Acts 18:3

New Testament

1 After this Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to depart from Rome. Paul approached them, 3 and because he worked at the same trade, he stayed with them and worked with them (for they were tentmakers by trade). 4 He addressed both Jews and Greeks in the synagogue every Sabbath, attempting to persuade them. 5 Now when Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul became wholly absorbed with proclaiming the word, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ.

Pirkei Avot 2:2


2 Rabban Gamaliel the son of Rabbi Judah Hanasi said: excellent is the study of the Torah when combined with a worldly occupation, for toil in them both keeps sin out of one’s mind; But [study of the] Torah which is not combined with a worldly occupation, in the end comes to be neglected and becomes the cause of sin. And all who labor with the community, should labor with them for the sake Heaven, for the merit of their forefathers sustains them (the community), and their (the forefather’s) righteousness endures for ever; And as for you, [God in such case says] I credit you with a rich reward, as if you [yourselves] had [actually] accomplished [it all].

 Notes and References

"... It can be plausibly inferred that a significant contingent of the intended community are farmers. 4Q418 81 15 states that the mevin has םידי תמכח (“wisdom of the hands”), a reference to manual skill, which is praised in line 16 as a means by which he can provide nourishment for himself (compare 4Q418 137 2–4; Sirach 9:17). The audience of 4QInstruction includes farmers and low-level artisans or craftsmen of some sort. The overall impression is that much, if not all, of the group is at a socio-economic level which is rather low. The social context of the mevin raises questions about the pedagogical Sitz im Leben of 4QInstruction. The students are not being trained to become scribes or some other profession in the upper echelons of society. There is no sense that the teacher-figure of the composition was wealthy. He is not a tutor hired by rich families for the instruction of their children, a common educational practice in the ancient world. The teacher of 4QInstruction, whether he be understood as a single historical individual or multiple persons who held this office, may have had some sort of menial trade, just like his student-addressees. If so, 4QInstruction provides an early example of a phenomenon attested later among the rabbis and also Paul (who was a tent-maker, according to Acts 18:3), of teachers supporting themselves financially not by their teaching but rather with simple, physical occupations, such as being blacksmiths or tanners (Pirkei Avot 2:2) ..."

Goff, Matthew "Searching for Wisdom in and beyond 4QInstruction" in Najman, Hindy (ed.) Tracing Sapiential Traditions in Ancient Judaism (pp. 119-137) Brill, 2016

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