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Luke 5:27-28

Context
The Call of Levi; Eating with Sinners

5:27 After 1  this, Jesus 2  went out and saw a tax collector 3  named Levi 4  sitting at the tax booth. 5  “Follow me,” 6  he said to him. 5:28 And he got up and followed him, leaving everything 7  behind. 8 

1 tn Grk “And after.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

2 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

3 sn See the note on tax collectors in 3:12.

4 sn It is possible that Levi is a second name for Matthew, because people often used alternative names in 1st century Jewish culture.

5 tn While “tax office” is sometimes given as a translation for τελώνιον (telwnion; so L&N 57.183), this could give the modern reader a false impression of an indoor office with all its associated furnishings.

sn The tax booth was a booth located on the edge of a city or town to collect taxes for trade. There was a tax booth in Capernaum, which was on the trade route from Damascus to Galilee and the Mediterranean. The “taxes” were collected on produce and goods brought into the area for sale, and were a sort of “sales tax” paid by the seller but obviously passed on to the purchaser in the form of increased prices (L&N 57.183). It was here that Jesus met Levi (also named Matthew [see Matt 9:9]) who was ultimately employed by the Romans, though perhaps more directly responsible to Herod Antipas. It was his job to collect taxes for Rome and he was thus despised by Jews who undoubtedly regarded him as a traitor.

6 sn Follow me. For similar calls on the part of Jesus see Luke 5:10-11; 9:23, 59; 18:22.

7 sn On the phrase leaving everything see Luke 5:10-11; 14:33.

8 tn The participial phrase “leaving everything behind” occurs at the beginning of the sentence, but has been transposed to the end in the translation for logical reasons, since it serves to summarize Levi’s actions.



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