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Luke 23:32-39


23:32 Two other criminals 1  were also led away to be executed with him. 23:33 So 2  when they came to the place that is called “The Skull,” 3  they crucified 4  him there, along with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 23:34 [But Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”] 5  Then 6  they threw dice 7  to divide his clothes. 8  23:35 The people also stood there watching, but the rulers ridiculed 9  him, saying, “He saved others. Let him save 10  himself if 11  he is the Christ 12  of God, his chosen one!” 23:36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, 13  23:37 and saying, “If 14  you are the king of the Jews, save yourself!” 23:38 There was also an inscription 15  over him, “This is the king of the Jews.”

23:39 One of the criminals who was hanging there railed at him, saying, “Aren’t 16  you the Christ? 17  Save yourself and us!”

1 tc The text reads either “two other criminals” or “others, two criminals.” The first reading (found in Ì75 א B) could be read as describing Jesus as a criminal, while the second (found in A C D L W Θ Ψ 070 0250 Ë1,13 33 Ï) looks like an attempt to prevent this identification. The first reading, more difficult to explain from the other, is likely original.

sn Jesus is numbered among the criminals (see Isa 53:12 and Luke 22:37).

2 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the conclusion of the preceding material.

3 sn The place that is calledThe Skull’ (known as Golgotha in Aramaic, cf. John 19:17) is north and just outside of Jerusalem. The hill on which it is located protruded much like a skull, giving the place its name. The Latin word for Greek κρανίον (kranion) is calvaria, from which the English word “Calvary” derives (cf. Luke 23:33 in the KJV).

4 sn See the note on crucify in 23:21.

5 tc Many important mss (Ì75 א1 B D* W Θ 070 579 1241 pc sys sa) lack v. 34a. It is included in א*,2 (A) C D2 L Ψ 0250 Ë1,(13) 33 Ï lat syc,p,h. It also fits a major Lukan theme of forgiving the enemies (6:27-36), and it has a parallel in Stephen’s response in Acts 7:60. The lack of parallels in the other Gospels argues also for inclusion here. On the other hand, the fact of the parallel in Acts 7:60 may well have prompted early scribes to insert the saying in Luke’s Gospel alone. Further, there is the great difficulty of explaining why early and diverse witnesses lack the saying. A decision is difficult, but even those who regard the verse as inauthentic literarily often consider it to be authentic historically. For this reason it has been placed in single brackets in the translation.

6 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

7 tn Grk “cast lots” (probably by using marked pebbles or broken pieces of pottery). A modern equivalent “threw dice” was chosen here because of its association with gambling.

8 sn An allusion to Ps 22:18, which identifies Jesus as the suffering innocent one.

9 tn A figurative extension of the literal meaning “to turn one’s nose up at someone”; here “ridicule, sneer at, show contempt for” (L&N 33.409).

10 sn The irony in the statement Let him save himself is that salvation did come, but later, not while on the cross.

11 tn This is a first class condition in the Greek text.

12 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”

sn See the note on Christ in 2:11.

13 sn Sour wine was cheap wine, called in Latin posca, and referred to a cheap vinegar wine diluted heavily with water. It was the drink of slaves and soldiers, and the soldiers who had performed the crucifixion, who had some on hand, now used it to taunt Jesus further.

14 tn This is also a first class condition in the Greek text.

15 sn Mention of the inscription is an important detail, because the inscription would normally give the reason for the execution. It shows that Jesus was executed for claiming to be a king. It was also probably written with irony from the executioners’ point of view.

16 tc Most mss (A C3 W Θ Ψ Ë1,13 33 Ï lat) read εἰ σὺ εἶ (ei su ei, “If you are”) here, while οὐχὶ σὺ εἶ (ouci su ei, “Are you not”) is found in overall better and earlier witnesses (Ì75 א B C* L 070 1241 pc it). The “if” clause reading creates a parallel with the earlier taunts (vv. 35, 37), and thus is most likely a motivated reading.

sn The question in Greek expects a positive reply and is also phrased with irony.

17 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”

sn See the note on Christ in 2:11.

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