Choosing the Twelve

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One day Yeshua called his disciples together and chose twelve of them to be his emissaries to Israel. Their names were Shimon Petros and Andrai (his brother), Yaakov, Yohanan, Pelipah, Talmai’s son, Matai, Tomah, Yaakov Halfi’s son, zealous Shimon, Yehudah Yaakov’s son, and Yehudah from Keriyot, who was a traitor.

Matt. 10:2-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16; Acts 1:13

(Huck 72; Aland 49; Crook 72, 103)[1]

Revised: 2-September-2016

וַיְהִי הַיּוֹם וַיִּקְרָא לְתַלְמִידָיו וַיִּבְחַר מֵהֶם שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה שְׁלִיחִים שִׁמְעוֹן פֶּטְרוֹס וְאַנְדְּרַיי אָחִיו וְיַעֲקֹב וְיוֹחָנָן וּפְלִיפָּה וּבַר תַּלְמַי וּמַתַּי וְתוֹמָה וְיַעֲקֹב בֶּן חַלְפִי וְשִׁמְעוֹן הַקַּנַּאי וִיהוּדָה בֶן יַעֲקֹב וִיהוּדָה אִישׁ קְרִיּוֹת שֶׁהָיָה מָסוֹר

One day Yeshua called his disciples together and chose twelve of them to be his emissaries to Israel. Their names were Shimon Petros and Andrai (his brother), Yaakov, Yohanan, Pelipah, Talmai’s son, Matai, Tomah, Yaakov Halfi’s son, zealous Shimon, Yehudah Yaakov’s son, and Yehudah from Keriyot, who was a traitor.[2]


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Choosing the TwelveReconstruction

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Conclusion

One might have expected that the Choosing the Twelve pericope, which is so short and seemingly so straightforward, would be easy to reconstruct in Hebrew. However, the complex interrelationship of the Synoptic Gospels and the difficult issues raised in this pericope have made the reconstruction and the accompanying commentary quite challenging. Despite the imprint each synoptic author left on this pericope, the names of Jesus’ emissaries to Israel have been carefully preserved. For all the editorial activity we have detected in this pericope, the agreement of all four apostolic lists is striking.

Among the most important issues raised in this pericope is Jesus’ attitude towards Israel. Jesus’ choice of twelve emissaries to Israel exemplifies his positive and open attitude toward Israel. Rather than founding a “new” Israel as a replacement for “old” Israel,[3] the appointment of the Twelve signaled the restoration of the twelve tribes and a redemption that embraced everyone in Israel, not only those who accepted the “right” doctrine or who practiced the “correct” halachah.

Yeshua's twelve apostles as depicted in a 17th-cent. illuminated Ethiopian manuscript containing the first eight books of the Hebrew Bible, the Gospels, and various records of Church councils. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The twelve apostles as depicted in a 17th-cent. illuminated Ethiopian manuscript containing the first eight books of the Hebrew Bible, the Gospels, and various records of Church councils. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.