly described as "Lord," a title used in the LXX for God and in liturgical formulas of the mystery cults for various pagan deities. If the verses are based on genuine utterances of Jesus, the question remains: Was he speaking "of himself, or of some other"? More probably they reflect some early christological controversy and were intended to demonstrate from Scripture that Jesus Christ was entitled to a more adequate appellation than "son of David."
41. To them: To the scribes of vs. 39; in Mark to an audience in the temple courts. They for Mark's "the scribes."
42-43. The Book of Psalms was popularly ascribed to David long before N.T. times. The quotation is from Ps. 110:1. It is interpreted as prophetic of the Ascension in Acts 2:34-35 and of Christ's work as heavenly high priest in Heb. 1:13 and 10:12-13. In the present instance only the opening words are important for the argument.
44. How can the Messiah be David's son when David refers to him as Lord? It has been argued that these words do not deny Jesus' descent from David; they only assert that the title "son of David," with its political associations, does not by itself do justice to Jesus' sense of mission.
7. JESUS WARNS AGAINST THE SCRIBES (20:45-47=Mark 12:38-40)
Mark's preamble implies that this material is only an excerpt--"And in his teaching he said ..." Since the substance of 20:46 has already been used by Luke in 11:43 as part of a discourse abstracted from Q, it is possible that Mark also knew some version of this collection of Jesus' teaching.
45. Virtually a new introduction to Marcan matter.
46-47. The scribes are said to be guilty of ostentation, greed, and hypocrisy (see on 11:37-54). Long robes: The distinctive dress of Jewish scholars. Best seats: See on 11:43. Who devour widows' houses: Exploitation of widows (forbidden by the regulation in Exod. 22:22) is censured by Isaiah as a particularly offensive social sin (Isa. 10:2). Greater condemnation, i.e., than ordinary sinners. Their calling as interpreters of the law made their behavior all the more reprehensible.

Attached by Mark to his collection of accounts of controversies between Jesus and opponents in Jerusalem, perhaps because of the reference to "widows' houses" in the condemnation of scribes with which it ends. The chapter division imposed on Luke's Gospel is an unhappy one at this point, for the story is in no sense an introduction to the subsequent apocalyptic section. The passage is an excellent illustration of Luke's practice of abbreviating Mark, omitting his Semitisms, and improving his style. Stories with a similar moral were commonplace in Jewish, Greek, and Indian (Buddhist) literature.
21:1-2. Treasury: Probably a room in one of the porticoes of the Court of Women. Thirteen trumpet-shaped receptacles were provided, supervised by priests, and the donor had to declare the sum he was offering and the special ritual purpose for which it was intended. Two copper coins: A lepton, worth less than half a cent, was the smallest Jewish coin in circulation.
3-4. It is not the size of the gift that gives it value in the sight of God but the sacrificial generosity with which it is given. All the living that she had: All the money she possessed for the purchase of her next meal.
5-6. This passage is taken over by Luke substantially as it stood in Mark. The temple was burned in A.D. 70 (Josephus Jewish War VI. 4. 5) and later its walls were leveled in the course of a systematic demolition of the city (ibid., VII. 1). It is by no means clear that the words ascribed to Jesus were originally a "prediction after the event." It is quite possible that Jesus shared the pessimism that had led Micah (3:12) and Jeremiah (26:6; cf. also Jer. 26:18) to envisage the destruction of the first temple as a consequence of the refusal of the people to repent. This prediction may have been the basis of the charge brought by "false witnesses" against Jesus at the hearing before the Sanhedrin (Mark 14:57-58; cf. John 2:18-19; Acts 6:13-14).
2. PRELIMINARY SIGNS OF THE APPROACHING END (21:7-19=Mark 13:3-9, 11-13)
To Jesus' prediction of the destruction of the temple Mark had appended a discourse on the end of the present age and the signs that would herald it. It is clear that the connection is artificial, for the discourse anticipates a defilement of the temple, not its actual destruction. There is very general agreement among interpreters that Mark's Little Apocalypse was originally a Jewish document which had been related by Christian preachers to the circumstances of the Christian mission and then lodged by the earliest evangelist in the gospel tradition. It may incorporate some genuine utterances of Jesus but they can no longer be isolated.
Luke's version differs in its detail from Mark's, but the variations are explicable as editorial and do not warrant the postulation of an independent source. They are due in the main to (a) the later date at which Luke was writing, and (b) Luke's more mature Christology. In Luke the scene is still the temple courts; in Mark, the Mount of Olives (Mark 13: 3).
7. They: The "some" of vs. 5. Substituted for Mark's "Peter and James and John and Andrew."
8-9. A warning against false messiahs and all assumptions about the imminence of the end. Luke strengthens the warning by ascribing the proclamation The time is at hand to pseudo-Christs.
10-11. Wars, earthquakes, famines, pestilences, and various other evidences of cosmic disorder were part of the paraphernalia of apocalyptic and prophetic prediction (II Esdras 9:3; 13:30-32; Rev. 6:1-8; etc.); and attempts to interpret them as references to specific events in the first century A.D. are a waste of time.
12-13. Probably a Christian gloss on the original apocalypse, reflecting the actual experiences of such men as Stephen, Peter, and Paul. But before all this: A Lukan prefix which dissociates the sufferings that the disciples would have to endure from the eschatological portents. A similar interest impelled Luke to omit Mark's prediction (Mark 13:10) that the proclamation of the gospel to "all the nations" would be a necessary prelude to the end. This will be a time for you to bear testimony, i.e., "to the gospel." An interpretation of a phrase in Mark, possibly with such incidents in mind as Paul's appearances before Felix (Acts 24:1) and before Festus and Agrippa II (Acts 26:1).
14-15. A paraphrase of Mark 13:11 (cf. the Q variant in Luke 12:11-12). Meditate beforehand: A technical term in Attic Greek to describe the preparation of a speech for oral delivery. Despite his characteristic interest in the work of the Holy Spirit, Luke in this instance declares that it will be Christ himself who will provide the necessary inspiration. A mouth: Power of speech (Exod. 4:11-12). Luke illustrates the redemption of this promise in Acts 6:10.
16. The loyalty of individuals to the Christian faith in the impending crisis will result in the dissolution of family ties and the betrayal of Christians by their kindred. Predictions in various O.T. eschatological passages (Isa. 19:2; Mic. 7:6) influenced the phrasing of Mark's version, but this is scarcely noticeable in Luke's. And friends is a Lukan addition.
17. Note the exhortation in I Pet. 4:16: "If one suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but under that name let him glorify God."
18. A Lukan addition which recurs in Paul's speech to the ship's company (Acts 27:34b). A proverbial form has already been used in 12:7a (Matthew 10:30) and has O.T. prototypes (I Sam. 14:45; II Sam. 14:11; I Kings 1:52). In view of vs. 16 Luke can scarcely have meant the promise to imply immunity from martyrdom. Perhaps he had preservation from eternal destruction in mind. The alternative is to regard vss. 16-17 as addressed to a select group of martyrs, and vss. 18-19 to the Christian community as a whole.
19. A paraphrase of Mark 13:13b. The future tense of the RSV has somewhat better support in the MSS than the imperative of the KJV. But we must translate souls (KJV) instead of lives (RSV) if Luke meant the saying (as in vs. 18) to be interpreted spiritually.
3. FATE OF JERUSALEM (21:20-24=Mark 13:14, 17, 19a)
Marcan material dissociated from the immediate "signs of the end," and revised and expanded in light of the siege of Jerusalem (A.D. 70).
20-21a. Mark's version reads: "But when you see the desolating sacrilege set up where it ought not to be ..., then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains" (Mark 13:14). The "desolating sacrilege" in the book of Daniel (9:27 [LXX]; 11:31; 12:11) was the altar to Zeus that the Syrian king Antiochus Epiphanes had erected in the temple at Jerusalem in 168 B.C. In Mark it is a cryptic description of some antichrist whose appearance is to be a prelude to the coming of the Son of man (cf. II Thessú 2:3-4). For this enigmatic term Luke substitutes Jerusalem surrounded by armies.
21b-22. No Marcan base. The verses may betray a familiarity on Luke's part with events in Jerusalem just before the siege. According to Eusebius (Church History III. 5. 3), the Christian community in the city withdrew at that time to Pella in Perea in response to a warning given to their leaders "by revelation." All that is written: Cf. Hos. 9:7; Jerú 5:29; 46:10; etc.
23. Pregnant women and nursing mothers will be least able to flee. In the land: Palestine. This people: Israelú
24. Editorial elaboration of the fate of Jerusalem. According to Josephus--whose numerical estimates are not always trustworthy--1,100,000 Jews were slain by the Romans during the siege and 97,000 were taken prisoner throughout the course of the war (Jewish War VI. 9. 3). The times of the Gentiles: Sometimes interpreted as the equivalent of Mark 13:10 (omitted by Luke)--i.e., the period during which non-Jews have the opportunity for repentance and conversion (cf. Rom. 11:25). More probably the period God has fixed for the punishment of Israel (cf. Dan. 8:13-14; 12:7, 11-12).
4. COMING OF THE SON OF MAN (21:25-28=Mark 13:24-26)
25a. An abbreviation of the conventional apocalyptic description in Mark of solar, lunar, and astral irregularities.
25b-26a. An editorial expansion of the Marcan source to depict the perplexity, fear, and foreboding of men in the face of cosmic disaster. Upon the earth: A universal judgment as distinct from the earlier judgment on Jerusalem. Probably we should translate "distress of the Gentiles" to correspond to "the times of the Gentiles" of vs. 24 (cf. Goodspeed). The roaring of the sea and the waves: The sea threatens to spill over its shores and engulf the world. For the phraseology cf. Ps. 65:7-8a.
26b. The Marcan source is resumed. The powers of the heavens: Not some demonic hierarchy but the celestial bodies referred to in vs. 25a.
27. The end of the present age will be marked by the dramatic and triumphant appearance of the supernatural Son of man of whom Daniel (7:13) and Enoch (chs. 37-71 passim) had spoken. Both Mark and Luke identify him with Jesus as the risen Christ.
28. In contrast to "the heathen" of vss. 25b-26a Christians may anticipate these last events with hope and confidence. Luke substitutes this word of encouragement for Mark's description of the harvest of God's elect by angels (Mark 13:27). Redemption: the only occurrence of the word in the Gospels. Associated here with the second coming of Christ, not, as in Paul, with his death.
5. PARABLE OF THE FIG TREE IN LEAF (21:29-31=Mark 13:28-29)
In Mark's Gospel the parable introduces a new and anticlimactic series of sayings about the Second Advent. It is probable that they are of the nature of an appendix, attached by the evangelist to the discourse as he found it among his sources. In particular it is probable that the parable had no original relationship to its present Synoptic context. No doubt when Jesus uttered it he had the immediate rather than some distant crisis in mind.
29-30. Luke provides his own introduction. And all the trees: A rather pedantic generalization. Only the fig tree had been mentioned by Mark. The commonest deciduous tree in Palestine, its budding was a joyful harbinger of summer. These things: Mark and Luke have the "signs of the end" in mind, but originally Jesus may have meant the events of his own ministry. The kingdom of God for "he" (or "it") in Mark. Luke correctly recognized the illustration as a "kingdom" parable.
6. A PREDICTION AND A CERTIFICATION (21:32-33=Mark 13:30-31)
32. A solemn assurance that the apocalyptic events will take place in the near future. Many interpreters suspect that this formed the conclusion of the original Jewish apocalypse. But the saying is essentially the same as that credited to Jesus in 9:27 (Mark 9:1). When the later church adjusted its thinking to an indefinite continuance of the historical order, this generation was interpreted to mean either "the race of mankind" or "the company of the faithful."
33. Serves to authenticate the apocalyptic discourse. Jesus' prediction is reliable. Possibly a Christian revision of the saying in 16:17 (Matthew 5:18). At this point Luke omits the declaration in Mark 13:32 that the exact time is known neither to the angels nor to the Son but only to the Father. It may have offended his more advanced christological beliefs. Nevertheless he reproduces it in a modified form in Acts 1:7.
Mark's version of the apocalyptic discourse ends with the parable of the doorkeeper (Mark 13:33-37). Luke omits this, possibly because he considered it a variant to the allegory of the waiting servants (12:35-38), and composes material of similar tenor as a substitute.
34-35. Reminiscent of Pauline terminology (I Thess. 5:1-10). Isa. 24:17 may have served Luke as a model. That day, the Parousia. The judgment will not be localized to Judea, as the earlier one described in vss. 20-24, but will affect the whole earth (cf. vs. 25).
36. You may have strength has much better support in the MSS than ye may be accounted worthy. Christians will not be exempted from the woes of the last days, but prayer will enable them to endure, and in the end to stand before the Son of man.
37-38. Note 19:47a. According to Mark 11:11-12, Jesus and his disciples spent the first night after their arrival at Jerusalem in Bethany, and presumably the earliest evangelist wished to imply that they continued to lodge in that village. Mark 11:19 is indefinite, but Jesus is again at Bethany in Mark 14:3-9--a scene that Luke omits because he has already used a variant in 7:36-50. Jerusalem was overcrowded at festival seasons and many pilgrims were compelled to find accommodation outside the city. It is improbable that Luke was deliberately correcting the Marcan tradition. Bethany was situated on the slopes of Olivet (see on 19:29). Perhaps Luke omitted the place name because it would be of little interest to the Gentile readers of his Gospel. Lodged in the Greek text does not necessarily mean "camped."
The similarity between the situation described in these verses and that in the introduction to the story of the woman taken in adultery (John 7:53-8:11) probably accounts for the incorporation of the latter incident at this point by the important Ferrar group of minuscules. Other MSS omit it altogether or include it following John 7:52; 7:36; or 21:24.