Return of the Twelve

& Articles, LOY 5 Comments

When Jesus' twelve emissaries to Israel returned from their mission, thrilled by their success at exorcising demons, Jesus described to them a vision of the expulsion of Satan from heaven. The vision's message was double-edged: on the one hand, the downfall of the angelic prince meant that the way was opened for the redemption of Israel; on the other hand, having fallen to earth, Satan was about to unleash his fury against God's chosen people.

Mark 6:30; Luke 9:10a; 10:17-20

(Huck 140; Aland 180; Crook 204)[1]

וַיָּשֻׁבוּ הַשְּׁלִיחִים אֶל יֵשׁוּעַ בְּשִׂמְחָה וַיְסַפְּרוּ לוֹ אֶת כֹּל אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ לֵאמֹר אֲדֹנֵינוּ אַף הַשֵּׁדִים מִשְׁתַּעְבְּדִים לָנוּ בְּשִׁמְךָ וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם רָאִיתִי אֶת הַשָּׂטָן כְּבָרָק מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם נֹפֵל הֲרֵי נָתַתִּי לָכֶם רָשׁוּת לִדְרֹךְ עַל נְחָשִׁים וְעַקְרַבִּים וְעַל כֹּל גְּבוּרַת הָאֹיֵב וְלֹא יַזִּיק לָכֶם כְּלוּם אַף בְּזוֹ אַל תִּשְׂמְחוּ שֶׁהָרוּחוֹת מִשְׁתַּעְבְּדוֹת לָכֶם אֶלָּא שִׂמְחוּ שֶׁשְׁמוֹתֵיכֶם כְּתוּבִים בַּשָּׁמַיִם

The twelve emissaries returned to Yeshua full of excitement and they told him about everything they had done. “Lord!” they said, “even the demons submit to us in your name.”

Yeshua told them, “I saw Satan expelled from heaven like a flash of lightning from the sky. Look, I have given you power to step on snakes and scorpions and over all the enemy’s might: Nothing will hurt you. But don’t get excited about that, instead be excited that your names are recorded in heaven in the Book of Life.”[2]


a

a

a

a

a

a

a

a


Reconstruction

Download (PDF, 121KB)


Story Placement

It appears that no stories about the apostles’ experiences during their mission were included in the Hebrew Life of Yeshua. Perhaps this is because the author who wrote the Hebrew Life of Yeshua was not one of the twelve apostles, and therefore had no direct knowledge of what took place during the mission. Or, perhaps the author of the Hebrew Life of Yeshua, who was, after all, telling Jesus’ story, preferred to allow any action Jesus was not directly involved with to take place “off stage.” In any case, it seems likely that the Return of the Twelve pericope immediately followed the Sending discourse, as in Luke 10. The story about Herod that comes between Sending the Twelve and Return of the Twelve in Luke 9:7-9 was probably inserted by the editor of FR in order to create the impression of the passage of time. The author of Mark not only copied Luke’s story about Herod (Mark 6:14-16), but took the opportunity to include an additional story about Herod and John the Baptist (Mark 6:17-29) before reporting the Return of the Twelve (Mark 6:30).

To see an overview of the entire “Mission of the Twelve” complex, click here.

 

Click here to view the Map of the Conjectured Hebrew Life of Yeshua.

 

Conjectured Stages of Transmission

Return of the Twelve is reported in three versions, two in Luke and one in Mark.[3] The version in Luke 10:17-20, which reports the return of the Seventy-two, is based on the Anthology (Anth.), the more Hebraic of Luke’s sources. The version in Luke 9:10, which reports the return of the Twelve, is derived from the First Reconstruction (FR). Originally, both versions pertained to the mission of the Twelve, but since the author of Luke desired to include both versions of the apostles’ mission in his Gospel, he attributed the Anth. version to the Seventy-two rather than to the Twelve.[4]

Mark’s version of Return of the Twelve is mainly based on Luke 9:10, but since Mark also used Anth., it is possible that some of the differences between Luke 9:10 and Mark 6:30 reflect Mark’s knowledge of Anth.[5]

Crucial Issues

  1. Did the apostles exorcise demons by pronouncing Jesus’ name, or did they exorcise demons on the strength of Jesus’ authority?
  2. Who saw Satan fall—Jesus or the demons?
  3. When did the fall of Satan happen?
  4. Did Satan fall from heaven, or was his fall like lightning from the sky?
  5. What do snakes and scorpions have to do with the fall of Satan?

Comment

L1 καὶ συνάγονται (Mark 6:30). Mark opens Return of the Twelve using an historical present. Since historical presents are un-Hebraic and characteristic of Markan redaction, we conclude that καὶ συνάγονται (kai sūnagontai, “and they gather”) in Mark 6:30 is simply a paraphrase of Luke 9:10.[6]

καὶ ὑποστρέψαντες (GR). Both of Luke’s versions of Return of the Twelve open with the verb ὑποστρέφειν (hūpostrefein, “to return”). Although Luke 10:17 is based on Anth., while Luke 9:10 is based on FR, we believe that FR preserved the original wording of Anth. in Luke 9:10 better than the author of Luke did in Luke 10:17.[7] The author of Luke thoroughly edited the narrative introduction of Return of the Twelve in Luke 10:17, changing “the apostles” to “the Seventy-two” (see below, Comment to L2), and likely abbreviating the description of the apostles’ return (see below, Comments to L5 and L6). Moreover, sentences with the καί + participle + aorist structure, such as we find in Luke 9:10 (καὶ ὑποστρέψαντες…διηγήσαντο; “and returning…they reported”), are common in LXX where they translate vav-consecutive + vav-consecutive sentences. Observe the following examples from Genesis:

וַיַּרְא וַיָּרָץ

…and he saw and he ran….

καὶ ἰδὼν προσέδραμεν

…and seeing, he ran…. (Gen. 18:2)

וַיִּגַּשׁ אַבְרָהָם וַיֹּאמַר

And Abraham approached and said….

καὶ ἐγγίσας Αβρααμ εἶπεν

And approaching, Abraham said…. (Gen. 18:23)

וַיַּעֲקֹד אֶת יִצְחָק בְּנוֹ וַיָּשֶׂם אֹתוֹ עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ

…and he bound Isaac, his son, and set him on the altar….

καὶ συμποδίσας Ισαακ τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ ἐπέθηκεν αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον

…and binding Isaac, his son, he set him on the altar…. (Gen. 22:9)

וַיִּשָּׂא אֶת קֹלוֹ וַיֵּבְךְּ

…and he raised his voice and wept.

καὶ βοήσας τῇ φωνῇ αὐτοῦ ἔκλαυσεν

…and raising his voice, he wept. (Gen. 29:11)

וַיְחַבֶּק לוֹ וַיְנַשֶּׁק לוֹ

…and he embraced him and kissed him….

καὶ περιλαβὼν αὐτὸν ἐφίλησεν

…and embracing him, he kissed him…. (Gen. 29:13)[8]

L2 οἱ ἑβδομήκοντα δύο (Luke 10:17). NT manuscripts vary regarding whether the number of disciples was seventy-two or seventy.[9] In either case, we regard the Seventy-two (or Seventy) as a literary device invented by the author of Luke, which allowed him to report both versions of the apostles’ mission in his two main sources, Anth. and FR, without appearing to be redundant. In both Luke 9:10 and Mark 6:30 we find οἱ ἀπόστολοι (hoi apostoloi, “the apostles”), which appears to be the original wording of Anth.[10] On reconstructing ἀπόστολος with שָׁלִיחַ, see Choosing the Twelve, Comment to L10-11.

L3 πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν (Mark 6:30). It is difficult to decide whether Mark added “to Jesus” on his own, or whether he copied πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν (pros ton Iēsoun, “to the Jesus”) from Anth. Against Mark is the agreement of both of Luke’s versions to omit “to Jesus”; however, since the author of Luke thoroughly edited Luke 10:17, the omission of πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν in both of Luke’s versions may simply be coincidental. Robert Lindsey described FR as an abbreviated version of Anth. with a more polished style of Greek. It would therefore be unsurprising if the editor of FR omitted “to Jesus,” even if this phrase had appeared in his source. It is common in Hebrew narrative to find sentences like “And Abraham returned to his servants” (Gen. 22:19) or “And the messengers returned to Jacob” (Gen. 32:7), which are similar to “And the apostles returned to Jesus.” So perhaps in L3 we have one of those rare instances where Mark preserves a little of the Anthology’s wording better than Luke does.

אֶל יֵשׁוּעַ (HR). On reconstructing the name Ἰησοῦς (Iēsous, “Jesus”) as יֵשׁוּעַ (Yēshūa‘), see Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven, Comment to L12.

Compare our GR and HR to the following biblical verses:

וַיָּשָׁב אַבְרָהָם אֶל נְעָרָיו

ἀπεστράφη δὲ Αβρααμ πρὸς τοὺς παῖδας αὐτοῦ

And Abraham returned to his servants. (Gen. 22:19)

וַיָּשֻׁבוּ הַמַּלְאָכִים אֶל יַעֲקֹב

καὶ ἀνέστρεψαν οἱ ἄγγελοι πρὸς Ιακωβ

And the messengers returned to Jacob…. (Gen. 32:7)

וַיָּשָׁב מֹשֶׁה אֶל יי

ὑπέστρεψεν δὲ Μωυσῆς πρὸς κύριον

And Moses returned to the LORD…. (Exod. 32:31)

וַיָּשָׁב אַהֲרֹן אֶל מֹשֶׁה

καὶ ἐπέστρεψεν Ααρων πρὸς Μωυσῆν

And Aaron returned to Moses…. (Num. 17:15)

וַיָּשֻׁבוּ אֶל יְהוֹשֻׁעַ

καὶ ἀνέστρεψαν πρὸς Ἰησοῦν

And they returned to Joshua…. (Josh. 7:3)

L4 μετὰ χαρᾶς (Luke 10:17). According to the version of Return of the Twelve that Luke copied from Anth., the apostles returned “with joy.” Although some scholars regard μετὰ χαρᾶς (meta charas, “with joy”) as editorial,[11] it is easy to reconstruct “with joy” in Hebrew, and joy is an important theme of the entire pericope. We have retained μετὰ χαρᾶς in GR, supposing that the editor of FR omitted this detail in Luke 9:10, just as he had omitted πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν (see above, Comment to L3).

בְּשִׂמְחָה (HR). The phrase μετὰ χαρᾶς could be reconstructed either as בִּרְנָנָה (birnānāh, “with rejoicing”) or בְּשִׂמְחָה (besimḥāh, “with joy”), but since רְנָנָה is quite rare in comparison with שִׂמְחָה we have preferred the latter for HR.[12]

In LXX בְּשִׂמְחָה is usually translated as ἐν εὐφροσύνῃ (en evfrosūnē, “in joy”),[13] but it is also rendered as μετ᾿ εὐφροσύνης (met evfrosūnēs, “with joy”; 2 Esd. 3:12; Ezek. 36:5), and once as μετὰ χαρᾶς (1 Chr. 29:22), the phrase found in Luke 10:17. If “with joy” in Luke 10:17 does reflect the phrase בְּשִׂמְחָה from an underlying Hebrew Ur-text, then its translation as μετὰ χαρᾶς was not based on the standard translation of בְּשִׂמְחָה in LXX.

L5 διηγήσαντο αὐτῷ (GR). As noted above (Comment to L1), in LXX καί + participle + aorist constructions are frequently used to translate vav-consecutive + vav-consecutive sentences. Not only is Luke 9:10 easy to reconstruct in Hebrew, but since the author of Luke edited Luke 10:17 to a greater or lesser degree, we have preferred the longer FR version of the introduction to Return of the Twelve for GR here in L5. Mark appears to have used ἀπαγγέλειν (apangelein, “to bring news”) as a replacement for Luke’s διηγεῖσθαι (diēgeisthai, “to tell,” “to explain”). In LXX διηγεῖσθαι is almost always the translation of סִפֵּר (sipēr, “tell,” “explain”).

L6 πάντα ὅσα ἐποίησαν (GR). Again in L6 we encounter one of those exceptional cases where Mark appears to preserve the reading of Anth. better than Luke does. Whereas Luke 9:10 reads ὅσα ἐποίησαν (hosa epoiēsan, “that they did”), Mark 6:30 has πάντα ὅσα ἐποίησαν (panta hosa epoiēsan, “all that they did”). The inclusion of the single word πάντα (panta, “all”), which the author of Mark evidently picked up from Anth., suggests that in the introduction of the Return of the Twelve pericope the author of the Hebrew Life of Yeshua intended to allude to Exod. 18:8, where Moses tells his father-in-law Jethro about all that God had done for Israel.[14] Compare GR and HR L1-6 with Exod. 18:8:

καὶ ὑποστρέψαντες οἱ ἀπόστολοι πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν μετὰ χαρᾶς διηγήσαντο αὐτῷ πάντα ὅσα ἐποίησαν

 

וַיָּשֻׁבוּ הַשְּׁלִיחִים אֶל יֵשׁוּעַ בְּשִׂמְחָה וַיְסַפְּרוּ לוֹ אֶת כֹּל אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ

 

And the apostles returned to Jesus with joy and told him all that they had done.

καὶ διηγήσατο Μωυσῆς τῷ γαμβρῷ πάντα ὅσα ἐποίησεν κύριος τῷ Φαραω καὶ τοῖς Αἰγυπτίοις ἕνεκεν τοῦ Ισραηλ, καὶ πάντα τὸν μόχθον τὸν γενόμενον αὐτοῖς ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ καὶ ὅτι ἐξείλατο αὐτοὺς κύριος

וַיְסַפֵּר מֹשֶׁה לְחֹתְנוֹ אֵת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה יי לְפַרְעֹה וּלְמִצְרַיִם עַל אוֹדֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל אֵת כָּל־הַתְּלָאָה אֲשֶׁר מְצָאָתַם בַּדֶּרֶךְ וַיַּצִּלֵם יי

And Moses told his father-in-law all that the LORD had done to Pharaoh and to Egypt on behalf of Israel, every hardship that encountered them on the road and how the LORD delivered them. (Exod. 18:8)

Just as Moses had made a report to Jethro, so the apostles made a report to Jesus. And just as Jethro rejoiced (Exod. 18:9) and recited a special blessing (Exod. 18:10), so in the next pericope, Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn, Jesus rejoices (Luke 10:21a) and recites a special blessing (Luke 10:21b-22). By drawing a parallel between Moses and the apostles, the author of the Hebrew Life of Yeshua may have wished to underscore that the redemption that was taking place through the Kingdom of Heaven was patterned after Israel’s redemption from Egypt, except that the second redemption was now on a cosmic scale. Whereas Israel had been redeemed from slavery to Pharaoh, now the whole world was being redeemed from the tyranny of Satan.[15]

There is also a contrast, however, between Moses and the apostles. Moses reported all that the LORD had done, whereas the apostles reported all that they had done. Perhaps Jesus’ remarks in Luke 10:20 were a gentle corrective to the apostles’ enthusiasm.

אֶת כֹּל אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ (HR). In LXX πάντα ὅσα + ποιεῖν translates כֹּל אֲשֶׁר + עָשָׂה numerous times.[16] We have reconstructed ὅσα with אֲשֶׁר rather than -שֶׁ since in narrative contexts we prefer to use BH style, whereas in dialogue we prefer MH style.

L7 καὶ ὅσα ἐδίδαξαν (Mark 6:30). Although we accepted πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν (L3) and πάντα (L6) from Mark 6:30 for GR, we regard “and what they taught” as Mark’s own editorial insertion. As some scholars have noted, “and what they taught” is superfluous, since we already know the content of the apostles’ message (“The Kingdom of Heaven has arrived!”).[17] It is possible that the author of Mark added “and what they taught” under the influence of Acts 1:1, where the author of Luke-Acts refers to “all that Jesus began to do and teach.”[18] Lindsey noted that the author of Mark often picked up words and phrases from Acts, which he then used while paraphrasing Luke’s Gospel.[19] Perhaps the author of Mark added this allusion to Acts 1:1 in order to show that the apostles’ mission was simply an extension of Jesus’ activity.

L8 לֵאמֹר (HR). In LXX the participle λέγοντες (legontes, “saying”) is usually the translation of the infinitive construct לֵאמֹר (lē’mor, “to say”).[20] Unlike HR in L8 of Tower Builder and King Going to War Similes, where we reconstructed λέγοντες with לוֹמַר (lōmar, “to say”), here we have adopted לֵאמֹר. The reason for this apparent inconsistency is that in the Tower Builder simile לוֹמַר occurs in the context of direct speech, where we prefer to reconstruct in MH style. Here, however, we are in narrative, where we prefer to reconstruct in biblical-style Hebrew.[21]

L9 אֲדֹנֵינוּ (HR). On “Lord” as a title of address in first-century Jewish culture, see Widow’s Son in Nain, Comment to L10. In contrast to Not Everyone Can Be Yeshua’s Disciple, L19, L30, where we reconstructed κύριε (kūrie, “Lord!”) with אֲדוֹנִי (adōni, “my Lord”), here we have reconstructed with אֲדֹנֵינוּ (adonēnū, “our Lord”), since in Luke 10:17 Jesus is addressed by several persons.[22]

L10 καὶ τὰ δαιμόνια (Luke 10:17). Only that part of the apostles’ report that was to become the focus of Jesus’ remarks is recorded as direct speech in Luke 10:17. Perhaps their declaration that “Even the demons submit to us in your name” was the concluding statement of their report.

Scholars note that whereas exorcism is not mentioned in the Luke 10 version of the Mission Charge, the submission of demons is the sole focus of the report of the returning Seventy-two. This inconsistency led Beare to conclude that “the whole of v. 17 is an editorial construction of Luke’s own devising, framed to introduce the group of sayings which follow.”[23] We see this inconsistency as a symptom of Luke’s reworking of two sources, Anth. and FR, that reported the same event. Originally, both Anth. and FR mentioned exorcism in the commissioning of the twelve apostles,[24] but when the author of Luke attributed the Anth. version of the Commissioning pericope to the Seventy-two he also made additional changes to Anth., including the omission of exorcism from the Mission Charge. This led to the unintentional inconsistency between the Luke 10 version of the Sending discourse and the report of the apostles’ return.

אַף הַשֵּׁדִים (HR). The LXX translators often rendered sentences beginning with גַּם (gam, “also,” “even”) with καί (kai, “and,” “also,” “even”). For example:

וַיִּתֵּן יי אֶת חֵן הָעָם בְּעֵינֵי מִצְרָיִם גַּם הָאִישׁ מֹשֶׁה גָּדוֹל מְאֹד בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם בְּעֵינֵי עַבְדֵי פַרְעֹה וּבְעֵינֵי הָעָם

κύριος δὲ ἔδωκεν τὴν χάριν τῷ λαῷ αὐτοῦ ἐναντίον τῶν Αἰγυπτίων, καὶ ἔχρησαν αὐτοῖς· καὶ ὁ ἄνθρωπος Μωυσῆς μέγας ἐγενήθη σφόδρα ἐναντίον τῶν Αἰγυπτίων καὶ ἐναντίον Φαραω καὶ ἐναντίον πάντων τῶν θεραπόντων αὐτοῦ.

And the LORD gave the people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians. Even the man Moses was great in the land of Egypt in the eyes of Pharaoh’s servants and in the eyes of the people. (Exod. 11:3)

וְאִישׁ לֹא יַעֲלֶה עִמָּךְ וְגַם אִישׁ אַל יֵרָא בְּכָל־הָהָר גַּם הַצֹּאן וְהַבָּקָר אַל יִרְעוּ אֶל מוּל הָהָר הַהוּא

καὶ μηδεὶς ἀναβήτω μετὰ σοῦ μηδὲ ὀφθήτω ἐν παντὶ τῷ ὄρει· καὶ τὰ πρόβατα καὶ αἱ βόες μὴ νεμέσθωσαν πλησίον τοῦ ὄρους ἐκείνου.

And a man may not go up with you, and neither may a man be seen in all the mountain. Even the flocks and the cattle may not graze opposite that mountain. (Exod. 34:3)

וּמִן פְּלִשְׁתִּים מְבִיאִים לִיהוֹשָׁפָט מִנְחָה וְכֶסֶף מַשָּׂא גַּם הָעַרְבִיאִים מְבִיאִים לוֹ צֹאן אֵילִים

καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀλλοφύλων ἔφερον τῷ Ιωσαφατ δῶρα καὶ ἀργύριον καὶ δόματα, καὶ οἱ Ἄραβες ἔφερον αὐτῷ κριοὺς προβάτων

…and from the Philistines they brought to Jehoshaphat an offering and silver as tribute. Even the Arabs brought him flocks of rams…. (2 Chr. 17:11)

In MH, however, the conjunction אַף (’af, “also,” “even”) largely replaced גַּם‎.[25] Since here we are reconstructing direct speech, where we prefer MH style, we have adopted אַף for HR.

In the Mishnah sentences beginning -אַף הַ (’af ha-, “Even the…”) are quite common. For example:

רֶ′ מֵאִיר רֶ′ שִׁמְעוֹן אֹמְ′ אַף הַנוֹטֵעַ אֶת כַּרִמְּוֹ עַל שְׁמוֹנֶה שְׁמוֹנֶה אַמּוֹת מוּתָּר

Rabbi Meir and Rabbi Shimon say, “Even the one who plants his vineyard in rows eight cubits apart—it is permitted.” (m. Kil. 4:9)

בֵּית שַׁמַּיִ אוֹמְ′ הַכֹּל טָמֵא וּבֵית הֵלֵּל אוֹמְ′ הַתַּנּוּר טָמֵא וְהַבַּיִת טָהוֹר ר′ עֲקִיבָה אוֹ′ אַף הַתַּנּוּר טָהוֹר

The House of Shammai says, “Everything is impure.” But the House of Hillel says, “The oven is impure but the house is pure.” Rabbi Akiva says, “Even the oven is pure.” (m. Ohol. 5:1)

בֵּית שַׁמַּיִ אוֹמְ′ הַחַדּוּת טָהוֹר וְהַמְּנוֹרָה טְמֵאָה וּבֵית הֵלֵּל אוֹ′ אַף הַמְּנוֹרָה טְהוֹרָה

The House of Shammai says, “The cistern is pure but the lamp is impure.” But the House of Hillel says, “Even the lamp is pure.” (m. Ohol. 11:8)

On reconstructing δαιμόνιον (daimonion, “demon”) with שֵׁד (shēd, “demon”), see Sending the Twelve: Commissioning, Comment to L20. Compared to the Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, DSS and NT, early rabbinic literature is quite reticent where demons are concerned.[26] While halachic rulings about evil spirits do attest to popular belief in demons,[27] the relative paucity of information about demons that can be gleaned from tannaic sources suggests that the sages were either not interested in demons and exorcism, or that they actively suppressed such interest.[28] In this regard Jesus and his apostles were probably closer to the Essenes[29] and the early Jewish pietists known as the Hasidim[30] (and perhaps also to popular beliefs) than they were to the Pharisaic-rabbinic tradition, which downplayed the importance of demons, or to the Sadducees, who denied the existence of spirits.[31]

L11 ὑποτάσσεται ἡμῖν (Luke 10:17). Here, a third person singular verb, ὑποτάσσεται (“she/he/it submits”) is applied to a plural subject, δαιμόνια (“demons”). This is because it is common in Greek for neuter plural subjects to take singular verbs.[32] We encounter this phenomenon again in L25 and L27 of the Return of the Twelve pericope. Usually the author of Luke used singular verbs in conjunction with demons (plur.),[33] but occasionally he would use plural verbs applied to demons (plur.).[34]

מִשְׁתַּעְבְּדִים לָנוּ (HR). In LXX the verb ὑποτάσσειν (hūpotassein, “to put under,” “to make subject”) translates a variety of Hebrew roots and expressions, but none with great consistency. For HR we have selected the verb הִשְׁתַּעְבֵּד (hishta‘bēd, “be subjugated,” “be slave of”; cf., e.g., m. Git. 4:4).[35]

A rabbinic source enables us to more fully comprehend the reasons for the apostles’ joy:

מה דרכו של שד נכנס באדם וכופה אותו

What is the way of a demon? It enters a person and coerces him. (Sifre Deut. §318 [ed. Finkelstein, 364])

According to this source, demons overpower a person’s will, forcing him or her to do things that may be harmful or sinful.[36] The apostles, by contrast, have witnessed a dramatic reversal whereby human beings are no longer mastered by demons. The demons have now become subject to them.

L12 ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί σου (Luke 10:17). Ought we to understand that the apostles used Jesus’ name as a talisman or an incantation to drive out demons?[37] In LXX the phrase ἐν [τῷ] ὀνόματι (en [tō] onomati, “in [the] name”) is usually the translation of בְּשֵׁם (beshēm, “in [the] name [of]”)[38] and it is sometimes possible to understand בְּשֵׁם to mean “by invoking the name.” For instance, נִשְׁבַּע בְּשֵׁם יי (nishba‘ beshēmadōnāi; cf. Lev. 19:12; Deut. 6:13; 10:20) seems to mean “swear using the LORD’s name” (although it is possible that this phrase should be understood as “swear by the LORD’s reputation”), and בֵּרֵךְ בְּשֵׁם יי (bērēch beshēmadōnāi; cf. Deut. 10:8; 21:5) probably means “bless using the LORD’s name,” and likewise קִלֵּל בְּשֵׁם יי (qilēl beshēmadōnāi; cf. 2 Kgs. 2:24) probably means “curse using the LORD’s name” (although it is possible that these phrases should be understood as “bless or curse by the LORD’s authority”). On the other hand, to act “in the name” of someone else usually means to act on that person’s commission or authority,[39] as the following examples demonstrate:

כִּי בוֹ בָּחַר יי אֱלֹהֶיךָ מִכָּל־שְׁבָטֶיךָ לַעֲמֹד לְשָׁרֵת בְּשֵׁם יי

For the LORD your God chose him from all the tribes to stand and to serve in the name of the LORD. (Deut. 18:5)

Here, בְּשֵׁם means that the priests of the tribe of Levi stand and serve on the LORD’s authority. They had this authority because God had commissioned them to be priests.

וְהָיָה הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר לֹא יִשְׁמַע אֶל דְּבָרַי אֲשֶׁר יְדַבֵּר בִּשְׁמִי אָנֹכִי אֶדְרֹשׁ מֵעִמּוֹ

And the man who does not listen to my words that he will speak in my name, I will require it of him. (Deut. 18:19)

Here, too, the prophet speaks with the LORD’s authority because God had commissioned him to be a prophet. In light of this usage of בְּשֵׁם, we might understand the apostles to mean that the demons had to submit to them because they wielded Jesus’ authority.

Perhaps, however, the two senses of “in the name” are not mutually exclusive. In Acts we find this description of an exorcism:

διαπονηθεὶς δὲ Παῦλος καὶ ἐπιστρέψας τῷ πνεύματι εἶπεν· παραγγέλλω σοι ἐν ὀνόματι Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐξελθεῖν ἀπ᾿ αὐτῆς· καὶ ἐξῆλθεν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ

But Paul was annoyed and turning to the spirit he said, “I command you in the name of Jesus the Messiah to go out from her!” And it went out that very hour. (Acts 16:18)

Since Paul utters the name of Jesus, this passage could support the supposition that uttering Jesus’ name was itself instrumental in performing the exorcism, but Paul could also be understood to mean, “Not on my own authority, but on Jesus’ authority I command you, etc.” Elsewhere in Luke and Acts we encounter stories of people who presumed to drive out demons by invoking the name of Jesus without having been commissioned to do so. Sometimes these exorcisms were successful (cf. Luke 9:49), but other times they were not (cf. Acts 19:13-16).[40] These varying results would seem to imply that it was not the invocation of Jesus’ name, but the investiture of authority from Jesus, that was the factor that determined success. Jesus certainly highlighted the latter aspect when in Luke 10:19 he affirmed to the disciples, “I have given you authority…over all the power of the enemy.” In other words, the apostles successfully exorcised demons not because the demons could not bear to hear Jesus’ name spoken in their presence, but because the apostles acted on the authority Jesus had given them when he appointed them as his official representatives.

L14 We contemplated adding “Amen! And what’s more, I tell you…” to GR and HR, since Jesus’ response to the apostles’ report in Luke 10:18 appears to be an affirmation and intensification of what the apostles had said. Often in situations where Jesus expands upon a previous statement, whether his own or someone else’s, we find an “Amen!” exclamation.[41] But although the author of Luke often omitted ἀμήν or replaced ἀμήν with a substitute, we rarely find that he omitted λέγω σοι/ὑμῖν. We have therefore refrained from adding an “Amen!” statement to GR and HR, although we cannot exclude the possibility that such a statement appeared in Anth.

ἐθεώρουν τὸν σατανᾶν (Luke 10:18). Although ἐθεώρουν (etheōroun) is almost universally taken to be a first person singular imperfect verb, Hills made a provocative case for reading ἐθεώρουν as a third person plural, in which case Jesus would have declared: “They [i.e., the demons] saw Satan fall.”[42] If the first person is understood, then Jesus described some kind of personal visionary experience. But since this would make the statement in Luke 10:18 the only vision attributed to Jesus in the canonical Gospels,[43] it might seem attractive to eliminate this one exception by attributing the vision of Satan’s fall to the demons. But such an interpretation does not really solve the problem, since there remains the problem of how Jesus obtained the esoteric knowledge concerning what the demons saw. The broader context of Luke 10:18 is apocalyptic, in the sense that Jesus speaks about what has been revealed to the apostles (Luke 10:21-23) and how they are blessed because of what they have seen (Luke 10:23-24).[44] Since we believe the sayings in Luke 10:21-22 and in Luke 10:23-24 belonged to the same literary complex as the Return of the Twelve pericope, it appears that the apocalyptic theme permeated the entire conclusion of the complex.[45] In the Return of the Twelve pericope Jesus describes his own visionary experience, while in the subsequent pericopae that belonged to the “Mission of the Twelve” complex, Jesus elaborates on what had been revealed to the apostles.[46]

As many scholars have noted, the imperfect form of θεωρεῖν (theōrein, “to see”) should not be over-interpreted (e.g., “I used to see”), since in Greek θεωρεῖν was used almost exclusively in the present and imperfect tenses, the aorist being essentially obsolete.[47]

רָאִיתִי (HR). We considered two main options for reconstructing θεωρεῖν in Hebrew: חָזָה (ḥāzāh, “see”) and רָאָה (rā’āh, “see”). Both verbs can be used for ordinary sight as well as for seeing a vision not perceptible by the ordinary senses, but חָזָה is more strongly associated with visionary experiences as the many nouns derived from the root ח-ז-ה, such as חֹזָה (ḥozeh, “seer,” i.e. “prophet”), חָזוֹן (ḥāzōn, “vision”), חִזָּיוֹן (ḥizāyōn, “vision”) and מַחֲזֶה (maḥazeh, “vision”), demonstrate. Jesus’ vision of the fall of Satan was not plainly observable to everyone,[48] and for that reason חָזָה might be deemed preferable. On the other hand, in LXX θεωρεῖν is the translation of חָזָה only in Ps. 26[27]:4, whereas θεωρεῖν translates רָאָה several times.[49] Although either reconstruction seems possible, we have decided in favor of רָאָה in part because of the evidence from LXX and in part because of this fascinating parallel from rabbinic literature, which may help us to interpret the meaning of Jesus’ vision:

דבר אחר רמה כיון שראו ישראל שרה של מלכות נופל התהילו נותנין שבח לכך נאמר רמה וכן אתה מוצא שאין הקב″ה עתיד להפרע מן המלכיות לעתיד לבא עד שיפרע משריהן תחלה שנאמר והיה ביום ההוא יפקוד יי על צבא המרום ברמום ואחר כך על מלכי האדמה באדמה ואומר איך נפלת משמים הילל בן שחר ואחר כך נגדעת לארץ חולש על הגוים ואומר כי רותה בשמים חרבי ואחר כך הנה על אדום תרד

Another interpretation: he threw [רָמָה; Exod. 15:1] means that when Israel saw the [angelic] prince of the kingdom [of Egypt] falling they began to give praise, accordingly it is said, a high place [רָמָה]. And so you find that the Holy One, blessed be he, will not punish the empires until he has punished their [angelic] princes first, as it is said, And on that day the LORD will visit judgement on the host of heaven on high, and afterward it says, on the kings of the earth on the earth [Isa. 24:21]. And it says, How you have fallen from heaven, O Morning Star, son of the dawn, and afterward it says, you are cut to the ground, who brought the nations down [Isa. 14:12]. And it says, For in heaven my sword has drunk its fill, and afterward it says, Behold, it shall descend upon Edom [Isa. 34:5]. (Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, Shirata chpt. 2 [ed. Lauterbach, 1:181-182])

This midrash is based on the ancient Jewish notion that corresponding to each of the world empires stands an angelic prince (or “guardian angel”) who represents his empire in heaven.[50] These angelic princes compete for world domination and thereby resist God’s redemptive purposes for Israel. By playing on the verb רָמָה (rāmāh, “throw”), which appears in Exod. 15:1, and the identically-formed noun רָמָה (rāmāh, “high place”), the above-cited midrash suggests that before redemption on earth can take place, the heavenly powers who oppose Israel must first be conquered.[51] When the Israelites at the Red Sea saw (רָאוּ) the angelic prince falling (נוֹפֵל), they began to sing praises because they knew their redemption was assured. This is a striking parallel to Jesus’ claim to have seen (ἐθεώρουν / רָאִיתִי) Satan, the evil power that stood in the way of Israel’s redemption, falling (πεσόντα / נֹפֵל) from heaven.[52]

The Limbourg brothers’ “The Fall of the Rebel Angels” from the fourteenth-century C.E. Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry illuminated manuscript. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The midrash on Exod. 15:1 draws a clear parallel between Israel’s redemption from Egypt and the future redemption, and it explicitly cites Isaiah 14:12 (“How you have fallen from heaven, O Morning Star”), which many scholars agree is alluded to in Luke 10:18.[53] It is possible that Jesus was familiar with an early form of this midrash and alluded to it.[54] Having seen Satan fall, Jesus knew that the redemption of Israel was not far away.[55]

אֶת הַשָּׂטָן (HR). Reconstructing σατανᾶς (satanas, “satan”) is easy, since this noun is simply a transliteration of the Hebrew noun שָׂטָן (sāṭān, “accuser,” “adversary,” “satan”) with a Greek case ending.[56] In MT שָׂטָן often refers to a human opponent,[57] but in the books of Zechariah and Job שָׂטָן with the definite article (הַשָּׂטָן; “the Adversary”) is used as a title for a heavenly being who accuses human beings before God and who opposes God’s redemptive purposes.[58] Eventually, שָׂטָן without the definite article began to be used as a quasi-name for the archenemy of God and Israel,[59] although the use of הַשָּׂטָן as a title persisted even in rabbinic literature.[60]

The awareness that “Satan” is really a title may help account for the variety of names given to the archenemy of God and Israel in Second Temple sources (e.g., Mastema,[61] Belial/Beliar[62] and Samael[63] ), and it also accounts for the usage of שָׂטָן as the equivalent of “impure spirit” in DSS (cf. 11Q5 [11QPsalmsa] XIX, 15), as well as the presumption in some sources that there is more than one “satan” (cf., e.g., 1 Enoch 40:7; 1QHa XXII, 25; XXIV, 23; T. Levi after 2:3 in the Mount Athos MS [= Prayer of Levi §10]).

L15-17 In Codex Vaticanus Luke 10:18 reads: ἐθεώρουν τὸν σατανᾶν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ὡς ἀστραπὴν πεσόντα (lit., “I saw the satan from the heaven/sky like lightning falling”). Critical editions of NT, however, have a different word order: ἐθεώρουν τὸν σατανᾶν ὡς ἀστραπὴν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ πεσόντα (lit., “I saw the satan like lightning from the heaven/sky falling”). P75 and some patristic citations, on the other hand, read: ἐθεώρουν τὸν σατανᾶν ὡς ἀστραπὴν πεσόντα ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ (lit., “I saw the satan like lightning falling from the heaven/sky”). These variations are probably due to the ambiguity of the sentence, since it is unclear whether the phrase ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ (“from the heaven/sky”) was intended to refer to the place from which lightning originates, or whether it was intended to describe the place from which Satan fell.[64] In other words, does ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ in Luke 10:18 refer to lightning from the sky or to Satan falling from heaven?

In the Luke column of the reconstruction document we have reproduced the wording of Vaticanus, since we use this manuscript as our base text,[65] but using Hebrew word order to determine which of the Greek versions ought to be adopted for GR is unhelpful, since Hebrew also allows for a great deal of flexibility with respect to word order in such comparisons.[66] Since any word order attested in the Greek MSS could be reconstructed in Hebrew, we have adopted the order found in the critical editions for GR, as this is most likely to be the original reading of Luke’s text.

Hebrew reconstruction also fails to give a definitive answer for whether “from the heaven/sky” refers to the origin of the lightning or the place from which Satan fell. It is likely that if Luke 10:18 reflects a Hebrew source, then that source was not interested in making such a distinction. In Hebrew we encounter comparisons in which the prepositional phrase equally modifies both parts of the comparison, for example:

וַיְנַהֲגֵם כַּעֵדֶר בַּמִּדְבָּר

…and he guided them like a flock in the wilderness. (Ps. 78:52)

“In the wilderness” could refer either to the location of the flock or to the place where God led the children of Israel, or more likely, it refers to both at the same time: God guided Israel in the wilderness the way flocks are guided there. Likewise, if Luke 10:18 reflects a Hebrew source, “from the heaven/sky” could refer either to the place where lightning comes from or the place from which Satan fell, but probably refers to both simultaneously.

L16 כְּבָרָק (HR). In LXX ἀστραπή (astrapē, “lightning”) is the most common translation of בָּרָק (bārāq, “lightning”), and ἀστραπή is never used to translate a word other than בָּרָק‎.[67] In Zech. 9:14 the LORD’s arrow is compared to lightning (כַבָּרָק; chabārāq), a phrase rendered ὡς ἀστραπή (hōs astrapē, “like lightning”) in LXX, which is identical to the phrase that appears in Luke 10:18.

In another biblical text we find not an object, but an action, compared to lightning:

בַּחוּצוֹת יִתְהוֹלְלוּ הָרֶכֶב יִשְׁתַּקְשְׁקוּן בָּרְחֹבוֹת מַרְאֵיהֶן כַּלַּפִּידִם כַּבְּרָקִים יְרוֹצֵצוּ

The chariots go crazily in the streets, they rush about in the squares, their appearance is like torches, like lightnings they sprint. (Nah. 2:5)

We also find a comparison to lightning in rabbinic literature:

אם שנותי, ברק חרבי, כשפורענות יוצאה מלפני קלה היא כברק

If I whet my glittering sword [Deut. 32:41]. When calamity goes out before me it is quick like lightning. (Sifre Deut. §331 [ed. Finkelstein, 380])

The point of comparison between Satan’s fall and lightning in Luke 10:18 is probably the suddenness with which Satan came crashing down.[68]

L17 מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם (HR). In LXX the prepositional phrase ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ (ek tou ouranou, “from the heaven”) usually translates מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם (min hashāmayim, “from the heavens”)[69] or some slight variation thereof, such as מִן שָׁמַיִם (Judg. 5:20), מִשָּׁמַיִם (Ps. 13[14]:2; 52[53]:3; 75[76]:9; 84[85]:12; Isa. 14:12; 63:15) or מֵהַשָּׁמַיִם‎ (2 Chr. 7:1). For HR we have selected מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם both because it is the most common Hebrew phrase behind ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ in LXX, and because מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם is also found in rabbinic literature, for instance:

כְּשֶׁהוּא מִתְנַחֵם מֵאֲחֵרִים כָּל הָעָם אוֹמְרִין לוֹ אָנוּ כַפָּרָתָךְ וְהוּא אוֹמֵ′ תִּתְבָּרְכוּ מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם

When he [i.e., the high priest—DNB and JNT] receives condolences from other people all the people say to him, “We are your atonement.” And he says, “May you be blessed from heaven.” (m. Sanh. 2:1; cf. t. Sanh. 4:1)

וְאֵילּוּ שֶׁאֵין לָהֶן חֵלֶק לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא {הָאוֹמֵ′} הָאוֹמֵר אֵין תְּחָיַית הַמֵּתִים וְאֵין תּוֹרָה מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאַפִּיקוֹרֹס

And these have no portion in the world to come: The one who says, “There is no resurrection of the dead,” or “The Torah is not from heaven,” and the Epicurean. (m. Sanh. 10:1)

Since these examples are intended to represent normal speech, we feel confident reconstructing ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ in Luke 10:18 as מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם.

As we noted in Comment to L15-17 above, there is some question as to whether Luke 10:18 teaches that Jesus saw Satan falling from heaven or whether he saw Satan falling from some unspecified location the way lightning shoots down from the sky. It is possible that Jesus described seeing Satan being hurled from his position of authority without claiming that the seat of Satan’s power had been located in heaven.[70] On the other hand, there are stories, such as the opening chapter of Job, where Satan is portrayed as having access to God’s heavenly council chamber, which leaves open the possibility that an expulsion from heaven is what Jesus envisioned.[71] This possibility is strengthened if one detects an allusion to Isa. 14:12 in Jesus’ words.[72] Also in support of the view that Jesus described an expulsion of Satan from heaven is the similarity between Luke 10:18 and John’s vision in Rev. 12:7-12 of the war in heaven in which the angel Michael casts Satan to the earth. Because parts of Rev. 12:7-12 are highly Hebraic, Charles suggested that John’s vision of the war in heaven may have been based on a Hebrew source.[73] If Charles is correct, descriptions of the fall of Satan may have been circulating among Jewish groups in the first century and Jesus may have alluded to this expectation. We believe that Jesus did have a vision of the fall of Satan from heaven, but the phrase “from the heaven/sky” need not be limited to the place from which Satan was expelled, it could also apply to the lightning’s place of origin, just as “in the desert” refers in Ps. 78:52 simultaneously to the place where the LORD guided Israel and to the place where flocks are led.

נֹפֵל (HR). The LXX translators used πίπτειν (piptein, “to fall”) more often than any other verb to render נָפַל (nāfal, “fall”),[74] and although πίπτειν was occasionally used in LXX to render some other Hebrew root,[75] נֹפֵל is the obvious choice for HR.[76]

Untitled work by Israeli artist Miri Nishri from a 1988 series entitled “Fallen Angels.” Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

At what point Jesus witnessed Satan’s fall is a question that has been debated for centuries. Patristic sources often assume that Jesus witnessed Satan’s expulsion from heaven prior to the incarnation, whereas more recent scholars usually suppose that Jesus’ visionary experience took place while the apostles were away on their mission.[77] Whether Jesus’ vision describes a past incident or a future event, or whether Jesus witnessed the fall of Satan as it was happening, is also debated.[78] In our view, Jesus’ visionary experience could have taken place at any time leading up to the moment Jesus described what he had seen. It is even possible that Jesus saw the vision at the same time as the apostles were delivering their report.

As to whether Jesus’ vision pertained to the past, present or future, it is tempting to suppose that the fall of Satan was simultaneous with the apostles’ exorcistic activity.[79] This view is unsustainable, however, since on a different occasion Jesus explained that he was able to exorcise demons only because the strong man (that is, Satan) had already been overcome (Luke 11:22). If the removal of Satan was a necessary precondition for Jesus’ exorcisms, then all the more so in the case of the apostles, whose authority to drive out demons derived from Jesus. This leads to the conclusion that Satan’s fall took place at some point prior to the mission of the Twelve.

In the same pericope in which Jesus argued that it was only possible to plunder the house after overpowering the strong man, Jesus also claimed that the casting out of demons is proof that the Kingdom of God had arrived (Luke 11:20). Another first-century Jewish source, the Assumption of Moses, likewise links the defeat of Satan with the arrival of the Kingdom of God:

And then His kingdom will appear throughout all His creation,
And then Satan will be no more,
And sorrow will depart with him. (As. Mos. 10:1)[80]

Since Jesus linked the downfall of Satan to the arrival of the Kingdom of Heaven, and the inbreaking of God’s Kingdom to the inauguration of his own mission (cf., e.g., Matt. 11:12-13; Luke 16:16), it is logical to suppose that Satan’s fall occurred when Jesus launched his public career. The inbreaking of God’s Kingdom was what toppled Satan from his power and sent Jesus forth to proclaim the victory of God.[81]

It is fascinating to observe in the Return of the Twelve pericope that redemption is taking place on three separate but interlocking levels. The apostles describe the redemption taking place on the personal level: demons were being driven out such that individual Israelites were being restored to health and sanity. Jesus describes redemption taking place on a cosmic level: Satan was being overthrown as God asserted his reign over Israel. And on an intermediate level, between the personal and the cosmic plains, communal redemption was also unfolding: the people of Israel as a whole were being brought under God’s reign, the tribes of Israel were being restored, and the powers opposed to Israel’s redemption were being rendered impotent. Evidence of redemption on any one level was confirmation of the redemption taking place on all the others.[82] The liberation of even one human being from demonic possession was proof of the downfall of Satan and a sign that the liberation of all Israel was near.[83]

Nevertheless, while his fall to earth spelled Satan’s ultimate defeat, the immediate fallout could be catastrophic. This is certainly the case in John’s vision of the war between Michael and Satan, where the revelator registers two contradictory reactions to Satan’s expulsion from heaven:

Rejoice because of this, O heavens and those who dwell therein.
Woe, O earth and sea, that the devil has come down to you having great anger, knowing that he has little time. (Rev. 12:12)

In the verses that follow the account of his vision, Jesus seems to describe troubles that will come in the wake of Satan’s fall.[84] The apostles will require protection from harmful creatures and the power of the enemy, and they are to take courage from knowing that their “names are recorded in heaven.” This last phrase is reminiscent of Dan. 12:1, where we read:

וְהָיְתָה עֵת צָרָה אֲשֶׁר לֹא נִהְיְתָה מִהְיוֹת גּוֹי עַד הָעֵת הַהִיא וּבָעֵת הַהִיא יִמָּלֵט עַמְּךָ כָּל־הַנִּמְצָא כָּתוּב בַּסֵּפֶר

And it will be a time of distress that has never been since there was a nation until that time, and in that time your people will be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book. (Dan. 12:1)

Having their names recorded in heaven in Luke 10:20, therefore, likely alludes to a time of tribulation, and those tribulations are evidently a consequence of Satan’s fall. The upheaval that would result from the fall of Satan accounts for Jesus’ mixed reaction to the apostles’ report. The apostles were right to rejoice, since with the downfall of Satan Israel’s redemption was assured. However, the submission of demons was not the reason to be excited, rather the apostles should take courage that they would survive the birth pangs of the messianic redemption.

L18 הֲרֵי נָתַתִּי לָכֶם רָשׁוּת (HR). In the account of the apostles’ commissioning (Matt. 10:1; Luke 9:1), when Jesus granted the Twelve authority to exorcise demons, we reconstructed ἐξουσία (exousia, “authority”) with רָשׁוּת (rāshūt, “authority”).[85] Since here in Luke 10:19 Jesus refers back to the commissioning,[86] we have reconstructed ἐξουσία in the same manner. We regard this allusion to the commissioning of the Twelve in Luke’s account of the return of the Seventy-two as another hint that the mission of the Twelve in Luke 9 and the mission of the Seventy-two in Luke 10 are actually two versions of the same story.[87]

On the reconstruction of ἰδού (idou, “behold”) with הֲרֵי (ha, “behold”), see Sending the Twelve: “The Harvest Is Plentiful” and “A Flock Among Wolves,” Comment to L49.

L19-20 τοῦ πατεῖν ἐπάνω ὄφεων καὶ σκορπίων (Luke 10:19). When Jesus spoke of trampling snakes and scorpions it is likely that he alluded to a verse in Psalm 91:[88]

עַל שַׁחַל וָפֶתֶן תִּדְרֹךְ תִּרְמֹס כְּפִיר וְתַנִּין

Upon the lion and the asp you will tread, you will trample the young lion and the sea serpent. (Ps. 91:13)

Psalm 91 as a whole is an apotropaic psalm, that is, a psalm of protection from danger. In Judaism there is a long tradition of interpreting Psalm 91 as referring to various types of demons, and this may well have been the original intention of this psalm.[89] As early as the DSS we find that Psalm 91 was recited in order to ward off demons (cf. 11QapocrPs [11Q11]),[90] and later midrashic treatments of Psalm 91 are among the richest sources of information for the rabbinic understanding of what demons were and how they behaved.[91] In the context of the Return of the Twelve pericope, where the apostles report how the demons are subject to them, it makes sense that Jesus would have alluded to a psalm of protection against harmful spirits.[92]

Fitzmyer, however, regards the allusion to Ps. 91:13 as “farfetched” on the grounds that “Greek ophis, ‘serpent, snake’ never renders Hebrew tannîm, ‘dragon,’ in the LXX.”[93] Despite Fitzmyer’s misgivings, we believe the allusion to Psalm 91 in Luke 10:19 is all but certain. Fitzmyer’s objection is weak since פֶּתֶן (peten) and תַּנִּין (tanin), the terms for snake in Ps. 91:13, are synonyms for נָחָשׁ (nāḥāsh, “snake”),[94] which LXX usually did render as ὄφις (ofis, “snake”).[95]

The likelihood of an allusion to Ps. 91:13 in Luke 10:19 is strengthened when we consider that in LXX and in a version of Ps. 91 in DSS three kinds of snake are named instead of just two, as in MT:

ἐπ᾿ ἀσπίδα καὶ βασιλίσκον ἐπιβήσῃ καὶ καταπατήσεις λέοντα καὶ δράκοντα.

Upon the asp and the basilisk you will trample, and you will trample lion and dragon underfoot. (Ps. 90:13)

על] פתן [ואפעה תד]רוך תרמו[ס כפיר] ותנין]

[Upon] viper [and asp shall you s]tep, you will tramp[le lion] and dragon. (11QapocrPs [11Q11] VI, 12; DSS Study Edition)

Since both נָחָשׁ and ὄφις are generic terms for “snake,” it would not be surprising if Jesus used a general term to allude to a verse that used two or, depending on the version of Ps. 91:13 Jesus had in mind, even three synonyms for “snake.”[96]

If Jesus really did intend to allude to Psalm 91, however, why did he say “snakes and scorpions” instead of “snakes and lions,” which is what appears in Ps. 91:13? In Comment to L20, we will discuss examples from rabbinic sources in which snakes and scorpions are associated with magical and demonic powers on the one hand, and with divine protection on the other, so perhaps these associations contributed to the substitution of “scorpions” for “lions” in Luke 10:19. It is also possible that the substitution of “scorpions” for “lions” was due to the assumption that the creatures mentioned in Ps. 91:13 were of a fantastic nature. This assumption is expressed in the LXX version of the psalm, which also mentions basilisks[97] and dragons.[98] Since ancient sources describe fantastic composite creatures of lions and scorpions,[99] might Jesus have drawn on a tradition that identified yet one more fantastic creature in Ps. 91:13, one that was part lion and part scorpion?

A mid sixth-century B.C.E. coin from Mylasa (south-western coast of the Anatolian peninsula) depicting a lion’s head on one side and a scorpion on the other. Image courtesy of the <a href="https://www.cngcoins.com/Coin.aspx?CoinID=303241">Classical Numismatic Group</a>.A coin from Laodicea ad Mare, modern Latakia in Syria, (ca. 45 B.C.E.) depicting a lion attacking a bull on one side and a scorpion on the other side. Image courtesy of the <a href="https://www.cngcoins.com/Coin.aspx?CoinID=287738">Classical Numismatic Group</a>.A silver drachma from southern Gaul (late third to early second century B.C.E.) depicting a lion with a scorpion head. Image courtesy of the <a href="https://www.cngcoins.com/Coin.aspx?CoinID=269075">Classical Numismatic Group</a>.

L19 לִדְרֹךְ (HR). Although Lindsey indicated that πατεῖν (patein, “to trample”) without τοῦ (tou, “[of] the”) would have been more Hebraic,[100] there are numerous instances in LXX where an infinitive construct in the underlying Hebrew text was translated as τοῦ + infinitive.[101] We considered two main candidates for reconstructing πατεῖν: דָּרַךְ (dārach, “tread”) and רָמַס (rāmas, “trample”), both of which occur in Ps. 91:13. Tipping the balance slightly in favor of דָּרַךְ in HR is the fact that in LXX πατεῖν translates דָּרַךְ more frequently than ‎רָמַס‎.[102] Also, if Jesus did intend to allude to Ps. 91:13, we might expect him to use the first verb from that verse, which is דָּרַךְ.

L20 עַל נְחָשִׁים וְעַקְרַבִּים (HR). Snakes and scorpions are often mentioned together in ancient sources, both Jewish and non-Jewish,[103] probably because both were considered to be fatally poisonous.[104] A number of rabbinic sources attest to how dangerous snakes and scorpions were considered to be:[105]

ר′ שמעון או′ הרי שהיו יושבין ואוכלין וראו נחש או עקרב עוקרין אילו את פסחיהן ואוכלין אותו במקום אחר

Rabbi Shimon said, “Behold, if they were sitting and eating [the Passover lamb], and they saw a snake or a scorpion, these take up their Passover lamb and eat it in a different place.” (t. Pes. 6:9[11]; Vienna MS)

A Levant Viper, the only poisonous snake common in all parts of the land of Israel. Plate from H. B. Tristram, The Survey of Western Palestine: The Fauna and Flora of Palestine (London: Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund, 1884), opposite 147. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Ordinarily it was not permitted to take the Passover lamb from one house to another (cf. t. Pes. 6:11), but an exception was made in the case of snakes and scorpions because they were considered to be so dangerous.

תני רבי יעקב אומר הרואה נחש ועקרב בתוך ארבע אמות ראוי היה שימות בהם אלא שרחמים של מקום מרובין

It was taught [in a baraita]: Rabbi Akiva says, “The one who sees a snake or a scorpion at a distance of four cubits is liable to die by them. He is spared only because the mercies of the Omnipresent One are so many.” (y. Shab. 14:1 [74b]; cf. Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version B, chpt. 35 [ed. Schechter, 81]; Eliyahu Rabbah 18:18)

According to this source, snakes and scorpions were regarded as so deadly that any person who so much as approached them was spared only by divine intervention.

עֲשָׂרָה נִיסִים נֶעֱשׂוּ בְּבֵית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ…לֹא הִיזִּיק נָחָשׁ וְעַקְרָב בִּירוּשָׁלַםִ

Ten miracles were performed in the Temple…neither a snake nor a scorpion did harm in Jerusalem…. (m. Avot 5:5)

Here, too, preservation from snakes and scorpions is presented as an example of miraculous intervention.

נפל לבור אריות אין מעידין עליו אומר אני נעשה לו ניסים כדניאל. נפל לכבשן האש אין מעידין עליו אומר אני נעשה לו ניסים כחנניה מישאל ועזריה. נפל לבור מלא נחשים ועקרבים אין מעידין עליו. רבי יהודה בן בבא אומר אומר אני חבר היה.‏

If someone fell into a pit of lions they do not testify concerning him [that he is dead]. I say, “Perhaps a miracle occurred for him like Daniel.” If someone fell into a fiery furnace they do not testify concerning him [that he is dead]. I say, “Perhaps a miracle occurred for him like Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.” If someone fell into a pit full of snakes and scorpions they do not testify concerning him [that he is dead]. Rabbi Yehudah ben Bava says, “I say, ‘He was a snake charmer.’” (y. Yev. 16:3 [83a])

A Deathstalker or Yellow Scorpion (Leiurus quinquestriatus) photographed in Israel’s Negev. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

This last source warrants our attention because it exemplifies a certain ambivalence regarding snakes and scorpions. On the one hand, deliverance from these creatures is mentioned along with the miracle of Daniel in the lions’ den and the miracle of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace. But on the other hand, Rabbi Yehuda ben Bava associates the taming of snakes and scorpions with magic rather than with miracles.

Other sources make an even more explicit connection between snakes, scorpions and magic. Note, for instance, the following comment on Deut. 18:11, which enumerates a series of forbidden magical practices:

וחבר חבר…אחד חובר את הנחש ואת העקרב

[There shall not be found among you someone who passes his son or his daughter through the fire, or one who practices divination]…or a charmer [Deut. 18:(10-)11]. [This refers to]…someone who charms the snake or the scorpion. (Sifre Deut. §172 [ed. Finkelstein, 219])

What is more, a ruling from the Tosefta associates magical incantations used to ward off snakes and scorpions with the demonic:

רבן שמעון בן גמליאל אומ′…לוחשין על העין ועל הנחש ועל העקרב ואין לוחשין בדבר שדים ר′ יוסה אומ′ אף בחול אין לוחשין בדבר שדים

Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel says, “…They whisper incantations over an [evil] eye,[106] a snake, and a scorpion [on the Sabbath], but they do not whisper incantations over a matter involving demons.” Rabbi Yose says, “Even on an ordinary day they do not whisper incantations in a matter involving demons.” (t. Shab. 7:23; Vienna MS; cf. b. Sanh. 101a)[107]

A scorpion as depicted in the sixth-century C.E. Beit Alpha synagogue mosaic. The inscription above the scorpion reads עקרב (the Hebrew word for scorpion). Image courtesy of Joshua N. Tilton.

Such association of snakes and scorpions with magic and the demonic[108] helps us comprehend why, in response to the apostles’ report about their successful exorcisms, Jesus spoke about protection from snakes and scorpions.

The other main context in ancient Jewish sources where we find snakes and scorpions mentioned together is in reference to God’s protection of the children of Israel when he led them through the desert. This linking of snakes and scorpions with God’s protection of Israel in the desert first appears in the Jewish Scriptures:

וְשָׁכַחְתָּ אֶת יי אֱלֹהֶיךָ הַמּוֹצִיאֲךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים הַמּוֹלִיכֲךָ בַּמִּדְבָּר הַגָּדֹל וְהַנּוֹרָא נָחָשׁ שָׂרָף וְעַקְרָב וְצִמָּאוֹן אֲשֶׁר אֵין מָיִם הַמּוֹצִיא לְךָ מַיִם מִצּוּר הַחַלָּמִישׁ

…and you will forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrible desert containing snake and fiery serpent and scorpion and thirsty ground that had no water, who brought out water for you from the flinty rock. (Deut. 8:14-15)

According to later sources, the pillar of cloud would kill all the snakes and scorpions in Israel’s path,[109] while other sources emphasize the unusual size of the snakes and scorpions the Israelites encountered in the wilderness,[110] but most illuminating for our understanding of Jesus’ response to the apostles in Luke 10:19 is the rabbinic conviction that the protection of Israel from snakes and scorpions in the past implies that God will continue to protect Israel in the future:

כי ה′ אלהיכם ההולך עמכם, מי שהיה עמכם במדבר הוא יהיה עמכם בעת צרה וכן הוא אומר ה′ ילחם לכם ואתם תחרישון. להלחם לכם עם אויביכם להושיע אתכם משרפים ועקרבים ורוחות הרעים

For the LORD your God is the one who walks with you [Deut. 20:4]. The one who was with you in the desert, he will be with you in the time of distress, and therefore Scripture says, the LORD will fight on your behalf, but you will be still [Exod. 14:14]. To fight on your behalf with your enemies to save you [Deut. 20:4] from fiery snakes and scorpions and the evil spirits. (Sifre Deut. §193 [ed. Finkelstein, 234])

This rabbinic comment on Deut. 20:4, which assures Israel that God will deliver them from snakes, scorpions and evil spirits, is an almost exact parallel to Jesus’ assurance that the apostles will not be harmed by snakes, scorpions or the power of the enemy. Common to both the rabbinic comment and Jesus’ saying is the promise of deliverance in times of distress. Jesus applied this promise to the period of acute turmoil that would come in the wake of Satan’s fall (see above, Comment to L17).

In L17 of Healing of Shimon’s Mother-in-Law we also reconstructed ἐπάνω (epanō, “upon”) with עַל (‘al, “upon”).

A first-century C.E. fresco from Pompeii shows a snake slithering toward an altar. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

L21-22 וְעַל כֹּל גְּבוּרַת הָאֹיֵב (HR). We have been unable to identify any definite parallel to “power of the enemy” in Jewish sources. One question we have not been able to answer is whether “the enemy” here is a synonym for Satan or whether the reference is to a human enemy, the definite article being a Hebraic way of referring to a generic noun.[111] An ordinary human enemy is a real possibility, since “power of the enemy” is parallel to “snakes and scorpions.” If this option were adopted, then snakes, scorpions and enemies would be manifestations of Satan’s power that he intends to hurl against the apostles.

Another question posed by the phrase “all the power of the enemy” is which word for “enemy” Jesus was more likely to have used. In LXX ἐχθρός (echthros, “enemy”) is usually the translation of אֹיֵב (’oyēv, “enemy”), but sometimes ἐχθρός is used to translate שׂוֹנֵא (sōnē’, “hater,” “enemy”).[112] The latter option is attractive, since in MH שׂוֹנֵא took the place of אֹיֵב‎,[113] and we generally prefer to reconstruct direct speech in MH style. On the other hand, אֹיֵב is a common term in DSS and it does occur in tannaic sources, for instance:

עַל אֹיְבֵיכֶם אַתֶּם הוֹלְכִים שֶׁאִם תִּיפְּלוּ בְיָדָם אֵינָן מְרַחֲמִין עֲלֵיכֶם

You are going against your enemies who, if you fall into their hands, will have no mercy upon you. (m. Sot. 8:1; cf. Sifre Deut. §192 [ed. Finkelstein, 233])

Thus, אֹיֵב was probably still in common use in the spoken Hebrew of Jesus’ time.

Our reconstruction reflects the supposition that the enemy Jesus refers to is none other than Satan. HR is modeled on the similar construct phrase גבורת אל (gevūrat ’ēl, “the power of God”), which occurs in DSS,[114] on the supposition that גְּבוּרַת הָאֹיֵב (gevūrat hā’oyēv, “the power of the enemy”) might have been deemed an appropriate antithesis to גְּבוּרַת אֵל in first-century Hebrew.[115] It is possible that by referring to the fallen Satan as “the enemy” Jesus alluded to a biblical verse:

בִּנְפֹל אוֹיְבֶיךָ אַל תִּשְׂמָח

At the fall of your enemy do not rejoice…. (Prov. 24:17)

Such an allusion would fit with the content of Jesus’ vision (Luke 10:18) and with his warning that the apostles should not rejoice in their triumph over the enemy, but in the fact that their names are recorded in heaven (Luke 10:20).

L23 וְלֹא יַזִּיק לָכֶם כְּלוּם (HR). For our similar reconstruction of μηδείς (mēdeis, “nothing”) with כְּלוּם (kelūm, “anything”), see Sending the Twelve: Conduct on the Road, Comment to L63.

We have chosen to reconstruct ἀδικεῖν (adikein, “to harm”) with הִזִּיק (hiziq, “harm,” “damage”), a verb that does not occur in MT.[116] Our decision is largely based on the statement in m. Avot 5:5 that neither snake nor scorpion caused harm in Jerusalem, where the verb is הִזִּיק.‎[117] Recall, too, that evil spirits are sometimes referred to as מַּזִּיקִין (maziqin, “harmers,” i.e., “harmful spirits”) in rabbinic sources (cf., e.g., m. Avot 5:6).

The verb הִזִּיק can take the prepositions -בְּ, -‎לְ or the definite direct object marker אֶת.‎[118] Our reconstruction with the preposition -לְ may be compared to the following example:

צויתי את האור שלא יזיק לחנניה מישאל ועזריה, צויתי את האריות שלא יזיקו לדניאל

I commanded the fire that it not harm Hananyah, Mishael, and Azaryah. I commanded the lions that they not harm Daniel. (Gen. Rab. 5:5 [ed. Theodor-Albeck, 1:35])

Note that in Psalm 91 we find a similar statement to Jesus’ promise that “nothing will harm you”:

לֹא תְאֻנֶּה אֵלֶיךָ רָעָה

Evil will not befall you. (Ps. 91:10)

οὐ προσελεύσεται πρὸς σὲ κακά

Evil will not come toward you. (Ps. 90:10)

L24 אַף בְּזוֹ (HR). In LXX πλήν (plēn, “nevertheless”) is the translation of several conjunctions including אֲבָל (avāl, “but”), אַךְ (’ach, “only,” “nevertheless”) and רַק (raq, “only”).[119] The phrase πλὴν ἐν τούτῳ (plēn en toutō, “nevertheless in this”) does not occur in LXX, but we do find μόνον ἐν τούτῳ (monon en toutō, “only in this”) as the translation of אַךְ בְּזֹאת (’ach bezo’t, “only on this [condition]”; Gen. 34:22), which is similar.[120] We considered reconstructing Luke’s πλὴν ἐν τούτῳ with אַךְ בְּזֹאת, but אַךְ had become obsolete in MH, and likewise בְּזוֹ (be, “in this”) took the place of בְּזֹאת in MH.[121] Phrases such as אֲבָל בְּזוֹ (“but in this”) and רַק בְּזוֹ (“only in this”) do not occur in rabbinic literature, but we do somtimes encounter אַף בְּזוֹ (“even in this”), for instance:

אבא שאול אומ′ אף בזו היא מחלוקת

Abba Shaul says, “Even in this case [אַף בְּזוֹ] it is in dispute.” (t. Ohol. 6:6; Vienna MS)

ראוה שנבעלה חוששין משום קידושין נתן לה כספים חוששין משום זנות…רבי יוסי בר′ יהודה אומר אף בזו חוששין משום קידושין

If someone sees that he had sexual relations [with a woman], they presume that he has thereby betrothed her. If he gave her money, they presume it was a case of fornication…. Rabbi Yose in the name of Rabbi Yehudah says, “Even in this case [אַף בְּזוֹ] they presume betrothal.” (b. Git. 73a-b)[122]

Reconstructing πλὴν ἐν τούτῳ with אַף בְּזוֹ has the advantage of using MH style, which we prefer in dialogue, and of using a construction that is attested in ancient sources. Moreover, reconstructing with אַף harks back to the opening words of the apostles’ report, where in L10 we reconstructed καί (kai, “and,” “also”) with אַף.

אַל תִּשְׂמְחוּ (HR). Above in L4 we reconstructed χαρά (chara, “joy”) with שִׂמְחָה (simḥāh, “joy”). Here in L24 we have reconstructed the cognate verb χαίρειν (chairein, “to rejoice”) with שָׂמַח (sāmaḥ, “rejoice”). In LXX שָׂמַח is usually translated as εὐφραίνειν (evfrainein, “to rejoice”), but χαίρειν comes in second place.[123]

L25 שֶׁהָרוּחוֹת מִשְׁתַּעְבְּדוֹת לָכֶם (HR). Whereas the apostles had reported that the demons submitted to them (Luke 10:17; L10), Jesus here refers to spirits, which is a more general and inclusive term. All demons are spirits, but not all spirits are demons. Nevertheless, in ancient Jewish sources “demon” and “spirit” were often treated as interchangeable (cf., e.g., 11Q11 II, 3; Jos., Ant. 6:211).

In LXX πνεῦμα (pnevma, “wind,” “spirit”) is almost always the translation of רוּחַ (rūaḥ, “wind,” “spirit”).[124] Likewise, we find that רוּחַ is translated in LXX as πνεῦμα far more often than any other Greek term.[125] On the reconstruction of ὑποτάσσειν (hūpotassein, “to put under,” “to make subject”) with הִשְׁתַּעְבֵּד (hishta‘bēd, “be subjugated,” “be slave of”), see above, Comment to L11.

L27 ἐγγέγραπται ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς (Luke 10:20). In LXX the verb ἐγγράφειν (engrafein, “to inscribe”)[126] usually translates either the passive participle כָּתוּב (kātūv, “written,” “inscribed”) or the nif‘al verb נִכְתַּב (nichtav, “was written,” “was inscribed”). We have reconstructed Luke’s phrase as כְּתוּבִים בַּשָּׁמַיִם (“written in the heavens”). Note the Hebraic ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς (“in the heavens [pl.]”).

In Luke 10:20 Jesus draws upon the ancient Near Eastern concept of a heavenly archive that contains records of human activities and divine judgments.[127] While divine record keeping is alluded to fairly often in the Hebrew Bible,[128] the term “Book of Life,” which is a narrower concept,[129] is found only once:

יִמָּחוּ מִסֵּפֶר חַיִּים וְעִם צַדִּיקִים אַל יִכָּתֵבוּ

Blot their name from the Scroll of Life, and with the righteous do not let them be written. (Ps. 69:29)[130]

Nevertheless, biblical and post-biblical writers often referred to the Scroll of Life without naming it explicitly. For instance:

וְהָיָה הַנִּשְׁאָר בְּצִיּוֹן וְהַנּוֹתָר בִּירוּשָׁלִַם קָדוֹשׁ יֵאָמֶר לוֹ כָּל הַכָּתוּב לַחַיִּים בִּירוּשָׁלִָם

And it will be that the one who remains in Zion and the one who is left in Jerusalem, “Holy” will be said of him—each one who is written for life in Jerusalem. (Isa. 4:3)[131]

וּבָעֵת הַהִיא יִמָּלֵט עַמְּךָ כָּל הַנִּמְצָא כָּתוּב בַּסֵּפֶר

And in that time your people will escape, each one found written in the scroll. (Dan. 12:1)

By declaring that their names were recorded in heaven, Jesus assured the Twelve that God would preserve them through the troubled times ahead.[132] As scholars have noted, Jesus contrasted Satan’s fall from heaven with the inscribing of the apostles’ names in heaven.[133]

Redaction Analysis

Many scholars have doubted the literary integrity of Luke 10:17-20, supposing this pericope to consist of originally unrelated sayings artificially pieced together by the author of Luke or his source.[134] These doubts mainly stem from the apparent lack of connection between exorcisms and seeing Satan fall, and especially between the description of Jesus’ vision and the promise that the apostles will survive encounters with snakes and scorpions unscathed. From careful examination of ancient Jewish sources, however, an inner coherence to the Return of the Twelve pericope is allowed to emerge. The connection between the apostles’ exorcisms and Jesus’ vision of the fall of Satan makes sense when it is understood that the arrival of the Kingdom of Heaven—the message the apostles proclaimed and demonstrated through healing and exorcism—would bring the rule of Satan to an end. In other words, the submission of the demons to the apostles simply confirmed that what Jesus had seen in his vision was true. Likewise, the connection between exorcisms and protection from harmful creatures is clarified when the allusion to Ps. 91:13 is recognized, since in the Second Temple period Psalm 91 was believed to be effective for warding off evil spirits. Finally, the reason for mentioning that the apostles’ names are recorded in heaven becomes apparent when it is understood that Satan was expected to vent his wrath on earth in response to his expulsion from heaven.[135] Thus, the skepticism regarding the literary integrity of the Return of the Twelve pericope can be overcome when Luke 10:17-20 is read within the context of ancient Jewish sources.

Luke’s Versions

The author of Luke transmitted two versions of the return of Jesus’ emissaries from their preaching and healing mission. The bare bones report in Luke 9:10 is characteristic of FR, which Robert Lindsey described as an improved Greek abridgment of Anth., crafted into a fast-paced narrative. The version in Luke 10:17-20, which focuses on Jesus’ reaction, is typical of Anth., which Lindsey described as a highly Hebraic collection of anecdotes, sayings and parables of Jesus organized according to genre rather than presented as a continuous narrative. On the whole, the author of Luke faithfully preserved the wording of his sources; however, by comparing Luke’s two versions with the version in Mark, and by attempting to reconstruct these versions in Hebrew, we have detected evidence of Luke’s editorial activity.

Luke 10:17-20

The most glaring example of Luke’s editorial activity is Luke 10:17, where the author of Luke attributes the Anth. version to the Seventy-two instead of the (twelve) apostles (L2). Originally, both the FR and Anth. versions described the same event, the return of the twelve apostles, but the author of Luke used the Seventy-two as a literary device that allowed him to include both versions in his Gospel. The author of Luke also adapted the introduction to the Anth. version by replacing καὶ ὑποστρέψαντες with the more polished Greek ὑπέστρεψαν δὲ (L1) and by omitting the statement that the apostles “reported to him all that they did” (L5-6), thereby eliminating a probable allusion to Exod. 18:8. Otherwise, Luke left the Anth. version unchanged, even copying a Hebraism—“in the heavens (plur.)”—from Anth. (L27) rather than improving the Greek by changing the plural to a singular.

Luke 9:10

It is difficult to determine whether the author of Luke made any changes to FR, since all of the differences between Luke 9:10 and Anth., which is reconstructed in the GR column, could be the handiwork of the editor of FR. Whether Luke or FR omitted πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν in L3, or μετὰ χαρᾶς in L4, or πάντα in L6 is impossible to say. What we can say is that in L1 and L2 the editor of FR preserved the wording of Anth. more exactly than the author of Luke did in Luke 10:17. These examples of FR’s faithfulness to Anth. illustrate the kinds of adaptations the author of Luke made to his sources.

Mark’s Version

The author of Mark based his version of the Return of the Twelve pericope on Luke 9:10. In keeping with his usual practice, Mark paraphrased Luke’s wording, substituting synonyms and creating allusions to the Acts of the Apostles (L7). However, since the author of Mark constantly compared Luke to Anth., and occasionally picked up a word or phrase from Anth. that Luke omitted, Mark sometimes preserved an original reading not found in Luke. This appears to be the case in L3 where Mark adds πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν, and in L6, where by restoring the word πάντα, an allusion to Exod. 18:8 is recovered. These examples demonstrate how important the witness of each of the Synoptic Gospels is for reconstructing the earliest record of Jesus’ life and teachings.

Results of this Research

1. Did the apostles exorcise demons by pronouncing Jesus’ name, or did they exorcise demons on the strength of Jesus’ authority? As Jesus’ sheliḥim, or official representatives, the apostles were authorized to act in Jesus’ name, or in his stead. In other words, the apostles acted with Jesus’ authority. This seems to be the original concept behind driving out demons in Jesus’ name. Their ability to drive out demons was not based on uttering Jesus’ name, but on the authorization Jesus had given to the apostles to cast out evil spirits.

It appears, however, that when Jesus’ followers encountered demon-possessed persons they would often say to the demon, “I command you in Jesus’ name to come out of this person.” Since they cited Jesus’ name in the course of performing exorcisms, it was easy for a subtle shift to take place whereby Jesus’ name itself was regarded as a potent charm against demons. This understanding seemed to be confirmed by the at least partial success of exorcists who were not followers of Jesus but who used Jesus’ name as an incantation to drive out demons. By the time of Justin Martyr in the mid-second century C.E., the transference of meaning from “in Jesus’ name” to “by the power of Jesus’ name” was commonplace even among Jesus’ followers, while the original meaning was largely forgotten.

2. Who saw Satan fall—Jesus or the demons? Although Hills deserves a great deal of credit for exploring an exegetical option that New Testament scholars had, perhaps unanimously, overlooked, we favor the interpretation that it was Jesus who saw a vision of the downfall of Satan. When the apostles returned from their mission, Jesus’ remarks emphasized what God had revealed to them and what they had seen. It makes sense that in such an apocalyptic context Jesus would also describe a revelation that he himself had seen. We have also noted that other visions of the fall of Satan were probably circulating in the first century, and it is even possible that Jesus alluded to a tradition about how the Israelites had witnessed the downfall of the angelic prince of Egypt at the Red Sea. All of this supports the traditional interpretation, according to which Jesus witnessed the downfall of Satan.

3. When did the fall of Satan happen? Ancient sources attest to conflicting timetables for the fall of Satan. According to some sources, Satan was evicted from heaven during the first week of creation (cf., e.g., 2 Enoch [J] 29:4-5). Other sources seem to envision Satan’s expulsion from heaven as an eschatological event (e.g., Rev. 12:7-12), while other sources link the downfall of Satan to the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven (As. Mos. 10:1). Since Jesus explicitly linked the exorcism of demons to the arrival of the Kingdom of Heaven, and since he regarded exorcisms as confirmation of Satan’s fall, it appears that Jesus correlated the downfall of Satan with the inauguration of his own Kingdom of Heaven movement.

4. Did Satan fall from heaven, or was his fall like lightning from the sky? Either interpretation is grammatically possible, since the phrase ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ (“from the heaven/sky”) could indicate either the place from which Satan fell or the place from which lightning originates. Supposing that Luke 10:18 reflects a Hebrew saying of Jesus, it is unnecessary to chose between the two options, hence our paraphrase: “I saw Satan expelled from heaven like a flash of lightning from the sky.”

5. What do snakes and scorpions have to do with the fall of Satan? According to Bundy, Luke 10:19 “conceives of religion as a sort of magical spell which surrounds the ardent and protects him from harm, a conception that is hardly above the level of primitive superstition.”[136] That is not how we would describe it. Ancient Jewish sources demonstrate that snakes and scorpions were considered to be dangerous, even deadly, creatures that were associated with forbidden magical practices and demonic powers. God had preserved the children of Israel from snakes and scorpions when he led them out of Egypt, and this divine protection served as an example of how God would continue to preserve Israel during times of distress. Since Jesus expected a severe backlash from Satan in response to his expulsion from heaven, Jesus assured the apostles that through this acute period of distress God would protect them from snakes and scorpions and all the power of the enemy.

Conclusion

When the apostles returned to Jesus with the report that even the demons were forced to obey them, Jesus explained their success as confirmation of his vision of the downfall of Satan. From the time the Kingdom of Heaven had begun to break forth, Satan had been toppled from his position of power. Just as the fall of the angelic prince of Egypt had guaranteed the redemption of Israel from slavery in the time of Moses, so the downfall of Satan was a sure sign that the final redemption of Israel, humankind and the whole of creation was afoot. Nevertheless, the downfall of Satan would likely result in a period of acute distress when the Adversary of Israel and Accuser of God would marshal his forces for a last assault against the LORD’s redeemed community. Jesus assured the apostles that just as God had protected the twelve tribes of Israel from snakes, scorpions and evil spirits during their wilderness wanderings, so God would protect the twelve apostles to Israel in the turbulent time ahead. In the face of adversity, the apostles could take courage from knowing that their names were inscribed in the Scroll of Life as participants in the messianic redemption.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the Return of the Twelve pericope is the way it allows us to observe how the redemption that was unfolding through Jesus’ Kingdom of Heaven movement was operative on three interlocking levels. On the personal level, individuals were being set free from demonic possession. On the communal level, the twelve tribes were being renewed and the God of Israel was asserting his reign over his people. And on the cosmic level, evil was being uprooted from creation forever. The apostles were to rejoice, not merely because they had exercised control over demons on the personal level,[137] but all the more so because on the cosmic level they were being promoted to the place of authority that Satan had recently been forced to vacate.


Premium Members
If you are not a Premium Member, please consider becoming starting at $10/month or only $5/month if paid annually:


One Time Purchase Rather Than Membership
Rather than a membership, you may also purchase access to this entire page for $1.99 USD. (If you do not have an account select "Register & Purchase.")


Register & Purchase  
  • [1] For abbreviations and bibliographical references, see “Introduction to ‘The Life of Yeshua: A Suggested Reconstruction.’
  • [2] This translation is a dynamic rendition of our reconstruction of the conjectured Hebrew source that stands behind the Greek of the Synoptic Gospels. It is not a translation of the Greek text of a canonical source.
  • [3] According to Nolland (Luke, 2:562), “The return of the Seventy-two could easily be a secondary formulation based on [Luke] 9:10a.”
  • [4] See Sending the Twelve: Commissioning, under the subheading “Conjectured Stages of Transmission.”
  • [5] Justin Martyr (mid-second century C.E.) quoted a form of Jesus’ saying about snakes and scorpions that is different from the version preserved in Luke 10:19:

    Δίδωμι ὑμῖν ἐξουσίαν καταπατεῖν ἐπάνω ὄφεων καὶ σκορπίων καὶ σκολοπενδρῶν, καὶ ἐπάνω πάσης δυνάμεως τοῦ ἐχθροῦ.

    I give you authority to step on snakes and scorpions and centipedes, and over all the power of the enemy. (Dialogue with Trypho chpt. 76)

    It is uncertain whether Justin knew the Gospel of Luke and if the differences between Justin’s version and Luke 10:19 are due to Justin’s imperfect memory, or whether Justin knew this saying from some other written or oral source.

  • [6] See David N. Bivin and Joshua N. Tilton, “LOY Excursus: Mark’s Editorial Style,” under the subheading “Mark’s Freedom and Creativity.”
  • [7] We have identified several instances where, due to the author of Luke’s editing of Anth., the FR version of the Sending the Twelve pericope preserves the wording of Anth. better than the version Luke based directly on Anth. See, for instance, Sending the Twelve: Commissioning, L17, L20, L22; Sending the Twelve: Conduct on the Road, L66, L70, L74; Sending the Twelve: Conduct in Town, L85, L109, L110, L112, L113, L114.
  • [8] Further examples from Genesis where καί + participle + aorist translates vav-consecutive + vav-consecutive include Gen. 24:26; 24:54, 63; 25:8, 17; 27:27; 29:10; 33:4, 5; 35:29; 38:15; 48:2. There are many examples elsewhere in LXX.
  • [9] See Sending the Twelve: Commissioning, Comment to L23.
  • [10] In the Gospel of Mark the term ἀπόστολος (apostolos, “apostle,” “emissary”) occurs only in Mark 3:14 and 6:30.
  • [11] See, for example, Fitzmyer, 2:861.
  • [12] In MT רְנָנָה occurs four times (Ps. 63:6; 100:2; Job 3:7; 20:5), compared to over ninety instances of שִׂמְחָה.
  • [13] In LXX ἐν εὐφροσύνῃ is the translation of בְּשִׂמְחָה in Deut. 28:47; 2 Kgdms. 6:12; 1 Chr. 15:25; 29:17; 2 Chr. 20:27; 23:18; 30:21; 2 Esd. 6:22; Ps. 44:16; 67[68]:4; 99[100]:2; 105[106]:5; Eccl. 2:1; 5:19; 9:7; Isa. 55:12; 66:5.
  • [14] We suppose that the author of Mark picked up πάντα from Anth. rather than simply supplying πάντα himself, since, in our estimation, the author of Mark does not seem capable of making the kind of subtle allusion to Scripture that was evidently present in the introduction to the Return of the Twelve pericope.
  • [15] In Luke 11:20 (cf. Matt. 12:28) Jesus himself drew a parallel between the Kingdom of Heaven and Israel’s redemption from Egypt. See R. Steven Notley, “By the Finger of God.”
  • [16] Examples of πάντα ὅσα + ποιεῖν as the translation of כֹּל אֲשֶׁר + עָשָׂה are found in Gen. 1:31; 39:22; Exod. 18:1, 8, 14; Num. 22:2; Deut. 1:30; 3:21; 4:34; 29:1, 8; Ruth 3:16; 1 Kgdms. 19:18; 2 Kgdms. 3:36; 3 Kgdms. 11:41; 4 Kgdms. 8:23; 10:34; 12:20; 13:8, 12; 14:3, 28; 15:3, 6, 21, 26, 31, 34; 18:3; 21:17; 23:28, 32, 37; 24:3, 5, 9, 19; 2 Chr. 26:4; 27:2; 29:2; 2 Esd. 15:19; Eccl. 3:14; Jer. 27[50]:29; Ezek. 14:23; 16:63; 24:24.
  • [17] See Marshall, 359; Sending the Twelve: Conduct in Town, Comment to L105.
  • [18] In NT the pairing of ποιεῖν (poiein, “to do”) with διδάσκειν (didaskein, “to teach”) is found in Matt. 5:19; 28:15; Mark 6:30; John 8:28; Acts 1:1.
  • [19] See Robert L. Lindsey, “Introduction to A Hebrew Translation of the Gospel of Mark,” under the subheading “Sources of the Markan Pick-ups”; idem, “My Search for the Synoptic Problem’s Solution (1959-1969),” under the subheading “Markan Pick-ups”; Joshua N. Tilton and David N. Bivin, “LOY Excursus: Catalog of Markan Stereotypes and Possible Markan Pick-ups.”
  • [20] For instance, out of fifty-four instances of the participle λέγοντες in the Pentateuch, forty-four are the translation of the infinitive construct לֵאמֹר: Gen. 22:20; 23:5; 32:7; 34:20; 38:13, 24; 42:28, 29; 45:16, 26; 47:15; 48:20; 50:4, 16; Exod. 5:8, 10, 13, 14, 15, 19; 11:8; 14:12; 15:1, 24; 32:12; Lev. 11:2; Num. 11:13, 18, 20; 13:32; 14:7, 15, 40; 17:6, 27; 20:3; 32:2, 25, 31; Deut. 1:28; 13:14; 18:16; 20:5; 27:9.
  • [21] Compare our reconstruction of λέγων with לֵאמֹר in Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven, L6, and our reconstruction of εἰπών with לֵאמֹר in Preparations for Eating Passover Lamb, L12.
  • [22] Cf. Lord’s Prayer, Comment to L5.
  • [23] See Beare, 157; cf. Bundy, 336-337.
  • [24] See Sending the Twelve: Commissioning, L17-21.
  • [25] See Jastrow, 99, 251. An example of how אַף supplanted גַּם in MH is found in Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, Baḥodesh chpt. 4 (ed. Lauterbach, 2:311), where גַּם in the biblical text is paraphrased using אַף.
  • [26] The term שֵׁד, for instance, does not occur at all in the Mishnah and only in a single passage of the Tosefta (t. Shab. 7:23). On reticence toward the demonic in tannaic literature, see Peter J. Tomson, Paul and the Jewish Law: Halakhah in the Letters of the Apostle to the Gentiles (CRINT III.1; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1990), 156-157; Louis Isaac Rabinowitz, “Demons, Demonology: In the Talmud,” in Encyclopedia Judaica (2d ed.; 22 vols.; ed. Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik; Detroit: Macmillan, 2007), 5:574. Not only do early rabbinic sources mention demons much less frequently than the Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, DSS and NT, but some of the rabbinic notions about the origins and characteristics of demons conflict with the views expressed in Second Temple sources. For instance, whereas the sages believed that the מַזִּיקִין (maziqin, “harmful spirits”) were formed at the end of the sixth day of Creation (m. Avot 5:6; cf. Sifre Deut. §355 [ed. Finkelstein, 418]), a variety of Second Temple sources describe demons as the ghosts of the illegitimate offspring of sexual union between angels and human beings (cf., e.g., 1 Enoch 15:8; Jub. 10:5; 11Q11 V, 6). The latter explanation of the origin of demons is also attested in the Christian writings of Justin Martyr, 2 Apol. 5:2-4; cf. Lactantius, Divine Institutes 2:15. Likewise, the description of demons in Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version A, 37:2 (ed. Schechter, 109), according to which demons eat and procreate, conflicts with the view that demons are the ghosts of the giants who where drowned in the flood. On the “Enochic Aetiology of Demons,” see Philip S. Alexander, “The Demonology of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” in The Dead Sea Scrolls After Fifty Years (2 vols.; ed. Peter W. Flint and James C. Vanderkam; Leiden: Brill, 1999), 2:331-353, esp. 337-341.
  • [27] For halachic rulings that mention evil spirits, see m. Shab. 2:5; m. Eruv. 4:1; t. Eruv. 3:8; t. Taan. 2:12.
  • [28] In later rabbinic sources, and especially among Babylonian sages, there is a renewed interest in demons.
  • [29] Josephus describes how he witnessed a certain Essene perform an exorcism (Ant. 8:46-48). In addition, among the Dead Sea Scrolls certain exorcism texts have been discovered, which also suggests that demons and exorcism were part of the Essene worldview. On demons in DSS, see Philip S. Alexander, “The Demonology of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” 2:331-353; Herman Lichtenberger, “Demonology in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament,” in Text, Thought and Practice in Qumran and Early Christianity (ed. Ruth A. Clements and Daniel R. Schwartz; Leiden: Brill, 2009), 267-280.
  • [30] Rabbinic literature attests to the ability of Hanina ben Dosa, a first-century C.E. Hasid, to command demons (b. Pes. 112b). For additional sources on exorcisms performed by Hanina ben Dosa, see Shmuel Safrai, “Jesus and the Hasidim,” under the subheading “Miracle Workers.”
  • [31] See Tomson, Paul and the Jewish Law, 156.
  • [32] See Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 399-400.
  • [33] Luke uses a singular verb applied to demons (plur.) in Luke 4:41; 8:2, 30, 35, 38; 10:17.
  • [34] See Luke 4:41 where there are four verbs used with δαιμόνια, one singular, three plural; cf. Luke 8:33 where there are two verbs used with δαιμόνια, both plural. Also, Luke uses a singular verb two out of three times for πνεύματα (“spirits”) when it is the subject of a sentence (Luke 10:20; 11:26). Once in Matthew πνεύματα is the subject of a sentence, with one of its verbs in the plural form, one in the singular (Matt. 12:45 [ // Luke 11:26]). Mark uses a plural verb with πνεύματα every time (Mark 3:11 [4xx]; 5:13 [2xx]).
  • [35] See Jastrow, 1608.
  • [36] Cf. the description of demon possession in Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer, chpt. 13.
  • [37] It is clear from his writings that Justin Martyr (mid-second century C.E.) understood exorcisms to be performed by means of Jesus’ name (κατά τοῦ ὀνοματος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ; Dial. chpt. 30; cf. chpt. 85; 2 Apol. 6:6). For a survey of Justin’s understanding of demons, see F. C. Conybeare, “Demonology of the New Testament,” Jewish Quarterly Review 8.4 (1896): 576-608, esp. 597-599.
  • [38] In LXX ἐν [τῷ] ὀνόματι translates בְּשֵׁם in 1 Kgdms. 17:45; 20:42; 25:9; 2 Kgdms. 6:18; 3 Kgdms. 18:24 (2xx), 25, 26, 32; 22:16; 4 Kgdms. 2:24; 5:11; 1 Chr. 4:38; 12:32; 16:2, 8, 10; 21:19; 2 Chr. 18:15; 28:15; 31:19; 2 Esd. 8:20; 10:16; Ps. 19[20]:6, 8; 32[33]:21; 43[44]:6; 53[54]:3; 62[63]:5; 88[89]:13, 17, 25; 104[105]:3; 117[118]:26; 123[124]:8; 128[129]:8; Mic. 4:5; Zech. 10:12; Jer. 36[29]:23.
  • [39] On this usage of בְּשֵׁם, see Hans Kosmala, “‘In My Name,’” Annual of the Swedish Theological Institute 5 (1967): 87-109, esp. 91-93, 108.
  • [40] Origen mentions that there were people who drove out demons by invoking the name of Jesus even though they were not believers (Celsus 1:6), but it is uncertain whether he knew personally of such cases, or whether he was simply alluding to the story in Acts 19:13-16. Be that as it may, Smith presents abundant evidence that Jesus’ name was used by non-Christians in magical spells for driving out demons. See Morton Smith, Jesus the Magician (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1978), 62-63.
  • [41] See Robert L. Lindsey, “‘Verily’ or ‘Amen’—What Did Jesus Say?” For examples of “Amen!” affirmations followed by an intensification, see Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven, L102; Sending the Twelve: Conduct in Town, L115-116; Blessedness of the Twelve, L9-10.
  • [42] See Julian V. Hills, “Luke 10.18—Who Saw Satan Fall?” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 46 (1992): 25-40.
  • [43] See Bultmann, 108; Bovon, 2:25; Simon Gathercole, “Jesus’ Eschatological Vision of the Fall of Satan: Luke 10,18 Reconsidered,” Zeitschrift für die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 94 (2003): 143-163, esp. 145.
  • [44] The English noun “apocalypse” and the English adjective “apocalyptic” derive from the Greek word ἀποκάλυψις (apokalūpsis, “uncovering,” “revelation”). In popular usage “apocalypse” is a synonym for end-time catastrophe (e.g., the “Zombie Apocalypse”), but in biblical studies “apocalypse” refers to a literary genre concerned with the uncovering of mysteries. These mysteries are not exclusively or even primarily concerned with eschatology (i.e., end times). Apocalypses can explore the hidden workings of the universe, uncover secret truths of the story of creation or of current events, as well as reveal God’s hidden plan for the future. Jesus’ vision of Satan’s fall is apocalyptic in the sense that Jesus was afforded a glimpse of the happenings in the spiritual realms that are not ordinarily accessible to the physical senses. See Michael E. Stone, “Apocalyptic Literature,” in Jewish Writings of the Second Temple Period (CRINT II.2; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1984), 383-441; David Flusser, “Apocalypse,” in Encyclopedia Judaica, 2:256-258.
  • [45] Click here to see an overview of the entire “Mission of the Twelve” complex.
  • [46] See Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn, Blessedness of the Twelve, Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven.
  • [47] See Marshall, 428; Fitzmyer, 2:862; Gathercole, “Jesus’ Eschatological Vision,” 151 n. 37.
  • [48] On visions in the Second Temple period, see David Flusser, “Visions,” in Encyclopedia Judaica, 20:543-544.
  • [49] In LXX θεωρεῖν is the translation of רָאָה in Josh. 8:20; Judg. 13:19, 20; 16:27 (Alexandrinus); Ps. 21[22]:8; 30[31]:12; 49[50]:18; 63[64]:9; 65[66]:18; 67[68]:25; 72[73]:3; Eccl. 7:11; Dan. 8:15.
  • [50] For שַׂר (sar) as “angelic prince” or “guardian angel,” see Dan. 10:13, 20. For additional examples, see Jastrow, 1627. On the concept of angelic princes in ancient Jewish sources, see Ephraim E. Urbach, The Sages: Their Concepts and Beliefs (trans. Israel Abrahams; 2 vols.; Jerusalem: Magnes, 1975), 1:137-138; Darrell D. Hannah, “Guardian Angels and Angelic National Patrons in Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity,” Deuterocanonical and Cognate Literature Yearbook (2007): 413-435. The notion of angelic princes appointed over the nations is also found in Deut. 32:8 (LXX); Sir. 17:17; Jub. 15:31-32. In some sources Michael is the guardian angel of Israel, in others it is the LORD himself who guards Israel. In the Community Rule (1QS III, 20-21) the concept of angelic princes who rule the Gentile kingdoms is morphed into the division of all humanity into two groups, those ruled by the Prince of Light (שר אורים) and those ruled by the Angel of Darkness (מלאך חושך). According to 2 Cor. 11:14, Satan was known to masquerade as an “angel of light,” using terminology that might have been borrowed from Qumran (viz., שר אורים). See David Flusser, “The Dead Sea Sect and Pre-Pauline Christianity” (JOC, 23-74, esp. 26). If so, 2 Cor. 11:14 provides early evidence that Satan was identified as one of the angelic princes who ruled over the empires of the world. This is also implied by Satan’s offer to make Jesus ruler over all the kingdoms of the world if only Jesus would bow down and worship him (Matt. 4:8-10; Luke 4:5-8).
  • [51] On the concept that the angelic princes must first be toppled before the earthly empires can be vanquished, see Ginzberg, 1:558 n. 41.
  • [52] A midrashic treatment of Jacob’s dream of the ladder upon which angels ascended and descended (Lev. Rab. 29:2 [ed. Marguiles, 2:670-671]; cf. Gen. 28:12) interprets the angels as the angelic princes of the Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman Empires. The number of rungs each prince ascended was interpreted as marking the number of years of each empire’s dominion over Israel, and their descent was interpreted as marking the end of their reign. The descent of an angelic prince on Jacob’s ladder is not dissimilar to the fall from heaven of the angelic prince of Egypt described in the above-cited midrash on Exod. 15:1 in Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, Shirata chpt. 2, or to the fall of Satan described in Luke 10:18. On the midrashic treatment of Jacob’s dream, see James Kugel, “The Ladder of Jacob,” Harvard Theological Review 88.2 (1995): 209-227; Chaim Milikowsky, “Notions of Exile, Subjugation and Return in Rabbinic Literature,” in Exile: Old Testament, Jewish, and Christian Conceptions (ed. James M. Scott; Leiden: Brill, 1997), 265-296, esp. 275-278.
  • [53] See Lightfoot, 3:97; T. W. Manson, 258; Marshall, 428-429; Gathercole, “Jesus’ Eschatological Vision,” 155; Bovon, 2:31. The association of Luke 10:18 with Isa. 14:12 is ancient, and can be traced back at least as far as Origen (Princ. 1:5 §5). See Gathercole, “Jesus’ Eschatological Vision,” 146.
  • [54] According to Kister, “notwithstanding significant changes in style, tone, context, and content, aggadic statements in rabbinic literature should be regarded principally as traditions, and the sages to whom these utterances are attributed as tradents of ancient material. Studies that consider rabbinic literature together with writings of the Second Temple period (such as Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Qumran, Philo, Josephus, Gospels) validate time and again this assertion.” See Menahem Kister, “Allegorical Interpretations of Biblical Narratives in Rabbinic Literature, Philo, and Origen: Some Case Studies,” in New Approaches to the Study of Biblical Interpretation in Judaism of the Second Temple Period and in Early Christianity (ed. Gary A. Anderson, Ruth A. Clements, and David Satran; Leiden: Brill, 2013), 133-183, quotation on 141-142.
  • [55] The mention of Edom in the Mechilta passage probably alludes to Rome, since in rabbinic literature Edom is often a symbol of Rome. On Edom as a symbol of Rome in rabbinic literature, see Ginzberg, 1:254 n. 19. Note, too, that in some sources Samael (= Satan) is identified as the angelic prince of Rome (3 En. 26:12). See Ginzberg, 1:306 n. 275; Ludwig Blau, “Samael,” JE, 10:665-666.
  • [56] See Joshua N. Tilton and David N. Bivin, “LOY Excursus: Greek Transliterations of Hebrew, Aramaic and Hebrew/Aramaic Words in the Synoptic Gospels.” In LXX the form σατανᾶς occurs only in Sir. 21:27. In 3 Kgdms. 11:14 שָׂטָן is rendered σαταν (satan).
  • [57] For examples in MT where שָׂטָן refers to a human opponent, see 1 Sam. 29:4; 2 Sam. 19:23; 1 Kgs. 5:18; 11:14, 23, 25; Ps. 109:6. Even in rabbinic literature שָׂטָן sometimes refers to a human opponent. Cf., e.g., Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version B, chpt. 17 (ed. Schechter, 37); Seder Olam chpt. 28 (ed. Guggenheimer, 237). On the occurence of שָׂטָן in the example from Avot de-Rabbi Natan, see Anthony J. Saldarini, trans., The Fathers According to Rabbi Nathan (Abot de Rabbi Nathan) Version B (Leiden: Brill, 1975), 117 n. 7.
  • [58] For הַשָּׂטָן as a title, see Zech. 3:1, 2; Job 1:6, 7, 8, 9, 12; 2:1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7. In LXX הַשָּׂטָן is translated as ὁ διάβολος (ho diabolos, “the Adversary”), from which the English word “devil” is derived.
  • [59] The earliest example of שָׂטָן as a quasi-name may be found in 1 Chr. 21:1, although Gaster interprets this instance as “a satan” (i.e., not a proper name). See T. H. Gaster, “Satan,” in The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (4 vols.; ed. George A. Buttrick et al.; Nashville: Abingdon, 1962), 4:224-228, esp. 225. The transformation of “satan” from a title to a personal name is analogous to the transformation of “christ” from a title to a name witnessed in Christian writings.
  • [60] For examples of הַשָּׂטָן in rabbinic literature see Gen. Rab. 38:7; 48:3; 91:9; y. Ber. 1:1 [6a]; y. Shab. 2:6 [19b]; b. Ber. 33a; b. Shab. 89a; 104a; b. Pes. 112b; b. Rosh Hash. 16b; b. Yom. 67b.
  • [61] Mastema is the name for Satan in the book of Jubilees (cf. Jub. 10:8-11). See David Flusser, “Mastema,” in Encyclopedia Judaica, 13:668-669.
  • [62] The name Belial (בליעל) for Satan is particularly common in the Dead Sea Scrolls (cf., e.g., 1QS I, 18; II, 19; 1QM I, 1, 5, 13; 1QHa X, 18, 24). This name also occurs in NT in 2 Cor. 6:15.
  • [63] Samael as a name for Satan is particularly common in rabbinic sources. See Gen. Rab. 56:4; Deut. Rab. 11:10; b. Sot. 10b. Samael is also mentioned in Ascension of Isaiah 11:43 and 3 Enoch 14:2. In the Byzantine chronicle Palaea Historica the participants in the dispute over Moses’ body are named as Michael and Samuel (a corruption of Samael), whereas in Jude the disputants are Michael and the Devil. See David Flusser, “Palaea Historica: An Unknown Source of Biblical Legends,” Scripta Hierosolymitana 22 (1971): 48-79, esp. 72.
  • [64] See Fitzmyer, 2:861; Nolland, Luke, 2:563.
  • [65] On our rationale for using Vaticanus for our base text, see David N. Bivin and Joshua N. Tilton, “Introduction to ‘The Life of Yeshua: A Suggested Reconstruction,’” under the subheading “Codex Vaticanus or an Eclectic Text?”
  • [66] The order in Vaticanus (ἐθεώρουν τὸν σατανᾶν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ὡς ἀστραπὴν πεσόντα) could be reconstructed as רָאִיתִי אֶת הַשָּׂטָן מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם כְּבָרָק נֹפֵל, to which we may compare מֵעַי לְמוֹאָב כַּכִּנּוֹר יֶהֱמוּ (“my inward parts wail for Moab like the lyre”; Isa. 16:11). The order found in the critical editions (ἐθεώρουν τὸν σατανᾶν ὡς ἀστραπὴν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ πεσόντα) could be reconstructed as רָאִיתִי אֶת הַשָּׂטָן כְּבָרָק מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם נֹפֵל, to which we may compare צַדִּיק…כְּאֶרֶז בַּלְּבָנוֹן יִשְׂגֶּה (“a righteous [person]…like a cedar in Lebanon he will grow”; Ps. 92:13). The order in P75 and patristic sources (ἐθεώρουν τὸν σατανᾶν ὡς ἀστραπὴν πεσόντα ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ) could be reconstructed as רָאִיתִי אֶת הַשָּׂטָן כְּבָרָק נֹפֵל מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם, to which we may compare הָרִים כַּדּוֹנַג נָמַסּוּ מִלִּפְנֵי יי (“the hills like wax melted before the LORD”; Ps. 97:5). It would also be possible to reconstruct Luke 10:18 as רָאִיתִי אֶת הַשָּׂטָן נֹפֵל כְּבָרָק מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם, to which we may compare יֵרֵד כְּמָטָר עַל גֵּז (“he will descend like rain on mown grass”; Ps. 72:6). This last word order, however, is not supported by any Greek witnesses.
  • [67] Ἀστραπή is the translation of בָּרָק in Exod. 19:16; Deut. 32:41; 2 Kgdms. 22:15; Ps. 17[18]:15; 76[77]:19; 96[97]:4; 134[135]:7; 143[144]:6; Job 20:25; Nah. 2:5; Hab. 3:11; Zech. 9:14; Jer. 10:13; 28[51]:16; Ezek. 1:13; Dan. 10:6. Aside from ἀστραπή, LXX translates בָּרָק with κεραυνός (keravnos, “lightning”) in Job 38:35, with στίλβωσις (stilbōsis, “shining”) in Ezek. 21:15, 20, and with the verbs στίλβειν (stilbein, “to shine”) in Ezek. 21:33 and ἐξαστράπτειν (exastraptein, “to flash like lightning”) in Nah. 3:3.
  • [68] See Werner Foerster, “ἀστραπή,” TDNT, 1:505.
  • [69] In LXX ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ translates מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם in Gen. 19:24; 21:17; 22:11, 15; Exod. 16:4; 20:22; Deut. 4:36; 26:15; 28:24; Josh. 10:11; 2 Kgdms. 21:10; 4 Kgdms. 1:10 (2xx), 12 (2xx), 14; 1 Chr. 21:26; 2 Chr. 6:21, 23, 25, 30, 33, 35, 39; 2 Chr. 7:14; Job 1:16; Isa. 55:10. In Ps. 148:1 ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν translates מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם.
  • [70] For this view, see F. Warburton Lewis, “I Beheld Satan Fall As Lightning From Heaven (Luke X. 18),” Expository Times 25 (1913-1914): 232-233.
  • [71] See Job 1:6, 2:1; cf. Zech. 3:1-2.
  • [72] Although Isa. 14:12 is a taunt against the king of Babylon (cf. Isa. 14:4), in early Jewish exegetical tradition this verse was understood to refer to the fall of Babylon’s angelic representative in the heavenly council. A connection between Luke 10:18 and Isa. 14:12 has been suggested since the early church fathers (cf., e.g., Origen, De Principiis 1:5 §5). See Gathercole, “Jesus’ Eschatological Vision,” 145-146. Marshall (428-429) agrees that Luke 10:18 alludes to Isa. 14:12, while Nolland (Luke, 2:563) supposes that the allusion to Isa. 14:12 in Luke 10:18 is illusory.
  • [73] See R. H. Charles, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Revelation of St. John (2 vols.; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1920), 1:321-329.
  • [74] See Dos Santos, 134.
  • [75] Hatch-Redpath, 2:1135-1137.
  • [76] It is of interest to note that, in Hebrew sources, lightning is said to “give light” (הֵאִיר; hē’ir; Ps. 77:19; 97:4; Gen. Rab. 60:1), to “dart” (רוֹצֵץ; rōtzētz; Nah. 2:5; cf. Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version B, chpt. 43 [ed. Schechter, 120]), or to “go forth” (יָצָא; yātzā’; Ezek. 1:13; Zech. 9:14; Sifre Deut. §331 [ed. Finkelstein, 380]), but never to “fall.” Neither have we found Greek sources that describe lightning as falling.
  • [77] See W. Manson, 126.
  • [78] For a thorough review of these questions, see Gathercole, “Jesus’ Eschatological Vision,” 143-163. As the title of his article indicates, Gathercole supposes that Luke 10:18 describes an event that has yet to take place.
  • [79] For this view, see T. W. Manson, 258.
  • [80] Translation according to R. H. Charles, The Assumption of Moses (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1897).
  • [81] A rabbinic source attributes the expulsion of Satan from heaven to the work of the Messiah:

    אמר השטן לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא [רבונו של עולם אור שנגנז תחת כסא הכבוד שלך למי, א″ל למי שהוא עתיד להחזירך ולהכלימך בבושת פנים, א″ל] רבונו של עולם הראהו לי, אמר לו בא וראה אותו, וכיון שראה אותו נזדעזע ונפל על פניו ואמר בודאי זהו משיח שהוא עתיד להפיל לי ולכל שרי אומות העולם בגיהנם

    The Adversary said before the Holy one, blessed be he, “Ruler of the universe, the light that is stored beneath your throne of glory: whose is it?” He replied, “It is for the one who in the future will turn you back and humiliate you.” He said to him, “Ruler of the universe, show him to me.” He replied, “Come and see him.” But as soon as he saw him he shuddered and fell on his face and said, “Surely this is the Messiah who in the future will cause me to fall, together with all the angelic princes of the nations of the world [שרי אומות העולם], in Gehenna!” (Pesikta Rabbati 36:1 [ed. Friedmann, 161b])

    While the story is set during the week of creation, it looks forward to the eschatological messianic redemption. Note that in this source Satan is closely associated with the angelic princes who govern the human empires and represent them in the heavenly council. According to this source, when the messianic redemption takes place Satan and the angelic princes will be thrown into Gehenna, implying that Israel will be freed from the yoke of foreign domination when the Kingdom of Heaven finally breaks forth.

  • [82] For more on this theme, see Richard A. Horsley, Jesus and the Spiral of Violence: Popular Jewish Resistance in Roman Palestine (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987), 184-190.
  • [83] This interlocking of redemption at the communal and cosmic levels is paralleled in ancient Jewish sources, including the War Scroll from Qumran, where on one level Belial and his angels fight against the heavenly hosts, and on another level the Kittim (i.e., Romans) fight against the Sons of Light (i.e., the Essenes) (cf., e.g., 1QM I, 9-16). The rabbinic midrash on the song of the sea, where the fall of the angelic prince of Egypt was the precursor to the defeat of Pharaoh, is another example of the same phenomenon (see above, Comment to L14).
  • [84] See Gathercole, “Jesus’ Eschatological Vision,” 155-158.
  • [85] See Sending the Twelve: Commissioning, Comment to L19.
  • [86] See Marshall, 429; Fitzmyer, 2:863.
  • [87] Evidently, the author of Luke had a version of the apostles’ mission in both of his sources, Anth. and FR, and in order to present both versions in his Gospel Luke attributed the FR version to “the Twelve” and the Anth. version to “the Seventy-two.” See Sending the Twelve: Commissioning, under the subheading “Conjectured Stages of Transmission.”
  • [88] See T. W. Manson, 259; Beare, 158; Marshall, 429; Nolland, Luke, 2:565; Bovon, 2:30 n. 60. Foerster considered an allusion to Ps. 91:13 possible, but expresses reservations. See Werner Foerster, “ὄφις,” TDNT, 5:579 n. 146.
  • [89] See Gaster, “Demon,” 1:820; Delbert Roy Hillers, “Demons, Demonology: Specific Demons,” in Encyclopedia Judaica, 5:573.
  • [90] See Hermann Lichtenberger, “Demonology in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament,” in Text, Thought, and Practice in Qumran and Early Christianity (ed. Ruth A. Clements and Daniel R. Schwartz; Leiden: Brill, 2009), 267-280, esp. 271-272.
  • [91] See Rabinowitz, “Demons, Demonology: In the Talmud,” in Encyclopedia Judaica, 5:575.
  • [92] Also compare Luke 10:19 to the following passage from the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, which pertains to the eschatological priest:

    καὶ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης ἔσται ἐπ᾿ αὐτοῖς. καὶ ὁ Βελιὰρ δεθήσεται ὑπ᾿ αὐτοῦ, καὶ δώσει ἐξουσίαν τοῖς τέκνοις αὐτοῦ τοῦ πατεῖν ἐπὶ τὰ πονηρὰ πνεύματα. καὶ εὐφρανθήσεται κύριος ἐπὶ τοῖς τέκνοις αὐτοῦ, καὶ εὐδοκήσει κύριος ἐπὶ τοῖς ἀγαπητοῖς αὐτοῦ ἕως τῶν αἰώνων

    And the spirit of holiness shall be on them. And Beliar shall be bound by him. And he shall give power to His children to tread upon the evil spirits. And the Lord shall rejoice in His children. And be well pleased in His beloved ones for ever. (T. Levi 18:11b-13)

    Translation according to R. H. Charles, The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1917).

    Whether this portion of T. Levi is pre-Christian, or whether this text has been influenced by the Gospels, is debated by scholars. For the view that T. Levi 18:11-13 is pre-Christian, see Craig A. Evans, “Inaugurating the Kingdom of God and Defeating the Kingdom of Satan,” Bulletin for Biblical Research 15.1 (2005): 49-75, esp. 58-59. For the opposite view, see Graham H. Twelftree, “Exorcism and the Defeat of Beliar in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs,” Vigiliae Christianae 65 (2011): 170-188, esp. 183-185.

  • [93] See Fitzmyer, 2:863.
  • [94] The following two rabbinic sources mention several synonyms for “snake”:

    ששה שמות נקרא נחש שרף תנין צפעוני אפעה עכשוב

    By six names is the snake [נָחָשׁ, nāḥāsh] called: sārāf, tanin, tziph‘ōni, ’ef‘eh, ‘achshūv. (Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version A, 39:3 [ed. Schechter, 119])

    ז′ שמות נקרא נחש [נחש] פתן אפעה שרף צפעוני תנין שפיפון

    By seven names is the snake [נָחָשׁ, nāḥāsh] called: [nāḥāsh,] peten, ’ef‘eh, sārāf, tziph‘ōni, tanin, shefifōn. (Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version B, chpt. 43 [ed. Schechter, 122])

  • [95] The LXX translators rendered נָחָשׁ with ὄφις in Gen. 3:1, 2, 4, 13, 14; 49:17; Exod. 4:3; 7:15; Num. 21:6, 7, 9 (3xx); Deut. 8:15; 4 Kgdms. 18:4; Ps. 57[58]:5; 139[140]:4; Prov. 23:32; 30:19; Eccl. 10:8, 11; Amos 5:19; Mic. 7:17; Isa. 14:29; 27:1 (2xx); 65:25; Jer. 8:17; 26[46]:22.
  • [96] Oddly enough, LXX twice renders כְּפִיר (kefir, “young lion”) as δράκων (drakōn, “snake,” “dragon”); see Job 4:10; 38:39. Might some ancient exegetes have assumed that all four creatures mentioned in Ps. 91:13 were various types of snake?
  • [97] The basilisk (βασιλίσκος, basiliskos) was a serpentine creature thought to have deadly breath (cf. Pliny, Nat. Hist. 8:33).
  • [98] The δράκων (drakōn, “snake,” “dragon”), the LXX equivalent of תַּנִּין, was an enormous, sometimes winged, serpent in some Greek sources. See Erik Eynikel and Katrin Hauspie, “The Use of δράκων in the Septuagint,” in Biblical Greek Language and Lexicography: Essays in Honor of Frederick W. Danker (ed. Bernard A. Taylor, John A. L. Lee, Peter R. Burton, and Richard E. Whitaker; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004), 126-135. The תַּנִּין is described as a sea monster in Ps. 74:13 and Job 7:12.
  • [99] Some sources describe the μαρτιχώρα (martichōra, “manticore”), a beast with a lion’s body and a scorpion’s tail (cf. Pliny the Elder’s description of “the mantichora [sic]” which “has a…lion’s body, inflicting stings with its tail in the manner of a scorpion”; Nat. 8:30; Loeb; cf. Aelian, De Natura Animalium 4:21), while ancient coins depict creatures with a lion’s body and a scorpion’s head. In Revelation 9:8-10, the revelator describes terrifying locusts with lions’ teeth and scorpions’ tails.
  • [100] Lindsey, LHNS, 114.
  • [101] To cite only examples from the historical books, LXX uses τοῦ + infinitive to translate an infinitive construct in Gen 1:14 (τοῦ διαχωρίζειν = לְהַבְדִּיל); 19:19 (τοῦ ζῆν = לְהַחֲיוֹת); 34:22 (τοῦ κατοικεῖν = לָשֶׁבֶת); Exod. 9:34 (τοῦ ἁμαρτάνειν = לַחֲטֹא); Lev. 7:35 (τοῦ ἱερατεύειν = לְכַהֵן); 26:45 (τοῦ εἶναι = לִהְיֹת); Deut. 11:32 (τοῦ ποιεῖν = לַעֲשׂוֹת); 12:1 (τοῦ ποιεῖν = לַעֲשׂוֹת); Josh. 22:27 (τοῦ λατρεύειν = לַעֲבֹד); 23:11 (τοῦ ἀγαπᾶν = לְאַהֲבָה); Judg. 2:17 (τοῦ εἰσακούειν = לִשְׁמֹעַ); 5:16 (τοῦ εἰσακούειν = לִשְׁמֹעַ); 6:5 (τοῦ διαφθείρειν αὐτήν = לְשַׁחֲתָהּ); 7:20 (τοῦ σαλπίζειν = לִתְקוֹעַ); 12:3 (τοῦ πολεμεῖν = לְהִלָּחֶם); 18:1 (τοῦ κατοικεῖν = לָשֶׁבֶת); 20:39 (τοῦ τύπτειν = לְהַכּוֹת); Ruth 1:18 (τοῦ πορεύεσθαι = לָלֶכֶת); 2:15 (τοῦ συλλέγειν = לְלַקֵּט); 1 Kgdms 14:34 (τοῦ ἐσθίειν = לֶאֱכֹל); 17:33 (τοῦ πολεμεῖν = לְהִלָּחֵם); 23:15 (τοῦ ζητεῖν = לְבַקֵּשׁ); 27:1 (τοῦ ζητεῖν με = לְבַקְשֵׁנִי); 2 Kgdms. 2:19 (τοῦ πορεύεσθαι = לָלֶכֶת); 2:28 (τοῦ πολεμεῖν = לְהִלָּחֵם); 7:8 (τοῦ εἶναι = לִהְיוֹת); 7:29 (τοῦ εἶναι = לִהְיוֹת); 12:10 (τοῦ εἶναι = לִהְיוֹת); 14:17 (τοῦ ἀκούειν = לִשְׁמֹעַ); 18:3 (τοῦ βοηθεῖν = לַעְזִיר); 19:7 (τοῦ ἀγαπᾶν = לְאַהֲבָה); 19:16 (τοῦ πορεύεσθαι = לָלֶכֶת); 3 Kgdms. 1:35 (τοῦ εἶναι = לִהְיוֹת); 2:3 (τοῦ πορεύεσθαι = לָלֶכֶת); 3:9 (τοῦ συνίειν = לְהָבִין); 3:11 (τοῦ εἰσακούειν = לִשְׁמֹעַ); 3:28 (τοῦ ποιεῖν = לַעֲשׂוֹת); 7:2[14] (τοῦ ποιεῖν = לַעֲשׂוֹת); 7:27[41] (τοῦ καλύπτειν = לְכַסּוֹת); 8:16 (τοῦ εἶναι = לִהְיוֹת); 8:25 (τοῦ πορεύεσθαι = לָלֶכֶת); 8:29 (τοῦ εἶναι = לִהְיוֹת); 8:29 (τοῦ εἰσακούειν = לִשְׁמֹעַ); 8:58 (τοῦ πορεύεσθαι = לָלֶכֶת); 8:59 (τοῦ ποιεῖν = לַעֲשׂוֹת); 9:4 (τοῦ ποιεῖν = לַעֲשׂוֹת); 10:9 (τοῦ ποιεῖν = לַעֲשׂוֹת); 12:21 (τοῦ πολεμεῖν = לְהִלָּחֵם); 12:32 (τοῦ θύειν = לְזַבֵּחַ); 16:7 (τοῦ εἶναι = לִהְיוֹת); 16:31 (αὐτῷ…τοῦ πορεύεσθαι = לֶכְתּוֹ); 17:9 (τοῦ διατρέφειν σε = לְכַלְכְּלֶךָ); 4 Kgdms. 6:2 (τοῦ οἰκεῖν = לָשֶׁבֶת); 11:17 (τοῦ εἶναι = לִהְיוֹת); 21:6 (τοῦ ποιεῖν = לַעֲשׂוֹת); 22:13 (τοῦ ποιεῖν = לַעֲשׂוֹת); 22:19 (τοῦ εἶναι = לִהְיוֹת); 23:3 (τοῦ πορεύεσθαι = לָלֶכֶת); 23:3 (τοῦ φυλάσσειν = לִשְׁמֹר); 23:10 (τοῦ διάγειν = לְהַעֲבִיר); 1 Chr. 1:10 (τοῦ εἶναι = לִהְיוֹת); 10:8 (τοῦ σκυλεύειν = לְפַשֵּׁט); 16:7 (τοῦ αἰνεῖν = לְהֹדוֹת); 16:35 (τοῦ αἰνεῖν = לְהֹדוֹת); 16:37 (τοῦ λειτουργεῖν = לְשָׁרֵת); 16:40 (τοῦ ἀναφέρειν = לְהַעֲלוֹת); 16:41 (τοῦ αἰνεῖν = לְהֹדוֹת); 17:6 (τοῦ ποιμαίνειν = לִרְעוֹת); 17:7 (τοῦ εἶναι = לִהְיוֹת); 17:27 (τοῦ εἶναι = לִהְיוֹת); 22:12 (τοῦ ποιεῖν = לִשְׁמוֹר); 22:13 (τοῦ ποιεῖν = לַעֲשׂוֹת); 23:5 (τοῦ αἰνεῖν = לְהַלֵּל); 23:13 (τοῦ θυμιᾶν = לְהַקְטִיר); 23:30 (τοῦ αἰνεῖν = לְהֹדוֹת); 2 Chr. 2:3 (τοῦ θυμιᾶν = לְהַקְטִיר), 5 (τοῦ θυμιᾶν = לְהַקְטִיר); 3:1 (τοῦ οἰκοδομεῖν = לִבְנוֹת); 4:6 (τοῦ πλύνειν = לְרָחְצָה); 6:5 (τοῦ εἶναι = לִהְיוֹת); 6:16 (τοῦ πορεύεσθαι = לָלֶכֶת); 6:20 (τοῦ εἶναι = לִהְיוֹת); 7:16 (τοῦ εἶναι = לִהְיוֹת); 8:13 (τοῦ ἀναφέρειν = לְהַעֲלוֹת); 8:14 (τοῦ αἰνεῖν = לְהַלֵּל); 13:12 (τοῦ σημαίνειν = לְהָרִיעַ); 18:31 (τοῦ πολεμεῖν = לְהִלָּחֵם); 22:3 (τοῦ ἁμαρτάνειν = לְהַרְשִׁיעַ); 26:15 (τοῦ εἶναι = לִהְיוֹת); 32:8 (τοῦ σῴζειν = לְעָזְרֵנוּ; τοῦ πολεμεῖν = לְהִלָּחֵם); 33:16 (τοῦ δουλεύειν = לַעֲבוֹד); 34:31 (τοῦ φυλάσσειν = לִשְׁמוֹר); 35:12 (τοῦ προσάγειν = לְהַקְרִיב); 2 Esd. 3:10 (τοῦ αἰνεῖν = לְהַלֵּל); 4:4 (τοῦ οἰκοδομεῖν = לִבְנוֹת); 20:30 (τοῦ πορεύεσθαι = לָלֶכֶת).
  • [102] In LXX πατεῖν is the translation of דָּרַךְ in Deut. 11:24; Judg. 9:27 (Vaticanus); Neh. 13:15; Job 22:15; 28:8; Isa. 16:10; 42:16; Jer. 31[48]:33; Lam. 1:15. Only in Isa. 1:12 and Isa. 26:6 does πατεῖν translate רָמַס.
  • [103] Among the ancient sources that pair snakes with scorpions are Philo, Mos. 1:192; Praem. §90; Spec. 3:103; Pliny, Nat. Hist. 10:93; 28:44; Aelian, De Natura Animalium 10:14, 29.
  • [104] Pliny the Elder (first century C.E.), for example, compares the poisons of these two creatures:

    Scorpions…are a horrible plague, poisonous like snakes, except that they inflict a worse torture by despatching the victim with a lingering death lasting three days…. Their tail is always engaged in striking and does not stop practising at any moment, lest it should ever miss an opportunity it strikes both a sideway stroke and one with the tail bent up. (Nat. Hist. 9:30; Loeb)

    The asp and serpent have similar teeth, but two extremely long ones on the right and left side of the upper jaw, perforated by a slender tube like the stings of the scorpion, which inject poison. (Nat. Hist. 9:62)

  • [105] In fact, most snakes in Israel are harmless toward humans, and scorpion stings are almost never fatal, although they are extremely painful. Tristram reported an infant fatality due to a scorpion sting, and Bodenheimer cited the death of a man who was stung in the neck by a scorpion, but these are exceptional cases. See H. B. Tristram, The Natural History of the Bible (9th ed.; London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1898), 303; F. S. Bodenheimer, Animal Life In Palestine: An Introduction to the Problems of Animal Ecology and Zoogeography (Jerusalem: Mayer, 1935), 366. The one species of poisonous snake in Israel whose habitat includes places normally occupied by humans is the Levant Viper (Bodenheimer, Animal Life in Palestine, 189-190). Its venom is deadly unless an antiserum is administered. See Azaria Alon, The Natural History of the Land of the Bible (London: Hamlyn, 1969), 209.
  • [106] A baraita in b. Sanh. 101a that is parallel to t. Shab. 7:23 refers to covering an eye rather than whispering an incantation over an eye. That the reference is to preventing the harmful effects of the evil eye, and not to curing a sore eye, is confirmed by a comment on Deut. 18:10:

    מעונן, רבי ישמעאל אומר זה המעביר על העין

    A soothsayer [Deut. 18:10]. Rabbi Ishmael says, “This is someone who places [an article] over the eye.” (Sifre Deut. §171 [ed. Finkelstein, 218])

    On the dangers of the evil eye, see Ludwig Blau, “Evil Eye,” JE, 5:280-281.

  • [107] For a discussion of this Tosefta passage, see Baruch M. Bokser, “Wonder-Working and the Rabbinic Tradition: The Case of Ḥanina ben Dosa,” Journal for the Study of Judaism 16.1 (1985): 42-92, esp. 50.
  • [108] Thus, Manson’s unsubstantiated comment that “serpents and scorpions may be thought of as semi-demonic creatures” (T. W. Manson, 259) is vindicated, contrary to Fitzmyer’s assertion that snakes and scorpions “were neither ‘half demonic’ nor symbols of demons” (Fitzmyer, 2:863). Perhaps in this connection mention should also be made of the πνεῦμα πύθωνα (pnevma pūthōna, “Python spirit”), which Paul exorcized from a girl in Philippi (Acts 16:16). This oracular spirit of the python serpent is also mentioned in connection with magical practices and demonic forces in rabbinic literature (cf. m. Sanh. 7:7; t. Sanh. 10:6), where פִּיתוֹם (pitōm) is the Hebrew version of πύθων (see Jastrow, 1173). For a detailed discussion of the πνεῦμα πύθωνα in Acts 16:16, see Werner Foerster, “πύθων,” TDNT, 6:917-920.
  • [109] See, for example:

    והיה מכה נחשים ועקרבים לפניהם

    And it [i.e., the pillar of cloud—DNB and JNT] would strike down snakes and scorpions. (Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, BeShallah chpt. 1 [ed. Lauterbach, 1:124])

  • [110] See, for example:

    ונסע מחורב ונלך את כל המדבר הגדול והנורא ההוא, בני אדם שראו נחשים כקורות ועקרבים כקשתות סרוחים ומושלכים לפניהם, עליהם הוא אומר את כל המדבר הגדול והנורא ההוא, והלא דברים קל וחומר ומה דברים שאינם הימורין כבשתים לפניהם דברים שהם הימירין על אחת כמה וכמה לכך נאמר ונסע מחורב

    And we journeyed from Horeb and went through all that great and dreadful wilderness ([Deut.] 1:19): To people who had seen serpents as large as beams and scorpions as large as bows stinking and cast before them, to them he speaks of that great and dreadful wilderness? However, is this not a logical inference from the minor to the major: if I have overcome for them things that are not tame, how much more so will I be able to overcome things that are tame? Hence And we journeyed from Horeb, etc. (Sifre Deut. §18 [ed. Finkelstein, 30-31]; trans. Hammer)

  • [111] On Hebrew generic nouns with the definite article, see Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven, Comment to L77.
  • [112] In LXX ἐχθρός is the translation of שׂוֹנֵא in Exod. 23:5; Ps. 9:14; 40[41]:8; 117[118]:7; Prov. 25:21; 26:24; 27:6; Job 8:22.
  • [113] See Bendavid, 1:336. Examples of שׂוֹנֵא in the sense of “enemy” in rabbinic literature include m. Sanh. 3:5; m. Mak. 2:3; t. Bab. Metz. 2:26; t. Mak. 2:10; Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, Vayassa chpt. 7 (ed. Lauterbach, 1:251); Amalek chpt. 1 (ed. Lauterbach, 2:254); Gen. Rab. 66:4; 71:4.
  • [114] For examples of the construct phrase גבורת אל, see 1QM I, 11, 14; IV, 4, 12; VI, 2, 6; X, 5.
  • [115] In LXX δύναμις (dūnamis, “strength,” “power”) is the translation of גְּבוּרָה (gevūrāh, “power,” “might”) in Judg. 5:31 (Alexandrinus); 8:21; 4 Kgdms. 18:20; 1 Chr. 29:11; Ps. 53[54]:3; 144[145]:4, 12 (Alexandrinus); Eccl. 9:16; 10:17; Job 12:13; 39:19; 41:4; Jer. 16:21.
  • [116] In MT the noun נֵזֶק (nēzeq, “damage”) does occur once in Esth. 7:4, a book that was composed in late Biblical Hebrew.
  • [117] The phrase לֹא יַזִּיק (lo’ yaziq, “it will not cause harm”) occurs in m. Bab. Bat. 2:8.
  • [118] In the following example הִזִּיק takes the definite direct object marker אֶת:

    כל זמן שהיה יהושע והזקנים קיימים…לא הזיקו אומות את ישראל

    As long as Joshua and the elders were alive…the Gentiles did not harm Israel. (t. Sot. 11:10; Vienna MS)

  • [119] See Hatch-Redpath, 2:1145-1147.
  • [120] In LXX the phrase ἐν τούτῳ is the translation of בְּזֹאת in Gen. 34:15, 22; 42:15, 33; Exod. 7:17; Num. 16:28; Josh. 3:10; Ps. 40[41]:12; Mal. 3:10; Jer. 9:23.
  • [121] For examples of בְּזוֹ in MH, see m. Ter. 4:9, 10; m. Eruv. 5:4; m. Yev. 5:4; m. Kid. 2:1; m. Avot 5:15; m. Toh. 6:10; 10:8.
  • [122] Further examples of אַף בְּזוֹ are found in b. Pes. 32a; b. Men. 15a; 18a.
  • [123] In LXX χαίρειν is the translation of שָׂמַח in Exod. 4:14; 1 Kgdms. 19:5; 3 Kgdms. 5:21; 4 Kgdms. 11:20; Esth. 8:15; Hos. 9:1; Jonah 4:6; Zech. 4:10; 10:7; Isa. 39:2; Jer. 38[31]:13; Ezek. 7:12.
  • [124] See Hatch-Redpath, 2:1151-1153.
  • [125] See Dos Santos, 190.
  • [126] In LXX ἐγγράφειν occurs in Exod. 36:21; 3 Kgdms. 22:46 (Vaticanus); 2 Chr. 34:31 (Alexandrinus); 1 Macc. 13:40; Jer. 17:13 (Sinaiticus); 28[51]:60 (Alexandrinus); Dan. 12:1.
  • [127] See Shalom M. Paul, “Heavenly Tablets and the Book of Life,” Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society of Columbia University 5 (1973): 345-353.
  • [128] Divine record keeping is mentioned, for instance, in Exod. 32:32-33; Isa. 34:16-17; 65:6; Mal. 3:16; Ps. 87:6; 139:16; Dan. 7:10. In post-biblical Jewish literature, cf., e.g., 1QHa IX, 23-24; 4Q180 I, 3; m. Avot 2:1.
  • [129] Whereas all human events are recorded in the heavenly archive, only the righteous have their names recorded in the Book of Life.
  • [130] See the similar entreaty in 4QNon-Canonical Psalms B [4Q381] 31 I, 8.
  • [131] Compare Isa. 4:3 to the phrase כול הכתוב בספר החיים (“each one who is written in the Scroll of Life”; 4QDibHama [4Q504] 1-2 VI, 14), and to οὗ οὐ γέγραπται τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ τῆς ζωῆς τοῦ ἀρνίου τοῦ ἐσφαγμένου (“whose name is not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb that was slain”; Rev. 13:8).
  • [132] To have one’s name written in heaven implies preservation from death, but the ink with which names are recorded in the Book of Life is not indelible. A name could be blotted out of the Scroll of Life (cf. Ps. 69:29) on account of a person’s wicked behavior, while according to later Jewish tradition, the names of everyone on earth came up for review on an annual basis to determine who would be enrolled for life for another year (cf. b. Rosh Hash. 16b). Recognition of this fact alleviates the apparent contradiction between Jesus’ assertion that the names of the Twelve (including Judas Iscariot) are recorded in heaven, and Jesus’ later statements concerning the certainty of Judas’ condemnation (cf. Matt. 26:24; Mark 14:21; Luke 22:22).
  • [133] See Fitzmyer, 2:860; Nolland, Luke, 2:566.
  • [134] See T. W. Manson, 258; Bundy, 336; Fitzmyer, 2:859.
  • [135] We owe this insight to Gathercole.
  • [136] See Bundy, 337.
  • [137] If there was an allusion in the original introduction of the Return of the Twelve pericope to Exod. 18:8, where Moses reports to Jethro everything the LORD had done for Israel, perhaps there was an intended contrast beween the apostles’ emphasis on the personal level and Moses’ focus on the cosmic level of Israel’s redemption.