Blessedness of the Twelve
5 Comments Print
Date First Published: December 15, 2011
Sage And Students by Helen Twena

by David N. Bivin and Joshua N. Tilton

Revised: 24-May-2016

Matt. 13:16-17; Luke 10:23-24
(Huck 92, 142; Aland 123b, 181b; Crook 145b, 206)[1]

אַשְׁרֵי הָעֵינַיִם הָרֹאוֹת אֶת מַה שֶּׁאַתֶּם רֹאִים וְהָאָזְנַיִם הַשֹּׁמְעוֹת אֶת מַה שֶּׁאַתֶּם שֹׁמְעִים אָמֵן אֲנִי אֹמֵר לָכֶם נְּבִיאִים וּמַלְאָכִים רַבִּים רָצוּ לִרְאֹת אֶת מַה שֶּׁאַתֶּם רֹאִים וְלֹא רָאוּ וְלִשְׁמֹעַ אֶת מַה שֶּׁאַתֶּם שֹׁמְעִים וְלֹא שָׁמְעוּ

You can be very happy at what you are witnessing. Yes! I want you to know that many of God’s messengers looked forward longingly to what you are witnessing and would have given anything to experience what you are experiencing, but were not so fortunate as you.[2]

Blessedness of the TwelveReconstruction

To view the reconstructed text of Blessedness of the Twelve, click on the link below:

Premium Members
If you are not a Premium Member, please consider becoming one for as little as $10:

Purchase This Article
Rather than a membership, you may also purchase access to just this article for $1.99 USD. (If you do not have an account select “Register & Purchase.”)

Register & Purchase  


Our study of the variants βασιλεῖς and δίκαιοι, which are found in the parallel Lukan and Matthean versions of the Blessedness of the Twelve saying, has shown the importance of examining even the smallest details in the Synoptic Gospel accounts of the life and words of Jesus. Back-translating the Greek of the Synoptic Gospels to Hebrew provides a satisfactory explanation of how the present text of the canonical Gospels came into being. Somehow, either in the process of copying the Hebrew text or in the course of translation, the Hebrew word מַלְאָכִים (mal’āchim) was confused with the Hebrew word מְלָכִים (melāchim). This common mistake, which could not have happened in Greek, accounts for the otherwise unattested parallelism between “prophets and kings” in Luke 10:24. Positing a Hebrew background to the Synoptic Gospels provides a reasonable explanation for the otherwise strange pairing of “prophets and kings” (in Luke) or “prophets and righteous persons” (in Matthew).

We have also gained a new understanding of the meaning of Jesus’ saying by comparing his statement with rabbinic parallels. From this comparison, it emerges that Jesus’ saying about the blessedness of the Twelve probably refers to their seeing and hearing the Kingdom of Heaven. As they witnessed miracles of restoration being performed and as they heard the good news of God’s reign being proclaimed, the disciples were literally seeing and hearing the Kingdom of Heaven being realized in their midst. Like the Israelites at the Red Sea at the time of the first redemption, the disciples were privileged to see the manifestation of God’s reign in a way that not even God’s ancient prophets and messengers had been able to witness. The messianic era of redemption had finally dawned.

We could paraphrase Jesus’ lengthy Hebrew saying in just one succinct English sentence: “How privileged you are to witness the long-awaited events of the Kingdom of Heaven.” It would be difficult to find a more exciting or powerful statement in the teachings of Yeshua than the “blessedness of the Twelve” statement.

  1. Newly revised and updated! Check it out.

You must be a Premium or Basic Member to post a comment.
Need help? Check out our Video: How to become a Basic Member.

Find a typo? Tell us!

Your message was successfully sent.
Thank You!

Archives by Month