Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn

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In Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn the Holy Spirit inspires Jesus to utter an Essene-style hymn that expresses gratitude for the divine revelation that was being disclosed to his followers.

Matt. 11:25-26; Luke 10:21

(Huck 67, 141; Aland 109, 181a; Crook 128, 205)[1]

בְּאוֹתָהּ הַשָּׁעָה שָׂשׂ בְּרוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ וַיֹּאמֶר אוֹדְךָ אָבִי אֲדוֹן שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ כִּי הִסְתַּרְתָּ אֵלֶּה מֵחֲכָמִים וּנְבֹנִים וְגִלִּיתָ אוֹתָם לִפְתָאיִם הֵן אַבָּא כִּי כֵּן רָצוֹן הוּא לְפָנֶיךָ

At that very moment Yeshua was filled with joy through the Holy Spirit, and he said, “I give thanks to you, my Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because although you hid these mysteries from the wisest of the wise in former generations, you have now revealed them to my own simple followers. Yes, Father, I thank you because this act of grace is what you desire.”[2]


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Reconstruction

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Story Placement

The author of Matthew placed Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn immediately after the Woes on Galilean Villages pericope (Matt. 11:20-24 // Luke 10:13-15). In Luke, Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn also appears in fairly close proximity to the Woes on Galilean Villages pericope, which the author of Luke includes in the context of the mission of the seventy-two disciples. Although the author of Matthew removed Woes on Galilean Villages and Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn from the mission of the twelve apostles context, we believe the close proximity of these two pericopae in both Matthew and Luke reflect their inclusion in the mission of the twelve apostles context in their shared source, the Anthology (Anth.).[3]

In the center of this photo, courtesy of Joshua N. Tilton, is the partially reconstructed synagogue of Chorazin, one of the towns mentioned in the Woes on Galilean Villages pericope.

Robert Lindsey believed it was the Anthologizer (the creator of Anth.) who was responsible for breaking up integrated units of narrative, teaching and parables and rearranging these literary fragments according to theme or genre. For this reason Lindsey sometimes referred to the Anthology as the “Reorganized Scroll.” The Anthologizer’s reorganizing activity not only removed some materials from their original contexts, it also forged new links between sayings that were not originally connected in the conjectured Hebrew Life of Yeshua. We regard the Anthology’s apparent inclusion of Woes on Galilean Villages in the sending of the Twelve context as one example of how the Anthologizer sometimes inserted materials into contexts where they did not originally belong,[4] and how these misplacements where then passed along to Luke and Matthew.

Another example of a secondary link that the Anthologizer created and then passed along to Matthew and Luke is the joining of Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn (Matt. 11:25-26 // Luke 10:21) with a saying about how father and son share mutual knowledge (Matt. 11:27 // Luke 10:22). Since the father and son saying immediately follows Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn in Luke and Matthew, there can be little doubt that these sayings were also adjacent in Anth. And although Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn and the father and son saying share themes and vocabulary pertaining to revelation and fatherhood, there are significant differences between the two sayings. Among the most important differences between the two sayings is the different audiences to whom they are addressed. Whereas Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn is a prayer addressed to God, the father and son saying is didactic material addressed to Jesus’ followers. In Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn, moreover, Jesus praises God who reveals his mysteries to the simple, whereas in the father and son saying it is the son who discloses revelations about the father. Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn is written in the style of Essene poetry, whereas the father and son saying is prose and more easily reconstructed in Mishnaic-style Hebrew. Thus, although we are convinced that the father and son saying was linked to Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn at a pre-synoptic stage of transmission, we do not believe that Jesus uttered the two sayings on the same occasion, and it seems unlikely that they appeared in the same context in the conjectured Hebrew Life of Yeshua. For this reason we have not included the saying about a father and son’s mutual understanding in the “Mission of the Twelve” complex. Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn, on the other hand, does seem to belong with the sayings that make up Jesus’ response to his apostles’ return from their mission. To see an overview of the entire “Mission of the Twelve” complex, click here.

LOYMap

 

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

 

Conjectured Stages of Transmission

Since in his tenth chapter the author of Luke followed the Anthology’s account of the apostles’ mission and Jesus’ response to the apostles’ return, we would expect that Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn was also copied from Anth. This expectation is confirmed by the high degree of verbal agreement between the Lukan and Matthean versions of Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn, which, according to Lindsey, occurs in double tradition pericopae when the authors of Luke and Matthew each copied from their shared source, the Anthology.

Only in the narrative introductions to Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn do Luke and Matthew significantly differ. Luke’s narrative introduction is easy to reconstruct in Hebrew, and the role accorded to the Holy Spirit in Luke’s introduction is wholly consistent with the oracular function of the Holy Spirit in ancient Jewish sources (see below, Comment to L1-3). There is good reason, on the other hand, why the author of Matthew might have wanted to play down the exultant tone of the introduction to Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn, since in Matthew the thanksgiving hymn appears immediately after the pronouncement of the Woes on Galilean Villages.[5] It seems likely, therefore, that Luke preserves the original introduction to Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn, whereas Matthew’s introduction has been revised in order to more fully integrate the hymn into its Matthean context.

Crucial Issues

  1. Would addressing God as “my father” have been considered offensive or blasphemous in first-century Jewish culture?
  2. Who are the “wise and intelligent” and who are the “simple” in Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn?
  3. Did Jesus ever address God as “Abba”?

Comment

L1-3 The introductions to Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn in Matthew and Luke have markedly different wording. Nevertheless, they both begin with a time marker and end with εἶπεν (eipen, “he said”). Luke’s introduction mentions Jesus’ exultation in the Holy Spirit. Matthew’s version is much more bland by comparison. Did the author of Luke add dramatic details to the introduction,[6] or did Matthew rework the wording of Anth. in order to create a more generic opening that suited the context in which Matthew includes Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn? We incline toward the latter view.

In ancient Jewish sources the Holy Spirit often fulfills two related functions: the Holy Spirit prompts ecstatic speech, and the Holy Spirit discloses supernatural knowledge and understanding. For example, in the Qumran Thanksgiving Hymns we read about superhuman insight imparted by the Holy Spirit:[7]

ואני ידעתי מבינתך כי ברצונכה בא[נו]ש תגב[רתה גורלו עם] רוח קודשך וכן תגישני לבינתך

But I have known by means of your understanding that in your good will toward hu[mankin]d you have en[larged his lot with] your Holy Spirit, and so you have brought me near to your understanding. (1QHa VI, 12-13)

ואני משכיל ידעתיכה אלי ברוח אשר נתתה בי ונאמנה שמעתי לסוד פלאכה ברוח קודשכה [פ]תחתה לתוכי דעת ברז שכלכה ומעין גבורת[כה]

And I, the Instructor, have known you, my God, through the spirit which you gave in me, and I have listened loyally to your wonderful secret through your holy spirit. You have [op]ened within me knowledge of the mystery of your wisdom, and the source of [your] power. (1QHa XX, 11-13; DSS Study Edition)[8]

In the examples from Qumran, the content of the supernatural understanding the Holy Spirit imparts is knowledge of God and his mysteries. In rabbinic sources, on the other hand, the Holy Spirit generally reveals knowledge of the world that could not be attained through normal means. For instance:

מעשה ברבן גמליאל שהיה מהלך מעכו לכזיב מצא גלוסקין אחד בדרך אמ′ לעבדו טבי טול את הגלוסקין ראה גוי אחד אמ′ לו מבגאי טול גלוסקין זה רץ אחריו ר′ לעיי אמ′ לו מה טובך אמ′ לו מעיירות הללו של בורגנין אני אמ′ לו מה שמך אמ′ לו מבגאי…אמ′ לו מכירך רבן גמליאל מימיו אמ′ לאו מיכן למדנו שכיון רבן גמליאל ברוח הקדש

An anecdote concerning Rabban Gamliel, who was walking from Akko to Keziv. He found a bread loaf in the road. He said to his slave Tavi, “Take the loaf.” He saw a certain gentile. He said to him, “Mavgai, take this bread loaf.” Rabbi La‘i ran after him. He said to him, “Who are you?” He replied, “I am from one of these towns that serve as travelers’ stations.” He said to him, “What is your name?” He replied, “Mavgai.”[9] He said to him, “Have you ever been acquainted with Rabban Gamliel in all your days?” He replied, “No.” From this we learn that Rabban Gamliel determined this by the Holy Spirit. (t. Pes. 2:15; Vienna MS)

This illumination from the fourteenth-century C.E. Sarajevo Haggada pictures Rabban Gamliel (Gamaliel) II, grandson of the apostle Paul’s teacher. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In this rabbinic example the Holy Spirit revealed knowledge of mundane matters—the name of a person Rabban Gamliel had never before met—rather than divine mysteries, as in the Dead Sea Scrolls. In a similar fashion, the rabbinic sages appealed to the Holy Spirit to explain how biblical personalities sometimes exhibited unexpected knowledge. In the Song at the Sea (Exod. 15), for example, the Israelite singers claim to have known what Pharaoh was thinking even though he was far away in Egypt:

אמר אויב זה פרעה וכי מנין היו ישראל יודעין מה פרעה חושב עליהן במצרים אלא רוח הקדש שרתה עליהן והיו יודעין מה פרעה חשב עליהם במצרים

The enemy said [Exod. 15:9]—this is Pharaoh. And how did Israel know what Pharaoh was thinking about them in Egypt? The Holy Spirit rested on them and they knew what Pharaoh thought about them in Egypt. (Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, Shirata chpt. 7 [ed. Lauterbach, 1:204])[10]

In addition to superhuman knowledge, the sages attributed ecstatic speech to the influence of the Holy Spirit:

דרש ר′ עקיבא בשעה שעלו ישראל מן הים בקשו לומ′ שירה שרת עליהן רוח הקדש ואמרו שירה

Rabbi Akiva expounded thus, “In the hour that Israel came up out of the [Red] Sea, they wanted to say a song. The Holy Spirit rested upon them and they spoke the song [at the Sea].” (t. Sot. 6:2; Vienna MS)

Supernatural knowledge and ecstatic speech are characteristic traits of prophecy, and it is therefore natural to find that the Holy Spirit was regarded in ancient Jewish sources as the fount and inspiration of prophecy.[11]

Given that Jesus’ contemporaries regarded him as a prophet (cf. Luke 7:16; 24:19), and that in his thanksgiving hymn Jesus uttered ecstatic speech about the revelation of supernatural knowledge to his followers, the mention of the Holy Spirit in Luke’s introduction to Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn is in complete harmony with ancient Jewish understandings of the role and function of the Holy Spirit. We have therefore accepted Luke’s introduction for GR and HR in L1-3.

L1 ἐν ἐκείνῳ τῷ καιρῷ (Matt. 11:25). The phrase ἐν ἐκείνῳ τῷ καιρῷ (en ekeinō tō kairō, “in that time”) is relatively rare in LXX, occurring only 5xx, where it is the translation of בָּעֵת הַהִוא (bā‘ēt hahi’, “in that time”; Deut. 10:1, 8), בָּעִתִּים הָהֵם (bā‘itim hāhēm, “in those times”; 2 Chr. 15:5), or the Aramaic phrase בֵּהּ זִמְנָא (bēh zimnā’, “in the time”; Dan. 3:8; 4:36). Although it would be possible to reconstruct Matthew’s opening phrase in Hebrew as בָּעֵת הַהִיא, we believe Luke’s opening phrase is even more Hebraic. We note that the phrase ἐν ἐκείνῳ τῷ καιρῷ is unique to Matthew in NT, where it occurs 3xx (Matt. 11:25; 12:1; 14:1).[12] This phrase is also similar to ἐν τούτῳ τῷ καιρῷ (en toutō tō kairō, “in this time”),[13] κατ᾿ ἐκεῖνον τὸν καιρὸν (kat ekeinon ton kairon, “about that time”)[14] and κατὰ τοῦτον τὸν καιρὸν (kata touton ton kairon, “about this time”),[15] phrases familiar from Josephus.

בְּאוֹתָהּ הַשָּׁעָה (HR). Luke’s introductory phrase, ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ (en avtē tē hōra, “in it the hour”; Luke 10:21), is unusual in Greek,[16] and has, accordingly, invited comment from scholars.[17]

T. W. Manson noted, “‘In that same hour’ corresponds exactly to the Rabbinic phrase be’ōthāh shā‘āh.”[18] The phrase בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה (be’ōtāh shā‘āh) is common in rabbinic sources,[19] and we concur with Manson that it is a close match for Luke’s ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ. More rarely in rabbinic sources, however, the phrase occurs with the definite article, בְּאוֹתָהּ הַשָּׁעָה (be’ōtāh hashā‘āh), and since this is an even more exact match for Luke’s introductory phrase, we have adopted it for HR.[20] Adopting בְּאוֹתָהּ הַשָּׁעָה for HR is an example of the blended type of Biblical and Mishnaic Hebrew in which we believe the conjectured Hebrew Life of Yeshua was composed, and which is also attested in the baraita about King Yannai preserved in b. Kid. 66a, which may have been taken from a Hebrew document written toward the end of the Second Temple period.[21]

L2 ἠγαλλιάσατο τῷ πνεύματι τῷ ἁγίῳ (Luke 10:21). There are many variant readings at this point in the Greek manuscripts, probably owing to the unusual phrase “rejoiced in the Holy Spirit,” which has no precedent in the Jewish Scriptures.[22] The closest parallel we have identified to Luke 10:21 in ancient Jewish sources occurs in a striking passage of the Qumran Thanksgiving Hymns:

כי אתה מאבי ידעתני ומרחם [הקדשתני ומבטן] אמי גמלתה עלי ומשדי הוריתי רחמיך עלי ובחיק אומנתי רוב[ חסד]יכה ומנעורי הופעתה לי בשכל משפטכה ובאמת נכון סמכתני וברוח קודשכה תשעשעני ועד היום [א]תה תנהלני ותוכחת צדקכה עם נ[ע]ויתי ומשמר שלומכה לפלט נפשי ועם מצעדי רוב סליחות והמון רחמים בהשפטכה בי ועד שיבה אתה תכלכלני כיא אבי לא ידעני ואמי עליכה עזבתני כי אתה אב לכול בני אמתכה ותגל עליהם כמרחמת על עולה וכאומן בחיק תכלכל לכול מעשיכה

For you knew me before my father, and before I came from the womb [you sanctified me and before I came from] my mother’s [belly]. You have done good to me and from the time I was at the breasts of the one who conceived me your mercies have been upon me, and from the time I was held in the bosom of my nurse the multitude of your [kindness]es have been with me. And since my youth you have shown yourself to me in the wisdom of your judgments, and with established truth you have supported me and by your Holy Spirit you have delighted me [וברוח קודשכה תשעשעני]. And until today you have led me, and the reproof of your justice deals with my per[ver]sity and the protection of your peace delivers my soul. And with my steps is abundant forgiveness and there is a multitude of mercy in your judgment of me. And until old age you sustain me. For my father did not know me and my mother abandoned me to you, but you are father to all the sons of your truth and you rejoice over them like she who has compassion on her infant, and like a nurse in her bosom you sustain all your works. (1QHa XVII, 29-36)

In addition to rejoicing in the Holy Spirit, this passage from the Thanksgiving Hymns relates to God as a father and expresses gratitude to God for having made himself known, themes similar to those found in Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn.

שָׂשׂ בְּרוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ (HR). We considered three main possibilities for reconstructing ἀγαλλιᾶσθαι (agalliasthai, “to rejoice”): 1) שִׁעֲשַׁע (shi‘asha‘, “take delight”); 2) גָּל (gāl, “rejoice”); and 3) שָׂשׂ (sās, “delight”).

The second sheet of the scroll of Thanksgiving Hymns from Qumran. Much of the scroll’s deterioration occurred after it was removed from its storage jar in Qumran Cave 1 and brought to the much damper Bethlehem-Jerusalem area, where it was passed from hand to hand. (Courtesy of the Shrine of the Book, Israel Museum)

1. Reconstructing ἀγαλλιᾶσθαι with שִׁעֲשַׁע is suggested by the parallel in the Thanksgiving Hymns cited just above which reads, וברוח קודשכה תשעשעני (“and by your Holy Spirit you have delighted me”; 1QHa XVII, 32). However, in LXX neither שִׁעֲשַׁע nor הִשְׁתַּעֲשַׁע (hishta‘asha‘), from the same root, are ever rendered with ἀγαλλιᾶσθαι.[23] While this fact does not automatically disqualify שִׁעֲשַׁע as a candidate for HR, it does encourage us to keep searching for other possibilities.

2. In support of reconstructing ἀγαλλιᾶσθαι with גָּל is the fact that in LXX no other verb translates גָּל more often than ἀγαλλιᾶσθαι.[24] In addition, the construction גָּל +‎ -בְּ is well attested in MT and DSS.[25] Moreover, reconstructing with גָּל would allow for a wordplay with גִּלָּה (gilāh, “reveal”; L8) in Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn. While these facts make גָּל a viable candidate for HR, a weakness of this option is that we have been unable to find a parallel to “rejoice in the Holy Spirit” that uses the verb גָּל.

3. We have settled on שָׂשׂ for HR due to an important parallel in the Hebrew Bible. The Holy Spirit is rarely mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures. Isaiah twice refers to רוּחַ קָדְשׁוֹ (rūaḥ qodshō, “his [i.e., the LORD’s] Holy Spirit”; Isa. 63:10, 11). The only other mention of the Holy Spirit in the Hebrew Bible is in Psalm 51:

אַל תַּשְׁלִיכֵנִי מִלְּפָנֶיךָ וְרוּחַ קָדְשְׁךָ אַל תִּקַּח מִמֶּנִּי הָשִׁיבָה לִּי שְׂשׂוֹן יִשְׁעֶךָ וְרוּחַ נְדִיבָה תִסְמְכֵנִי

Do not throw me out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit [רוּחַ קָדְשְׁךָ] do not take from me. Return to me the joy of your salvation, and by a willing spirit support me. (Ps. 51:13-14)

In this passage from the Psalms the Holy Spirit is closely associated with שָׂשׂוֹן; (sāsōn, “joy”), a noun that comes from the same root as the verb שָׂשׂ. According to Psalm 51, the removal of the Holy Spirit causes the absence of joy. Conversely, the presence of the Holy Spirit implies rejoicing. The correlation between joy and the Holy Spirit in one of the foundational texts on the Holy Spirit in the Hebrew Scriptures and in Luke 10:21 can hardly be coincidental. F. F. Bruce noted the similarity between these verses in Psalm 51 and the passage from the Qumran Thanksgiving Hymns that mentions rejoicing in the Holy Spirit.[26] Just as the Qumran Thanksgiving Hymns likely alluded to Psalm 51 when describing rejoicing in the Holy Spirit, we suspect that the introduction to Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn in Luke 10:21 may also allude to Psalm 51. Our suspicion is heightened by a verse earlier in the psalm that reads:

הֵן אֱמֶת חָפַצְתָּ בַטֻּחוֹת וּבְסָתֻם חָכְמָה תוֹדִיעֵנִי

Indeed You desire truth about that which is hidden; teach me wisdom about secret things. (Ps. 51:8; JPS)

The revelation of mysteries concealed from the wise is the central theme of Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn, making an allusion to Psalm 51 in Luke 10:21 all the more appropriate.

We cannot exclude the possibility that the author of Luke created the allusion to Psalm 51 on the basis of the Septuagint. The LXX translators rendered שָׂשׂוֹן (“joy”) in Ps. 51:14 with ἀγαλλίασις (agalliasis, “gladness”), a cognate of the verb ἀγαλλιᾶσθαι, which occurs in Luke 10:21. It is possible, therefore, that the author of Luke was responsible for inserting the description of Jesus’ rejoicing in the Holy Spirit into the introduction of Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn, as so many scholars suggest. However, we believe it is more likely that the mention of the Holy Spirit and the allusion to Psalm 51 were already embedded in Luke’s source, since the subtle kind of allusion this entails seems more likely to have been the work of a Jewish author writing in Hebrew than a Gentile author writing in Greek.

Our reconstruction, then, supposes that שָׂשׂ בְּרוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ (“he delighted in the Holy Spirit”) is an allusion to the שָׂשׂוֹן (“joy”) that comes from the presence of the Holy Spirit, according to Psalm 51.[27]

בְּרוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ (HR). Examples of בְּרוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ (berūa haqodesh, “by/in the Holy Spirit”) and close equivalents are known from DSS and rabbinic sources.[28] In LXX בְּרוּחַ (berūaḥ, “in/by a wind/spirit”) is frequently translated as ἐν πνεύματι (en pnevmati, “in/by a wind/spirit”).[29]

ἠγαλλιάσατο ἐν τῷ πνεύματι τῷ ἁγίῳ (GR). In one instance we find καὶ τῷ πνεύματι τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ (“and by the wind of his mouth”; Ps. 32:6) where the Hebrew text has וּבְרוּחַ פִּיו (“and by the wind of his mouth”; Ps. 33:6). In this instance the Greek has no preposition, such as ἐν (en, “in,” “by”), equivalent to -בְּ (be, “in,” “by”). The text of Vaticanus, which we use as the base text for our reconstruction,[30] also lacks the preposition ἐν in L2. Many NT manuscripts do have ἐν in Luke 10:21, however,[31] and although the example from Ps. 32:6 (LXX) shows that a Greek translator might choose to omit a preposition equivalent to -בְּ, it seems more likely that the omission of ἐν in the text of Vaticanus was a scribal error. We have therefore restored ἐν to GR in L2 on the textual evidence that ἐν is the original reading in Luke 10:21.

L3 ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν (Matt. 11:25). Matthew’s introduction to Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn mentions Jesus by name and has him “answering,” even though the thanksgiving hymn occurs in the middle of a lengthy section of discourse. We regard Luke’s introduction to Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn as more original, and have therefore reconstructed Luke’s καὶ εἶπεν (kai eipen, “and he said”) as וַיֹּאמֶר (vayo’mer, “and he said”). Note the oscillation between Mishnaic-style Hebrew in L1 and L2 of HR and Biblical-style Hebrew with the use of vav-conversive here in L3. Such an admixture of MH and BH elements is also characteristic of the baraita about King Yannai in b. Kid. 66a.[32]

L4-11 In contrast to the narrative introductions, which have very low verbal identity, the thanksgiving hymn itself is nearly identical in Matt. 11:25-26 and Luke 10:21.

L4 אוֹדְךָ (HR). In standard Koine ἐξομολογεῖν (exomologein) means “to confess.”[33] In LXX, however, ἐξομολογεῖν is the usual translation of הוֹדָה (hōdāh, “thank”), and there we frequently encounter the phrase ἐξομολογήσομαί σοι (exomologēsomai soi, “I will confess [future tense] to you”) as the translation of אוֹדְךָ (’ōdechā, “I will thank you”).[34] In Matt. 11:25 and Luke 10:21, by contrast, we read ἐξομολογοῦμαί σοι (exomologoumai soi, “I confess [present tense] to you”). The present tense in Matt. 11:25 and Luke 10:21 might support a reconstruction reading מוֹדֶה אֲנִי (mōdeh ’ani, “I am giving thanks”), such as we find in the opening of several rabbinic prayers:

נכנס לשלום או′ מודה אני לפניך יי אלהי שהכנסתני לשלום כן יהי רצון מלפניך יי אלהי שתוציאני לשלום יצא לשלום או′ מודה אני לפניך יי אלהי שהוצאתני לשלום כן יהי רצון מלפניך יי אלהי שתניעני למקומו לשלום

A person who enters [a metropolis (כְּרָךְ)] in peace says, “I am giving thanks before you, O LORD my God, because[35] you caused me to enter in peace. So may it be your will, O LORD my God, that you will also bring me out in peace.” When he has gone out in peace he says, “I am giving thanks before you, O LORD my God, because you brought me out in peace. So may it be your will, O LORD my God, that you will conduct me to my place [lit., his place] in peace.” (t. Ber. 6:16; Vienna MS; cf. y. Ber. 9:4 [66b])

יצא בשלום או′ מודה אני לפניך שהוצאתני לשלום כן יהי רצון מלפניך שתניעני לביתי לשלום

When a person goes out [of a bathhouse] in peace he says, “I am giving thanks before you because you have brought me out in peace. So may it be your will that you will conduct me to my house in peace.” (t. Ber. 6:17; Vienna MS; cf. y. Ber. 9:4 [66b])

מודה אני לפניך ה′ אלהי שאשתי אינה עושה מריבה אצל אחרים [ובני אינם עושים מריבה אצל אחרים]

I am giving thanks before you, O LORD my God, because my wife does not argue with others [and my sons do not argue with others]. (Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version A, 7:2 [ed. Schechter, 34])

מעשה ברבי עקיבא שהיה יושב ושונה לתלמידיו ונזכר לו מה שעשה בילדותו אמר מודה אני לפניך ה′ אלהי ששמת חלקי מיושבי בית המדרש ולא שמת חלקי מיושבי קרנות בשוק

An anecdote about Rabbi Akiva, who was sitting and teaching his disciples, and it was recalled to him what he had done in his youth. He said, “I am giving thanks before you, O LORD my God, because you set my portion among those who sit in the house of study, and you did not set my portion among those who sit on the corners in the market.” (Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version A, 21:2 [ed. Schechter, 74]; cf. y. Ber. 4:2 [33a])

בשחרית צריך לומר מודה אני לפניך יי אלהי שהוצאתני מאפילה לאורה

In the afternoon one has to say, “I am giving thanks before you, O LORD my God, because you have brought me out from darkness into light.” (Gen. Rab. 68:9 [ed. Theodor-Albeck, 2:779]; cf. y. Ber. 4:1 [29b])

Note, however, that in these rabbinic prayers the formula is consistently מוֹדֶה אֲנִי לְפָנֶיךָ (mōdeh ’ani lefānechā, “I am giving thanks before you”), which is unlike the wording of Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn, which has no counterpart to “before you.”

Illustration by Margaret Dickinson of the clay jars with lids that contained the Dead Sea Scrolls discovered at Qumran.

In the Qumran Thanksgiving Hymns we encounter the formulae אודכה אלי כי (“I will give you thanks, my God, because…”; 1QHa XIX, 3; cf. XIX,15) and אודכה אדוני כי (“I will give you thanks, my Lord, because…”; 1QHa X, 20, 31; XI, 19, 37; XII, 5; XIII, 5; XV, 6, 26, 34; XVI, 4). These formulae from the Thanksgiving Hymns are closer to “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that…” (Matt. 11:25; Luke 10:21) than to the opening formula “I am giving thanks before you” in the rabbinic prayers. While there are points of similarity between these rabbinic prayers and Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn, such as the offering of thanks and relative brevity, Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn is more akin to the Qumran Thanksgiving Hymns in terms of content (esoteric knowledge) and style.[36] We have therefore reconstructed ἐξομολογοῦμαί σοι (“I confess to you”) with אוֹדְךָ (“I will thank you”) in conformity with the style of the Qumran Thanksgiving Hymns, supposing that the Greek translator of the conjectured Hebrew Life of Yeshua gave a non-Septuagintal rendition of the underlying Hebrew text.

אָבִי (HR). Many scholars presume that behind the vocative πάτερ (pater, “Father!”) in Matt. 11:25 and Luke 10:21 stands an original אַבָּא (’abā’, “father”),[37] and on the grounds that אַבָּא is Aramaic many scholars conclude that Jesus delivered his teachings in Aramaic and that it was in Aramaic that the earliest followers of Jesus preserved his teachings. It should be noted, however, that אַבָּא is Hebrew as well as Aramaic,[38] so Jesus’ conjectured use of אַבָּא when addressing God is hardly probative one way or the other.

We regard אַבָּא as an improbable reconstruction for πάτερ in L4, not because Jesus could not have addressed God as “Abba” (see below, Comment to L9), but because in LXX the vocative form πάτερ with no possessive pronoun is the standard translation of אָבִי (’āvi, “my father”).[39] Thus, on the basis of LXX we should expect to reconstruct πάτερ in Hebrew as אָבִי.‎[40] Although some scholars have claimed that in the first century C.E. the form אָבִי was obsolete, their claim is erroneous.[41] The form אָבִי is attested in DSS, including in the Thanksgiving Hymns,[42] which has so many affinities with Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn, as well as in rabbinic sources.[43] In addition, אָבִי (“my father”) is attested in Second Temple Jewish sources as an address to God in prayer.[44] It seems likely, therefore, that Jesus adopted a known and accepted, albeit rare, form of address to God in the opening of his thanksgiving hymn.[45]

According to Flusser, Jesus linked his divine sonship with his prophetic task to pronounce judgment upon Jerusalem.[46] That Jesus understood this task to be prophetic is clear from his statement that “no prophet can die outside Jerusalem” (Luke 13:33; cf. Matt. 23:37; Luke 13:34), while the links between his prophetic task and divine sonship are evident in the “only son”/“rejected stone” (אבן/בן) wordplay in the Wicked Tenants parable (Luke 20:13, 17). In Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn Jesus’ status as God’s son is hinted at by means of his address to God as “Father” (L4, L9), while his prophetic status is alluded to via the mention of the Holy Spirit (Luke 10:21; L2).

L5 κύριε τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ τῆς γῆς (Matt. 11:25; Luke 10:21). We have not been able to find a precise parallel to the title “Lord of heaven and earth” in Hebrew sources. We do, however, find ὁ κύριος τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ τῆς γῆς (“the Lord of the heaven and the earth”) in Tob. 7:17, a source which may have been composed in Hebrew.[47] We also find the similar title δέσποτα τῶν οὐρανῶν καὶ τῆς γῆς (“ruler of the heavens and the earth”) in Judith 9:12, another source with a likely Hebrew vorlage.[48] Likewise, Josephus knew the title δέσποτα τῶν ἐπ᾿ οὐρανοῦ τε καὶ γῆς καὶ θαλάσσης (“ruler of what is in heaven and earth and sea”; Ant. 4:40), and in the Aramaic Genesis Apocryphon Melchizedek refers to the LORD as אל עליון מרה שמיא וארעא (“God Most High, Lord of the heavens and the earth”; 1Qap Genar XXII, 16; cf. XXII, 21), which is based on Gen. 14:19 where the LORD is called אֵל עֶלְיוֹן קֹנֵה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ (“God Most High, possessor of heavens and earth”). Thus the title “Lord of heaven and earth” was certainly known in the first century C.E. and was probably current in Hebrew as well as Aramaic.

An enamel plaque depicting the meeting of Abram and Melchizedek described in Genesis 14. In that chapter Melchizedek refers to God as “possessor of heaven and earth.” Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

אֲדוֹן שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ (HR). Although the precise formula “Lord of heaven and earth” is not attested in extant Hebrew sources, we do find similar titles in the Hebrew Bible and in post-biblical Jewish literature. Thus, in MT we encounter titles such as קֹנֵה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ (qonēh shāmayim vā’āretz, “possessor of heaven and earth”),[49] עֹשֵׂה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ (‘osēh shāmayim vā’āretz, “maker of heaven and earth”)[50] and אֲדוֹן כָּל הָאָרֶץ (adōn kol hā’āretz, “Lord of all the earth”).[51] In DSS we find the title אדון הכול (adōn hakōl, “Lord of everything”; 4Q409 1 I, 6), a title that also occurs in the Aleinu prayer that is still recited today.[52] In rabbinic texts we encounter titles such as אדון כל הבריות (adōn kol haberiyōt, “Lord of all the creatures”)[53] and רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם (ribōnō shel ‘ōlām, “master of [the] universe”).[54] Each of these titles emphasizes the universality of God’s dominion and his mastery over creation.

While reconstructing κύριε (kūrie, “Lord”) with אֲדוֹן (adōn, “Lord”) requires no explanation, the omission of definite articles in our reconstruction does warrant comment. In the two biblical titles קֹנֵה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ (“possessor of heaven and earth”) and עֹשֵׂה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ (“maker of heaven and earth”), “heaven” and “earth” are anarthrous, but when the LXX translators put these titles into Greek they consistently rendered “heaven” and “earth” with definite articles: ὃς ἔκτισεν τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν (“who created the heaven and the earth”; Gen 14:19, 22) and ὁ ποιήσας τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν (“the maker of the heaven and the earth”; Ps. 113:23; 120:2; 123:8; 133:3; 145:6). It is on the basis of these examples that we have reconstructed κύριε τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ τῆς γῆς as אֲדוֹן שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ (“Lord of heavens and earth”) instead of אֲדוֹן הַשָּׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ (“Lord of the heavens and the earth”).

Note the juxtaposition of the titles אבי ואדוני (“my Father and my Lord”) in the Second Temple Jewish prayer preserved in 4Q460 5 I, 6, similar to the juxtaposition of πάτερ κύριε τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ τῆς γῆς (“Father, Lord of heaven and earth”) in Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn.

L6 ὅτι ἔκρυψας ταῦτα (GR). We have preferred Matthew’s reading over Luke’s for GR, supposing that the author of Luke replaced the simple ἔκρυψας (ekrūpsas, “you hid”) with the compound form ἀπέκρυψας (apekrūpsas, “you hid away”) in Luke 10:21 as a minor stylistic improvement.[55]

כִּי הִסְתַּרְתָּ אֵלֶּה (HR). In the rabbinic prayers of thanksgiving cited above in Comment to L4 we encountered the formula -מוֹדֶה אֲנִי…שֶׁ (“I am giving thanks…because…”). We have chosen to reconstruct ὅτι (hoti, “that,” “because”) with כִּי (ki, “that,” “because”) on the basis of the Qumran Thanksgiving Hymns, where we frequently encounter the formula אודכה אדוני כי (“I will give you thanks, my Lord, because…”).[56] In LXX ὅτι is often the translation of כִּי.‎[57]

הִסְתַּרְתָּ (HR). In Hidden Treasure and Priceless Pearl L5, we reconstructed κρύπτειν (krūptein, “to hide”) with טָמַן (ṭāman, “hide,” “bury”). Here we have reconstructed κρύπτειν with הִסְתִּיר (histir, “hide”) because the root ס-ת-ר is prominent in the Qumran Thanksgiving Hymns,[58] whereas טָמַן occurs in the Thanksgiving Hymns only with negative connotations.[59] Another option for reconstructing κρύπτειν is the root ח-ב-ה/ח-ב-א.‎[60]
Compare our reconstruction of κρύπτειν with הִסְתִּיר in Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn to this passage in the Qumran Thanksgiving Hymns:

ולמען אשמתם סתרת מעין בינה וסוד אמת

…and because of their guilt you have concealed [סתרת] the source of understanding and the foundation of truth. (1QHa XIII, 25-26; DSS Study Edition)

אֵלֶּה (HR). In prose we would expect the definite direct object marker אֶת (’et) to appear before אֵלֶּה (’ēleh, “these”), but in Hebrew poetry, such as Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn, the definite direct object marker was often omitted. Compare, for example, the following poetic passage in Job:

כַּמָּה לִי עֲוֹנוֹת וְחַטָּאוֹת פִּשְׁעִי וְחַטָּאתִי הֹדִיעֵנִי
לָמָּה פָנֶיךָ תַסְתִּיר וְתַחְשְׁבֵנִי לְאוֹיֵב לָךְ

How many iniquities and sins do I have? Make known to me my wrongful deeds and my sins.
Why do you hide your face and consider me your enemy? (Job 13:23-24)

In the above example the definite direct object marker is omitted with the verb הִסְתִּיר (“hide”), just as we have omitted it in HR.

We have reconstructed ταῦτα (tavta, “these”) with אֵלֶּה, even though in MH אֵלֶּה had been replaced by אֵלּוּ (’ēlū, “these”).[61] Although Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn is direct speech, we believe it was composed in the style of the Qumran Thanksgiving Hymns, which, like other Essene texts, adopted an archaic style of Hebrew.

To what does “these things” in the statement “you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding” (Matt. 11:25; Luke 10:21) refer? It is likely to be the “mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven,” which Jesus mentions in the Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven saying (Matt. 13:11; Mark 4:11; Luke 8:10).[62] For reasons we will discuss in the commentary accompanying the reconstruction of the Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven pericope, we believe this saying may originally have followed Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn in the conjectured Hebrew Life of Yeshua.[63]

The hiding and revealing of mysteries is mentioned in many ancient Jewish sources, for instance:

τί δέ ἐστιν σοφία καὶ πῶς ἐγένετο, ἀπαγγελῶ καὶ οὐκ ἀποκρύψω ὑμῖν μυστήρια, ἀλλὰ ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς γενέσεως ἐξιχνιάσω καὶ θήσω εἰς τὸ ἐμφανὲς τὴν γνῶσιν αὐτῆς καὶ οὐ μὴ παροδεύσω τὴν ἀλήθειαν

What wisdom is and how she came into being I will declare, and I will hide no mysteries from you, but I will trace her out from her first beginning and bring knowledge of her into the open, and I shall not pass by the truth. (Wis. 6:22; NETS)

וכול דבר הנסתר מישראל ונמצאו לאיש הדורש אל יסתרהו מאלה

And every hidden thing from Israel that is found by the interpreter, he may not hide it from them. (1QS VIII, 11-12)

אלה ידעתי מבינתכה כיא גליתה אוזני לרזי פלא

These things I know through your knowledge, for you opened my ears to wondrous mysteries…. (1QHa XI, 21; DSS Study Edition)

ברכו המפלי גאות ומועדי עוז ידו [ל]חתום רזים ולגלות נסתרות להרים כושלים ונופליהמה [להשי]ב לכת קוי דעות ולהשפיל נועדות רום גאים עולם [להת]ם רזי ה[וד ]ולהק[ים פל]אות כבוד

Bless the one who does amazing wonders, and shows the might of his hand seal[ing] up mysteries and revealing hidden things, raising up those who stumble and those of them who fall, [chan]ging the behaviour of those who await knowledge and lowering the exalted meetings of the eternally proud, [con]firming maj[estic] mysteries and establishing glorious [wond]ers. (4QHa [4Q427] 7 I, 18-21; cf. 1QHa XXVI, 14-16; DSS Study Edition)

L7 ἀπὸ σοφῶν καὶ συνετῶν (Matt. 11:25; Luke 10:21). Ordinarily, wisdom and intelligence are positive qualities. Joseph the patriarch, for example, found favor with Pharaoh in Egypt because he was intelligent and wise (Gen. 41:33, 39). Likewise, Josephus related a story about how Zerubbabel was granted permission to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem because he gave an insightful answer to a question posed by the Persian king Darius:

“καὶ τοῦτ᾿”, ἔφη, “τοὐμὸν αἴτημά ἐστιν, ὅ μοι νῦν ἐπιτρέπεις αἰτήσασθαι κριθέντι σοφῷ καὶ συνετῷ.”

“And this,” he said, “is the request which you have just permitted me to make for being judged wise and intelligent.” (Ant. 11:58; Loeb)

In prophetic literature, however, the “wise and intelligent” are sometimes subject to critique, for instance:

וְאָבְדָה חָכְמַת חֲכָמָיו וּבִינַת נְבֹנָיו תִּסְתַּתָּר

…and the wisdom of its wise men will perish, and the understanding of its discerning ones will be hidden. (Isa. 29:14)

καὶ ἀπολῶ τὴν σοφίαν τῶν σοφῶν καὶ τὴν σύνεσιν τῶν συνετῶν κρύψω

…and I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the understanding of the intelligent I will hide. (Isa. 29:14; cf. 1 Cor. 1:19)

Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn bears a resemblance to this verse in Isaiah and to one other passage in the prophetic books, which, however, does not imply a critique of the wise and intelligent:

מִי חָכָם וְיָבֵן אֵלֶּה נָבוֹן וְיֵדָעֵם כִּי יְשָׁרִים דַּרְכֵי יי וְצַדִּקִים יֵלְכוּ בָם וּפֹשְׁעִים יִכָּשְׁלוּ בָם

Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is understanding, let him know them, because the ways of the LORD are straight and righteous persons walk in them, but wicked persons stumble in them. (Hos. 14:10)

τίς σοφὸς καὶ συνήσει ταῦτα; ἢ συνετὸς καὶ ἐπιγνώσεται αὐτά; διότι εὐθεῖαι αἱ ὁδοὶ τοῦ κυρίου, καὶ δίκαιοι πορεύσονται ἐν αὐταῖς, οἱ δὲ ἀσεβεῖς ἀσθενήσουσιν ἐν αὐταῖς

Who is wise and will understand these things, or prudent and will comprehend them? For the ways of the Lord are upright, and the just will walk in them, but the impious will be weak in them. (Hos. 14:10; NETS)

Whereas Isa. 29:14 speaks of hiding understanding, which is similar to “you have hidden…from the wise and intelligent” in Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn, Hos. 14:10 laconically refers to “these things,” just as Jesus does in L6. Perhaps Jesus intended to allude to both of these verses.

Is it possible to identify who are the “wise and intelligent” in Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn? Although most scholars assume that the “wise and intelligent” refers to those of Jesus’ contemporaries who were wise in their own eyes, but who remained unreceptive to Jesus’ message about the Kingdom of Heaven,[64] another interpretation emerges from the suggestion that Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn, the Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven saying and the Blessedness of the Twelve pronouncement originally belonged to the same literary unit.[65] In the Blessedness of the Twelve pronouncement Jesus contrasted his apostles with the prophets of old:

Many prophets and messengers wanted to see what you are seeing, but did not see it. (Matt. 13:17; Luke 10:24)[66]

Drawing of an eye by Thomas Holloway (ca. 1794). Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Blessedness of the Twelve pronouncement is not an expression of sectarian dualism contrasting insiders with outsiders, the contrast is rather temporal—the apostles were privileged to see in their time what the prophets had not been able to witness in theirs.[67] Working backward from the Blessedness of the Twelve pronouncement to the Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven saying, the contrast is between the apostles, for whom the mysteries are disclosed, and the “others,” for whom the mysteries are concealed “in parables.” According to rabbinic sources, the Israelites on the shores of the Red Sea saw clearly, since God’s redeeming power makes the Kingdom of Heaven manifest, but in the days of the prophets God’s purposes were cloaked in parables.[68] Since the arrival of the Kingdom of Heaven was the central component of Jesus’ message, it appears that in the Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven saying the contrast is again not between insiders and outsiders, but between the manifestations of the Kingdom of Heaven in the present that were taking place with and through Jesus’ followers, versus the hiddenness of the Kingdom of Heaven, even from the prophets, in prior generations. Taking a final step backward to Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn, the contrast between the “wise and intelligent” and the “simple” may not be between two contemporaneous groups, rather the contrast may once again be temporal.[69] In other words, “these things” were hidden from even the most deserving members of previous generations, but now they are revealed even to Jesus’ simple followers in the present time.

Understood in this way, Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn does not disparage the “wise and intelligent” any more than the Blessedness of the Twelve pronouncement disparages the “prophets and messengers.”[70] To the contrary, in ancient Jewish sources there is a widespread belief that the generations of the biblical period were more meritorious than the present generation.[71] Facilitating our interpretation of the contrast between the “simple” and the “wise and intelligent” in Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn is the pairing of prophets and the wise in ancient Jewish sources.[72]

If this interpretation of the contrast between the “wise and understanding” and the “simple” is correct, then Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn is akin to passages such as the following:

The prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired about this salvation…. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things which have now been announced to you by those who preached the good news to you through the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. (1 Peter 1:10, 12; RSV)

And all these [figures from the biblical period mentioned earlier in the chapter—DNB and JNT]…did not receive what was promised, since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. (Heb. 11:39-40)

מֵחֲכָמִים וּנְבֹנִים (HR). In LXX the pairing of חָכָם (ḥāchām, “wise”) with נָבוֹן (nāvōn, “intelligent”), in either order, is translated in a variety of ways. Joseph is described in Hebrew as אִישׁ נָבוֹן וְחָכָם (’ish nāvōn veḥāchām, “an intelligent and wise man”) and in Greek as ἄνθρωπον φρόνιμον καὶ συνετὸν (anthrōpon fronimon kai sūneton, “a wise and intelligent man”; Gen. 41:33; cf. 41:39). The heads of Israel’s tribes are referred to as אֲנָשִׁים חֲכָמִים וּנְבֹנִים וִידֻעִים (anāshim ḥachāmim ūnevonim vidu‘im, “wise and intelligent and knowledgeable men”) in Hebrew and as ἄνδρας σοφοὺς καὶ ἐπιστήμονας καὶ συνετοὺς (andras sofous kai epistēmonas kai sūnetous, “wise and understanding and intelligent men”; Deut. 1:13) in Greek. Moses assured Israel that if they keep the commands of the Torah the Gentiles will conclude חָכָם וְנָבוֹן הַגּוֹי הַגָּדוֹל הַזֶּה (ḥāchām venāvōn hagōy hagādōl hazeh, “this great nation is wise and intelligent”), which LXX renders as σοφὸς καὶ ἐπιστήμων (sofos kai epistēmōn, “wise and understanding”; Deut. 4:6). In answer to his prayer, the LORD promised to grant Solomon “a wise and understanding heart” (לֵב חָכָם וְנָבוֹן; lēv ḥāchām venāvōn; 1 Kgs. 3:12), which the LXX translators rendered καρδίαν φρονίμην καὶ σοφήν (kardian fronimēn kai sofēn, “a prudent and wise heart”; NETS; 3 Kgdms. 3:12).

The coupling of חָכָם with נָבוֹן is also attested in post-biblical Jewish literature, for instance:

ויקם מאהרן נבונים ומישראל חכמים

And he raised up from Aaron understanding persons [נבונים] and from Israel wise people [חכמים]. (CD-A VI, 2-3)

אלה ה<א>נשים הנקראים לעצת היחד מבן עש [–] כול ח[כמי ]העדה והנבונים והידעים תמימי הדרך

These are the men who are to be summoned to the community council from…all the wi[se men] of the congregation, the intelligent and those learned in perfect behaviour. (1QSa I, 27-28; DSS Study Edition)

מה בין חכם לנבון, חכם דומה לשולחני עשיר כשמביאים לו לראות רואה וכשאין מביאים לו לראות מוציא משלו ורואה, נבון דומה לשולחני עני כשמביאים לו לראות רואה כשאין לו לראות יושב ותוהה

What is the difference between a wise man [חכם] and an understanding one [נבון]? A wise man [חכם] is like a rich money-changer: when people bring to him coins for examination, he examines them; when they do not, he takes out his own coins and examines them. An understanding man [נבון] is like a poor money-changer: when people bring to him coins for examination, he examines them; when they do not, he is at a loss. (Sifre Deut. §13 [ed. Finkelstein, 22]; trans. Hammer)

The Qumran scroll of Thanksgiving Hymns (1QHa) as it appeared at the beginning of its unrolling. Image courtesy of the Shrine of the Book, Israel Museum.

L8 וְגִלִּיתָ אוֹתָם לִפְתָאיִם (HR). In LXX ἀποκαλύπτιεν (apokalūptein, “to uncover,” “to reveal”) is usually the translation of גִּלָּה (gilāh, “uncover,” “reveal”).[73] The revelation of hidden things (נִסְתָרוֹת; nistārōt) and of mysteries (רָזִים; rāzim) is a prominent theme in the Qumran Thanksgiving Hymns (see above, Comment to L6). Compare Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn to the following passage in the Thanksgiving Hymns:

אודכה אלי…כי הודעתני סוד אמת…[ונס]תרותיכה גליתה לי

I give you thanks, O my God,…for you have made known to me the foundation of truth…and your hidden things you revealed to me. (1QHa XIX, 15-17)

Luz noted an important distinction between the Qumran Thanksgiving Hymns and Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn: whereas the author of the Qumran Thanksgiving Hymns thanked God for revelations that he received, Jesus thanked God for revelations that were given to others.[74]

לִפְתָאיִם (HR). Although in LXX νήπιος (nēpios, “infant”) is usually the translation of עוֹלֵל (‘ōlēl, “infant”),[75] sometimes νήπιος is the translation of פֶּתִי (peti, “simpleton”), especially in wisdom literature, for instance:

עֵדוּת יי נֶאֱמָנָה מַחְכִּימַת פֶּתִי

The testimony of the LORD is trustworthy, making wise the simple. (Ps. 19:8)

ἡ μαρτυρία κυρίου πιστή, σοφίζουσα νήπια

The testimony of the Lord is trustworthy, making infants wise. (Ps. 18:8)[76]

Since the contrast in Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn is between the νήπιοι and the “wise and intelligent,” it is clear that νήπιος should be understood according to its usage in LXX wisdom literature, and that it should accordingly be reconstructed with פֶּתִי.‎[77]

In a fragmentary section of the Qumran Thanksgiving Hymns we encounter the phrase ולהבין פותאים (“to make the simple understand”; 1QHa V, 2), and in a better-preserved section of the same scroll we read:

ותעמד פעמי בגבול רשעה ואהיה פח לפושעים ומרפא לכול שבי פשע ערמה לפתיים ויצר סמוך לכול נמהרי לב ותשימני חרפה וקלס לבוגדים סוד אמת ובינה לישרי דרך

…you made my steps sturdy on the frontier of evil, so that I became a trap for offenders, but a medicine for all who turn away from offense, a wit for simple folk [לפתיים], and a staunch purpose for the timorous of heart. You have set me as a reproach and a mockery of traitors, a foundation of truth and knowledge for those on the straight path. (1QHa X, 8-10; DSS Study Edition)

In some DSS texts פתאים sometimes appears as a self-designation for members of the sect (cf. 1QpHab XII, 4).[78] Jesus sometimes reapplied titles the Essenes used for themselves to his own disciples, as when he referred to his own followers as the “poor in spirit” (Matt. 5:3), an exact equivalent to עניי רוח (aniyē rūaḥ, “poor of spirit”) found in DSS (1QM XIV, 7; cf. ענוי רוח [‘anvē rūaḥ, “meek of spirit”] in 1QHa VI, 3).[79] Here it appears that Jesus applied the Essene self-designation פְּתָאיִם to his twelve apostles.

L9 ναὶ ὁ πατήρ (Matt. 11:26; Luke 10:21). This is the only instance in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke where ὁ πατήρ (ho patēr, “the father”) has a vocative function.[80] Elsewhere in NT when ὁ πατήρ is used as an address it appears as the translation of αββα (abba, “father”; Mark 14:36; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6). In MH אַבָּא (’abā’, “father”) came to be used as a form of address. Above in L4 we reconstructed the vocative πάτερ (pater) with אָבִי; here we must ask ourselves why the Greek translator of the Hebrew Life of Yeshua chose to write ὁ πατήρ instead of πάτερ as he had done a few lines earlier. Although it is possible that he chose to render the same address in two different ways in very close proximity, such an explanation seems unlikely and unnecessary, since, as Paul’s letters attest, the vocative ὁ πατήρ was understood to be the equivalent of אַבָּא. Although we cannot endorse the view that Jesus always or even regularly referred to God as “Abba,”[81] there is no reason why he could not have done so on this occasion.[82] “Abba” was used in MH as a respectful form of address to one’s father, as we see in the following examples:

אָמַ′ לוֹ אֲבָּא פַּקֵּד עָלַיִ לַחֲבֵירֶךָ

He said to him, “Father [אֲבָּא], commend me to your colleagues.” (m. Edu. 5:7)

מעשה בחסיד אחד ששכח עומר בתוך שדהו ואמ′ לבנו צא והקריב עלי פר לעולה ופר לשלמים אמ′ לו אבא מה ראית לשמוח מצוה זו מכל מצות האמורות בתורה אמ′ לו כל מצות שבתורה נתן לנו המקום לדעתנו זו שלא דעתנו שאילו עשינוה כרצון לפני המקום לא באה מצוה זו לידינו

An anecdote about a certain Hasid who forgot a sheaf in the middle of his field. And he said to his son, “Go out and sacrifice a bull for a whole burnt offering and a bull for a peace offering for me.”[83] His son said, “Abba, what have you seen that causes you to rejoice over this commandment more than all the other commandments that are stated in the Torah?” He said to him, “All the commands that are in the Torah the Omnipresent one gave to us for our conscious intention, but this is not for our conscious intention. For even though we did it according to the desire of the Omnipresent one, this command did not come about by our own volition.”[84] (t. Peah 3:8; Vienna MS)

מעשה שאמר רבי יהודה לבנו צא והבא לי קציעות מן החבית אמר לו אבה של דבש היא

It happened that Rabbi Yehudah said to his son, “Go out and bring me figs from the jar.” He said to him, “Father [אבה, a variant spelling of אַבָּא], it is full of honey.” (Sifre Deut. §316 [ed. Finkelstein, 358])

א″ר יצחק בשעה שבקש אברהם לעקוד יצחק בנו אמר לו אבא בחור אני וחוששני שמא יזדעזע גופי מפחדה של סכין ואצערך ושמא תפסל השחיטה ולא תעלה לך לקרבן

Rabbi Yitzhak said, “In the hour that Abraham sought to bind Isaac, his son said to him, ‘Father [אבא], I am a young man and I am afraid that my body might tremble from fear of the knife and I might grieve you and you might invalidate the slaughtering and your offering will not be accepted.’” (Gen. Rab. 56:8)

הֵן אַבָּא (HR). In LXX the affirmation ναί (nai, “yes”) is rare.[85] Where there is a Hebrew equivalent, that word is אֲבָל (avāl, “but”; Gen. 17:19; 42:21) or הִנֵּה (hinēh, “behold”; Isa. 48:7). We have reconstructed ναί with הֵן (hēn), a word that in BH usually means “behold,” but which sometimes approaches the meaning “yes,”[86] and which in MH had definitely attained this meaning.[87] In its concluding affirmation Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn appears to temporarily slip out of Qumran-style Hebrew into a style closer to MH.

L10-11 ὅτι οὕτως εὐδοκία ἐγένετο ἔμπροσθέν σου (GR). The phrase “good pleasure it was before you” was cited as “undeniably Semitic” in Moulton-Howard, 465.

כִּי כֵּן רָצוֹן הוּא לְפָנֶיךָ (HR). In rabbinic prayers it is common to find petitions that begin with the phrase יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ (lit., “may it be desire from before you”),[88] and on the basis of this formula we might have reconstructed L10-11 as כִּי כֵּן הָיָה רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ (lit., “for so it was desire from before you”), but such a reconstruction faces a few obstacles:

  1. In Matt. 11:26 and Luke 10:21 we find not a petition, but a declarative statement, which makes the rabbinic formula an inexact parallel to the conclusion of Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn.
  2. The word order εὐδοκία ἐγένετο (“desire [it] was”) is the opposite of הָיָה רָצוֹן. It is of course possible that the Greek translator of the conjectured Hebrew Life of Yeshua changed the word order, but a reconstruction that has the same word order in Hebrew as we find in the Greek text is preferable.
  3. In LXX ἔμπροσθέν + personal pronoun is almost always the translation of לִפְנֵי + pronominal suffix,[89] whereas מִלִּפְנֵי + pronominal suffix is never translated in LXX as ἔμπροσθέν + personal pronoun without the addition of a preposition meaning “from.”[90] Since there is no preposition in Matt. 11:26 and Luke 10:21 equivalent to “from,” the evidence from LXX points to לְפָנֶיךָ (“before you”) for HR, rather than מִלְּפָנֶיךָ (“from before you”) as in the rabbinic formula.[91]

The reconstruction proposed here, כִּי כֵּן רָצוֹן הוּא לְפָנֶיךָ (lit., “because thus desire it [is] before you,” i.e., “for you desire it to be this way”), avoids the difficulties indicated above and is supported by the following evidence:

  1. In LXX ὅτι οὕτως (“because thus”) is the translation of כִּי כֵּן in Judg. 14:10; 1 Kgdms. 5:7; 2 Kgdms. 3:9; 13:18; 3 Kgdms. 1:30; 2:7; 13:9; 2 Chr. 8:14; Ps. 64[65]:10; Job 9:2.[92]
  2. In LXX εὐδοκία (evdokia, “good will”) is relatively rare in books also found in MT, but when it does occur it almost always occurs as the translation of רָצוֹן (rātzōn, “desire”).[93]
  3. In LXX the construction noun + εἶναι (einai, “to be”) + preposition is the translation of noun + personal pronoun + לִפְנֵי + pronominal suffix/noun (e.g., רָצוֹן הוּא לְפָנֶיךָ, as in HR) in the following examples:

διαθήκη ἁλὸς αἰωνίου ἐστὶν ἔναντι κυρίου

…a covenant of eternal salt [i.e., an eternal covenant—DNB and JNT] [it] is before the Lord…. (Num. 18:19)

בְּרִית מֶלַח עוֹלָם הִוא לִפְנֵי יי

…a covenant of salt forever [i.e., an eternal covenant—DNB and JNT] it [is] before the LORD…. (Num. 18:19)

ὅτι βδέλυγμά ἐστιν ἐναντίον κυρίου τοῦ θεοῦ σου

…for an abomination [it] is before the Lord your God…. (Deut. 24:4)

כִּי תוֹעֵבָה הִוא לִפְנֵי יי

…for an abomination it [is] before the LORD…. (Deut. 24:4)

ὑγρὸς γάρ ἐστιν ὑπὸ ἡλίου

For a fresh [plant he] is under [the] sun…. (Job 8:16)

רָטֹב הוּא לִפְנֵי שָׁמֶשׁ

A fresh [plant] he [is] before [the] sun…. (Job 8:16)

Redaction Analysis

The versions of Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn in Matthew and Luke are nearly identical. Their only disagreement in the hymn itself is in L6 where Matthew has ἔκρυψας (“you hid”) but Luke reads ἀπέκρυψας (“you hid away”). Probably the author of Luke is responsible for this change. Even in their narrative introductions, where there is the least agreement, Matthew and Luke are still fairly similar. Both open with a time marker (L1) and introduce the hymn with εἶπεν (“he said”; L3). Luke describes Jesus’ elation by means of the Holy Spirit. Although many scholars assume that Luke added these details, rather than supposing that Matthew omitted them, we have found that Luke’s introduction reconstructs easily into Hebrew and that the mention of the Holy Spirit is culturally appropriate to a first-century Jewish context.

Results of This Research

1. Would addressing God as “my father” have been considered offensive or blasphemous in first-century Jewish culture? Unfortunately, the misconception that Jesus somehow offended the religious norms of ancient Judaism by addressing God as “my father” persists, despite the discovery of prayers from before the time of Jesus in which God is addressed as “my father.” “My father” may not have been the most common address in Second Temple Jewish prayer, but it was not unheard of and it certainly was not offensive or blasphemous, as the examples from DSS attest.

2. Who are the “wise and intelligent” and who are the “simple” in Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn? Read in isolation, it would be impossible to identify the “wise and intelligent” in Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn with certainty. Read in conjunction with the Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven saying and the Blessedness of the Twelve pronouncement, however, it is possible to identify the “wise and understanding” as the worthy representatives of prior generations who were not privileged to see what even Jesus’ simple followers were permitted to witness in the present time. Understood in this way, Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn is not an expression of sectarian ideology pitting the insider against the outsider, it is rather a celebration that the long-awaited promises of God for Israel’s redemption are finally beginning to be fulfilled.

It is ironic, therefore, that Jesus referred to the beneficiaries of the divine revelations as the “simple,” since this is a term the Essenes sometimes applied to themselves. Jesus appears to have taken over this Essene self-designation and reapplied it to his own followers in a non-sectarian fashion, just as he took over the thanksgiving hymn genre known from the Dead Sea Scrolls to express his own gratitude for what God was doing in their midst. The ironic usage of sectarian terminology to express his unique understanding of God’s redemptive purposes is characteristic of Jesus’ teachings.

3. Did Jesus ever address God as “Abba”? Some scholars have claimed that Jesus always addressed God as אַבָּא (’abā’, “father”) and that this proves how much more intimately Jesus related to God than did his contemporaries, and that, since “Abba” is an Aramaic word, Jesus must have spoken Aramaic. Let’s take these points one by one.

Supposing that whenever Jesus addressed God as “father” the term he used was always “Abba” glosses over the fact that in the Greek texts of the Synoptic Gospels Jesus addresses God as “father” in a few different ways, including πάτερ (pater, “father”), πάτερ μου (pater mou, “my father”) and ὁ πατήρ (ho patēr, “the father”). Jesus also instructed his disciples to address God as πάτερ ἡμῶν (pater hēmōn, “our father”). Only one of these addresses, ὁ πατήρ (“the father”), is equated with “Abba” in the New Testament (Mark 14:36; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6). It is not the case, as some scholars used to assert, that the form אָבִי (’āvi, “my father”) had become obsolete by the time of Jesus, so that he had no choice but to address God as “Abba.” Why, then, do some scholars claim that all these forms of address reflect an original “Abba”?

Since the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures usually rendered אָבִי (“my father”) as πάτερ (“father”), and sometimes as πάτερ μου (“my father”), we see no reason why πάτερ and πάτερ μου on the lips of Jesus should be reconstructed as anything other than אָבִי. On the other hand, claiming that Jesus always addressed God as אָבִי would be going too far in the opposite direction. New Testament authors attest that ὁ πατήρ used as a vocative is equivalent to “Abba.” There are two occasions when Jesus is said to have addressed God as ὁ πατήρ, once in Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn and once in Mark’s version of Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane (Mark 14:36). In the Matthean and Lukan parallels to Mark 14:36 we do not find “Abba,” which leads us to suspect that it was the author of Mark who put “Abba” into Jesus’ mouth in his prayer in Gethsemane, but in Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn Luke and Matthew both have the address ὁ πατήρ, which means this was the address used in the non-Markan pre-synoptic source shared by the authors of Luke and Matthew (i.e., Anth.). Since just a few lines earlier Jesus had addressed God as πάτερ (= אָבִי), it is reasonable to suppose that something different must have stood behind ὁ πατήρ, and since Paul tells us “Abba” is the equivalent of ὁ πατήρ, it seems that on at least one occasion Jesus probably did address God as “Abba.”

Does his use of “Abba” prove that Jesus had a more intimate and personal relationship with God than his contemporaries? The answer must depend on which contemporaries we have in mind. There were some first-century Jews who had a more formal and less familiar relationship with God than Jesus did. Such persons might not have addressed God as “Abba.” On the other hand, some first-century Jews did experience a familial relationship with God. Among these were the pietists known as the Hasidim. We know that some people addressed God as אָבִי (“my father”) in their prayers, and it is hard to see how addressing God as אַבָּא (“Abba”) would have been perceived differently, since “Abba” was a respectful form of address in Mishnaic Hebrew. Addressing God as “Abba,” therefore, does not distinguish Jesus from Judaism, it rather helps us to distinguish Jesus’ place within Judaism, by highlighting his similarity to individuals like Honi the Circle-drawer, Hanina ben Dosa and other first-century Jewish pietists.

Finally, does Jesus’ use of “Abba” prove that he spoke Aramaic? Not at all. “Abba” was used in Hebrew and Aramaic, therefore Jesus’ use of “Abba” cannot help us determine which of the two Semitic languages Jesus may have spoken. Probably Jesus knew and used both languages, and maybe Greek, as well.

Conclusion

In Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn the Holy Spirit inspires Jesus to utter an Essene-style hymn that expresses gratitude for the divine revelation that was being disclosed to his followers. It is probable that the mention of the Holy Spirit and rejoicing in the introduction to Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn is an allusion to Psalm 51, which mentions the Holy Spirit as a harbinger of the joy of salvation. The content of Jesus’ hymn pertains to the wonderful privilege of seeing God’s redemption, which had been concealed from even the most deserving members of prior generations, being revealed to Jesus’ own simple followers in the present time. Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn also hints at Jesus’ intimate relationship with God, whom he addresses as “Father.”

The caves at Qumran. Photo courtesy of Joshua N. Tilton.

 


 

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  • [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] On the inclusion of the Woes on Galilean Villages in the pre-synoptic version of the Sending discourse, see Arland D. Jacobson, “The Literary Unity of Q LC 10,2-16 and Parallels as a Test Case,” in Logia Les Paroles de Jésus—The Sayings of Jesus: Mémorial Joseph Coppens (ed. Joël Delobel; Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1982), 419-423, esp. 421. Cf. Richard A. Edwards, “Matthew’s Use of Q in Chapter 11,” also in Logia Les Paroles de Jésus—The Sayings of Jesus: Mémorial Joseph Coppens, 257-275, esp. 262.
  • [4] Among the reasons why Woes on Galilean Villages was probably not part of the original “Mission of the Twelve” complex are the following:

    1. The inclusion of Woes on Galilean Villages in the Sending discourse creates a dramatic shift from addressing the apostles (insiders) to addressing unrepentant villages (outsiders).
    2. In the Sending discourse repentance is not part of the apostles’ message, but in Woes on Galilean Villages Jesus upbraids the people for not repenting.
    3. Capernaum and Bethsaida (two of the three towns mentioned in Woes on Galilean Villages) are places that Jesus had visited himself, but the Sending discourse is about preparing the apostles to enter places Jesus had not visited.

     

    On the other hand, there are thematic reasons why the Anthologizer might have included Woes on Galilean Villages where he did in the Sending discourse:

    1. Jesus had just given instructions to the apostles regarding how they were to deal with towns that did not receive them, while Woes on Galilean Villages is about towns that did not receive him.
    2. Jesus said that a town that failed to receive the apostles would be subject to judgment, while in Woes on Galilean Villages Jesus pronounces judgments against specific towns in the Galilee.
    3. Sodom, mentioned in the instructions to the apostles, was a Gentile city known in Scripture for its wickedness. Tyre and Sidon, mentioned in Woes on Galilean Villages, were also Gentile cities known in Scripture for their wickedness.

     

    In the LOY Map we have suggested a different placement of the Woes on Galilean Villages saying, a placement that might have been its original context in the conjectured Hebrew Life of Yeshua.

  • [5] See Davies-Allison, 2:273.
  • [6] Among the scholars who regard the mention of the Holy Spirit as a secondary Lukan addition are T. W. Manson, 79; Marshall, 433; Fitzmyer, 2:867. One of the reasons scholars often give for regarding the mention of the Holy Spirit as a Lukan addition is the author of Luke’s overall interest in the Holy Spirit. Yet Rodd has noted that, with the exception of the infancy narratives where the Holy Spirit is mentioned frequently, the Gospel of Luke has no more references to the Holy Spirit than Matthew. See C. S. Rodd, “Spirit or Finger,” Expository Times 72.5 (1961): 157-158. If Luke copied the infancy narratives from Anth., as Lindsey believed, then it may well be that the role of the Holy Spirit in narrative portions of Luke are a reflection of Luke’s sources rather than the result of Luke’s editorial activity.
  • [7] On the Holy Spirit in DSS, see F. F. Bruce, “Holy Spirit in the Qumran Texts,” Annual of Leeds University Oriental Society 6 (1969): 49-55. On the Holy Spirit in rabbinic Judaism, see Aaron Singer, “Holy Spirit,” in Contemporary Jewish Religious Thought (ed. Arthur A. Cohen and Paul Mendes-Flohr; New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1987), 409-415.
  • [8] Superhuman knowledge imparted by the Holy Spirit is found in other Qumran texts as well, for example:

    אלה ידענו [בא]שר [חנו]את[נו רוח] הקודש

    These things we know, [bec]ause you have [favou]red [us with] the holy [spirit.] (4Q506 131-132 I, 10-11; DSS Study Edition)

  • [9] One might assume that since this conversation took place between a Jew and a Gentile the conversation must have been conducted in Greek or Aramaic, even though it was recorded in Hebrew, since it is highly improbable that Gentiles would have learned Hebrew. But Jastrow (724) points out that מַבְגַּאי (“Mavgai”) occurs as the name of certain Samaritans in rabbinic sources. The rabbinic sages considered Samaritans to be Gentiles, but Samaritans did speak Hebrew.
  • [10] The sages also appealed to the Holy Spirit to explain how the Israelites knew what to demand from their former oppressors when they “plundered” the Egyptians (Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, Pisḥa chpt. 13 [ed. Lauterbach, 1:73]), and how Rahab the prostitute knew the pursuers would return in three days (Sifre Deut. §22 [ed. Finkelstein, 33]).
  • [11] On the Holy Spirit as the source of prophecy, see 1QS VIII, 16; t. Sot. 13:3; Sifre Deut. §176, on Deut. 18:18 (ed. Finkelstein, 221); y. Sanh. 10:2 [51a].
  • [12] According to T. W. Manson (79), “The phrase ‘at that season’ in Mt. is one of Mt.’s editorial phrases (cf. Mk. 233 with Mt. 121, and Mk. 614 with Mt. 141).”
  • [13] Examples of ἐν τούτῳ τῷ καιρῷ in the works of Josephus include Ant. 12:362; 16:6.
  • [14] Examples of κατ᾿ ἐκεῖνον τὸν καιρὸν in the works of Josephus are found in J.W. 7:54; Ant. 2:205; 5:121; 6:30; 8:155, 206, 232, 266, 400; 9:88, 97, 229; 10:228; 11:32, 77; 12:169, 223; 13:304; 15:224, 425.
  • [15] Examples of κατὰ τοῦτον τὸν καιρὸν in the works of Josephus are found in Life §112; J.W. 1:218; 2:309; Ant. 6:213, 271, 292; 7:21; 9:239; 11:313; 12:196; 13:395, 419; 17:89, 224; 20:169, 179; Ag. Ap. 1:136. On the phrase κατὰ τοῦτον τὸν καιρὸν as a transition marker between Josephus’ sources, see Daniel R. Schwartz, “ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΥΤΟΝ ΤΟΝ ΚΑΙΡΟΝ: Josephus’ Source on Agrippa II,” Jewish Quarterly Review 72.4 (1982): 241-268.
  • [16] In NT the phrase ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ occurs exclusively in the writings of Luke (Luke 10:21; 12:12; 13:31; 20:19). Only in Dan. 5:5 do we have a phrase similar to that in Luke 10:12, where we find ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ ἐκείνῃ (en avtē tē hōra ekeinē, “in that very hour”). In Dan. 5:5 the underlying Aramaic text reads בַּהּ שַׁעֲתָה (bah sha‘atāh).
  • [17] See Plummer, Luke, 274; Moule, 93; Fitzmyer, 1:117-118.
  • [18] See T. W. Manson, 79.
  • [19] Among the multitude of instances in rabbinic sources, examples of בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה are found in m. Ber. 5:3; m. Peah 5:4; m. Sanh. 3:4; t. Shab. 13:3, 14; t. Pes. 4:14; t. Sot. 6:5 (2xx).
  • [20] Examples of בְּאוֹתָהּ הַשָּׁעָה in rabbinic sources include:

    באותה השעה הציצו מלאכי השרת וגו′‏

    At that time [באותה השעה] the ministering angels came forth…. (t. Sot. 6:5; Vienna MS)

    אָמַ′ ר′ אֱלְעָזָר בֵּרְ′ צָדוֹק מַעֲשֶׂה בְּבַת כֹּהֵן שֶׁזִּינַּת וְהִקִיפוּהָא חֲבִילֵּי זְמוֹרוֹת וּשְׂרָפוּהָ אָמְרוּ לוֹ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה בֵית דִּין שֶׁבְּאוֹתָהּ הַשָׁעָה בָקִי

    Rabbi Eleazar ben Rabbi Zadok said, “An anecdote about a priest’s daughter who committed sexual transgression and they surrounded her with bundles of branches and burned her.” They said to him, “[This was only] because at that time [בְּאוֹתָהּ הַשָׁעָה] there was no competent court.” (m. Sanh. 7:2)

    בְּאוֹתָהּ הַשָּׁעָה בָּכָה ר′ יִשְׁמָעֵא′ וְאָמַ′ בְּנוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵ′ נָאוֹת הֵן אֶלָּא שֶׁהַעֲנִיּוּת מְנַוְּולַתָּן

    At that time [בְּאוֹתָהּ הַשָּׁעָה] Rabbi Yishmael wept and said, “The daughters of Israel are comely, except that poverty has disfigured them.” (m. Ned. 9:10)

    This final example offers a formal parallel to Luke’s version of Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn. In Luke the Thanksgiving Hymn is introduced with the phrase “at that time,” then Jesus expresses a powerful emotion (joy), which prompts a saying, while in m. Ned. 9:10 we find “at that time,” Rabbi Yishmael expressing a powerful emotion (crying), which prompts a saying.

  • [21] For more on the blended style of Hebrew in which we believe the Hebrew Life of Yeshua was likely composed, and the baraita about King Yannai, see David N. Bivin and Joshua N. Tilton, “Introduction to ‘The Life of Yeshua: A Suggested Reconstruction’ Addendum: Linguistic Features of the Baraita in b. Kid. 66a.”
  • [22] See Metzger, 152.
  • [23] The LXX translators chose to render שִׁעֲשַׁע and הִשְׁתַּעֲשַׁע, which only occur in MT 6xx, with μελετᾶν (meletan, “to study”; Ps. 118[119]:16, 47, 70), παρακαλεῖν (parakalein, “to comfort”; Isa. 66:12) or ἀγαπᾶν (agapan, “to love”; Ps. 93[94]:19). In Isa. 11:8 the LXX translators omitted translating שִׁעֲשַׁע altogether.
  • [24] See Dos Santos, 36 (גִּיל). In LXX ἀγαλλιᾶσθαι is the translation of גָּל in 1 Chr. 16:31; Ps. 2:11; 9:15; 12[13]:5, 6; 13[14]:7; 15[16]:9; 20[21]:2; 30[31]:8; 31[32]:11; 34[35]:9; 47[48]:12; 50[51]:10: 52[53]:7; 88[89]:17; 95[96]:11; 96[97]:1, 8; 117[118]:24; 149:2; Song 1:4; Isa. 25:9; 35:1, 2; 49:13; 61:10; 65:19.
  • [25] Examples of גָּל +‎ -בְּ include:

    אָגִילָה בִּישׁוּעָתֶךָ

    …I will rejoice in your salvation. (Ps. 9:15)

    ἀγαλλιάσομαι ἐπὶ [ἐν—Alexandrinus] τῷ σωτηρίῳ σου

    …I will rejoice over [in—Alexandrinus] your salvation. (Ps. 9:15)

    וְנַפְשִׁי תָּגִיל בַּיי

    And my soul will rejoice in the LORD…. (Ps. 35:9)

    ἡ δὲ ψυχή μου ἀγαλλιάσεται ἐπὶ [ἐν—Sinaiticus] τῷ κυρίῳ

    And my soul will rejoice over [in—Sinaiticus] the Lord…. (Ps. 34:9)

    בְּשִׁמְךָ יְגִילוּן

    In your name they will rejoice…. (Ps. 89:17)

    καὶ ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί σου ἀγαλλιάσονται

    And in your name they will rejoice…. (Ps. 88:17)

    וְגַלְתִּי בִירוּשָׁלִַם

    And I will rejoice in Jerusalem…. (Isa. 65:19)

    καὶ ἀγαλλιάσομαι ἐπὶ [ἐν—Sinaiticus] Ιερουσαλημ

    And I will rejoice over [in—Sinaiticus] Jerusalem…. (Isa. 65:19)

    ונגילה בעז[רתכה ובש]לומכה

    And let us rejoice in [your] he[lp and in] your [pe]ace. (1QM XIII, 13)

    וכול בני אמתו יגילו בדעת עולמים

    …and all the sons of his truth will rejoice in eternal knowledge. (1QM XVII, 8)

  • [26] Bruce, “Holy Spirit in the Qumran Texts,” 52. In addition to joy and the phrase “your Holy Spirit,” both texts also share the adjectival participle נָכוֹן (nāchōn, “correct”; Ps. 51:12; 1QHa XVII, 32) and the verb סָמַךְ (sāmach, “support,” “uphold”; Ps. 51:14; 1QHa XVII, 32).
  • [27] Note that in LXX שָׂשׂ is translated with ἀγαλλιᾶσθαι in Ps. 18[19]:6; 39[40]:17; 69[70]:5; 118[119]:162. Examples of שָׂשׂ with -בְּ include the following:

    שׂוֹשׂ אָשִׂישׂ בַּיי

    I will surely rejoice in the LORD…. (Isa. 61:10)

    καὶ εὐφροσύνῃ εὐφρανθήσονται ἐπὶ κύριον

    And they will rejoice with joy over the Lord…. (Isa. 61:10)

    וְשַׂשְׂתִּי בְעַמִּי

    καὶ εὐφρανθήσομαι ἐπὶ τῷ λαῷ μου

    …and I will rejoice in my people…. (Isa. 65:19)

    תָּשִׂישׂ בִּישׁוּעָתוֹ

    [My soul]…will rejoice in his salvation. (Ps. 35:9)

    τερφθήσεται ἐπὶ τῷ σωτηρίῳ αὐτοῦ

    [My soul]…will delight over his salvation. (Ps. 34:9)

    יָשִׂישׂוּ וְיִשְׂמְחוּ בְּךָ כָּל־מְבַקְשֶׁיך

    ἀγαλλιάσαιντο καὶ εὐφρανθείησαν ἐπὶ σοὶ πάντες οἱ ζητοῦντές σε

    May they delight and rejoice in you, all those who seek you…. (Ps. 40[39]:17; cf. Ps. 70[69]:5)

    וְיָשִׂישׂוּ בְשִׂמְחָה

    τερφθήτωσαν ἐν εὐφροσύνῃ

    …they will rejoice with happiness. (Ps. 68[67]:4)

    וְיָשִׂישׂ בְּכֹחַ

    …and he will delight in strength…. (Job 39:21)

    כי שש לבי בבריתכה

    …for my heart delighted in your covenant. (1QHa XVIII, 30)

  • [28] Examples of בְּרוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ (berūa haqodesh, “by/in the Holy Spirit”) and close equivalents include:

    היאה מדרש התורה א[ש]ר צוה ביד מושה לעשות ככול הנגלה עת בעת וכאשר גלו הנביאים ברוח קודשו

    This is the study of the Torah, which was commanded by the hand of Moses, to do according to all that is revealed in every age, and as the prophets revealed by his Holy Spirit…. (1QS VIII, 15-16)

    יחונכה ברוח קודש

    May he grace you with [the] Holy Spirit. (1QSb II, 24)

    ולהתחזק ברוח קודשך

    …and to be strengthened by your Holy Spirit. (1QHa VIII, 15)

    לטהרני ברוח קודשך

    …and to purify me by your Holy Spirit…. (1QHa VIII, 20; cf. 1QS IV, 21)

    שמעתי לסוד פלאכה ברוח קודשכה

    I have listened to your wonderful secret by your Holy Spirit. (1QHa XX, 12)

    כיון רבן גמליאל ברוח הקדש

    Rabban Gamliel determined this by the Holy Spirit. (t. Pes. 2:15; Vienna MS)

    ר′ שמעון בן מנסיא או′ שיר השירים מטמא את הידים מפני שנאמר ברוח הקדש

    Rabbi Shimon ben Menasya says, “Song of Songs makes the hands impure because it was spoken by the Holy Spirit.” (t. Yad. 2:14; Vienna MS)

    הָיוּ הַנְּבִיאִים מִתְנַבְּאִים בְּרוּחַ הַקּוֹדֶשׁ

    …the prophets were prophesying by the Holy Spirit…. (Seder Olam chpt. 30 [ed. Guggenheimer, 259])

    יסכה זו שרה ולמה נקרא שמה יסכה שסכתה ברוח הקדש שנאמר כל אשר תאמר אליך שרה שמע בקלה

    Yiskah [Gen. 11:29]—this is Sarah. And why is she called “Yiskah”? Because she had clairvoyance by means of the Holy Spirit, as it is said, all that Sarah tells you, obey [Gen. 21:12]. (b. Meg. 14a)

  • [29] In LXX בְּרוּחַ is translated as ἐν πνεύματι in 2 Esd. 19:30; Ps. 47[48]:8; Zech. 4:6; 7:12; Mal. 2:15; Isa. 4:4; 11:4; Ezek. 11:24; 37:1.
  • [30] On our decision to use Vaticanus as the base text of our reconstruction, 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?”
  • [31] See Metzger, 152.
  • [32] On the baraita about King Yannai in b. Kid. 66a, see above, Comment to L1.
  • [33] See LSJ, “ἐξομολογέομαι,” 597.
  • [34] In LXX ἐξομολογήσομαί σοι is the translation of אוֹדְךָ in 2 Kgdms 22:50; Ps. 17[18]:50; 29[30]:13; 34[35]:18; 42[43]:4; 51[52]:11; 56[57]:10; 70[71]:22; 85[86]:12; 107[108]:4; 117[118]:21, 28; 118[119]:7; 137[138]:1; 138[139]:14.
  • [35] On -שֶׁ in the sense of “because” see Segal, 227 §482; Lord’s Prayer, Comment to L20.
  • [36] See Marshall, 433. According to Flusser, “Not only the opening of Jesus’ hymn but also the free rhythm of the poem and its content show affinity with the Essene thanksgiving hymns. Furthermore, the high self-awareness expressed in Jesus’ hymn resembles the Essene hymns; both Jesus and the author of the Thanksgiving Scroll proclaim that they reveal to the simple divine things hidden from others. Thus it seems evident that Jesus knew the Essene thanksgiving hymns and used their form in order to express his own place in the divine economy, though he introduced into his own hymn the motif of his divine sonship, which is naturally absent from the Thanksgiving Scroll.” See David Flusser, “Psalms, Hymns and Prayers,” in Jewish Writings of the Second Temple Period (CRINT II.2; ed. Michael E. Stone; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1984), 551-577, esp. 567; cf., idem, “Hillel and Jesus: Two Ways of Self-Awareness,” in Hillel and Jesus: Comparative Studies of Two Major Religious Leaders (ed. James H. Charlesworth and Loren L. Johns; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1997), 71-107, esp. 99-100.
  • [37] Among the scholars who presume that אַבָּא stands behind πάτερ in Matt. 11:25 and Luke 10:21 are Jeremias (Prayers, 56, 109), Marshall (433), Nolland (Luke, 571), France (Matt., 444) and Bovon (2:41).
  • [38] See James Barr, “’Abbā Isn’t Daddy,” Journal of Theological Studies 39.1 (1988): 28-47, esp. 30-32.
  • [39] The vocative form πάτερ with no possessive pronoun is the translation of אָבִי in Gen. 22:7; 27:18, 34, 38 (2xx); 48:18; 4 Kgdms. 2:12 (2xx); 6:21; 13:14 (2xx). Only in Judg. 11:36 is אָבִי translated with the vocative πάτερ μου.
  • [40] See our discussion in Lord’s Prayer, Comment to L10.
  • [41] On the presumed obsolescence of אָבִי, see Jeremias, Prayers, 22-23, 56. Cf. Dalman, 192.
  • [42] In DSS the form אָבִי occurs in the Thanksgiving Hymns at 1QHa XVII, 29, 35. Additional examples of אָבִי in DSS are found in 4QTNaph [4Q215] 1 III, 7, 10; 4Q372 1 I, 16; 4Q460 5 I, 6; 4Q526 1 I, 1; 11QPsa [11Q5] XIX, 17; XXVIII, 3.
  • [43] In rabbinic texts we find אָבִי in, e.g., Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, Baḥodesh chpt. 6 (ed. Lauterbach, 2:325); Sifre Deut. §305 (ed. Finkelstein, 327); Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version A, 37:13 (ed. Schechter, 112); Gen. Rab. 75:9 (ed. Theodor-Albeck, 2:888). See Lord’s Prayer, Comment to L10.
  • [44] Two examples of אָבִי (“my father”) as an address to God in prayer have been found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. The first, found in 4Q372 1 I, 16, is in a prayer attributed to Joseph the patriarch. The second is in 4Q460 5 I, 6. On these prayers see Eileen M. Schuller, “The Psalm of 4Q372 1 within the Context of Second Temple Prayer,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 54 (1992): 67-79.
  • [45] Thus we cannot agree with France who wrote, “…while the tone of the prayer is thus familiarly Jewish, the address to God simply as ‘Father’ breaks new ground” (France, Matt., 444).
  • [46] See David Flusser, “Jesus and Judaism: Jewish Perspectives,” in Eusebius, Christianity, and Judaism (ed. Harold W. Attridge and Gohei Hata; Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1992), 80-109, esp. 100; idem, Jesus, 121-123.
  • [47] Whether Tobit was originally composed in Hebrew or Aramaic is a matter of scholarly debate. Fragments of the book of Tobit were discovered at Qumran in both languages. Scholars continue to debate which of these two languages was the one in which Tobit was originally composed. Buth has recently made a case for a Hebrew original for Tobit. See Randall Buth, “Distinguishing Hebrew from Aramaic in Semitized Greek Texts, with an Application for the Gospels and Pseudepigrapha” (JS2, 247-319, esp. 291-295).
  • [48] Nickelsburg writes, “It is generally agreed that Judith was composed in Hebrew.” See George E. Nickelsburg, “Stories of Biblical and Early Post-Biblical Times,” in Jewish Writings of the Second Temple Period, 33-87, esp. 52. According to Buth’s criteria, Aramaic is ruled out as the original language of Judith. See Buth, “Distinguishing Hebrew from Aramaic” (JS2, 295).
  • [49] The title קֹנֵה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ occurs in Gen. 14:19, 22.
  • [50] The title עֹשֵׂה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ occurs in Ps. 115:15; 121:2; 124:8; 134:3; 146:6.
  • [51] The title אֲדוֹן כָּל הָאָרֶץ occurs in Josh. 3:11, 13; Mic. 4:13; Zech. 4:14; 6:5; Ps. 97:5.
  • [52] The opening line of the Aleinu reads עָלֵינוּ לְשַׁבֵּחַ לַאֲדוֹן הַכֹּל (“It is our duty to praise the Lord of everything”). Dating of Jewish prayers is uncertain, but the Aleinu may have originated in the late Second Temple period.
  • [53] The title אדון כל הבריות occurs in y. Ber. 1:5 [10b]; cf. Gen. Rab. 17:4 (ed. Theodor-Albeck, 156).
  • [54] The title רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם occurs frequently in rabbinic literature. Cf., e.g., m. Taan. 3:8; Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, Beshallaḥ chpt. 6 (ed. Lauterbach, 1:156); Shirata chpt. 3 (ed. Lauterbach, 1:187).
  • [55] A similar Greek improvement is found in LXX, where some manuscripts read διὰ τί ἀπ᾽ ἐμοῦ κρύπτῃ (“Why from me do you hide?”; Job 13:24), but the texts of Alexandrinus and Sinaiticus read διὰ τί με ἀποκρύπτῃ (“Why do you hide away from me?”). Bovon (2:39) suggests that the author of Luke changed ἔκρυψας to ἀπέκρυψας in order to achieve alliteration with ἀπεκάλυψας (“you have revealed”; L8). On compound verbs in Luke in general, see Cadbury, 166-168.
  • [56] For citations, see above, Comment to L4.
  • [57] In the first four chapters of Genesis alone, ὅτι is the translation of כִּי‎ 22xx: Gen. 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25; 2:3, 23; 3:1, 5, 6 (2xx), 7, 10, 11, 14, 17, 19, 20; 4:12, 23, 24.
  • [58] In the Thanksgiving Hymns the root ס-ת-ר occurs in 1QHa IV, 9 (נסתרות; “hidden things”); IX, 25 (נסתרו; “they were hidden”); XI, 38 (תסתירני; “you will hide me”); XIII, 11 (סתרתני; “you hid me”); XIII, 25 (סתרת; “you hid”); XVI, 10 (סותר [pu‘al]; “hidden”); XIX, 19 (נסתר; “it was hidden”); XXVI, 15 (נסתרות; “hidden things”).
  • [59] The verb טָמַן occurs in 1QHa X, 29; XXI [bottom], 8.
  • [60] Examples of the root ח-ב-ה/ח-ב-א in the Thanksgiving Hymns include:

    ותורתכה חבתה ב[י ]עד קץ

    …and you hid your Torah in [me] until the time…. (1QHa XIII, 11)

    וברז חבתה בי ילכו רכיל לבני הוות

    And about the mystery you hid in me, they go slandering to the sons of destruction. (1QHa XIII, 25)

    ותחבא אמת לקץ[–] מועדו

    And you will hide truth for time[–] its appointed season. (1QHa XVII, 24)

  • [61] See Segal, 41 §72. In the Mishnah אֵלֶּה occurs exclusively in biblical quotations: m. Rosh Hash. 1:9; 2:9; m. Meg. 2:3; m. Sot. 2:3; 7:8; m. Zev. 10:1.
  • [62] See Robert L. Lindsey, “The Major Importance of the ‘Minor’ Agreements,” under the subheading “From Non-Hebraisms to the Synoptic Problem.”
  • [63] See Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, under the subheading “Story Placement.”
  • [64] According to Flusser, for instance, “The critique of the intelligentsia expressed here [i.e., in Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn—DNB and JNT] is…common to the Essenes, Jesus, and the contemporary Jewish holy charismatics [i.e., Hasidim—DNB and JNT].” See Flusser, “Jesus and Judaism: Jewish Perspectives,” 100. For other scholars who understand Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn as a polemic against various contemporaries of Jesus, see Marshall, 434 (religious leaders); Fitzmyer, 2:873 (unspecified contemporaries); Davies-Allison, 2:275 (scribes and Pharisees); Luz, 2:162 (the entire religious aristocracy).
  • [65] See Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, under the subheading “Story Placement.”
  • [66] This quotation is based on our reconstruction of Jesus’ saying in Hebrew and therefore does not exactly conform to either Matt. 13:17 or Luke 10:24.
  • [67] See our discussion in Blessedness of the Twelve, Comment to L6.
  • [68] See Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, Comment to L19.
  • [69] According to Marshall (434), “The thought is of the secrecy of God’s plans and purposes which he reveals at his own appointed time to his chosen people.”
  • [70] See Huub van de Sandt, “Matthew 11,28-30 Compassionate Law Interpretation in Wisdom Language,” in The Gospel of Matthew at the Crossroads of Early Christianity (ed. Donald Senior; Leuven: Peeters, 2011), 313-337, esp. 324, where he writes, “…the wise and understanding in [Luke] 10,21 are identified with the prophets and kings who never saw or heard what the disciples now see and hear.”
  • [71] To cite one example, the story is told how a bat kol intimated that Hillel was worthy to have the Holy Spirit rest on him, but his generation was unworthy of such an honor (t. Sot. 13:3). It follows that in the generations when the Holy Spirit did rest upon the prophets, the generations did merit this honor.
  • [72] Examples of the pairing of prophets and/or prophecy with the wise and/or wisdom include:

    כִּי לֹא תֹאבַד תּוֹרָה מִכֹּהֵן וְעֵצָה מֵחָכָם וְדָבָר מִנָּבִיא

    For Torah will not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise person [מֵחָכָם], nor a word from the prophet. (Jer. 18:18)

    ὅτι οὐκ ἀπολεῖται νόμος ἀπὸ ἱερέως καὶ βουλὴ ἀπὸ συνετοῦ καὶ λόγος ἀπὸ προφήτου

    For law will not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the intelligent person [ἀπὸ συνετοῦ], nor a word from the prophet. (Jer. 18:18)

    σοφίαν πάντων ἀρχαίων ἐκζητήσει καὶ ἐν προφητείαις ἀσχοληθήσεται

    He will seek out the wisdom of all the ancients, and he will be occupied with prophecies. (Sir. 39:1; NETS)

    βουλεύοντες ἐν συνέσει αὐτῶν, ἀπηγγελκότες ἐν προφητείαις

    ….when they counseled with their intelligence [ἐν συνέσει], when they announced through prophecies…. (Sir. 44:3; NETS)

    οἷς μὲν οὖν πάρεστι τὸ καλῶς νοεῖν, θαυμάζουσι τὴν περὶ αὐτὸν σοφίαν καὶ τὸ θεῖον πνεῦμα, καθ᾿ ὃ καὶ προφήτης ἀνακεκήρυκται

    Therefore, those who are able to think well marvel at his [i.e., Moses’—DNB and JNT] wisdom and the divine spirit in accordance with which he has been proclaimed as a prophet also. (Aristobulus, frag. 2 from Eusebius, Praeparatio Evangelica 8:10 §4; trans. Charlesworth 2:838)

    πῶς οὖν εἰκὸς ἰσοχρονίους εἶναι τοὺς ὑπαιτίους τῷ πανσόφῳ καὶ προφήτῃ

    How then can it be reasonable that the years of the guilty should match those of the sage and prophet? (Philo, Gig. §56; Loeb)

    Διὰ τοῦτο ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω πρὸς ὑμᾶς προφήτας καὶ σοφοὺς καὶ γραμματεῖς

    Therefore, behold, I am sending to you prophets and wise persons and scribes. (Matt. 23:34)

    והלא דברים ק″ו ומה משה רבינו חכם גדול שבגדולים אב לנביאים בשעה שהקפיד על דבריו שכח את דבריו אנו על אחת כמה וכמה

    Is this not a matter of kal vahomer? If Moses our teacher, greatest among the wise and father of the prophets, in a moment when he was short-tempered in his speech forgot his words, how much more in our own case! (Avot de-Rabbi Natan 1:4 [ed. Schechter, 3])

    ניתנו מרועה אחד אמר הקב″ה אם שמעתה דבר מפי קטן ישראל והנייך לא יהא בעיניך כשומעו מפי קטן אלא כשומעו מפי גדול ולא כשומעו מפי גדול אלא כשמעו מפי חכם ולא כשמעו מפי חכם אלא כשמעו מפי נביא ולא כשמעו מפי נביא אלא כשמעו מפי רועה ואין רועה אלא משה

    Given through one shepherd [Eccl. 12:11]. The Holy One, blessed be he, said, “If you heard a word from an Israelite minor and it pleases you, do not regard it as though you heard it from the mouth of a minor, but as though from the mouth of an adult, and not as though from the mouth of an adult, but as though from the mouth of a sage [חכם], and not as though from the mouth of a sage, but as though from the mouth of a prophet, and not as though from the mouth of a prophet but as though from the mouth of a shepherd, and there is no shepherd other than Moses.” (y. Sanh. 10:1 [50b])

    כך היה אחז סבור בדעתו לומר אם אין קטנים אין גדולים אם אין גדולים אין חכמים אם אין חכמים אין נביאים אם אין נביאים אין רוח הקודש אם אין רוח הקודש אין בתי כניסיות ובתי מדרשות כביכול אין הקב″ה משרה שכינתו על ישראל

    Thus did Ahaz reason in his mind, saying, “If there are no little ones there will be no grown-ups, and if there are no grown-ups there will be no sages [חכמים], and if there are no sages there will be no prophets, and if there are no prophets there will be no Holy Spirit, and if there is no Holy Spirit there will be no synagogues or houses of study: as it were the Holy one, blessed be he, will not cause his divine presence to rest on Israel.” (y. Sanh. 10:2 [51a]; cf. Gen. Rab. 42:3)

  • [73] See Hatch-Redpath, 1:131-132.
  • [74] See Luz, 2:157.
  • [75] In LXX νήπιος is used to translate עוֹלָל/עוֹלֵל in 1 Kgdms. 15:3; 22:19; 4 Kgdms. 8:12; Ps. 8:3; 16[17]:14; 136[137]:9; Job 3:16; Joel 2:16; Nah. 3:10; Jer. 6:11; 9:20; 51[44]:7; Lam. 1:5; 2:11, 19, 20; 4:4.
  • [76] In LXX νήπιος is the translation of פֶּתִי in Ps. 18[19]:8; 114[116]:6; 118[119]:130; Prov. 1:32; Ezek. 45:20 (Alexandrinus).
  • [77] See Fitzmyer, 2:873; Luz, 2:162; Flusser, “The Dead Sea Sect and Its Worldview” (JSTP1, 8 n. 20).
  • [78] See Flusser, “Jesus and Judaism: Jewish Perspectives,” 100; idem, “The Dead Sea Sect and Its Worldview” (JSTP1, 8 n. 19). Other times, the “simple” are non-members who might be attracted to the sect (4QpNah [4Q169] 3-4 I, 6). See Luz, 2:162 n. 67.
  • [79] See David Flusser, “Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit” (JOC, 102-114); Robert L. Lindsey, “The Hebrew Life of Jesus,” under the subheading “The Two Versions of the Beatitudes.”
  • [80] See Marshall, 434; Barr, “’Abbā Isn’t Daddy,” 41.
  • [81] See a critique of this view in Barr, “’Abbā Isn’t Daddy,” 41-44.
  • [82] See Joshua N. Tilton, “Did Jesus Call God ‘Abba’?
  • [83] Note that this story is set in the period when the Temple was still standing.
  • [84] Unlike the rest of the Torah’s commandments, which a person sets out to perform intentionally, the commandment of the forgotten sheaf (Deut. 24:19) depends on an unintentional action, namely, accidentally forgetting a sheaf in the field. Thus, a completely Torah-observant person who is also possessed of a good memory might never have the opportunity to fulfill the commandment of the forgotten sheaf. The opportunity comes by chance (or Providence), and it is for this reason the man described as a Hasid was so pleased to fulfill the commandment of the forgotten sheaf. He regarded the opportunity to fulfill this commandment as a sign of God’s favor.
  • [85] In LXX we find ναί in Gen. 17:19; 42:21; Judith 9:12 (2xx); Job 19:4; Isa. 48:7.
  • [86] In Gen. 30:34 הֵן comes very close to meaning “yes.” See BDB, 243.
  • [87] See Jastrow, 356.
  • [88] The earliest example of the formula יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ is found in m. Avot 5:20.
  • [89] In LXX ἔμπροσθέν + personal pronoun is the translation of לִפְנֵי + pronominal suffix in Gen. 24:7; 32:4, 17; 33:3; 41:43; 45:5, 7; 46:28; Num. 14:43; Judg. 3:27; 4:14; 18:21; 1 Kgdms. 8:20; 9:19, 27; 10:5; 25:19; 2 Kgdms. 5:24; 10:16; 15:1; 20:8; 3 Kgdms. 1:5; 3:12; 16:25, 30, 33; 4 Kgdms. 4:31; 5:23; 17:2; 18:5; 23:25; 1 Chr. 14:15; 17:13; 19:16; 21:30; 29:25; 2 Chr. 1:12; 2 Esd. 22:36; Ps. 79[80]:10; 104[105]:17; Eccl. 1:16; 2:7, 9; 4:16; Job 21:33; 41:14; Joel 2:3; Isa. 43:10; 45:1 (2xx), 2; 58:8.
  • [90] In Eccl. 1:10 ἀπὸ ἔμπροσθεν ἡμῶν (“from before us”) is the translation of מִלְּפָנֵנוּ (“from before us”), and in Josh. 4:23 ἐκ τοῦ ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν (“from before them”) is the translation of מִפְּנֵיכֶם (“from before you”).
  • [91] Many scholars consider ἔμπροσθέν σου (“before you”) in Matt. 11:26 and Luke 10:21 to be a Semitism. See Allen, 122; Davies-Allison, 2:278.
  • [92] The phrase כי כן also occurs in CD-A XI, 18, and in 1QS V, 15 we find כיא כן.
  • [93] In LXX εὐδοκία is the translation of רָצוֹן in Ps. 5:13; 18[19]:15; 50[51]:20; 68[69]:14; 88[89]:18; 105[106]:4; 144[145]:16. The exceptions are in Ps. 140:5, where ἐν ταῖς εὐδοκίαις αὐτῶν (“in their good will”) is the translation of בְּרָעוֹתֵיהֶם (“against their evil deeds”; Ps. 141:5), and Song 6:4, where ὡς εὐδοκία (“like good pleasure”) is the translation of כְּתִרְצָה (“like Tirzah”).

David N. Bivin

David N. Bivin
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David N. Bivin is founder and editor of Jerusalem Perspective. A native of Cleveland, Oklahoma, U.S.A., Bivin has lived in Israel since 1963, when he came to Jerusalem on a Rotary Foundation Fellowship to do postgraduate work at the Hebrew University. He studied at the Hebrew…
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Joshua N. Tilton

Joshua N. Tilton

Joshua N. Tilton grew up in St. George, a small town on the coast of Maine. For his undergraduate degree he studied at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, where he earned a B.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies (2002). There he studied Biblical Hebrew and…
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