Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry

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In Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry Jesus confronted one of the most serious concerns of the disciples: how would their basic needs be met now that they had given up their possessions and livelihoods in order to itinerate full-time with Jesus?

Matt. 6:25-34; Luke 12:22-31
(Huck 35, 157; Aland 67, 201; Crook 49, 236)[1]

Revised: 11-October-2018

‏[וַיֹּאמֶר לְתַלְמִידָיו] לְפִיכָךְ אֲנִי אוֹמֵר לָכֶם אַל תְּהַרְהְרוּ לְנַפְשְׁכֶם מַה תֹּאכְלוּ וּמַה תִּשְׁתּוּ וְלֹא לְגוּפְכֶם מַה תִּלְבְּשׁוּ הֲלֹא הַנֶּפֶשׁ מְרֻבָּה מִן הַפַּרְנָסָה וְהַגּוּף מִן הַכְּסוּת הַבִּיטוּ בָּעוֹרְבִים שֶׁאֵינָם זוֹרְעִים וְאֵינָם קוֹצְרִים וְאֵינָם מַכְנִיסִים לְאוֹצָרוֹת וְשָׁמַיִם מְפַרְנֵס אוֹתָם עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה אַתֶּם שֶׁחֲמוּרִים מֵעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם וּמִי בָּכֶם שֶׁמְּהַרְהֵר יָכוֹל לְהוֹסִיף עַל קוֹמָתוֹ אַמָּה אַחַת וְעַל כְּסוּת לָמָּה אַתֶּם מְהַרְהְרִים הִסְתַּכְּלוּ בְּצִיץ הַשָּׂדֶה הֵיאַךְ הֵם צוֹמְחִים אֵינָם עֲמֵלִים וְאֵינָם טוֹוִים וַאֲנִי אוֹמֵר לָכֶם אַף שְׁלֹמֹה בְּכָל כְּבוֹדוֹ לֹא הִתְכַּסֶּה כְּאַחַד מֵהֶם אִם כָּךְ אֶת חֲצִיר הַשָּׂדֶה שֶׁהַיּוֹם קַיָּם וּמָחָר בַּתַּנּוּר נָתוּן מַלְבִּישׁ שָׁמַיִם עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה אַתֶּם מְחוּסְּרֵי אֲמָנָה לְפִיכָךְ אַל תְּהַרְהְרוּ לוֹמַר מַה נֹּאכַל אוֹ מַה נִּשְׁתֶּה אוֹ בַּמֶּה נִתְכַּסֶּה שֶׁכָּל אֵלּוּ אוּמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם מְבַקְּשִׁים וְיָדַע אֲבִיכֶם שֶׁאַתֶּם צְרִיכִים כָּל אֵלּוּ אֶלָּא בַּקְּשׁוּ אֶת מַלְכוּתוֹ וְאֶת צִדְקָתוֹ וְכָל אֵלּוּ יִתְוַסְּפוּ לָכֶם לְפִיכָךְ אַל תְּהַרְהְרוּ לְמָחָר כִּי מָחָר יְהַרְהֵר לְעַצְמוֹ דַּיּוֹ לַיּוֹם רָעָתוֹ

[And Yeshua said to his disciples,] “So don’t be filled with anxiety about your lives, how you will eat and drink, or about your bodies, how you will be dressed. Isn’t life itself more important than the fuel that keeps it going? And isn’t the body more important than the clothes that keep it covered? If God provided the former, won’t he provide the latter as well? Take a look at the ravens who neither sow seed, nor harvest crops, nor store their harvest in storehouses. Nevertheless, God maintains them. How much more, then, will God maintain you, who are far more important than the birds of the sky?

“Or which of you worriers is able to make his body grow taller? Then why are you filled with anxiety about clothing? See how the wildflowers grow: they neither labor nor spin, but I can assure you that even when Solomon was decked out in the finest of his royal robes, he wasn’t dressed as well as them. If this is how God chooses to clothe the wild grass, though it lasts only for a day and then is burned in an oven, how much more adequately will God clothe you, you doubters?

“So don’t be filled with anxiety asking, ‘What will we eat?’; or, ‘What will we drink?’; or, ‘How will we clothe ourselves?’ These are all the things Gentiles constantly demand; and your father already knows you need all these things. Rather, seek God’s Kingdom and his deeds of salvation, and he will add all these things to you as well.

“So don’t be filled with anxiety about tomorrow. Tomorrow can worry about itself. It is enough to let each day deal with its own difficulties.”[2]


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Reconstruction

To view the reconstructed text of Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry click on the link below:

Download (PDF, 187KB)

Story Placement

Robert Lindsey believed that Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry should be regarded as the continuation of Jesus’ response to Martha’s protest that her sister Mary had failed to help her in serving Jesus and his disciples.[3] According to Lindsey, the Miryam and Marta story (Luke 10:38-42) was the narrative introduction of a teaching complex that included not only Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry (Matt. 6:25-34 // Luke 12:22-31), but also the Rich Fool parable (Luke 12:16-21) and the Rich Man and Lazar parable (Luke 16:19-31), which he regarded as twin illustrations.[4] In support of his reconstruction, Lindsey noted that Jesus stated that Martha was “worried” about many things (Luke 10:41), which corresponds to Jesus’ instruction “Do not worry” in Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry (Matt. 6:25 // Luke 12:22)[5] Lindsey also believed that the description of the birds that do not store in barns (Matt. 6:26; cf. Luke 12:24) and the foolish man’s plan to build bigger barns in which to store his produce (Luke 12:18) demonstrated a literary connection between Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry and the Rich Fool parable.[6] In addition, Lindsey argued that the rich fool had too much food (corresponding to “What will we eat?”), whereas the rich man in the Rich Man and Lazar parable had too many clothes (corresponding to “What will we wear?”).[7] Moreover, Lindsey found his reconstruction to be satisfying because it supplied the identity of the mysterious “one thing [that] is needed” (Luke 10:42), namely, “Seek first the Kingdom of God” (Matt. 6:33 // Luke 12:31). The overarching lesson Lindsey drew from the reconstructed complex was that it is wrong to be concerned about material goods when one’s attention should be focused on the Kingdom of Heaven.

Drawing of Jesus, Mary and Martha attributed to Rembrandt. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Despite our acceptance of Lindsey’s premise that it is possible to restore larger narrative-sayings complexes from literary fragments preserved in the Synoptic Gospels, Lindsey’s arguments in favor of the specific reconstruction of the “Sin of Worrying about Material Things” complex are ultimately unconvincing. The first major weakness of Lindsey’s reconstruction is the change in audience between the Miryam and Marta story, where Martha is addressed (“Martha, Martha, you are worried, and troubled…”; 2nd per. sing.), and Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry, where a wider audience (presumably consisting of the disciples) is addressed (“Do not worry…”; 2nd per. plur.). Not only does Jesus turn away from Martha to address the disciples, but according to Lindsey’s reconstruction, Jesus never returns to Martha. It is as though Jesus, having begun by addressing Martha, forgot that she was there at all. Indeed, not only does Lindsey’s reconstruction lose sight of Martha’s person, according to Lindsey’s reconstruction Martha’s concerns are entirely eclipsed by those of the disciples, as well. Whereas Martha was perturbed because of having too much work, Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry addresses fears regarding the inability to scrounge up enough of the barest necessities of life, fears that were familiar to the disciples who did not work for a living (cf. Matt. 12:1), but which were not shared by Martha, overwhelmed with work as she was in her kitchen. While the verb μεριμνᾶν (merimnan, “to worry”) does occur in both pericopae, the root causes of the anxiety and the objects of concern, as well as the audiences addressed, are entirely different.

The second major weakness of Lindsey’s reconstruction is that the two parables he selected as the continuation of the argument made in Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry are not illustrative of the worries described in that pericope. Neither of the rich men were worried about how to meet their most basic necessities. Both rich men enjoyed an overabundance. The rich man in Luke 12:19 explicitly stated that he hadn’t a care in the world. What characterizes the rich men is their freedom from anxiety and their total lack of social consciousness. Thus, not only does Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry fail to address the cause of Martha’s distress in the Miryam and Marta story, but the two parables Lindsey selected as the conclusion of his reconstructed complex fail to address worries of any kind.

The third major weakness of Lindsey’s reconstruction is the claim that the Rich Fool and the Rich Man and Lazar parables are twin illustrations.[8] True twin parables tell the same story with different actors and different props (e.g., a shepherd and a woman both recover a lost possession, or a farmer and a merchant both discover an object of value). In Rich Fool and Rich Man and Lazar, by contrast, we have entirely different story lines—the rich fool discovers that his plans for the future were futile, whereas the rich man who ignored his neighbor discovers that a reversal of fortunes awaited him in the world to come—but the central character is of the same type, namely, a rich man. Moreover, the points made by the two parables are entirely different. The point of the Rich Fool parable is that there is no profit in wealth if one loses one’s soul; the Rich Man and Lazar parable, on the other hand, illustrates the concept that the wicked squander any reward they may have earned in this world, storing up only punishment for the world to come.[9] Thus, not only are the Rich Fool and Rich Man and Lazar parables shown formally not to be twins, but the points they illustrate are dissimilar.

The fourth major weakness of Lindsey’s reconstructed complex is his argument for verbal unity. While it is true that the verb μεριμνᾶν occurs in the Miryam and Marta story (1x) and in Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry (6xx), this is the only verbal link between the two passages, and as we have noted above, the root causes of the anxiety and the objects of concern in the two passages are entirely different. Moreover, neither the verb μεριμνᾶν, nor the noun μέριμνα, nor even a synonym for “worry” occurs in either the Rich Fool or the Rich Man and Lazar parables. Thus, Lindsey’s reconstructed complex lacks a verbal and thematic unity that could tie it all together. The verbal links between Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry and the Rich Fool parable are likewise unimpressive. “Storing in barns” admittedly occurs in both passages, but in an agrarian society the mention of storing grain in barns is hardly exceptional.[10] Since Jesus typically drew on imagery from everyday life, the mere presence of “storing in barns” is insufficient to establish a literary relationship between the two pericopae. The verbal links connecting the Rich Fool parable to the Rich Man and Lazar parable are similarly weak. Aside from “rich,” the only distinctive vocabulary common to both parables is the term “goods” (τὰ ἀγαθά; Luke 12:18, 19; 16:25).[11] As we have seen, the fact that both main characters are rich men argues against viewing them as twin parables (true twin parables tell the same story with different props and characters), and a term as generic as “goods” is hardly enough to establish a literary connection. Thus, although we are deeply indebted to Lindsey for his insight that the original literary context of some synoptic pericopae can be recovered on the basis of thematic and verbal clues, we are forced to conclude that Lindsey failed to make a convincing case in this particular instance.

Where, then, are we to place Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry within our reconstruction of the Hebrew Life of Yeshua? Building on Lindsey’s observation that narrative-sayings complexes can be reconstructed from the literary fragments preserved in the Synoptic Gospels, we observed in our work on the “How to Pray” complex that something was missing. There is a gap between the narrative setting in which the disciples request that Jesus teach them to pray, which in response prompts Jesus to compose what is commonly referred to as the Lord’s Prayer, and the several illustrations intended to persuade the disciples that God’s good character ensures that he will indeed respond to the disciples’ prayers. The gap consists of an explicit acknowledgement of the disciples’ worries and the cause of their anxiety.

Regarding the Fathers Give Good Gifts pericope, which we consider to be the conclusion of the “How to Pray” complex, Piper made the following observation: “The impression is that the persuasion [in the Fathers Give Good Gifts pericope—DNB and JNT] is employed to counter doubts about very real problems of need facing followers.”[12] Piper’s observation is only strengthened by our hypothesis that the Persistent Widow parable and the Friend in Need simile were likewise given to allay the disciples’ very real, pressing anxieties. But what those pressing concerns might have been are not explicitly stated. There are clues on either side of the gap, however, that suggest what those concerns might have been. The Friend in Need simile and the Fathers Give Good Gifts pericope both address the need for food, specifically bread. The Lord’s Prayer contains a petition for bread, a petition that also reads like a vow of poverty: “Give us this day our daily bread,” not “Give us in advance a three-month’s supply,” nor even “In addition to what we need for today, give us also a small surplus for tomorrow.” In other words, the type of prayer Jesus taught his disciples to pray and the rigorous lifestyle that prayer implies were probable cause for anxiety. This impression is confirmed by the several illustrations that argue that God can be trusted to give the disciples what they ask for when they pray the Lord’s Prayer.

The clues we have collected from the material surrounding the gap prove that Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry would fill that gap admirably. The surrounding context suggested that the disciples would be anxious about obtaining their most basic necessities, and that is precisely the issue Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry addresses.

Another advantage to placing Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry into the “How to Pray” complex is that it supplies the otherwise missing imagery of prayer as “seeking,” which occurs in the application of the Friend in Need simile: “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7; Luke 11:9). Friend in Need and Fathers Give Good Gifts both compare prayer to “asking,” and Friend in Need conjures up the imagery of “knocking,” but without including Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry in the “How to Pray” complex, with its command to “Seek the Kingdom [of God],” there is nothing outside the application of the Friend in Need simile to suggest that prayer is a kind of seeking.

Moreover, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” mirrors the structure of the rest of the “How to Pray” complex. The Persistent Widow parable describes a quest for justice (righteousness and justice are a common pair in Hebrew and are nearly synonymous), while Friend in Need and Fathers Give Good Gifts reinforce the promise that “all these things” will be supplied for the disciples as well.

One final advantage to the placement of Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry within the “How to Pray” complex is that, although it rejects one of Lindsey’s suggestions, it actually conforms better to Lindsey’s overarching hypothesis regarding how the narrative-sayings complexes were dismantled in the process of transmission. According to Lindsey, it was the Anthologizer (the creator of the Anthology [Anth.]) who began the process of breaking apart the complexes. But, ignoring for the moment the logical gap that Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry so perfectly fills, Luke 11:1-13 contains nearly all of the “How to Pray” complex as Lindsey envisioned it.[13] The only thing missing from Luke 11:1-13 is the Persistent Widow parable, and we have found that it was probably the author of Luke himself who removed this parable from its original position right before the Friend in Need simile.[14] But if that was the case, then the Anthologizer must have preserved the “How to Pray” complex entirely intact, a dramatic departure from his usual practice. By recognizing the logical gap between the Lord’s Prayer and the several illustrations that follow, we realize that the Anthologizer actually did follow his usual procedure by removing Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry from its position between the Lord’s Prayer and the illustrations. For whatever reason, the Anthologizer preferred to present condensed teaching units, and evidently he felt that Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry could stand on its own two feet. Thus, while we have disagreed with Lindsey regarding specific conclusions, we are entirely indebted to his brilliant insight into the way the synoptic materials passed from their original setting into their present positions within the Gospels of Luke, Mark and Matthew.

 

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

 

Conjectured Stages of Transmission

Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry is a Double Tradition (DT) pericope characterized by high verbal identity, which suggests that the authors of Luke and Matthew copied Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry from their shared source, the Anthology. The differences between the two versions are the result of redactional changes made by the authors of Luke and Matthew to the wording of their source.

Versions of Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry have also been preserved in the writings of Justin Martyr[15] and in the Gospel of Thomas.[16]

Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 655 (early third century C.E.), which preserves a Greek fragment of the Gospel of Thomas containing a parallel to Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Crucial Issues

  1. Why were the disciples so worried about the basic necessities of life?
  2. What was the original context of Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry?
  3. Did Jesus speak about the impossibility of lengthening one’s lifespan or of increasing one’s stature?

Comment

L1-2 εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς (Luke 12:22). It is difficult to determine whether the words “And he said to his disciples,” with which the author of Luke introduces Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry, were copied from Anth. or composed by the author of Luke himself. Elsewhere we have accepted similar constructions for GR, such as εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτοὺς,[17] εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς,[18] etc., and Luke’s εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς reverts easily to Hebrew as וַיֹּאמֶר לְתַלְמִידָיו. In addition, the author of Matthew might have omitted this phrase, since he incorporated Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry into the Sermon on the Mount, which was addressed to a wider audience, rather than just to the disciples. On the other hand, the phrase “And he said to his disciples” leading into a concluding statement (“Therefore, I say to you…”) might be perceived as intrusive. Due to our uncertainty, we have placed GR and HR in L1-2 in brackets.

L3 διὰ τοῦτο λέγω ὑμῖν (GR). Since “Therefore, I say to you” occurs in both the Lukan and Matthean versions, there can be little doubt that διὰ τοῦτο λέγω ὑμῖν was the reading of Anth. This phrase clearly implies that Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry was the continuation of a larger block of teaching material. As Allen noted, the “therefore” in L3 must originally have referred back to a promise of God’s provision for the disciples.[19] Neither Luke nor Matthew preserves the original placement of Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry, however, which indicates that this pericope had already been separated from its original context by the Anthologizer.

לְפִיכָךְ אֲנִי אוֹמֵר לָכֶם (HR). Elsewhere, we have used לְפִיכָךְ (lefichāch, “therefore”) to reconstruct οὖν (oun, “therefore”).[20] Here in L3, διὰ τοῦτο (dia touto, “because of this”) serves the same function as οὖν, making לְפִיכָךְ a suitable option for HR.

L4 μὴ μεριμνᾶτε τῇ ψυχῇ ὑμῶν (GR). The readings of Luke and Matthew are identical apart from Matthew’s inclusion of the possessive pronoun “your” after “soul.”[21] We believe it is more likely that the author of Luke dropped ὑμῶν than that the possessive pronoun was added by the author of Matthew, since the omission of pronouns is a characteristic redactional improvement.[22]

The sense of ψυχή (psūchē) must be understood to be “life” or “life force” rather than “[immortal] soul,” since ordinary food is what keeps the ψυχή alive. The ψυχή is the inner force that keeps the body animated, but it is mortal just like the body, since without food the ψυχή quickly expires.

אַל תְּהַרְהְרוּ לְנַפְשְׁכֶם (HR). Hebrew lacks a precise equivalent to μεριμνᾶν (merimnan, “to think about,” “to be anxious about”).[23] In LXX μεριμνᾶν occurs 9xx, but represents six different Hebrew terms.[24] Although Delitzsch rendered μεριμνᾶν as דָּאַג (dā’ag, “be afraid of/for,” “be sorry”) in his translations of Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry in Matthew and Luke, we have preferred to reconstruct μεριμνᾶν with הִרְהֵר (hirhēr) for the following reasons:

  1. The verb הִרְהֵר (“think about,” “be anxious about”) is closer to the semantic range of μεριμνᾶν (merimnan, “to think about,” “to be anxious about”) than is דָּאַג (“be afraid of/for,” “be sorry”).
  2. In tannaic sources דָּאַג is quite rare.[25]
  3. We have an excellent parallel to Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry in the name of a Second Temple period sage, where we find the noun הִרְהוּר (hirhūr, “oppressive thought,” “preoccupation”), a cognate of the verb הִרְהֵר:

רבי חנניה סגן הכהנים אומר כל הנותן דברי תורה על לבו מבטלין ממנו הרהורין הרבה. הרהורי רעב. הרהורי שטות. הרהורי זנות. הרהורי יצר הרע. הרהורי אשה רעה. הרהורי דברים בטלים. הרהורי עול בשר ודם שכן כתוב בספר תהלים על ידי דוד מלך ישראל פקודי ה′ ישרים משמחי לב מצות ה′ ברה מאירת עינים. וכל שאינו נותן דברי תורה על לבו נותנין לו הרהורין הרבה. הרהורי רעב. הרהורי שטות. הרהורי זנות. הרהורי יצר הרע. הרהורי אשה רעה. הרהורי דברים בטלים. הרהורי עול בשר ודם. שכך כתוב במשנה תורה על ידי משה רבינו והיו בך לאות ולמופת ובזרעך עד עולם תחת אשר לא עבדת את ה′ אלהיך בשמחה ובטוב לב מרוב כל ועבדת את אויביך אשר ישלחנו ה′ בך ברעב ובצמא ובעירום ובחוסר כל. ברעב כיצד בזמן שאדם תואב לאכול פת שעורים ואינו מוצא אומות העולם מבקשין ממנו פת נקייה ובשר שמן. ובצמא כיצד בזמן שאדם מתאוה לשתות טיפה של חומץ טיפה של שכר ואינו מוצא אומות העולם מבקשין ממנו יין משובח שבכל המדינות. ובעירום כיצד בזמן שאדם יכא ללבוש חלוק של צמר או של פשתן ואינו מוצא אומות העולם מבקשין ממנו השיראין והכלך שבכל המדינות. ובחוסר כל בלא נר ובלא סכין ובלא שלחן. דבר אחר בחוסר כל בלא חומץ ובלא מלח זו היא קללה שמקללין בני אדם אל יהא לך חומץ ומלח בתוך ביתך

Rabbi Hananyah the prefect of the priests says, “In the case of everyone who sets the Torah’s words on his heart many anxious thoughts [הִרְהוּרִין] are banished from him: thoughts of hunger, thoughts of foolishness, thoughts of sexual impropriety, thoughts of the evil inclination, thoughts of an evil wife, thoughts of idle matters, thoughts of the yoke of flesh and blood. For thus is it written in the Book of Psalms by David, king of Israel: The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, causing the eyes to be bright [Ps. 19:9].[26]

But in the case of everyone who does not set the Torah’s words on his heart, many anxious thoughts [הִרְהוּרִין] are given to him: thoughts of hunger, thoughts of foolishness, thoughts of sexual impropriety, thoughts of the evil inclination, thoughts of an evil wife, thoughts of idle matters, thoughts of the yoke of flesh and blood. For thus it is written in Deuteronomy by Moses our master: And they will be among you for a sign and for a wonder, and among your seed forever because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy, and with goodness of heart, on account of the abundance of all things. And so you will serve your enemy, whom the LORD will send among you, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things [Deut. 28:46-48].

In hunger: How so? At a time when a person desires to eat even a barley loaf, but he cannot find it, the Gentiles of the world [אוּמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם] seek from him a loaf of white bread and succulent meat. And in thirst: How so? At a time when a person desires to drink even a drop of vinegar or a drop of beer, but he cannot find it, the Gentiles of the world [אוּמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם] seek from him the finest wine in all the provinces. And in nakedness: How so? At a time when a person is eager to wear even a tunic of wool or of flax, but he cannot find them, the Gentiles of the world [אוּמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם] seek from him the finest silks and cottons in all the provinces. And in want of all things: Without a lamp, and without a knife, and without a table. Another interpretation of In want of all things: Without vinegar and without salt. This is the curse with which a person curses: ‘May you not have vinegar or salt in your house!’” (Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version A, 20:1 [ed. Schechter, 70-71])

Hananyah the prefect of the priests was second-in-command in the Temple hierarchy toward the end of the Second Temple period.[27] Hananyah’s homily is parallel to Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry not only in that it addresses the theme of anxiety, but the specific examples of hunger, thirst and nakedness are parallel to the three expressions of worry (“what you will eat or what you will drink…or what you will wear”) in Matt. 6:25 (cf. Luke 12:22). Common to both sources is the role of the Gentiles who demand these very things. Moreover, being in want of all things when the Torah is ignored in Hananyah’s saying is parallel to Jesus’ promise that all these things will be added when the disciples seek the Kingdom of Heaven. These shared features in Hananyah’s homily and Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry suggest that both may be based on a common tradition, perhaps an early midrash based on Deut. 28:47-48.[28] Since Hananyah’s saying is so close to Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry in terms of themes and content, and since, like Jesus, Hananyah the prefect of the priests lived prior to the destruction of the Temple, we believe this source is a good indicator of the verb we should adopt for HR, namely הִרְהֵר.

Additional examples of הִרְהֵר are found in the following sources:

בשלום ובמישור הלך אתי שלא הירהר אחר דרכי המקום כדרך שלא הירהר אברהם

In peace and uprightness he walked with me [Mal. 2:6]: in as much as he [i.e., Aaron—DNB and JNT] did not have anxious thoughts [הִירְהֵר] concerning the Omnipresent one, just as Abraham did not have oppressive thoughts [הִירְהֵר]. (Sifra, Shemini [ed. Weiss, 46a]; cf. Lev. Rab. 3:6 [ed. Marguiles, 1:71])

תמים פעלו, פעולתו שלימה עם כל באי העולם ואין להרהר אחר מעשיו

His work is perfect [Deut. 32:4]. His work is complete with all who come into the world, and there is no cause to have anxious thoughts [לְהַרְהֵר] concerning his deeds. (Sifre Deut. §307 [ed. Finkelstein, 344])

אחרי הדברים האלה הירהורי דרבים היו שם, מי הרהר, אברהם הרהר, אמר לפני הקב″ה רבון העולמים כרתה ברית עם נח שאינך מכלה את בניו, עמדתי וסיגלתי מצות ומעשים טובים יותר ממנו ודחתה בריתי לבריתו, תאמר שאחר עומד ומסגל מצות ומעשים טובים יותר ממני, תדחה בריתו לבריתי

After these things there were anxious thoughts about things there. Who was preoccupied [הִרְהֵר] with them? Abraham was preoccupied [הִרְהֵר]. He said before the Holy one, blessed be he, “Master of the worlds, you made a covenant with Noah, that you would not cause his children to cease. Then I arose and stored up more mitzvot and good deeds than him, and my covenant superseded his covenant. Might someone hereafter arise and store up more mitzvot and good deeds than me, and his covenant will supersede mine?” (Gen. Rab. 44:5 [ed. Theodor-Albeck, 1:428-429]; cf. Gen. Rab. 55:4 [ed. Theodor-Albeck, 2:587]; 57:3 [ed. Theodor-Albeck, 2:614])

In the following source we find an example of הִרְהֵר in a negative imperative:

אם ראיתה תלמיד חכם שעשה עבירה ביום אל תהרהר עליו למחר. שמא עשה תשובה בלילה

If you saw the disciple of a sage who committed a transgression in the day, do not have anxious thoughts [אַל תְהַרְהֵר] concerning him on the morrow. Perhaps he repented in the night. (Eliyahu Rabbah 3:11 [ed. Friedmann, 16])

In many of the examples above the verb הִרְהֵר approaches the meaning of “doubt,” a meaning that is not far away from the sentiment discussed in Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry, where the disciples are fearful that God might not provide for their most basic needs.

לְנַפְשְׁכֶם (HR). On reconstructing ψυχή (psūchē, “soul”) with נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “soul”), see Demands of Discipleship, Comment to L9. For HR we have preferred the form נַפְשְׁכֶם (nafshechem, “your [plur.] soul”) over נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם (nafshotēchem, “your [plur.] souls”), since τῇ ψυχῇ in L4 is singular.[29]

L5-8 Above, in Comment to L4, we noted that Hananyah’s homily on anxious thoughts focused on hunger, thirst and nakedness. The lesson to be drawn from his homily is that anxious thoughts about these sources of worry are dispelled when the Torah is made a disciple’s exclusive concern. The same lesson is to be drawn from a saying of Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus:

ר′ אליעזר אומר לא ניתנה תורה לדרוש אלא לאוכלי המן. הא כאיזה צד היה אדם יושב ושונה ואינו יודע מאין יאכל וישתה ומאין ילבש ויתכסה הא לא ניתנה תורה לדרוש אלא לאוכלי המן שנייה להן לאוכלי תרומה

Rabbi Eliezer [ben Hyrcanus][30] says, “The Torah was not given for study except to the eaters of manna. For how[31] can someone be sitting and repeating [his lessons] and not know from where he will eat and drink, or from where he will dress and cover himself? Thus, the Torah was not given for study except to the eaters of manna, and second to them are eaters of terumah [i.e., priests—DNB and JNT].” (Mechilta de-Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai, BeShallaḥ 16:4 [ed. Epstein-Melamed, 107])

Here, too, the saying addresses the concerns of full-time disciples whose total devotion to Torah study has left no time for making an ordinary living. Whereas Hananyah the prefect of the priests suggested that the Torah provides its own nourishment (“the commandment of the LORD…causes the eyes to become bright”), Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus suggests that a full-time disciple had access to the heavenly manna.[32] The two ideas might amount to the same thing, however, if “causing the eyes to become bright” is an allusion to honey (Ps. 19:11; cf. 1 Sam. 14:29),[33] since manna was said to have the flavor of honey (Exod. 16:31). In any case, Eliezer’s statement also refers to eating, drinking and wearing clothes.

Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry likewise addresses the anxiety caused by the abandonment of property and profession in order to become a full-time disciple, and just like Hananyah the prefect of the priests and Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, Jesus also appears to have believed that his disciples had access to heavenly manna.[34] Given these similarities, we believe that it is significant that both Hananyah the prefect of the priests and Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus specify drink as well as food and clothing. This agreement may suggest that the inclusion of “what you will drink” in Matthew’s version of Yeshua’s Discourse on worry (L6) is original.

Scholars have noted that in addition to food, drink and clothing, ancient authors typically included having a home among the most basic necessities of life.[35] The following examples are representative of this ancient tradition:

Ἀρχὴ ζωῆς ὕδωρ καὶ ἄρτος καὶ ἱμάτιον καὶ οἶκος καλύπτων ἀσχημοσύνην

Life’s beginning is water and bread and clothing and a house for hiding indecency. (Sir. 29:21; NETS)[36]

διὰ τοῦτο ἐσθίουσι μέν, ὥστε μὴ πεινῆν, πίνουσι δέ, ὥστε μὴ διψῆν, πλησμονὴν ὡς ἐχθρόν τε καὶ ἐπίβουλον ψυχῆς τε καὶ σώματος ἐκτρεπόμενοι. ἐπεὶ δὲ καὶ σκέπης διττὸν εἶδος, τὸ μὲν ἐσθής, τὸ δὲ οἰκία, περὶ μὲν οἰκίας εἴρηται πρότερον, ὅτι ἐστὶν ἀκαλλώπιστος καὶ αὐτοσχέδιος, πρὸς τὸ χρειῶδες αὐτὸ μόνον εἰργασμένη· καὶ ἐσθὴς δὲ ὁμοίως εὐτελεστάτη, πρὸς ἀλέξημα κρυμοῦ τε καὶ θάλπους, χλαῖνα μὲν ἀπὸ λασίου δορᾶς παχεῖα χειμῶνος, ἐξωμὶς δὲ θέρους ἢ ὀθόνη.

Therefore they [i.e., the Essenes—DNB and JNT] eat enough to keep from hunger and drink enough to keep from thirst but abhor surfeiting as a malignant enemy to both soul and body. As for the two forms of shelter, clothes and housing, we have already said that the house is unembellished and a makeshift constructed for utility only. Their clothing likewise is the most inexpensive, enough to protect them against extreme cold and heat, a thin coat of shaggy skin in winter and in summer a vest or linen shirt. (Philo, Contempl. §37-38; Loeb)

Τὰ περὶ τὸ σῶμα μέχρι τῆς χρείας ψιλῆς παραλάμβανε, οἷον τροφάς, πόμα, ἀμπεχόνην, οἰκίαν, οἰκετίαν· τὸ δὲ πρὸς δόξαν ἢ τρυφήν ἅπαν περίγραφε.

In things that pertain to the body take only as much as your bare need requires, I mean such things as food, drink, clothing, shelter, and household slaves; but cut down everything which is for outward show or luxury. (Epictetus, Enchiridion 33.7; Loeb)

Bovon notes that shelter is not mentioned in Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry.[37] This omission is probably intentional, since Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry was addressed to full-time disciples who had left their homes in order to itinerate with Jesus. While Jesus and the disciples often enjoyed the hospitality of friends and strangers,[38] sleeping in the outdoors was probably not unfamiliar to them (cf. Matt. 8:20 // Luke 9:58).[39]

Note that the inclusion of drink in each of the above sources provides additional support for our supposition that “or what you will drink” in L6 is original.

L5 מַה תֹּאכְלוּ (HR). In LXX ἐσθίειν (esthiein, “to eat”) most often appears as the translation of אָכַל (’āchal, “eat”).[40] Likewise, we find that the number of times אָכַל was translated with ἐσθίειν outnumber by far the instances when the LXX translators chose to render אָכַל with some other Greek verb.[41] Elsewhere, we have reconstructed ἐσθίειν with אָכַל in Call of Levi, L53; Sending the Twelve: Conduct in Town, L95; Preparations for Eating Passover Lamb, L19, L41.

A rabbinic comment on Exod. 16:4, pertaining to the manna story, deals with the anxiety that prompts a person to ask, “What will I eat?”:

ר′ אליעזר אומר שלא ילקט אדם מן היום למחר. וכן היה ר′ אליעזר אומר מי שיש לו מה שיאכל היום ויאמר מה אני אוכל למחר הרי זה ממחוסרי אמנה שנ′ דבר יום ביומו. מי שברא יום ברא פרנסתו

Rabbi Eliezer [ben Hyrcanus] says, “[A day’s portion in its day means] that a person should not gather today’s manna for tomorrow.” And thus Rabbi Eliezer would say, “Whoever has something that he can eat today but says, ‘What will I eat [מה אני אוכל] tomorrow?’: behold, this one is among those who lack faith, as it is said, a day’s portion in its day [Exod. 16:4]. The one who created day created its sustenance.” (Mechilta de-Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai, BeShallaḥ 16:4 [ed. Epstein-Melamed, 106])[42]

L6 ἢ τί πίητε (GR). As we noted above in Comment to L5-8, drink is usually mentioned along with food, clothing and shelter as one of the basic necessities of life. Perhaps the author of Luke dropped the mention of drink in L6 in order to create better symmetry so that one need would be attributed to the “soul” and one need to the body.[43]

וּמַה תִּשְׁתּוּ (HR). In LXX πινεῖν (pinein, “to drink”) most often appears as the translation of שָׁתָה (shātāh, “drink”).[44] It is also the case that in LXX no other verb was used to translate שָׁתָה more often than πινεῖν.[45] Since שָׁתָה continued to be used in MH, there is no better option than שָׁתָה for HR.

L7 וְלֹא לְגוּפְכֶם (HR). We have reconstructed σῶμα (sōma, “body”) with גּוּף (gūf, “body”), a Mishnaic Hebrew term, in accordance with our preference for reconstructing direct speech in a Mishnaic style. The pairing of גּוּף with נֶפֶשׁ, which we used to reconstruct ψυχή in L4, is common in rabbinic sources, as the following examples demonstrate:

אָמְרוּ לוֹ מָה בֵּין טְמֵאָה לִטְהוֹרָה אָמַ′ לָהֶן שֶׁהַטְּהוֹרָה נַפְשָׁהּ לַשָּׁמַיִם [וְגוּפָה שֶׁלּוֹ וְהַטְּמֵאָה נַפְשָׁהּ וְגוּפַה לַשָּׁמַיִם] אָמְרוּ לוֹ אַף הַטְּ<מֵאָהּ> נַפְשָׁהּ לַשָּׁמַיִם וְגוּפָה שֶׁלּוֹ שֶׁאִם יִרְצֶה הֲרֵי מוֹכְרָהּ לַגּוֹיִם אוֹ מַאֲכִילָהּ לַכְּלָבִים

They said to him [i.e., to Rabbi Eliezer—DNB and JNT], “What is the difference between an impure animal and a pure one?” He said to them, “In that the pure animal’s life [נַפְשָׁהּ] belongs to Heaven, but its body [גּוּפָה] belongs to him [i.e., the animal’s owner—DNB and JNT], but the impure animal’s life [נַפְשָׁהּ] as well as its body [גּוּפַה] belong to Heaven.” They said to him, “Even [in the case of] the impure animal, its life [נַפְשָׁהּ] belongs to Heaven, but its body [גּוּפָה] belongs to him, for if he wants, he can sell it to the Gentiles or feed it to the dogs.” (m. Ned. 4:3)

פושעי ישראל בגופן ופושעי אומות העולם בגופן יורדין לגיהנם ונדונין בה כל שנים עשר חדש לאחר שנים עשר חדש נפשם כלה וגופם נשרף וגיהנם פולטתן ונעשות אפר והרוח זורה אותן ומפזרתן תחת כפות רגלי הצדיקים שנ′ ועסותם רשעים וגו′‏

Those of Israel who sinned with their body and those of the Gentiles of the world who sinned with their body descend to Gehenna and are judged in it for a whole twelve months. After twelve months their life [נפשם] is ended and their body [גופם] is burned and Gehenna vomits them out and they become dust and the wind blows them and scatters them under the soles of the feet of the righteous, as it is said, and you will tread down the wicked [Mal. 3:21 (ET: 4:3)]. (t. Sanh. 13:4; Vienna MS)

רבי אליעזר אומר אם נאמר בכל נפשך למה נאמר בכל מאדך ואם נאמר בכל מאדך למה נאמר בכל נפשך, יש לך אדם שגופו חביב עליו מממונו לכך נאמר בכל נפשך ויש לך אדם שממונו חביב עליו מגופו לכך נאמר בכל מאודך

Rabbi Eliezer says, “If it says with all your soul [Deut. 6:5], why does it say with all your strength [ibid.]? And if it says with all your strength, why does it say with all your soul? You have someone whose body [גופו] is more dear to him than his wealth, thus it says with all your soul [נפשך], and you have someone whose wealth is more dear to him than his body, thus it says with all your strength.” (Sifre Deut. §32 [ed. Finkelstein, 55])

וכן היה ר′ סימיי אומר כל בריות שנבראו מן השמים נפשם וגופם מן השמים וכל בריות שנבראו מן הארץ נפשם וגופם מן הארץ חוץ מאדם זה שנפשו מן השמים וגופו מן הארץ

And thus Rabbi Simai would say: “Every creature that was created from heaven: their soul [נפשם] and their body [גופם] is from heaven. And every creature that was created from earth: their soul [נפשם] and their body [גופם] is from earth. Except for humankind, whose soul [נפשו] is from heaven and whose body [גופו] is from earth.” (Sifre Deut. §306 [ed. Finkelstein, 340-341])

L8 מַה תִּלְבְּשׁוּ (HR). In LXX ἐνδύειν (endūein, “to clothe”) almost always translates the root ל-ב-שׁ.‎[46] Note the saying of Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, cited above in Comment to L5-8, where he asks, “How can someone be sitting and repeating [his lessons] and not know…from where he will dress [ילבש] and cover himself?”

L9 οὐχὶ ἡ ψυχὴ πλεῖόν ἐστιν (GR). Whereas Luke’s version has a statement here (“For the soul is more than food”; Luke 12:23), Matthew’s version has a question (“Is not the soul more than food?”; Matt. 6:25). We have adopted Matthew’s version for GR, which is more in keeping with the style of teaching in Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry.

הֲלֹא הַנֶּפֶשׁ מְרֻבָּה (HR). On reconstructing οὐχί (ouchi, “not”) with הֲלֹא (halo’, “Is not?”), see Tower Builder and King Going to War, Comment to L3.[47] On reconstructing ψυχή with נֶפֶשׁ, see above, Comment to L4.

In “The Harvest Is Plentiful” and “A Flock Among Wolves” (L42) we reconstructed πολύς (polūs, “much”) with מְרֻבֶּה (merubeh, “plentiful”). Here we have followed suit, on the basis of the following examples where מְרֻבֶּה is used in rhetorical questions with the meaning “of greater importance”:

ומה אם מידת פורענות מעוטה אמר הקב″ה לעשות ועשה מידה הטובה מרובה על אחת כמה וכמה

If with regard to the apportionment of punishment, which is of less importance, the Holy one, blessed be he, says he will act and he follows through, with regard to the apportionment of good, which is of greater importance [מרובה], how much more so? (Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, Pisḥa chpt. 7 [ed. Lauterbach, 1:39])

ומה אם מדת פורענות מעוטה העושה בסתר המקום מפרסמו בגלוי מדה טובה מרובה על אחת כמה וכמה

If the apportionment of punishment, which is less important, for what was done in secret the Omnipresent one publishes openly, the apportionment of good, which is more important [מרובה], how much more so? (Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, Pisḥa chpt. 13 [ed. Lauterbach, 1:71])

ומה אם מדת פורענות מעוטה אמרה תורה כי לא אצדיק רשע קל וחומר למדה הטובה מרובה

If with regard to the apportionment of punishment, which is less important, the Torah said, For I will not vindicate the wicked [Exod. 23:7], how much more so with regard to the apportionment of good, which is more important [מרובה]? (Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, Kaspa chpt. 3 [ed. Lauterbach, 2:475])

L10 מִן הַפַּרְנָסָה (HR). In LXX τροφή (trofē, “sustenance”) appears mainly as the translation of לֶחֶם (leḥem, “bread”),[48] מָזוֹן (māzōn, “food”)[49] or אֹכֶל (’ochel, “food”).[50] While any of these options would be suitable for HR, we have preferred to reconstruct τροφή with the MH noun פַּרְנָסָה (parnāsāh, “sustenance,” “provision”),[51] in part because the verb τρέφειν (trefein, “to rear,” “to support”), a cognate of τροφή, appears in Matt. 6:26 // Luke 12:24 (L18). Since פִּרְנֵס (pirnēs, “support,” “maintain”) is a good candidate for reconstructing τρέφειν (see below, Comment to L18), it makes sense to use a noun of the same root for our reconstruction in L10. Moreover, the noun פַּרְנָסָה frequently occurs in rabbinic discussions of God’s care for his creatures.

Above, in Comment to L5, we already encountered one example of פַּרְנָסָה, which occurs in Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus’ saying, “The one who created day created its sustenance [פרנסתו].” This example is useful not only for its linguistic parallel, but also for illuminating the point of Jesus’ argument. Jesus is not suggesting that food, drink and clothing are unworthy concerns, rather he argues that if God can create life, then God is surely able to nourish it, and if God can create a body, then God is surely able to furnish it with clothes.[52]

Additional examples of פַּרְנָסָה are found in the following parable that illustrates an aspect of the manna from heaven story:

ר′ שמעון אומר מפני מה לא היה יורד מן לישראל בפעם אחד בשנה כדי שיהפכו את לבן לאביהם שבשמים משל למה הדבר דומה למלך שגזר על בנו להיות מפרנסו פעם אחת בשנה ולא היה מקביל פני אביו אלא בשעת פרנסתו. פעם אחת חזר וגזר עליו להיות מפרנסו בכל יום אמר הבן אפילו איני מקבל פני אבי אלא בשעת פרנסתי דיי לי. כך ישראל היו בביתו של אדם חמש זכרים או חמש נקבות היה יושב ומצפה ואומר אוי לי שמא לא ירד המן למחר ונמצינו מתים ברעב יהי רצון מלפניך שירד ונמצאו הופכים את לבם לשמים

Rabbi Shimon says, “Why did the manna not descend for Israel only once a year? So that they would turn their hearts to their father in heaven. A parable: To what may the matter be compared? To a king who decreed concerning his son that his provision be given once in a year. But his father did not receive his company except at the time of his provision [פרנסתו]. One time he reconsidered and decreed concerning him that his provision be given every day. The son said, ‘Even if I visit my father only at the time of my provision [פרנסתי], it is enough for me.’ So with Israel. In the house of a man who had five boys or five girls, he would sit and look ahead [to the future] and say, ‘Woe to me! Perhaps the manna for tomorrow will not descend, and we will be found dead from hunger. May it be pleasing before you that it will descend!’ So they were found turning their hearts toward Heaven.” (Sifre Num. §89 [ed. Horovitz, 90])[53]

L11 וְהַגּוּף מִן הַכְּסוּת (HR). In LXX ἔνδυμα (endūma, “clothing”) is usually the translation of לְבוּשׁ (levūsh, “clothing”), but in MH this term appears to have become rare, occurring only once in the Mishnah (m. Ukz. 1:2). Another alternative for HR is מַלְבּוּשׁ (malbūsh, “clothing”), but this term also became rare, again with only one instance in the Mishnah (m. Shek. 5:1 [printed eds.]). A far more common term for clothing in rabbinic sources is כְּסוּת (kesūt, “clothing,” “covering”), a term that is found 9xx in MT[54] and 39xx in the Mishnah. Occasionally we find כְּסוּת paired with גּוּף, as in the following example:

ר′ יהודה בשם ר′ אלעזר אומר שלשה דברים הדרך עושה, מבלה את הכסות, ושוחקת את הגוף, וממעטת את היציאה, אבל הקב″ה לא עשה כן לישראל, אלא שמלתך לא בלתה מעליך, ה′ אלהיך עמך בבריאות הגוף, לא חסרת דבר, [זו היציאה].‏

Rabbi Yehudah says in the name of Rabbi Eleazar, “The road does three things: it wears out the clothing [הכסות], grinds down the body [הגוף], and decreases [money for] expenses. But the Holy one, blessed be he, did not do this to Israel, rather your robe did not wear out upon you [Deut. 8:4], the LORD your God was with you [Deut. 2:7] in the health of the body [הגוף], you did not lack a thing [Deut. 2:7]—this refers to [money for] expenses.” (Midrash Tehillim 23:3 [ed. Buber, 2:198])

L12 ἐμβλέψατε (GR). Whereas Matthew’s version uses different verbs for directing the disciples to pay attention to the examples of God’s provision for his creatures, ἐμβλέπειν (emblepein, “to look at”) in L12 and καταμαθεῖν (katamathein, “to examine”) in L31, Luke’s version uses the same verb, κατανοεῖν (katanoein, “to consider”), in both illustrations. We suspect that it was the author of Luke who was responsible for this homogenization, once again for the sake of symmetry.[55]

הַבִּיטוּ (HR). Whether we had adopted Luke’s κατανοεῖν or Matthew’s ἐμβλέπειν for GR, הִבִּיט (hibiṭ, “look at”) would have remained a good choice for HR.[56] In BH הִבִּיט often takes the preposition אֶל (’el, “to,” “toward”), or simply an object without a preposition, but as early as the DSS הִבִּיט began to take the preposition -בְּ (be, “in”).[57] An example of הִבִּיט with the preposition -בְּ, such as we have in HR for L12-13, is found in the following rabbinic comment on the creation narrative:

וירא אלהים את כל אשר עשה והנה טוב מאד ר′ יוחנן ור′ שמעון בן לקיש ר′ יוחנן אמר מלך בשר ודם בונה פלטין מביט בעליונים [ראייה אחת ובתחתונים ראייה אחת אבל הקב″ה מביט בעליונים] ובתחתונים ראיה אחת, אמר ר′ שמעון בן לקיש הנה טוב מאד, זה העולם הזה, והנה זה העולם הבא, העולם הזה והעולם הבא הביט בהם הקב″ה ראיה אחת

And God saw all that he had made, and behold, it was very good. Rabbi Yohanan and Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish [discussed this verse]. Rabbi Yohanan said, “A king of flesh and blood builds a palace and looks at the heights in one glance and at the depths in another glance. But the Holy one, blessed be he, looks at the heights and the depths in a single glance.” Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish said, “Behold it was very good refers to this world, And behold refers to the world to come. The Holy one, blessed be he, looked at this world and the world to come in a single glance.” (Gen. Rab. 9:3 [ed. Theodor-Albeck, 1:68])[58]

Hooded crows (Corvus cornix) photographed in the Hinnom Valley on the western side of the Old City of Jerusalem by Joshua N. Tilton.

L13 εἰς τοὺς κόρακας (GR). We believe that the author of Matthew substituted “the birds of the air,” a phrase he most likely found at the end of the illustration (see below, Comment to L21), for “ravens,” which the author of Luke copied from Anth. Luke’s reading, τοὺς κόρακας (tous korakas, “the ravens”), has a good claim to originality: first, because ravens are a stock example of God’s gracious provision for his creatures in Scripture and in rabbinic sources; second, because the illustration pertaining to clothing begins with a specific example (flowers) and ends with a general example (grass), which leads us to expect the same pattern (viz., ravens, birds) in the illustration pertaining to sustenance;[59] third, because, as Flusser suggested,[60] ravens were notorious carrion birds associated in Greek sources with the gallows, which might have caused the author of Matthew to avoid mentioning ravens.[61]

Regarding the first point in favor of Luke’s reading, ravens are cited in the Psalms as an example of God’s provision for his creatures:

נוֹתֵן לִבְהֵמָה לַחְמָהּ לִבְנֵי עֹרֵב אֲשֶׁר יִקְרָאוּ

He gives to the beasts their bread and to the young ravens when they cry. (Ps. 147:9)

διδόντι τοῖς κτήνεσι τροφὴν αὐτῶν καὶ τοῖς νεοσσοῖς τῶν κοράκων τοῖς ἐπικαλουμένοις αὐτόν

…giving to the animals their food and to the young of ravens that call on him. (Ps. 146:9; NETS)

Likewise, in the book of Job the LORD cites his own care of the ravens as an example of his awesome power, asking Job the following:

מִי יָכִין לָעֹרֵב צֵידוֹ כִּי יְלָדָ[י]ו אֶל אֵל יְשַׁוֵּעוּ יִתְעוּ לִבְלִי אֹכֶל

Who provides for the raven his prey when his children cry out to God for deliverance and wander without food? (Job 38:41)

τίς δὲ ἡτοίμασεν κόρακι βοράν; νεοσσοὶ γὰρ αὐτοῦ πρὸς κύριον κεκράγασιν πλανώμενοι τὰ σῖτα ζητοῦντες

And who prepared food for the raven? For its young have cried to the Lord as they wander about, searching for food. (Job 38:41; NETS)

The verse from Job is cited in a rabbinic tradition relating to God’s special provision for full-time disciples, who rely on him for their sustenance:

אמ′ ר′ שמואל בר אמי דברי תורה צריכין השחרה, פרנסה מנ′, מי יכין לערב צידו, כך אם אין אדם נעשה אכזרי על גופו ועל בניו ועל בני ביתו כעורב הזה אינו זוכה ללמוד תורה

Rabbi Shmuel bar Ami said, “The words of Torah require the dawn [and the evening, and all the time between for study—DNB and JNT]. From whence will sustenance come? From the one who provides the raven with his prey [Job 38:41]. Accordingly, if a person does not deal harshly with his body and with his sons and with the members of his household like this raven, he will not succeed in studying Torah.” (Lev. Rab. 19:1 [ed. Marguiles, 1:415])

Note the similarity of this saying to that of Jesus, which we have entitled Demands of Discipleship (Matt. 10:37-38 // Luke 14:25-27, 33).

In a rather different vein, the following story demonstrates that provision for ravens was at least semi-proverbial:

רבי פתח אוצרות בשני בצורת אמר יכנסו בעלי מקרא בעלי משנה בעלי גמרא בעלי הלכה בעלי הגדה אבל עמי הארץ אל יכנסו דחק רבי יונתן בן עמרם ונכנס אמר לו רבי פרנסני אמר לו בני קרית אמר לו לאו שנית א″ל לאו אם כן במה אפרנסך [א″ל] פרנסני ככלב וכעורב פרנסיה בתר דנפק יתיב רבי וקא מצטער ואמר אוי לי שנתתי פתי לעם הארץ אמר לפניו ר′ שמעון בר רבי שמא יונתן בן עמרם תלמידך הוא שאינו רוצה ליהנות מכבוד תורה מימיו בדקו ואשכח אמר רבי יכנסו הכל

Rabbi [Yehudah ha-Nasi] opened the storehouses during a period of privation. He said, “Students of Scripture, students of Mishnah, students of Gemara, students of halacha, students of aggadah may enter. But ame haaretz [i.e., common folk—DNB and JNT] may not enter.” Rabbi Yonatan ben Amram pressed in and entered. He said to him, “Rabbi, give me sustenance!” He said to him, “Have you learned Scripture?” He said to him, “No.” He said to him, “Have you learned Mishnah?” He said to him, “No.” “If so, why should I give you sustenance?” “Give me sustenance like the dog and like the raven [פרנסני ככלב וכעורב].” So he gave him sustenance. After he went away, Rabbi [Yehudah ha-Nasi]’s conscience smote him and he said, “Woe to me that I gave my piece of bread to an am haaretz.” Rabbi Shimon ben Rabbi Sama said before him, “It was Rabbi Yonatan ben Amram, your student, who wishes never to receive benefit from the glory of the Torah.” It was checked and found to be the case, so Rabbi [Yehudah ha-Nasi] said, “All may enter [the storehouse].” (b. Bab. Bat. 8a)

Illustration of a raven from H. B. Tristram’s The Natural History of the Bible, 198.

Regarding the second point in favor of ravens, note that the illustration concerning clothing, in both its Matthean and Lukan versions, which teaches us to expect the specific (flowers)→general (grass) pattern, is in fact what we find in Luke’s version of the illustration concerning sustenance: specific (ravens)→general (birds).[62] Matthew’s version of the illustration concerning sustenance, on the other hand, has an entirely different pattern: general (birds of the heaven)→pronoun (them), with the general example as the antecedent. Note, too, that in Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry the author of Luke had a tendency to shorten the Hebraic construct-like phrases that occur in Matthew’s version, and which were probably original: “the flowers of the field” (Matt.)→“the flowers” (Luke), L31; “the grass of the field” (Matt.)→“the grass” (Luke), L38.[63] Given this tendency, it is entirely likely that where Luke has “the birds” his source (Anth.) had “the birds of the heaven” (L21). Thus, Luke’s τῶν πετεινῶν (“the birds”) in L21 shows us the original location of Matthew’s more original wording τῶν πετεινῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ (“the birds of the heaven”). The deviant pattern of Matthew’s illustration concerning sustenance (general→pronoun) can be explained in the following manner: having chosen to avoid ravens, the author of Matthew moved “the birds of the heaven” from its original location (L21) into the slot vacated by the ravens (L13). He then inserted the bland pronoun “them” into the space originally occupied by “the birds of the heaven” (L21).[64] Each author preserved something of Anth.’s wording of the illustration concerning sustenance, but each author also made redactional changes that obscured the original wording of the pre-synoptic source. Only by carefully comparing the Lukan and Matthean versions to one another and to ancient Jewish sources is it possible to recover the wording of Anth.

בָּעוֹרְבִים (HR). Every instance of עֹרֵב (‘orēv, “raven”) in MT is rendered κόραξ (korax, “raven”) in LXX,[65] excluding examples of עֹרֵב as a personal name, in which case it was transliterated as Ωρηβ (Ōrēb).[66] According to Tristram, “Under the [Hebrew—DNB and JNT] term ‘raven,’ is included the whole family of the Crow tribe: crows, rooks, jackdaws, &c.”[67] Above we cited several instances in biblical and post-biblical Jewish sources in which עוֹרְבִים are cited as examples of God’s providential care for his creatures.

Ravens foraging for food at Beit Guvrin National Park in Israel. Photographed by Joshua N. Tilton.

L14-18 Scholars have long noted the similarity between Jesus’ illustration of the ravens/birds that neither sow nor reap nor store and the following rabbinic statement, which has come down to us in long and short forms:[68]

הֲרָאִיתָה מִיָּמֶיךָ אֲרִי סַבָּל צְבִי קָיָיצ שׁוּעַל חַנְוָונִי זְאֵב גּוֹדֵר גְּדֵירוֹת וַהֲרֵי הַדְּבָרִים קַ{ו}ל וַחוֹמֵר וּמָהּ אִם אֵלּוּ שֶׁנִּיבְרְאוּ שֶׁלֹא לשַׁמֵּשׁ אֶת קוֹנָן הֲרֵי הֵן מִיתְפַּרנְסִים שֶׁלֹא בְצַעַר אֲנִי שֶׁנִּיבְרֵאתִי לְשַׁמֵּשׁ אֶת קוֹנִי אֵינוּ דִין שֶׁתְּהֵא פַרִנָסָתִי שֶׁלֹּא בְצַעַר וּמִי גָרַם לִי לִהְיוֹת מִתְפַּרְנֵס בִּצַעַר הֱרֵי אוֹמֵ′ חֲטָאַיִי לְפִי שֶׁהֵירַעְתִּי אֶת מַעֲשַׂי וֶקֵיפַחְתִי אֶת פַּרְנָסָתִי

Have you ever seen in all your days a lion [working as a] porter, a gazelle as a fruit-picker, a fox as a shopkeeper, or a wolf as a cooper? But look, it is a matter of kal vahomer. How is it that if these, who were not created to serve their Maker, have their provision without toil, when I, though I was created to serve my Maker, do not have my provision without toil? Who has caused me to provide for myself by toil? Say, therefore, “It is my sins, because I made my deeds evil and scorned my provision.” (m. Kid. 4:14)

ראית מימיך חיה ועוף שיש להם אומנות והן מתפרנסין שלא בצער והלא לא נבראו אלא לשמשני ואני נבראתי לשמש את קוני אינו דין שאתפרנס שלא בצער אלא שהורעתי מעשי וקפחתי את פרנסתי

Have you ever seen an animal or a bird that has a craft? Yet they are sustained without toil. And were they not created only to serve me? But I was created to serve my Master. Then shouldn’t I make a living without toil? But I have made my deeds evil and scorned my provision. (b. Kid. 82a)

Note that the shorter version specifically mentions birds, which is parallel to the “ravens/birds of the sky” mentioned in Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry.

Despite the similar images and vocabulary, the point of the rabbinic saying is different from the message of Jesus’ illustration. According to the rabbinic saying, human beings have forfeited their right to automatic provision, and must work for their sustenance in addition to serving their creator. Jesus, by contrast, wished to convince his disciples that, having devoted themselves exclusively to serving the Kingdom of Heaven, God would in turn provide for their lives and bodies.

The idea that animals are cared for by nature, whereas human beings must work for a living, is also encountered in ancient Greek sources. Flusser compared Jesus’ illustration to the following statement from the second-century C.E. philosopher Celsus:

ἡμεῖς γε κάμνοντες καὶ προσταλαιπωροῦντες μόλις καὶ ἐπιπόνως τρεφόμεθα τοῖς δ᾽ ⟨Odyssea, IX, 109⟩ «ἄσπαρτα καὶ ἀνήροτα πάντα φύονται»

Though we struggle and persevere we sustain ourselves only with difficulty and toil, whereas for them [Odyssea, IX, 109] “everything grows without sowing and tillage.” (Origen, Cels. 4:76)[69]

Another example in a similar vein is placed on the tongue of the Cynic philosopher Diogenes:

Second or third-century C.E. mosaic depiction of the Cynic philosopher Diogenes, famed for his disdain of wealth and for having taken to sleeping in a large jar or tub. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

οὐχ ὁρᾷς τὰ θηρία ταῦτα καὶ τὰ ὄρνεα, ὅσῳ ζῇ τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἀλυπότερον, πρὸς δὲ καὶ ἥδιον, καῖ μᾶλλον ὑγιαίνει καὶ πλέον ἰσχύει καὶ ζῇ χρόνον ἔκαστον αὐτῶν ὅσον πλεῖστον δὺναται, καίτοι οὔτε χεῖρας ἔχοντα οὔτε ἀνθρώπου διάνοιαν; ἀλλ᾽ ὅμως ἀντὶ πάντων αὐτοῖς τῶν ἄλλων κακῶν ὑπάρχει μέγιστον ἀγαθόν, ὅτι ἀκτήμονά ἐστιν.

Consider the beasts yonder and the birds, how much freer from trouble they live than men, and how much more happily also, how much healthier and stronger they are, and how each of them lives the longest life possible, although they have neither hands nor human intelligence. And yet, to counterbalance these and their other limitations they have one very great blessing—they own no property. (Dio Chrysostom, Tenth Discourse: On Servants §8; Loeb)[70]

L14 שֶׁאֵינָם זוֹרְעִים (HR). The Hebrew root ז-ר-ע was usually translated in LXX with the verb σπείρειν (speirein, “to sow,” “to scatter seed”),[71] and we also find that most instances of σπείρειν in LXX occur as the translation of the root ז-ר-ע.‎[72] Since the same root continued to be used for “sowing” in MH, there seems to be little reason for searching for a different verb for our reconstruction. We have accordingly adopted זָרַע (zāra‘, “sow”) for HR.

We find examples of זָרַע + אֵין in the following sources:

כָּל מִין זְרָעִים אֵין זוֹרְעִים בָּעֲרוּגָה כָּל מִין יְרָקוֹת זוֹרְעִים בָּעֲרוּגָה

They do not sow [אֵין זוֹרְעִים] every kind of seed in a garden bed, but every kind of vegetable they do plant in a garden bed. (m. Kil. 3:2)

שדה שניטיבה אין זורעין אותה במוצאי שביעית

A field that was improved [during the Sabbatical year—DNB and JNT]: they do not sow [אין זורעין] it the year following the Sabbatical year. (t. Shev. 3:10; Vienna MS)

מודה ר′ עקיבא שאין זורעין ואין חורשין ואין מנכשין בסוריא

Rabbi Akiva confesses that they do not sow [שאין זורעין] and they do not plow and they do not weed in Syria [during the Sabbatical year—DNB and JNT]. (t. Shev. 4:12; Vienna MS)

L15 וְאֵינָם קוֹצְרִים (HR). In LXX θερίζειν (therizein, “to reap,” “to harvest”) occurs mainly as the translation of קָצַר (qātzar, “reap,” “harvest”).[73] In MH קָצַר continued in use, and we have accordingly adopted this verb for HR.

We find an example of קָצַר + אֵין in the following source:

פֵּיאָה אֵין קוֹצְרִין אוֹתָה בַּמַּגָּלוֹת

They do not harvest [אֵין קוֹצְרִין] peah [i.e., the crops at the edges of fields, which were reserved for the poor—DNB and JNT] with sickles. (m. Peah 4:4)

L16 οὐδὲ συνάγουσιν εἰς ἀποθήκας (GR). Here, it is the author of Luke who has disturbed the original pattern of enumerating three activities—sowing, reaping and storing in the illustration concerning sustenance; growing, spinning and laboring in the illustration concerning clothing—by instead referring to ownership (storerooms and storehouses).[74]

וְאֵינָם מַכְנִיסִים לְאוֹצָרוֹת (HR). In LXX ἀποθήκη (apothēkē, “storehouse”) occurs as the translation of מִשְׁמֶרֶת (mishmeret, “safe keeping”; Exod. 16:23, 32), טֶנֶא (tene’, “basket”; Deut. 28:5, 17), מַאֲבוּס (ma’avūs, “granary”; Jer. 27[50]:26), אוֹצָר (’ōtzār, “storehouse,” “treasury”; 1 Chr. 28:12 [2xx]; 29:8) and חֶדֶר (ḥeder, “room”; 1 Chr. 28:11). Of these equivalents only אוֹצָר is suitable for HR. Whereas the other terms listed above are inappropriate for the present context (viz., חֶדֶר), or had either fallen into disuse in MH or were no longer used with the same meaning, אוֹצָר remained a common term for “storehouse” in rabbinic sources.[75] In fact, in Comment to L13 we already encountered an example of אוֹצָר in the sense of “storehouse for agricultural produce” in the story about Rabbi Yehudah ha-Nasi, who opened up the storehouses (אוֹצָרוֹת) during a time of famine (b. Bab. Bat. 8a). Another example of this use of אוֹצָר is found in the following source:

אוצר שישראל וגוים מטילין לתוכו אם רוב גוים ודאי ואם רוב ישראל דמאי מחצה על מחצה ודאי דברי רבי מאיר

A storehouse [אוצר] into which Israelites and Gentiles were putting [agricultural produce—DNB and JNT]: If the majority were Gentiles its status regarding tithes is certain [i.e., it was certainly not tithed—DNB and JNT], and if the majority were Israelites the status of half is considered dubious regarding tithes and the status of half is considered certain [i.e., it was certainly not tithed—DNB and JNT]: the words of Rabbi Meir. (t. Dem. 1:12; Vienna MS)

In the above-quoted source the verb for putting the produce into the storehouse is הִטִּיל (hiṭil, “throw,” “put”), which is not a very close approximation of συνάγειν (sūnagein, “to gather”). In LXX συνάγειν is sometimes the translation of צָבַר (tzāvar, “heap up”), which is used for the gathering of grain in the story of Joseph in Egypt (Gen. 41:35, 49). More commonly, συνάγειν is the translation of אָסַף (’āsaf, “gather,” “assemble”), which is used for gathering produce (e.g., Exod. 23:10; Lev. 25:3, 20; Deut. 16:13). In MH, however, while we hear of אֲסוּפֵּי שְׁבִיעִית (“gatherers of Sabbatical year produce”; m. Sanh. 3:3), we do not find examples of אָסַף for gathering into storehouses. Instead, in rabbinic sources we find the verb הִכְנִיס (hichnis) for storing up in storehouses:

בראשונה היו שלוחי בית דין יושבין על פתחי עיירות כל מי שמביא פירות בתוך ידו נוטלין אותן ממנו ונותנין לו מהן מזון שלש סעודו′ והשאר מכניסין אותו לאוצר שבעיר הגיע זמן תאנים שלוחי בית דין שוכרין פועלין עודרים אותן ועושים אותן דבילה ומכניסין אותן לאוצר שבעיר הגיע זמן ענבים שלוחי בית דין שוכרין פועלין ובוצרין אותן ודורכין אותן בגת וכונסין אותן בחביות ומכניסין אותן לאוצר שבעיר הגיע זמן זתים שלוחי בית דין שוכרין פועלין ומוסקין אותן ועוטנין אותו בבית הבד וכונסין אותן בחביות ומכניסין אותן לאוצר שבעיר ומחלקין מהן ערבי שבתות כל אחד ואחד לפי ביתו

At first the emissaries of the court would sit at the entrances of the cities [to look for] everyone who brought in their hand [Sabbatical year] produce. The emissaries would take it from him, giving him food for three meals from it, and as for the rest they would store it in the storehouse [מכניסין אותו לאוצר] that was in the city. When the time came for figs, the emissaries of the court would hire workers, and they would pick them and make them into cakes, and store them in the storehouse [ומכניסין אותן לאוצר] that was in the city. When the time came for grapes, the emissaries of the court would hire workers, and they would cut them [from the vine] and tread them in the winepress, and put them in storage jars, and store them in the storehouse [ומכניסין אותן לאוצר] that was in the city. When the time came for olives, the emissaries of the court would hire workers, and they would harvest them and pack them in the olive press, and put them in storage jars, and store them in the storehouse [ומכניסין אותן לאוצר] of the city. And they would distribute from these on the eve of the Sabbath to everyone according to the size of his house [i.e., the number of members in his family—DNB and JNT]. (t. Shev. 8:1; Vienna MS)

The root כ-נ-ס means “collect,” “gather” as well as “bring in,” “store up,”[76] making it a good equivalent for συνάγειν, and as we have seen from the above quotation, הִכְנִיס is precisely the verb used for storing agricultural produce in a storehouse. We have therefore adopted this verb for HR.

L17 καὶ ὁ θεὸς (GR). Notice that in the parallel illustration concerning clothing both Matthew and Luke agree that it is God (ὁ θεός) who provides (L41; Matt. 6:30; Luke 12:28). Here, in the illustration concerning sustenance, we would expect the same. In addition, Catchpole pointed out that using “God” with reference to the animals and plants, and reserving the title “your Father” for what directly relates to the disciples gives the argument a stronger punch.[77] Most decisive, however, is the fact that Matthew does not have the highly Hebraic construction ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς (“the Father of you, the one in the heavens”). Instead, we find in Matt. 6:26 the Grecized formula ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος (“the Father of you, the heavenly”).[78] Had the author of Matthew used the more Hebraic construction, choosing between the Matthean and Lukan readings would have been more difficult. As it is, Luke’s καὶ ὁ θεός is more likely to be original.

וְשָׁמַיִם (HR). We suspect that the Greek translator of the conjectured Hebrew Life of Yeshua frequently translated שָׁמַיִם (shāmayim, “heaven”) as θεός (theos, “God”) when it was clear to him that שָׁמַיִם was a substitute for the divine name. Our reconstruction presupposes that Jesus, like his contemporaries, refrained from uttering the divine name in ordinary speech.[79]

L18 τρέφει αὐτούς (GR). Having accepted Luke’s “ravens” in L13 it is necessary to adopt in L18 the corresponding pronoun, αὐτούς (avtous, “them”).

מְפַרְנֵס אוֹתָם (HR). In LXX τρέφειν (trefein, “to rear,” “to support”) translates הֶאֱכִיל (he’echil, “feed”) only in Prov. 25:21. Above, in Comment to L13, we encountered a rabbinic parallel to Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry (b. Bab. Bat. 8a) in which the verb פִּרְנֵס (pirnēs) is used for maintenance of ravens. We have adopted פִּרְנֵס for HR not only because of the rabbinic parallel, but also because פִּרְנֵס (“support,” “maintain”) is closer to the meaning of τρέφειν than הֶאֱכִיל or זָן (zān, “feed”), the other options we considered for HR.

L19 πόσῳ μᾶλλον ὑμεῖς (GR). We have adopted Luke’s πόσῳ μᾶλλον (posō mallon, “How much more?”) construction, which looks like an attempt to render the Hebrew idiom עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה (‘al ’aḥat kamāh vechamāh, lit., “Concerning one, how many and how many?”), a phrase that occurs regularly in kal vahomer arguments and that means “How much more?” (see Fathers Give Good Gifts, Comment to L15).[80] Matthew’s οὐχ ὑμεῖς μᾶλλον διαφέρετε (“Don’t you have more importance?”) looks like an attempt to make the Hebraic idiom more intelligible for Greek readers.

L20 שֶׁחֲמוּרִים (HR). Although διαφέρειν (diaferein, “to carry through,” “to be different”) does occur in LXX, it lacks a Hebrew equivalent, and mainly occurs in books originally composed in Greek.[81] We have reconstructed διαφέρειν with the adjective חָמוּר (ḥāmūr, “heavy”),[82] which in kal vahomer arguments can have the sense of “important,” as the following examples demonstrate:

ומה אם מזבח החמור אם רצה לשנות ישנה קל וחומר לשאר כל הכלים

If with regard to the altar, which is the more important matter [החמור], if one wants to change the building material he may change it, how much more so for all the rest of the Temple furnishings? (Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, BaḤodesh chpt. 11 [ed. Lauterbach, 2:351-352])

אם מוציאה הכתוב מידי מכר החמור קל וחומר מידי רציעה קלה

If Scripture makes an exception for selling, which is the more important matter [החמור], how much more so for piercing, which is the lighter matter? (Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, Nezikin chpt. 3 [ed. Lauterbach, 2:369])

אם נדחו טמאים ממחנה הארון הקל ק″ו ממחנה שכינה חמור

If ritually impure things are forbidden from the camp of the Ark, which is a less important matter, how much more so from the camp of the Shechinah, a more important matter [חמור]? (Sifre Num. §2 [ed. Horovitz, 2])

Although the addition of the relative pronoun -שֶׁ (she-, “that,” “which,” “who”) is not indicated by the Greek text, the Hebrew construction demands its presence. Without the -שֶׁ the meaning of the clause would be “…how much more important are you than the birds of the sky?” which is a non sequitur. The conclusion to be drawn from Jesus’ argument is not that the disciples are more important than birds—a given—but that if God provides the birds (which are of less importance) with food, then he will all the more provide the disciples (who are of greater importance) with food. Compare Fathers Give Good Gifts, L18, where we also felt compelled to add -שֶׁ to HR in a kal vahomer argument.

Dead Sea sparrow (Passer Moabiticus) as drawn by Joseph Wolf in H. B. Tristram’s “On the Ornithology of Palestine (Part VI),” Ibis 3.11 (1867): 360-371 (Plate VII opposite p. 371); idem, The Survey of Western Palestine: The Fauna and Flora of Palestine (London: Palestine Exploration Fund, 1884), Plate IX opposite p. 65. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

L21 τῶν πετεινῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ (GR). As we discussed above in Comment to L13, we believe the author of Luke dropped the qualifier “of the sky.” The author of Matthew, who saw “the birds of the sky” at this point in his source (Anth.), used this phrase as a substitution for “ravens,” and therefore simply wrote “them” opposite Luke’s “the birds” in order to avoid repetition. The phrase τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ occurs 7xx in the Synoptic Gospels (Matt. 6:26; 8:20; 13:32; Mark 4:32; Luke 8:5; 9:58; 13:19). In every instance οὐρανός (ouranos, “sky,” “heaven”) occurs in the singular form.

מֵעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם (HR). On reconstructing πετεινόν + τοῦ οὐρανοῦ as עוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם (‘ōf hashāmayim, “the birds of the heavens”), see Not Everyone Can Be Yeshua’s Disciple, Comment to L10.

L22-27 The question regarding the disciples’ ability to add to their stature or lifespan (on which is intended, see below) is often regarded as a later accretion that was inserted into Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry at a pre-synoptic stage of transmission.[83] Scholars typically regard Matt. 6:27 // Luke 12:25 as a further elaboration of the illustration concerning sustenance,[84] but the τίς ἐξ ὑμῶν (“Who among you?”) construction usually introduces a new illustration.[85] Perhaps it is better, therefore, to regard Matt. 6:27 // Luke 12:25 as leading into the illustration concerning clothing. Note that a rhetorical question—“Is not the soul more important than life, and the body more important than clothes?”—led into the illustration concerning sustenance, so regarding the rhetorical question in Matt. 6:27 // Luke 12:25 as a lead-in to the illustration concerning clothing gives balance to Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry. The ability of the rhetorical question to lead into the illustration concerning clothing, however, depends on whether adding to one’s stature, rather than to one’s lifespan, is the correct interpretation of the saying, since only an increase of stature leads naturally into the illustration, “Examine the flowers of the field, how they grow….”[86]

L22 וּמִי בָּכֶם (HR). On reconstructing the phrase τίς ἐξ ὑμῶν (tis ex hūmōn, “Who among you?”) as מִי בָּכֶם (mi bāchem, “Who among you?”), see Tower Builder and King Going to War, Comment to L1.

L23 μεριμνῶν δύναται (GR). While Luke and Matthew agree as to the wording, how the participle ought to be understood requires further elucidation. According to Hagner, the participle μεριμνῶν (merimnōn, “worrying”) has an instrumental force, hence the question ought to be understood as “Who among you by worrying is able…?”[87] Betz, on the other hand, rendered the question as “Which of you who are (so) worried is able…?”[88] Which interpretation of the participle is correct?

A comparison of Matt. 6:27 // Luke 12:25 with the other τίς ἐξ ὑμῶν questions may help resolve the issue. In the Tower Builder simile (Luke 14:28), in the Lost Sheep simile (Luke 15:4) and in the “Just Doing My Job” simile (Luke 17:7) we have three examples of the τίς ἐξ ὑμῶν formula followed by a participle:

τίς γὰρ ἐξ ὑμῶν θέλων πύργον οἰκοδομῆσαι

For who among you wishing to build a tower…? (Luke 14:28)

τίς ἄνθρωπος ἐξ ὑμῶν ἔχων ἑκατὸν πρόβατα

What person among you having a hundred sheep…? (Luke 15:4)

τίς δὲ ἐξ ὑμῶν δοῦλον ἔχων

But who among you having a slave…? (Luke 17:7)

In each of these instances, rendering the participle with an instrumental meaning would be nonsensical.[89] The above examples suggest that here, too, in Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry, interpreting the participle in an instrumental sense is unwarranted. Jesus did not ask whether anyone can add to their stature or lifespan by means of worrying, rather he asked, “Who among you worriers is able to increase his stature/lifespan?”

שֶׁמְּהַרְהֵר יָכוֹל (HR). On reconstructing μεριμνᾶν with הִרְהֵר, see above, Comment to L4. On reconstructing δύνασθαι (dūnasthai, “to be able”) with יָכוֹל (yāchōl, “able”), see Demands of Discipleship, Comment to L10.

L24 προσθεῖναι (GR). Matthew and Luke differ with respect to the placement of the verb προστιθέναι (prostithenai, “to add”). In Matthew the verb comes before the phrase ἐπὶ τὴν ἡλικίαν αὐτοῦ (“upon the stature of him”), while in Luke it comes after the same. We have accepted Matthew’s word order for GR, since it is more Hebraic.

לְהוֹסִיף (HR). The vast majority of instances of προστιθέναι in LXX are the translation of הוֹסִיף (hōsif, “add”).[90] Conversely, הוֹסִיף is rendered in LXX with προστιθέναι far more often than with any other verb.[91]

L25 עַל קוֹמָתוֹ (HR). In LXX προστιθέναι ἐπί (“to add upon”) is the usual translation of הוֹסִיף עַל (“add upon,” i.e., “add to,” “increase”).[92] We also frequently encounter הוֹסִיף עַל in rabbinic sources.[93] Therefore, the reconstruction of προστιθέναι ἐπί as הוֹסִיף עַל in L24-25 is not in doubt.

More problematic is how to interpret the meaning of ἡλικία (hēlikia) in Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry. The primary meaning of ἡλικία is “age,”[94] but it also acquired the secondary meaning of “height” or “stature.” Both meanings are attested in the Gospels: ἡλικία refers to the stature of the twelve-year-old Jesus in Luke 2:52, and to the short stature of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:3, whereas in John 9:21, 23 ἡλικίαν ἔχει (hēlikian echei) means “he is of age.” On the other hand, the use of ἡλικία in the sense of “length of life,” which is the meaning required in Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry if ἡλικία is interpreted temporally, is not attested in the ancient sources.[95]

In LXX ἡλικία occurs 22xx, but mainly in books originally composed in Greek. There is only one instance of ἡλικία in LXX that is the translation of a Hebrew word, and in that one instance that word is קוֹמָה (qōmāh, “height,” “stature”; Ezek. 13:18). It is also the case that opposite ἡλικία in Sir. 26:17 a Hebrew MS of Ben Sira (MS C) reads קוֹמָה. The noun קוֹמָה never means “age” or “lifespan.”[96]

In 2 Kgs. 20:6 we find an example of a promise to extend the length of a person’s life, where this is expressed as וְהֹסַפְתִּי עַל יָמֶיךָ חֲמֵשׁ עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה (“And I will add upon your days fifteen years”). The LXX renders this promise as καὶ προσθήσω ἐπὶ τὰς ἡμέρας σου πέντε καὶ δέκα ἔτη (“And I will add to your days fifteen years”; 4 Kgdms. 20:6; NETS). Neither the Greek nor Hebrew expressions of the promise to extend a person’s lifespan resemble the saying in Matt. 6:27 // Luke 12:25.

In light of the above evidence it is difficult to justify any reconstruction of ἡλικία other than קוֹמָה, with the corollary that we must understand the rhetorical question in terms of adding to one’s physical stature.

L27 πῆχυν ἕνα (GR). We suspect that the author of Luke dropped ἕνα (hena, “one”) from his source.[97] Davies and Allison regard the placement of ἕνα after πῆχυς (pēchūs, “cubit”) as a Semitism.[98]

In this mosaic from Tzippori (Sepphoris) two youths chisel cubit markers onto a “Nilometer,” a device used to measure the flood levels of the Nile River. The top marker reads ΙΖ (= 17 cubits). According to the second-century C.E. satirist Lucian, the flood waters of the Nile were often personified in Greco-Roman art as sixteen little childlike creatures known as οἱ πήχεις (“the cubits”), since a rise of sixteen cubits was considered to be the optimal annual flood level (A Professor of Public Speaking §6). The mosaic depiction and the personification of the Nile’s cubits in Lucian are both excellent examples of πῆχυς (pēchūs, “cubit”) as a spatial, rather than a temporal, unit of measure. Photo courtesy of Joshua N. Tilton.

אַמָּה אַחַת (HR). The noun πῆχυς refers to a measure of space (viz., the distance between the elbow and the tip of the middle finger).[99] It is not a unit of time.[100] There are no attestations of a temporal use of πῆχυς in the ancient sources.[101] Although scholars who favor a temporal meaning for Jesus’ saying in Matt. 6:27 // Luke 12:25 regularly cite a temporal use of the cognate adjective πήχυιος (pēchūios) in the works of the seventh-century B.C.E. poet Mimnermus in support of their interpretation,[102] a single obscure example of a different, albeit related, term cannot justify reading “add a moment to your life” in Matt. 6:27 // Luke 12:25.[103] The correct interpretation, despite the problems it may create, must be “add a single cubit to his stature.”[104]

In LXX πῆχυς is the equivalent of אַמָּה (’amāh, “cubit”).[105] The phrase אַמָּה אַחַת occurs in the Hebrew Bible and in rabbinic literature.[106] An illuminating example of this phrase is found in the following rabbinic source:

מלבו ולמטה שתי אמות ומלבו ולמעלה אמה אחת

From his heart down [a person’s height—DNB and JNT] is two cubits, and from his heart up [a person’s height—DNB and JNT] is one cubit [אמה אחת]. (Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, Vayassa‘ chpt. 4 [ed. Lauterbach, 1:238])

The point of Jesus’ question is that worriers cannot add a single cubit to their height, but God, who creates the body, adds three or so cubits to a person’s height between the time of his conception and the attainment of his full stature. Since God was able to grow the disciples’ bodies to their full stature, he can surely provide their bodies with clothes.

L28-29 Luke 12:26 has no parallel in the Matthean version of Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry. We believe that the question “If you are not able to do the littlest things, why do you worry about the rest?” was the author of Luke’s attempt to paraphrase the gist of Jesus’ argument.[107] Some of the vocabulary in Luke 12:26 (περί, μεριμνᾶτε) also occurs in Matt. 6:28 (L30), which may indicate that the author of Luke recycled some of Anth.’s wording when composing his paraphrase. Since we regard Luke 12:26 as a Lukan composition, this verse has been omitted from GR and HR.

L30 καὶ περὶ ἐνδύματος τί μεριμνᾶτε (GR). We have adopted Matthew’s introduction to the illustration concerning clothing for GR. As we noted in Comment to L28-29, Luke 12:26 betrays awareness of this introduction, confirming our supposition that Matthew’s wording in L30 was copied from Anth.

וְעַל כְּסוּת לָמָּה אַתֶּם מְהַרְהְרִים (HR). In LXX περί (peri, “concerning,” “around”) is often the translation of עַל (‘al, “upon,” “concerning”).[108] Below are two examples of περί as the translation of עַל, which are parallel to our reconstruction:

וְעַל הִשָּׁנוֹת הַחֲלוֹם אֶל־פַּרְעֹה פַּעֲמָיִם כִּי־נָכוֹן הַדָּבָר מֵעִם הָאֱלֹהִים וּמְמַהֵר הָאֱלֹהִים לַעֲשׂתוֹ

And concerning [וְעַל] the repeating of the dream to Pharaoh two times, it means that the matter is firmly established with God and God will hasten to do it. (Gen. 41:32)

περὶ δὲ τοῦ δευτερῶσαι τὸ ἐνύπνιον Φαραω δίς, ὅτι ἀληθὲς ἔσται τὸ ῥῆμα τὸ παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ, καὶ ταχυνεῖ ὁ θεὸς τοῦ ποιῆσαι αὐτό

And as for [περὶ δὲ] Pharao’s dream being repeated twice: because the matter that is from God will be real, and God will hasten to do it. (Gen. 41:32; NETS)

על אלה אל תבוש…על תורת עליון וחק ועל משפט להצדיק רשע

Concerning [על] these things do not be ashamed…concerning [על] the Torah of the Most High and [his] statute, and concerning [ועל] judgment lest the wicked be justified. (Mas IV, 6-7)

μὴ περὶ τούτων αἰσχυνθῇς…περὶ νόμου ὑψίστου καὶ διαθήκης καὶ περὶ κρίματος δικαιῶσαι τὸν ἀσεβῆ

Concerning [περὶ] these things do not be ashamed…concerning [περὶ] the Law of the Most High and [his] covenant, and concerning [καὶ περὶ] judgment lest the impious be justified. (Sir. 42:1-2)

On reconstructing ἔνδυμα as כְּסוּת, see above, Comment to L11. On reconstructing μεριμνᾶν with הִרְהֵר, see above, Comment to L4.

L31 καταμάθετε τὰ κρίνα τοῦ ἀγροῦ (GR). We have accepted Matthew’s wording in L31, since the verb κατανοεῖν (see above, Comment to L12) and the omission of the construct-like phrase “of the field” (see above, Comment to L13) in Luke’s version are probably redactional.

הִסְתַּכְּלוּ בְּצִיץ הַשָּׂדֶה (HR). Out of the eight instances of καταμαθεῖν (katamathein, “to examine”) in LXX, two are the translation of רָאָה (rā’āh, “see,” “look”; Gen. 34:1; Lev. 14:36). Although we could reconstruct καταμαθεῖν using רָאָה we have preferred to use the more colorful MH verb הִסְתַּכֵּל (histakēl, “look at,” “reflect upon”). Compare our reconstruction to the following example from an early rabbinic source:

אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא למשה אמור להם לישראל הסתכלו בשמים שבראתי לשמשכם

The Holy one, blessed be he, said to Moses, “Say to Israel, ‘Look at the heavens, which I created to serve you….’” (Sifre Deut. §306 [ed. Finkelstein, 332])

Wildflowers in Israel photographed by Gloria E. M. Suess. The red blossoms are those of the Corn Poppy (Papaver subpyriforme).

בְּצִיץ הַשָּׂדֶה (HR). Although in LXX κρίνον (krinon) is usually the translation of שׁוֹשַׁנָּה (shōshanāh, “lily”),[109] the phrase שׁוֹשַׁנֵּי הַשָּׂדֶה (shōshanē hasādeh, “the lilies of the field”) never occurs in MT, DSS or rabbinic sources. However, since κρίνον can be used generically for “flower,[110] we have preferred to reconstruct τὰ κρίνα τοῦ ἀγροῦ as צִיץ הַשָּׂדֶה (tzitz hasādeh, “the flower of the field”), a construct phrase that occurs twice in the Hebrew Bible:

כָּל־הַבָּשָׂר חָצִיר וְכָל־חַסְדּוֹ כְּצִיץ הַשָּׂדֶה׃ יָבֵשׁ חָצִיר נָבֵל צִיץ כִּי רוּחַ יי נָשְׁבָה בּוֹ אָכֵן חָצִיר הָעָם׃ יָבֵשׁ חָצִיר נָבֵל צִיץ וּדְבַר אֱלֹהֵינוּ יָקוּם לְעוֹלָם

All flesh is grass and all his comeliness [ḥesed][111] is like a flower of the field [LXX: ἄνθος χόρτου (“flower of grass”)]. Grass dries out and a flower withers when a wind of the LORD blows over it. Indeed, the people are grass. Grass dries and a flower withers, but the word of our God will endure forever. (Isa. 40:6-8)

אֱנוֹשׁ כֶּחָצִיר יָמָיו כְּצִיץ הַשָּׂדֶה כֵּן יָצִיץ כִּי רוּחַ עָבְרָה בּוֹ וְאֵינֶנּוּ וְלֹא יַכִּירֶנּוּ עוֹד מְקוֹמוֹ וְחֶסֶד יי מֵעוֹלָם וְעַד עוֹלָם עַל יְרֵאָיו וְצִדְקָתוֹ לִבְנֵי בָנִים

As for a man, his days are like the grass. Like a flower of the field [LXX: ἄνθος τοῦ ἀγροῦ (“flower of the field”)] he flowers. For the wind passes over it, and it is no more and its place is no longer recognized. But the benevolence [ḥesed] of the LORD is from forever unto forever upon those who fear him, and his righteousness extends to the children’s children. (Ps. 103:15-17)

Mountain Tulip (Tulipa montana) photographed by Gloria E. M. Suess.

Neither instance of צִיץ הַשָּׂדֶה is translated τὰ κρίνα τοῦ ἀγροῦ in LXX, which makes “the flowers of the field” in Matt. 6:28 a non-Septuagintal Hebraism. Note that although צִיץ in the construct phrase צִיץ הַשָּׂדֶה is singular, in the Greek phrase τὰ κρίνα τοῦ ἀγροῦ “flowers” are plural. This parallels the translation of עוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם (“the bird [sing.] of the sky”) as τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ (“the birds [plur.] of the heaven”) in LXX.[112] In Hebrew עוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם (“the bird [sing.] of the sky”) can take either singular or plural verbs,[113] and although the two instances of צִיץ הַשָּׂדֶה in MT are accompanied by singular verbs, this Hebrew construct phrase could probably take plural verbs as well, as Matthew’s use of plural verbs in L32 and L33 suggests.

Crown Anemone (Anemone coronaria) photographed by Gloria E. M. Suess.

The contexts in which the two instances of צִיץ הַשָּׂדֶה in the Hebrew Bible appear strengthen our conviction that this was the phrase that τὰ κρίνα τοῦ ἀγροῦ in Matt. 6:28 was intended to represent. Both Isa. 40:6 and Ps. 103:15 pair “flower of the field” with “grass,” and both verses reflect on the transience of a flower’s beauty (cf. Matt. 6:30 // Luke 12:28). If Jesus did intend to allude to Psalm 103 by directing his disciples to look at the flowers of the field, can the mention of God’s righteousness in Ps. 103:17 (צִדְקָתוֹ = ἡ δικαιοσύνη αὐτοῦ) and Matt 6:33 (L56) be mere coincidence? On the other hand, LXX points to a variant version of Isa. 40:6, which may have been current in the time of Jesus. Whereas MT reads, “All flesh is grass, and all his covenant faithfulness [ḥesed] is like a flower of the field,” LXX reads, “All flesh is grass, all a person’s glory [δόξα ἀνθρώπου] is like a flower of grass.” The comparison of a person’s glory to the flowers of the field in the LXX version of Isa. 40:6 (and the Hebrew text-tradition it may represent) may have inspired the comparison of the flowers to Solomon’s glory in Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry (L35-37). Of course, a double allusion to Isa. 40:6 and Ps. 103:15 in Jesus’ illustration concerning clothing would not be at all surprising. If two verses shared a word or phrase that appears nowhere else in Scripture, it was common for ancient Jewish exegetes to read those verses together, a principle known in rabbinic sources as gezerah shavah. That Jesus was familiar with this exegetical technique and made use of it on occasion is proven by his citation of the “double love commandment” based on the occurrence of וְאָהַבְתָּ (“and you shall love”) in Deut. 6:5 and Lev. 19:18.[114]

On reconstructing ἀγρός with שָׂדֶה, see Hidden Treasure and Priceless Pearl, Comment to L4.

Scarlet Crowfoot (Ranunculus asiaticus) photographed by Gloria E. M. Suess.

L32-33 When Codex Sinaiticus was exposed to ultraviolet light it was revealed that the scribe who produced this manuscript had originally written πῶς οὐ ξένουσιν οὐδε νήθουσιν οὐδε κοπιῶσιν (“how they do not card or spin or labor”) in Matt. 6:28. The scribe then erased what he had written and inscribed πῶς αὐξάνουσιν οὐ κοπιοῦσιν οὐδὲ νήθουσιν (“how they grow: they do not labor or spin”) in its place.[115] There is a visual similarity between οὐ ξένουσιν (“they do not card”) and αὐξάνουσιν (“they grow”), which may have contributed to the scribal error, but it is also possible that the scribe who produced Codex Sinaiticus was familiar with a different version of Jesus’ saying that mentioned carding, since we find the statement “You are far better than the lilies, which do not card nor spin [οὐ ξαίνει οὐδε νήθει]” in a Greek fragment of the Gospel of Thomas (see above, “Conjectured Stages of Transmission”). Perhaps both explanations of how the variant reading in Codex Sinaiticus came about are correct: being familiar with a different form of the saying, the scribe who produced Codex Sinaiticus initially misread αὐξάνουσιν (“they grow”) as οὐ ξένουσιν (“they do not card”), but upon taking a closer look at his text, he saw his mistake and immediately corrected his error.

There is also an important textual variant in Luke 12:27. Whereas Codex Vaticanus reads πῶς αὐξάνει οὐ κοπιᾷ οὐδὲ νήθει (“how it grows: it does not labor and it does not spin”), basically in agreement with the Matthean parallel, Luke 12:27 in Codex Bezae reads πῶς οὔτε νήθει οὔτε ὑφαίνει (“how it neither spins nor weaves”). Some scholars accept the reading of Codex Bezae as the original text of Luke,[116] but whether or not they are correct in this assessment, it is unlikely that the reading in Bezae can be traced back to Anth. It seems more probable that either the author of Luke or a later scribe inserted “weave” as a replacement for the non-specific “toil,” and that the change from “how it grows…” to “how it neither spins nor weaves” was an attempt to streamline Jesus’ argument. We have therefore adopted Matthew’s wording in L32-33 for GR.

Painting of flowers located near the entrance to the Edicule in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Photographed by Gary Asperschlager.

L32 πῶς αὐξάνουσιν (GR). Opposite Matthew’s “how they grow” Luke’s version (according to most MSS) reads “how it grows.” Since it is more elegant in Greek to use singular verbs with plural neuter nouns, we suspect that Luke’s use of singular verbs in L32 and L33 is redactional.[117] Matthew’s use of plural verbs is more coarse and likely reflects a literal translation of the conjectured Hebrew Life of Yeshua, which reached the author of Matthew via Anth.

הֵיאַךְ הֵם צוֹמְחִים (HR). In LXX πῶς (pōs, “how”) is mainly the translation of אֵיךְ (’ēch, “how”), and less frequently of אֵיכָה (’ēchāh, “how”), but in MH these were largely replaced with הֵיאַךְ (hē’ach, “how”).[118] Non-interrogative uses of הֵיאַךְ, as in our reconstruction, are found in the following examples:

אמ′ ר′ יוחנן בן נורי בא וראה היאך הלכה זו רווחת בישראל

Rabbi Yohanan ben Nuri said, “Come and see how [היאך] this halachah is widespread in Israel.” (t. Yev. 1:9; Vienna MS)

אין אומ′ אילו היה אביהן קיים היה נותן להן כך וכך אלא רואין שכנגדן היאך מתפרנסות ונותנין להן

They do not say, “If their father had been alive he would have given them such and such,” rather they see how [היאך] those who are their peers were being maintained, and they would give to them accordingly. (t. Ket. 6:2; Vienna MS)[119]

In LXX αὐξάνειν (avxanein, “to grow”) usually translates either פָּרָה (pārāh, “bear fruit”) or גָּדַל (gādal, “grow”).[120] The former is not suitable in the present context, but the latter might be a viable option for HR. Another option we considered for HR is פָּרַח (pāraḥ, “flower,” “sprout”). This verb is used with צִיץ in a post-biblical text discovered at Qumran:

כי הנה כח[צ]יר יצמח מארצו ופרח כציץ חסדו נשב[ה–] רוחו ויבש וציצו תשא רוח עד אייקום

For behold, like grass he sprouts from his earth and his covenant loyalty blossoms [פרח] like a flower. His wind blows and it dries and the wind carries his flower to nothingness. (4Q185 1-2 I, 9-11)

In the end we decided to reconstruct αὐξάνειν with צָמַח (tzāmaḥ, “sprout,” “grow”), a common verb for describing plant growth in Mishnaic as well as Biblical Hebrew.[121] In the hif‘il stem the root צ-מ-ח is used to describe the growth of grass (חָצִיר [ḥātzir]; Ps. 104:14; 147:8), which is found parallel to צִיץ (tzitz, “flower”) in verses that may have influenced Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry (see below, Comment to L38).[122]

A spindle and whorl used for spinning wool. Photographed at the Golan Archaeological Museum by Todd Bolen. Image courtesy of BiblePlaces.com.

L33 οὐ κοπιῶσιν οὐδὲ νήθουσιν (GR). Although the text of Vaticanus reads οὐ κοπιοῦσιν (ou kopiousin), this unusual spelling is probably a scribal error.[123] We have therefore adopted the more usual spelling οὐ κοπιῶσιν (ou kopiōsin, “they do not toil”) for GR, which is attested in the majority of MSS.

אֵינָם עֲמֵלִים וְאֵינָם טוֹוִים (HR). Settling on a verb with which to reconstruct κοπιᾶν (kopian, “to toil”) is difficult. In LXX κοπιᾶν is the translation of several different Hebrew verbs, although it translates יָגַע (yāga‘, “be weary,” “toil”) far more frequently than any of the others.[124] In MH יָגַע continued to be used for “toil” or “labor,”[125] making יָגַע a perfectly acceptable option for HR. Another verb translated as κοπιᾶν in LXX is עָמַל (‘āmal, “toil,” “labor”),[126] and this verb likewise remained current in MH.[127] We have adopted עָמַל for HR simply because it is slightly more common in the Mishnah than יָגַע. An example of the plural participle עֲמֵלִים (amēlim, “they are toiling”) is found in a prayer of Rabbi Nehonyah ben ha-Kanah:

וביציאתו מהו אומר מודה אני לפניך ה′ אלהי ואלהי אבותי שנתת חלקי מיושבי בית המדרש ובתי כנסיות ולא נתת חלקי בבתי תרטיות ובבתי קרקסיות שאני עמל והן עמלים אני שוקד והן שוקדים אני עמל לירש גן עדן והן עמלים לבאר שחת שנאמר כי לא תעזוב נפשי לשאול לא תתן חסידך לראות שחת

And when he [i.e., Rabbi Nehonyah ben ha-Kanah—DNB and JNT] exits [the house of study] what does he say? “I am giving thanks before you, O Lord my God and God of my fathers, that you have set my portion among those who sit in the house of study and synagogues, and that you have not set my portion in the theater houses or in the circus arenas, for I am toiling [עמל] and they are toiling [עמלים], I rise early and they rise early. I am toiling [עמל] to inherit the Garden of Eden, but they are toiling [עמלים] for the pit of destruction, as it is said, For you will not abandon me to Sheol or let your faithful one see the Pit [Ps. 16:10].” (y. Ber. 4:2 [33a])

Deciding how to reconstruct the verb νήθειν (nēthein, “to spin”) is less difficult. In LXX νήθειν translates either טָוָה (ṭāvāh, “spin”) or שָׁזַר (shāzar, “twist”), but since the latter does not occur in the Mishnah, while the former does, טָוָה is the obvious choice for HR. A mishnaic example of טָוָה is found in the following rabbinic statement:

וְאֵיזוֹ הִיא דַת יְהוּדִים יוֹצָא וְרֹאשָׁהּ פָּרוּעַ וְטוֹוָה בַשּׁוּק וּמְדַבֶּרֶת עִם כָּל אָדָם

And who is she that transgresses Jewish custom? She that goes out with her head uncovered or spins [טוֹוָה] in the market or speaks with any person. (m. Ket. 7:6; cf. t. Sot. 5:9)

This unpalatable opinion identifies spinning as women’s work.[128] Scholars often suggest that in Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry the ravens are said not to perform men’s work and the flowers are said not to perform work done by women.[129]

L34 λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν ὅτι (GR). The presence or absence of ὅτι is the only point of disagreement between Matthew and Luke in L34. Since the author of Matthew generally followed the wording of Anth. more closely in this pericope than did the author of Luke, we have retained ὅτι in GR.[130]

וַאֲנִי אוֹמֵר לָכֶם (HR). For other examples of אֲנִי אוֹמֵר לָכֶם (“I am saying to you”) as the reconstruction of λέγω ὑμῖν (“I say to you”), see Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven, L102; Lost Sheep and Lost Coin, L34, L53; Persistent Widow, L25; Friend in Need, L15, L21; Sending the Twelve: Conduct in Town, L116; Blessedness of the Twelve, L10.

Here in L34 the coordinating conjunction -וְ (ve-) is used in the sense of “yet” or “nevertheless.”

L35 אַף שְׁלֹמֹה (HR). In LXX אַף (’af, “also,” even”) is more commonly translated as καί (kai, “and”), but there are a few instances where opposite אַף we find οὐδέ (oude, “and not”):

אַף בַּל נִטָּעוּ אַף בַּל זֹרָעוּ אַף בַּל שֹׁרֵשׁ בָּאָרֶץ גִּזְעָם וְגַם נָשַׁף בָּהֶם וַיִּבָשׁוּ

They are not even planted, they are not even sown, their stem has not even taken root in the ground, when he blows on them and they dry up. (Isa. 40:24)

οὐ γὰρ μὴ σπείρωσιν οὐδὲ μὴ φυτεύσωσιν, οὐδὲ μὴ ῥιζωθῇ εἰς τὴν γῆν ἡ ῥίζα αὐτῶν· ἔπνευσεν ἐπ᾿ αὐτοὺς καὶ ἐξηράνθησαν

For they will not sow, nor will they plant, neither will their root take root in the earth; he blew upon them, and they withered…. (Isa. 40:24; NETS)

אַף אֵין מַגִּיד אַף אֵין מַשְׁמִיעַ אַף אֵין שֹׁמֵעַ אִמְרֵיכֶם

There is no one declaring, and no one making it heard, and there is no one listening to your pronouncements. (Isa. 41:26)

οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ προλέγων οὐδὲ ὁ ἀκούων ὑμῶν τοὺς λόγους

There is none who foretells nor any who hears your words. (Isa. 41:26; NETS)

לֹא נָאוָה לְנָבָל שְׂפַת יֶתֶר אַף כִּי לְנָדִיב שְׂפַת שָׁקֶר

Fine lips are not seemly for a fool, likewise lying lips [are not seemly] for an aristocrat. (Prov. 17:7)

οὐχ ἁρμόσει ἄφρονι χείλη πιστὰ οὐδὲ δικαίῳ χείλη ψευδῆ

Faithful lips will not suit a fool, nor false lips the righteous. (Prov. 17:7; NETS)

The spelling Σολομών (Solomōn, “Solomon”) is the accepted rendition of the name שְׁלֹמֹה (Shelomoh, “Solomon”) in NT,[131] but this spelling occurs only once in LXX (2 Kgdms. 8:7), where there is no Hebrew equivalent. Josephus also adopted the spelling Σολομών in his works, as did most other Greek writers.[132] The usual LXX spelling is Σαλωμων (Salōmōn).[133]

L36 בְּכָל כְּבוֹדוֹ (HR). On reconstructing πᾶς (pas, “all,” “every”) with כָּל (kol, “all,” “every”), see Widow’s Son in Nain, Comment to L26. In LXX the noun δόξα (doxa, “glory”) can represent a number of Hebrew terms, but by far the most common is כָּבוֹד (kāvōd, “glory”).[134] Likewise, כָּבוֹד was translated in LXX as δόξα in the vast majority of instances.[135]

King Solomon as depicted in the 13th-cent. C.E. illuminated MS known as the North French Hebrew Miscellany. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Embedded in an aggadic tradition is a saying that appears to be proverbial, which may illuminate Jesus’ description of “Solomon in all his glory”: כְּבוֹדוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם כְּסוּתוֹ (“a person’s glory is his clothing”).[136] This proverbial statement is not the only source to associate clothing with glory.[137] A fragment of Ben Sira discovered at Qumran mentions “robes of glory” (בגדי כבוד),[138] and in a Greek addition to the book of Esther (Addition D) we read:

καὶ ἐγενήθη ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ τρίτῃ, ὡς ἐπαύσατο προσευχομένη, ἐξεδύσατο τὰ ἱμάτια τῆς θεραπείας καὶ περιεβάλετο τὴν δόξαν αὐτῆς

And it happened on the third day, as she ceased praying, she took off the garments of service and put on her glory. (Esth. 5:1; NETS)

In light of these ancient Jewish parallels we could paraphrase “Solomon in all his glory” as “Solomon in his finest clothing.”

Tomson noted the similarity between Jesus’ reference to “Solomon in all his glory” and rabbinic references to “Solomon in his time”:[139]

אֲפִילּוּ אַתְּ עוֹשֶׂה לָהֶם כִּסְעוֹדַת שְׁלֹמֹה בְשַׁעְתוֹ לֹא יָצָאתָה

Even if you make for them [a meal] like a banquet of Solomon in his time, you have not fulfilled your obligation. (m. Bab. Metz. 7:1)

תשעה באב שחל להיות בשבת אוכל אדם כל צרכו ושותה כל צרכו ומעלה על שולחנו כסעודת שלמה בשעתו ואין מונע מעצמו כלום

When the ninth of Av [i.e., a fast day commemorating the destruction of the Temple—DNB and JNT] coincides with the Sabbath a person may eat all he needs and drink all he needs and he may set his table like a banquet of Solomon in his time and he does not deny himself a thing. (t. Taan. 3:13; Vienna MS; cf. t. Sanh. 11:6)

The comparisons to “Solomon in his time” always refer to his extravagant meals, and although Solomon’s wealth was legendary in other respects,[140] Solomon’s clothing is not especially mentioned in other ancient Jewish sources. As Vermes observed, “The latter twist is due to the imagination of Jesus.”[141]

L37 לֹא הִתְכַּסֶּה כְּאַחַד מֵהֶם (HR). In LXX περιβάλλειν (periballein, “to put around”) usually translates the root כ-ס-ה,‎[142] or, less often, ל-ב-שׁ.‎[143] We have adopted the former for HR since it is consistent with the discussion concerning clothing (περὶ ἐνδύματος = וְעַל כְּסוּת; L30). Examples of הִתְכַּסֶּה (hitkaseh, “dress oneself”) in rabbinic sources include:

יָרַד לִטְבּוֹל אִם יָכוֹל לַעֲלוֹת וּלְהִתְכַּסּוֹת וְלִקְרֹאות עַד שֶׁלֹּא תָנֶץ הַחַמָּה יַעֲלֶה וְיִתְכַּסֶּה וְיִקְרֵא

If he went down to immerse: if he is able to come up and to dress himself [לְהִתְכַּסּוֹת] and recite [the Shema] before the sun has risen, he dresses himself [יִתְכַּסֶּה] and recites. (m. Ber. 3:5)

נוֹתֵן לָהּ כֵּלִים שֶׁלְּחֲמִישִּׁים זוּז בִימוֹת הַגְּשָׁמִים וְהִיא מִתְכַּסָּה בִּבְלָיוֹתֵיהֶין בִּימוֹת הַחַמָּה

He gives her garments worth fifty zuz during the days of rain [i.e., winter—DNB and JNT] and she dresses herself [מִתְכַּסָּה] in these worn-out clothes during the days of sun [i.e., summer—DNB and JNT]. (m. Ket. 5:8)

לֹא הָיוּ יְשֵׁינִים בְּבִגְדֵי קוֹדֶשׁ אֶלָּא פוֹשְׁטִין וּמְקַפְּלִין וּמַנִּיחִין אוֹתָן תַּחַת רָאשֵׁיהֶן וּמִתְכַּסִּין כְּסוּת עַצְמָן

They [i.e., the priests on duty in the Temple—DNB and JNT] would not sleep in the holy robes, rather they would disrobe and fold them up and place them under their heads, and they would dress themselves [מִתְכַּסִּין] in their own clothing. (m. Tam. 1:1)

Note that in the final example cited above הִתְכַּסֶּה is used in conjunction with כְּסוּת, precisely as in our reconstruction.

Compare our reconstruction of ὡς ἓν τούτων (“like one of these”) with the LXX translation of כְּאַחַד + ‎מִן in 1 Kgdms. 17:36:

גַּם אֶת הָאֲרִי גַּם הַדּוֹב הִכָּה עַבְדֶּךָ וְהָיָה הַפְּלִשְׁתִּי הֶעָרֵל הַזֶּה כְּאַחַד מֵהֶם

Both lion and bear has your servant struck down, and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them. (1 Sam. 17:36)

καὶ τὴν ἄρκον ἔτυπτεν ὁ δοῦλός σου καὶ τὸν λέοντα, καὶ ἔσται ὁ ἀλλόφυλος ὁ ἀπερίτμητος ὡς ἓν τούτων

And your slave would smite both the bear and the lion, and the uncircumcised allophyle shall be like one of these. (1 Kgdms. 17:36; NETS)

The construction כְּאַחַד + ‎מִן is found in biblical and post-biblical sources.[144] An example of כְּאַחַד + ‎מִן from the Mishnah is found in the following statement:

הַחוֹלֵץ לִיבִמְתּוֹ הֲרֵי הוּא כְאֶחַד מִכָּל הָאָחִים בַּנַּחֲלָה

The one who has been released by his dead brother’s wife from levirite marriage: he is like one of all the brothers [כְאֶחַד מִכָּל הָאָחִים] in terms of inheritance. (m. Yev. 4:7)

Jesus’ assessment that not even Solomon’s luxurious robes could match the clothing worn by the flowers has parallels in other ancient sources.[145] It was widely held in the Greco-Roman world that arts and crafts produced by human beings could never match the beauty produced in nature. Thus we read in the works of Pliny the Elder (died 79 C.E.) that “Not even the painter’s art, however, suffices to copy their [i.e., the flowers’—DNB and JNT] colours and the variety of their combinations” (Nat. Hist. 21:1; Loeb). Likewise, Diogenes Laertius (third century C.E.) recorded the following story about a legendary king named Croesus:

Illustration of peafowl by Edward Neale from Indian Sporting Birds (1915).

There is a story that Croesus in magnificent array sat himself down on his throne and asked Solon if he had ever seen anything more beautiful. “Yes,” was the reply, “cocks and pheasants and peacocks; for they shine in nature’s colours, which are ten thousand times more beautiful.” (Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 1:51; Loeb)

L38 εἰ δὲ τὸν χόρτον τοῦ ἀγροῦ (GR). It is clear from the Lukan-Matthean agreement to associate “grass” with “field” that both authors drew this association from Anth., and since Matthew’s τὸν χόρτον τοῦ ἀγροῦ (“the grass of the field”) looks like an attempt to woodenly translate a Hebrew construct phrase, it is likely that the author of Matthew preserved Anth.’s wording more exactly than did the author of Luke. Luke’s version (“but if in a field God so clothes the grass”)[146] looks like an attempt to polish the Greek style of Anth.’s more Hebraic wording.[147]

אִם כָּךְ אֶת חֲצִיר הַשָּׂדֶה (HR). On reconstructing εἰ (ei, “if”) with אִם (’im, “if”), see Tower Builder and King Going to War, Comment to L4.

Although Luke and Matthew agree that οὕτως (houtōs, “thus,” “so”) belongs later in the verse (L41), Hebrew syntax prefers כָּךְ (kāch, “thus,” “so”), the MH equivalent of οὕτως,[148] at the beginning of a sentence, as we observe in the following examples:

אִם כָּךְ הָיְתה {לו} נוֹהֵג לֹּא קִיַּימְתָּה מִצְוַתַ סוּכָּה מִיָּמֶיךָ

If thus you were behaving, you have not fulfilled the commandment of the sukkah in all your days! (m. Suk. 2:7; cf. m. Maksh. 3:4)

אִם כָּךְ אָמַר הַכָּתוּב מִצְטָעֵר אֲנִי עַל דָּמָן שֶׁלָּרְשָׁעִין קַל וָחוֹמֶר עַל דַּם צַדִּיקִים שֶׁנִּישְׁפַּךְ

If thus the Scripture says, “I am grieving over the blood of the wicked,” how much more over the blood of the righteous? (m. Sanh. 6:5)

ר′ עֲקִיבָה אוֹ′ לֹא בָא הַשְּׁלִישִׁי אֶלָּא לְהַחְמִיר עָלָיו וְלַעֲשׂוֹת דִּינוֹ כַיּוֹצֵא בָאֵלּוּ וְאִם כַּךְ עָנַשׁ הַכָּתוּב לַנֵּיטְפַּל לְעוֹבְרֵי עֲבֵירָה כְּעוֹבְרֵי עֲבֵירָה עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה יְשַׁלֵּם שָׂכָר לַנִּיטְפַּל לְעוֹשֶׂה מִצְוָּה כּעוֹשֵׂה מִצְוָה

Rabbi Akiva says, “The third [witness] is not mentioned except to demonstrate stringency concerning him and to make his judgment the same as these [lying witnesses—DNB and JNT]. And if thus [וְאִם כַּךְ] the Scripture punishes the one who supports committers of transgression like the ones committing transgression themselves, how much more will it pay a wage to the one who supports the doer of a commandment like the one doing the commandment himself?” (m. Mak. 1:7)

אָמַ′ ר′ מֵאִיר…אִם כֵּן חָסָה הַתּוֹרָה עַל מָמוֹנוֹ הַבָּזוּיִי קוֹל וָחוֹמֶר עַל מָמוֹנוֹ הֶחָבִיב אִם כָּךְ עַל מָמוֹנוֹ קוֹל וָחוֹמֶר עַל נֶפֶשׁ בָּנָיו וּבְנוֹתָיו אִם כַּךְ עַל שֶׁלָּרָשָׁע קַל וָחוֹמֶר עַל שֶׁלַּצַּדִּיק

Rabbi Meir said, “…If thus the Torah has pity on the property of the despised, how much more so on the property of the beloved? If it is thus [אִם כָּךְ] concerning his property, how much more so concerning the life of his sons and daughters? If it is thus [אִם כַּךְ] in the case of what belongs to the wicked, how much more in the case of what belongs to the righteous?” (m. Neg. 12:5)

Note how the majority of the examples of אִם כָּךְ occur in sentences that draw conclusions from kal vahomer arguments. Since Matt. 6:30 // Luke 12:28 likewise draws a conclusion from a kal vahomer argument, we believe אִם כָּךְ is the right choice for HR.

חֲצִיר הַשָּׂדֶה (HR). The phrase [ὁ] χόρτος [τοῦ] ἀγροῦ (“[the] grass of [the] field”) is used in Gen. 2:5; 3:18 and 4 Kgdms. 19:26 to translate עֵשֶׂב [הַ]שָּׂדֶה (“[the] herbs of [the] field”). Nevertheless, we have preferred to reconstruct χόρτος (chortos, “hay,” “grass”) with חָצִיר (ḥātzir, “grass”), since חָצִיר is paired with both instances of צִיץ הַשָּׂדֶה in MT (Isa. 40:6; Ps. 103:15) and with צִיץ in 4Q185 1-2 I, 10. The construct phrase חֲצִיר הַשָּׂדֶה is not found in MT, nor have we found examples of this phrase in DSS or in rabbinic sources. The closest example we have found is in the phrase חציר וירקות שדה (“leeks and vegetables of a field”), which occurs once in the Tosefta (t. Shev. 5:16; Vienna MS). As our translation of the Tosefta passage indicates, in MH חָצִיר came to refer to leeks rather than to grass.[149] Our reconstruction presumes that Jesus used חָצִיר in the older BH sense of the term.[150]

L39 σήμερον ὄντα (GR). We have adopted Matthew’s word order for GR in L39 mainly because the author of Matthew seems to have adhered more closely to the wording of Anth. than did the author of Luke.

שֶׁהַיּוֹם קַיָּם (HR). We have reconstructed the participle ὄντα (onta, “being”) with the MH adjective קַיָּם (qayām, “existing,” “enduring”). An example of קַיָּם used in reference to grass is found in the following midrash on Psalm 119:

זדים הליצוני עד מאד מתורתך לא נטיתי…ועוד חוזרין ואומרים לי, לא תמולו, ולא תשמרו את השבתות, ולא תקראו, ואני מתיירא ממך, ואין אני שומעת להם, שהם חציר יבש, כשם שאין חציר קיים, כך אין דבריהם קיימים לעולם, וכן אמר הכתוב יבש חציר נבל ציץ, וכשם שאתה קיים לעולם, כך דבריך קיימים לעולם, שנאמר ודבר אלהינו יקום לעולם.‏

Insolent persons mocked me to the extreme, but from your Torah I did not stray [Ps. 119:51]…. Once more they [i.e., hostile Gentiles—DNB and JNT] were returning and saying to me, “Do not circumcise! Do not keep the Sabbaths! Do not recite [the Shema]!”[151] But I feared you and I did not listen to them, for they are dry grass [חציר]. Just as grass does not endure [אין חציר קיים], so their words will not endure [קיימים] forever. And thus the Scripture says, Dry grass, a fading flower [Isa. 40:7]. But just as you [i.e., God—DNB and JNT] endure [קיים] forever, so your words endure [קיימים] forever, as it is said, but the word of our God is established forever [Isa. 40:8]. (Midrash Tehillim 119:20 [ed. Buber, 3:495])

The short-lived beauty of flowers is a theme common to the Hebrew Bible (Isa. 40:6-8; Ps. 103:15-16; Job 14:2), DSS (1QM XV, 11-12; 4Q185 1-2 I, 10-11), NT (James 1:10-11; 1 Pet. 1:24-25), and the works of Greco-Roman authors (Pliny, Nat. Hist. 21:1).[152]

A reconstructed oven at the Qatzrin museum photographed by Todd Bolen. Image courtesy of BiblePlaces.com.

L40 וּמָחָר בַּתַּנּוּר נָתוּן (HR). In LXX αὔριον (avrion, “tomorrow”) is almost always the translation of מָחָר (māḥār, “tomorrow”).[153] Since מָחָר continued to be used in MH, this is the best choice for HR. The choice of תַּנּוּר (tanūr, “oven”) is equally straightforward: in LXX κλίβανος (klibanos, “oven”) always translates תַּנּוּר,‎[154] and in MH תַּנּוּר continued to be used for “baking oven.” More difficult is how to reconstruct βάλλειν (ballein, “to throw”). Although “throw into an oven” is attested in rabbinic sources,[155] “putting” (נ-ת-ן) into an oven was the more common expression.[156] In an unpublished essay Lindsey noted that in Koine Greek the verb βάλλειν lost its intensive sense and came to be used for “to place” or “to put,” a usage that is also reflected in the Gospels.[157] Given the weakened sense of βάλλειν in the Greek of the Gospels, and in light of the use of נָתַן in MH sources for “place in an oven,” we have reconstructed βάλλειν with נָתַן in HR.

The use of stubble and straw as fuel in ovens is mentioned in m. Shab. 3:2. In t. Shev. 5:15 we read of various herbs that were collected for use “as wood” for fires.

L41 ὁ θεὸς οὕτως ἀμφιέννυσιν (GR). Between Matt. 6:30 and Luke 12:28 there is disagreement about whether to use the verb ἀμφιεννύναι (Matt.) or ἀμφιάζειν (Luke) for God’s clothing of the grass. Both verbs are rare in LXX, and since they are synonymous it is difficult to decide which ought to be accepted for GR. We have adopted Matthew’s wording in L41 since in Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry the author of Matthew adhered more strictly to Anth. than did the author of Luke.

מַלְבִּישׁ שָׁמַיִם (HR). The shift in verb from περιβάλλειν (L37) to ἀμφιεννύναι (L41) may indicate the use of different verbs in the conjectured Hebrew Life of Yeshua. For HR we have adopted הִלְבִּישׁ (hilbish, “clothe”) since the root ל-ב-שׁ is more or less synonymous with the root כ-ס-ה.

On reconstructing θεός with שָׁמַיִם, see above, Comment to L17.

L42 πόσῳ μᾶλλον ὑμᾶς (GR). As in L19, we believe the author of Luke copied the πόσῳ μᾶλλον (posō mallon, “How much more?”) construction from Anth.[158]

עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה אַתֶּם (HR). On reconstructing πόσῳ μᾶλλον with עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה, see above, Comment to L19.

L43 מְחוּסְּרֵי אֲמָנָה (HR). Basing his opinion on the supposed lack “of any real equivalent” to ὀλιγόπιστος (oligopistos, “small of faith”) “in the Semitic languages,” Fitzmyer concluded that the label “you of little faith” cannot be traced back to the historical Jesus.[159] Fitzmyer believed that this term must have originated at a Greek stage of the pre-synoptic tradition. Somehow Fitzmyer either overlooked or dismissed the appellation מְחוּסַּר אֲמָנָה (meḥūsar ’amānāh, “deficient of faith”), which appears in tannaic sources such as the following:[160]

וכן היה ר′ אליעזר אומר מי שיש לו מה שיאכל היום ויאמר מה אני אוכל למחר הרי זה ממחוסרי אמנה שנ′ דבר יום ביומו. מי שברא יום ברא פרנסתו.‏

And thus Rabbi Eliezer [ben Hyrcanus] would say: “Whoever has something that he can eat today but says, ‘What will I eat tomorrow?’: behold, this one is among those who lack faith [מחוסרי אמנה], as it is said, a day’s portion in its day [Exod. 16:4]. The one who created day created its sustenance.” (Mechilta de-Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai, BeShallaḥ 16:4 [ed. Epstein-Melamed, 106]; cited above, Comment to L5)[161]

Given the similarity between Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus’ saying and the message of Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry, as well as the temporal proximity between Rabbi Eliezer (late first century C.E.) and Jesus (early first century C.E.), there is little reason to doubt that Jesus did make use of the appellation “deficient of faith” to chide his disciples when they doubted God’s ability or willingness to supply their most basic needs.

L44-49 Although similar in many respects, there are important differences between Matt. 6:31 and Luke 12:29. Matthew’s version begins with “Therefore, do not worry, saying…,” it incorporates direct speech, and it mentions food, drink and clothing. Luke’s version prohibits seeking rather than worrying, and it omits the opening “therefore,” the direct speech and the reference to clothing. On the other hand, Luke’s version includes a prohibition against being perturbed that does not appear in Matthew’s version. We suspect that most of these differences are due to the author of Luke’s editorial activity. The addition of the prohibition μὴ μετεωρίζεσθε (mē meteōrizesthe, “Do not be perturbed”; L49) in particular looks like an attempt on the part of the author of Luke to compensate for the omission of μὴ μεριμνήσητε (mē merimnēsēte, “Do not worry”; L44). Likewise, the replacement of “Do not worry” with “Do not seek” at the opening of the verse appears to have been motivated by a desire to balance the negative command with the positive imperative to seek the Kingdom (L55). The author of Luke may have removed the direct speech for stylistic purposes.[162]

L44 μὴ οὖν μεριμνήσητε (GR). We initially hesitated to accept Matthew’s wording for GR because precisely the same phrase introduces yet another admonition against worry in Matt. 6:34 (L60). We could not ignore the fact, however, that Luke’s μὴ μετεωρίζεσθε (“Do not be perturbed”) in L49 looks like a paraphrase of Matthew’s μὴ οὖν μεριμνήσητε (“Therefore, do not worry”) in L44. If our surmise is correct, then we must conclude that Matthew preserves the reading of Anth.

לְפִיכָךְ אַל תְּהַרְהְרוּ (HR). On reconstructing οὖν (oun, “therefore”) with לְפִיכָךְ (lefichāch, “therefore”), see “The Harvest Is Plentiful” and “A Flock Among Wolves,” L44; and cf. Praying Like Gentiles, L7. On אַל תְּהַרְהְרוּ, see above, Comment to L4.

L45 λέγοντες (GR). As we noted in Comment to L44-49, it was probably the author of Luke who eliminated the direct speech from this verse. We have therefore included Matthew’s λέγοντες (legontes, “saying”) in GR.

לוֹמַר (HR). Since in L45 we are reconstructing speech rather than narrative, we have used the MH infinitive לוֹמַר (lōmar, “to say”) as opposed to the BH infinitive לֵאמֹר (lē’mor, “to say”).

L46 מַה נֹּאכַל (HR). On reconstructing ἐσθίειν with אָכַל, see above, Comment to L5. Compare our reconstruction in L46 to the following verse from Leviticus:

וְכִי תֹאמְרוּ מַה נֹּאכַל בַּשָּׁנָה הַשְּׁבִיעִת

And if you say, “What will we eat in the sabbatical year…?” (Lev. 25:20)

ἐὰν δὲ λέγητε Τί φαγόμεθα ἐν τῷ ἔτει τῷ ἑβδόμῳ τούτῳ

But if you say, “What will we eat in this sabbatical year…?” (Lev. 25:20)

L47 אוֹ מַה נִּשְׁתֶּה (HR). The vast majority of instances of אוֹ (’ō, “or”) in the first five books of the Bible are rendered (ē, “or”) in LXX.[163] In MH אוֹ continued to be used, making אוֹ a solid choice for HR.

On reconstructing πινεῖν with ‎שָׁתָה, see above, Comment to L6. Compare our reconstruction in L47 with the following verse from Exodus:

וַיִּלֹּנוּ הָעָם עַל מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר מַה נִּשְׁתֶּה

And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What will we drink?” (Exod. 15:24)

καὶ διεγόγγυζεν ὁ λαὸς ἐπὶ Μωυσῆν λέγοντες Τί πιόμεθα

And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What will we drink?” (Exod. 15:24)

L48 אוֹ בַּמֶּה נִתְכַּסֶּה (HR). On reconstructing περιβάλλειν with הִתְכַּסֶּה, see above, Comment to L37. Although in the Greek text there is nothing corresponding to the preposition -בְּ (be, “in,” “with”), the Hebrew reads awkwardly without it.[164] In the following examples we find that although the combination -הִתְכַּסֶּה בְּ occurs in the Hebrew text there is no corresponding preposition in the Greek translation:

וְהוּא מִתְכַּסֶּה בְּשַׂלְמָה חֲדָשָׁה

…and he dressed himself in a new robe…. (1 Kgs. 11:29)

καὶ ὁ Αχιας περιβεβλημένος ἱματίῳ καινῷ

…and Achias had clothed himself with a new garment…. (3 Kgdms. 11:29; NETS)

וַיִּקְרַע אֶת בְּגָדָיו וַיִּתְכַּס בַּשָּׂק

And he tore his garments and dressed himself in sackcloth…. (2 Kgs. 19:1)

καὶ διέρρηξεν τὰ ἱμάτια ἑαυτοῦ καὶ περιεβάλετο σάκκον

…he tore his own clothes and put on sackcloth…. (4 Kgdms. 19:1; NETS)[165]

The absence in these examples of a Greek preposition corresponding to -בְּ strengthens our conviction that -בְּ ought to be attached to מָה (māh, “what?”) in HR.

L49 καὶ μὴ μετεωρίζεσθε (Luke 12:29). As we noted above in Comment to L44-49, we believe Luke’s addition of “Do not be perturbed” at the end of this verse was an attempt to compensate for his omission of “Do not be worried” at the verse’s opening. The verb μετεωρίζειν (meteōrizein) primarily refers to elevation or buoyancy, which explains its use in LXX as the translation of הִגְבִּיהַּ (higbiah, “make high”), נָשָׂא (nāsā’, “lift”) and רָם (rām, “be exalted”).[166] In a figurative sense, μετεωρίζειν was used for being tossed about or unsettled.[167] The author of Luke used μετεωρίζειν as a synonym for “to worry,” hence our translation, “Do not be perturbed.”

L50 πάντα γὰρ ταῦτα (GR). According to Matthew, “the Gentiles seek all these things,” whereas according to Luke, “all the Gentiles of the world seek these things.” In Comment to L4 we discussed the possible influence of Deut. 28:48 (“And so you will serve your enemy, whom the LORD will send among you, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things”) on Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry. We also saw how a rabbinic midrash developed this warning by portraying Gentiles demanding material goods from Israel at the very moment when Israel lacked all things. Given the similarities between Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry and the rabbinic midrash, and the possible influence of Deut. 28:48 on both, we believe Matthew’s wording preserves the word order of Anth.

L51 τὰ ἔθνη τοῦ κόσμου (GR). There are three main reasons why we have adopted Luke’s longer epithet, “the Gentiles of the world,” for GR:

  1. The explanation that the author of Luke added “of the world” in order to soften the criticism of Gentiles in this verse is unconvincing.[168]
  2. Despite using ἔθνος (ethnos) frequently in his writings to refer to Gentiles, Luke 12:30 is the only place where the author of Luke used the phrase “the Gentiles of the world,” which strongly indicates that this particular usage reflects the wording of his source.[169]
  3. Luke’s τὰ ἔθνη τοῦ κόσμου looks like an attempt to render a Hebrew construct phrase corresponding precisely to אוּמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם (’ūmōt hā‘ōlām, “the Gentiles of the world”), a common designation for Gentiles in rabbinic sources.[170] The author of Matthew may have omitted τοῦ κόσμου either because he regarded it as redundant (where else do Gentles come from?), or because he was aware of the derogatory tone of the expression “the Gentiles of the world.”

אוּמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם (HR). In BH the noun עוֹלָם (‘ōlām) referred to a (very long) duration of time, which explains why עוֹלָם was usually rendered in LXX as αἰών (aiōn, “age,” “aeon”), but never rendered as κόσμος (kosmos, “world,” “universe”) in LXX.[171] In MH, however, עוֹלָם acquired the meaning “world” or “universe,”[172] as seen in phrases such as אוּמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם (“Gentiles of the world”). Thus it appears that in Luke’s phrase τὰ ἔθνη τοῦ κόσμου we have a non-Septuagintal rendering of עוֹלָם with κόσμος, which reflects the evolution of the meaning of the Hebrew term.

Above in Comment to L4 we cited a rabbinic source in which the אוּמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם (“Gentiles of the world”), make impossible demands of Jews for food and drink and clothing. The image of food-, drink- and clothing-obsessed Gentiles must have been a widespread stereotype among Jews in the Second Temple period. The author of the Letter of Aristeas contrasted Jews and Gentiles in this manner:

…οἱ Αἰγυπτίων καθηγεμόνες ἱερεῖς…ἀνθρώπους θεοῦ προσονομάζουσιν ἡμᾶς· ὃ τοῖς λοιποῖς οὐ πρόσεστιν, εἰ μή τις σέβεται τὸν κατὰ ἀλήθειαν θεόν, ἀλλ᾿ εἰσὶν ἄνθρωποι βρωτῶν καὶ ποτῶν καὶ σκέπης· ἡ γὰρ πᾶσα διάθεσις αὐτῶν ἐπὶ ταῦτα καταφεύγει. τοῖς δὲ παρ᾿ ἡμῶν ἐν οὐδενὶ ταῦτα λελόγισται, περὶ δὲ τῆς τοῦ θεοῦ δυναστείας δι᾿ ὅλου τοῦ ζῇν ἡ σκέψις αὐτοῖς

…the priests who are the guides of the Egyptians…have named us [i.e., the Jews—DNB and JNT] ‘men of God,’ a title applicable to none others but only to him who reveres the true God. The rest are men of food and drink and raiment [ἄνθρωποι βρωτῶν καὶ ποτῶν καὶ σκέπης], for their whole disposition has recourse to these things. With our countrymen, however, these things are reckoned as of nothing worth, but throughout the whole of life their contemplation is on the sovereignty of God. (Let. Arist. §140-141)[173]

The contrast between Gentiles who are wholly consumed with consumption and Jews who contemplate God’s sovereignty is a striking parallel to the contrast Jesus made between the seeking that characterizes the Gentiles of the world and the kind of seeking his disciples ought to pursue. This parallel challenges those scholars who assume that “seeking the Kingdom” in Matt. 6:33 // Luke 12:31 introduces an intrusive eschatological motif into the pericope, which must have been added to Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry at a Greek stage of the pre-synoptic transmission.[174] In light of the above-cited passage from the Letter of Aristeas, Jesus’ advice to “seek the Kingdom of God” rather than food, drink and clothing looks like a typical piece of Jewish instruction.

L52 מְבַקְּשִׁים (HR). Matthew and Luke agree to use the compound verb ἐπιζητεῖν (epizētein, “to seek earnestly”) to describe the inappropriate seeking of the Gentiles in contrast to the correct manner of seeking (ζητεῖν) recommended to the disciples (L55). In LXX ἐπιζητεῖν is more often the translation of דָּרַשׁ (dārash, “seek,” “demand”) than of בִּקֵּשׁ (biqēsh, “seek,” “request”).[175] We suspect, however, that the same verb, בִּקֵּשׁ, stands behind ζητεῖν and ἐπιζητεῖν in Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry. On reconstructing ζητεῖν with בִּקֵּשׁ, see Hidden Treasure and Priceless Pearl, Comment to L12.

Above, in Comment to L4, we already discussed one source in which “the Gentiles of the world” (אוּמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם) were said to be “seeking” or “demanding” (מְבַקְּשִׁין) food and drink and clothing (Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version A, 20:1 [ed. Schechter, 70-71]). Another example that discusses improper seeking (or demanding) on the part of the Gentiles of the world is found in a rabbinic parable:

ופניתי אליכם. משלו משל למה הדבר דומה למלך ששכר פועלים הרבה והיה שם פועל אחד ועשה עמו מלאכה ימים הרבה. נכנסו הפועלים ליטול שכרם ונכנס אותו הפועל עמהם אמר לו המלך לאותו הפועל בני אפנה לך. הרובים הללו שעשו עמי מלאכה ממועטת ואני נותן להם שכר מועט. אבל אתה חשבון רב אני עתיד לחשב עמך. כך היו ישראל בעולם הזה מבקשים שכרם מלפני המקום. ואומות העולם מבקשים שכרם מלפני המקום. והמקום אומר להם לישראל בניי אפנה לכם. אומות העולם הללו עשו עמי מלאכה מועטת ואני נותן להם שכר מועט. אבל אתם חשבון רב אני עתיד לחשב עמכם לכך נאמר ופניתי אליכם

And I will turn to you [Lev. 26:9]. They told a parable: To what may the matter be compared? To a king who hired many workers, and there was one worker there who worked for him many days. The workers entered to take their wage, and that same worker entered with them. The king said to that same worker, “My son, I will turn to you presently. These many who did little work for me—I am giving them little pay. But you—in the future I will settle a large bill with you.” In this way Israel was seeking [מבקשים] their wage in this world from the Omnipresent one and the Gentiles of the world were likewise seeking [ואומות העולם מבקשים] their wage from the Omnipresent one. So the Omnipresent one says to Israel, “My sons, I will turn to you presently. These Gentiles of the world [אומות העולם] did little work for me, and I am giving them little pay. But with you I will settle a large bill,” as it is said, I will turn to you [Lev. 26:9]. (Sifra, BeḤukotai 2:5 [ed. Weiss, 111a])

Here, too, the improper seeking (or demanding) of the Gentiles is contrasted with Israel’s right conduct.

L53 οἶδεν γὰρ ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν (GR). We have accepted Matthew’s wording in L53 with the exception of ὁ οὐράνιος (ho ouranios, “the heavenly”). As we discussed above in Comment to L17, the uniquely Matthean formula ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος (“the father of you, the heavenly”) is a Grecized version of the highly Hebraic construction ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς (“the father of you, the one in the heavens”). Not only does the appellation “heavenly Father” bear the marks of Greek retouching, but there is only one example in which ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν/μου ὁ οὐράνιος in Matthew is supported by a synoptic parallel.[176] In DT pericopae there are two cases where opposite Matthew’s “your heavenly Father” Luke simply reads “your Father” (Matt. 5:48 vs. Luke 6:36; Matt. 6:32 vs. Luke 12:30), and one case where in place of “your heavenly Father” Luke has “God” (Matt. 6:26 vs. Luke 12:24). The rest of the uses of “heavenly Father” occur in verses unique to the Gospel of Matthew, where the likelihood of Matthean redaction is high.[177] While we entertained the possibility of amending ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος to the more Hebraic ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς in GR, in the end we preferred to adopt the simpler epithet “your Father.”[178]

There are several instances in the Synoptic Gospels where Jesus refers to God as “your Father” when speaking to his disciples. While some of these examples may be redactional (e.g., Matt. 6:15; Luke 12:32), others likely reflect the wording of Anth.[179] Especially pertinent to the present discussion is the example in Praying Like Gentiles (L8-10), which contains a statement parallel to that in Matt. 6:32 // Luke 12:30:

Matt. 6:8 Matt. 6:32
οἶδεν γὰρ ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὧν χρείαν ἔχετε πρὸ τοῦ ὑμᾶς αἰτῆσαι αὐτόν οἶδεν γὰρ ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος ὅτι χρῄζετε τούτων ἁπάντων.
For your Father knows what need you have before you ask him. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these.

Thus, “heavenly Father” in L53 is not even supported by a parallel from elsewhere in Matthew’s own Gospel. Under these circumstances, adding ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς to ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν seems gratuitous. Undoubtedly the disciples were able to discern from the context of Jesus’ teaching that “your Father” referred to God, especially since not all Jesus’ disciples shared the same human father.

וְיָדַע אֲבִיכֶם (HR). On reconstructing εἰδεῖν (eidein, “to know”) with יָדַע (yāda‘, “know”), see Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven, Comment to L20. On reconstructing πατήρ (patēr, “father”) with אָב (’āv, “father”), see Demands of Discipleship, Comment to L5.

L54 ὅτι χρῄζετε τούτων ἁπάντων (GR). The scribe who produced Codex Vaticanus accidentally wrote χρῆτε (chrēte, “you use”) in Matt. 6:32 instead of χρῄζετε (chrēzete, “you need”). Apart from this scribal error, the wording of Matthew and Luke in L54 is identical, except for Matthew’s use of ἅπας (hapas, “all,” “every”) at the end of the sentence. Matthew and Luke differ with respect to “all” again in L59, with Matthew including “all” and Luke omitting it. Since we believe that Deut. 28:48—which warns that disobeying God’s commands will result in being in want of “all things”—probably stands somewhere in the background of Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry, we regard the repetition of “all” as original.

שֶׁאַתֶּם צְרִיכִים כָּל אֵלּוּ (HR). The verb χρῄζειν (chrēzein, “to need”) does not occur in LXX; neither does the adjective צָרִיךְ (tzārich, “needing”) occur in MT. Nevertheless, צָרִיךְ is common in MH and even occurs once in DSS (4Q372 1 I, 17). Since we prefer to reconstruct direct speech in Mishnaic-style Hebrew, צָרִיךְ appears to be the best choice for HR.

Although in LXX כֹּל (kol, “all,” “every”) was most commonly rendered with πᾶς (pas, “all,” “every”),[180] in nearly every instance where ἅπας was used to translate a Hebrew term in LXX that word is כֹּל.‎[181] We do not know why πᾶς was used in L50 and L59, while ἅπας was used in L54. Perhaps the variation was simply because, like the author of Luke, the Greek translator of the conjectured Hebrew Life of Yeshua felt that the repetition of “all” was tiresome.

L55 ζητεῖτε δὲ (GR). We have accepted Matthew’s wording for GR, omitting πρῶτον (prōton, “first”), which looks like a concession intended to temper the harshness of Jesus’ injunction. The conjunction πλήν (plēn, “but”) in Luke 12:31 is likely redactional.

אֶלָּא בַּקְּשׁוּ (HR). אֶלָּא (’elā’) is a Mishnaic Hebrew conjunction meaning “but” or “rather.” On reconstructing ζητεῖν with בִּקֵּשׁ, see above, Comment to L52.

L56 τὴν δικαιοσύνην (Matt. 6:33 [Vaticanus]). The scribe who produced Codex Vaticanus “corrected” the word order, placing “righteousness” ahead of “his Kingdom,” perhaps assuming that righteousness was a prerequisite for entry into the Kingdom (cf. Matt. 5:20).[182] Unlike Matt. 5:20, however, the issue at stake is not “your righteousness” but “his [i.e., God’s] righteousness.”[183] God’s saving deeds are often referred to as “righteousness” in the Hebrew Scriptures, making God’s Kingdom and his righteousness roughly synonymous.

L57 אֶת מַלְכוּתוֹ (HR). On reconstructing βασιλεία (basileia, “kingdom”) with מַלְכוּת (malchūt, “kingdom,” “reign”), see Not Everyone Can Be Yeshua’s Disciple, Comment to L39.

The antecedent of “his kingdom” is “your Father” in L53. While “Kingdom of Heaven” or “Kingdom of God” is more common in the Gospels, whose kingdom was meant would not have been misunderstood. In the Lord’s Prayer the disciples prayed “your Kingdom come” (Matt. 6:10). Likewise, in the benediction בָּרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד (“Blessed is the name of the glory of his Kingdom forever and ever”), which was pronounced in the Temple on the Day of Atonement (m. Yom. 3:8; 4:1), whose kingdom was intended was unambiguous.

L58 καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ (GR). We have accepted Matthew’s “and his righteousness” as original. The author of Luke, as elsewhere in Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry (L6, L48), trimmed away what he regarded as unnecessary.

וְאֶת צִדְקָתוֹ (HR). In LXX δικαιοσύνη (dikaiosūnē, “righteousness”) is usually the translation of צֶדֶק (tzedeq, “righteousness”) or צְדָקָה (tzedāqāh, “righteousness”). According to Weinfeld, in the Hebrew Scriptures the distinction between these two terms is between the abstract principle (צֶדֶק) and concrete action (צְדָקָה).[184] Compare our Hebrew reconstruction of δικαιοσύνη to the following verse from the Psalms:

הוֹדִיעַ יי יְשׁוּעָתוֹ לְעֵינֵי הַגּוֹיִם גִּלָּה צִדְקָתוֹ

The LORD has make known his salvation, before the eyes of the Gentiles he has revealed his righteousness. (Ps. 98:2)

ἐγνώρισεν κύριος τὸ σωτήριον αὐτοῦ, ἐναντίον τῶν ἐθνῶν ἀπεκάλυψεν τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ

The Lord made known his deliverance; before the nations he revealed his righteousness. (Ps. 97:2; NETS)

In Lord’s Prayer (Comment to L13) we discussed the conceptual link in ancient Jewish sources between the Kingdom of Heaven and the sanctification of God’s name. Here, God’s Kingdom is linked to his saving deeds of righteousness. Since it is through God’s righteous deeds on behalf of Israel that the Gentiles are made to recognize the God of Israel as the one true God, all three concepts are almost inextricably related. The mention of God’s Kingdom and his righteousness is a mirror image of the petitions for the sanctification of God’s name and the coming of his Kingdom in the Lord’s Prayer.

L59 καὶ ταῦτα πάντα προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν (GR). Once again, we have accepted Matthew’s “all” in GR (cf. L50, L54).

וְכָל אֵלּוּ יִתְוַסְּפוּ לָכֶם (HR). Here, Jesus insists that if the disciples make the Kingdom of Heaven their sole focus God will provide their food and drink and clothing, just as he had provided for Israel during their wanderings in the desert. The promise was not for wealth or abundance. God’s provision for the disciples would be like that which is allotted to the ravens: enough for each day without the burden of having to store away extra against an uncertain future. Jesus does not specify the means by which God would supply the disciples with these provisions. Although Jesus, like some other Jewish sages, described God’s provision for full-time disciples in terms of the gift of manna, practically speaking, Jesus probably meant that God would see to it that the disciples received hospitality from friends and strangers in return for the teachings, healings and exorcisms they performed in Jesus’ name.[185]

Above, in Comment to L24, we discussed reconstructing προστιθέναι with הוֹסִיף. Here in L59 a passive form is indicated by the Greek text. In MH the passive of הוֹסִיף was expressed with the hitpa‘el or nitpa‘el stem, as the following examples demonstrate:

זכיתי לכם ולכל שנתוספו עליכם

I have acquired it for you and for all who were added [שנתוספו] to you. (t. Eruv. 6:1 [Vienna MS])

מניין לדורות הבאים אחריכם ולגרים שנתוספו עליכם

From where [do we learn that Moses spoke] to the generations coming after you and to the proselytes who were added [שנתוספו] to you? (t. Sot. 7:5 [Vienna MS])

ויאמר לא יעקב יאמר עוד שמך וגו′ הראשון נתקיים לו והשני נתוסף לו

And he said, “No more shall your name be called Jacob” etc. [Gen. 32:29]. The first [name] was continued for him, and the second was added [נתוסף] to him. (Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, Pisḥa chpt. 16 [ed. Lauterbach, 1:91])

לא הגלה הקדוש ברוך הוא את ישראל לבין האומות אלא כדי שיתוספו עליהם גרים

The Holy one, blessed be he, did not exile Israel among the peoples, except in order that proselytes might be added [יתוספו] to them. (b. Pes. 87b)

The above examples also demonstrate that the nitpa‘el of י-ס-ף‎ could take either the preposition עַל ( ‘al, “upon”) or -לְ (le, “to”). Since -לְ more closely resembles the dative of the Greek text, we have adopted it for HR.

L60-63 Matthew 6:34, which contains another saying about worry, has no counterpart in the Lukan version of Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry. This raises the possibility that the author of Matthew tacked this additional saying on worry onto the end of the discourse proper. Scholars note that Matt. 6:34 makes no reference to food, drink or clothing, and that the reasoning does not take the form of a kal vahomer argument, which makes this additional saying distinct from the rest of the discourse. Moreover, Matt. 6:34 introduces a new theme—anxiety about the future—whereas the rest of the discourse deals with anxiety about obtaining basic human needs.

However, if our hypothesis is correct that Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry originally belonged to a longer teaching complex that covered the instruction Jesus gave to his disciples on prayer, then the disconnect between Matt. 6:34 and the rest of Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry may be less severe than many scholars assume. In the petition for bread in the Lord’s Prayer the meeting of basic human needs is made contingent upon time: “Give us today our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11; cf. Luke 11:3). This temporal contingency is mirrored in the shift from addressing anxiety about food, drink and clothing to addressing anxiety about tomorrow in Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry. Since we believe it was precisely the anxiety generated by the disciples’ commitment to rely solely on God’s provision for their basic needs from day to day that Jesus addressed in Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry (as well as in the several illustrations that followed in the conjectured “How to Pray” complex, including the Friend in Need and Fathers Give Good Gifts similes), we do not believe it is necessary to suppose that the author of Matthew secondarily tacked the saying in Matt. 6:34 onto the end of the discourse. We regard Matt. 6:34 as an integral part of the discourse that addresses the temporal aspect of the disciples’ petition for daily bread.

L60 לְפִיכָךְ אַל תְּהַרְהְרוּ (HR). On our reconstruction of μὴ οὖν μεριμνήσητε, see above, Comment to L44.

L61 לְמָחָר (HR). In LXX εἰς [τὴν] αὔριον (eis [tēn] avrion, “to [the] tomorrow”) is the translation of לְמָחָר (lemāḥār, “for tomorrow”) in Exod. 8:6; Num. 11:18; Josh. 7:13; Esth. 5:12. The only instance of לְמָחָר in MT not translated with εἰς [τὴν] αὔριον is in Exod. 8:19, where לְמָחָר is rendered ἐν τῇ αὔριον (en tē avrion, “in [the] tomorrow”).

Above, in Comment to L10, we cited a rabbinic parable in which Rabbi Shimon illustrated the reason why the manna was parceled out every day rather than allowing the entire year’s allotment to be given once per annum. The answer was that it created a close familial bond between God and Israel, as each day Israel would come before their heavenly Father to pray for the manna. In the application of his parable we learn that Rabbi Shimon regarded daily prayer as a remedy against worry about tomorrow:

כך ישראל היו בביתו של אדם חמש זכרים או חמש נקבות היה יושב ומצפה ואומר אוי לי שמא לא ירד המן למחר ונמצינו מתים ברעב יהי רצון מלפניך שירד ונמצאו הופכים את לבם לשמים

So with Israel. In the house of a man who had five boys or five girls, he would sit and look ahead [to the future] and say, “Woe to me! Perhaps the manna for tomorrow [למחר] will not descend, and we will be found dead from hunger. May it be pleasing before you that it will descend!” So they were found turning their hearts toward Heaven. (Sifre Num. §89 [ed. Horovitz, 90])

Similar to the above statement, we believe Jesus’ counsel against worrying about tomorrow is related to daily prayer for manna-like provision from God.

L62 ἡ γὰρ αὔριον μεριμνήσει ἑαυτῆς (GR). Codex Vaticanus reads μεριμνήσει αυτῆς (“it will worry of it”) instead of μεριμνήσει ἑαυτῆς (“it will worry for itself”) as in critical texts. The difference concerns merely one letter, and it is likely that it was accidentally dropped by the scribe who produced Codex Vaticanus. We have therefore accepted the reading of the critical editions for GR.

כִּי מָחָר יְהַרְהֵר לְעַצְמוֹ (HR). The adverb αὔριον (avrion, “tomorrow”) is the LXX equivalent of מָחָר (māḥār, “tomorrow”).[186] The use of עֶצֶם + pronominal suffix as a reflexive pronoun is characteristic of MH, but is not found in earlier sources.[187] Compare our reconstruction to the following examples of לְעַצְמוֹ (le‘atzmō, “for itself/himself”).

הָיוּ יוֹשְׁבִים כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד מְבָרֶךְ לְעַצְמוֹ הֵסַבּוּ אֶחָד מְבָרֵךְ לְכֻלָּם

If they were sitting each by themselves, each one blesses for himself [לְעַצְמוֹ], but if they were reclining together, one blesses for all of them. (m. Ber. 6:6)

ר′ יְהוּדָה או′ כּוֹתֵב הוּא אָדָם תְּפִילִּים וּמְזוּזוֹת לְעַצְמוֹ וְטווֶֹה עַל יְרֵיכוֹ תְכֵלֶת לְצִיצָיתוֹ

Rabbi Yehudah says, “A person may write tefillim [i.e., phylacteries—DNB and JNT] and mezuzot for himself [לְעַצְמוֹ] and spin the blue cord for his tzitziot [i.e., fringes (cf. Num. 15:38)—DNB and JNT] on his thigh.” (m. Moed Kat. 3:4)

L63 דַּיּוֹ לַיּוֹם רָעָתוֹ (HR). The adjective ἀρκετός (arketos, “sufficient”) does not occur in LXX. In MT דַּי (dai, “enough”), which we have used as the Hebrew equivalent of ἀρκετός, occurs occasionally with a pronominal suffix.[188] In MH this became much more common. Examples of דַּי + pronominal suffix + -לְ include the following:

דַּיָּיהּ לַקּוֹרָה שֶׁתְּהֵא רְחָבָה טֶפַח

It is enough for the beam that it be a handbreadth wide. (m. Eruv. 1:3)

דַּיּוֹ לַבָּא מִן הַדִּין לִהְיוֹת כַּנָּדוֹן

It is enough for the ruling reached by deliberation to be like that which is explicitly stated. (m. Bab. Kam. 2:5; m. Nid. 4:6)

דַּיּוֹ לַיָּחִיד שֶׁיְּהֵא פַחוּת מִן הַצִּיבּוּר אֶחָד

It is enough for the individual that he be less than the public by one. (m. Men. 12:4)

דיו לעבד שיהיה כרבו

It is enough for a servant that he be like his master. (Sifra, BeHar chpt. 4 [ed. Weiss, 108b])

אהיה אשר אהיה אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא למשה לך אמור להם לישראל אני הייתי עמכם בשעבוד זה ואני אהיה עמכם בשעבוד מלכיות אמר לפניו רבונו של עולם דיה לצרה בשעתה אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא לך אמור להם אהיה שלחני אליכם

I AM that I AM [Exod. 3:14]. The Holy one, blessed be he, said to Moses, “Go say to Israel, ‘I was with you in this slavery and I will be with you in the slavery of the empires to come.’” Moses said before him, “Master of the universe, it is enough for distress to be in its own time [דיה לצרה בשעתה]!” The Holy one, blessed be he, said to him, “Go say to them, I AM has sent me to you” [Exod. 3:14]. (b. Ber. 9b)

The last of the above examples is often compared to Jesus’ saying in Matt. 6:34.

On reconstructing ἡμέρα (hēmera, “day”) as יוֹם (yōm, “day”), see Choosing the Twelve, Comment to L5.

In LXX, where κακία (kakia, “badness”) is found, it is almost always the translation of רָעָה (rā‘āh, “evil”).[189] The noun רָעָה is more frequently translated with κακός (kakos, “bad”) in LXX, but κακία is the second most common translation.[190]

Redaction Analysis

Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry is a DT pericope with a relatively high degree of verbal agreement between its Lukan and Matthean versions. The differences between the two versions are probably due to the editorial activity of the authors of Matthew and Luke rather than to each author’s reliance on a different source.

Luke’s Version

The author of Luke made changes to every one of the verses in Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry. Some of the changes were quite invasive, whereas others were relatively minor. The minor redactional changes in Luke are stylistic in nature: the author of Luke subtracted or added details for the sake of symmetry (L6, L16), he converted a rhetorical question into a positive statement (L9), he selected more refined vocabulary (L12, L31, L41, L49, L55), he eliminated clunky Hebraic construct-like phrases (L21, L31, L38), he made omissions for the sake of brevity (L27, L34, L54, L58, L59), he varied word order (L26, L38, L39, L49, L50, L53), he changed the plural verbs accompanying plural neuter nouns to singular in accordance with proper Greek style (L32, L33), he changed “worry” to “seek” in order to achieve greater cohesion (L44), and he homogenized the texture of the pericope by removing direct speech (L45-48). None of these stylistic changes greatly affected the meaning or content of Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry.

More significant are the addition of an entire verse (Luke 12:26; L28-29), in which the author of Luke paraphrased Jesus’ argument in order to clarify the message for his readers, and the omission of the saying corresponding to Matt. 6:34, which the author of Luke may have felt added little to the overall message of the discourse.

Despite the many redactional changes the author of Luke made to his source, there are points at which Luke’s version is superior to Matthew’s. The author of Luke correctly preserved “ravens” as the subject of the illustration concerning clothing (L13), he rightly named God as the provider for the ravens (L17), and he preserved the reference to “the birds” in L21. The author of Luke also designated the Gentiles as τὰ ἔθνη τοῦ κόσμου (L51), thereby preserving the earliest evidence for the phrase אוּמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם, which is ubiquitous in rabbinic sources.

It is quite possible that the author of Luke added the introductory explanation (“And he said to his disciples”; L1-2) to the beginning of the discourse.

Matthew’s Version

The author of Matthew reproduced the wording of Anth. with remarkable fidelity. Even when he decided to eliminate “ravens,” the author of Matthew borrowed terminology from elsewhere in Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry (L13; cf. L21).[191] Two other changes of note are Matthew’s insertion of “your heavenly Father” in place of “God” in L17 (cf. the addition of ὁ οὐράνιος [“the heavenly”] in L53), and his avoidance of Anth.’s πόσῳ μᾶλλον construction (L19, L42). Perhaps the author of Matthew dropped “of the world” from the phrase τὰ ἔθνη τοῦ κόσμου out of sensitivity to the negative overtones of the Hebrew phrase אוּמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם (“Gentiles of the world”).

Results of This Research

Small birds pecking at crumbs in the picnic area at Beit Guvrin National Park in Israel. Photographed by Joshua N. Tilton.

1. Why were the disciples so worried about the basic necessities of life? The anxiety the disciples experienced, to which Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry so poignantly attests, was almost certainly the result of their renunciation of property and profession in order to itinerate full-time with Jesus.[192] Without a normal means of income, the disciples had to rely on God to provide for their most basic needs. While Jesus promised that God would indeed provide for them, sometimes that provision was as sparing as that which is given to the wild birds that peck at seeds and crumbs. The Gospels suggest that sometimes the disciples experienced hunger (cf. Matt. 12:1). The disciples’ anxieties were realistic and Jesus did not castigate them when their confidence faltered. In Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry we see how Jesus engendered trust in God’s good character with sensitivity and gentle humor.

2. What was the original context of Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry? This question has to be answered in two parts. First, we will address the social context of the discourse, after which we will address its probable literary context.

As we noted above, Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry addresses the disciples’ anxieties arising from their decision not to support themselves during the tenure of their discipleship from their own property or labor in a secular occupation. Not all Jewish teachers made such radical demands, and rabbinic sources reveal that opinions among the sages were divided on the issue of whether Torah study ought to be balanced with work, or whether discipleship ought to be an exclusive endeavor. A moderate or balanced approach was adopted by sages such as Rabbi Meir, who said, “Do a little business, but be busy in the Torah” (m. Avot 4:10), and Rabban Gamliel the son of Rabbi Yehudah ha-Nasi, who opined that “Torah study with a worldly occupation is comely, since these two labors cause sin to be forgotten, but all Torah that is unaccompanied with work in the end is nullified and causes sin” (m. Avot 2:2). A more radical position was adopted by Rabbi Nehorai, who said, “I have forsaken every trade that is in the world and I have not taught my sons anything but Torah, for they consume the wage of their work in this world, yet its whole value remains for them in the world to come. For there is no trade that stands by a person for more than his youth. Rather, if he becomes sick, or experiences suffering, or if he enters old age, he is not able to remain at his work, and he is found dead from hunger. But the Torah is not like that, rather it guards a person from all evil during his youth and it gives him an end and a hope in his old age” (m. Kid. 4:14).[193]

These opposing opinions were championed by two of Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai’s disciples, with Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus taking the radical view that discipleship ought to exclude other pursuits, and Rabbi Yehoshua taking the view that Torah study should be balanced with a secular occupation. Juxtaposed to Rabbi Eliezer’s opinion that only “eaters of manna” are able to study Torah, since discipleship is a full-time occupation (quoted above, Comment to L5-8), we find Rabbi Yehoshua’s opinion that “a person who studies two halachot in the morning and two halachot in the evening and does manual labor all day: it is attributed to him as though he fulfilled the entire Torah” (Mechilta de-Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai, BeShallaḥ 16:4 [ed. Epstein-Melamed, 107]). In succeeding generations the two views were championed by Rabbi Ishmael and Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai, with Rabbi Ishmael adopting a moderate stance and Rabbi Shimon taking the hardline approach. The moderate approach eventually prevailed, as we learn from the following source:

Our rabbis taught [in a baraita]: And you shall gather your grain [Deut. 11:14]. What is the need for this commandment? Because it says, Do not let this book of the Torah depart from your mouth [Josh. 1:8], and these words could be taken literally. Therefore, this commandment teaches And you shall gather your grain, that you should conduct a worldly occupation. These are the words of Rabbi Ishmael. Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai says, “It is possible that a person plows at the time for plowing, and sows at the time for sowing, and harvests at the time of harvest, and threshes at the time of threshing, and winnows when there is wind, and the Torah—what becomes of it? Rather, when Israel does the will of the Omnipresent one their work will be done by others, as it is said, Strangers will stand and tend your flocks, etc. [Isa. 61:5], but when Israel does not do the will of the Omnipresent one their work is done by themselves, as it is said, And you shall gather your grain. And not only that, but the work of others shall be done by their hands, as it is said, And you shall serve your enemy, etc. [Deut. 28:48].” Abaye said, “Many have done according to Rabbi Ishmael’s advice, and succeeded, and according to Rabbi Shimon’s advice, and it did not succeed.” (b. Ber. 35b; cf. Sifre Deut. §42 [ed. Finkelstein, 90])

This intra-rabbinic debate over whether discipleship ought to be balanced with secular work appears to be the social context with which to appreciate Jesus’ radical demands. Jesus was an early representative of the hardline approach that saw discipleship as a full-time occupation in its own right.

It is important to emphasize that those who took the more radical approach to discipleship did not have a negative view of manual labor as such; they simply believed that discipleship was equal to any other full-time occupation, and that it must be pursued as seriously and as wholeheartedly as any other profession if it is to meet with success. Jesus referred to the apostles as “workers” (Matt. 9:37 // Luke 10:2)[194] and stated that they deserved their wage (Matt. 10:10 // Luke 10:7),[195] which shows that he did not consider them to be idle.

The original literary context of Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry may well have been an extended teaching on prayer. Supporting this view are the following considerations:

  1. A contrast is drawn in Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry between the inappropriate seeking/demanding (ἐπιζητεῖν, בִּקֵּשׁ) of the Gentiles on the one hand and the proper seeking/requesting (ζητεῖν, בִּקֵּשׁ) of the disciples on the other. This contrast parallels that which is made between the inappropriate manner of praying exhibited by the Gentiles and the correct manner of praying recommended to the disciples in Praying Like Gentiles (Matt. 6:7-8).
  2. In the Friend in Need simile (Matt. 7:7-8 // Luke 11:9-10) and in Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry (Matt. 6:33 // Luke 12:31) “seek” (ζητεῖν = בִּקֵּשׁ) is used as a metaphor for prayer.[196]
  3. The petition for daily bread in the Lord’s Prayer touches upon the root cause of the disciples’ anxiety: their radical commitment to full-time discipleship, which required utter dependence on God to provide for their needs. It appears that, having taught his disciples to daily renew their commitment to rely on God for their physical needs through the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus found it necessary to underscore God’s generous and trustworthy character in order to reassure the disciples. This Jesus proceeded to do in Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry and in the several illustrations that followed, including the Friend in Need and Fathers Give Good Gifts similes, which we believe belonged to the same teaching unit.

3. Did Jesus speak about the impossibility of lengthening one’s lifespan or of increasing one’s stature? The use of the noun ἡλικία to refer to “age” as well as “stature” has given rise to the interpretation that Jesus referred to the impossibility of adding time to one’s lifespan. Several points argue against this interpretation, however. Foremost among these is the complete absence of evidence that the noun πῆχυς (“cubit”) was ever used figuratively as a measure of time. Also creating difficulty for this interpretation is the meaning of ἡλικία, which can mean “age,” but not “lifespan.” Moreover, the structure of Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry shows that the rhetorical question about adding to one’s ἡλικία leads into the illustration about the flowers and how they grow. All this suggests that in Matt. 6:27 // Luke 12:25 Jesus referred to the impossibility of increasing one’s stature.

Conclusion

In Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry Jesus confronted one of the most serious concerns of the disciples: how would their basic needs be met now that they had given up their possessions and livelihoods in order to itinerate full-time with Jesus? By using familiar illustrations, alluding to Scripture, and injecting a little light humor, Jesus gently reassured his disciples that God was both willing and able to supply what they could no longer provide for themselves.

 


 

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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] See Lindsey, JRL, 101-105.
  • [4] See Lindsey, “Jesus’ Twin Parables.”
  • [5] See Lindsey, JRL, 101.
  • [6] See Lindsey, JRL, 102.
  • [7] See Lindsey, JRL, 103.
  • [8] On identifying twin illustrations, see David N. Bivin and Joshua N. Tilton, “LOY Excursus: Criteria for Identifying Separated Twin Parables and Similes in the Synoptic Gospels.”
  • [9] On the theme of the wicked who squander their reward in rabbinic sources and in the teachings of Jesus, see Joshua N. Tilton, “Why Do the Wicked Prosper?
  • [10] In addition to Luke 12:18, which Lindsey connected to Matt. 6:26 // Luke 12:24, gathering into barns is also referred to in Matt. 3:12 // Luke 3:17 and Matt. 13:30, always expressed as συνάγειν εἰς ἀποθήκην (sūnagein eis apothēkēn, “to gather into a barn”).
  • [11] See Lindsey, JRL, 103-104. Aside from Luke 12:18, 19; 16:25, in the Synoptic Gospels the use of the neuter plural ἀγαθά to denote “goods” also occurs in Matt. 7:11 (2xx); Luke 1:53; 11:13.
  • [12] See Ronald A. Piper, “Matthew 7:7-11 par. Luke 11:9-13: Evidence of Design and Argument in the Collection of Jesus’ Sayings,” in The Shape of Q: Signal Essays on the Sayings Gospel (ed. John S. Kloppenborg; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1994), 131-137, esp. 135.
  • [13] Lindsey reconstructed the “How to Pray” complex in the following manner:

    1. Narrative Incident: “Teach Us to Pray” (Luke 11:1-2a)
    2. Teaching: The Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13)
    3. Teaching: Ask…Knock (Matt. 7:7-11)
    4. Illustration: Friend in Need (Luke 11:5-8)
    5. Twin Illustration: Persistent Widow (Luke 18:2-8a)

    See Lindsey, “Jesus Twin Parables,” under the subheading “Jesus’ Parables and Their Contexts”; idem, JRL, 112-113.

  • [14] See Persistent Widow, under the subheading “Story Placement.”
  • [15] The early Christian apologist Justin Martyr (mid-second century C.E.) cited Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry this way:

    μὴ μεριμνατε δὲ τί φάγητε ἢ τί ἐνδύσησθε. οὐχ ὑμεῖς τῶν πετεινῶν καὶ τῶν θηρίων διαφέρετε; καὶ ὁ θεὸς τρέφει αὐτά. μὴ οὖν μεριμνήσητε τί φάγητε ἢ τί ἐνδύσησθε· οἶδε γὰρ ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος ὅτι τούτων χρείαν ἔχετε. ζητεῖτε δὲ τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν, καὶ ταῦτα πάντα προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν.

    But do not worry about what you might eat or what you might wear. Are you not more important than the birds and the beasts [τῶν θηρίων]? Yet God maintains them. Therefore do not worry about what you might eat or what you might wear, for your heavenly Father knows that you have need of these. But seek the Kingdom of Heaven and all these will be added to you. (1 Apol. 15:14-16)

    Text according to The Apologies of Justin Martyr (Cambridge Patristic Texts; ed. A. W. F. Blunt; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1911).
    It is surprising that Powell did not cite Justin’s version of this saying in support of his argument that the reading τὰ κρίνα (“the lilies”; Matt. 6:28 // Luke 12:27; L31) is a gloss for τὰ λείπια (“the lilies”), which was itself a corruption of τὰ θηρία (“the beasts”). See J. Enoch Powell, “Those ‘Lilies of the Field’ Again,” Journal of Theological Studies 33.2 (1982): 490-492.

  • [16] Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 655 (early third century C.E.), which preserves a Greek fragment of the Gospel of Thomas, gives the following version of Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry:

    [λέγει Ἰ(ησοῦ)ς μὴ μεριμνᾶτε ἀ]πὸ πρωΐ ἕ[ως ὀψέ, μήτ]ε ἀφ᾽ἑσπ[έρας ἕως π]ρωΐ, μήτε [τῇ τροφῇ ὑ]μῶν τί φά[γητε, μήτε] τῇ στ[ολῇ ὑμῶν] τί ἐνδύ[ση]σε. [πολ]λῷ κρεί[σσον]ές ἐ[στε] τῶν [κρί]νων, ἅτι[να ο]ὐ ξα[ί]νει οὐδε ν[ήθ]ει κ[αὶ] ἓν ἔχον[τες ἔ]νδ[υ]μα, τι ἐν[…..]..αι ὑμεῖς; τίς ἂν προσθ<εί>η ἐπὶ τὴν εἱλικίαν ὑμῶν; αὐτὸ[ς δ]ώσει ὑμεῖς τὸ ἔνδθμα ὑμῶν.

    [Jesus says, Do not be anxious] from dawn to [late, nor] from eve [to] dawn, either [about] your [food], what [you are to] eat, [or] about [your] robe, with what you [are to] clothe yourself. [You are] far better than the lilies, which do not card nor spin. And having one clothing,…you…? Who might add to your stature? That one will [give] you your clothing! (P. Oxy. 655 I, 1-17; cf. Gos. Thom. §36)

    Text and translation according to James M. Robinson and Christoph Heil, “The Lilies of the Field: Saying 36 of the Gospel of Thomas and Secondary Accretions in Q 12.22b-31,” New Testament Studies 47.1 (2001): 1-25, esp. 9.

    Whereas Robinson and Heil regard the non-canonical version represented in the Gospel of Thomas as more original, other scholars regard the source shared by the authors of Luke and Matthew as the more authentic version. See Luz, 1:340; Nolland, Matt., 308; Robert Gundry, “Spinning the Lilies and Unravelling the Ravens: An Alternative Reading of Q 12.22b-31 and P. Oxy. 655,” New Testament Studies 48.2 (2002): 159-180.

  • [17] We accepted εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτοὺς for GR in Lost Sheep, L8.
  • [18] We accepted εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς for GR in Lord’s Prayer, L8.
  • [19] See Allen, Matt., 63.
  • [20] See “The Harvest Is Plentiful” and “A Flock Among Wolves,” Comment to L44.
  • [21] Although Codex Vaticanus, our base text, reads τῇ ψυχῇ ἡμῶν (“our soul”) in Matt. 6:25, the overall context, as well as most NT MSS, prove this reading is a scribal error. Therefore, we believe the correct reading in Matt. 6:25 is τῇ ψυχῇ ὑμῶν (“your soul”).
  • [22] On the dropping of possessive pronouns from Anth., see Lord’s Prayer, Comments to L5 and L10.
  • [23] See Betz, 463 n. 319.
  • [24] The Hebrew equivalents of μεριμνᾶν in LXX are as follows: Exod. 5:9 (= עָשָׂה ;שָׁעָה); 2 Kgdms. 7:10 (= רָגַז); 1 Chr. 17:9 (= רָגַז); Ps. 37[38]:19 (= דָּאַג); Prov. 14:23 (= עֶצֶב); Ezek. 16:42 (= כָּעַס).
  • [25] We have found two places where דָּאַג occurs in a tannaic source (excluding biblical quotations):

    היה ר′ מאיר או′ בזמן שהמאורות לוקין סימן רע לשונאיהן של ישראל מפני שהן למודי מכות משל לסופר שנכנס לבית הספר ואמ′ הביאו לי רצועה מי הוא דואג מי שלמוד להיות לוקה …בזמן שישראל עסוקין בתורה אין דואגין מכל שנ′ כה אמר ה′ אל דרך הגוים אל תלמודו וגו′‏

    Rabbi Meir used to say, “In a time when the heavenly lights are eclipsed, it is a bad sign for the haters of Israel [a euphemism for Israel itself—DNB and JNT], for they are accustomed to injuries. A parable: [It may be compared] to a scribe who entered a school house and said, ‘Bring me a strap.’ Who is afraid [דואג]? The one who is accustomed to being strapped.” …In a time when Israel is occupied with the Torah they need not be afraid [דואגין] of anything, as it is said, Thus says the LORD: Do not learn the way of the Gentiles [and do not be afraid of the signs in the heavens, for the Gentiles are afraid of them; Jer. 10:2]. (t. Suk. 2:6; Vienna MS)

    רבי אומר העושה מצוה אחת לשמה אל ישמח לאותה מצוה לסוף גוררת מצות הרבה והעובר עבירה אחת אל ידאג לאותה עבירה לסוף שגוררת עבירות הרבה שמצוה גוררת מצוה ועבירה גוררת עבירה

    Rabbi [Yehuda ha-Nasi] says: “The one who does a mitzvah for its own sake: let him not rejoice in that alone, for that same mitzvah in the end will bring about many more mitzvot. And the one who transgresses one transgression: let him not be sorry [אל ידאג] about that alone, for that same transgression in the end will string along many more transgressions. For a mitzvah strings along a mitzvah and a transgression strings along a transgression.” (Sifre Num. §112 [ed. Horovitz, 120])

    In neither of these examples does דָּאַג have the meaning “worry.”

  • [26] The connection between the proof text and Hananyah’s claim that the Torah banishes anxious thoughts is the enlightening of the eyes (מִצְוַת יי בָּרָה מְאִירַת עֵינָיִם; Ps. 19:9). According to 1 Sam. 14:29, the hungry Jonathan’s eyes became bright after he ate honey (אֹרוּ עֵינַי כִּי טָעַמְתִּי מְעַט דְּבַשׁ הַזֶּה). Note that in Ps. 19:11 the Torah is said to be sweeter than honey. Since the proof text only explains how the Torah can dispel anxious thoughts about hunger, it is possible that the other kinds of anxious thoughts enumerated in the homily (“thoughts of foolishness, thoughts of sexual impropriety…”) are a later addition.
  • [27] On the role of the Temple prefect, see Shmuel Safrai, “The Temple” (Safrai-Stern, 2:865-907, esp. 875-876).
  • [28] See Joshua N. Tilton, “Gentiles Demand All These Things.”
  • [29] For examples of נַפְשְׁכֶם see Gen. 23:8; Lev. 26:15; Deut. 11:13, 18; 13:4; Josh. 22:5; 23:14; 2 Kgs. 9:15; Isa. 55:2, 3; Jer. 6:16; 48:6; Ezek. 24:21; Job 16:4; 1 Chr. 22:19.
  • [30] Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus was a rabbinic sage of the first and second century C.E. who survived the destruction of the Temple. He was known to be a preserver of earlier traditions rather than an innovator (cf. m. Avot 2:8).
  • [31] Reading כיצד, as in the parallel in Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, Vayassa‘ chpt. 3 (ed. Lauterbach, 1:235), instead of כאיזה צד. The parallel in Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael attributes this saying to Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai.
  • [32] According to rabbinic tradition, Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus not only left his home and his family, but also forsook his inheritance and endured extreme privations in order to become a full-time disciple. See Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version B, chpt. 13 (ed. Schechter, 30-33) and the parallel in Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version A, 6:3 (ed. Schechter, 30-31).
  • [33] See above, footnote 26.
  • [34] The petition for daily bread in the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:11; cf. Luke 11:3) probably alludes to the manna story. See Lord’s Prayer, Comment to L17. Likewise, Jesus’ assurance that the heavenly Father will give good gifts to the disciples when they ask (Matt. 7:11; cf. Luke 11:13) probably alludes to the manna, one of three “good gifts” God has given to Israel, according to rabbinic tradition. See Fathers Give Good Gifts, Comment to L16-18. Jesus’ promise of treasure in heaven (Matt. 19:21; Mark 10:21; Luke 18:22) also may be related to the manna story, since according to rabbinic tradition the manna came from God’s treasure in heaven. See Lord’s Prayer, Comment to L17. The promise of manna also lurks behind Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry, as we will demonstrate below.
  • [35] See Betz, 472 n. 385, 483 n. 471; Bovon, 2:215.
  • [36] Unfortunately, this portion of Ben Sira has not been preserved in Hebrew MSS.
  • [37] Bovon, 2:215.
  • [38] Examples of Jesus enjoying the hospitality of his friends include Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42) and the owner of the house with the upper room in Jerusalem, where Jesus and his disciples shared their final Passover meal together (Matt. 26:18; Mark 14:14; Luke 22:11). On the supposition that the owner of the house was a friend of Jesus, see Preparations for Eating Passover Lamb, Comment to L22-33. In the Sending Discourse Jesus instructed the apostles to stay with strangers, an instruction that may have agreed with Jesus’ usual practice. See Sending the Twelve: Conduct in Town, Comment to L88.
  • [39] On Jesus’ saying “…the son of man has no place to rest his head” (Matt. 8:20 // Luke 9:58) and its relationship to the rigors of full-time discipleship, see Not Everyone Can Be Yeshua’s Disciple.
  • [40] See Hatch-Redpath, 1:554-557.
  • [41] See Dos Santos, 9.
  • [42] In Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, Vayassa‘ chpt. 3 (ed. Lauterbach, 1:234-235) this saying is attributed to Rabbi Eliezer of Modiin, but as Flusser noted, the parallels in Mechilta de-Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai, b. Sot. 48b and Midrash ha-Gadol prove that this saying goes back to Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus. See David Flusser, “‘Have You Ever Seen a Lion Toiling as a Porter?’” (Flusser, JSTP2, 331-342, esp. 335 n. 15).
  • [43] Cf. Luz, 1:338 n. 1.
  • [44] See Hatch-Redpath, 2:1134-1135.
  • [45] See Dos Santos, 217.
  • [46] See Hatch-Redpath, 1:471.
  • [47] Cf. McNeile, 87.
  • [48] In LXX τροφή is the translation of לֶחֶם in Ps. 135[136]:25; 145[146]:7; 146[147]:9; Prov. 6:8; 30:25.
  • [49] In LXX τροφή is the translation of מָזוֹן in 2 Chr. 11:23.
  • [50] In LXX τροφή is the translation of אֹכֶל in Ps. 103[104]:27; 144[145]:15; Job 36:31.
  • [51] In the Mishnah examples of פַּרְנָסָה are found in m. Peah 8:7; m. Hal. 3:8, 9; m. Ned. 11:2; m. Kid. 4:14 (2xx); m. Tem. 3:5.
  • [52] See Montefiore, TSG, 2:111.
  • [53] Other versions of this parable occur in Sifre Zuta 11:9 (ed. Horovitz, 270); Mechilta de-Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai, BeShallaḥ 16:4 (ed. Epstein-Melamed, 106-107); b. Yom. 76a.
  • [54] In MT the noun כְּסוּת appears in Gen. 20:16; Exod. 21:10; 22:26 (2xx); Deut. 22:12; Isa. 50:3; Job. 24:7; 26:6; 31:19.
  • [55] Harnack (6), Fitzmyer (2:978), Davies-Allison (1:648) and Bovon (2:211) likewise regard Luke’s choice of verb in L12 as secondary.
  • [56] In LXX κατανοεῖν is the translation of הִבִּיט in Exod. 33:8; Ps. 9:35[10:14]; 21[22]:18; 90[91]:8; 93[94]:9; 118[119]:15, 18; 141[142]:5; ἐμβλέπειν is the translation of הִבִּיט in Isa. 5:12; 8:22; 22:8, 11; 51:1, 2, 6.
  • [57] Examples of הִבִּיט with the preposition -בְּ in DSS are found in 1QS III, 7; XI, 19; 1QHa XVIII, 20.
  • [58] Additional examples of הִבִּיט with the preposition -בְּ are found in Gen. Rab. 30:10 (ed. Theodor-Albeck, 1:277); 65:10 (ed. Theodor-Albeck, 2:719).
  • [59] See Fitzmyer, 2:978; Luz, 1:339 n. 10.
  • [60] See Flusser, “‘Have You Ever Seen a Lion?’” (Flusser, JSTP2, 332 n. 2).
  • [61] Cf. the imprecation ἐς κόρακας, which LSJ (980) renders “go and be hanged,” in Aristophanes, Clouds, 133; Wasps, 852, 982; Peace, 1221. We agree with Luz (1:343 n. 42), who denied that the uncleanness of ravens influenced the author of Matthew’s decision. The author of Matthew was not concerned with Jewish dietary laws (cf. Matt. 15:11), and in any case the status of ravens did not prevent them from becoming a symbol of God’s provision for his creatures in ancient Jewish sources.
  • [62] In the book of Jubilees we find a similar pairing of “ravens” and “birds” (Jub. 11:11, 12, 23-24). Unfortunately, this portion of Jubilees was not preserved in Hebrew or Greek.
  • [63] The opposite, however, occurs in L51: “the Gentiles” (Matt.)→“the Gentiles of the world” (Luke).
  • [64] See David R. Catchpole, “The Ravens, the Lilies and the Q Hypothesis: A Form-Critical Perspective on the Source-Critical Problem,” Studien zum Neuen Testament und seiner Umwelt 6/7 (1981-1982): 77-87, esp. 85.
  • [65] See Dos Santos, 161.
  • [66] The personal name עוֹרֵב is transliterated Ωρηβ in Judg. 7:25 (3xx); 8:3; Ps. 82[83]:12.
  • [67] See H. B. Tristram, The Natural History of the Bible (9th ed.; London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1898), 199.
  • [68] See Lightfoot, 2:157; Gill, 7:64.
  • [69] See Flusser, “‘Have You Ever Seen a Lion?’” (Flusser, JSTP2, 338). Quotation from Stern, 2:252 (Gk.), 282 (Eng.).
  • [70] Cited in Boring-Berger-Colpe, 215-216.
  • [71] See Dos Santos, 56.
  • [72] See Hatch-Redpath, 2:1282.
  • [73] See Hatch-Redpath, 1:648.
  • [74] See Catchpole, “The Ravens, the Lilies and the Q Hypothesis,” 84.
  • [75] Two other candidates for HR, אָסָם (’āsām, “storehouse”), a BH term (cf. Deut. 28:8; Prov. 3:10), and אַפּוֹתִּיקִי (’apōtiqi, “storehouse”), a Semitic form of ἀποθήκη, should also be mentioned. With respect to the former, while אָסָם is attested in DSS (4Q418 103 II, 3), there are no instances of אָסָם in tannaic sources (excluding Scripture quotations), and Jastrow includes no entry for אָסָם in his dictionary. (In LXX אָסָם is translated ταμιεῖον [tamieion, “storeroom”]). With respect to the latter, there is no evidence that אַפּוֹתִּיקִי was used for “storehouse” in Hebrew, all the instances of אַפּוֹתִּיקִי being found in Aramaic contexts.
  • [76] See Jastrow, 649-650.
  • [77] See Catchpole, “The Ravens, the Lilies and the Q Hypothesis,” 85.
  • [78] On the Grecized formula ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος, see Comment to L53.
  • [79] On Jesus’ avoidance of using the divine name, see David N. Bivin, “Jesus and the Oral Torah: The Unutterable Name of God.”
  • [80] See Davies-Allison, 1:650.
  • [81] See Hatch-Redpath, 1:314.
  • [82] On the use of חָמוּר see David N. Bivin, “Matthew 5:19: The Importance of ‘Light’ Commandments”; idem, “The ‘How Much More’ Rabbinic Principle of Interpretation in the Teaching of Jesus.”
  • [83] See Bultmann, 81; Bundy, 117; Davies-Allison, 1:651-652; Bovon, 2:211.
  • [84] See Manson, Teaching, 113; Fitzmyer, 2:979; Davies-Allison, 652.
  • [85] The phrase τίς ἐξ ὑμῶν introduces the Tower Builder simile (L1), the Friend in Need simile (L2) and the Fathers Give Good Gifts simile (L1). Cf. τίς ἄνθρωπος ἐξ ὑμῶν (“What person among you?”), which introduces the Lost Sheep simile (L12).
  • [86] See Richard J. Dillon, “Ravens, Lilies, and the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:25-33/Luke 12:22-31),” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 53.4 (1991): 605-627, esp. 610-612; Bovon, 2:216 n. 50.
  • [87] See Hagner, 1:164.
  • [88] See Betz, 475.
  • [89] Note, too, the similarly-constructed questions τίς βασιλεὺς πορευόμενος (“What king going…?; Luke 14:31) and τίς γυνὴ δραχμὰς ἔχουσα δέκα (“What woman having ten drachmas…?; Luke 15:8), in which the participle cannot be construed in an instrumental sense.
  • [90] See Hatch-Redpath, 1:1221-1222.
  • [91] See Dos Santos, 82.
  • [92] In LXX προστιθέναι ἐπί is the translation of הוֹסִיף עַל in Lev. 5:16, 24; 6:5; Num. 5:7; Deut. 13:1; 3 Kgdms. 12:11, 14; 4 Kgdms. 20:6; 2 Chr. 10:11, 14; 28:13; 2 Esd. 10:10; Ps. 70[71]:14; Job 34:37.
  • [93] In the Mishnah examples of הוֹסִיף עַל are found in m. Shev. 3:2, 3; m. Maas. Shen. 4:3; 5:5; m. Eruv. 7:7; m. Yom. 7:5; m. Suk. 5:5; m. Taan. 2:2; m. Meg. 4:1, 2; m. Ket. 3:4; m. Kid. 4:4; m. Bab. Metz. 6:5; 8:9; m. Sanh. 1:5, 6; 11:3; m. Shevu. 2:2; m. Men. 13:6; m. Arach. 2:3; m. Mid. 3:1; m. Yad. 1:1.
  • [94] See Johannes Schneider, “ἡλικία,” TDNT, 2:941-943.
  • [95] See Luz, 1:344 n. 53; cf. Nolland, Matt., 311.
  • [96] Ancient sources suggest that a tall stature was considered to be a desirable attribute. This is indicated by the negative portrayal of the shortness of stature of individuals such as Zacchaeus (Luke 19:3), and the frequent use of the nickname הַקָּטָן (haqāṭān, “the short [one]”) to differentiate between individuals of the same name. On the use of perceived physical defects for nicknames, see Rachel Hachlili, “Hebrew Names, Personal Names, Family Names and Nicknames of Jews in the Second Temple Period,” in Families and Family Relations as Represented in Early Judaisms and Early Christianities: Texts and Fictions (ed. Jan Willem van Henten and Athalya Brenner; Leiden: Deo, 2000), 83-115, esp. 103-104. The desirability of having a tall stature is expressed in sources such as 1 Sam. 9:2; b. Shab. 92a; Aggadat Bereshit 40:2 (ed. Buber, 82). In the aforementioned rabbinic texts having a tall stature is expressed as ‎‏בעל קומה‎ (ba‘al qōmāh, “owner of stature,” i.e., “tall person”). Given the desirability of having a tall stature, adding to one’s height, if such a thing were possible, presumably would also have been desirable.
  • [97] See Harnack, 6.
  • [98] See Davies-Allison, 1:653.
  • [99] See LSJ, 1402.
  • [100] See Allen, Matt., 64.
  • [101] See Luz, 1:344.
  • [102] The example from Mimnermus reads as follows:

    ἡμεῖς δ᾽, οἷά τε φύλλα φύει πολυάνθεμος ὥρη ἔαρος, ὅτ᾽ αἶψ᾽ αὐγῇς αὔξεται ἠελίου, τοῖς ἴκελοι πήχυιον ἐπὶ χρόνον ἄνθεσιν ἥβης τερπόμεθα, πρὸς θεῶν εἰδότες οὔτε κακὸν οὔτ᾽ ἀγαθόν

    We are like leaves which the flowery season of spring brings forth, when they quickly grow beneath the rays of the sun; like them we delight in the flowers of youth for an arm’s length of time [πήχυιον ἐπὶ χρόνον], knowing neither the bad nor the good that comes from the gods. (Mimnermus, Frag. 2; quoted in Stobaeus, Anthology 4.34.12)

    Text and translation according to Douglas E. Gerber, ed. and trans., Greek Elegiac Poetry (Loeb Classical Library; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999), 82-83.

    According to Allen, “Since it does not refer to physical measurement, Mimnermus’ use of the adjective (‘for an arm’s length of time’) is quite remarkable.” See Archibald Allen, The Fragments of Mimnermus: Text and Commentary (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 1993), 43. Are we really to suppose that the Greek translator(s) of Jesus’ teachings were influenced by this obscure example in the poetry of a classical Greek author?

  • [103] Fitzmyer (2:978; cf. Nolland, Luke, 2:692) believed he had found an example of a temporal use of πῆχυς in Diogenes Laertius’ account of Plato, but he was in error on two scores:

    1. The passage Fitzmyer cited has the adjective πηχυαῖος (pēchūaios, “a cubit long”), rather than the noun πῆχυς.
    2. The adjective πηχυαῖος in that passage has a clearly spatial (i.e., non-temporal) sense:

    …if one chooses to add to a cubit-measure [μέτρον παχυαῖον] another length, or cut off some of what was there already, would the original measure still exist? Of course not. Now consider mankind in this same way. One man grows, and another again shrinks: and they are all undergoing change the whole time. (Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 3:11; Loeb)

  • [104] Scholars typically point out that adding a cubit to one’s stature is hardly a small feat, whereas the context demands a small unit of measurement. See Marshall, 528; Fitzmyer, 2:979; Davies-Allison, 1:652; Luz, 1:344 n. 52; Bovon, 2:217. On the other hand, if the contrast is between what worriers can accomplish versus what God is able to do, then adding one cubit to a human being’s stature is small in comparison with the three and a half cubits (on average) that God adds to a person’s stature from the time of one’s conception to full maturity.

    On the average height of adult males in the first century, see Jonathan P. Roth, The Logistics of the Roman Army at War (264 B.C.-A.D. 235) (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 9. Roth gave a range of 162 cm (5′4″) to 171 cm (5′7″) as an average stature, which equals 3.5 to 3.7 cubits (assuming 1 cubit = 46.2 cm; cf. Fitzmyer, 2:978). Corroborating this estimate are the skeletal remains of ten adult males aged 18 years or older discovered in four tombs in Giv‘at ha-Mivtar, Jerusalem, whose heights are shown in the following table:

    Tomb/Ossuary Individual Stature (cm) Stature (cubits)
    1 I/1A 170-171 cm 3.68-3.70 cubits
    2 I/2A 165-170 cm 3.57-3.68 cubits
    3 I/4A 167 cm 3.61 cubits
    4 I/5A 157 cm 3.40 cubits
    5 I/6A 167 cm 3.61 cubits
    6 I/6B 159-161 cm 3.44-3.48 cubits
    7 III/2A 168 cm 3.64 cubits
    8 IV/2A 162 cm 3.51 cubits
    9 VI/3B 181 cm 3.92 cubits
    10 IV/5A 167 cm 3.61 cubits

    For the data contained in the table above, see N. Haas, “Anthropological Observations on the Skeletal Remains from Giv‘at ha-Mivtar,” Israel Exploration Journal 20.1-2 (1970): 38-59.

    Three and a half cubits is the same as three cubits and a span (see Danby, 798). According to LXX (1 Kgdms. 17:4), 4QSama 12 I, 3 (= 1 Sam. 17:4) and Josephus (Ant. 6:171), Goliath was four cubits and a span tall, in other words, one cubit taller than the average adult male in the time of Jesus. Thus, adding a single cubit to one’s height would make one equal in stature to the famed warrior of the Philistines who was slain by King David. MT has a variant reading, according to which Goliath was six cubits and a span tall. On the conflicting testimony regarding Goliath’s stature, see J. Daniel Hays, “Reconsidering the Height of Goliath,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 48.4 (2005): 701-714. On the other hand, Josephus mentions a Jewish man of the first century C.E. by the name of Eleazar who was seven cubits tall, which earned him the nickname “the giant” (Ant. 18:103). If true, this story might lend credence to MT’s report that Goliath was six and a half cubits tall.

  • [105] See Hatch-Redpath, 2:1131-1132; Dos Santos, 12.
  • [106] We find אַמָּה אַחַת in Ezek. 40:12 (2xx), 42 (3xx); 42:4; 43:14; m. Eruv. 4:11 (2xx); m. Mid. 3:1 (2xx).
  • [107] See Harnack, 6; Catchpole, “The Ravens, the Lilies and the Q Hypothesis,” 84.
  • [108] In Genesis alone, περί is the translation of עַל in Gen. 12:17, 20; 20:3; 21:12 (2xx); 24:9; 26:7, 21, 22; 27:41; 41:15, 32; 42:21. On עַל in the sense of “with respect to” or “concerning,” see Segal, 175 §363 (iv).
  • [109] See Hatch-Redpath, 2:788.
  • [110] See Plummer, Luke, 327; Luz, 1:343. Cf. Betz, 477. For a pictorial presentation of various wildflowers that grow in the land of Israel, see Gloria E. M. Suess, “Lilies of the Field.”
  • [111] On “comeliness” or “charm” as a meaning of חֶסֶד (ḥesed), see Jan Joosten, “חסד, ‘Benevolence’, and ἔλεος, ‘Pity’: Reflections on Their Lexical Equivalence in the Septuagint,” in his Collected Studies on the Septuagint: From Language to Interpretation and Beyond (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2012), 97-111, esp. 98.
  • [112] See Gen. 1:26, 28, 30; 2:19, 20; 6:7; 7:3, 23; Deut. 28:26; 1 Kgdms. 17:44, 46; 2 Kgdms. 21:10; 3 Kgdms. 16:4; 20[21]:24; Ps. 78[79]:2; 103[104]:12; Job 12:7; 28:21; 35:11; Hos. 2:20; 4:3; 7:12; Zeph. 1:3; Jer. 4:25; 7:33; 9:9; 15:3; 16:4; 19:7; 41[34]:20; Ezek. 29:5; 31:6, 13; 32:4; 38:20. The one exception to this rule is found in Eccl. 10:20, where עוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם is translated with the singular πετεινὸν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ.
  • [113] Singular verbs are used with עוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם in Ps. 104:12; Job 12:7; Eccl. 10:20. Plural verbs are used with עוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם in 1 Kgs. 14:11; 16:4; 21:24; Jer. 4:25; Ezek. 31:6, 13; Ps. 104:12. Note especially how in one verse (Ps. 104:12) both a singular and a plural verb are used with עוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם.
  • [114] For another likely example of gezerah shavah in the teachings of Jesus, see Joseph Frankovic, “Remember Shiloh!” On Jesus’ use of gezerah shavah, see also R. Steven Notley, “Jesus’ Jewish Hermeneutical Method in the Nazareth Synagogue,” in Early Christian Literature and Intertextuality (2 vols.; ed. Craig A. Evans and H. Daniel Zacharias; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2009), 46-59, esp. 52-53; R. Steven Notley and Jeffrey P. García, “Hebrew-Only Exegesis: A Philological Approach to Jesus’ Use of the Hebrew Bible” (JS2, 349-374).
  • [115] See T. C. Skeat, “The Lilies of the Field,” Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 37.1 (1938): 211-214; Metzger, 18.
  • [116] See Skeat, “The Lilies of the Field,” 213; Bovon, 2:217 n. 61.
  • [117] Cf. Nolland, Luke, 2:692; Betz, 477 n. 419.
  • [118] See Jastrow, 343; Segal, 134 §294.
  • [119] Additional examples of non-interrogative uses of הֵיאַךְ are found in m. Bab. Metz. 2:7; m. Sanh. 3:6; t. Ket. 6:2.
  • [120] See Hatch-Redpath, 1:178-179.
  • [121] See Jastrow, 1287.
  • [122] Since we regard צִיץ as a collective noun, we have used plural verbs in HR. See Joüon-Muraoka, §150e.
  • [123] See Betz, 477 n. 419.
  • [124] See Hatch-Redpath, 2:778.
  • [125] See Jastrow, 563.
  • [126] See Ps. 126[127]:1; Eccl. 2:18 (Vaticanus).
  • [127] See Jastrow, 1088-1089.
  • [128] On spinning as women’s work, see Tal Ilan, Jewish Women in Greco-Roman Palestine, 186.
  • [129] See Jeremias, Parables, 215; Dillon, “Ravens, Lilies, and the Kingdom of God,” 619; Luz, 1:343; Lee A. Johnson and Robert C. Tannehill, “Lilies Do Not Spin: A Challenge to Female Social Norms,” New Testament Studies 56.4 (2010): 475-490.
  • [130] For examples of λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι elsewhere in GR, see Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven, L102; Lost Sheep and Lost Coin, L34, L53; Persistent Widow, L25; Sending the Twelve: Conduct in Town, L116; Blessedness of the Twelve, L10.
  • [131] The name Σολομών occurs in Matt. 1:6, 7; 6:29; 12:42 (2xx); Luke 11:31 (2xx); 12:27; John 10:23; Acts 3:11; 5:12; 7:47.
  • [132] The name Σολομών occurs over 125xx in the works of Josephus.
  • [133] See Hatch-Redpath, 3:134.
  • [134] See Hatch-Redpath, 1:341-343.
  • [135] See Dos Santos, 89.
  • [136] The proverbial statement appears in a midrash dealing with the fiery end to which individuals who boast in themselves eventually come:

    אמר הקב″ה כל מי שהוא מעלה את עצמו סופו לילך באש…ואף סנחריב שעילה את עצמו…מה היה לו, ויצא מלאך ה′ ויך במחנה אשור וגו′…. ומה עשה לו, ותחת כבודו יקד יקוד כיקוד אש, מהו תחת כבודו, ששרף אותו מבפנים, והניח בגדיו מבחוץ, שכבודו של אדם כסותו, למה הניח הקב″ה בגדיהם, לפי שהיו בניו של שם, שנאמר בני שם עילם ואשור וגו′, אמר הקב″ה חייב אני לשם אביהם, שנטל הכסות וכיסה ערות אביו, שנאמר ויקח שם ויפת את השמלה וגו′ , לכך הניח הקב″ה בגדיהם ושרף גופם

    The Holy one, blessed be he, said, “Everyone who exults himself will come to a fiery end”…. And also Sennacherib, who exulted himself…what happened to him? And a messenger of the LORD went out and struck the camp of Ashur [i.e., Assyria—DNB and JNT] [2 Kgs. 19:35]…. And what did he [i.e., the angel] do to him [i.e., Sennacherib]? And under his glory a burning was ignited, like the burning of a fire [Isa. 10:16]. And what is the meaning of “under his glory”? It means that he burned him from within, but his garments were left on the outside, because a person’s glory is his clothing [שכבודו של אדם כסותו]. Why did the Holy one, blessed be he, leave their garments? Because they were sons of Shem, as it is said, The sons of Shem were Elam and Ashur etc. [Gen. 10:22]. The Holy one, blessed be he, said, “I am indebted to Shem, their father, for he took his clothing and covered his father’s nakedness,” as it is said, And Shem and Yefet took the robe etc. [Gen. 9:23], therefore the Holy one, blessed be he, left their clothing and burned their bodies. (Midrash Tanhuma, Tzav chpt. 3 [ed. Buber, 2:13-14])

    The explanation that a person’s glory is his clothing not only has a proverbial ring, but the vocabulary also sets the statement apart from the rest of the discussion. The proverbial statement uses the term כְּסוּת (kesūt, “clothing,” “covering”) for clothing, whereas the surrounding context uses the synonym בֶּגֶד (beged, “garment”).
    A variant form of the proverb under discussion reads as follows:

    הדר בני אדם כסותן

    The splendor of human beings is their clothing. (Tosefta Derek Erez 1:7 [ed. Higger, 247])

  • [137] See Betz, 477 n. 427.
  • [138] The Ben Sira fragment mentioning “robes of glory” states:

    בגדי כבוד תלבשנה ועטרת תפארת תעטרנה

    You will wear her [i.e., Wisdom—DNB and JNT] as robes of glory [בגדי כבוד], and you will don her as a crown of splendor. (2Q18 2 I, 12)

    στολὴν δόξης ἐνδύσῃ αὐτὴν καὶ στέφανον ἀγαλλιάματος περιθήσεις σεαυτῷ

    You will wear her as a robe of glory, and you will don her as a crown of gladness. (Sir. 6:31)

    “Robes of glory” are also mentioned in passages of Ben Sira not preserved in the Qumran fragment:

    ἐὰν διώκῃς τὸ δίκαιον, καταλήμψῃ καὶ ἐνδύσῃ αὐτὸ ὡς ποδήρη δόξης

    If you pursue the right, you will overtake it and wear it as a flowing robe of glory. (Sir. 27:8)

    καὶ περιέζωσεν αὐτὸν περιστολὴν δόξης

    …and he [i.e., Moses—DNB and JNT] wrapped him [i.e., Aaron] in a robe of glory. (Sir. 45:7)

    ἐν τῷ ἀναλαμβάνειν αὐτὸν στολὴν δόξης καὶ ἐνδιδύσκεσθαι αὐτὸν συντέλειαν καυχήματος

    When he [i.e., Simon the high priest—DNB and JNT] put on a robe of glory [MS B: בגדי כבוד] and when he put on himself with the perfection of a boast…. (Sir. 50:11; NETS)

  • [139] Peter J. Tomson, Paul and the Jewish Law: Halakhah in the Letters of the Apostle to the Gentiles (CRINT III.1; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1990), 128 n. 172.
  • [140] On Solomon’s wealth, see 1 Kgs. 10 (// 2 Chr. 9); Ginzberg, 2:949 n. 16.
  • [141] See Vermes, 97.
  • [142] In LXX περιβάλλειν translates the root כ-ס-ה in Gen. 24:65; 38:14; Deut. 22:12; Judg. 4:18, 19 (Alexandrinus); 3 Kgdms. 1:1; 11:29; 4 Kgdms. 19:1, 2; 1 Chr. 21:16; Ps. 146[147]:8; Mic. 7:10; Jonah 3:6, 8; Isa. 37:1, 2; 58:7; 59:6; Ezek. 16:10, 18; 18:7, 16.
  • [143] In LXX περιβάλλειν translates the root ל-ב-שׁ in Gen. 28:20; 1 Kgdms. 28:8; 2 Chr. 28:15; Esth. 5:1; 6:8; Ps. 44[45]:14; Hag. 1:6; Zech. 3:5; Isa. 4:1; Jer. 4:30; Ezek. 34:3; Dan. 12:6, 7.
  • [144] Examples of כְּאַחַד + ‎מִן in MT are found in Gen. 3:22 (כְּאַחַד מִמֶּנּוּ = ὡς εἷς ἐξ ἡμῶν); Judg. 17:11 (כְּאַחַד מִבָּנָיו = ὡς εἷς τῶν υἱῶν αὐτοῦ); 1 Sam. 17:36 (כְּאַחַד מֵהֶם = ὡς ἓν τούτων); 2 Sam. 9:11 (כְּאַחַד מִבְּנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ = καθὼς εἷς τῶν υἱῶν τοῦ βασιλέως); Obad. 11 (כְּאַחַד מֵהֶם = ὡς εἷς ἐξ αὐτῶν); 2 Chr. 18:12 (כְּאַחַד מֵהֶם = ὡς ἑνὸς αὐτῶν).
  • [145] See Betz, 477 n. 427. Bauckham pointed out, however, that it was more usual to assume that, in contrast to human beings, plants and animals had no need of clothes than to argue that plants or animals were clothed better than human beings. See Richard Bauckham, “Reading the Sermon on the Mount in an Age of Ecological Catastrophe,” Studies in Christian Ethics 22.1 (2009): 76-88, esp. 83.
  • [146] Plummer (Luke, 327) noted that ἐν ἀγρῷ (“in a field”) describes the location of God’s activity (clothing the grass), not the location where the grass exists.
  • [147] Abbott suggested that Luke’s changes were “to shew Greek readers that χόρτος, in this passage, does not have its ordinary meaning ‘hay.’” See Edwin A. Abbott, The Fourfold Gospel (5 vols.; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1913-1917), 4:303 n. 5.
  • [148] Cf. our reconstruction of οὕτως with כָּךְ in Lost Sheep and Lost Coin, L35, L54.
  • [149] See Jastrow, 495.
  • [150] There is one example of חָצִיר meaning “leek” in MT (Num. 11:5), but the other 21 instances of חָצִיר in MT refer to “grass,” so we may consider “grass” to be the dominant BH meaning of חָצִיר.
  • [151] The imperative לא תקראו could mean either “Do not recite the Shema” or “Do not read the Torah.”
  • [152] See Betz, 479 n. 435.
  • [153] See Hatch-Redpath, 1:179.
  • [154] See Hatch-Redpath, 2:771.
  • [155] The only example of הִשְׁלִיךְ לְתוֹךְ הַתַּנּוּר (hishlich letōch hatanūr, “throw into the oven”) we have located is the following:

    היו הצפרדעים משליכות עצמן לתוך התנור

    …the frogs were throwing themselves into the oven…. (Midrash Tehillim 28:2 [ed. Buber, 2:229])

    We have also found a few instances of הִשְׁלִיךְ לְאוּר (hishlich le’ūr, “throw into a fire”), for example:

    אם יש כשיעור הזה נותנה לכהן ואם לאו משליכה לאור ושורפה

    If there is [terumah amounting to] a halachically significant quantity, he gives it to a priest. But if not, he throws it into a fire and burns it. (t. Ter. 10:6; Vienna MS)

    מה סופו של ארז באים עליו סתתין ומסתתין אותו ומסככין ממנו בתים והשאר משליכין אותו לאור

    What is the end of cedar? Wood carvers come upon it and carve it and they cover houses with it and what is left they throw into a fire. (Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version A, 41:1 [ed. Schechter, 66])

  • [156] Examples of using נָתַן (nātan, “give”) for “place in an oven” include the following:

    אֵין נוֹתְנִין אֶת הַפַּת לַתַּנּוּר

    They do not put the loaf in the oven. (m. Shab. 1:10)

    תַּנּוּר שֶׁנָּתַן {שנתן} בּוֹ עָפָר

    An oven into which he put dust…. (m. Kel. 5:6)

    קְדֵירָה שֶׁהִיא נתוּנָה בַּתַּנּוּר

    A pot that was put into the oven… (m. Kel. 8:4)

    וְנָתוּן לְתוֹך הַתַּנּוּר

    …and it was put inside the oven…. (m. Kel. 8:6)

    לא תמלא אשה קדרה ותרמוסין ועססיות ותתן לתוך התנור בערב שבת

    A woman may not fill a pot with peas and pulse and put it inside the oven on the eve of Shabbat. (t. Shab. 3:1)

    לא ימלא נחתום חבית מים ויתן לתוך התנור בערב שבת

    A baker may not fill a jug with water and put it inside the oven on the eve of Shabbat. (t. Shab. 3:2)

    Note the passive forms of נָתַן in m. Kel. 8:4, 6. We have likewise used the passive participle נָתוּן to reconstruct the middle/passive participle βαλλόμενον.

  • [157] An excerpt from Lindsey’s unpublished essay is quoted in Sending the Twelve: “The Harvest Is Plentiful” and “A Flock Among Wolves,” Comment to L46. Cf. Moulton-Milligan, 102.
  • [158] Cf. Davies-Allison, 1:656.
  • [159] Fitzmyer, 2:979.
  • [160] Lightfoot (2:157), writing in 1658, suggested קְטַנֵי אֱמוּנָה (qeṭanē ’emūnāh, “small of faith”) as the equivalent of ὀλιγόπιστος. Lightfoot cited b. Ber. 24b and b. Arach. 15a in support of his thesis, but in both places the phrase קְטַנֵי אֲמָנָה (qeṭanē ’amānāh) is what appears. We have not succeeded in locating any examples of קְטַנֵי אֱמוּנָה in rabbinic sources. In any case, neither קְטַנֵי אֲמָנָה nor קְטַנֵי אֱמוּנָה occur in any rabbinic source earlier than the Babylonian Talmud. The Babylonian Talmud replaced מְחוּסְּרֵי אֲמָנָה with קְטַנֵי אֲמָנָה in its version of Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus’ saying about those having bread today who ask what they will eat on the morrow (b. Sot. 48b).
  • [161] Additional examples of מְחוּסַּר אֲמָנָה include:

    תקע משה קרן עד שחזרו לפני פי החירות כיון שתקעה התחילו מחוסרי אמנה שבישראל מתלשין שערן ומקרעין כסותן

    Moses blew the horn until they returned before Pi Hahirot. As soon as he blew it, those in Israel who lack faith [מחוסרי אמנה] began plucking their hair and tearing their clothing…. (Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, BeShallaḥ chpt. 2 [ed. Lauterbach, 1:128])

    ויאמר אליהם משה איש אל יותר ממנו עד בקר ולא שמעו אל משה אלו מחוסרי אמנה שבישראל

    And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any of it [i.e., the manna—DNB and JNT] over until morning,” but they did not listen to Moses [Exod. 16:19-20]. These are the ones in Israel who lacked faith [מחוסרי אמנה]. (Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, Vayassa‘ chpt. 5 [ed. Lauterbach, 1:242])

    ויהי ביום השביעי יצאו מן העם ללקוט וגו′ אלו מחוסרי אמנה שבישראל

    And it happened on the seventh day that they went out from the people to gather [Exod. 16:27] etc. These are the ones in Israel who lacked faith [מחוסרי אמנה]. (Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, Vayassa‘ chpt. 5 [ed. Lauterbach, 1:245])

    כי אשא אל שמים ידי, כשברא הקדוש ברוך הוא את העולם לא בראו אלא במאמר ולא בראו אלא בשבועה ומי גרם לו לישבע מחוסרי אמנה הם גרמו לו לישבע שנאמר וישא ידו להם להפיל אותם במדבר אני נשאתי ידי אל הגוים וגו′‏

    For I will lift my hand to heaven [Deut. 32:40]. When the Holy one, blessed be he, created the world, he did not create it except by speech and he did not create it except by an oath. Who, then, caused him to take an oath? Those lacking faith [מחוסרי אמנה], they caused him to take an oath, as it is said, And he lifted his hand to them [in an oath—DNB and JNT] that he would cause them to fall in the desert [Ps. 106:26] and I have lifted my hand to the nations [Ezek. 36:7] etc. (Sifre Deut. §330 [ed. Finkelstein, 380])

  • [162] Cf. Bovon, 2:211.
  • [163] The most frequent LXX translation of אוֹ in the Pentateuch is : Gen. 24:49; 31:43; 44:8, 19; Exod. 5:3; 19:13; 21:4, 18, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 31, 32, 33 (2xx), 37 (2xx); 22:4, 5 (2xx), 6, 9 (4xx), 13; 23:4; 28:43; 30:20; Lev. 1:14; 3:6; 5:1 (2xx), 2 (4xx), 3, 4 (2xx), 6, 7, 11, 21 (3xx), 22, 23 (3xx); 7:16, 21 (2xx); 11:32 (3xx); 12:6 (2xx), 7, 8; 13:2, 19, 24, 29, 30, 38, 42 (2xx), 43, 47, 48 (4xx), 49 (5xx), 51 (3xx), 52 (4xx), 53 (3xx), 56 (3xx), 57 (3xx), 58 (3xx), 59 (5xx); 14:22, 30, 37; 15:14, 23, 29; 17:3 (2xx), 8, 13; 18:9 (2xx), 10; 19:20; 20:17, 27 (2xx); 21:18 (3xx), 19 (2xx), 20 (6xx); 22:4 (2xx), 5 (2xx), 21 (2xx), 22 (5xx), 27 (2xx), 28; 25:47, 49 (2xx); Num. 5:6, 14, 30; 6:2, 10; 9:10 (2xx); 14:2; 15:3 (4xx), 5, 8 (2xx), 11 (3xx), 14; 19:16 (3xx), 18 (3xx); 22:18; 24:13; 30:3, 11; 35:21, 22, 23; Deut. 4:16; 13:2 (2xx), 4, 6, 7 (4xx), 8; 14:21; 15:12, 21; 17:2, 3 (2xx), 5, 6, 12; 22:1, 4, 6 (3xx); 24:3, 14; 27:22; 29:17 (3xx). The second most common LXX translation of אוֹ in the Pentateuch is καί: Exod. 4:11 (3xx); Lev. 4:23, 28; 13:24, 29; 17:3; 25:14; Num. 11:8; 15:6; 18:17 (2xx); 30:15; 35:20; Deut. 19:15.
  • [164] Cf. the examples of -הִתְכַּסֶּה בְּ in m. Ket. 5:8 (cited above, Comment to L37) and m. Nid. 8:1.
  • [165] Cf. Isa. 37:1.
  • [166] See Hatch-Redpath, 2:917.
  • [167] See LSJ, 1120; Bovon, 2:219-220.
  • [168] The suggestion that the addition of τοῦ κόσμου somehow softens the criticism of Gentiles is advanced by Nolland (Luke, 2:693).
  • [169] See Marshall, 529; Davies-Allison, 1:658. The author of Luke used ἔθνος 10xx in his Gospel to refer to the Gentiles without the modifier τοῦ κόσμου (Luke 2:32; 18:32; 21:10 [2xx], 24 [3xx], 25 [?]; 22:25; 24:47), and 30xx in Acts (excluding Scripture quotations) without the modifier τοῦ κόσμου (Acts 4:27; 7:45; 9:15; 10:35, 45; 11:1, 18; 13:46, 48; 14:2, 5, 16, 27; 15:3, 7, 12, 14, 19, 23; 17:26; 18:6; 21:11, 19, 21, 25; 22:21; 26:17, 20, 23; 28:28).
  • [170] See Strack-Billerbeck, 2:191. According to Flusser (“‘Have You Ever Seen a Lion?’” [Flusser, JSTP2, 332 n. 4]), the Gospel of Luke may be the earliest evidence for the use of this Hebrew idiom.
  • [171] See Dos Santos, 152.
  • [172] See Jastrow, 1052.
  • [173] Text and translation according to Moses Hadas, Aristeas to Philocrates (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1951; repr. Eugene, Oreg.: Wipf and Stock, 2007), 157.
  • [174] See Bundy, 117.
  • [175] See Hatch-Redpath, 1:502.
  • [176] See Lindsey, GCSG, 3:46. The single example in which Matthew’s use of “heavenly Father” is supported by a synoptic parallel is Matt. 6:14 // Mark 11:25. In this verse the author of Matthew paraphrased Mark 11:25, which has the more Hebraic ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς. On Matt. 6:14 // Mark 11:25, see Lord’s Prayer, Comment to L32-33.
  • [177] The examples of “heavenly Father” in unique Matthean verses are in Matt. 15:13 (ὁ πατήρ μου ὁ οὐράνιος); 18:35 (ὁ πατήρ μου ὁ οὐράνιος); 23:9 (ὁ πατὴρ ὁ οὐράνιος).
  • [178] Cf. David R. Catchpole, “Q and ‘The Friend at Midnight’ (Luke XI.5-8/9),” Journal of Theological Studies 34.2 (1983): 407-424, esp. 423.
  • [179] Examples of “your Father” (without the addition of “heavenly” or “in heaven”) that are likely to be original are found in Matt. 6:4, 6 (2xx), 8, 18 (2xx); 10:20, 29; Luke 6:36.
  • [180] See Dos Santos, 91.
  • [181] See Hatch-Redpath, 1:118-119.
  • [182] See Allen, Matt., 65.
  • [183] Pace Luz, 1:344.
  • [184] See Moshe Weinfeld, Social Justice in Ancient Israel and in the Ancient Near East (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1995), 34.
  • [185] See Gerd Theissen, Social Reality and the Early Christians: Theology, Ethics, and the World of the New Testament (trans. Margaret Kohl; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992), 48.
  • [186] See Hatch-Redpath, 1:179; Dos Santos, 109.
  • [187] On the reflexive use of עֶצֶם + pronominal suffix, see Segal, 207-208 §429-431.
  • [188] Examples of דַּי + pronominal suffix are found in Exod. 36:7; Jer. 49:9; Obad. 5; Prov. 25:16.
  • [189] See Hatch-Redpath, 2:708.
  • [190] See Dos Santos, 194.
  • [191] Luz (1:339) points to this change as exemplifying the conservatism that usually characterizes Matthean redaction.
  • [192] See Montefiore, TSG, 2:110; Jeremias, Prayers, 214-215 (cf. Theology, 236); Luz, 1:345; Theissen, Social Reality and the Early Christians, 40.
  • [193] Rabbi Nehorai’s opinion is juxtaposed to the saying about the lion working as a porter (cited above, Comment to L14-18), which argues that human beings must work because through sin we have forfeited our right to heavenly maintenance.
  • [194] On Matt. 9:37 // Luke 10:2, see Sending the Twelve: “The Harvest Is Plentiful” and “A Flock Among Wolves.”
  • [195] On Matt. 10:10 // Luke 10:7, see Sending the Twelve: Conduct in Town, Comment to L97.
  • [196] In Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry the command “Seek his Kingdom” likely alludes to the second petition of the Lord’s Prayer (“Thy Kingdom come”; Matt. 6:10).