Days of the Son of Man

& LOY Commentary 12 Comments

In Jesus' saying, the Son of Man does not function as the agent of destruction, any more than Noah did in the time of the flood or Lot did in the last days of Sodom and Gomorrah.

(Matt. 24:37-39; Luke 17:26-30)

(Huck 184, 224; Aland 235, 296; Crook 285, 335)[1]

וּכְשֵׁם שֶׁהָיָה בִּימֵי נֹחַ כָּךְ יִהְיֶה בִּימֵי בַּר אֱנָשׁ הָיוּ אוֹכְלִים וְשׁוֹתִים נוֹשְׂאִים נָשִׁים וּמַשִּׂיאִים אֶת בְּנוֹתֵיהֶם עַד הַיּוֹם שֶׁנִּכְנַס נֹחַ לַתֵּבָה וּבָא הַמַּבּוּל וְאִבַּד אֶת כֻּלָם וּכְשֵׁם שֶׁהָיָה בִּימֵי לוֹט הָיוּ אוֹכְלִים וְשׁוֹתִים לוֹקְחִים וּמוֹכְרִים נוֹטְעִים וּבוֹנִים עַד הַיּוֹם שֶׁיָּצָא לוֹט מִסְּדוֹם וְהִמְטִיר אֵשׁ וְגָפְרִית מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאִבַּד אֶת כֻּלָם כָּךְ יִהְיֶה בִּימֵי בַּר אֱנָשׁ

“The way it happened in the days of Noah will be how it happens in the days of the Son of Man: they carried on eating and drinking, contracting and arranging marriages until the day Noah embarked on the ark and the flood came and killed them all.

“And the way it happened in the days of Lot—when they carried on eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building until the day Lot departed from Sodom and God rained down fire and sulfur from the sky and killed them all—that’s how it will happen in the days of the Son of Man.[2]

A reproduction of our reconstruction in an ancient Hebrew script. Font, based on the Isaiah Scroll from Qumran (1QIsaa), created by Kris Udd.

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Reconstruction

To view the reconstructed text of Days of the Son of Man click on the link below:

Download (PDF, 178KB)

In addition to the reconstruction provided above, we note that Flusser provided a retroversion of Days of the Son of Man, which reads as follows:

וכאשר היה בימי[3] נוח כן יהיה בימי בן האדם הם אכלו ושתו נשאו נשים עד היום אשר נכנס נוח לתיבה ובא המבול ושִׁחת את כלם… כן יהיה ביום בו יתגלה בן האדם

And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man. They ate and drank and married wives until the day that Noah entered the ark and the flood came and wiped out everyone…. So it will be on the day in which the Son of Man is revealed.[4]

Conjectured Stages of Transmission

The pericope we have entitled Days of the Son of Man appears in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke (Matt. 24:37-39 ∥ Luke 17:26-30), but not in the Gospel of Mark. It is thus a Double Tradition (DT) pericope. The low level of verbal identity between the Lukan and Matthean versions of Days of the Son of Man characterizes it as a Type 2 DT pericope,[5] a classification that often indicates that the Lukan version was copied from the First Reconstruction (FR). Nevertheless, we believe it is more likely that the author of Luke copied Days of the Son of Man from the Anthology (Anth.) rather than FR. Our reasons for positing Luke’s reliance upon Anth. for Days of the Son of Man include the great ease with which Luke’s version of the pericope reverts to Hebrew and the fact that Days of the Son of Man belongs to a large block of thematically related material. Such thematically related blocks in Luke are typically derived from Anth., as was the case with the block of John the Baptist material in Luke 7:18-35,[6] the missions material in Luke 10:1-24,[7] and the prayer material in Luke 11:1-13.[8] The verbal disparity between the Lukan and Matthean versions of Days of the Son of Man appears to be the result of Matthean—and to a lesser extent Lukan—redactional activity.

As is the case with all DT pericopae, the author of Matthew relied upon Anth. for his version of Days of the Son of Man.

“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 Complaining

Story Placement

In Luke’s Gospel, Days of the Son of Man belongs to a collection of sayings in which the Son of Man motif is the unifying topic. These pericopae include The Kingdom Is Among You (Luke 17:20-21), Like Lightning (Luke 17:22-24[25]), Days of the Son of Man (Luke 17:26-30), Lesson of Lot’s Wife (Luke 17:31-32), Preserving and Destroying (Luke 17:33), Indiscriminate Catastrophe (Luke 17:34-35), Carrion Birds (Luke 17:37) and Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1-8).

The author of Luke’s expansion of Anth.’s Son of Man block.

This collection of sayings received its present form only at the Lukan stage of transmission, since the author of Luke was certainly responsible for including the Persistent Widow parable in this collection[9] and, indeed, for injecting the Son of Man motif into the application of the Persistent Widow parable.[10] More difficult to ascertain is whether The Kingdom Is Among You was already associated with the collection of Son of Man sayings in Luke’s source or whether the author of Luke is responsible for its current position (or even, perhaps, for its composition).[11] In any case, prior to the author of Luke’s attachment of materials to the end (and perhaps also to the beginning) of this collection of Son of Man sayings, the nucleus of the collection—consisting of Like Lightning, Days of the Son of Man, Lesson of Lot’s Wife, Preserving and Destroying, Indiscriminate Catastrophe and Carrion Birds—had already coalesced in Luke’s source, namely Anth.

How do we know that the block of Son of Man material in Luke 17 is pre-Lukan? We learn this by comparing the distribution of the Matthean versions of these pericopae within the Gospel of Matthew. In the first place, it is important to note that apart from Like Lightning, Preserving and Destroying and Indiscriminate Catastrophe, which have parallels in Mark, the remaining pericopae in Luke’s Son of Man collection belong to the Double Tradition. It is therefore significant that the author of Matthew reproduced all of these DT Son of Man pericopae in relatively close proximity to one another within his version of Jesus’ eschatological discourse (Matt. 24). Even more tellingly, the author of Matthew reproduced nearly all of these DT Son of Man pericopae in the same general sequence as in Luke. Of these DT Son of Man pericopae only Carrion Birds appears in Matthew out of the Lukan sequence. That the authors of Matthew and Luke were able to independently arrange these DT Son of Man pericopae in such close proximity to one another and (for the most part) in the same order is strong evidence that both authors found these Son of Man pericopae already united in their shared non-Markan source.[12]

The author of Matthew’s incorporation of Anth.’s Son of Man block into his eschatological discourse.

As we noted, the author of Matthew fully integrated Anth.’s block of Son of Man material into his version of Jesus’ eschatological discourse. The near complete absorption of these Son of Man pericopae into Jesus’ eschatological discourse is the end result of a process that began with the First Reconstructor’s blending of Jesus’ prophecy concerning the destruction of Jerusalem with sayings pertaining to the Son of Man.[13] The First Reconstructor’s intertwining of Son of Man material with Jesus’ prophecy of Jerusalem’s destruction is evinced in the doublet of Like Lightning (Luke 17:22-25) that appears in Luke’s version of Jesus’ eschatological discourse (Luke 21:8-9).

Mark’s additions to Luke’s prophecy of destruction and redemption.

It appears that the author of Mark recognized that Luke 21:8-9 was a doublet of Luke 17:22-25 and he therefore worked both forms of Like Lightning into his version of Jesus’ eschatological discourse (Mark 13:5-7 ∥ Luke 21:8-9; Mark 13:21-23 ∥ Luke 17:22-25). The author of Mark also incorporated some of the wording of Lesson of Lot’s Wife (Mark 13:15-16) into the instructions about fleeing Jerusalem. Mark’s inclusion of some of the pericopae from Anth.’s block of Son of Man material inspired the author of Matthew to fully integrate the remainder of the pericopae in this Son of Man block into his version of Jesus’ eschatological discourse. Those parts of Anth.’s Son of Man block the author of Mark had already incorporated the author of Matthew reproduced in their Markan order, while those the author of Mark had not incorporated the author of Matthew usually reproduced in their pre-synoptic order (the only exception being Carrion Birds), hence the agreement with Luke as to the general sequence of these pericopae.[14] The only pericope from the Son of Man block the author of Matthew did not reproduce in his version of Jesus’ eschatological discourse was Preserving and Destroying, versions of which the author of Matthew had already reproduced twice, once in his version of the Sending the Twelve discourse (Matt. 10:39) and once in a location derived from Mark (Matt. 16:25 ∥ Mark 8:35 ∥ Luke 9:24).

Matthew’s additions to Mark’s eschatological discourse.

Despite the conjoining of Like Lightning with Days of the Son of Man in Anth., it is unlikely that this fusion is original.[15] It is more likely that the Anthologizer brought these two pericopae together because of their common subject matter: the Son of Man. That Like Lightning and Days of the Son of Man were not originally joined can be seen from their differing foci: whereas Like Lightning anticipates the manner of the Son of Man’s future appearance, Days of the Son of Man describes a coming catastrophe that will take place “in the days of the Son of Man.” We are of the opinion that these two pericopae describe different time periods: Like Lightning pertains to the eschaton, while Days of the Son of Man refers to the historical period in which Jesus, in his capacity as the Son of Man, lived and functioned as a sign of doom to his generation.[16] Thus, the coming catastrophe that Jesus compared in Days of the Son of Man to the deluge in the days of Noah and the overthrow of Sodom in the days of Lot is not the final judgment but an apocalyptic portrayal of the inevitable clash between the Jewish people and the Roman Empire[17] which Jesus believed would happen within history in the near future.

It was the Anthologizer’s conjoining of Like Lightning with Days of the Son of Man that has given the impression to interpreters both ancient and modern that the Son of Man is himself the agent of destruction described in Days of the Son of Man. When the fusion of these two pericopae is seen to be secondary, it becomes apparent that, in Days of the Son of Man, the Son of Man does not function as the agent of the destruction, any more than Noah did in the time of the flood or Lot did in the last days of Sodom and Gomorrah. Rather, like Noah and Lot, the Son of Man is the central figure in whose time the destruction will take place.[18] Noah and Lot were not agents of destruction but witnesses. In the same manner, Jesus spoke of a cataclysmic catastrophe that would take place in the generation for whom he was a sign. He did not speak of a destruction that he himself would cause.

If this approach to Days of the Son of Man is correct, then Days of the Son of Man belongs with other pericopae in which Jesus forewarned his contemporaries of the peril their nationalist ideologies and militant actions posed to the entire Jewish people. We have assembled these pericopae into a reconstructed discourse entitled the “Choose Repentance or Destruction” complex.[19] For a complete overview of the “Choose Repentance or Destruction” complex, click here.

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

Crucial Issues

  1. When are (or were) “the days of the Son of Man”?
  2. What is the catastrophe Jesus compared to the great flood and the overthrow of Sodom?
  3. What is the point of the catalog of activities mentioned in “the days of Noah” and “the days of Lot” illustrations?

Comment

Illumination from the Bamberg Apocalypse. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

L1-6 We have included Day and Hour Unknown (Matt. 24:36 ∥ Mark 13:32) in the first six lines of the reconstruction document not because we believe that it is an integral part of Days of the Son of Man, but because the author of Matthew’s redaction of Days of the Son of Man was determined by his decision to transform Days of the Son of Man into an illustration of the point made in Day and Hour Unknown. According to Day and Hour Unknown, no one, not even the angels nor the Son, knows when the Son of Man will come to gather the elect from the four winds. Knowledge of the eschatological timetable is reserved for God alone. The author of Matthew inserted his version of Days of the Son of Man after Day and Hour Unknown to illustrate the ignorance that will precede the Son of Man’s coming. Just as the people in Noah’s time were unaware of their great peril, so will the people who witness the Son of Man’s coming be caught by surprise.

Day and Hour Unknown has no counterpart in Luke 21, and it is unlikely that the author of Mark found this saying in Anth. Rather, it appears that the author of Mark composed Day and Hour Unknown in order to explain away the unfulfilled prophecy recorded in Mark 13:30 that everything described in the eschatological discourse culminating with the coming of the Son of Man would take place before “this generation” passes away. This prediction had been added by the First Reconstructor to Jesus’ prophesy of the Temple’s destruction and Jerusalem’s eventual redemption[20] and accepted by the author of Luke (Luke 21:32), who did not regard the prediction as problematic because the author of Luke wrote prior to the destruction of the Temple when the prediction was still credible.[21] On the other hand, the author of Mark, writing after the destruction of the Temple,[22] knew that the Son of Man had not arrived within the time frame indicated in Luke 21:32 ∥ Mark 13:30. His solution was to compose Day and Hour Unknown (Mark 13:32) as a “disclaimer” in which Jesus stated that neither he nor anyone else knew when God would bring the course of human history to an end. In this way the erroneous prediction attributed to Jesus did not undermine Jesus’ credentials as a prognosticator, it only underscored the validity of the claim that the day and the hour when the Son of Man will appear are known only to God.

That Day and Hour Unknown has Jesus refer to God as “the Father” and to himself as “the Son” strengthens our supposition that this saying is a Markan composition. While Jesus was accustomed to referring to God as “my Father,” “your Father” and “our Father”—usually with the further qualifier “in heaven”—the absolute titles “the Father” and “the Son” are more likely to reflect the jargon of the early church than the speech patterns of Jesus.[23] In Luke 9:26 we find one such example of the absolute use of “the Father.” This verse belongs to a “string of pearls” characteristic of the First Reconstructor’s editorial style.[24] A trio consisting of “the Son of Man,” “the Father” and “the holy angels” appears in Luke 9:26.[25] This verse, which was picked up in Mark 8:38, may have been the inspiration for Mark’s trio of “the Father,” “the Son” and “the angels” in Day and Hour Unknown (Mark 13:32). That Luke 9:26 would be in the author of Mark’s mind while composing Day and Hour Unknown is unsurprising given the relationship between Luke 9:27 and Luke 21:32, two variants of the erroneous prediction the author of Mark was attempting to resolve.

Day and Hour Unknown bears some resemblance to the opening scene in Acts,[26] where Jesus tells the disciples:

οὐχ ὑμῶν ἐστιν γνῶναι χρόνους ἢ καιροὺς οὓς ὁ πατὴρ ἔθετο ἐν τῇ ἰδίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ

It is not yours to know[27] times or seasons which the Father set in his own authority. (Acts 1:7)

This statement could have suggested to the author of Mark that knowledge of the hour of the Son of Man’s coming is reserved for God alone.[28] If so, then it is likely that Day and Hour Unknown is a Markan composition formulated on the basis of statements he read in Luke and Acts.[29]

The Days of Noah

Twelfth-century mosaic depiction of Noah’s ark in the Armenian Chapel of St. Helena in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Photograph by Joshua N. Tilton.

L7 καὶ καθὼς ἐγένετο (GR). Deciding whether to adopt Matthew’s ὥσπερ (hōsper, “as”) or Luke’s καθώς (kathōs, “just as”) for GR is difficult because both adverbs certainly occurred in Anth. Happily, the decision is relatively inconsequential, since whatever our choice the Hebrew reconstruction would remain the same. Tipping the balance in favor of Luke’s wording is our supposition that Days of the Son of Man originally followed Sign-Seeking Generation. Since Sign-Seeking Generation concluded with a καθὼς ἐγένετο comparison (καθὼς γὰρ ἐγένετο Ἰωνᾶς [“For just as Jonah was…”]), it is natural that Days of the Son of Man should open with a similarly formulated comparison (καὶ καθὼς ἐγένετο ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Νῶε [“And just as it was in the days of Noah…”]).

In Sign-Seeking Generation, Comment to L37, we concluded that ὥσπερ γὰρ ἦν (“For as it was”) in Matt. 12:40 was the author of Matthew’s replacement for Anth.’s καθὼς γὰρ ἐγένετο (“For just as it was”). The author of Matthew’s decision to change καὶ καθὼς ἐγένετο to ὥσπερ γάρ in Days of the Son of Man (L7) may have been informed by Anth.’s use of ὥσπερ in Like Lightning (Matt. 24:27 ∥ Luke 17:24).[30]

וּכְשֵׁם שֶׁהָיָה (HR). On reconstructing καθώς (kathōs, “just as”) with -כְּשֵׁם שֶׁ (keshēm she-, “just as”), see Sign-Seeking Generation, Comment to L37.

The way the comparisons are formulated, as well as the use of biblical figures as the basis of the comparisons, are features that Sign-Seeking Generation and Days of the Son of Man have in common.

L8 ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Νῶε (GR). Matthew’s comparison of the coming of the Son of Man to the days of Noah is unbalanced (How is “coming” similar to “days”?), whereas the comparison of what will take place “in the days of the Son of Man” to what happened “in the days of Noah” is logical. Although it might be possible to construe Luke’s balanced comparison as a literary improvement,[31] it is more probable that the unbalanced comparison is evidence of the author of Matthew’s secondary use of Days of the Son of Man to illustrate Day and Hour Unknown. Moreover, the author of Matthew seems to betray his knowledge that his source read “in the days of Noah” when he wrote ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις (“in those days”) in Matt. 24:38 (L13).[32] We have therefore accepted Luke’s wording in L8 for GR.

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

Although Luke’s Greek would be even more Hebraic if he had omitted the definite article before ἡμέραις (hēmerais, “days”),[33] there are plenty of examples in LXX where ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις + proper noun occurs as the translation of בִּימֵי + proper noun.[34] There is no need, therefore, to omit the definite article from GR.

Νῶε (Nōe, “Noah”) is the form the LXX translators used to render the name נֹחַ (noaḥ, “Noah”).[35] Philo[36] and Josephus (Ant. 1:129) used this form as well, although Josephus preferred the Hellenized form Νῶχος (Nōchos, “Noah”),[37] which sounded better to Greek ears, as Josephus himself explained (Ant. 1:129).

L9 οὕτως ἔσται (GR). Since the authors of Luke and Matthew agreed to write οὕτως ἔσται (houtōs estai, “so it will be”) in L9, it is practically certain that this was the wording of Anth.

כָּךְ יִהְיֶה (HR). On reconstructing οὕτως (houtōs, “so”) with כָּךְ (kāch, “so”), see Lost Sheep and Lost Coin, Comment to L35.

On καθώς…οὕτως (kathōs…houtōs, “just as…so”) as the equivalent of כְּשֵׁם שֶׁ-…כָּךְ (keshēm she-…kāch, “just as…so”), see Sign-Seeking Generation, Comment to L37.

L10 ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις (GR). Not only does Matthew’s ἡ παρουσία (hē parousia, “the coming”) in L10 make for an uneven comparison (see above, Comment to L8), but the noun παρουσία is unique among the synoptics to the Gospel of Matthew.[38] Both of these facts strongly suggest that Matthew’s wording in L10 is redactional.[39] Outside Matthew παρουσία occurs with reference to the coming of the Messiah in 1 Cor. 15:23 and with reference to the coming of Jesus in 1 Thess. 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thess. 2:1, 8; James 5:7, 8; 2 Pet. 1:16; 3:4; 1 John 2:28. Thus, it appears Matthew’s wording in L10 reflects early Christian usage rather than vocabulary that can be traced back to Anth.

The author of Matthew’s replacement of Anth.’s “in the days of the Son of Man” with “the coming of the Son of Man” transforms Jesus’ apocalyptic description of the impending military confrontation with Rome into an eschatological saying about the Son of Man’s coming in judgment. Luke’s wording in L10 reflects that of Anth., although the author of Luke is probably responsible for the insertion of the conjunction καί (kai, “and”).[40]

בִּימֵי (HR). On reconstructing ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις (en tais hēmerais, “in the days”) as בִּימֵי (bimē, “in [the] days of”), see above, Comment to L8.

L11 בַּר אֱנָשׁ (HR). Since in L11 the wording of the Lukan and Matthean versions of Days of the Son of Man is identical, GR requires no comment.

On reconstructing ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου (ho huios tou anthrōpou, “the son of the human”) with the Aramaic title בַּר אֱנָשׁ (bar ’enāsh, “son of man”), see Sign-Seeking Generation, Comment to L42-43.

Illumination by William de Brailes (ca. 1250) depicting those drowned in the Great Flood. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

L12-14 We concur with those scholars who attribute the words ὡς γὰρ ἦσαν ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις [ἐκείναις] ταῖς πρὸ τοῦ κατακλυσμοῦ (“for as they were in [those] days before the flood”; Matt. 24:38) to Matthean redaction.[41] As Catchpole noted, Matthew’s reference to the flood at the opening of the verse ruins the dramatic tension of the comparison.[42] On the other hand, Matthew’s premature reference to the flood highlights the ignorance of the people of Noah’s generation and thus serves Matthew’s editorial purpose of turning Days of the Son of Man into an illustration of Day and Hour Unknown.

Despite being an editorial insertion, much of the wording in L12-14 echoes Anth. We already noted in Comment to L8 that Matthew’s ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις (“in those days”; L13) echoes Anth.’s ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Νῶε (“in the days of Noah”; L8). Likewise, πρὸ τοῦ κατακλυσμοῦ (“before the flood”; L14) anticipates ἦλθεν ὁ κατακλυσμός (“the flood came”; L19-20). In addition, we suspect that the imperfect verb ἦσαν (ēsan, “they were being”) in L12 could reflect the wording of Anth. In Matt. 24:38 the author of Matthew used ἦσαν + participle constructions to express the habitual behavior of the people who lived before the flood. The parallel in Luke 17:27 expresses the same habitual behavior with imperfect verbs. Since Matthew’s ἦσαν + participle constructions are an exact grammatical parallel to Hebrew הָיָה + participle constructions for expressing habitual behavior, it is likely that Matthew’s grammar reflects the wording of Anth. Luke’s series of imperfect verbs is probably a Greek stylistic improvement introduced by the author of Luke.[43] We have accordingly adopted Matthew’s ἦσαν in L12 for GR.

L15 ἐσθίοντες καὶ πίνοντες (GR). As we noted in Comment to L12-14, Matthew’s participles that are preceded by ἦσαν exactly correspond to Hebrew הָיָה + participle constructions for expressing habitual behavior. Such constructions were especially common in MH. We have therefore adopted participial rather than imperfect forms (as in Luke) for GR. On the other hand, we suspect that the verb the author of Matthew used for “eating” in L15, τρώγειν (trōgein), is probably redactional.[44] Matthew’s verb does not occur elsewhere in the Synoptic Gospels, and it refers specifically to the eating of fruits and vegetables.[45] It is just possible that with his verbal selection the author of Matthew wished to allude to the tradition that held that humans did not eat the flesh of animals until after the flood (cf. Gen. 9:3).[46] Luke’s verb, ἐσθίειν (esthiein, “to eat”), occurs frequently in the Synoptic Gospels and probably reflects the vocabulary of Anth.

אוֹכְלִים וְשׁוֹתִים (HR). On reconstructing ἐσθίειν (esthiein, “to eat”) with אָכַל (’āchal, “eat”), see Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry, Comment to L5.

On reconstructing πινεῖν (pinein, “to drink”) with שָׁתָה (shātāh, “drink”), see Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry, Comment to L6.

L16 γαμοῦντες καὶ γαμίζοντες (GR). Once more we have preferred Matthew’s participles to Luke’s imperfects for GR.

Arranging Rebekah’s marriage to Isaac, as depicted in an illuminated 6th-cent. C.E. manuscript of Genesis (LXX) known as the Vienna Genesis. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

נוֹשְׂאִים נָשִׁים וּמַשִּׂיאִים אֶת בְּנוֹתֵיהֶם (HR). Some scholars have suggested that the verb pair γαμεῖν (gamein) / γαμίζειν (gamizein) should be understood in Luke 17:27 as referring to men (γαμεῖν) and women (γαμίζειν) engaging in sexual relations rather than to contracting and arranging marriages.[47] According to Wolter, the context of Days of the Son of Man requires this understanding, since only the former sense describes a daily activity comparable to eating and drinking.[48] It is not clear to us, however, that Days of the Son of Man intended to describe daily activities. It may be that the scene intended to describe life carrying on in its usual course. If the latter interpretation is correct, there is no reason why the reference cannot have been to contracting and arranging marriages. In any case, the possibility that γαμίζειν refers to women engaging in sexual relations only applies to Luke 17:27, where the imperfect verb does not specify gender. Matthew’s γαμίζοντες (gamizontes) is a masculine participle and so naturally refers to men giving away their daughters in marriage.

The verb γαμεῖν (gamein, “to have sexual relations,” “to marry”) is rare in LXX, occurring only 4xx (Esth. 10:6; 2 Macc. 14:25 [2xx]; 4 Macc. 16:9) and never with a Hebrew equivalent. The verb γαμίζειν (gamizein, “to give [a woman] in marriage”) does not occur at all in LXX. Thus, we cannot appeal to LXX precedent to justify our Hebrew reconstruction.

When we turn to Hebrew, there are several ways to express contracting to marry a woman and arranging for the marriage of one’s daughter. Among these are אַרֵס (’arēs, “betroth”), בָּעַל (bā‘al, “marry,” “master [sexually]”) and קִדֵּשׁ (qidēsh, “betroth”). The disadvantage to reconstructing with אַרֵס or קִדֵּשׁ is that the same verb is used for betrothing a woman to oneself and betrothing a woman in one’s care to someone else. The problem posed by בָּעַל is different. It is only used for taking possession of a wife, never for arranging a woman’s marriage to another man.

There is, however, a Hebrew verbal root that can be used to distinguish between marrying a woman and giving a woman in marriage, depending on the stem. That root is נ-שׂ-א, which when used in the qal stem means “marry” and when used in the hif‘il stem means “give in marriage.”[49] Unlike the Greek verbs γαμεῖν and γαμίζειν, which presuppose that the object is a woman, the Hebrew verbs we have discussed require the object “woman/daughter” to be specified, since none of these verbs is used solely in the context of relations with women. Consequently, we have attached נָשִׁים (nāshim, “women”) to the first participle in HR and אֶת בְּנוֹתֵיהֶם (’et benōtēhem, “their daughters”) to the second.

An example of נוֹשְׂאִים נָשִׁים (“marrying women”) occurs in the Mishnah:

אֵין נוֹשְׂאִים נָשִׁים בַּמּוֹעֵד

They do not marry women on a sacred day. (m. Moed Kat. 1:7; cf. m. Yev. 11:5)

An example close to our מַשִּׂיאִים אֶת בְּנוֹתֵיהֶם (“giving their daughters in marriage”) occurs in Genesis Rabbah:

זכה אדם לתורה זכה למצוה, ולא עוד אלא שמשיאין מבנותיהם לכהונה והיו בני בניהם ומקריבים עולות על גבי המזבח

A person [like you] [i.e., a proselyte—DNB and JNT] becomes worthy to [study] the Torah, and he [thereby] becomes worthy to [perform] the commandment[s], and not only that, but they marry some of their daughters [משיאין מבנותיהם] into the priesthood, and their grandsons present offerings on the altar. (Gen. Rab. 70:5 [ed. Theodor-Albeck, 2:802-803])[50]

A mosaic at the Adana Archaeological Museum in Turkey depicting Noah’s Ark with an inscription that reads κιβωτὸς Νῶε (kibōtos Nōe). The Greek noun κιβωτός, the term the LXX translators also used for Noah’s ark, typically means “box” or “chest.” Photographed by Klaus-Peter Simon. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

L17 עַד הַיּוֹם שֶׁנִּכְנַס נֹחַ (HR). Since there is complete Lukan-Matthean agreement as to the wording in L17, no comment is required for GR.

The preposition ἄχρι (achri, “until”) is extremely rare in LXX,[51] but the Lukan-Matthean agreement to use this term ensures that it occurred in Anth.[52] There is a single LXX instance wherein ἄχρι occurs as the translation of a Hebrew preposition, and there the Hebrew preposition is עַד (‘ad, “until”; Job 32:11). This is the preposition we have adopted for HR, since there is no viable alternative to עַד.

In LXX εἰσέρχεσθαι εἰς τὴν κιβωτόν (eiserchesthai eis tēn kibōton, “to enter into the ark”) occurs as the translation of בָּא אֶל הַתֵּבָה (bā’ ’el hatēvāh, “come into the ark”) several times in the Noah story (Gen. 6:18; 7:1, 7, 9, 13, 15). However, since we prefer to reconstruct direct speech in Mishnaic-style Hebrew, we have adopted the phrase נִכְנַס לַתֵּבָה (nichnas latēvāh, “enter the ark”) for HR. This phrase occurs in rabbinic sources, as we see in the following example:

אמר ר′ יוחנן אם נכנס נח לתיבה בלילה היו כל דורו אומרים לא היינו יודעים בו ואם היינו יודעים לא היינו מניחים אותו להיכנס

Rabbi Yohanan said, “If Noah had entered [נִכְנַס] the ark [לַתֵּיבָה] at night, his entire generation would have said, ‘We did not know about it, and if we had known, we would not have permitted him to enter.’” (Gen. Rab. 32:8 [ed. Theodor-Albeck, 1:249])

On reconstructing εἰσέρχεσθαι (eiserchesthai, “to enter”) with נִכְנַס (nichnas, “enter”), see Sending the Twelve: Conduct in Town, Comment to L100.

An early Christian depiction of Noah and the Ark from a Roman catacomb. Notice that the ark is depicted as a square box, reflecting the normal meaning of the Greek noun κιβωτός (kibōtos, “box,” “chest”), the term the LXX translators used for Noah’s ark. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

L18 לַתֵּבָה (HR). In LXX κιβωτός (kibōtos, “box,” “chest”) consistently occurs as the translation of תֵּבָה (tēvāh, “box,” “chest,” traditionally, “ark”) in the Noah narrative.[53] In the Hebrew Bible תֵּבָה is restricted to the story of Noah (Gen. 6-9) and the story of Moses among the bulrushes (Exod. 2).[54]

L19 καὶ ἦλθεν (GR). Once more the author of Matthew altered the wording of his source in order to emphasize the ignorance of the people who lived in the days of Noah, this time by inserting the words οὐκ ἔγνωσαν ἕως (ouk egnōsan heōs, “they did not know until”) between καί (kai, “and”) and ἦλθεν (ēlthen, “it came”).[55] Luke’s version preserves the wording of Anth.

וּבָא (HR). On reconstructing ἔρχεσθαι (erchesthai, “to come”) with בָּא (bā’, “come”), see Demands of Discipleship, Comment to L8.

L20 הַמַּבּוּל (HR). Since the authors of Luke and Matthew agreed to write ὁ κατακλυσμός (ho kataklūsmos, “the flood”) in L20, there is no need to comment on GR. In LXX nearly all instances of κατακλυσμός occur as the translation of מַבּוּל (mabūl, “flood”);[56] moreover, the LXX translators rendered every instance of מַבּוּל as κατακλυσμός.[57]

L21 καὶ ἀπώλεσεν πάντας (GR). It is difficult to decide whether Matthew’s καὶ ἦρεν ἅπαντας (kai ēren hapantas, “and it took everyone”) or Luke’s καὶ ἀπώλεσεν πάντας (kai apōlesen pantas, “and it destroyed everyone”) reflects the wording of Anth.[58] It is true that Luke’s version of Days of the Son of Man repeats the phrase καὶ ἀπώλεσεν πάντας in “the days of Lot” illustration (L31), but if καὶ ἀπώλεσεν πάντας was the author of Luke’s replacement for Anth.’s καὶ ἦρεν ἅπαντας in L21, καὶ ἀπώλεσεν πάντας could also be his replacement for καὶ ἦρεν ἅπαντας in L31. Both phrases revert to Hebrew with equal ease, so our decision must come down to whether Luke’s version or Matthew’s shows greater fidelity to Anth. Overall, we regard Luke’s version as the closest to Anth. The author of Matthew omitted “the days of Lot” illustration and adapted what remained of Days of the Son of Man to his redactional purpose of illustrating how the timing of the parousia is unknown. We have therefore accepted Luke’s wording in L21 for GR, but not without reservation.

Whether Matthew’s use of the verb αἴρειν (airein, “to lift,” “to take”) is original or, as we suppose, redactional, it has interesting implications for how the author of Matthew understood the taking along of one and the leaving behind of the other described in Indiscriminate Catastrophe. While the fate of the one who is taken along is often interpreted positively (i.e., the person who is taken is being gathered to the Son of Man from the four winds; cf. Matt. 24:31), the author of Matthew’s use of αἴρειν in L21 raises the possibility that he interpreted the fate of the one who is taken along negatively (i.e., the person who is taken along is swept away by the coming catastrophe, just as the victims in the days of Noah were swept away by the flood).

וְאִבַּד אֶת כֻּלָם (HR). Elsewhere we have reconstructed ἀπολλύειν (apollūein, “to destroy,” “to lose”) with אָבַד (’āvad, “lose,” “perish”);[59] here, where the required sense is “destroy” or “cause to perish,” we have reconstructed ἀπολλύειν with א-ב-ד in the pi‘el stem, which coveys this meaning.

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

In the first illustration Jesus compared the days of the Son of Man to the conditions in the days of Noah. In Noah’s time people carried on their normal lives, ignoring the signs (constructing the ark, filling it with provisions, loading it with animal and human passengers)[60] and warnings (Noah’s verbal testimony)[61] that catastrophe was about to overtake them. It is possible that Jesus drew on a tradition that identified Noah as a sign of doom to the generation of the flood.[62] In any case, it is likely that Jesus drew on traditions according to which Noah warned his generation of what was about to overtake them.

The construction of Noah’s Ark as depicted in a medieval Passover Haggadah. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The heedlessness of Noah’s generation was punished when the heavens opened, the springs burst forth and the flood engulfed them all. Jesus compared the obduracy of Noah’s generation to the resistance he encountered in his own. In Calamities in Yerushalayim, Woes on Three Villages and Generations That Repented Long Ago Jesus upbraided his generation as wicked and unrepentant. Their sin was not so much the breaking of the commandments as it was their preference for militant nationalist ideologies rather than the Kingdom of Heaven. In Sign-Seeking Generation Jesus declared that whereas his contemporaries sought for signs of political deliverance, the only sign they would receive was the Son of Man, who would be a sign of doom to his generation. In Days of the Son of Man, Jesus expressed his pessimism that being a sign of doom would make any difference. Just as the generation of the flood had ignored the portents of destruction in the days of Noah, so would Jesus’ generation continue to ignore his call to repentance.

Noah was not the cause of the flood, and neither should we assume that Jesus intended his audience to understand that the Son of Man would be the cause of the destruction Jesus foretold. Rather, the coming destruction of which Jesus spoke would take place in the days of the Son of Man, just as the flood had taken place in the days of Noah. “The days of the Son of Man” should thus be identified as the period during which Jesus served as a portent of destruction to his generation.

The Days of Lot

Lot and His Daughters by Albrecht Dürer (mid- to late 1490s). Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

L22-30 Although some scholars are inclined to view “the days of Lot” example as a Lukan composition based on the prior example of “the days of Noah,”[63] we concur with those scholars who suppose that it was rather the author of Matthew who omitted “the days of Lot.”[64] Kloppenborg pointed out that the author of Matthew was forced to introduce significant changes to “the days of Noah” illustration in order to make it serve his purpose of reinforcing the message of Day and Hour Unknown. To retrofit “the days of Lot” illustration to serve the same purpose would have been laborious without much payoff.[65]

Not only did the author of Matthew have good reason for omitting “the days of Lot” illustration, but “the days of Lot” illustration itself bears the marks of authenticity: the illustration reverts easily to Hebrew (see below), the pairing of the days of Noah with the days of Lot is well documented in ancient Jewish sources,[66] and it was typical of Jesus’ teaching style to give scriptural examples in pairs (e.g., the widow in Zarephath ∥ Naaman [Luke 4:25-27]; the Queen of the South ∥ the people of Nineveh [Matt. 12:41-42 ∥ Luke 11:31-32]; Tyre and Sidon ∥ Sodom [Matt. 11:20-24]).

L22 καὶ καθὼς ἐγένετο (GR). We suspect that the author of Luke is responsible for adding the adverb ὁμοίως (homoiōs, “likewise”) to the opening of “the days of Lot” illustration,[67] since it is hard to imagine what ὁμοίως could have been reflecting in an underlying Hebrew text.[68] It is probable that just like in L7 at the opening of “the days of Noah” illustration, so in L22 at the opening of “the days of Lot” illustration Anth. read καὶ καθὼς ἐγένετο (kai kathōs egeneto, “and just as it was”).

וּכְשֵׁם שֶׁהָיָה (HR). On reconstructing καθώς (kathōs, “just as”) with -כְּשֵׁם שֶׁ (keshēm she-, “just as”), see above, Comment to L7.

L23 בִּימֵי לוֹט (HR). On reconstructing ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις + proper noun with בִּימֵי + proper noun, see above, Comment to L8.

Λώτ (Lōt, “Lot”) is the form the LXX translators used to render the name לוֹט (lōṭ, “Lot”),[69] and Λώτ is also the form used in the writings of Philo,[70] whose works were mostly commentary on LXX. Josephus, writing for a Gentile audience, preferred the Hellenized form Λῶτος (Lōtos).[71]

L24-26 ἦσαν ἐσθίοντες καὶ πίνοντες ἀγοράζοντες καὶ πωλοῦντες φυτεύοντες καὶ οἰκοδομοῦντες (GR). Just as we suspect that the author of Luke changed ἦσαν + participles into a series of imperfect verbs in L15-16 of “the days of Noah” illustration, so also we suspect he did so in L24-26 of “the days of Lot” illustration. We have therefore added ἦσαν to L24 and changed Luke’s imperfect verbs to participles in L24, L25 and L26. We have also supplied καί (“and”) between the pairs of activities, just as καί appears between the pairs of activities in L15 and L16.

It is not clear why “the days of Lot” illustration has three pairs of activities whereas “the days of Noah” illustration has only two, nor why one of the pairs (“eating and drinking”) occurs in both illustrations. Perhaps the marrying and giving in marriage in “the days of Noah” illustration allude to the legendary accounts of the angelic “watchers” who took human women as their mistresses, while the economic activities in “the days of Lot” illustration allude to the legendary prosperity and stinginess of the people of Sodom. But this explanation, which does not account for the “eating and drinking” in both illustrations, remains speculative.

הָיוּ אוֹכְלִים וְשׁוֹתִים (HR). On reconstructing ἐσθίειν (esthiein, “to eat”) with אָכַל (’āchal, “eat”) and πινεῖν (pinein, “to drink”) with שָׁתָה (shātāh, “drink”), see above, Comment to L15.

L25 לוֹקְחִים וּמוֹכְרִים (HR). On reconstructing ἀγοράζειν (agorazein, “to buy”) with לָקַח (lāqaḥ, “buy”), see Hidden Treasure and Priceless Pearl, Comment to L8.

On reconstructing πωλεῖν (pōlein, “to sell”) with מָכַר (māchar, “sell”), see Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven, Comment to L46.

L26 נוֹטְעִים וּבוֹנִים (HR). Most instances of φυτεύειν (fūtevein, “to plant”) in LXX occur as the translation of נָטַע (nāṭa‘, “plant”).[72] We also find that the LXX translators rendered the great majority of instances of נָטַע with φυτεύειν.[73] In Mishnaic Hebrew נָטַע continued to be used for planting (cf., e.g., m. Kil. 1:8; 3:4; m. Orl. 1:9), so there is nothing to hinder us from adopting נָטַע for HR.

On reconstructing οἰκοδομεῖν (oikodomein, “to build”) with בָּנָה (bānāh, “build”), see Tower Builder and King Going to War, Comment to L2.

Planting and building are paired in the following example:

אֵלּוּ שֶׁאֵינָן זָזִים מִמְּקוֹמָן בָּנָה בַיִת וְחִינְּכוֹ נָטַע כֶּרֶם וְחִילְּלוֹ וְהַנּוֹשֵׂא אֶת אֲרוּסָתוֹ וְהַכּוֹנֵס אֶת יְבִמְתּוֹ

These are they who do not move from their place [at a time of war (cf. Deut. 24:5)—DNB and JNT]: he [that] built [בָּנָה] a house and dedicated it, he [that] planted [נָטַע] a vineyard and redeemed it, and the one who married his betrothed or who consummated his levirite marriage. (m. Sot. 8:4)

L27 ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας ἐξῆλθεν Λὼτ (GR). We suspect that Luke’s ᾗ δὲ ἡμέρᾳ (hē de hēmera, “but in which day”) is a substitution for Anth.’s ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας (achri hēs hēmeras, “until which day”), a phrase that also occurred in Anth. in “the days of Noah” illustration (L17). The author of Luke’s use of ᾗ δὲ ἡμέρᾳ in Luke 17:29 prepared the way for him to write ᾗ ἡμέρᾳ (“in which day”) in Luke 17:30 (see below, Comment to L33-35). By making these changes to the wording of Anth., the author of Luke subtly shifted the point of comparison from “the days of Lot” (L23), when people were unaware of their predicament, to the “day in which Lot went out from Sodom” (L27-28), when calamity struck. This shift in focus reflects the author of Luke’s impression—given to him by Anth.’s placement of Days of the Son of Man following Like Lightning (see the Story Placement discussion above)—that Days of the Son of Man was about the eschatological appearance of the Son of Man rather than about the conditions that would prevail in the days when Jesus, as the Son of Man, would be a sign of doom to his generation.

עַד הַיּוֹם שֶׁיָּצָא לוֹט (HR). On reconstructing ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας (achri hēs hēmeras, “until which day”) as -עַד הַיּוֹם שֶׁ (‘ad hayōm she-, “until the day which”), see above, Comment to L17.

On reconstructing ἐξέρχεσθαι (exerchesthai, “to go out”) with יָצָא (yātzā’, “go out”), see Sending the Twelve: Conduct in Town, Comment to L98.

On reconstructing Λώτ (Lōt, “Lot”) with לוֹט (lōṭ, “Lot”), see above, Comment to L23.

L28 מִסְּדוֹם (HR). On reconstructing Σόδομα (Sodoma, “Sodom”) with סְדוֹם (sedōm, “Sodom”), see Sending the Twelve: Conduct in Town, Comment to L118.

The combination סְדוֹם + מִן happens not to occur in MT or DSS. We do encounter the phrase, however, in rabbinic sources. For instance:

אָמַר לוֹ…אִלּוּלֵי אַבְרָהָם אֲבִיהֶם…לֹא פָּלַט לוֹט מִסְּדוֹם, וְאַתָּה מִבְּנֵי בָּנָיו שֶׁל לוֹט

He [i.e., Balaam—DNB and JNT] said to him [i.e., Balak—DNB and JNT], “…Were it not for Abraham their father…Lot would not have escaped from Sodom [מִסְּדוֹם], and you are descended from the children of Lot!” (Num. Rab. 20:19 [ed. Merkin, 10:263])

Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by Henry Ossawa Tanner (1929-1930). Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

L29-30 καὶ ἔβρεξεν πῦρ καὶ θεῖον ἀπ᾿ οὐρανοῦ (GR). In L29 the author of Luke replicated the wording of Anth. with the possible exception of Luke’s omission of the conjunction καί (kai, “and”) before the verb, which we would have expected in a source translated from Hebrew and which we have therefore included in GR.

The description of fire and sulfur raining down from heaven in L29 alludes to, but is not identical with, Genesis’ description of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, which reads:

וַיי הִמְטִיר עַל סְדֹם וְעַל עֲמֹרָה גָּפְרִית וָאֵשׁ מֵאֵת יי מִן הַשָּׁמָיִם

And the LORD caused to rain down upon Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the LORD from the heavens. (Gen. 19:24)

καὶ κύριος ἔβρεξεν ἐπὶ Σοδομα καὶ Γομορρα θεῖον καὶ πῦρ παρὰ κυρίου ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ

And the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord from the heaven. (Gen. 19:24)

The differences between Gen. 19:24 and “the days of Lot” illustration include 1) the exclusive focus on Sodom in “the days of Lot,” where no reference is made to Gomorrah, 2) the reversal of “sulfur and fire” (MT, LXX) to “fire and sulfur,” and 3) the lack in “the days of Lot” illustration of a direct reference to God. In our opinion these deviations from LXX are significant. Had the author of Luke created “the days of Lot” example on his own, it is likely that he would have taken greater care to adhere to the LXX text. That the wording of L29 does not conform to LXX suggests that the author of Luke copied “the days of Lot” illustration from a source.

While “the days of Lot” illustration does not refer to God explicitly, God is probably the implied subject of ἔβρεξεν (ebrexen, “he rained”),[74] although πῦρ καὶ θεῖον (pūr kai theion, “fire and sulfur”) could also be the subject of the singular verbs ἔβρεξεν (“he/she/it rained”) and ἀπώλεσεν (“he/she/it destroyed”) in Luke 17:29, since in Greek a neuter plural subject can take a singular verb.[75]

L29 וְהִמְטִיר אֵשׁ וְגָפְרִית (HR). Most instances of the verb βρέχειν (brechein, “to rain”) in LXX occur as the translation of הִמְטִיר (himṭir, “cause to rain”).[76] We also find that the LXX translators rendered most instances of הִמְטִיר with βρέχειν.[77] Since the raining down of fire and sulfur alludes to Gen. 19:24, where the verb הִמְטִיר occurs, our choice for HR is clear. The Hebrew source underlying Luke 17:29 probably left the subject of הִמְטִיר (“caused to rain”) unstated out of avoidance of the divine name.[78]

On reconstructing πῦρ (pūr, “fire”) with אֵשׁ (’ēsh, “fire”), see Darnel Among the Wheat, Comment to L32.

Sulfur from the Jordan Rift Valley photographed by Daniel Ventura. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In LXX θεῖον (theion, “sulfur”) always occurs in books corresponding to MT as the translation of גָּפְרִית (gofrit, “sulfur,” traditionally “brimstone”),[79] and the LXX translators rendered every instance of גָּפְרִית as θεῖον.[80] Since the wording of L29 alludes to Gen. 19:24, our choice for HR is clear.

The order fire→sulfur is not that of Gen. 19:24,[81] but it is found in other ancient Jewish retellings of the Sodom and Gomorrah story and is therefore likely original to Days of the Son of Man. One such example of mentioning fire before sulfur while recounting the destruction of Sodom occurs in Jubilees 16:5.[82] Another example is found in this comment of Rabbi Meir:

ר′ מאיר או′ מבול של מים אין אבל מבול של אש ושל גפרית כדרך שהביא על הסדומים יש שנ′ וה′ המטיר על סדום וגו′‏

Rabbi Meir says, “There is no flood of water [that will destroy all life on earth—DNB and JNT], but there is a flood of fire [אֵשׁ] and sulfur [גָּפְרִית], like that which he brought upon the Sodomites, as it is said, And the LORD caused to rain upon Sodom [Gen. 19:24], etc.” (t. Taan. 2:13; Vienna MS)[83]

In addition to the order fire→sulfur in t. Taan. 2:13, note the connection Rabbi Meir made between the stories of Noah’s flood and the overturn of Sodom, and the avoidance of using the divine name (“which he [i.e., God] brought upon the Sodomites”), all of which is similar to Days of the Son of Man.

L30 מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם (HR). On reconstructing οὐρανός (ouranos, “sky,” “heaven”) with שָׁמַיִם (shāmayim, “sky,” “heaven”), see Not Everyone Can Be Yeshua’s Disciple, Comment to L39.

For examples of the phrase מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם (min hashāmayim, “from the heavens”) in rabbinic sources, see Return of the Twelve, Comment to L17.

L31 καὶ ἀπώλεσεν πάντας (GR). Luke’s wording in L31 is identical to that in L21.

וְאִבַּד אֶת כֻּלָם (HR). On reconstructing ἀπολλύειν (apollūein, “to destroy,” “to lose”) with אִבַּד (’ibad, “destroy,” “cause to perish”) and reconstructing πᾶς (pas, “all,” “every”) with כָּל (kol, “all,” “every”), see above, Comment to L21.

L32 οὕτως ἔσται (GR). It is likely that Luke’s κατὰ τὰ αὐτά (kata ta avta, “according to these [things]”) is redactional. The phrase κατὰ τὰ αὐτά occurs 3xx in Luke (Luke 6:23, 26; 17:30), but never in the Gospels of Mark or Matthew. Matthew’s Gospel has parallels to the first and third of Luke’s instances of κατὰ τὰ αὐτά, and in both cases Matthew’s parallel has οὕτως (Matt. 5:12 ∥ Luke 6:23; Matt. 24:39 ∥ Luke 17:30). Moreover, the phrase οὕτως ἔσται (houtōs estai, “so it will be”) occurs toward the beginning of “the days of Noah” illustration (L9) and so forms a nice inclusio here in L32.

The reason the author of Luke changed οὕτως ἔσται (“so it will be”) to κατὰ τὰ αὐτά (“according to these things”) probably has to do with his attempt to change the point of comparison from “the days of Lot”→“the days of the Son of Man” to “in the day Lot exited Sodom”→“in the day the Son of Man is revealed” (see above, Comment to L27).

כָּךְ יִהְיֶה (HR). On reconstructing οὕτως ἔσται (houtōs estai, “so it will be”) with כָּךְ יִהְיֶה (kāch yihyeh, “so it will be”), see above, Comment to L9.

L33-35 ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου (GR). We believe the author of Luke changed “so it will be in the days of the Son of Man” to “in the day the Son of Man is revealed.” In the first place, the comparison between what happened “in the days of Lot” (L23) to what will happen “in the day the Son of Man is revealed” (L32-34) is asymmetrical: “days” (plural) are not “just like” a “day” (singular).[84] In the second place, “in the day the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17:30) looks like an attempt on the part of the author of Luke to make a better connection between Days of the Son of Man and the preceding Like Lightning pericope. As we discussed in the Story Placement section above, we believe it was the Anthologizer who placed Like Lightning, which described the eschatological appearance of the Son of Man, at the head of a block of materials concerning the catastrophe that would overtake Israel in the days when the Son of Man served as a sign of doom to Jesus’ generation. Originally, Like Lightning described a different time period (the eschaton) than the rest of the Son of Man material (the present and immediate future) to which it was attached. But the author of Luke was not to know this, and when he read Anth.’s block of Son of Man sayings headed by Like Lightning he naturally—albeit incorrectly—assumed that the entire block of material pertained to the eschatological appearance of the Son of Man. He therefore wrote “in the day the Son of Man is revealed” in place of “in the days of the Son of Man” in L33-35 in order to make a stronger connection to the Like Lightning saying, which describes “the Son of Man in his day” (Luke 17:24).

Matthew’s parallel to Luke’s wording in L33-35 indirectly supports our supposition that Luke’s “in the day the Son of Man is revealed” is redactional. In L9-11 Matthew wrote οὕτως ἔσται ἡ παρουσία τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου (“so will be the coming of the Son of Man”) in place of Anth.’s οὕτως ἔσται ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου (“so it will be in the days of the Son of Man”). Therefore, in L32-34, when the author of Matthew repeated his redactional οὕτως ἔσται ἡ παρουσία τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου (“so will be the coming of the Son of Man”), there is a good chance that he was once again replacing Anth.’s οὕτως ἔσται ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου (“so it will be in the days of the Son of Man”).

בִּימֵי בַּר אֱנָשׁ (HR). On reconstructing ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις + proper noun with בִּימֵי + proper noun, see above, Comment to L8.

On reconstructing ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου (ho huios tou anthrōpou, “the son of the human”) with the Aramaic title בַּר אֱנָשׁ (bar ’enāsh, “son of man”), see above, Comment to L11.

In the second illustration Jesus compared the days of the Son of Man to the conditions in the days of Lot. It is likely that Jesus drew on traditions that emphasized Lot’s righteousness and his concomitant distress at the wickedness of his neighbors.[85] Perhaps Jesus even thought of Lot as a sign to the people of Sodom that their doom was at hand, just as Jonah had been a sign of doom to the people of Nineveh. In the Genesis account of the destruction of Sodom we read that Lot exhorted his neighbors not to commit a crime against his angelic guests (Gen. 19:6-8), and he endeavored to persuade his Sodomite sons-in-law to flee the disaster that was about to overtake them (Gen. 19:14).[86] But, ignoring these warnings, the people of Sodom carried on as though nothing were amiss; as a result, they were all destroyed when calamity struck. Jesus compared the obstinate refusal of the people of Sodom to heed Lot’s warnings to his own generation’s unresponsiveness to his proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven. Because Jesus’ generation ignored the signs of doom in the days of the Son of Man, they would meet with a fate comparable to that which the Sodomites, who had ignored the warnings in the days of Lot, had suffered.

Redaction Analysis

Neither the Lukan nor the Matthean version of Days of the Son of Man has reached us in the form in which it appeared in Anth. The authors of both Gospels made changes in order to integrate Days of the Son of Man into the contexts in which they chose to have this pericope appear. Because the author of Luke chose to keep Days of the Son of Man in the same position in which he found it in Anth., the changes he felt he needed to make to this pericope were relatively minor. The author of Matthew, on the other hand, found it necessary to make extensive revisions to Days of the Son of Man in order to fit it into his version of Jesus’ eschatological discourse.

Luke’s Version[87]

Days of the Son of Man
Luke Anthology
Total
Words:
76 Total
Words:
81
Total
Words
Identical
to Anth.:
51 Total
Words
Taken Over
in Luke:
51
%
Identical
to Anth.:
67.11 % of Anth.
in Luke:
62.96
Click here for details.

Because the Anthologizer made Days of the Son of Man follow Like Lightning, it was natural for the author of Luke to assume that both pericopae referred to the same eschatological moment, whereas we believe the two pericopae originally described separate events. Like Lightning described the eschatological appearance of the Son of Man, whereas Days of the Son of Man described the conditions leading up to the confrontation between the Jewish people in the land of Israel and the Roman Empire. Having been misled by Anth.’s arrangement of these pericopae, the author of Luke automatically assumed that Days of the Son of Man was about the Son of Man’s eschatological appearance. It seems that as he was copying Days of the Son of Man the author of Luke realized something was wrong, and partway through “the days of Lot” illustration he attempted to correct things by changing the point of comparison from “the days of Lot”→“the days of the Son of Man” to “in the day Lot exited Sodom”→“in the day the Son of Man is revealed.” In this way the author of Luke transformed Days of the Son of Man into a forecast of the Son of Man’s eschatological appearance.

To change the point of comparison in “the days of Lot” illustration the author of Luke 1) wrote “but in the day Lot went out” in L27 in place of Anth.’s “until the day Lot went out,” 2) wrote “according to these things” in L32 in place of Anth.’s “so it will be,” and 3) wrote “in the day the Son of Man is revealed” in L33-35 in place of Anth.’s “in the days of the Son of Man.”

The rest of the changes the author of Luke made to Days of the Son of Man were stylistic improvements to Anth.’s Greek. These include Luke’s use of the series of imperfect verbs in place of Anth.’s ἦσαν + participle in L15-16 and L24-26, Luke’s replacement of καί with ὁμοίως in L22, and his omission of καί in L29.

Matthew’s Version[88]

Days of the Son of Man
Matthew Anthology
Total
Words:
57 Total
Words:
81
Total
Words
Identical
to Anth.:
35 Total
Words
Taken Over
in Matt.:
35
%
Identical
to Anth.:
61.40 % of Anth.
in Matt.:
43.21
Click here for details.

The author of Matthew’s decision to integrate Days of the Son of Man into his version of Jesus’ eschatological discourse (based on Mark 13) required him to make extensive revisions to the wording of Anth. First, the author of Matthew had to find an appropriate location within the eschatological discourse for Days of the Son of Man to appear. This he did by making Days of the Son of Man an illustration of Day and Hour Unknown. According to Day and Hour Unknown, no one except God knows when the Son of Man will come as the eschatological judge. The author of Matthew transformed Days of the Son of Man into an illustration of this proposition by suggesting that the people in the days of Noah did not know they were in danger until Noah entered the ark and the flood swept them away. So—according to Matthew’s version of Days of the Son of Man—will it be when the Son of Man comes. Everyone will be caught completely off guard and unaware.

Because adapting Days of the Son of Man to Day and Hour Unknown required a high level of redactional intervention, the author of Matthew decided that it was easier to omit “the days of Lot” illustration, which would have required the same amount of revision in order to serve as an illustration of Day and Hour Unknown. As a result, Matthew’s is a truncated and repurposed version of Anth.’s Days of the Son of Man.

Results of This Research

1. When are (or were) “the days of the Son of Man”? The authors of Matthew and Luke understood “the days of the Son of Man” to be a reference to the appearance of the Son of Man at the end of time to preside over the final judgment. Their misconception is a result of the Anthologizer’s lumping together of Days of the Son of Man with Like Lightning. It is possible that the Anthologizer was also of the opinion that Days of the Son of Man described the eschaton. In the Hebrew Life of Yeshua, however, it is probable that “the days of the Son of Man” referred to the period during which Jesus (in his capacity as the Son of Man) would serve as a sign (of doom) to his generation. The doom Jesus signaled was probably one he believed would take place in the course, rather than at the end, of history.[89]

2. What is the catastrophe Jesus compared to the great flood and the overthrow of Sodom? The catastrophe to which Jesus alluded in Days of the Son of Man was the confrontation between the Jewish people living in the land of Israel and the legions of the Roman Empire, which Jesus believed was inevitable (unless the people as a whole rejected the rising ideology of militant Jewish nationalism and embraced instead the way of the Kingdom of Heaven) and which he believed would be disastrous for his people. History vindicated Jesus on both scores. Like so many of his time, Jesus described current events and foretold, in apocalyptic terms, how these events would play out, comparing the coming catastrophe to catastrophes described in Scripture. Descriptions of the future are, of necessity, figurative. There is no other option than to describe the unknown in terms of what is already familiar. That the most readily available terms for describing the future were images from Genesis implies that both Jesus and his audience were steeped in the scriptural tradition.

3. What is the point of the catalogs of activities mentioned in “the days of Noah” and “the days of Lot” illustrations? Whereas Matthew used the catalog of mundane activities in “the days of Noah” illustration to suggest that the people of Noah’s generation were ignorant of what was about to befall them, the original point of the lists of activities in “the days of Noah” and “the days of Lot” illustrations was probably quite different. Ancient Jewish sources suggest that both Noah and Lot exhorted their contemporaries to repent of their evil ways. Despite warnings of grave consequences, the people of Noah’s generation and the people living in Lot’s city continued on with business as usual. In Days of the Son of Man Jesus compared the complacency and obduracy of the generation of the flood and the people of Sodom to the way his generation failed to respond to his proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Conclusion

In Days of the Son of Man Jesus expressed his deep pessimism that his serving as a sign of doom to his generation would succeed in convincing them to repent. Jesus realized that instead of repenting of dangerous religious and political ideologies and embracing the redemption Jesus offered to them, the majority of his contemporaries would ignore his message and carry on with business as usual. Communicating his message in apocalyptic images, Jesus warned his contemporaries that ignoring the dangerous trends in first-century Jewish society would only allow those trends to gain momentum, until finally the clash with the Roman Empire—and the dire consequences that confrontation would bring—could no longer be averted.


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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] Although in the published form of Flusser’s Hebrew retroversion of Days of the Son of Man we read כימי, it is clear that כימי is a typographical error and that Flusser intended to write בימי.
  • [4] See David Flusser, “The Literary Relationship Between the Three Gospels,” in his Jewish Sources in Early Christianity: Studies and Essays (Tel Aviv: Sifriat Poalim, 1979 [Hebrew]), 28-49, esp. 46. The English translation of Flusser’s retroversion is our own.
  • [5] For the precise figures, see LOY Excursus: Criteria for Distinguishing Type 1 from Type 2 Double Tradition Pericopae.
  • [6] On the derivation of Luke’s John the Baptist block from Anth., see the introduction to the “Yohanan the Immerser and the Kingdom of Heaven” complex.
  • [7] On the derivation of the block of missions material in Luke 10:1-24 from Anth., see Woes on Three Villages, under the subheading “Story Placement.”
  • [8] On the prayer block in Luke 11:1-13, see the introduction to the “How to Pray” complex.
  • [9] See Persistent Widow, under the “Story Placement” subheading.
  • [10] See Persistent Widow, Comment to L27-28.
  • [11] Lindsey (JRL, 229-230; TJS, 70-71) suggested that The Kingdom Is Among You (Luke 17:20-21) is the First Reconstructor’s paraphrase of Like Lightning (Luke 17:22-24), but this suggestion is untenable given that Luke 21:8-9 is more likely to be FR’s version of Luke 17:22-24. Moreover, The Kingdom Is Among You is not really a parallel to Like Lightning; The Kingdom Is Among You concerns the Kingdom of God and asserts that no one will say, “Here it is!” or “There it is!” whereas Like Lightning concerns the Son of Man and asserts that people will (falsely) say, “There he is!” and “Here he is!” In other words, the two pericopae deal with different phenomena that provoke opposite reactions. Rather than explaining these two pericopae as doublets, it is more likely that these two originally unrelated sayings were brought together on the basis of the catchwords “here” and “there” contained in both pericopae. The question, then, is whether these two pericopae were already associated with one another in Anth. or whether their collocation is due to the author of Luke. We suspect that the collocation is Lukan, since The Kingdom Is Among You is written in a more polished Greek style than is usual for Anth. Regardless of its origin, The Kingdom Is Among You is a deeply problematic pericope, since its contention that the Kingdom of God cannot be detected by the senses flatly contradicts Jesus’ insistence in Finger of God that his expulsion of demons is empirical evidence that “the Kingdom of God/Heaven has come upon you” (Matt. 12:28 ∥ Luke 11:20).
  • [12] See Burnett H. Streeter, “On the Original Order of Q,” in Studies in the Synoptic Problem (ed. W. Sanday; Oxford: Clarendon, 1911), 141-164, esp. 150-151.
  • [13] On the First Reconstructor’s blending of two or more originally distinct prophecies to produce Jesus’ eschatological discourse, see Robert L. Lindsey, “From Luke to Mark to Matthew: A Discussion of the Sources of Markan ‘Pick-ups’ and the Use of a Basic Non-canonical Source by All the Synoptists,” under the subheading “An Examination of the Editorial Activity of the First Reconstructor”; idem, JRL, 66-71; idem, TJS, 72-75. See also our introduction to the “Destruction and Redemption” complex.
  • [14] Cf. Knox, 2:107; Kloppenborg, 154; Davies-Allison, 3:375.
  • [15] Cf. Nolland, Luke, 2:856.
  • [16] On Jesus’ role as a sign of doom to his generation, see Sign-Seeking Generation, Comment to L39.
  • [17] Apocalyptic literature uses fantastic imagery (e.g., composite beasts with multiple appendages) and scriptural motifs (e.g., Noah’s flood, the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah) to portray traumatic events (current or anticipated) and the social upheaval such events generate. The authors of apocalyptic literature used this imagery to provide their religious and political commentary on these events in a way that could be understood by “insiders” but that would be opaque to the entities they criticized.
  • [18] Guenther correctly observed that the block of Son of Man material preserved in Luke 17 “does not speak explicitly of the Son of Man delivering the final verdict at the end of time.” See Heinz O. Guenther, “When ‘Eagles’ Draw Together,” Forum 5.2 (1989): 140-150, esp. 140-141.
  • [19] Jeremias (Theology, 127-128) drew a connection between Days of the Son of Man and Calamities in Yerushalayim, one of the pericopae we have included in the “Choose Repentance or Destruction” complex, writing: “Horrors will descend upon them…as astounding as the flood, the rain of fire on Sodom…. Streams of blood will flow. Pilate’s bloodbath among the Galileans and the collapse of the Tower of Shiloah (Luke 13.1-5) will seem as child’s play in comparison to what will break out over Israel.”
  • [20] On the First Reconstructor’s insertion of this prophecy into the eschatological discourse, see the introduction to the “Destruction and Redemption” complex and the LOY segment entitled Completion, under the subheading “Conjectured Stages of Transmission.”
  • [21] On our dating of the composition of Luke’s Gospel, see LOY Excursus: The Dates of the Synoptic Gospels.
  • [22] On our post-70 C.E. dating of the composition of Mark’s Gospel, see LOY Excursus: The Dates of the Synoptic Gospels.
  • [23] The use of the absolute titles “the Father” and “the Son” for God and Jesus, respectively, appears to have been inspired by the Father and Son saying preserved in Matt. 11:27 ∥ Luke 10:22. There, however, “the father” and “the son” are best understood not as titles but as general nouns with definite form (i.e., “a father,” “any father”; “a son,” “any son”). See Jeremias, Prayers, 47; Lindsey, JRL, 31-32.
  • [24] FR “strings of pearls” are found in Luke 8:16-18; 9:23-27; 16:16-18; 17:1-6. See LOY Excursus: Sources of the “Strings of Pearls” in Luke’s Gospel.
  • [25] The Anth. doublet of Luke 9:26 in Luke 12:8-9 ∥ Matt. 10:32-33 does not use the absolute title “the Father” to refer to God. Matt. 10:32-33 has “my father in heaven,” while Luke 12:8-9 has “the angels of God.”
  • [26] See Foakes Jackson-Lake, 4:8; Haenchen, 143.
  • [27] The similarity between Mark 13:32 and Acts 1:7 would be increased if, instead of οὐχ ὑμῶν ἐστιν γνῶναι (“it is not yours to know”), the original text of Acts 1:7 was οὐδεὶς δύναται γνῶναι (“no one is able to know”). On this reading, see Foakes Jackson-Lake, 3:5; 4:8.
  • [28] See Robert L. Lindsey, “A New Two-source Solution to the Synoptic Problem,” under point 2; idem, “Introduction to A Hebrew Translation of the Gospel of Mark,” under the subheading “The Confirmation of Lockton’s Work.”
  • [29] Lindsey believed that a substantial portion of the author of Mark’s redactional activity involved working vocabulary, associations and ideas gleaned from Acts into his retelling of the stories and sayings of Jesus. See Robert L. Lindsey, “Introduction to A Hebrew Translation of the Gospel of Mark,” under the subheading “Sources of the Markan Pick-ups”; idem, HTGM, 54-55. See also LOY Excursus: Catalog of Markan Stereotypes and Possible Markan Pick-ups.
  • [30] Cf. Nolland, Luke, 2:859.
  • [31] Cf. Harnack, 106.
  • [32] See Schweizer, 460.
  • [33] The LXX translators frequently rendered בִּימֵי + proper noun as ἐν ἡμέραις + proper noun (Judg. 5:6; 8:28; 1 Chr. 4:41; 5:10, 17; 7:2; 2 Chr. 9:20; 2 Esd. 4:7; 22:7, 12, 22, 26, 46, 47; Hos. 1:1; Amos 1:1; Mic. 1:1; Zeph. 1:1; Zech. 14:5). The omission of the definite article before ἡμέραις reflects the lack of definite articles in the first component of Hebrew construct phrases.
  • [34] Examples of ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις + proper noun occurring as the translation of בִּימֵי + proper noun are found in the following verses:

    2 Kgdms. 21:1 ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Δαυιδ = בִּימֵי דָוִד

    3 Kgdms. 10:21 ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Σαλωμων = בִּימֵי שְׁלֹמֹה

    4 Kgdms. 15:29 ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Φακεε = בִּימֵי פֶּקַח

    2 Chr. 26:5 ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Ζαχαριου = בִּימֵי זְכַרְיָהוּ

    2 Chr. 32:26 ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Εζεκιου = בִּימֵי יְחִזְקִיָּהוּ

    Esth. 1:1 ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Ἀρταξέρξου = בִּימֵי אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ

    Isa. 7:1 ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Αχαζ = בִּימֵי אָחָז

    Jer. 1:2; 3:6 ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Ιωσια = בִּימֵי יֹאשִׁיָּהוּ

    Jer. 1:3 ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Ιωακιμ = בִּימֵי יְהוֹיָקִים

    Jer. 33:18 ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Εζεκιου = בִּימֵי חִזְקִיָּהוּ

  • [35] See Hatch-Redpath, 3:121-122.
  • [36] Instances of the name Νῶε in the writings of Philo occur in Leg. 2:60; 3:77; Det. §105, 121; Post. §48, 173, 174; Gig. §1, 3, 5; and elsewhere.
  • [37] The name Νῶχος occurs in Apion 1:130, 131; Ant. 1:74, 76, 78, 80, 87, 90, 91, 96, 99, 104, 109, 113, 122 (2xx), 129, 140, 142, 143, 148; 3:87; 20:25.
  • [38] In Matthew παρουσία occurs 4xx (Matt. 24:3, 27, 37, 39).
  • [39] Pace Harnack, 106. See Marshall, 664; Catchpole, 249; Bovon, 2:519.
  • [40] Cf. Sign-Seeking Generation, Comment to L42-43.
  • [41] See Luz, 3:211.
  • [42] See Catchpole, 249. Cf. Nolland, Luke, 2:860; Hagner, 2:718.
  • [43] Pace Nolland, Luke, 2:860.
  • [44] Pace Gundry, Matt., 493; Davies-Allison, 3:381.
  • [45] See LSJ, 1832; McNeile, 356.
  • [46] On traditions concerning antediluvian vegetarianism, see Ginzberg, 1:151. The hypothesis that Matthew’s choice of τρώγειν alludes to antediluvian vegetarianism is, in any case, more plausible than that the author of Matthew wished to emphasize the sound of people’s crunching (cf., e.g., Nolland, Matt., 993; France, Matt., 931 n. 4).
  • [47] See Sjef van Tilborg, “The meaning of the word γαμῶ in Lk 14:20; 17:27; Mk 12:25 and in a number of early Jewish and Christian authors,” HTS Teologiese Studies 58.2 (2002): 802-810.
  • [48] See Wolter, 2:309.
  • [49] See Jastrow, 937-938.
  • [50] Additional examples of הִשִּׂיא אֶת בִּתּוֹ occur in m. Ket. 6:5; m. Ned. 5:6; 11:10.
  • [51] See Hatch-Redpath, 1:188.
  • [52] Cf. McNeile, 356.
  • [53] See Hatch-Redpath, 2:763-764.
  • [54] See Even-Shoshan, Concordance, 1218.
  • [55] Cf. Marshall, 662; Catchpole, 249; Hagner, 2:718; Nolland, Matt., 993.
  • [56] See Hatch-Redpath, 2:734.
  • [57] See Dos Santos, 103.
  • [58] Cf. Nolland, Luke, 2:860, and contrast with Nolland, Matt., 993.
  • [59] On reconstructing ἀπολλύειν with אָבַד, see Calamities in Yerushalayim, Comment to L13.
  • [60] On the construction of the ark and its loading with provisions and passengers as an inducement to repentance, see Philo, Q.G. 2:13.
  • [61] On Noah’s verbal exhortations, see 2 Pet. 2:5; Jos., Ant. 1:74; 1 Clem. 7:6. See also Ginzberg, 1:140 n. 19.
  • [62] There are sources from the Second Temple period that identified Enoch as a sign to all generations (Jub. 4:22-24; Sir. 44:16). However, Flusser noted that a certain fluidity existed between traditions concerning Noah and Enoch. See David Flusser, “Jesus and the Sign of the Son of Man” (Flusser, JOC, 526-534, esp. 529).
  • [63] See Bundy, 389 §298; Schweizer, 459; Heinz O. Guenther, “A Fair Face Is Half the Portion: The Lot Saying in Luke 17:28-29,” Forum 6.1 (1990): 56-66; Steven L. Bridge, ‘Where the Eagles are Gathered’: The Deliverance of the Elect in Lukan Eschatology (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2003), 42-43.
  • [64] See Streeter, “On the Original Order of Q,” 150; Manson, Sayings, 143; Marshall, 662; Gundry, Matt., 493; Catchpole, 248; Nolland, Luke, 2:856-857, 860; Hagner, 2:718; Luz, 3:211.
  • [65] See Kloppenborg, 157-158.
  • [66] The stories of Noah and Lot are associated in Jub. 20:5; Sir. 16:7-8; Philo, Mos. 2:52-65; 2 Pet. 2:4-8; Jude 6-7; t. Taan. 2:13; Gen. Rab. 27:3. In some of these examples Noah is not explicitly mentioned, but reference is made to the angels who sinned with human women in the days of Noah; in others, Lot is not explicitly mentioned, but reference is made to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Josephus (J.W. 5:566) mentioned the flood and Sodom’s overthrow together with the earth’s swallowing up Korah and his associates. The Mishnah lumped the generation of the flood together with the generation of the dispersion (i.e., those who built the tower of Babel and were dispersed) and the men of Sodom as notorious Gentile populations that have no share in the world to come (m. Sanh. 10:3; cf. t. Sanh. 13:6-8). Mechilta de-Rabbi Ishmael (Shirata §5 [ed. Lauterbach, 194]) similarly lumps together the generation of Noah, the generation of the dispersion and the people of Sodom.
  • [67] Cf. Marshall, 664.
  • [68] On ὁμοίως as an indicator of Lukan redaction, see Calamities in Yerushalayim, Comment to L13.
  • [69] See Hatch-Redpath, 3:102.
  • [70] Instances of the name Λώτ in the works of Philo can be found in Leg. 3:213; Post. §175, 177; Ebr. §164; and elsewhere.
  • [71] The name Λῶτος occurs in Ant. 1:151, 154, 169 (2xx), 170, 175, 176, 179, 200 (2xx), 201, 202 (2xx), 203, 206.
  • [72] See Hatch-Redpath, 2:1446-1447.
  • [73] See Dos Santos, 132.
  • [74] See Plummer, Luke, 408.
  • [75] Cf., e.g., καὶ ἐξῆλθεν εὐθὺς αἷμα καὶ ὕδωρ (“and came out [sing.] immediately blood and water”; John 19:34).
  • [76] See Hatch-Redpath, 1:230.
  • [77] See Dos Santos, 110.
  • [78] Using “Heaven” as a substitute for the Tetragrammaton in L29 would have been awkward, since in that case Jesus would have had to say, “and Heaven caused fire and sulfur to rain from heaven.”
  • [79] See Hatch-Redpath, 1:628.
  • [80] See Dos Santos, 38.
  • [81] The order גָּפְרִית→אֵשׁ does, however, occur in Ezek. 38:22; Ps. 11:6.
  • [82] On Jub. 16:5, see James C. VanderKam, Jubilees 1: A Commentary on the Book of Jubilees Chapters 1-21 (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2018), 533-534.
  • [83] Do the instances of fire→sulfur in Jub. 16:5, Luke 17:29 and t. Taan. 2:13 attest to a pre-Masoretic version of Gen. 19:24 that mentioned fire before sulfur?
  • [84] As we discussed in Comment to L27, the author of Luke attempted to compensate for the asymmetry of comparing “the days of Lot” to “the day in which the Son of Man is revealed” by writing “in the day in which Lot exited Sodom” (L27-28). He thereby attempted to shift the point of comparison from the way people are able to be blissfully unaware of imminent peril to the day on which calamity will strike. But by opening the comparison with “just as it was in the days of Lot” (L22-23) the author of Luke failed to cover his tracks, and the result is a lopsided comparison.
  • [85] On Lot’s righteousness and distress at the wickedness of Sodom, see Wis. 10:6; 19:17; Philo, Mos. 2:58; 2 Pet. 2:7-8; t. Sanh. 14:4. According to a baraita in b. Ber. 54b, two blessings were to be recited by anyone who came across the pillar of salt into which Lot’s wife had been transformed. The first blessing refers to the fate of Lot’s wife, while the second blessing refers to Lot’s deliverance: ברוך זוכר את הצדיקים (“Blessed is the One who remembers the righteous ones”). This blessing may be another witness to the tradition of Lot’s righteousness. It is possible, however, that the blessing refers not to Lot’s righteousness but to Abraham’s, for commenting on this blessing Rabbi Yohanan said, “Even in the hour of his wrath the Holy One, blessed be he, remembers the righteous ones, as it is said, And as God was destroying the cities of the plain God remembered Abraham and sent Lot from the midst of the overturn [Gen. 19:29]” (b. Ber. 54b).
  • [86] These verses could have served as the basis of a midrashic tradition according to which Lot continually warned the people of Sodom of the inevitable consequences of their wickedness.
  • [87]
    Days of the Son of Man
    Luke’s Version Anthology’s Wording (Reconstructed)
    καὶ καθὼς ἐγένετο ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Νῶε οὕτως ἔσται καὶ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἤσθιον ἔπεινον ἐγάμουν ἐγαμίζοντο ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας εἰσῆλθεν Νῶε εἰς τὴν κειβωτὸν καὶ ἦλθεν ὁ κατακλυσμὸς καὶ ἀπώλεσεν πάντας

    ὁμοίως καθὼς ἐγένετο ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Λώτ ἤσθιον ἔπεινον ἠγόραζον ἐπώλουν ἐφύτευον οἰκοδόμουν ᾗ δὲ ἡμέρᾳ ἐξῆλθεν Λὼτ ἀπὸ Σοδόμων ἔβρεξεν πῦρ καὶ θεῖον ἀπ᾿ οὐρανοῦ καὶ ἀπώλεσεν πάντας κατὰ τὰ αὐτὰ ἔσται ᾗ ἡμέρᾳ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἀποκαλύπτηται

    καὶ καθὼς ἐγένετο ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Νῶε οὕτως ἔσται ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἦσαν ἐσθίοντες καὶ πίνοντες γαμοῦντες καὶ γαμίζοντες ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας εἰσῆλθεν Νῶε εἰς τὴν κιβωτὸν καὶ ἦλθεν ὁ κατακλυσμὸς καὶ ἀπώλεσεν πάντας

    καὶ καθὼς ἐγένετο ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Λώτ ἦσαν ἐσθίοντες καὶ πίνοντες ἀγοράζοντες καὶ πωλοῦντες φυτεύοντες καὶ οἰκοδομοῦντες ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας ἐξῆλθεν Λὼτ ἀπὸ Σοδόμων καὶ ἔβρεξεν πῦρ καὶ θεῖον ἀπ᾿ οὐρανοῦ καὶ ἀπώλεσεν πάντας οὕτως ἔσται ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου

    Total Words: 76 Total Words: 81
    Total Words Identical to Anth.: 51 Total Words Taken Over in Luke: 51
    Percentage Identical to Anth.: 67.11% Percentage of Anth. Represented in Luke: 62.96%

  • [88]
    Days of the Son of Man
    Matthew’s Version Anthology’s Wording (Reconstructed)
    ὥσπερ γὰρ αἱ ἡμέραι τοῦ Νῶε οὕτως ἔσται ἡ παρουσία τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ὡς γὰρ ἦσαν ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις ταῖς πρὸ τοῦ κατακλυσμοῦ τρώγοντες καὶ πείνοντες γαμοῦντες καὶ γαμίσκοντες ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας εἰσῆλθεν Νῶε εἰς τὴν κειβωτὸν καὶ οὐκ ἔγνωσαν ἕως ἦλθεν ὁ κατακλυσμὸς καὶ ἦρεν ἅπαντας οὕτως ἔσται ἡ παρουσία τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου καὶ καθὼς ἐγένετο ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Νῶε οὕτως ἔσται ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἦσαν ἐσθίοντες καὶ πίνοντες γαμοῦντες καὶ γαμίζοντες ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας εἰσῆλθεν Νῶε εἰς τὴν κιβωτὸν καὶ ἦλθεν ὁ κατακλυσμὸς καὶ ἀπώλεσεν πάντας

    καὶ καθὼς ἐγένετο ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Λώτ ἦσαν ἐσθίοντες καὶ πίνοντες ἀγοράζοντες καὶ πωλοῦντες φυτεύοντες καὶ οἰκοδομοῦντες ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας ἐξῆλθεν Λὼτ ἀπὸ Σοδόμων καὶ ἔβρεξεν πῦρ καὶ θεῖον ἀπ᾿ οὐρανοῦ καὶ ἀπώλεσεν πάντας οὕτως ἔσται ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου

    Total Words: 57 Total Words: 81
    Total Words Identical to Anth.: 35 Total Words Taken Over in Matt.: 35
    Percentage Identical to Anth.: 61.40% Percentage of Anth. Represented in Matt.: 43.21%

  • [89] The flood and the overthrow of Sodom had also taken place within the course of history.
  • David N. Bivin

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

    Joshua N. Tilton

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