Luke Jewish New Testament and comment David H. Stern

chapter 23
1. With that, the whole Sanhedrin got up and brought Yeshua before Pilate,
The whole Sanhedrin, literally, "the multitude of them." The context (22:66-71) shows that it is the Sanhedrin. Pilate. See Mt 27:2N.

2. where they started accusing him. “We found this man subverting our nation, forbidding us to pay taxes to the Emperor and claiming that he himself is the Messiah — a king!”
3. Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” And he answered him, “The words are yours.”
King of the Jews. Or: "king of the Judeans." In favor of the latter is the fact that Pilate was governor of Judea only, so that for him "our nation" could very well have meant only "the Judeans." This could explain why in v. 5 the elders tailor their accusation to his frame of reference: "He started in the Galil," which you, Pilate, do not rule, and which, for you, is not relevant, "and now he's here," that is, "throughout all Judea," which makes him very relevant indeed. Verses 6-7 then support "king of the Judeans," inasmuch as there Pilate, on learning that Yeshua is from the Galil, sends him to Herod in the hope that Herod can find some reason for dealing with him. But Herod finds no cause of action, since Yeshua is accused of being king not of the Galileans but of the Judeans, so he is sent back to Pilate. On the other hand, and to my mind the more weighty argument, is the context, which favors "king of the Jews." The mention of "our nation"' in v. 2 and of the Galil in v. 5 suggests a broader geographical reference than Judea — along with the points made in Mt 2:2N.
The words are yours. The Greek is the same as five verses above (see 22:70&N). Here Yeshua means that Pilate has hit upon the truth.

4. Pilate said to the head cohanim and the crowds, “I find no ground for a charge against this man.”
5. But they persisted. “He is inciting the people with his teaching throughout all Y’hudah — he started in the Galil, and now he’s here!”
6. On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was from the Galil;
7. and when he learned that he was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who at that time happened to be in Yerushalayim too.
Herod Antipas. See Mt 14:1N.

Стихи 6-7 выступают в пользу варианта «царь иудеян», так как Пилат, узнав о том, что Йешуа из Галиля, посылает его к Ироду в надежде, что тот найдёт причины для разбора его дела. Но Ирод не находит таковых, поскольку Йешуа обвиняют в том, что он царь иудеян, а не галилеян; и он отсылает его обратно к Пилату. С другой стороны, по моему мнению, более веским аргументом является контекст, выступающий в пользу варианта «царь евреев». Упоминание «нашего народа» в ст. 2 и Галиля в ст. 5 предполагает более широкое географическое пространство, нежели Иудея. См. также аргументы в ком. к Мат. 2:2.

8. Herod was delighted to see Yeshua, because he had heard about him and for a long time had been wanting to meet him; indeed, he hoped to see him perform some miracle.
9. He questioned him at great length, but Yeshua made no reply.
10. However, the head cohanim and the Torah-teachers stood there, vehemently pressing their case against him.
11. Herod and his soldiers treated Yeshua with contempt and made fun of him. Then, dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate.
12. That day Herod and Pilate became friends with each other; previously they had been enemies.
13. Pilate summoned the head cohanim, the leaders and the people,
14. and said to them, “You brought this man before me on a charge of subverting the people. I examined him in your presence and did not find the man guilty of the crime you are accusing him of.
15. And neither did Herod, because he sent him back to us. Clearly, he has not done anything that merits the death penalty.
16. Therefore, what I will do is have him flogged and release him.”
Some manuscripts have verse 17: For he was required to release one man to them at the festival.

18. But with one voice they shouted, “Away with this man! Give us Bar-Abba!”
19. (He was a man who had been thrown in prison for causing a riot in the city and for murder.)
20. Pilate appealed to them again, because he wanted to release Yeshua.
21. But they yelled, “Put him to death on the stake! Put him to death on the stake!”
22. A third time he asked them, “But what has this man done wrong? I haven’t found any reason to put him to death. So I’m going to have him flogged and set free.”
23. But they went on yelling insistently, demanding that he be executed on the stake; and their shouting prevailed.
24. Pilate decided to grant their demand;
25. he released the man who had been thrown in prison for insurrection and murder, the one they had asked for; and Yeshua he surrendered to their will.
Some argue that Pilate's protestations against putting Yeshua to death (w. 14-16) show that he did not really want to do it, and that therefore little blame rests with him. To this is added the argument that Yeshua himself says there is one whose blame in the matter is greater than Pilate's (Yn 19:11 &N). If these arguments are true, they support antisemitism: the Jews and not the Gentiles (as represented by Pilate) are responsible for the death of Jesus.

But in these verses Luke takes pain to show just how weak-willed and unconcerned for justice Pilate was. The yelling and shouting of a mob prevailed over him. He decided (the Greek can mean "passed judgment") to grant their demand rather than the righteous demand of justice. He released a man whose black character Luke paints with the words "insurrection and murder." And he surrendered not only his feeble intentions but his commission under Rome and under God (for Genesis 9:5-6, which establishes human government to protect human life, applies to Gentiles as well as to Jews) not to the will of the Jewish people but to the will of an unruly crowd. Thus Luke makes clear that Pilate's share of guilt is great.

26. As the Roman soldiers led Yeshua away, they grabbed hold of a man from Cyrene named Shim‘on, who was on his way in from the country. They put the execution-stake on his back and made him carry it behind Yeshua.
Grabbed hold of a man from Cyrene. No Roman soldier would think of carrying a sentenced criminal's cross, nor would any Jew willingly do so. Yeshua's strength apparently gave out; the soldiers pressed into service the first adequate person they could find.

27. Large numbers of people followed, including women crying and wailing over him.
28. Yeshua turned to them and said, “Daughters of Yerushalayim, don’t cry for me; cry for yourselves and your children!
29. For the time is coming when people will say, ‘The childless women are the lucky ones — those whose wombs have never borne a child, whose breasts have never nursed a baby!
30. Then They will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us! (Hosea 10:8)
Since the citing of a Bible quotation in a Jewish text is meant to call to mind the entire context of the passage, it is worthwhile considering all of the tenth chapter of the prophet Hosea. In it Israel is described as a "luxuriant vine," very prosperous (v. 1), but ungrateful to God (v. 2). Therefore, says Hosea, "Surely now they will say, 'We have no king because we did not fear Adonai. And as for the king, what can he do for us?'"(v. 3); given distrust of God and his son, what good can King Yeshua do? "They swear falsely,... their judgment springs up like hemlock" (v. 4), like poison, as when the irregular meeting of Sanhedrin members illegally condemned Yeshua. As punishment, "Israel will be ashamed" (v. 6), so that "they will say to the mountains, 'Cover us!' and to the hills, 'Fall on us!'"(v. 8) rather than suffer such shame. Not only that, but "When it is my desire," that is, God's desire, "I will punish them, and the peoples," the Gentile nations, "will be gathered against them" (v. 10). The solution for a people in such a miserable state is to "Sow for yourselves according to righteousness, reap according to mercy, break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek Adonai" (v. 12). In other words, repent, return to God. The advice is sound for all eras, as much in our own day as in Yeshua's or Hosea's, especially in the light of v. 31 of our present text, which says that if such terrible things happen when the wood is green and cannot burn well, that is, on the day when innocent Yeshua is put to death as a criminal, how much worse it will become as the years pass and resentment of the Messiah and his followers hardens (especially when that resentment is inflamed by evil deeds done in the Messiah's name by those claiming to be his followers). See Appendix, page 933.

31. For if they do these things when the wood is green, what is going to happen when it’s dry?”
32. Two other men, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him.
33. When they came to the place called The Skull, they nailed him to a stake; and they nailed the criminals to stakes, one on the right and one on the left.
KJV renders Greek kranion (skull) by the word "Calvary," which means nothing in English but is an adaptation of Latin calvaria, "bare skull."

34. Yeshua said, “Father, forgive them; they don’t understand what they are doing.” They divided up his clothes by throwing dice (Psalm 22:19(18)).
Yeshua said, "Father, forgive them: they don't understand what they are doing."
Antisemites cannot stand this verse, for it destroys the ground on which they suppose they stand. They would rather remember Mt 27:25, where the rabble brought together by those Jewish leaders intent on destroying Yeshua usurped authority to announce, "His blood is on us, even on our children!" They cannot bear to think that ihe Messiah Yeshua asked his father to forgive those Jewish brothers of his, specifically on the ground that they were ignorant of the significance of what they were doing. It is the shame of the Christian Church through the centuries that many who claimed lo be speaking in the Jewish Messiah's name could still bring a charge of "deicide" against the Jewish people, sanctimoniously anchoring their accusation in Scripture (Mt 27:25) while failing to imitate the Messiah (1С 11:1) in forgiving those who were unaware of what their acts and shouts meant. How much more severe must be the punishment of those who knowingly violated Yeshua's own condition for salvation, "If you do not forgive others their offences, your heavenly Father will not forgive yours" (Mt 6:15; compare Ml 18:35).

Some early manuscripts lack this verse, but the weight of scholarly opinion favors the view that Yeshua did indeed say these words.
There is also an interpretation which says that these words did not apply to the Jews at all but to the Gentile Roman soldiers, since vv. 32-34 are about them. But the particular Jews who had a hand in seeing that he was put to death were as much unaware of what they were doing as the Roman soldiers; indeed, the talmidim, who had been told at least three times exactly what would happen by Yeshua himself (9:21-22, 44 45; 18:31-34), were likewise entirely undone when it did happen. Also note the parallel with Ac 7:60, where the same author, Luke, reports that Stephen similarly asked God's forgiveness for the Sanhedrin members, obviously Jewish, who were at that moment stoning him to death.

Did God answer Yeshua's prayer? Did he forgive these Jews? The answer is "Yes," but we must understand that he forgave specific sins, not all their sins. On the ground of their unawareness of what they were actually doing, God forgave them the sin of judging Yeshua a criminal worthy of death and possibly even the sin of complicity in having him executed (this is arguable). But he did not grant them salvation, forgiveness for all their sins and entrance into the Kingdom — unless they repented of all sins and came to genuine faith, as Kefa urged at Ac 2:38, 3:19-20. Support for this understanding comes from Kefa's speech at Ac 3:13-20, where he accuses his Jewish audience:
" handed over [Yeshua] and disowned [him] before Pilate, even after he had decided to release him. You denied the holy and innocent one, and instead asked for the reprieve of a murderer! You killed the author of life!... Now, brothers. I know that you did not understand the significance of what you were doing, neither did your leaders.... Therefore, repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be erased...."

Ignorance is cited as an ameliorating factor, but they must still repent and turn to God in order to have their sins erased. Similarly Ac 2:38 in the light of Ac 2:23, 36. And likewise Stephen's words, "Lxird! Don't hold this sin against them!" (Ac 7:60), refer to forgiveness of the specific sin of wrongfully putting Stephen to death, not to salvation in general.

In conclusion, the knowledge of God's forgiveness indicated in this verse ought to have forestalled completely the charge of "deicide." They divided up his clothes by throwing dice (literally, "by casting lots"), thus fulfilling a prophecy in Psalm 22's numerous prophecies of the Messiah's atoning death.

35. The people stood watching, and the rulers sneered at him (Psalm 22:8(7)). "He saved others,” they said, “so if he really is the Messiah, the one chosen by God, let him save himself!”
Fulfills the prophecy of Psalm 22:8(7).

36. The soldiers too ridiculed him; they came up, offered him vinegar (Psalm 69:22(21))
Fulfills the prophecy of Psalm 69:22(21).

37. and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself!”
38. And there was a notice over him which read, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS
Some manuscripts, apparently borrowing from Yn 19:20, add that the inscription was written "in Greek, in Latin and in Hebrew."

39. One of the criminals hanging there hurled insults at him. “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
40. But the other one spoke up and rebuked the first, saying, “Have you no fear of God? You’re getting the same punishment as he is.
41. Ours is only fair; we’re getting what we deserve for what we did. But this man did nothing wrong.”
42. Then he said, “Yeshua, remember me when you come as King.”
43. Yeshua said to him, “Yes! I promise that you will be with me today in Gan-‘Eden.”
Gan-Eden, literally, "Garden of Eden" in Hebrew, is also Hebrew's expression for "Paradise," which is the English transliteration of Greek paradeisos, the term used in the Septuagint at Genesis 2:8 to translate Gan-Eden. Paradeisos itself comes from the Persian word "pardes," which has been taken into Hebrew; it means "enclosure, preserve, garden, park, citrus orchard," as well as "Paradise" in the Talmud. See Mt 2:15N.

44. It was now about noon, and darkness covered the whole Land until three o’clock in the afternoon;
Darkness. Amos 8:9 says,
'"On that Day,' declares Adonai, God, 'I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight.'"
This is one of several Tanakh references to darkness as a symbol of and accompaniment to God's judgment; another is Joel 2:31(3:4), quoted at Ac 2:20. And compare Yn 3:19. At Yeshua's death God was judging sin.

45. the sun did not shine. Also the parokhet in the Temple was split down the middle.
See Mt 27:51N.

46. Crying out with a loud voice, Yeshua said, “Father! Into your hands I commit my spirit" (Psalm 31:6(5)). With these words he gave up his spirit.
Yeshua quotes from Psalm 31. which is a prayer for deliverance from troubles and adversaries. God answered this prayer not by preventing Yeshua's death, which was necessary for our sakes, but by raising him from the dead.

Gave up his spirit. In the light of the previous quotation, this is a better translation than the equally possible "breathed his last." (Hebrew ruach and Greek pneuma can mean either "spirit" or "breath.") In either case, the sense is that in that moment he died.

47. When the Roman officer saw what had happened, he began to praise God and said, “Surely this man was innocent!”
48. And when all the crowds that had gathered to watch the spectacle saw the things that had occurred, they returned home beating their breasts.
49. All his friends, including the women who had accompanied him from the Galil, had been standing at a distance; they saw it all.
50. There was a man named Yosef, a member of the Sanhedrin. He was a good man, a tzaddik;
51. and he had not been in agreement with either the Sanhedrin’s motivation or their action. He came from the town of Ramatayim, a town of the Judeans; and he looked forward to the Kingdom of God.
52. This man approached Pilate and asked for Yeshua’s body.
53. He took it down, wrapped it in a linen sheet, and placed it in a tomb cut into the rock, that had never been used.
Wrapped it in a linen sheet. See Yn 19:39-40N.

54. It was Preparation Day, and a Shabbat was about to begin.
Preparation Day. See Yn 19:31N.
A Shabbat was about to begin as soon as the onset of night was signalled the appearance of three medium-sized stars (Talmud: Shabbat 35b).

55. The women who had come with Yeshua from the Galil followed; they saw the tomb and how his body was placed in it.
The women... saw the tomb and how his body was placed in it. This is important evidence to be taken together with Yn 20:5-8; see note there.

56. Then they went back home to prepare spices and ointments. On Shabbat the women rested, in obedience to the commandment...
Spices and ointments. See Yn 19:39b-40N.
It is sometimes claimed that the New Testament says nothing about keeping the fourth commandment (see Mt 5:2IN). This verse contradicts that claim, so it is important for a Jewish understanding of the New Testament. On Shabbat the women rested, in obedience to the fourth commandment (Exodus 20:8-11. Deuteronomy 5:12-15; also Exodus 16). Of course they did! They observed Shabbat every week. The writer mentions it only to explain why they didn't go to Yeshua's tomb the very next day. "[B]ut on the First day of the week, while it was still very early" — as soon as it was practical to do so — "they went to the tomb" (24:1). The Greek has the correlative conjunctions "men... de" in this sentence; the sense is not easily translated word-for-word, but it implies the just-explained "of course... but" relationship between the parts of the sentence: "Of course [they observed Shabbat], but [as soon as they could, they went)." Arndt and Gingrich's Lexicon explains "men... de" similarly at Mt 3:11, 'To be sure, [I baptize you with water], but [one is coming...]."

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