2:14 As he went along, he saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus, sitting at the tax booth. 1 “Follow me,” he said to him. And he got up and followed him.
3:17 to James and his brother John, the sons of Zebedee, 2 he gave the name Boanerges (that is, “sons of thunder”); 3:18 and Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, 3 Matthew, Thomas, 4 James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, 5 Simon the Zealot, 6
1 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.
2 tn Grk “to James, the son of Zebedee, and John, the brother of James.”
6 tn Grk “the Cananean,” but according to both BDAG 507 s.v. Καναναῖος and L&N 11.88, this term has no relation at all to the geographical terms for Cana or Canaan, but is derived from the Aramaic term for “enthusiast, zealot” (see Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13), possibly because of an earlier affiliation with the party of the Zealots. He may not have been technically a member of the particular Jewish nationalistic party known as “Zealots” (since according to some scholars this party had not been organized at that time), but simply someone who was zealous for Jewish independence from Rome, in which case the term would refer to his temperament.
7 tn On this term see BDAG 140 s.v. ἄρωμα. The Jews did not practice embalming, so these materials were used to cover the stench of decay and slow decomposition.
sn Spices were used not to preserve the body, but as an act of love, and to mask the growing stench of a corpse.