Calamities in Yerushalayim

& LOY Commentary 2 Comments

Did ancient Judaism teach that personal misfortune was proof of sin?

Luke 13:1-5

(Huck 162; Aland 207; Crook 244)[1]

וַיְהִי בָּעֵת הַהִיא וַיַּגִּידוּ לוֹ עַל הַגְּלִלִאִים שֶׁדָּמָם פִּילָטוֹס עֵרֵב בְּדַם זִבְחֵיהֶם וַיַּעַן וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם אַתֶּם חוֹשְׁבִים שֶׁהַגְּלִלִאִים הָאֵלּוּ רְשָׁעִים הָיוּ מִכָּל הַגְּלִלִאִים לֹא כִי אֶלָּא אֲנִי אוֹמֵר לָכֶם אִם לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ תְּשׁוּבָה כֻּלְּכֶם כֵּן תֹאבֵדוּן וְאוֹתָם שְׁמוֹנָה הֶעָשָׂר שֶׁעֲלֵיהֶם נָפַל הַמִּגְדָּל בְּשִׁילוֹחַ וַהֲרָגָם אַתֶּם חוֹשְׁבִים שֶׁהֵם חַיָּיבִים הָיוּ מִכָּל ישְׁבֵי יְרוּשָׁלַיִם לֹא כִי אֶלָּא אֲנִי אוֹמֵר לָכֶם אִם לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ תְּשׁוּבָה כֻּלְּכֶם כֵּן תֹאבֵדוּן

When Yeshua was told about the Galilean pilgrims whose blood Pilatos had mixed with that of their sacrificial animals he replied, “Do you consider these Galileans to be worse sinners than all the rest? Of course not! But I tell you this: Unless all of you repent, this is how you will be destroyed [Deut. 8:20].

“Or those eighteen persons who were crushed to death by the tower that collapsed in Shiloah—do you consider them to be worse debtors than all the rest of Yerushalayim’s residents? Of course not! But I tell you this: Unless all of you repent, this is how you will be destroyed [Deut. 8:20].”[2]

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Reconstruction

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“Choose Repentance
or Destruction” complex
Calamities in Yerushalayim

Woes on Three Villages

Generations that Repented Long Ago

Innocent Blood

Sign-Seeking Generation

Days of the Son of Man

Lesson of Lot’s Wife

Preserving and Destroying

Indiscriminate Catastrophe

Carrion Birds

“Like Children Playing”

Story Placement

The author of Luke’s placement of Calamities in Yerushalayim appears to have been arbitrary (i.e., not based on the arrangement of his sources), since this pericope is only loosely connected to the section of diverse teachings that precedes it. It also seems unlikely that the Unfruitful Fig Tree parable (Luke 13:6-9) was originally related to Calamities in Yerushalayim, since the message of the parable, which emphasizes divine forbearance, hardly fits the predictions of doom found in Calamities in Yerushalayim.[3]

Indeed, it is only because of its proximity to Calamities in Yerushalayim that the Unfruitful Fig Tree parable can be understood to refer to repentance. Taken on its own terms, the good fruit which the owner of the fig tree seeks could represent good deeds of any kind, not necessarily those related to repentance. In the Four Soils parable, for instance, producing fruit represents hearing God’s word and acting accordingly. Jesus’ own mother and brothers—by no means notorious sinners in need of repentance—exemplify the seed that fell on good soil, since they hear the word of God and do it (see Yeshua, His Mother and Brothers). The Unfruitful Fig Tree parable was probably told on a different occasion to convey a similar message, namely to start putting into practice the words of God that Jesus’ audience has heard, since their opportunity to do so will not last forever. As such, the Unfruitful Fig Tree parable reads more like an invitation to take advantage of a period of divine favor, perhaps by entering the Kingdom of Heaven, than as an urgent call to repent in order to avert an imminent catastrophe.

We suspect that Calamities in Yerushalayim describes an incident that gave rise to one of Jesus’ many teaching discourses, this one pertaining to repentance. This discourse was probably delivered at a point when Jesus believed that the period of divine favor he had so optimistically proclaimed was coming to a close. Jesus was now distressed to find that few of his contemporaries had availed themselves of the opportunity to embrace the way to redemption God had been offering them. In view of their failure to heed his message, Jesus began to predict the doom that awaited his fellow Israelites for having refused his Gospel of peace.

Click here for a complete overview of the narrative-sayings complex we have entitled “Choose Repentance or Destruction.”

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

Conjectured Stages of Transmission

The relative ease with which Calamities in Yerushalayim reverts to Hebrew suggests that the author of Luke took this pericope from the larger and more Hebraic of his two Greek sources, the Anthology (Anth.). The few Greek stylistic improvements we encounter in Calamities in Yerushalayim probably should be attributed to the editorial activity of the author of Luke rather than to his use of his smaller, more stylistically polished Greek source, the First Reconstruction (FR).

Crucial Issues

  1. Was Pilate’s slaughter of the Galileans a real event or a fictitious story, or was the author of Luke confused?
  2. Were the slain Galileans inhabitants of the Galilee or members of a militant nationalist sect?
  3. Were the Galilean and Jerusalemite victims presumed to be guilty or innocent?
  4. Did Second Temple Judaism teach that personal misfortune was proof of guilt before God?

Comment

L1-3 παρῆσαν δέ τινες ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ καιρῷ ἀπαγγέλλοντες αὐτῷ (Luke 13:1). There are strong indications that the author of Luke made editorial changes to the opening of Calamities in Yerushalayim for the sake of stylistic improvement. First, the verb παρεῖναι (pareinai, “to be present,” “to come”) occurs only this once in Luke, never in Mark, and only once in Matthew (Matt. 26:50; cf. Mark 14:45; Luke 22:48).[4] Second, παρεῖναι is relatively rare in LXX, and although when it does occur as the translation of a Hebrew verb it usually does so as the equivalent of בָּא (bā’, “come”),[5] the LXX translators preferred to render בָּא with other verbs such as ἔρχεσθαι (erchesthai, “to come”) and compound forms of παραγίνεσθαι (paraginesthai, “to come”).[6] Moreover, in LXX books translated from Hebrew the verb παρεῖναι never occurs at the opening of a sentence as it does in Luke 13:1. Thus the data from LXX indicate that Luke’s use of παρεῖναι is un-Hebraic. Third, there are numerous examples in the writings of Greek authors describing the arrival of individuals bringing a report with some combination of παρῆσαν (parēsan, “they came”), τινες (tines, “certain persons”) and ἀπαγγέλλοντες (apangellontes, “reporting”), parallel to Luke 13:1.[7] For instance, in the works of Diodorus of Sicily (first century B.C.E.) we read:

περὶ ταῦτα δ᾽ ὄντος αὐτοῦ παρῆσαν τινες ἀπαγγέλλοντες πολλοὺς τῶν Ἑλλήνων νεωτερίζειν

This task was not yet finished when messengers reached [παρῆσαν τινες] him reporting [ἀπαγγέλλοντες] that many of the Greeks were in revolt. (Diodorus of Sicily, Bibliotheca historica 17:8 §2; Loeb)[8]

περὶ ταῦτα δ᾽ ὄντος αὐτοῦ παρῆσαν τινες ἀπαγγέλλοντες ὅτι δύο δυνάμεις ἀπέσταλκεν Ἀντίγονος ἐπὶ βοήθειαν τοῖς Καλλαντιανοῖς

While he was thus engaged, there came certain men [παρῆσαν τινες] bringing word [ἀπαγγέλλοντες] that Antigonus had sent two expeditions to the support of the Callantians…. (Diodorus of Sicily, Bibliotheca historica 19:73 §6; Loeb)[9]

Σιδῶνα δὲ πολιορκοῦντος αὐτοῦ τινες παρῆσαν ἀπαγγέλλοντες ψευδῶς ὅτι παρατάξεως γενοένης τοῖς βασιλεῦσιν

…but while he was besieging Sidon certain men came [τινες παρῆσαν] to him with the false report [ἀπαγγέλλοντες] that a battle had taken place between the kings…. (Diodorus of Sicily, Bibliotheca historica 20:113 §1; Loeb)[10]

Similarly, in the works of Plutarch (mid first-mid second cent. C.E.) we find:

καὶ παρῆσαν ἐξ Ἰλίου τινὲς ἀπαγγέλλοντες ὦφθαι περὶ τὸν Ἀχαιῶν λεμένα τρισκαίδεκα πεντήρεις τῶν βασιλικῶν ἐπὶ Λῆμνον πλεούσας

And lo, there came [παρῆσαν] certain men [τινὲς] from Ilium, with tidings [ἀπαγγέλλοντες] that thirteen of the king’s galleys had been seen off the harbour of the Achaeans, making for Lemnos. (Plutarch, Parallel Lives: Lucullus 12:2; Loeb)[11]

Two further examples in Plutarch without τινες include:

παρῆσαν δ᾽ ἀπὸ Λεύκτρων οἱ τὴν συμφορὰν ἀπαγγέλλοντες

…then came [παρῆσαν] the messengers [ἀπαγγέλλοντες] of calamity from Leuctra. (Plutarch, Parallel Lives: Agesilaus 29:2; Loeb)[12]

καὶ μετ᾽ οὐ πολὺ παρῆσαν ὁι τὸν Φιλίππου θάνατον ἀπαγγέλοντες

…and not long afterwards the messengers came [παρῆσαν] with tidings [ἀπαγγέλοντες] of Philip’s death. (Plutarch, Parallel Lives: Demosthenes 22:1; Loeb)[13]

In light of these examples, it appears likely that the author of Luke reworked the opening of Calamities in Yerushalayim in order to make it read more like normal Greek literature. Perhaps he was prompted to do so because his source had ἐγένετο δέ + time marker + third impersonal plural verb, such as ἀπήγγειλαν (apēngeilan, “they reported”), for the main verb. The author of Luke may have felt that the opening sentence was simply too heavily laden with Hebraic features.

By replacing ἐγένετο δέ (“And it was”) with παρῆσαν δέ τινες (“But certain persons came”) in L1, the author of Luke was simultaneously able to remove a glaring Hebraism and supply a subject (τινες [tines, “certain persons”]) for the opening clause. Likewise, by changing the impersonal aorist verb ἀπήγγειλαν (“they reported”) into the participle ἀπαγγέλλοντες (“reporting”) the author of Luke was able to remove yet another Hebraism and at the same time make the opening of Calamities in Yerushalayim resemble normal Greek prose.

L2 ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ καιρῷ (GR). Since Luke’s time phrase ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ καιρῷ (en avtō tō kairō, “in that time”) belongs to a highly Hebraic structure (καὶ ἐγένετο/ἐγένετο δέ + ἐν τῷ infinitive time phrase + finite main verb),[14] and since the time phrase itself reverts easily to Hebrew (see below), we have accepted Luke’s wording in L2 for GR.

בָּעֵת הַהִיא (HR). Most instances of καιρός (kairos, “time”) in LXX occur as the translation of עֵת (‘ēt, “time”).[15] Likewise, the LXX translators rendered most instances of עֵת as καιρός.[16]

The time phrase בָּעֵת הַהִיא (bā‘ēt hahi’, “in that time”) occurs quite regularly in the Hebrew Bible. The LXX translators almost always rendered it as ἐν τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ (en tō kairō ekeinō, “in that time”).[17] The LXX translators never rendered בָּעֵת הַהִיא as ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ καιρῷ (en avtō tō kairō, “in that time”), nor is the phrase ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ καιρῷ common in LXX.[18] Therefore, the presence of this Hebraic phrase in Calamities in Yerushalayim is not easily explained away as Lukan imitation of LXX.[19] Moreover, it is difficult to understand why the author of Luke, who worked so hard to conform the opening of Calamities in Yerushalayim to Hellenistic usage (see above, Comment to L1-3), would have changed gears in order to insert a botched Septuagintism. On the other hand, there is no reason why an independent Greek translator not attempting to imitate LXX style could not have rendered בָּעֵת הַהִיא as ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ καιρῷ. In LXX we have examples where ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ (en avtē tē hēmera, “in that day”; Esth. 8:1; 9:11) occurs as the translation of בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא (bayōm hahū’, “in that day”) and where ἐν αὐταῖς ταῖς ἡμέραις (en avtais tais hēmerais, “in those days”; Esth. 1:2) occurs as the translation of בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם (bayāmim hāhēm, “in those days”). These examples are analogous to our reconstruction of ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ καιρῷ as בָּעֵת הַהִיא. It therefore appears most likely that the time phrase ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ καιρῷ in Luke 13:1 is a carryover from Anth. that survived the Greek stylistic polishing of the author of Luke.[20]

Another possible reconstruction of ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ καιρῷ is בְּאוֹתָהּ הַשָּׁעָה (be’ōtāh hashā‘āh, “in that hour”),[21] but this phrase is not attested in Biblical Hebrew, the style of Hebrew in which we prefer to reconstruct narrative. Elsewhere we have reconstructed ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ὥρᾳ (en ekeinē tē hōra, “in that hour”; Yohanan the Immerser’s Question, L26) and ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ (en avtē tē hōra, “in that hour”; Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn, L1) with בְּאוֹתָהּ הַשָּׁעָה.

L3 ἀπήγγειλαν αὐτῷ (GR). As we discussed above in Comment to L1-3, we believe the author of Luke changed Anth.’s impersonal aorist verb ἀπήγγειλαν (apēngeilan, “they reported”) to a participial form for the sake of stylistic improvement.

וַיַּגִּידוּ לוֹ (HR). On reconstructing ἀπαγγέλλειν (apangellein, “to report”) with הִגִּיד (higid, “tell,” “report”), see Yohanan the Immerser’s Question, Comment to L1-2.

L4 περὶ τῶν Γαλιλαίων (GR). Since περὶ τῶν Γαλιλαίων (peri tōn Galilaiōn, “concerning the Galileans”) reverts easily to Hebrew (see below), we have accepted Luke’s wording in L4 for GR.

עַל הַגְּלִלִאִים (HR). On reconstructing περί (peri, “about,” “concerning”) with עַל (‘al, “upon,” “concerning”), see Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry, Comment to L30. For LXX examples of עַל + הִגִּיד translated with ἀπαγγέλλειν + περί, see Yohanan the Immerser’s Question, Comment to L7.

Roman-period arrow and catapult heads discovered in Gamla. Photographed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem by Joshua N. Tilton.

We do not find examples of “Galileans” as a designation for the Jewish inhabitants of the Galilee in rabbinic sources, although we do find “the Galilean” appended to the names of certain individuals, most notably יוֹסֵה הַגָּלִילִי (yōsēh hagālili, “Yose the Galilean”), the name of a prominent rabbinic sage. Instead of “Galileans,” in rabbinic sources we find the term אַנְשֵׁי הַגָּלִיל (’anshē hagālil, “the people of the Galilee”).[22] It is possible that אַנְשֵׁי הַגָּלִיל occurred in the Hebrew Life of Yeshua, but in that case we might have expected this phrase to have been reflected in Luke 13:1 as τῶν ἀνθρώπων τῆς Γαλιλαίας (tōn anthrōpōn tēs Galilaias, “the people of the Galilee”). Moreover, following the discovery of the Bar Kochva letters (Mur 43 f1.4), adopting אַנְשֵׁי הַגָּלִיל for HR has become unnecessary, since one of these letters refers to a certain group of Galileans as הַגְּלִלִאִים (hagelili’im, “the Galileans”).[23] Another option for HR is הַגְּלִילִים (hagelilim, “the Galileans”), but except as an adjective this form is unattested in ancient Hebrew sources.[24]

A Roman helmet from the period of the Bar Kochva revolt. Photographed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem by Joshua N. Tilton.

Some scholars, seeking a motive for the massacre described in this pericope, have suggested that “Galileans” should not be understood in a general sense as a reference to the inhabitants of the Galilee, but to a band of militant Jewish nationalists,[25] perhaps the followers of Judas the Galilean.[26] But although Judas the Galilean is known from the New Testament (Acts 5:37) and the writings of Josephus (J.W. 2:118, 433) as a revolutionary, there is no evidence that his followers were ever called “Galileans,”[27] nor is there any other evidence that a group of revolutionaries was known as “Galileans.”[28] It is true that Zeitlin argued that in Josephus’ autobiographical account of the Jewish revolt against Rome Josephus did use the term “Galileans” to refer to a militant nationalist group,[29] but Zeitlin’s interpretation has been shown to be based on a selective and tendentious reading of Josephus’ Life.[30] There is no reason to assume that the massacred Galileans belonged to a militant nationalist movement or that they had caused or participated in some kind of disturbance that provoked the massacre described in Luke 13:1.[31] The Galilean worshippers could just as easily have been innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire of some clash between the Roman imperial troops and a local demonstration,[32] or, as so often happens in authoritarian regimes, the innocent actions of the Galilean worshippers could have been misinterpreted by the Roman authorities. The assumption that the massacred Galileans were guilty of some form of sedition reflects the imperialist heritage of so many European and American scholars, not the point of view of first-century Jews of the land of Israel.

L5 ὧν τὸ αἷμα Πιλᾶτος ἔμιξεν (GR). Since Luke’s wording in L5 reverts easily to Hebrew (see below), we have accepted it for GR.

שֶׁדָּמָם פִּילָטוֹס עֵרֵב (HR). On reconstructing the relative pronoun ὅς (hos, “who,” “which”) with -שֶׁ (she-, “who,” “which”), see Hidden Treasure and Priceless Pearl, Comment to L5.

In LXX αἷμα (haima, “blood”) almost always occurs as the translation of דָּם (dām, “blood”),[33] and we also find that the LXX translators rendered דָּם with αἷμα far more often than with any other Greek term.[34] Since we find singular and plural instances of דָּם with a third-person plural pronominal suffix, viz. דָּמָם (dāmām, “their blood [sing.]”)[35] and דְּמֵיהֶם (demēhem, “their blood [plur.]”),[36] and since the singular and plural forms were used more or less interchangeably,[37] we might have accepted either form for HR. However, since דָּמָם better reflects Mishnaic Hebrew idiom (see below), we have accepted the singular form for HR.

On reconstructing Πιλᾶτος (Pilatos, “Pilate”) as פִּילָטוֹס (pilāṭōs, “Pilate”), see A Voice Crying, Comment to L17.

The verb μιγνύναι (mignūnai, “to mix”) is rare in LXX, but three of its six instances occur as the translation of הִתְעָרֵב (hit‘ārēv, “be mixed”; 4 Kgdms. 18:23; Ps. 105[106]:35; Isa. 36:8).[38] We also find that the LXX translators used compound forms of μιγνύναι to render verbs formed from the ע-ר-ב root: ἐπιμιγνύναι (epimignūnai, “to mix with”) in Prov. 14:10 and Ezek. 16:37; συμμιγνύναι (sūmmignūnai, “to mix together”) in Prov. 11:15. These data are complicated somewhat by the fact that in Biblical Hebrew the ע-ר-ב root occurred with two distinct meanings, “mix” and “pledge.”[39] In some of the instances we have cited the ע-ר-ב root occurs with its second meaning. Nevertheless, their choice of μιγνύναι as the equivalent of ע-ר-ב verbs shows that the LXX translators understood these ע-ר-ב verbs to mean “mix.” Since in Mishnaic Hebrew verbs from the ע-ר-ב root no longer conveyed the meaning “pledge,”[40] it is likely that the LXX translators were influenced by Hebrew usage current at the time of their work.[41] That the ע-ר-ב root is the best option for HR is confirmed by the many examples of this root in its pi‘el, hitpa‘el and nitpa‘el stems used with reference to blood in post-biblical sources (see below).

The mixing of blood (expressed with ע-ר-ב) with other substances is often discussed in connection with the operations performed in the Temple. For instance, in the Temple Scroll we read:

ו]עשיתה תעלה סביב לכיור אצל ביתו והתעל[ה] הולכת [מבית] הכיור למחלה יורדת [–]טת אל תוך הארץ אשר יהיו המים נשפכים והולכים אליה ואובדים בתוך הארץ ולוא יהיה נוגעים בהמה כול אדם כי מדם העולה מתערב במה

[And] you will make a channel surrounding the laver near its receptacle. And the chann[el] going [from the receptacle] of the laver to a hole descends [–] into the earth, so when the water is poured it goes into it and disappears into the earth. And no one is to touch it, for it is mixed [מִתְעָרֵב] from the blood of the whole burnt offering. (11QTa [11Q19] XXXII, 12-15)

שְׁחָטוֹ עַל מְנָת…לְעָרֵב דָּמוֹ בְדַם פְּסוּלִין כָּשֵׁר

If he slaughtered it in order…to mix [לְעָרֵב] its blood with blood of an invalid offering, it is nevertheless valid. (m. Zev. 3:6)

דָּם שֶׁנִּיתְעָרַב בַּמַּיִם אִם יֶשׁ בּוֹ מַרְאֵה דָם כָּשֵׁר

Blood that was mixed [שֶׁנִּיתְעָרַב] with water: if it has the appearance of blood, it is valid. (m. Zev. 8:6)

These sources on the mixing of blood with other substances in the context of the Temple concern issues of purity and holiness.

In other instances the mixing of blood (expressed with ע-ר-ב) is an idiomatic expression for murder:

בימי טרוגיינוס הרשע נולד לו בן בתשעה באב והיו מתענין מתה בתו בחנוכה והדליקו נרות ושלחה אשתו ואמרה לו עד שאת מכבש את הברבריים בוא וכבוש את היהודים שמרדו בך…והקיפן ליגיונות והרגן אמר לנשיהן נשמעות אתם לליגיונתי ואין אני הורג אתכם אמרין ליה מה דעבדת בארעייא עביד בעילייא ועירב דמן בדמן והלך הדם בים עד קיפריס

In the days of Trajan the wicked a son was born to him on the ninth of Av, and they [i.e., his Jewish subjects—DNB and JNT] were fasting. His daughter died during Hanukkah, and they [i.e., his Jewish subjects] lit lamps. And his wife sent and said to him, “Before conquering the barbarians, come and conquer the Jews who have rebelled against you.” …And legions surrounded them and killed them. He said to their wives, “If you listen to my legions, I will not kill you.” They said to him, “What you did to the ones who have fallen do also to us who are yet standing.”[42] So he mixed their [i.e., the women’s] blood with their [i.e., the men’s] blood [עֵירֵב דָּמָן בְּדָמָן]. And the blood went in the sea as far as Cyprus. (y. Suk. 5:1 [23a])

ר′ שמעון בן לקיש אמ′ לאבישי נשבע, חי י″י אם תיגע בו אני מערב את דמך בדמו

Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish said, “[David] swore to Avishai, ‘As the LORD lives, if you harm him, I will mix your blood with his blood [אֲנִי מְעָרֵב אֶת דָּמְךָ בְּדָמוֹ].'” (Lev. Rab. 23:11 [ed. Margulies, 2:544])

A late rabbinic source, ostensibly describing the destruction of Solomon’s Temple but likely reflecting memories of the destruction of the Second Temple, uses the metaphor of mixing blood for murder in a Temple setting:

כשראה כהן גדול שנשרף [ביהמ″ק], נטל את המפתיחות וזרקן לשמים, פתח פיו ואמר הרי מפתחות של ביתך, אפיטרופוס של שקר הייתי בתוכו, יצא לילך לו, תפסו אותו שונאים ושחטו אותו אצל המזבח מקום שהיה מקריב את התמיד, יצתה בתו בורחת וצווחת אוי לי אבא חמדת עיני, תפשו אותה ושחטו אותה וערבו דמה בדם אביה

When the high priest saw that it [i.e., the Temple] was burning, he took the keys and threw them to Heaven. He opened his mouth and said, “Here are the keys of your house! I was a false governor within it.” He went out on his way. Enemies seized him and slaughtered him beside the altar, the place where he used to offer the daily sacrifice. His daughter went out fleeing and crying, “Woe to me! My father, the delight of my eyes!” They seized her and slaughtered her and mixed her blood with the blood of her father [וְעֵרְבוּ דָּמָהּ בְּדַם אָבִיהָ]. (Pesikta Rabbati 26:6 [ed. Friedmann, 131a])

A third-century C.E. Samaritan sarcophagus discovered at Kefar Siris in Israel depicting a bull’s head with garlands. Photographed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem by Joshua N. Tilton.

In Calamities in Yerushalayim Pilate’s mixing of the Galileans’ blood is a metaphor for murder, but since the murder also involved animals intended for sacrifice, issues of purity and holiness are also present. For first-century Jews Pilate’s massacre of the Galileans was a double tragedy entailing the loss of life and the desecration of sacrifices.

For a better appreciation of the horror first-century Jews would have felt when hearing about Pilate’s massacre of the Galilean worshippers we can compare Calamities in Yerushalayim to Philo’s comments on Exod. 21:14, which commands that the murderer must be taken away from the altar in order to be put to death. According to Philo, this command was given to prevent family members of the murder victim from taking their revenge on the murderer in the precincts of the Temple:

αἵματι γὰρ ἀνδροφόνων αἷμα θυσιῶν ἀνακραθήσεται τὸ τῶν καθωσιωμένων τῷ μὴ καθαρῷ

For [otherwise—DNB and JNT] the blood of the murderer will mix with the blood of the sacrifices, the impure with the consecrated. (Spec. leg. 3:91)

Limestone inscription from Caesarea in which Pilate dedicates a temple to the Roman Emperor Tiberius. Photographed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem by Joshua N. Tilton.

Attempts to relate the massacre reported in Luke 13:1 to specific events reported in the works of Josephus notwithstanding,[43] most responsible historians agree that the massacre described in Calamities in Yerushalayim is not mentioned in any other ancient non-Christian source.[44] The massacre is, however, consistent with the portrayals in the writings of Philo and Josephus of Pilate as a brutal governor of Judea who had little regard for Jewish lives, let alone their religious sensitivities.[45] Lending even greater credence to the massacre reported in Luke 13:1 is the fact that this report is at odds with the tendency of the Gospels to exonerate Pilate of responsibility for Jesus’ crucifixion.[46]

Some scholars have suggested that Pilate’s massacre of the Galileans described in Luke 13:1 lay at the root of the rift between Herod Antipas, tetrarch of the Galilee, and Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea, mentioned in Luke 23:12.[47] At most we can speculate that this event may have been a factor that contributed to the tensions between these two governing authorities.[48]

L6 μετὰ τῶν θυσιῶν αὐτῶν (GR). The only emendation to Luke’s wording in L6 that would make it even more Hebraic would be to insert τοῦ αἵματος (tou haimatos, “the blood”) after the preposition μετά (meta, “with”). Even as the text stands it must be understood that the blood of the Galileans was mixed with the blood of their sacrifices.[49] Since the Greek translator of the Hebrew Life of Yeshua could have omitted τοῦ αἵματος in order to avoid needless repetition, there is no need to assume editorial activity on the part of the author of Luke. We have therefore accepted Luke’s wording in L6 for GR.

בְּדַם זִבְחֵיהֶם (HR). As noted above, the Hebrew idiom of “mixing blood” as a metaphor for murder requires the addition of דָּם (“blood”) in HR. We might have reconstructed μετά (“with”) with עִם (‘im, “with”), as we have done elsewhere in LOY.[50] Moreover, there are examples in MT and DSS where verbs from the ע-ר-ב root are accompanied by the preposition עִם.[51] Nevertheless, even in these early sources verbs from the ע-ר-ב root are more often accompanied by the preposition -בְּ (be, “in,” “with”),[52] and in every example of the blood-mixing-with-blood murder metaphor (see the examples cited above in Comment to L5) the preposition for “with” is always -בְּ. We therefore feel that reconstructing μετά in L6 with -בְּ is fully justified.

In LXX the noun θυσία (thūsia, “sacrifice”) mainly occurs as the translation of מִנְחָה (minḥāh, “offering”) or זֶבַח (zevaḥ, “sacrifice”).[53] We also find that the LXX translators rendered the great majority of instances of זֶבַח as θυσία,[54] and those that were not were usually translated with a cognate such as θυσίασμα (thūsiasma, “sacrifice”). Likewise, the LXX translators rendered מִנְחָה more often with θυσία than with any other Greek noun.[55] In the present context, however, זֶבַח is preferable, since מִנְחָה typically connotes “grain offering,”[56] whereas animal sacrifices whose blood was mingled with that of the Galilean worshippers is clearly intended.

Examples of the construct phrase דַּם זֶבַח (dam zevaḥ, “blood of a sacrifice”) occur in the Hebrew Bible:

לֹא תִזְבַּח עַל חָמֵץ דַּם זִבְחִי

Do not offer with leaven the blood of my sacrifice [דַּם זִבְחִי; LXX: αἷμα θυσιάσματός μου]. (Exod. 23:18; cf. Exod. 34:25)

וְדַם זְבָחֶיךָ יִשָּׁפֵךְ עַל מִזְבַּח יי אֱלֹהֶיךָ

…and the blood of your sacrifices [וְדַם זְבָחֶיךָ; LXX: τὸ δὲ αἷμα τῶν θυσιῶν σου] must be poured on the altar of the LORD your God. (Deut. 12:27)

עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ הַגָּדוֹל הַקְטֵר אֶת עֹלַת הַבֹּקֶר וְאֶת מִנְחַת הָעֶרֶב וְאֶת עֹלַת הַמֶּלֶךְ וְאֶת מִנְחָתוֹ וְאֵת עֹלַת כָּל־עַם הָאָרֶץ וּמִנְחָתָם וְנִסְכֵּיהֶם וְכָל־דַּם עֹלָה וְכָל־דַּם־זֶבַח עָלָיו תִּזְרֹק

Upon the big altar offer the morning whole burnt offering and the evening offering, and the king’s whole burnt offering and his grain offering, and the whole burnt offerings of all the people of the land with their grain offerings and libations. And toss upon it the blood of every whole burnt offering and the blood of every sacrifice [וְכָל־דַּם־זֶבַח; LXX: πᾶν αἷμα θυσίας]. (2 Kgs. 16:15)

The construct phrase דַּם זֶבַח also occurs in rabbinic literature:

חלות תודה ורקיקי נזיר שחסרו עד שלא נזרק דם הזבח פסולין משנזרק דם הזבח כשירין

Loaves for the thank offering and cakes for the Nazirite offering that were lacking before the blood of the sacrifice [דַּם הַזֶּבַח] was tossed are invalid; after the blood of the sacrifice was tossed they are valid. (t. Men. 4:7; Vienna MS)

דם חטאת בהמה למעלה ודם כל הזבחים למטה

The blood of an animal sin offering [is sprinkled—DNB and JNT] above, but the blood of all the [other] sacrifices [וְדַם כָּל הַזְּבָחִים] [is sprinkled] below. (t. Hul. 1:14; Vienna MS)

The fact that the massacred Galileans had sacrifices in their possession is sufficient to show that they were on pilgrimage to Jerusalem.[57] The most natural inference is that they had arrived for one of the pilgrimage feasts (i.e., Passover, Pentecost or Tabernacles),[58] since it was in connection with the three pilgrimage feasts that the injunction against appearing before the LORD empty-handed occurs in Scripture (Exod. 23:15; 34:20; Deut. 16:16). In rabbinic sources this injunction was understood to mandate the bringing of sacrifices:

לא יראו פני ריקם בזבחים…דבר אחר לא יראו פני ריקם בעולות

No one may appear before me empty-handed [Exod. 23:15]. [He must appear] with sacrifices [בִּזְבָחִים]…. Another interpretation: No one may appear before me empty-handed [Exod. 23:15]. [He must appear] with whole burnt offerings…. (Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, Kaspa chpt. 4 [ed. Lauterbach, 2:483])

It is likely that the same understanding also prevailed during the Second Temple period.[59]

Some scholars have supposed that they could achieve even greater specificity regarding the timing and circumstances of the massacre. Plummer maintained that the massacre was perpetrated during Sukkot (Tabernacles),[60] while Jeremias argued from the “fact” that the worshippers were massacred in the very act of slaughtering their sacrifices that the atrocity was committed on the eve of Passover, since that was the only time non-priests were permitted to slaughter their own sacrifices.[61] One scholar even went so far as to pinpoint the exact date of the massacre to Monday the 18th of April in the year 29 C.E.![62] Such precision, however, is unwarranted. Luke 13:1 does not state that the Galilean worshippers were killed in the act of slaughtering their sacrifices,[63] so we cannot assume that the massacre took place at Passover. We cannot even be certain that the massacre took place within the Temple precincts, for, supposing the pilgrims brought their sacrificial beasts with them, it is possible that Pilate’s soldiers killed the Galileans along with their sacrifices while the pilgrims were still en route to Jerusalem or while they were on their way to the Temple from their lodgings within the city.[64] While, in view of the connection Jesus made between this event and the collapse of the Siloam tower in Jerusalem, a Jerusalem location of the massacre is most probable, it remains hazardous to venture much beyond the scant details given in Luke 13:1.

A model of the Temple Mount photographed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem by Joshua N. Tilton.

L7 וַיַּעַן וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם (HR). Since Luke’s phrase καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς (kai apokritheis eipen avtois, “and answering he said to them”) is thoroughly Hebraic, our adoption of his wording for GR in L7 requires no further comment. On reconstructing καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν as וַיַּעַן וַיֹּאמֶר (vaya‘an vayo’mer, “and he answered and said”), see Call of Levi, Comments to L56 and L58.

L8 δοκεῖτε ὅτι οἱ Γαλιλαῖοι οὗτοι (GR). Once more we have accepted Luke’s wording for GR, since the phrase δοκεῖτε ὅτι οἱ Γαλιλαῖοι οὗτοι (dokeite hoti hoi Galilaioi houtoi, “Do you think that these Galileans…?”) reverts so easily to Hebrew (see below).

אַתֶּם חוֹשְׁבִים שֶׁהַגְּלִלִאִים הָאֵלּוּ (HR). We considered whether to prefix an interrogative onto אַתֶּם (’atem, “you”), since in the Hebrew Bible we find questions formulated with an interrogative -ה + personal pronoun + verb pattern. For example:

הֶאָנֹכִי הָרִיתִי אֵת כָּל־הָעָם הַזֶּה

Did I conceive this entire people? (Num. 11:12)

הַהוּא אָמַר וְלֹא יַעֲשֶׂה

Has he said [a thing] and not done [it]? (Num. 23:19)

הַאַתֶּם תְּרִיבוּן לַבַּעַל

Will you contend for Baal? (Judg. 6:31)

הַאַתָּה תִּבְנֶה־לִּי בַיִת לְשִׁבְתִּי

Will you build me a house in which to dwell? (2 Sam. 7:5)

הַאֲנִי אַשְׁבִּיר וְלֹא אוֹלִיד

Will I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth? (Isa. 66:9)

These examples notwithstanding, we have decided not to include an interrogative in HR, first because there is nothing corresponding to it in the Greek text, second because interrogative became rather rare in MH,[65] and third because it was not uncommon in Hebrew to express questions merely by the inflection of the voice.[66]

On reconstructing δοκεῖν (dokein, “to think”) with חָשַׁב (ḥāshav, “think”), see Praying Like Gentiles, Comment to L4.

On reconstructing ὅτι (hoti, “that,” “because”) with -שֶׁ (she-, “that,” “because”), see Lost Sheep and Lost Coin, Comment to L31.

On reconstructing Γαλιλαῖοι (Galilaioi, “Galileans”) as גְּלִלִאִים (gelili’im, “Galileans”), see above, Comment to L4.

We have preferred to reconstruct the demonstrative pronoun οὗτοι (houtoi, “these”) with אֵלּוּ (’ēlū, “these”) rather than אֵלֶּה (’ēleh, “these”), since the former is characteristic of Mishnaic Hebrew, the style of Hebrew in which we prefer to reconstruct direct speech.[67]

L9-10 ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἐγένοντο παρὰ πάντας τοὺς Γαλιλαίους (GR). Some scholars are of the opinion that the adjective ἁμαρτωλός (hamartōlos, “sinful”) in L9 is the product of Lukan redaction and that the noun ὀφειλέτης (ofeiletēs, “debtor”) originally occurred both here and in L17 (Luke 13:4).[68] While we agree that in Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer (taken from FR) his source had replaced ὀφειλήματα (ofeilēmata, “debts”) with ἁμαρτίας (hamartias, “sins”),[69] there is no reason why Jesus could not have used synonyms (L9, L17) in the parallel questions about the Galileans and Jerusalemites in Calamities in Yerushalayim. There is nothing un-Hebraic about Luke’s use of the adjective ἁμαρτωλός in L9.

Luke’s placement of the verb ἐγένοντο (egenonto, “they were”) in L10, on the other hand, is contrary to normal Hebrew word order, which leads us to suppose that the author of Luke may have displaced ἐγένοντο from an original position in L9 immediately following ἁμαρτωλοί (“sinful”). Lending support to this supposition is the fact that in the parallel question about the Jerusalemites ἐγένοντο does appear in a Hebraic position immediately following ὀφειλέται (“debtors”; L17). For this reason we have restored ἐγένοντο to its Hebraic position in GR.

Wolter has refuted the claim of some scholars that Luke’s use of παρά (para, “beside”) in a comparative clause is a Semitism by citing examples from Greek literature such as the following:[70]

“…εἰπέ μοι, τίνα θαυμασιώτερον ἡγῇ τῶν ἐπὶ Τροίαν τε καὶ Τροίας ἐλθόντων;” “ἐγώ,” ἔφη, “Ἀχιλλέα…οὗτος γὰρ δὴ κάλλιστός τε εἶναι τῷ Ὁμήρῳ ὕμνηται καὶ παρὰ πάντας τοὺς Ἀχαιοὺς μέγας, ἔργα τε αὐτοῦ μεγάλα οἶδε.”

“…tell me, whom you regard as the most remarkable of the assailants or defenders of Troy.” “I,” replied Apollonius, “regard Achilles…as such, for he and no other is celebrated by Homer as excelling the Achaeans [παρὰ πάντας τοὺς Ἀχαιοὺς] in personal beauty and size, and he knows of mighty deeds of his.” (Philostratus, Life of Apollonius 3:19; Loeb)[71]

τὸν Βορέαν…παρὰ πάντας τοὺς ἀνέμους ἄρσενα…

…Boreas…who of all the winds [παρὰ πάντας τοὺς ἀνέμους] is the most masculine…. (Philostratus, Life of Apollonius 4:21; Loeb)[72]

Moulton and Milligan cited similar examples in non-literary papyri.[73] Comparative uses of παρά are also found in Greek-composed LXX books, for instance:

περὶ τῶν ἡμαρτηκότων καὶ ἠσεβηκότων εἰς τὸν κύριον παρὰ πᾶν ἔθνος καὶ βασιλείαν

…concerning those who sinned and were impious toward the Lord, more than any people-group [παρὰ πᾶν ἔθνος] or kingdom…. (1 Esd. 1:22)

καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια μεγάλη καὶ ἰσχυροτέρα παρὰ πάντα

The truth also is great and stronger than all things [παρὰ πάντα]. (1 Esd. 4:35)

οὗτος γὰρ παρὰ πάντας οἶδεν ὅτι ἁμαρτάνει

For this one, more than all others [παρὰ πάντας], knows that he sins…. (Wis. 15:13)

While the use of παρά in a comparative clause may not be a Semitism, it certainly reverts smoothly into Hebrew, as we will see below.

רְשָׁעִים הָיוּ מִכָּל הַגְּלִלִאִים (HR). On the reconstruction of ἁμαρτωλός (hamartōlos, “sinful”) as רָשָׁע (rāshā‘, “wicked”), see Call of Levi, Comment to L29.

In LXX the comparative phrase παρὰ πάντα (para panta, “more than every”) regularly occurs as the translation of מִכָּל (mikol, “more than every”).[74] Comparative clauses particularly similar to our reconstruction in that they follow an adjective/adjectival participle→“to be” verb→מִכָּל pattern include:

בָּרוּךְ תִּהְיֶה מִכָּל הָעַמִּים

You will be more blessed than all peoples. (Deut. 7:14)

εὐλογητὸς ἔσῃ παρὰ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη

You will be more blessed than all the people groups. (Deut. 7:14)

קדוש יהיה מכל מקום

It will be holier than every [other] place. (Sifre Num. §25 [ed. Horowitz, 30])

Other examples have a personal name or personal pronoun in place of a “to be” verb because they are stated in the present tense:

אָרוּר אַתָּה מִכָּל־הַבְּהֵמָה וּמִכֹּל חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה

You are more cursed than any domestic animal or any wild beast. (Gen. 3:14)

גָדוֹל יי מִכָּל־הָאֱלֹהִים

…the LORD is greater than all the gods. (Exod. 18:11)

μέγας κύριος παρὰ πάντας τοὺς θεούς

The Lord is greater than all the gods. (Exod. 18:11)

הערלה טמאה היא מכל הטמאות

The foreskin is more impure than all the [other] impurities. (Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer, chpt. 28 [29] [ed. Horowitz, 94])

On reconstructing Γαλιλαῖοι (Galilaioi, “Galileans”) as גְּלִלִאִים (gelili’im, “Galileans”), see above, Comment to L4.

L11 ὅτι ταῦτα πεπόνθασιν (Luke 13:2). Our frustrating attempts to reconstruct the phrase ὅτι ταῦτα πεπόνθασιν (hoti tavta peponthasin, “because these things they have suffered”) eventually led us to consider whether these words were added by the author of Luke as an explanatory gloss.[75] When we opened our eyes to this possibility we discovered two further reasons (in addition to resistance to Hebrew retroversion) for supposing that ὅτι ταῦτα πεπόνθασιν should be regarded as redactional. First, the clearest parallels we have found to Luke’s “because they suffered these things” are not in originally Hebrew sources but in the compositions of Hellenistic authors.[76] Second, the lack of a counterpart to ὅτι ταῦτα πεπόνθασιν in the parallel question about the Jerusalemites indicates that “because they suffered these things” may not be original. Since Calamities in Yerushalayim is easier to reconstruct when L11 is omitted, and since the omission causes no damage to the overall sense of the pericope’s argument, we have concluded that it probably is best to regard “because they suffered these things” as an explanatory gloss inserted by the author of Luke.

Whether or not the words “because they suffered these things” are original to the story, they certainly capture the original intention of Jesus’ rhetorical question. Accordingly, we must ask ourselves whether it is likely that Jews of the Second Temple period typically attributed guilt to the victims of misfortune. The overwhelming majority of New Testament scholars assume that the answer to this question must be affirmative.[77] Strack and Billerbeck attempted to set this assumption on a solid footing by citing numerous rabbinic sources which they claimed proved that it was common for first-century Jews to work backwards from an instance of personal disaster to a presumption of that person’s guilt.[78] However, a critical look at the sources Strack and Billerbeck cited reveals these sources prove less than Strack and Billerbeck claimed.

Job’s misery as depicted by William Blake (1821). Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

It is well known that the rabbinic sages, in keeping with scriptural tradition, warned that sins will not go unpunished. But it is quite another matter, and quite against the scriptural tradition, to reverse the equation and to adduce from the fact of misfortune that a person was guilty of sin. The entire Book of Job as well as the many Psalms that bemoan the unjust suffering of the righteous and the many stories of the hardships scriptural heroes endured refute the notion that suffering is proof of guilt, and the rabbinic sages were well acquainted with this scriptural message.[79] When, therefore, the sages warned that specific kinds of transgression would be punished with particular types of disaster it is unwarranted to assume—as Strack and Billerbeck did—that the sages would also reverse the equation and point to particular types of disaster as proof that the sufferer had committed specific kinds of transgression. In fact, the sages expressly forbade their disciples from doing so:

היו חלאין באין עליו וייסורין באין עליו וקובר את בניו לא יאמר לו כדרך שאמרו חביריו לאיוב יראתך כסלתך

If diseases came upon a person, or if sufferings came upon him, or if he buried his children, do not say to him, in the way Job’s friends spoke to him, your fear [of God] is your confidence…[Recall, if you can, who is the innocent person that was destroyed?] [Job 4:6-7]. (t. Bab. Metz. 3:25; Vienna MS)

Thus, when we read in m. Shab. 2:6 the rabbinic assertion that women die in childbirth because they are lax with regard to the commandments pertaining to menstruation, dough offerings and the lighting of the Sabbath lamps, we must regard this statement as a warning to women to take these commandments seriously, not as a forensic argument that a woman who died in childbirth must have been guilty of one of these three sins. Similarly, in m. Avot 5:8-9 we read that seven kinds of punishment (three types of famine, pestilence, war, ferocious animals, exile) come about because of seven kinds of transgression (neglect of various tithes and offerings, capital cases not adjudicated, delaying or perverting justice, profaning the divine, and the trio of the most heinous sins: idolatry, sexual transgression and bloodshed). These punishments, it should be noted, are indiscriminate, falling upon the whole people and thus affecting the innocent as well as the guilty. It could hardly be asserted, therefore, that if a person died in a famine, he or she must have neglected tithes, or if someone was mauled by a wild animal, it must have been because he or she profaned the Divine Name. Our individualistic worldview must not be projected back on the worldview of the rabbinic sages.

The themes from the mishnaic passages we have discussed are taken up in b. Shab. 32a-33b, where specific punishments are enumerated for various sins. Neglect of Torah study, for instance, could result in the deaths of one’s children. But the sages were well aware that infant and child mortality was high among Torah scholars, just as it was high among the general population, and we do not find that individuals whose children died were reproached for neglecting their studies (cf. Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version A, chpt. 14 [ed. Schechter, 58-59]).

Another talmudic discussion Strack and Billerbeck cited in order to make their case that “from the misfortune which befell a man his particular sin could be inferred”[80] is found in b. Ket. 30a-b, which claims that when the Torah-prescribed capital punishments cannot be carried out, the sinner will nevertheless meet with death in some unpleasant way, such as falling from a height, being attacked by wild animals or bitten by a poisonous snake. But this discussion merely shows that the rabbis believed that a person guilty of a capital crime would not escape divine punishment, not that every person who died from a venomous snake bite or who accidentally fell to his death was guilty of a capital crime.

In the same vein Strack and Billerbeck cited the saying of Rabbi Ammi that there is no death without sin and no suffering without iniquity. But this merely amounts to the recognition that all human beings are sinners and that because of sin there is suffering in the world. Rabbi Ammi’s saying should not be construed as a denial that there is such a thing as unjust suffering.

The one saying that does seem to confirm the thesis of Strack and Billerbeck is a baraita according to which dropsy is a sign of sin, jaundice is a sign of causeless hatred, poverty is a sign of conceit, and croup is a sign of slander (b. Ber. 33a). But the implication that these misfortunes are proof of guilt is challenged by the very context in which this baraita appears, for it is juxtaposed with stories about several important sages who suffered from dropsy but were not guilty of transgression.

Rabbinic sayings such as Rabbi Yannai’s dictum that it is not within our grasp to comprehend the wellbeing of the wicked or the suffering of the righteous (m. Avot 4:15)[81] or Ben Hehe’s axiom “according to the suffering, so the reward” (m. Avot 5:20[23]) amply demonstrate that the sages did not automatically attribute guilt to those who endured hardship, suffering or personal catastrophe. In the final analysis, we must conclude that although some rabbis were occasionally capable of rushing to judgment, Strack and Billerbeck failed to prove that a general presumption of guilt based on a person’s misfortune prevailed among the rabbinic sages, let alone in Second Temple Judaism. Real life is too precarious for it to have been otherwise.[82]

The tearing down of Herod’s golden eagle as depicted in an illustrated French edition of Josephus’ Jewish War (1429). Image courtesy of the New York Public Library Digital Editions (image i.d. 1602456).

In the particular scenario described in Luke 13:1 a presumption of guilt for the Galilean pilgrims is especially incredible. The historical probability is that these worshippers would have been regarded by their compatriots as martyrs for their faith.[83] If the men whom King Herod burned alive for tearing down the image of the eagle from over one of the gates of the Temple (Jos., J.W. 1:648-655) could be mourned as martyrs for the ancestral customs of the Jews (J.W. 2:5-13), although they knew full well that their provocative action could cost them their lives, how much more would simple Galilean worshippers killed for no reason be regarded as martyrs among their Jewish contemporaries? By the first century the Jewish people were well acquainted with the phenomenon of martyrdom, the act of dying for the sake of obedience to the Torah. Such martyrs for the Jewish faith were highly esteemed by the Jewish people. It defies the historical imagination to suppose that the people who brought the report about Pilate’s massacre of the Galileans to Jesus would have regarded their fellow countrymen as sinners. Rather, the fact of their martyrdom would have been interpreted as proof of their loyalty to Israel and their piety toward God.[84]

L12-13 That Jesus’ response to the report about Pilate’s massacre of the Galilean worshippers need not be construed as a correction of a wrongly held presumption of the Galileans’ guilt is supported by a grammatical parallel in the writings of Epictetus:[85]

ὁ δοῦλος εὐθὺς εὔχεται ἀφεθῆναι ἐλεύθερος. διὰ τί; δοκεῖτε, ὅτι τοῖς εἰκοστόναις ἐπιθυμεῖ δοῦναι ἀργύριον; οὔ⋅ ἀλλ᾽ ὄτι φαντάζεται μέχρι νῦν διὰ τὸ μὴ τετυχηκέναι τοὺτου ἐμποδίζεσθαι καὶ δυσροεῖν.

It is the slave’s prayer that he be set free immediately. Why? Do you think [δοκεῖτε] it is because he is eager to pay his money to the men who collect the five per cent. tax? No [οὔ], rather [ἀλλ᾽] it is because he fancies that up till now he is hampered and uncomfortable, because he has not obtained his freedom from slavery. (Discourses 4:1 §33; Loeb)[86]

Neither Epictetus nor his audience believed that slaves yearn for their freedom because it gives them an opportunity to pay taxes! Likewise, there is no need to assume that Jesus or his audience believed that the martyred pilgrims were sinners who received their just deserts. As so often with rhetorical questions, Jesus supplied the answer his audience would have given: “Do you think these Galileans were more wicked than all other Galileans? Of course not! Who would ever think such a thing?” Clearly, however, Jesus was not interested in merely stating the obvious. From the self-evident truth that the massacred Galilean pilgrims were righteous martyrs Jesus confronted his audience with a startling conclusion: Unless you repent, the same catastrophe will overtake you. It appears that Jesus made a kal vahomer argument: If such things can happen to the righteous, what do you think will happen to you? As such, Jesus’ response to the plight of the massacred Galileans mirrors his response to his own condemnation by the Roman imperial government: “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but for yourselves and for your children…. For if they do these things with green wood, what will they do with wood that is dry?” (Luke 23:28, 31).[87] In both cases Jesus warned that if the Roman government is capable of killing righteous persons at a time of relative peace, then sufferings endured by the entire people of Israel in a time of all-out war will be incalculable.

Of what, then, did Jesus’ audience need to repent? It is unlikely that Jesus was simply making a general appeal for self-examination. Rather, Jesus’ call for repentance must be viewed in relation to the political trends that were gaining force at the end of the Second Temple period.[88] The first century witnessed a rising tide of Jewish militant nationalism, which made the Temple a focal point of its aspirations for political independence from the Roman Empire.[89] While the nationalist message of the Jewish militants had popular appeal, Jesus was among those who counseled against the outbreak of a violent rebellion against the Roman Empire. According to Jesus, Israel’s redemption would not be achieved with might of arms but by the Holy Spirit responding to acts of mercy, love and the sanctification of the Divine Name. Violent rebellion against the Roman Empire would only lead to catastrophe for the Jewish people. At a certain point in his career Jesus must have become convinced that his message of peace would not be embraced by the majority of his people, but that they would rush headlong into revolt against the Roman Empire. We believe this was the point at which Jesus began to predict the destruction of the Temple and the disasters that would befall his fellow countrymen and women. In Jesus’ view, Pilate’s massacre of the Galilean pilgrims was a harbinger of the tragedies that awaited his people because they had not accepted the Kingdom of Heaven and the ways of peace.[90]

L12 οὐχί λέγω ὑμῖν ἀλλ᾿ ἐὰν μὴ μετανοῆτε πάντες (GR). It seems that either the Greek translator of the Life of Yeshua allowed himself to stray a little from the Hebrew word order of his vorlage, or that the author of Luke slightly altered the word order in Anth., or that the author of Luke inserted the words λέγω ὑμῖν (legō hūmin, “I say to you”) between οὐχί (ouchi, “no”) and ἀλλά (alla, “but”). In LXX οὐχί ἀλλά (“No, but…”) frequently occurs as the translation of לֹא כִּי (lo’ ki, “No, because…”),[91] so it is plain that when Delitzsch translated οὐχί λέγω ὑμῖν ἀλλ᾿ (“No! I say to you rather”) as לֹא כִּי אֹמֵר אֲנִי לָכֶם (lo’ ki ’omēr ’ani lāchem, “No! Because I say to you”) he felt that the λέγω ὑμῖν (“I say to you”) was out of place from the point of view of Hebrew word order. Resch’s reconstruction, which is identical to Delitzsch’s translation, reveals that he felt the same.[92]

For GR, then, we have to choose between accepting Luke’s word order as is, changing the word order to οὐχί ἀλλ᾿ λέγω ὑμῖν ἐὰν μὴ μετανοῆτε (“No! Rather, I say to you, if you do not repent…”), or dropping λέγω ὑμῖν (“I say to you”) from GR. While any of these options would be justifiable, we are reluctant to drop λέγω ὑμῖν because it recurs in Luke 13:5 (L20) and also appears in a similarly constructed sentence in Luke 12:51.[93] The repetition of οὐχί λέγω ὑμῖν ἀλλ᾿ in Luke 13:5 and its occurrence in Luke 12:51 also make us reluctant to attribute the difference from Hebrew word order to the author of Luke. It seems most likely that in all three instances the author of Luke accepted the word order from Anth. We have accordingly accepted Luke’s wording for L12 without change.

A final word about our GR is required. Although most translations make πάντες (pantes, “all”) part of the apodosis (“you will all be destroyed”), πάντες can belong equally to the protasis (“unless you all repent”). From a logical point of view, πάντες fits better with the protasis, for even a minority espousing and acting upon a militant nationalist ideology could bring catastrophe upon the entire people.[94] Therefore, it was incumbent upon the entire people to reject redemption via violent insurgency. Likewise, it is unlikely that Jesus believed that the entire people of Israel would go extinct in the wake of a crushing defeat by the Romans. Also, from the point of view of Hebrew reconstruction, כֻּלְּכֶם seems to fit more comfortably at the end of the protasis than at the opening of the apodosis.

Examples of πᾶς (pas, “all,” “every”) following the verb include:

μὴ μακρὰν γίνεσθε ἀπὸ τῆς πόλεως καὶ ἔσεσθε πάντες ἕτοιμοι

Do not be far from the city, and all of you be ready. (Josh. 8:4)

אַל תַּרְחִיקוּ מִן הָעִיר מְאֹד וִהְיִיתֶם כֻּלְּכֶם נְכֹנִים

Do not be very far from the city, and all of you be ready. (Josh. 8:4)

ὅτι σύγκεισθε πάντες ὑμεῖς ἐπ᾿ ἐμέ

…that all of you have conspired together against me? (1 Kgdms. 22:8)

כִּי קְשַׁרְתֶּם כֻּלְּכֶם עָלַי

…that you all have conspired against me? (1 Sam. 22:8)

καὶ παρεγένοντο πάντες πρὸς τὸν βασιλέα

…and they all came to the king. (1 Kgdms. 22:11)

וַיָּבֹאוּ כֻלָּם אֶל הַמֶּלֶךְ

…and they all came to the king. (1 Sam. 22:11)

μὴ δή, υἱέ μου, μὴ πορευθῶμεν πάντες ἡμεῖς

No, my son, let us not all go…. (2 Kgdms. 13:25)

אַל בְּנִי אַל נָא נֵלֵךְ כֻּלָּנוּ

No, my son, let us not all go…. (2 Sam. 13:25)

καὶ συνήχθησαν πάντες ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ ἐλθεῖν παρατάξασθαι ἐν Ιερουσαλημ

And they all conspired together against it to come and fight in Jerusalem. (2 Esd. 14:2)

וַיִּקְשְׁרוּ כֻלָּם יַחְדָּו לָבוֹא לְהִלָּחֵם בִּירוּשָׁלִָם

And they all conspired together to come to do battle against Jerusalem…. (Neh. 4:2)

לֹא כִי אֶלָּא אֲנִי אוֹמֵר לָכֶם אִם לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ תְּשׁוּבָה כֻּלְּכֶם (HR). We saw in the previous paragraphs that in LXX οὐχί ἀλλά (“No, but…”) frequently occurs as the translation of לֹא כִי (“No, because…”). In MH the idiom changed slightly, so that we always find אֶלָּא (’elā’, “rather”) following לֹא כִי, as we see in the following examples:

תּוֹרְמים בָּצָל קָטָן שָׁלֵם אֲבַל לֹא חֲצי בַצָל גָּדוֹל ר′ יְהוּדָה אוֹ′ לֹא כִי אֶלָּא חֲצי בַצָל גַּדוֹל

They give as terumah a whole small onion, but not half a large onion. Rabbi Yehudah says, “Not so [לא כִי]! Rather [אֶלָּא], [they give as terumah—DNB and JNT] half a large onion.” (m. Ter. 2:5)

אָמַ′ ר′ יְהוּדָה הֵעִיד בּן כּוּבָרִי [בוכרי] בְיַבְנֶה שֶׁכָּל כֹּהֵן שֶׁהוּא שׁוֹקֵל אֵינוּ חוֹטֵא אָמַ′ לוֹ רַבָּן יוֹחָנָן בֶּן זַכַּיִי לֹא כִי אֶלָּא שֶׁכָּל כֹּהֵן שֶׁאֵינוּ שׁוֹקֵל חוֹטֵא

Rabbi Yehudah said, “In Yavneh Ben Buchri testified that every priest who contributes the half shekel does not sin [thereby—DNB and JNT].” Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai said to him, “Not so [לֹא כִי]! Rather [אֶלָּא], every priest who does not contribute the half shekel sins.” (m. Shek. 1:4)

אָמְרוּ לוֹ אִם הֲלָכָה נְקַבֵּל וְאִם לַדִּין יֶשׁ תְּשׁוּבָה אָמַ′ לָהֶן לֹא כִי אֶלָּא הֲלָכָה אֲנִי אוֹמֵ′‏

They said to him, “If this is halachah [that you have learned—DNB and JNT], we will receive it, but if by reasoned argument [of your own you arrived at this opinion], we have a counterargument.” He said to them, “Not so [לֹא כִי]! Rather [אֶלָּא], I am telling you halachah.” (m. Yev. 8:3)

וְהַנּוֹשֵׂא אֶת הָאִשָּׁה וְלֹא מָּצָא לָהּ בִּתוּלִים הִיא אוֹמֶרֵת מִשֶּׁאֵרַסְתַּנִי נֶאֱנַסְתִּי נִסְתַּחֲפָה שָׂדָךְ וְהוּא אוֹמֵ′ לֹא כִי אֶלָּא עַד שֶׁלֹּא אֵירַסְתִּיךְ וְהָיָה מַקָּחִי מַקַח טָעוּת רַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵ′ וּרְ′ אֱלִיעֶזֶר אוֹמְ′ נֶאֱמֶנֶת…הִיא אוֹמֶרֶת מוּכַּת עֵץ אֲנִי וְהוּא אוֹמֵ′ לֹא כִי אֶלָּא דְּרוּסַת אִישׁ אַתְּ רַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵ′ וּרְ′ אֱלִיעֶזֶ′ אוֹמְ′ נֶאֱמֶנֶת

And if one marries the woman but did not find in her proof of virginity, but she says, “Since the time that you betrothed me I was raped and your ‘field’ was despoiled,” and he says, “Not so [לֹא כִי]! Rather [אֶלָּא], [it happened—DNB and JNT] before I betrothed you, and so my acquisition was a mistaken acquisition!” Rabban Gamliel and Rabbi Eliezer say, “She is believed.” …Or if she says, “I lost the signs of virginity by accident,” but he says, “Not so [לֹא כִי]! Rather [אֶלָּא], you were taken by a man!” Rabban Gamliel and Rabbi Eliezer say, “She is believed.” (m. Ket. 1:6, 7)[95]

Another option for reconstructing οὐχί…ἀλλά might be לָאו אֶלָּא (lā’v ’elā’, “No. Rather…”). For examples of לָאו אֶלָּא, see A Woman’s Misplaced Blessing, Comment to L7. On reconstructing ἀλλά with אֶלָּא, see Call of Levi, Comment to L61.

On reconstructing ἐάν (ean, “if”) with אִם (’im, “if”), see Sending the Twelve: Conduct in Town, Comment to L88. Reconstructing ἐὰν μὴ μετανοῆτε poses no difficulty, since in LXX ἐὰν μή + subjunctive frequently occurs as the translation of אִם לֹא + imperfect.[96] The following examples are sufficient to illustrate the point:

וְאִם לֹא תִשְׁמְעוּ לִי

And if you will not listen to me…. (Lev. 26:14)

ἐὰν δὲ μὴ ὑπακούσητέ μου

But if you will not listen to me…. (Lev. 26:14)

וְאִם לֹא תַעֲשׂוּן כֵּן

And if you will not act accordingly…. (Num. 32:23)

ἐὰν δὲ μὴ ποιήσητε οὕτως

But if you will not act accordingly…. (Num. 32:23)

וְאִם לֹא תוֹרִישׁוּ

And if you do not drive out…. (Num. 33:55)

ἐὰν δὲ μὴ ἀπολέσητε

But if you will not destroy…. (Num. 33:55)

אִם לֹא תִשְׁמְעוּ אֶל מִצְוֹת יי אֱלֹהֵיכֶם

If you will not listen to the commandments of the LORD your God…. (Deut. 11:28)

ἐὰν μὴ ἀκούσητε τὰς ἐντολὰς κυρίου τοῦ θεοῦ ὑμῶν

If you will not listen to the commandments of the Lord your God…. (Deut. 11:28)

אִם־לֹא תִשְׁמֹר לַעֲשׂוֹת אֶת כָּל־דִּבְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת

If you will not be careful to do all the words of this Torah…. (Deut. 28:58)

ἐὰν μὴ εἰσακούσητε ποιεῖν πάντα τὰ ῥήματα τοῦ νόμου τούτου

If you do not listen to do all the words of this Law…. (Deut. 28:58)

On reconstructing μετανοεῖν (metanoein, “to repent”) with עָשָׂה תְּשׁוּבָה (‘āsāh teshūvāh, “do repentance”), see Lost Sheep and Lost Coin, Comment to L36. Another option would be to reconstruct μετανοεῖν with שָׁב (shāv, “turn,” “return,” “repent”). An example of שָׁב used in the sense of “repent” occurs in the famous rabbinic saying:

שׁוּב יוֹם אֶחָד לִפְנֵי מִיתָתָךְ

Repent one day before your death. (m. Avot 2:10)

Despite this example, עָשָׂה תְּשׁוּבָה seems to have been the more common expression.

On reconstructing πᾶς (pas, “all,” “every”) with כָּל (kol, “all,” “every”), see Widow’s Son in Nain, Comment to L19.

L13 ὡσαύτως ἀπολεῖσθε (GR). The one question we have regarding GR is whether the adverb ὁμοίως (homoiōs, “similarly,” “likewise”) is original or whether in place of ὁμοίως Anth. read ὡσαύτως (hōsavtōs, “in the same way”), since in the parallel warning (Luke 13:5) ὡσαύτως is the adverb we find (L21). Conversely, it is possible that Anth. read ὁμοίως in both places (L13, L21) and the author of Luke changed the second ὁμοίως to ὡσαύτως. Or perhaps the variation in adverbs was already present in Anth.[97] Reverting ὁμοίως ἀπολεῖσθε (homoiōs apoleisthe, “likewise you will be destroyed”) to Hebrew presents no great difficulty,[98] so it is possible that ὁμοίως occurred in Anth. However, the author of Luke betrays a marked preference for ὁμοίως compared to the other synoptic evangelists (Matt.: 3xx; Mark: 2xx; Luke: 11xx), and none of Luke’s instances of ὁμοίως are corroborated in the other Synoptic Gospels.[99] Some instances of ὁμοίως in Luke we have found to be redactional.[100] Given these circumstances, we think it is more likely that Anth. read ὡσαύτως in L13 and the author of Luke changed this to ὁμοίως.

כֵּן תֹאבֵדוּן (HR). In LXX ὡσαύτως is relatively rare, but when it occurs it does so more often as the translation of כֵּן (kēn, “thus,” “so”) than of any other adverb.[101] Here, our preference for reconstructing ὡσαύτως with כֵּן is reinforced by the likelihood of a scriptural allusion at this point in Calamities in Yerushalayim, which we will discuss below.

In LXX the verb ἀπολλύειν (apollūein, “to destroy,” “to lose”) occurs as the translation of many different Hebrew verbs, but none so often as אָבַד (’āvad, “destroy,” “lose”).[102] Likewise, we find that the LXX translators rendered most instances of אָבַד with ἀπολλύειν.[103] Further strengthening our decision in favor of אָבַד for HR is the fact that every single instance of the form ἀπολεῖσθε (apoleisthe, “you will be destroyed”) occurs as the translation of אָבַד.[104]

Deuteronomy 8:20 contains the only instance in the Hebrew Bible where אָבַד (“destroy”) appears in combination with כֵּן (“thus,” “so”), and since אָבַד never occurs in combination with כָּכָה, we must consider the possibility that Jesus alluded to this verse when he issued this dire warning of impending destruction to his fellow countrymen and women. The passage reads:

וְהָיָה אִם שָׁכֹחַ תִּשְׁכַּח אֶת יי אֱלֹהֶיךָ וְהָלַכְתָּ אַחֲרֵי אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים וַעֲבַדְתָּם וְהִשְׁתַּחֲוִיתָ לָהֶם הַעִדֹתִי בָכֶם הַיּוֹם כִּי אָבֹד תֹּאבֵדוּן׃ כַּגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר יי מַאֲבִיד מִפְּנֵיכֶם כֵּן תֹאבֵדוּן עֵקֶב לֹא תִשְׁמְעוּן בְּקוֹל יי אֱלֹהֵיכֶם

And it will be if you indeed forget the LORD your God and you go after other gods and serve them and prostrate yourselves to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. As the Gentiles whom the LORD destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed [כֵּן תֹאבֵדוּן], because you did not listen to the voice of the LORD your God. (Deut. 8:19-20)

Supposing that Jesus alluded to this passage when he warned his contemporaries of coming destruction is attractive from a few different angles. For one thing, echoing the words of Scripture would lend gravity and authority to Jesus’ prophetic pronouncement. For another thing, if we are correct in connecting Calamities in Yerushalayim to Woes on Three Villages, an allusion to Israel’s being destroyed like the Gentiles would prepare the ground for the denunciation of these villages in comparison to the Gentile cities of Tyre and Sidon. In addition, an allusion to Deut. 8:20 would intimate to Jesus’ audience how seriously he regarded their failure to accept the way of the Kingdom of Heaven: it was tantamount to forgetting the LORD and committing idolatry. The LORD’s voice was speaking to Israel through his prophet Jesus; refusal to heed his warnings would end in disaster.

Alluding to Deut. 8:20 with the words כֵּן תֹאבֵדוּן would have been more obvious to his original audience than it is to us for two reasons. First, the words כֵּן תֹאבֵדוּן would sound archaic to MH speakers, so the mere sound of the words would have tipped off Jesus’ audience that he was up to something. Second, since the words כֵּן תֹאבֵדוּן occur only once in Scripture, there would be no question as to the identity of Jesus’ quotation. Even if the allusion was lost on some of the less educated members of Jesus’ audience, Jesus’ more astute listeners would surely have caught the allusion and understood its significance.

L14 ἢ ἐκεῖνοι οἱ δεκαοκτὼ (GR). Since the phrase ἢ ἐκεῖνοι οἱ δεκαοκτὼ (ē ekeinoi hoi dekaoktō, “or those eighteen”) reverts easily to Hebrew, we have accepted Luke’s wording for GR.

וְאוֹתָם שְׁמוֹנָה הֶעָשָׂר (HR). Elsewhere in LOY we have reconstructed (ē, “or”) as אוֹ (’ō, “or”),[105] and אוֹ remains a viable option for HR in L14.[106] On the other hand, sometimes occurs in LXX as the equivalent of the conjunction -וְ (ve, “and”), for instance:

וַיֹּאמְרוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים אֶל לוֹט עֹד מִי לְךָ פֹה חָתָן וּבָנֶיךָ וּבְנֹתֶיךָ וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר לְךָ בָּעִיר הוֹצֵא מִן הַמָּקוֹם

And the men said to Lot, “Who else do you have here? A son-in-law, or your sons [וּבָנֶיךָ], or your daughters [וּבְנֹתֶיךָ], or anyone [וְכֹל] you have in the city take out from this place.” (Gen. 19:12)

εἶπαν δὲ οἱ ἄνδρες πρὸς Λωτ ἔστιν τίς σοι ὧδε, γαμβροὶ ἢ υἱοὶ ἢ θυγατέρες; ἢ εἴ τίς σοι ἄλλος ἔστιν ἐν τῇ πόλει, ἐξάγαγε ἐκ τοῦ τόπου τούτου

But the men said to Lot, “Is there anyone you have here? Sons-in-law or [] sons or [] daughters? Or [] if anyone else you have is in the city, take them out from this place.” (Gen. 19:12)

Reconstructing with -וְ in L14 is especially attractive because וְאוֹתָם (ve’ōtām, “and those”) is more euphonic than אוֹ אוֹתָם (’ō ’ōtām, “or those”).[107]

There can be no doubt that δεκαοκτώ (dekaoktō, “eighteen”) must be reconstructed as שְׁמוֹנָה עָשָׂר (shemōnāh ‘āsār, “eighteen”). In LXX δέκα ὀκτώ (always with the two cardinals written discretely instead of the compound spelling in L14) occurs as the translation of שְׁמֹנָה עָשָׂר in Judg. 3:14; 1 Chr. 12:32; 2 Chr. 11:21; 2 Esd. 8:9; 17:11. Elsewhere in LXX “eighteen” is expressed as δέκα καὶ ὀκτώ (deka kai oktō, “ten and eight”; Gen. 14:14; 1 Chr. 26:9; Ezek. 48:35) or as ὀκτωκαίδεκα (oktōkaideka, “eight and ten”; Judg. 10:8; 20:25, 44; 2 Kgdms. 8:13; 3 Kgdms. 7:3; 4 Kgdms. 24:8; 25:17; 36:9; 2 Esd. 8:18).

L15 ἐφ᾿ οὓς ἔπεσεν ὁ πύργος ἐν τῷ Σιλωὰμ (GR). Once again we have accepted Luke’s wording for GR, since there is no great difficulty in reverting to Hebrew the phrase ἐφ᾿ οὓς ἔπεσεν ὁ πύργος ἐν τῷ Σιλωὰμ (ef hous epesen ho pūrgos en tō Silōam, “upon whom fell the tower in Siloam”).

שֶׁעֲלֵיהֶם נָפַל הַמִּגְדָּל בְּשִׁילוֹחַ (HR). In LXX ἐπί + ὅς frequently appears as the translation of אֲשֶׁר + עַל.[108] Since we prefer to reconstruct direct speech in a style resembling Mishnaic Hebrew, we have reconstructed the relative pronoun ὅς with -שֶׁ (she-, “that,” “which”) instead of אֲשֶׁר (asher, “that,” “which”). On reconstructing ὅς (hos, “that,” “which”) with -שֶׁ, see Hidden Treasure and Priceless Pearl, Comment to L5.

It is difficult to decide upon the word order in HR. Either שֶׁנָּפַל עֲלֵיהֶם הַמִּגְדָּל בְּשִׁילוֹחַ (shenāfal ‘alēhem hamigdāl beshilōaḥ, “that fell upon them the tower in Siloam”) or שֶׁעֲלֵיהֶם הַמִּגְדָּל בְּשִׁילוֹחַ נָפַל (she‘alēhem hamigdāl beshilōaḥ nāfal, “upon whom the tower in Siloam fell”) or שֶׁעֲלֵיהֶם נָפַל הַמִּגְדָּל בְּשִׁילוֹחַ (she‘alēhem nāfal hamigdāl beshilōaḥ, “upon whom fell the tower in Siloam”) seems possible. We might compare the first alternative (-שֶׁ→verb→עַל→subject) to the following verse in the Book of Esther:

יָבִיאוּ לְבוּשׁ מַלְכוּת אֲשֶׁר לָבַשׁ־בּוֹ הַמֶּלֶךְ וְסוּס אֲשֶׁר רָכַב עָלָיו הַמֶּלֶךְ

And they brought a robe of state that the king had worn and a horse that the king had ridden upon…. (Esth. 6:8)

ἐνεγκάτωσαν οἱ παῖδες τοῦ βασιλέως στολὴν βυσσίνην ἣν ὁ βασιλεὺς περιβάλλεται καὶ ἵππον ἐφ᾿ ὃν ὁ βασιλεὺς ἐπιβαίνει

Let the servants of the king bring a robe of fine linen which the king wears and a horse upon which the king mounts…. (Esth. 6:8)

To the second (שֶׁעַל→subject→verb) and third (שֶׁעַל→verb→subject) alternatives we might compare the following verse in Ezekiel:

וְעַל כָּל־אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר עָלָיו הַתָּו אַל תִּגַּשׁוּ

But every man upon whom is the tav you must not approach. (Ezek. 9:6)

ἐπὶ δὲ πάντας, ἐφ᾿ οὕς ἐστιν τὸ σημεῖον, μὴ ἐγγίσητε

But everyone upon whom is the sign you must not approach. (Ezek. 9:6)

Since each of the above alternatives is possible, we have preferred the last, which is closer to the Greek word order.

Examples of שֶׁעַל + pronominal suffix in the sense of “upon which” include the following:

שְׁלוֹשָׁה עָשָׂר שׁוּלְחָנוֹת הָיוּ בַמִּקְדָּשׁ שְׁמוֹנָה שֶׁלַּשַּׁיִישׁ בְבֶית הָמִטְבְּחַיִם שֵׁעָלֵיהֶן מְדִיחִין אֶת הָקְּרְבַיִם…וְאֶחָד שֶׁלַּזָּהָב מִבִּפְנִים שֶׁעָלָיו לֶחֶם הַפָּנִים תָּמִיד

There were thirteen tables in the Temple, eight of marble in the slaughterhouse upon which [שֵׁעָלֵיהֶן] they rinsed the internal organs….and one of gold within upon which [שֶׁעָלָיו] [was] always the bread of the presence. (m. Shek. 6:4)

וַחֲמֵשׁ עֶשְׂרֵה מַעֲלוֹת…שֶׁעֲלֵיהֶם הַלְוִיִּם עוֹמְדִים בַּשִּׁיר

…and fifteen steps…upon which [שֶׁעֲלֵיהֶם] the Levites stand in song. (m. Mid. 2:5)

וְטַבָּעוֹת הָיוּ לִצְפוֹנוֹ שֶׁלַּמִּזְבֵּחַ…שֶׁעֲלֵיהֶן שׁוֹחֲטִין אֶת הַקָּדָשִׁים

…and there were rings to the north of the altar…upon which [שֶׁעֲלֵיהֶן] they slaughter the holy offerings. (m. Mid. 3:5)

On reconstructing πίπτειν (piptein, “to fall”) with נָפַל (nāfal, “fall”), see Return of the Twelve, Comment to L17.

On reconstructing πύργος (pūrgos, “tower”) with מִגְדָּל (migdāl, “tower”), see Tower Builder and King Going to War, Comment to L2.

In LXX the name Σιλωάμ (Silōam, “Siloam”; in some MSS Σειλωάμ [Seilōam]) occurs in Isa. 8:6 as a transliteration of שִׁלֹחַ (shiloaḥ, “Siloam”). The spelling Σιλωάμ also occurs in the Gospel of John (John 9:7, 11) and in the writings of Josephus (J.W. 5:505), where the reference is to a Siloam Valley (τῇ κατὰ τὴν Σιλωὰμ φάραγγι). Elsewhere, however, Josephus employed the variant spellings Σιλωά/Σιλωᾶς (Silōa/Silōas; J.W. 2:340; 5:140, 145, 252, 410; 6:363, 401).

The Siloam Pool and its environs as represented in the model of Second Temple Jerusalem at the Israel Museum. Photographed by Joshua N. Tilton.

Josephus located the Siloam pool in the Tyropoeon Valley and noted that its waters were both abundant and sweet (J.W. 5:140). Whereas the Gospel of John refers to the Siloam as a “pool” (κολυμβήθρα [kolūmbēthra]; John 9:7), Josephus referred to the Siloam as a “spring” (πηγή [pēgē]; J.W. 5:140), likely reflecting local knowledge that the pool was spring-fed. Rabbinic literature, too, reflects awareness that the pool of Siloam was spring-fed, since it rates the waters of the Siloam pool as of the greatest purity (t. Taan. 1:8).[109] Living water, as from a spring, was more potent for purification than water from any other source, such as collected rainwater (m. Mik. 1:8; cf. Did. 7:1). In Jerusalem the Siloam pool, fed by water from the Gihon spring, was the only publicly accessible source of living water,[110] which explains why immersion in the Siloam pool is mentioned in the New Testament (John 9:7-11) and rabbinic sources (t. Taan. 1:8). Remains of the Siloam pool that existed in Jesus’ time were discovered in 2004.[111]

Many scholars suppose that the tower in Siloam must refer to fortifications in the city wall,[112] but Josephus does not mention a tower in the wall in the vicinity of the Siloam pool, and no wall tower in this area has been discovered. Making the identification of Luke’s Siloam tower as a fortification tower even more difficult is the silence in the ancient sources about a sudden, accidental breach in the city’s defenses. Such a dramatic and strategically important event is unlikely to have been overlooked by ancient chroniclers like Josephus. On the other hand, the fatal collapse of a privately owned building close to the Siloam pool might be more likely to escape the notice of the ancient historians.

The base of a <i>columbarium</i> tower uncovered in the City of David, once believed to be the Tower of Siloam. Image courtesy of <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Excavations_on_Ophel,_foundations_of_a_tower,_Jerusalem_LOC_matpc.10580.tif" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="nolightbox">Wikimedia Commons</a>.Base of the <i>columbarium</i> discovered int 1914 in the vicinity of the Siloam Pool. Image courtesy of <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Excavations_on_Ophel_(Jerusalem)._Foundations_of_a_tower_LOC_matpc.05089.jpg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="nolightbox">Wikimedia Commons</a>.Weill's dumps in the location of the tower he discovered near the Siloam pool after his excavations in Jerusalem and before 1935. Image courtesy of <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Excavations_on_Ophel._Site_of_the_excavations_LOC_matpc.05082.jpg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="nolightbox">Wikimedia Commons</a>.Photo of Weill's tower (marked H) published in Louis-Hugues Vincent, “LA CITÉ DE DAVID D'APRÈS LES FOUILLES DE 1913-1914 [Fin],” <i>Revue Biblique</i>, 30.4 (1921): 541-569 (photo in plate xiii opposite p. 554). Image courtesy of <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Weill%27s_Siloam_Tower.png" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="nolightbox">Wikimedia Commons</a>.Diagram of Weill's tower published in Louis-Hugues Vincent, “LA CITÉ DE DAVID D'APRÈS LES FOUILLES DE 1913-1914 [Fin],” <i>Revue Biblique</i>, 30.4 (1921): 541-569 (diagram on p. 522). Image courtesy of <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Plan_of_Weill%27s_Siloam_Tower.jpg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="nolightbox">Wikimedia Commons</a>.Photograph of the location of Weill's tower published by Gustaf Dalman in his <a href="https://archive.org/details/palstinajahrbu1915dalm/page/76/mode/2up" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="nolightbox"><i>Palästinajahrbuch des Deutschen evangelischen instituts für altertumswissenschaft des Heiligen Landes zu Jerusalem</i></a> (Berlin: E. S. Mittler & sohn, 1915), plate 5 (opposite p. 76).Present-day photograph of Weill's tower, courtesy of BiblePlaces.com.A second <i>columbarium</i> near the Siloam Pool. Photographed by Joshua N. Tilton.

In 1913 the French archaeologist Raymond Weill believed he had discovered the building mentioned in Luke 13:4 when he uncovered the foundations of a round tower on the western slope of the Kidron Valley about 100 meters away from the recently discovered Siloam pool.[113] This structure has now been dated to the Hellenistic or Early Roman period and identified as a columbarium tower (i.e., a dovecote for raising pigeons).[114]

Detail of the Nile mosaic from Palestrina depicting a columbarium (to the left of the doorway and below the boat). Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The tower stood outside the city walls that existed in the time of Jesus. Two additional towers identified as columbaria have been discovered nearby. The pigeons raised in these towers provided manure for agricultural fertilization, meat for food and sacrifices for worshippers in the Temple.[115] Perhaps it was a structure such as these, or some other private structure, that killed the eighteen Jerusalem residents in the area of Siloam.

Scholars have speculated whether there was any connection between the two events described in Calamities in Yerushalayim other than the fact of the tragic loss of Jewish lives. One possibility is that both events were connected to the actions of Pontius Pilate. Pilate’s massacre of the Galilean pilgrims is explicit, but many scholars have suggested that Pilate’s controversial construction of an aqueduct in Jerusalem with funds appropriated from the Temple treasury (Jos., J.W. 2:175; Ant. 18:60) was somehow connected to the collapse of the tower in Siloam.[116] Perhaps the construction activities undermined or otherwise weakened the tower, leading to its collapse. There is, however, no evidence to support such a supposition.

Alternatively, the connection between the two events may not have been the Roman governor but the participation of both groups of unfortunates in sacred rites connected to the Temple. The mention of the Galilean pilgrims’ sacrifices makes it certain that their massacre was connected in some way to the Temple. Either these pilgrims were actually present in the Temple precincts when they were murdered or they were preparing to enter the Temple. The Jerusalemites who were crushed by the falling tower may also have been preparing to worship when they were killed. If the tower was a columbarium, the Jerusalemites may have been purchasing doves to present as offerings in the Temple. Or if the tower fell on them as they were entering or leaving the Siloam pool, they may have been purifying themselves in preparation for worship in the Temple. Or the tower may have collapsed when the people of Jerusalem had gathered at the Siloam pool for the water-drawing ceremony that took place during Sukkot (Tabernacles).[117]

Of course, any attempt to draw a connection between the two events described in Calamities in Yerushalayim not explicitly mentioned in Luke 13:1-5 must remain speculative.

L16 καὶ ἀπέκτεινεν αὐτούς (GR). There is no difficulty in reconstructing the phrase καὶ ἀπέκτεινεν αὐτούς (kai apekteinen avtous, “and it killed them”), and we have accordingly accepted Luke’s wording for GR.

וַהֲרָגָם (HR). In his Hebrew translation of the New Testament Delitzsch rendered the verb ἀποκτείνειν (apokteinein, “to kill”) in Luke 13:4 with הֵמִית (hēmit, “cause the death of,” “kill”).[118] However, we have preferred to reconstruct ἀποκτείνειν with הָרַג (hārag, “kill”), as we have done elsewhere in LOY.[119] Fuhs observed that in the Hebrew Bible הָרַג normally has persons (human or divine) as its subject,[120] but in rabbinic sources we find examples where הָרַג takes an inanimate object as its subject. One such example appears in a rabbinic discussion of the commandment in Deuteronomy about an axehead that flies off a handle, accidentally killing someone:

ונדחה ידו בגרזן לכרת העץ, מיכן אתה אומר נתכוון לקוץ את האילן ונפל על אדם והרגו הרי זה גולה

And if his hand swung with the axe to cut the tree [Deut. 19:5]. From this you learn that if he intended to cut a tree but it fell on a person and killed him [וַהֲרָגוֹ]—Behold! This one goes into exile. (Sifre Deut. §183 [ed. Finkelstein, 225])

The meaning of this rabbinic statement is ambiguous. Hammer took the subject of נָפַל (nāfal, “fall”) to be הַבַּרְזֶל (habarzel, “the iron [axehead]”) mentioned in Deut. 19:5,[121] but it is more natural to understand הָאִילָּן (hā’ilān, “the tree”) as the subject of נָפַל, since the tree is the only explicitly mentioned item that could kill a person, and trees fall when people cut them, whereas “fall” is an odd verb choice for describing an axehead hurtling through the air and hitting someone. In any case, הָרַג in the above-quoted passage has an inanimate object as its subject (whether axehead or tree), and the killing is a consequence of an object falling on a person, precisely the same sequence of actions we encounter in Calamities in Yerushalayim.

Further examples of הָרַג with an inanimate object as its subject occur in the Tosefta:

היה מעגל במעגילה והלכה לה על האדם והרגתו הרי זה גולה

If someone was rolling with a roller and it rolled over a person and killed him [וַהֲרָגַתּוּ]—Behold! This one goes into exile. (t. Mak. 2:3 [ed. Zuckermandel, 439])

היה יודע שיש אדם בבור וזרק את האבן בבור והלכה לה על האדם והרגתו הרי זה אינו גולה

If one knew that there was a person in a pit, and he threw a stone into the pit, and it hit the person and killed him [וַהֲרָגַתּוּ]—Behold! This one does not go into exile. (t. Mak. 2:6 [ed. Zuckermandel, 440])

In light of these linguistic parallels, we are confident in our selection of הָרַג for HR.

L17 δοκεῖτε ὅτι αὐτοὶ ὀφειλέται ἐγένοντο (GR). We have accepted Luke’s wording in L17 for GR without modification. Not only does Luke’s wording revert easily to Hebrew, the reference to “debtors” is a Hebraism.

אַתֶּם חוֹשְׁבִים שֶׁהֵם חַיָּיבִים הָיוּ (HR). On reconstructing δοκεῖτε ὅτι (dokeite hoti, “[Do] you think that…?”) as -אַתֶּם חוֹשְׁבִים שֶׁ (’atem ḥōshevim she-, “[Do] you think that…?”), see above, Comment to L8.

On reconstructing ὀφειλέτης (ofeiletēs, “debtor”) with חַיָּיב (ḥayāv, “debtor”), see Lord’s Prayer, Comment to L21. In Lord’s Prayer, Comment to L18-21, we noted that “debt” as a metaphor for sin is foreign to Greek,[122] but it is a well-established Hebrew idiom.[123] The use of the debt metaphor for sin in Luke 13:4 reflects a Jewish background and, very likely, a Hebrew substratum beneath the Greek text of Calamities in Yerushalayim.[124]

L18-19 παρὰ πάντας τοὺς κατοικοῦντας Ἰερουσαλήμ (GR). From GR we have omitted the words τοὺς ἀνθρώπους (tous anthrōpous, “the persons”) from Luke’s phrase παρὰ πάντας τοὺς ἀνθρώπους τοὺς κατοικοῦντας Ἰερουσαλήμ (para pantas tous anthrōpous tous katoikountas Ierousalēm, “more than all the people inhabiting Jerusalem”) because the text is more Hebraic without them. In LXX we find numerous examples of the phrase οἱ κατοικοῦντες Ιερουσαλημ (hoi katoikountes Ierousalēm, “the inhabitants of Jerusalem”) occurring as the translation of ישְׁבֵי יְרוּשָׁלִַם (yoshvē yerūshālaim, “the inhabitants of Jerusalem”).[125] We even find two instances of the phrase πάντας τοὺς κατοικοῦντας Ιερουσαλημ (pantas tous katoikountas Ierousalēm, “all the inhabitants of Jerusalem”; Zeph. 1:4; Jer. 13:13) that occur as the translation of כָּל־ישְׁבֵי יְרוּשָׁלִַם (kol yoshvē yerūshālaim, “all the inhabitants of Jerusalem”). By contrast, in LXX we never find instances of [οἱ] ἄνθρωποι [οἱ] κατοικοῦντες Ιερουσαλημ ([hoi] anthrōpoi [hoi] katoikountes Iersousalēm, “[the] people [the ones] inhabiting Jerusalem”) equivalent to Luke’s wording in L18-19. We suspect that the author of Luke inserted τοὺς ἀνθρώπους (“the persons”) because he thought the addition would sound better to his Greek audience. But whether the author of Luke accepted τοὺς ἀνθρώπους from his source or added it himself, his inclusion of these words means that the author of Luke passed up an opportunity to conform his text to LXX phraseology. Passing up such an opportunity challenges the attempts of some scholars to explain away the apparent Hebraisms in Luke’s Gospel as mere “Septuagintisms” reflecting the author of Luke’s strenuous efforts to imitate the wording of the Septuagint.[126]

מִכָּל ישְׁבֵי יְרוּשָׁלַיִם (HR). On reconstructing παρὰ πάντας (para pantas, “more than all”) with מִכָּל (mikol, “more than all”), see above, Comment to L9-10.

We noted in the previous paragraph that κατοικοῦντες Ιερουσαλημ (“inhabitants of Jerusalem”) is the standard LXX translation of ישְׁבֵי יְרוּשָׁלִַם (“inhabitants of Jerusalem”). Here we add that the great majority of instances of κατοικεῖν (katoikein, “to reside,” “to inhabit”) in LXX occur as the translation of יָשַׁב (yāshav, “sit,” “reside”).[127] We also find that the LXX translators rendered יָשַׁב with κατοικεῖν more often than with any other Greek verb.[128] On reconstructing Ἰερουσαλήμ as יְרוּשָׁלַיִם, see Yeshua’s Testing, Comment to L65.

What is the function of this second example of tragedy that Jesus brought into the discussion? We suggest that with this example Jesus significantly raised the stakes by shifting attention away from the Roman perpetrators, toward whom Israel felt no responsibility, and focusing attention on God, to whom Israel owed loyalty and obedience. With his first kal vahomer argument Jesus tried to convince his audience that retaliating against the Romans would be counterproductive: a violent response would only lead to Rome hitting back even harder. But some members of Jesus’ audience, reckless in their anger, might have responded, “So what if we die? It’s worth the risk if we can make them feel a little of our pain. How can we tolerate such abuse any longer?” Jesus anticipated this reaction and headed it off by calling attention to the eighteen victims of the Siloam tower accident: if such a thing can happen to ordinary people, merely by accident, what do you think will happen to you if you reject God’s summons to receive the Kingdom of Heaven and pursue the ways of peace?

Here, Jesus’ kal vahomer does not concern the behavior of Rome (If the Romans are ruthless toward the innocent, how will they be with the guilty?) but God’s governance of the universe. The eighteen people crushed by the tower were innocent—not, of course, in the absolute sense of never having committed any sin whatsoever, but in the normal sense in which we refer to the victims of any accident or natural catastrophe—and yet they died. But if Israel rejected Jesus’ message and rushed headlong into revolt, they would be guilty of disobedience against God. How then could they hope to escape punishment, when God permits accidents to befall even the innocent? With this second example Jesus skillfully reframed the issue from how Israel should react to the oppression of Rome to how Israel should respond to God’s summons.

L20 לֹא כִי אֶלָּא אֲנִי אוֹמֵר לָכֶם אִם לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ תְּשׁוּבָה כֻּלְּכֶם (HR). On the reconstruction of Luke’s wording in L20, which is identical to that in L12, see above, Comment to L12.

L21 ὡσαύτως ἀπολεῖσθε (GR). Since there are only two other instances of ὡσαύτως (hōsavtōs, “in the same way”) in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 20:31; 22:20) and no instances of ὡσαύτως in Acts, this adverb can hardly be described as a typically Lukan term.[129] It is more likely, therefore, that ὡσαύτως in L21 reflects the wording of Anth., and we have accordingly accepted ὡσαύτως for GR.[130]

כֵּן תֹאבֵדוּן (HR). On reconstructing ὡσαύτως (hōsavtōs, “in the same way”) with כֵּן (kēn, “thus,” “so”), on reconstructing ἀπολλύειν (apollūein, “to destroy,” “to lose”) with אָבַד (’āvad, “destroy,” “lose”), and on the likely allusion to Deut. 8:20, see above, Comment to L13.

Redaction Analysis[131]

Calamities in Yerushalayim
Luke Anthology
Total
Words:
86 Total
Words:
80
Total
Words
Identical
to Anth.:
77 Total
Words
Taken Over
in Luke:
77
%
Identical
to Anth.:
89.53 % of Anth.
in Luke:
96.25
Click here for details.

The author of Luke’s redaction of Calamities in Yerushalayim was quite restrained, being mainly restricted to the opening of the pericope, where the author of Luke reshaped the narrative introduction in order to make it read more like normal Greek prose, likely removing a few Hebraisms (ἐγένετο δέ in L1; an impersonal third person plural in L3). The author of Luke may have slightly rearranged the word order in Jesus’ first question (Luke 13:2) by moving ἐγένοντο from L9 to L10, and it seems likely that he added the words τοὺς ἀνθρώπους (“the persons”) in L18, thereby removing another Hebraism. It is probable that the author of Luke changed ὡσαύτως to ὁμοίως in L13. Otherwise, the author of Luke faithfully transcribed the wording of his source, Anth.

Results of This Research

1. Was Pilate’s slaughter of the Galileans a real event or a fictitious story, or was the author of Luke confused? Scholars have struggled to explain how other ancient sources, especially the histories of Josephus, failed to mention the massacre described in Calamities in Yerushalayim.[132] Some have suggested that the massacre of the Galilean pilgrims was a relatively minor incident and, given the frequency with which such clashes must have occurred, Josephus preferred to focus on the more important scandals that took place during Pilate’s term as governor.[133] Others have supposed that the author of Luke was mistaken either about the identity of the perpetrator or the victims.[134] Still others have suggested that Josephus did not mention the massacre described in Luke 13:1 because no such massacre ever took place; the story was simply a rumor intended to incite anti-Roman passions.[135] Perhaps a better approach is to question the assumption that Josephus possessed exhaustive knowledge of the events that took place in Judea during Pilate’s term as governor. There is no reason why Luke’s source could not have reported an incident of which Josephus was entirely unaware.[136]

2. Were the slain Galileans inhabitants of the Galilee or members of a militant nationalist sect? There is no indication in the Gospel of Luke that the massacred Galileans were members of a militant sect or that they were guilty of any sort of provocation of the Roman authorities. Neither is there any evidence outside the Gospel of Luke that there was a Jewish revolutionary sect known as “the Galileans.” Assumptions that the massacred Galileans were culpable for their deaths are rather a reflection of the pro-Roman (and pro-imperialist) orientations of the scholars that hold them.

3. Were the Galilean and Jerusalemite victims presumed to be guilty or innocent? How we answer this question must vary depending on of whom it is asked. Doubtless Pontius Pilate and the Roman soldiers who acted on his orders viewed the Galilean pilgrims as guilty of some infraction. It is unlikely that they were murdered for sport. On the other hand, fellow Jews, especially fellow Galileans like Jesus, would have been naturally sympathetic toward the victims of the massacre. Since the Galileans were killed while making pilgrimage to the Temple to worship God, the historical probability is that most first-century Jews would not only have presumed their innocence but revered them as martyrs for their faith. Those killed by the collapse of the tower in Siloam would have been regarded as the victims of a tragic accident. They would have enjoyed the same presumption of innocence that the victim of any accident or natural disaster does today.

4. Did Second Temple Judaism teach that personal misfortune was proof of guilt before God? No. This notion comes from anti-Jewish Christian rhetoric rather than from a careful examination of ancient Jewish sources. Scholars and laypersons should be especially wary of negative portrayals of Judaism that emanate from German New Testament scholarship of the first half of the twentieth century, when anti-Semitism was on the rise.[137]

Conclusion

When confronted with the story of an outrage perpetrated by the Roman government against the Jewish people, Jesus did not need to convince his audience that the victims were not especially sinful. Their sympathy for their slain Galilean brethren would have been aroused, and their ire against the oppressive Roman regime would have been kindled. Neither did Jesus respond to the heightened emotions occasioned by this report with the platitude that in view of life’s uncertainties now is always the best time to repent. More surprisingly, Jesus did not point the finger of blame at the Romans, which would only have served to enflame the anger of Jesus’ audience even more. Instead, Jesus called upon his fellow countrymen and women to abandon dreams of revenge against their oppressors. If the Romans would do such things to innocent worshippers, Jesus argued, what do you think they will do to you if you take up arms against them?

Jesus’ next move was to shift the terms of the debate by reminding his audience of the eighteen people who were crushed by the tower that collapsed in Siloam. Those innocent people had been killed in an accident. But if Israel rejected the way of the Kingdom of Heaven in order to embrace the ideology of militant nationalism, they would be guilty of a most serious sin. If accidents can befall even the innocent, then what will become of Israel if it willfully disobeys God?

While Jesus’ response to the report of Pilate’s atrocity was hardly flattering to Roman imperialism, he wisely directed his audience away from ultimately self-destructive action against people and circumstances they could not change and toward constructive change his listeners could effect within themselves and their communities. He also reoriented their vision from that of a world dominated by the Roman Empire and the evil spiritual powers that gave the empires their power to a universe ruled by Israel’s just and merciful God.

Jesus’ response to Pilate’s massacre of the Galilean pilgrims was determined by his belief that no violent uprising, but only repentance and acceptance of the Kingdom of Heaven, would lead to the redemption of Israel, humankind and the whole of God’s creation from Satan’s tyrannical regime of death.


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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 Beare, 172 §162; Bovon, 2:265. Marshall (553) and Snodgrass (262) note the differing messages of Calamities in Yerushalayim and the Unfruitful Fig Tree parable, but this does not lead them to the conclusion that the two pericopae did not originally belong together.
  • [4] Note also that παρεῖναι occurs 5xx in Acts (Acts 10:21, 33; 12:20; 17:6; 24:19), a much higher frequency than in Luke’s Gospel.
  • [5] See Hatch-Redpath, 2:1065-1066.
  • [6] See Dos Santos, 22-23.
  • [7] We are indebted to Wolter (2:176) for the parallels to Luke 13:1 in Hellenistic works.
  • [8] Text and translation according to C. H. Oldfather et al., trans., Diodorus Siculus (12 vols.; Loeb; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1933-1967), 8:138-139.
  • [9] Text and translation according to Oldfather, Diodorus Siculus, 10:34-35.
  • [10] Text and translation according to Oldfather, Diodorus Siculus, 10:442-443.
  • [11] Text and translation according to Bernadotte Perrin, trans., Plutarch’s Lives (11 vols.; Loeb; New York: Macmillan; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1914-1926), 2:506-507.
  • [12] Text and translation according to Perrin, Plutarch’s Lives, 5:80-81.
  • [13] Text and translation according to Perrin, Plutarch’s Lives, 7:50-53.
  • [14] On καὶ ἐγένετο/ἐγένετο δέ + ἐν τῷ infinitive time phrase + finite main verb structures as indicative of an underlying Hebrew text, see Randall Buth and Brian Kvasnica, “Critical Notes on the VTS” (JS1, 259-317, esp. 268-273); Randall Buth, “Distinguishing Hebrew from Aramaic in Semitized Greek Texts, with an Application for the Gospels and Pseudepigrapha” (JS2, 247-319, esp. 263-270).
  • [15] See Hatch-Redpath, 2:706-708.
  • [16] See Dos Santos, 163.
  • [17] The LXX translators rendered בָּעֵת הַהִיא as ἐν τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ in Gen. 21:22; 38:1; Deut. 1:9, 16, 18; 2:34; 3:4, 8, 12, 18, 21, 23; 4:14; 5:5; 9:20; Josh. 11:10, 21; Judg. 3:29; 4:4; 11:26; 12:6; 14:4; 21:14, 24; 3 Kgdms. 11:29; 4 Kgdms. 8:22; 16:6; 18:16; 20:12; 24:10; 1 Chr. 21:28, 29; 2 Chr. 7:8; 16:7, 10; 21:10; 28:16; 30:3; 35:17; 2 Esd. 8:34; 14:16; Joel 4:1; Amos 5:13; Mic. 3:4; Zeph. 3:19, 20; Isa. 18:7; 39:1; Jer. 4:11; 8:1; 27[50]:4, 20. Cf. Deut. 10:1, 8, where the LXX translators rendered בָּעֵת הַהִוא as ἐν ἐκείνῳ τῷ καιρῷ (en ekeinō tō kairō, “in that time”). In Num. 22:4 the LXX translators rendered בָּעֵת הַהִוא as κατὰ τὸν καιρὸν ἐκεῖνον (kata ton kairon ekeinon, “at that time”). Cf. Dan. 12:1, where κατὰ τὴν ὥραν ἐκείνην (kata tēn hōran ekeinēn, “at that hour”) renders בָּעֵת הַהִיא. In Josh. 5:2 the LXX translators rendered בָּעֵת הַהִיא as ὑπὸ τοῦτον τὸν καιρόν (hūpo touton ton kairon, “at this time”). In Josh. 6:26, 3 Kgdms. 8:65 and 2 Chr. 13:18 they rendered בָּעֵת הַהִיא as ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ (en tē hēmera ekeinē, “in that day”). Cf. Zeph. 1:12 and Dan. 12:1, where ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ (en ekeinē tē hēmera, “in that day”) renders בָּעֵת הַהִיא. Similarly, in Jer. 3:17 the LXX translators rendered בָּעֵת הַהִיא as ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις (en tais hēmerais ekeinais, “in those days”). In Isa. 20:2 the LXX translators rendered בָּעֵת הַהִיא as τότε (tote, “then”). In Jer. 31:1 the LXX translators rendered בָּעֵת הַהִיא as ἐν τῷ χρόνῳ ἐκείνῳ (en tō chronō ekeinō, “in that time”).
  • [18] The phrase ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ καιρῷ occurs in Tob. 3:17, but unfortunately no Hebrew or Aramaic fragments of this verse have been preserved in DSS. In 2 Esd. 5:3 ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ καιρῷ occurs as the translation of the Aramaic phrase בֵּהּ זִמְנָא.
  • [19] Pace Fitzmyer, 1:118.
  • [20] Cf. Manson, Sayings, 273.
  • [21] On reconstructing καιρός (kairos, “time”) with שָׁעָה (shā‘āh, “hour”), see Four Soils interpretation, Comment to L46.
  • [22] Instances of the phrase אַנְשֵׁי הַגָּלִיל occur, for example, in m. Ket. 4:12; m. Ned. 2:4 (2xx); 5:5; m. Sot. 9:15; t. Peah 4:10.
  • [23] Ginsberg compared the spelling הגללאים (“the Galileans”) to הַהַגְרִאִים (“the Hagrites”; 1 Chr. 5:10, 19, 20)—elsewhere הַגְרִים (Ps. 83:7)—and הָעַרְבִיאִים (“the Arabs”; 2 Chr. 17:11)—elsewhere הָעַרְבִים (Neh. 4:1; 2 Chr. 21:16). See H. L. Ginsberg, “Notes on the Two Published Letters to Jeshua ben Galgolah,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 131 (1953): 25-27, esp. 25 n. 4.
  • [24] In the Mishnah we find a reference to הַפַּכִּין הַגְּלִילִים (hapakin hagelilim, “the Galilean flasks”; m. Kel. 2:2).
  • [25] See Solomon Zeitlin, “Who Were the Galileans? New Light on Josephus’ Activities in Galilee,” Jewish Quarterly Review 64.3 (1974): 189-203, esp. 196-197. Cf. Bovon, 2:267.
  • [26] See Vermes, Jew, 47.
  • [27] Pace Vermes, Jew, 47.
  • [28] Scholars occasionally cite Hegesippus (quoted by Eusebius) and Justin Martyr for evidence of a sect of Galileans (cf., e.g., Bovon, 2:267 n. 31), but it is not clear that either Christian writer was an authority on pre-70 C.E. Jewish sects, and nothing in their statements about the Galileans suggests that they were militant nationalists.

    Thus Eusebius quoted Hegesippus as stating:

    ἦσαν δὲ γνῶμαι διάφοροι ἐν τῇ περιτομῇ ἐν υἱοῖς Ἰσραηλιτῶν κατὰ τῆς φυλῆς Ἰούδα καὶ τοῦ Χριστοῦ αὗται· Ἐσσαῖοι Γαλιλαῖοι Ἡμεροβαπτισταί Μασβωθεοι Σαμαρεῖται Σαδδουκαῖοι Φαρισαῖοι

    Now there were various opinions among the circumcision, among the children of Israel, against the tribe of Judah and the Messiah, as follows: Essenes, Galileans, Hemerobaptists, Masbothei, Samaritans, Sadducees, and Pharisees. (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 4:22 §7; Loeb)

    Similarly, in his Dialogue with Trypho Justin argued:

    ὥσπερ οὐδὲ Ἰουδαίους, ἄν τις ὀρθῶς ἐξετάσῃ, ὁμολογήσειεν εἶναι τοὺς Σαδδουκαίους, ἢ τὰς ὁμοίας αἱρέσεις Γενιστῶν καὶ Μεριστῶν καὶ Γαλιλαίων καὶ Ἑλληνιανῶν καὶ Φαρισαίων καὶ Βαπτιστῶν…ἀλλὰ λεγομένους μὲν Ἰουδαίους καὶ τέκνα Ἀβραὰμ….

    …even as one, if he would rightly consider it, would not admit that the Sadducees, or similar sects of Genistæ, Meristæ, Galilæns, Hellenists, Pharisees, Baptists, are Jews….but are [only] called Jews and children of Abraham…. (Dial. §80 [ed. Trollope, 2:21])

    English translation of Justin according to The Ante-Nicene Fathers (10 vols.; ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and Allan Menzies; repr. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980-1986), 1:239.

  • [29] See Zeitlin, “Who Were the Galileans? New Light on Josephus’ Activities in Galilee,” 189-203.
  • [30] See Joseph R. Armenti, “On the Use of the Term ‘Galileans’ in the Writings of Josephus Flavius: A Brief Note,” Jewish Quarterly Review 72.1 (1981): 45-49; Louis H. Feldman, “The Term ‘Galileans’ in Josephus,” in his Studies in Hellenistic Judaism (Leiden: Brill, 1996; repr. from Jewish Quarterly Review 72.1 [1981]: 50-52), 111-113; Sean Freyne, “The Galileans in the Light of Josephus’ Life,” in his Galilee and Gospel: Collected Essays (Leiden: Brill, 2002), 27-44.
  • [31] Pace Plummer (Luke, 338), who attributed the massacre to “some fanatical act of rebellion” on the part of the Galileans; Knox (2:75), who assumed that the massacre took place “during a riot”; Jeremias (Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1969], 73), who wrote that “Pilate’s measures…were scarcely taken without good reason”; Marshall (553), who explained that “the Galileans had a reputation for rebelliousness”; and Nolland (Luke, 2:717), who opined that “[t]here is every likelihood that these Galileans were involved in activities hostile to the state.”
  • [32] Johnson (95) raised this scenario as a possibility. See Sherman Elbridge Johnson, “A Note on Luke 13:1-5,” Anglican Theological Review 17:2 (1935): 91-95. See also Armenti, “On the Use of the Term ‘Galileans’ in the Writings of Josephus Flavius: A Brief Note,” 46-47.
  • [33] See Hatch-Redpath, 1:31-33.
  • [34] See Dos Santos, 43.
  • [35] Examples of דָּמָם (“their blood [sing.]”) occur in Lev. 16:27; Num. 18:17; Judg. 9:24; Isa. 34:3; 49:26; Jer. 46:10; Joel 4:21; Zeph. 1:17; Ps. 72:14; 79:3; Prov. 1:18; 2 Chr. 29:24.
  • [36] Examples of דְּמֵיהֶם (“their blood [plur.]”) are found in Lev. 20:11, 12, 13, 16, 27; 1 Kgs. 2:33.
  • [37] See Kedar-Kopfstein, “דָּם dām,” TDOT, 3:234-250, esp. 236.
  • [38] The remaining instances of μιγνύναι occur in Gen. 30:40, Exod. 30:35 and Prov. 14:16.
  • [39] See BDB, 786.
  • [40] See Jastrow, 1109-1110.
  • [41] For other instances in which the LXX translators were misled by Hebrew as it was spoken at the time of their translation work, see Jan Joosten, “On the Septuagint Translators’ Knowledge of Hebrew,” in his Collected Studies on the Septuagint: From Language to Interpretation and Beyond (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2012), 25-36.
  • [42] For the italicized words, which are recorded in Aramaic, we have relied on Neusner’s translation of the Jerusalem Talmud.
  • [43] Bultmann (54-55) and Bundy (365 §260) supposed that Luke’s story was really a garbled version of Josephus’ report in Ant. 18:86-87 about Pilate’s massacre of Samaritans on Mount Gerizim. Johnson (“A Note on Luke 13:1-5,” 91-95) argued that Luke 13:1 actually refers to a massacre that took place during Archelaus’ rule over Judea (Jos., J.W. 2:11-13). Fitzmyer (2:1006-1007) reviewed and rejected additional proposals.
  • [44] See Schürer, 1:385; Menahem Stern, “The Province of Judea” (Safrai-Stern, 1:308-376, esp. 352); Shemuel [sic] Safrai, Pilgrimage at the Time of the Second Temple (Tel Aviv: Am Hassefer, 1965), 49-50 (in Hebrew). Daniel R. Schwartz (“Pontius Pilate,” ABD, 5:395-401, esp. 399) raised the possibility that the massacre in Luke 13:1 was connected to the disturbances relating to Pilate’s seizure of Temple funds for the construction of an aqueduct, but remained inconclusive. Cf. Lee I. Levine, Jerusalem: Portrait of the City in the Second Temple Period (538 B.C.E. – 70 C.E.) (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2002), 291 n. 25.
  • [45] On the tumultuous character of Pilate’s tenure as governor, see Daniel R. Schwartz, Reading the First Century: On Reading Josephus and Studying Jewish History of the First Century (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013), 134-136.
  • [46] See Paul Winter, On the Trial of Jesus (2d ed.; Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1974), 74-76. On the Gospel tendency to exonerate Pilate for the crucifixion of Jesus, see Schwartz, “Pontius Pilate,” 400; Flusser, Jesus, 156.
  • [47] See B. H. Streeter, “On the Trial of Our Lord Before Herod: A Suggestion,” in Studies in the Synoptic Problem (ed. W. Sanday; Oxford: Clarendon, 1911), 228-231; Cadbury, Making, 240 n. 1.
  • [48] See Plummer, Luke, 337; Harold W. Hoehner, Herod Antipas: A Contemporary of Jesus Christ (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972; repr. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980), 172-183. Flusser (Jesus, 164 n. 59), discussing the rift between Pilate and Antipas, mentioned only the incident involving the shields.
  • [49] See Nolland, Luke, 2:717; Bovon, 2:267 n. 28.
  • [50] See the entry for μετά in the Index of Greek→Hebrew Equivalents in our LOY Excursus: Greek-Hebrew Equivalents in the LOY Reconstructions.
  • [51] Cf., e.g., Prov. 24:21: עִם שׁוֹנִים אַל תִּתְעָרָב (“Do not be associated with those who change”); and in DSS see 1QS IX, 8: אל יתערב הונם עם הון אנשי הרמיה (“Their property must not be mixed with the property of the men of the lie”).
  • [52] Cf., e.g., Ps. 106:35; Prov. 14:10; Ezra 9:2; 1QS VI, 17; VII, 23; 1QHa VIII, 22; 4Q274 1 I, 5; 4Q368 9 I, 1; 4QMMTd [4Q397] 14-21 I, 8; 11QTa [11Q19] XXXV, 12-13; XXXVII, 11-12; XLV, 4.
  • [53] See Hatch-Redpath, 1:664-666.
  • [54] See Dos Santos, 52.
  • [55] See Dos Santos, 114.
  • [56] See Anson F. Rainey, “Sacrifice and Offerings,” in The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible (5 vols.; ed. Merrill Tenney; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975), 5:194-211, esp. 206, where, however, מִנְחָה is misspelled as “מנטה.” This otherwise excellent overview is marred by other similar Hebrew misspellings.
  • [57] See Levine, Jerusalem, 291.
  • [58] See Shmuel Safrai, “The Temple” (Safrai-Stern, 2:865-907, esp. 901); idem, Pilgrimage at the Time of the Second Temple, 49-50 (in Hebrew).
  • [59] On the obligation of pilgrims to bring sacrifices, see Shmuel Safrai, “Early Testimonies in the New Testament of Laws and Practices Relating to Pilgrimage and Passover” (JS1, 41-51, esp. 42-44).
  • [60] See Plummer, Luke, 338.
  • [61] See Joachim Jeremias, The Eucharistic Words of Jesus (trans. Norman Perrin; New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1966), 207 n. 4.
  • [62] See Josef Blinzler, “Die Niedermetzelung von Galilären durch Pilatus,” Novum Testamentum 2.1 (1957): 24-49, esp. 32 n. 3. Cited by Bovon, 2:267 n. 30.
  • [63] The statement that the Galileans’ blood was mixed with that of their sacrifices does not imply that the Galileans were killed in the act of slaughtering their sacrificial beasts. The Roman soldiers could have killed the pilgrims along with their sacrificial animals outside the Temple and the description in Luke 13:1 would still apply. Or, as Wolter (2:176-177) argued, Luke 13:1 could mean that the Galilean pilgrims were killed in the same place as their sacrifices (i.e., in the Temple), though at different times. In either scenario a Passover date is unnecessary.
  • [64] Cf. Winter, On the Trial of Jesus, 75 n. 9; Levine, Jerusalem, 291.
  • [65] On interrogative in MH, see Segal, 220 §461.
  • [66] See Segal, 219-220 §460.
  • [67] On the replacement of אֵלֶּה with אֵלּוּ in MH, see Segal, 41 §72.
  • [68] See Nolland, Luke, 2:718; Bovon, 2:269.
  • [69] See Lord’s Prayer, Comment to L19.
  • [70] See Wolter, 2:177. For claims that Luke’s comparative παρά is a Semitism, see Jeremias, Parables, 141 n. 49; Black, 252; Fitzmyer, 2:1007; Nolland, Luke, 2:718.
  • [71] Text and translation according to F. C. Conybeare, trans., Philostratus: The Life of Apollonius of Tyana (2 vols.; London: William Heinemann; New York: Macmillan, 1912), 1:268-271.
  • [72] Text and translation according to Conybeare, Philostratus: The Life of Apollonius of Tyana, 1:394-395.
  • [73] See Moulton-Milligan, 479.
  • [74] The comparative phrase παρὰ πάντας occurs as the translation of מִכָּל in Gen. 37:3; Exod. 18:11; 33:16; Num. 12:3; Deut. 7:6, 7 (2xx), 14; 10:15; 2 Chr. 2:4; 11:23; Esth. 2:17; 3:8; 4:13; Ps. 30[31]:12; 134[135]:5; Eccl. 2:9; Jer. 17:9; Lam. 3:51; Ezek. 31:5; Dan. 11:2. Likewise, the Hebrew MS B of Ben Sira has והוא גדול מכל מעשיו (“and he is greater than all his works”) opposite the Septuagint’s αὐτὸς γὰρ ὁ μέγας παρὰ πάντα τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ (“for he is the great one, beyond all his works”; Sir. 43:28).
  • [75] There are two factors that make reverting the phrase ὅτι ταῦτα πεπόνθασιν especially difficult: 1) ὅτι ταῦτα (“because these things”) could be reconstructed in any number of ways, but none of them with good parallels in MH sources, while 2) the verb πάσχειν (paschein, “to suffer”) has no clear Hebrew equivalent.

    1. Luke’s ὅτι (hoti, “because”) could be reconstructed with a simple -שֶׁ (she-, “because”; see Lost Sheep and Lost Coin, Comment to L31) or with -שֶׁ combined with a variety of conjunctions such as -מִפְּנֵי שֶׁ (mipnē she-), -לְפִי שֶׁ (lefi she-), -עַל שֶׁ ( ‘al she-), etc., all meaning “because.” (For various ways of expressing “because” in MH, see Segal, 226-227 §481-482.) Alternatively, ὅτι could be reconstructed with כִּי (ki, “because”; see Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn, Comment to L6). Luke’s ταῦτα (tavta, “these [things]”) could be reconstructed with אֵלּוּ (’ēlū, “these [things]”) or הַלָּלוּ (halālū, “these [things]), or with דְּבָרִים (devārim, “things”) accompanied by either of the two aforementioned demonstratives. (For our discussion on reconstructing ταῦτα with הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה, see A Woman’s Misplaced Blessing, Comment to L1.) Other possibilities for reconstructing ταῦτα are כֵּן (kēn) or כָּכָה (kāchāh) or כָּךְ (kāch), all meaning “thus” or “so.” Despite the many options for reconstructing “because these things,” examples of these options in Hebrew sources are quite rare. The following is one of the few grammatical parallels we were able to locate:

      אין טומנין לא בגפת ולא בזבל ולא במלח ולא ב[ס]יד ולא בחול בין לחין בין יבישין לא בתבן ולא במוכין ולא בזוגין ולא בעשבין בזמן שהן לחין…לפי שהדברים הללו רותחין ומרתיחין

      They may not cover [food in order to keep it warm on the Sabbath—DNB and JNT] with peat or with manure or with salt or with lime or with sand whether they are wet or dry, neither with straw or rags or grapeskins or with herbs while they are moist…because these things [לְפִי שֶׁהַדְּבָרִים הַלָּלוּ] boil and cause boiling. (y. Shab. 4:1 [28a])

    2. As for reconstructing Luke’s verb πάσχειν (paschein, “to suffer”), it has first to be noted that this verb rarely occurs in LXX books included in the Hebrew canon. Even when πάσχειν does occur in books translated from Hebrew, πάσχειν usually lacks a clear equivalent in the underlying Hebrew text. (See Hatch-Redpath, 2:1103.) One of the few places where πάσχειν does occur as the translation of a Hebrew verb is in Esth. 9:26, where it appears as πεπόνθασιν (peponthasin, “they had suffered”), the same perfect form found in Luke 13:2:

      וַיִּכְתֹּב מָרְדֳּכַי אֶת הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה וַיִּשְׁלַח סְפָרִים אֶל כָּל־הַיְּהוּדִים אֲשֶׁר בְּכָל־מְדִינוֹת הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ הַקְּרוֹבִים וְהָרְחוֹקִים׃ לְקַיֵּם עֲלֵיהֶם לִהְיוֹת עֹשִׂים אֵת יוֹם אַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר לְחֹדֶשׁ אֲדָר וְאֵת יוֹם חֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר בּוֹ בְּכָל־שָׁנָה וְשָׁנָה…עַל כֵּן עַל כָּל־דִּבְרֵי הָאִגֶּרֶת הַזֹּאת וּמָה רָאוּ עַל כָּכָה וּמָה הִגִּיעַ אֲלֵיהֶם׃ קִיְּמוּ וְקִבְּלֻ הַיְּהוּדִים עֲלֵיהֶם

      And Mordecai wrote these things and sent scrolls to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahashverosh, both near and far, to take it upon themselves to observe the fourteenth day of the month of Adar and the fifteenth day also each and every year. …Therefore, because of all the words of this letter and [because of] what they experienced [וּמָה רָאוּ; LXX: καὶ ὅσα πεπόνθασιν (kai hosa peponthasin, “and what they had suffered”)] in this matter and [because of] how it affected them, the Jews took it upon themselves and accepted it…. (Esth. 9:20-21, 26-27)

      In Esth. 9:26 πεπόνθασιν occurs as the translation of רָאוּ (rā’ū, “they saw”), where רָאָה (rā’āh, “see”) seems to be used in an extended sense of “experience” or “endure,” a usage that also occurs in Jer. 5:12; 14:13; 20:18; 42:14; Ps. 89:49 and elsewhere. Thus one possible reconstruction of πάσχειν in Luke 13:2 is רָאָה. But such a reconstruction is highly tenuous, not only because it is supported by a single LXX example, but also because it is not clear that רָאָה continued to be used in the sense of “experience” in Mishnaic Hebrew. Jastrow (1435) cites examples such as רָאָה קְרִי (“he experienced a nocturnal emission”), רָאַת דָּם (“she experienced an issue of blood”) or רָאַת נִידָּה (“she experienced menstruation”), but it is not clear that רָאָה was used in the sense of “experience” for things other than genital discharges.

      Alternatively, πάσχειν might be reconstructed with the verb סָבַל (sāval), which has the primary sense of “carry” (the only sense attested in BH), and which came to be used in the sense of “endure.” However, examples of סָבַל used in this metaphorical sense are scarce or non-existent in tannaic sources. It is only in later rabbinic sources that strong examples of this usage begin to surface. Therefore, we must remain uncertain whether סָבַל could have been used in the sense of “endure” in the first century C.E.

    In light of the foregoing discussion, our best reconstruction options for ὅτι ταῦτα πεπόνθασιν (“because they suffered these things”) appear to be לְפִי שֶׁהַדְּבָרִים הַלָּלוּ רָאוּ (“because they saw [i.e., experienced] these things”) or לְפִי שֶׁהַדְּבָרִים הַלָּלוּ סָבְלוּ (“because they endured these things”). But for reasons we have already discussed, neither option is entirely satisfying. Delitzsch’s rendering of ὅτι ταῦτα πεπόνθασιν as כִּי מְצָאָם כַּדָּבָר הַזֶּה (ki metzā’ām kadāvār hazeh, “because such a thing as this found them”) evidently reflects his bewilderment as to how to put this phrase into Hebrew. Resch (99) omitted the phrase ὅτι ταῦτα πεπόνθασιν and a Hebrew equivalent from his Greek and Hebrew reconstructions of Calamities in Yerushalayim.

  • [76] The strongest parallels we have identified to Luke’s “because they suffered these things” are found in descriptions of Jewish martyrdom recorded in the Greek-composed books of 2 Maccabees and 4 Maccabees:

    σκληρὰς ὑποφέρω κατὰ τὸ σῶμα ἀλγηδόνας μαστιγούμενος, κατὰ ψυχὴν δὲ ἡδέως διὰ τὸν αὐτοῦ φόβον ταῦτα πάσχω

    I am enduring terrible sufferings in my body under this beating, but in my soul I am glad to suffer these things, because I fear him [i.e., God—DNB and JNT]. (2 Macc. 6:30; NETS)

    ἡμεῖς γὰρ δι᾿ ἑαυτοὺς ταῦτα πάσχομεν ἁμαρτόντες εἰς τὸν ἑαυτῶν θεόν

    For we are suffering these things on our own account, because of our sins against our own God. (2 Macc. 7:18; NETS)

    ὥστε καὶ γυναῖκας, ὅτι περιέτεμον τὰ παιδία, μετὰ τῶν βρεφῶν κατακρημνισθῆναι προειδυίας ὅτι τοῦτο πείσονται

    …so that even women, because they circumcised their sons, were thrown down headlong together with their infants, though they had known beforehand that they would suffer this…. (4 Macc. 4:25; NETS)

    ἡμεῖς μέν, ὦ μιαρώτατε τύραννε, διὰ παιδείαν καὶ ἀρετὴν θεοῦ ταῦτα πάσχομεν

    We, most abominable tyrant, are suffering these things because of training and divine virtue. (4 Macc. 10:10; NETS)

    Further parallels to Luke’s phrasing of “because they suffered these things” are found in the writings of Philo (e.g., Flacc. §76) and Josephus (e.g., Ant. 7:150, 209; 9:252).

  • [77] Scholars who affirm that Second Temple Jews typically regarded the victims of tragic events as guilty of sin include Strack and Billerbeck (Strack-Billerbeck, 2:193-197), Dalman (Gustaf Dalman, Sacred Sites and Ways: Studies in the Topography of the Gospels [trans. Paul P. Levertoff; New York: Macmillan, 1935], 312), Marshall (553) (who restricted this view to the Pharisees), Fitzmyer (2:1007), Nolland (Luke, 2:718), J. Green (514), Flusser (Jesus, 102), Frankovic (“Measure for Measure”) and Wolter (2:177).
    Scholars who assume that the people who reported Pilate’s massacre of the Galileans regarded the victims as guilty include Edersheim (2:221), Plummer (Luke, 338), Manson (Luke, 163), Flusser (Jesus, 102), Frankovic (“Measure for Measure”), Bovon (2:268) and Lambrecht (Jan Lambrecht, “The Three Steps in Luke 13,1-9: A Response to M. Gourgues,” in his In Search of Meaning: Collected Notes on the New Testament [2014-2017] [Balti, Republic of Moldova: Scholars’ Press, 2017], 286-288).
  • [78] See Strack-Billerbeck, 2:193-197.
  • [79] It is surprising to find Fitzmyer (2:1007) and Nolland (Luke, 2:718) citing verses from Job as proof that first-century Jews did view calamities as proof of a person’s guilt. The other examples Fitzmyer and Nolland rely upon are equally inappropriate: promises that the wicked will finally be brought to judgment and stories about how villains in Scripture received their just deserts do not prove that every individual who suffered a personal tragedy was presumed to be guilty of some offense against God. The presumption of guilt expressed in the story of a man who was born blind (John 9:2-3) is hardly a solid basis from which to gauge Second-Temple Jewish opinion.
  • [80] Translation according to Claude G. Montefiore, Rabbinic Literature and Gospel Teachings (New York: Ktav, 1970), 352 n. 1.
  • [81] Cited by Montefiore, Rabbinic Literature and Gospel Teachings, 350-351.
  • [82] For a more balanced presentation of rabbinic views on the relationship between guilt and suffering, see Ephraim E. Urbach, The Sages: Their Concepts and Beliefs (trans. Israel Abrahams; 2 vols.; Jerusalem: Magnes, 1975), 1:436-448.
  • [83] See Edwards (392), who nevertheless failed to draw the logical conclusions from this observation. Edersheim (2:222), too, observed that “it seems strange that…they [i.e., the persons who brought the report to Jesus—DNB and JNT] should have regarded it as the Divine punishment of a special sin to have been martyred by Pilate in the Temple, while engaged in offering sacrifices,” but he did not draw the logical conclusion from his own observation, viz., that the historical probability is that they would have been viewed as righteous martyrs.
  • [84] Bailey (Eyes, 74-80) comes close to understanding the historical dynamics at play in Calamities in Yerushalayim.
  • [85] Cited by Wolter (2:177).
  • [86] Text and translation according to W. A. Oldfather, Epictetus: The Discourses as Reported by Arrian, the Manual, and Fragments (2 vols.; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press; London: William Heinemann, 1925-1928), 2:252-255.
  • [87] On Jesus’ words to the “daughters of Jerusalem,” see David N. Bivin, “Jesus and the Enigmatic ‘Green Tree.’
  • [88] On the political aspect of Jesus’ call to repentance, see N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1996), 246-258. On the political aspect of Jesus’ message generally, see LOY Excursus: The Kingdom of Heaven in the Life of Yeshua, under the subheading “The Kingdom of Heaven in the Teachings of Jesus: Political Aspect.”
  • [89] On the Temple as a focal point of Jewish aspirations for political independence, see Daniel R. Schwartz, “Introduction: On the Jewish Background of Christianity,” in his Studies in the Jewish Background of Christianity (Tübingen: Mohr [Siebeck], 1992), 1-26, esp. 9-10, where he explained, “The central problem of the Second Temple period was the contradiction between the existence of the Temple in Jerusalem, which seemed to be the palace of a sovereign in the capital of his state, and the fact of foreign sovereignty” (italics original). Ibid., “Temple and Desert: On Religion and State in Second Temple Period Judaea,” 29-43. On the rising tide of a militant form of Jewish nationalism in the first century as witnessed in the works of Josephus and the New Testament, see Peter J. Tomson, “Romans 9-11 and Political Events in Rome and Judaea with Some Thoughts on Historical Criticism and Theological Exegesis,” Zeitschrift für Dialektische Theologie 33.1 (2017): 48-73; idem, “Sources on the Politics of Judaea in the 50s CE: A Response to Martin Goodman,” Journal of Jewish Studies 68.2 (2017): 234-259.
  • [90] On the “ways of peace” as a Jewish response to living under imperial domination, see Joshua N. Tilton, “A Mile on the Road of Peace,” on WholeStones.org.
  • [91] In LXX οὐχί ἀλλά occurs as the translation of לֹא כִּי in Gen. 18:15; 19:2; 42:12; Josh. 24:21; Judg. 15:13; 1 Kgdms. 8:19; 12:12; 2 Kgdms. 16:18; 3 Kgdms. 3:22, 23; 20:10. The few cases where οὐχί ἀλλά occurs as the translation of something other than לֹא כִּי are in Num. 13:30; 1 Kgdms. 10:19; 17:43. The phrase οὐχί ἀλλά also occurs in Tob. 10:9. Unfortunately, the Hebrew fragment of Tobit discovered among DSS (4QTobe [4Q200]) that corresponds to Tob. 10:9 breaks off just before this phrase occurs.
  • [92] See Resch, 100.
  • [93] Luke 12:51 reads δοκεῖτε ὅτι εἰρήνην παρεγενόμην δοῦναι ἐν τῇ γῇ; οὐχί, λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀλλ᾿ ἢ διαμερισμόν (“Do you think that I came to give peace on the earth? No, I say to you, but rather division”). Matthew’s parallel (Matt. 10:34) reads differently, but Lindsey (LHNS, 128 §160) felt that Luke’s wording was, for the most part, closer to Anth.’s.
  • [94] On the ability of even a small, radicalized segment of the population to throw the whole of first-century Jewish society into turmoil, see Levine, Jerusalem, 295.
  • [95] Additional examples of לֹא כִי אֶלָּא occur in m. Yev. 8:4; m. Ket. 2:1; m. Bab. Kam. 3:11 (5xx); m. Shevu. 6:7 (4xx); m. Men. 4:3; m. Ohol. 3:5.
  • [96] In the LXX Pentateuch alone, ἐὰν μή + subjunctive occurs as the translation of אִם לֹא + imperfect in Gen. 24:8; 34:17; 42:37; 44:23, 32; Exod. 4:8, 9; 13:13; 22:7; 34:20; Lev. 5:1, 7, 11; 12:8; 17:16; 25:30, 54; 26:14; 27:20, 27; Num. 19:12; 32:23, 30; 33:55; Deut. 11:28; 20:12; 24:1; 25:7; 28:15, 58.
  • [97] This appears to have been Lindsey’s opinion. See LHNC, 695; LHNS, 129 §162.
  • [98] As we discussed in Yohanan the Immerser’s Exhortations, Comment to L6, ὁμοίως can be reconstructed as כָּכָה (kāchāh, “thus,” “in this manner”) or כֵּן (kēn, “thus,” “so”).
  • [99] The table below presents all of the instances of ὁμοίως in the Synoptic Gospels with parallels (if any):

    Matt. 22:26 TT (cf. Mark 12:21; Luke 20:30)

    Matt. 26:35 TT (cf. Mark 14:31; Luke 22:[–])

    Matt. 27:41 TT = Mark 15:31 (cf. Luke 23:35)

    Mark 4:16 (Vaticanus) TT (cf. Matt. 13:20; Luke 8:13)

    Mark 15:31 TT = Matt. 27:41 (cf. Luke 23:35)

    Luke 3:11 U

    Luke 5:10 TT (cf. Matt. 4:21; Mark 1:19)

    Luke 5:33 TT (cf. Matt. 9:14; Mark 2:18)

    Luke 6:31 DT (cf. Matt. 7:12)

    Luke 10:32 U

    Luke 10:37 U

    Luke 13:3 U

    Luke 16:25 U

    Luke 17:28 DT (cf. Matt. 24:[–])

    Luke 17:31 TT (cf. Matt. 24:18; Mark 13:16)

    Luke 22:36 U


    Key: TT = pericope has parallels in all three Synoptic Gospels; DT = Lukan-Matthean pericope; U = pericope unique to a particular Gospel; [–] = no corresponding word and/or verse

  • [100] Thus far, we have found the instances of ὁμοίως in Luke 17:28 and Luke 17:31 to be redactional. On ὁμοίως in Luke 17:28, see Days of the Son of Man, Comment to L22. On ὁμοίως in Luke 17:31, see Lesson of Lot’s Wife, Comment to L8.
  • [101] See Hatch-Redpath, 2:1495-1496.
  • [102] See Hatch-Redpath, 1:136-138.
  • [103] See Dos Santos, 1.
  • [104] The second person plural future middle form ἀπολεῖσθε occurs in Lev. 26:38 (= וַאֲבַדְתֶּם); Deut. 4:26 (תֹּאבֵדוּן); 8:19 (תֹּאבֵדוּן), 20 (תֹאבֵדוּן); 11:17 (וַאֲבַדְתֶּם); 30:18 (תֹּאבֵדוּן); Esth. 4:14 (תֹּאבֵדוּ); Ps. 2:12 (וְתֹאבְדוּ); 9:37 (אָבְדוּ [Ps. 10:16]); Jer. 34:15 (וַאֲבַדְתֶּם [Jer. 27:15]).
  • [105] See the entry for in the Greek→Hebrew portion of the LOY Excursus: Greek-Hebrew Equivalents in the LOY Reconstructions.
  • [106] On reconstructing with אוֹ, see Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry, Comment to L47.
  • [107] On the MH use of the direct object marker אֶת (’et) as a demonstrative pronoun, see Segal, 202 §416.
  • [108] In LXX ἐπί + ὅς occurs as the translation of אֲשֶׁר + עַל in Gen. 28:13; 38:30; Exod. 8:17, 18; Lev. 11:32; 15:4 (2xx), 6, 9, 17, 20 (2xx), 24, 26 (2xx); 16:9, 10; Num. 22:30; Josh. 5:15; 8:31; Judg. 16:26, 29; 1 Kgdms. 9:6; 3 Kgdms. 7:34; 4 Kgdms. 7:2, 17; 2 Chr. 1:11; 7:14; Esth. 6:8; Amos 4:7; 9:12; Isa. 30:32; Ezek. 9:6; 23:9; 37:20; Dan. 9:18. On reconstructing ἐπί (epi, “upon”) with עַל (‘al, “upon”), see Widow’s Son in Nain, Comment to L11.
  • [109] In the Tosefta we read:

    אם היה שרץ בידו של אחד אפי′ טובל בשילוח ובכל מימי בראשית אינו טהור לעולם השליך שרץ מידו עלתה לו טבילה בארבעים סאה

    If there was in someone’s hand a creeping thing [that imparts impurity—DNB and JNT], then even if he immerses in Siloam and in all the waters of creation, he will never be pure. But if he throws away the creeping thing, immersion in forty seahs [of collected water in a mikveh] suffices for him. (t. Taan. 1:8; Vienna MS)

    Another rabbinic tradition attributes miraculous powers to the waters of Siloam:

    כשהיו מרבים לאכול בשר הקדשים היו שותים את מי השילוח ומתעכל במיעיהן כדרך שהמזון מתעכל

    Whenever they [i.e., the priests in the Temple—DNB and JNT] ate too much meat of the holy offerings they would drink water of Siloam and it would be digested in their internal organs the way food is generally digested. (Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version A, chpt. 35 [ed. Schechter, 105])

    Miraculous happenings are also associated with the waters of Siloam in the Lives of the Prophets (Isaiah §2, 4), which is of disputed date and origin. Satran has argued that the Lives of the Prophets should be regarded as a Christian composition of the Byzantine period. See David Satran, “Biblical Prophets and Christian Legend: The Lives of the Prophets Reconsidered,” in Messiah and Christos: Studies in the Jewish Origins of Christianity Presented to David Flusser on the Occasion of His 75th Birthday (ed. Ithamar Gruenwald, Shaul Shaked, and Gedaliahu G. Stroumsa; Tübingen: Mohr [Siebeck], 1992), 143-149; idem, Biblical Prophets in Byzantine Palestine: Reassessing the Lives of the Prophets (Leiden: Brill, 1995).
    According to another rabbinic tradition, the waters of Siloam dried up during a period of war:

    כל מימי בראשית כזבו בשעת פולמוס שילוח היתה נמלה מהלכת בו

    All the waters of creation disappointed in time of war. Siloam: an ant was walking in it. (t. Par. 9:2 [ed. Zuckermandel, 637])

    The “time of war” referred to in the above tradition is probably the war against Rome, which resulted in the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E., since Josephus mentions the failure of Siloam’s waters during the Roman siege of Jerusalem (J.W. 5:409-410). On this agreement between Josephus and rabbinic tradition, see Shaye J. D. Cohen, “Parallel Historical Tradition in Josephus and Rabbinic Literature,” in Proceedings of the Ninth World Congress of Jewish Studies: Division B Volume 1 (Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies, 1986), 7-14, esp. 13-14. Since the tradition reported in t. Par. 9:2 appears in the context of a discussion about springs, this tradition, too, likely reflects knowledge that the pool of Siloam was spring-fed.

  • [110] Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron, “The Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem of the Late Second Temple Period and Its Surroundings,” in Unearthing Jerusalem: 150 Years of Archaeological Research in the Holy City (ed. Katharina Galor and Gideon Avni; Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2011), 241-255, esp. 248.
  • [111] On the discovery of the Siloam pool, see Ronny Reich, “The Recently Discovered Pool of Siloam”; Reich and Shukron, “The Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem of the Late Second Temple Period and Its Surroundings,” 241-255.
  • [112] See Marshall, 554; Fitzmyer, 2:1008; Bovon, 2:269.
  • [113] See Raymond Weill, La cité de David : compte rendu des fouilles exécutées, à Jérusalem, sur le site de la ville primitive, campagne de 1913-1914 (Paris: Geuthner, 1920), 116-118.
    Dalman (Sacred Sites and Ways, 312) disputed Weill’s identification on the grounds that a structure known as “The Tower of Siloam” must have been a defensive tower adjacent to the pool of Siloam. However, we have already discussed the problems with supposing that the tower Jesus referred to in Luke 13:4 was part of Jerusalem’s fortifications. In addition, Dalman was incorrect that the structure was known as “The Tower of Siloam.” The impression given by Luke 13:4 is that the tower was an otherwise unremarkable structure, which is why it had to be specified as the tower in Siloam that fell and killed eighteen people.
    Finegan cited the round tower Weill discovered as a plausible candidate for the tower in Siloam mentioned in Luke 13:4. See Jack Finegan, The Archeology of the New Testament: The Life of Jesus and the Beginning of the Early Church (rev. ed.; Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), 191.
  • [114] See Donald T. Ariel and Yeshayahu Lender, “Area B: Stratigraphic Report,” in Excavations at the City of David 1978-1985 Directed by Yigal Shiloh, Volume V Extramural Areas, in Qedem 40 (2000): 1-32, esp. 20. Boaz Zissu, “This Place Is for the Birds,” Biblical Archaeology Review 35.3 (2009): 30-37, 66-67.
  • [115] On columbaria in the land of Israel during the Second Temple period, see Boaz Zissu, “Two Herodian dovecotes: Horvat Abu Haf and Horvat ‘Aleq,” in The Roman and Byzantine Near East: Some Recent Archaeological Research (ed. J. H. Humphrey; Ann Arbor, Mich.: Cushing Malloy, 1995), 56-69.
  • [116] See Edersheim, 2:222; Plummer, Luke, 339; Creed, 180; Manson, Sayings, 274; Marshall, 554; Lachs, 297; Bovon, 2:269 n. 44. See also Günther Bornkamm, Jesus of Nazareth (trans. Irene and Faser McLuskey with James M. Robinson; London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1960), 87.
  • [117] On the water-drawing ceremony at the Siloam pool, see m. Suk. 4:9-10; Shmuel Safrai, “The Temple” (Safrai-Stern, 2:865-907, esp. 895). Schwartz notes that the water-drawing ceremony is not mentioned in sources from the Second Temple period. See Joshua Schwartz, “Sacrifice without the Rabbis: Ritual and Sacrifice in the Second Temple Period according to Contemporary Sources,” in The Actuality of Sacrifice: Past and Present (ed. A. Houtman, M. Poorthius, J. Schwartz, and Y. Turner; Leiden: Brill, 2014), 123-149, esp. 143. But the silence regarding the water-drawing ceremony outside rabbinic literature may simply be an example of the incomplete picture of Temple rites that can be reconstructed from Second Temple sources.
  • [118] Reconstructing ἀποκτείνειν with הֵמִית is perfectly reasonable, as ἀποκτείνειν occurs in LXX as the translation of הֵמִית in Gen. 37:18; 38:7; 42:37; Exod. 1:16; 4:24; 16:3; 17:3; Lev. 20:4; Num. 16:13; 17:6; 35:19 (2xx), 21; Deut. 9:28; 13:10; 32:39; Josh. 11:17; 1 Kgdms. 15:3; 1 Chr. 2:3; 10:14; 19:18; 2 Chr. 22:9, 11; 25:4; Ps. 104[105]:29; Prov. 21:25; Hos. 2:5; 9:16; Jer. 33[26]:21; 45[38]:16; Ezek. 13:19.
  • [119] On reconstructing ἀποκτείνειν with הָרַג, see Yohanan the Immerser’s Execution, Comment to L25.
  • [120] See H. F. Fuhs, “הָרַג hāragh; הֶרֶג heregh; הֲרֵגָה harēghāh,” in Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament (15 vols.; ed. G. Johannes Botterweck et al.; trans. John T. Willis et al.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974-2006), 3:447-457, esp. 450.
  • [121] See Hammer, 205 §183.
  • [122] See Bovon, 2:269.
  • [123] See also David N. Bivin, “Hebraisms in the New Testament.”
  • [124] Cf. Marshall, 554.
  • [125] The phrase οἱ κατοικοῦντες Ιερουσαλημ occurs as the translation of ישְׁבֵי יְרוּשָׁלִַם in 2 Chr. 20:15, 18; 32:26; 34:30, 32; Zeph. 1:4; Zech. 12:5; Jer. 4:4; 8:1; 11:2, 9, 12; 13:13; 17:25; 18:11; 19:3; 25:2; 39[32]:32; 42[35]:13, 17; 43[36]:31; 49[42]:18; Ezek. 11:15; 12:19; 15:6. The plural τῶν κατοικούντων Ιερουσαλημ (tōn katoikountōn Ierousalēm, “of the inhabitants of Jerusalem”) occurs as the translation of the singular ישֵׁב יְרוּשָׁלִַם (yoshēv yerūshālaim, “inhabitant of Jerusalem”) in Zech. 12:7, 8. In Zech. 12:10 the plural καὶ ἐπὶ τοὺς κατοικοῦντας Ιερουσαλημ (kai epi tous katoikountas Ierousalēm, “and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem”) occurs as the translation of the singular וְעַל יוֹשֵׁב יְרוּשָׁלִַם (ve‘al yōshēv yerūshālaim, “and upon the inhabitant of Jerusalem”).
  • [126] On the supposed Septuagintizing efforts of the author of Luke, see H. F. D. Sparks, “The Semitisms in St. Luke’s Gospel,” Journal of Theological Studies 44 (1943): 129-138; Fitzmyer, 1:114-125.
  • [127] See Hatch-Redpath, 2:751-755.
  • [128] See Dos Santos, 87.
  • [129] Moreover, the final instance of ὡσαύτως in Luke occurs in a verse (Luke 22:20) that may be a scribal addition to the original text. On doubts regarding the authenticity of Luke 22:19b-20, see David Flusser, “The Last Supper and the Essenes” (Flusser, JOC, 202-206); R. Steven Notley, “The Eschatological Thinking of the Dead Sea Sect and the Order of Blessings in the Christian Eucharist” (JS1, 121-138, esp. 123-126).
  • [130] Cf. Lindsey’s comments in LHNS, 129 §162; LHNC, 1031.
  • [131]
    Calamities in Yerushalayim
    Luke’s Version Anthology’s Wording (Reconstructed)
    παρῆσαν δέ τινες ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ καιρῷ ἀπαγγέλλοντες αὐτῷ περὶ τῶν Γαλειλαίων ὧν τὸ αἷμα Πειλᾶτος ἔμιξεν μετὰ τῶν θυσιῶν αὐτῶν καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς δοκεῖτε ὅτι οἱ Γαλειλαῖοι οὗτοι ἁμαρτωλοὶ παρὰ πάντας τοὺς Γαλειλαίους ἐγένοντο ὅτι ταῦτα πεπόνθασιν οὐχί λέγω ὑμῖν ἀλλ᾿ ἐὰν μὴ μετανοῆτε πάντες ὁμοίως ἀπολεῖσθε ἢ ἐκεῖνοι οἱ δεκαοκτὼ ἐφ᾿ οὓς ἔπεσεν ὁ πύργος ἐν τῷ Σιλωὰμ καὶ ἀπέκτεινεν αὐτούς δοκεῖτε ὅτι αὐτοὶ ὀφειλέται ἐγένοντο παρὰ πάντας τοὺς ἀνθρώπους τοὺς κατοικοῦντας Ἰερουσαλήμ οὐχί λέγω ὑμῖν ἀλλ᾿ ἐὰν μὴ μετανοῆτε πάντες ὡσαύτως ἀπολεῖσθε ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ καιρῷ ἀπήγγειλαν αὐτῷ περὶ τῶν Γαλειλαίων ὧν τὸ αἷμα Πειλᾶτος ἔμιξεν μετὰ τῶν θυσιῶν αὐτῶν καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς δοκεῖτε ὅτι οἱ Γαλειλαῖοι οὗτοι ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἐγένοντο παρὰ πάντας τοὺς Γαλειλαίους οὐχί λέγω ὑμῖν ἀλλ᾿ ἐὰν μὴ μετανοῆτε πάντες ὡσαύτως ἀπολεῖσθε ἢ ἐκεῖνοι οἱ δεκαοκτὼ ἐφ᾿ οὓς ἔπεσεν ὁ πύργος ἐν τῷ Σιλωὰμ καὶ ἀπέκτεινεν αὐτούς δοκεῖτε ὅτι αὐτοὶ ὀφειλέται ἐγένοντο παρὰ πάντας τοὺς κατοικοῦντας Ἰερουσαλήμ οὐχί λέγω ὑμῖν ἀλλ᾿ ἐὰν μὴ μετανοῆτε πάντες ὡσαύτως ἀπολεῖσθε
    Total Words: 86 Total Words: 80
    Total Words Identical to Anth.: 77 Total Words Taken Over in Luke: 77
    Percentage Identical to Anth.: 89.53% Percentage of Anth. Represented in Luke: 96.25%

  • [132] Eisler, relying on the Slavonic version of Josephus’ Jewish War, maintained that Josephus did report the massacre of the Galileans. According to Eisler, the story recorded in Luke 13:1-5 was displaced from its proper chronological sequence (504-505). Originally, in Eisler’s view, the report about the massacred Galileans came to Jesus following the Temple-cleansing episode. Eisler believed that certain militant Jewish nationalists took the opportunity of Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem to stage an insurrection: “…the Galileans…broke into the city from the Mount of Olives, [and] occupied the temple while the Barjonîm of Jerusalem, who had made common cause with them, surprised the guards and seized the tower of Siloam, so that Pilate in his counter-attack had to reconquer both places” (507-508). Jesus, who “must have watched with dismay the excesses to which the unchained passions of his own followers carried them” (506), “asks the messengers whether they believe that their killed comrades were worse sinners than all the other Galilaeans who had taken part in the revolt, and at once answers his own question in the negative” (505), “‘except ye repent (or desist) ye shall all in like manner perish’” (506). See Robert Eisler, The Messiah Jesus and John the Baptist According to Flavius Josephus’ Recently Rediscovered ‘Capture of Jerusalem’ and the Other Jewish and Christian Sources (trans. Alexander Haggerty Krappe; London: Methuen, 1931). The problems with Eisler’s reconstruction are manifold, beginning with his assumption that the Slavonic version of Josephus’ Jewish War is a reliable source for the history of the first century C.E. On Slavonic Josephus, see Steven Bowman, “Josephus in Byzantium,” in Josephus, Judaism, and Christianity (ed. Louis H. Feldman and Gohei Hata; Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1987), 362-385, esp. 372-374; Kate Leeming, “The Slavonic Version of Josephus’s Jewish War,” in A Companion to Josephus (ed. Honoria Howell Chapman and Zuleika Rodgers; Chichester: John Wiley, 2016), 390-401.
  • [133] Cf., e.g., Winter, On the Trial of Jesus, 75 n. 9; Hoehner, Herod Antipas, 175.
  • [134] Johnson (“A Note on Luke 13:1-5,” 91) believed the real perpetrator was Archelaus. Bultmann (54-55) thought the real victims were the Samaritans whom Pilate massacred on Mount Gerizim. Cf. Bundy, 365 §260.
  • [135] See Manson, Sayings, 273; Bailey, Eyes, 75.
  • [136] Stern, for example, accepted the report of Pilate’s massacre of the Galileans in Luke 13:1 as historical despite its lack of corroboration in the works of Josephus. See Menahem Stern, “The Political and Social History of Judea Under Roman Rule,” in A History of the Jewish People (ed. H. H. Ben-Sasson; trans. George Weidenfeld; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1976), 239-276, esp. 252.
  • [137] Such caution especially applies to the Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch by Hermann Strack and Paul Billerbeck and to the volumes of the Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament) edited by Gerhard Kittel, which, despite their anti-Semitic biases, remain standard reference works among New Testament scholars.
  • David N. Bivin

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

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