Cataloging the Gospels’ Hebraisms: Part One (Luke 10:23-24)

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Hebrew idioms leap out from every page of Jesus' life story.

Revised: 20-Jun-2014
A cat at a library in the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City. Photographed by Lantuszka. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The most frequent request we receive from readers is: “Have you published a list of Hebraism you assume are embedded in the Greek texts of the Gospels?” Hebrew idioms leap out from every page of Jesus’ life story, and I began cataloging them years ago. I discussed a number of them in the Appendix to Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus,[1]  for example: “bring out your name bad” (pp. 115-117), “the appearance of his face was altered” (pp. 117-119), “lay these things in your ears” (pp. 119-123), and “he set his face to go” (pp. 123-126).

Many additional gospel Hebraisms were discussed in the 56 issues of Jerusalem Perspective magazine, published between 1987 and 1999. See, for example, my “Hebrew Idioms in the Gospels” (JP 22 [Sept.-Oct. 1989]: 6-7); “Hendiadys in the Synoptic Gospels” (JP 52 [Jul.-Sept. 1997]: pp. 14-15) and “Noun Chains in the Gospels” (JP 55 [Apr.-June 1999]: pp. 15-17).

For those who enjoy the study of Hebrew idioms, may I recommend that you begin with Pieter Lechner’s excellent tutorial, “Significance of Idioms.”

In this article, let us consider the Hebraisms found in Luke 10:23-24 (parallel to Matthew 13:16-17).

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  • 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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