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Luke 4:23-29

4:23 Jesus 1  said to them, “No doubt you will quote to me the proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ 2  and say, ‘What we have heard that you did in Capernaum, 3  do here in your hometown too.’” 4:24 And he added, 4  “I tell you the truth, 5  no prophet is acceptable 6  in his hometown. 4:25 But in truth I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s days, 7  when the sky 8  was shut up three and a half years, and 9  there was a great famine over all the land. 4:26 Yet 10  Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to a woman who was a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. 11  4:27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, 12  yet 13  none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” 14  4:28 When they heard this, all the people 15  in the synagogue were filled with rage. 4:29 They got up, forced 16  him out of the town, 17  and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that 18  they could throw him down the cliff. 19 

1 tn Grk “And he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

2 sn The proverb Physician, heal yourself! means that Jesus should prove his claims. It is a “Prove it to us!” mentality that Jesus says the people have.

3 sn The remark “What we have heard that you did at Capernaum” makes many suspect that Luke has moved this event forward in sequence to typify what Jesus’ ministry was like, since the ministry in Capernaum follows in vv. 31-44. The location of this event in the parallel of Mark 6:1-6 also suggests this transposition.

map For location see Map1 D2; Map2 C3; Map3 B2.

4 tn Grk “said,” but since this is a continuation of previous remarks, “added” is used here.

5 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amhn), I say to you.”

6 sn Jesus argues that he will get no respect in his own hometown. There is a wordplay here on the word acceptable (δεκτός, dektos), which also occurs in v. 19: Jesus has declared the “acceptable” year of the Lord (here translated year of the Lord’s favor), but he is not “accepted” by the people of his own hometown.

7 sn Elijahs days. Jesus, by discussing Elijah and Elisha, pictures one of the lowest periods in Israel’s history. These examples, along with v. 24, also show that Jesus is making prophetic claims as well as messianic ones. See 1 Kgs 17-18.

8 tn Or “the heaven”; the Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) may be translated “sky” or “heaven,” depending on the context. Since the context here refers to a drought (which produced the famine), “sky” is preferable.

9 tn Grk “as.” The particle ὡς can also function temporally (see BDAG 1105-6 s.v. 8).

10 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “yet” to indicate the contrast.

11 sn Zarephath in Sidon was Gentile territory (see 1 Kgs 17:9-24). Jesus’ point was that he would be forced to minister elsewhere, and the implication is that this ministry would ultimately extend (through the work of his followers) to those outside the nation.

map For location see Map1 A1; JP3 F3; JP4 F3.

12 sn On Elisha see 2 Kgs 5:1-14.

13 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “yet” to indicate the contrast.

14 sn The reference to Naaman the Syrian (see 2 Kgs 5:1-24) is another example where an outsider and Gentile was blessed. The stress in the example is the missed opportunity of the people to experience God’s work, but it will still go on without them.

15 tn The words “the people” are not in the Greek text but have been supplied.

16 tn Grk “cast.”

17 tn Or “city.”

18 tn The Greek conjunction ὥστε (Jwste) here indicates their purpose.

19 sn The attempt to throw him down the cliff looks like “lynch law,” but it may really be an indication that Jesus was regarded as a false prophet who was worthy of death (Deut 13:5). Such a sentence meant being thrown into a pit and then stoned.

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