Luke 4:16

New Testament

14 Then Jesus, in the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and news about him spread throughout the surrounding countryside. 15 He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by all. 16 Now Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and the regaining of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Mishnah Yoma 7


The High Priest came to read the Torah. If he wished to read the Torah while still dressed in the fine linen garments, i.e., the priestly vestments he wore during the previous service, he may read wearing them; and if not he is permitted to read in a white robe of his own, which is not a priestly vestment. The synagogue attendant takes a Torah scroll and gives it to the head of the synagogue that stood on the Temple Mount; and the head of the synagogue gives it to the deputy High Priest, and the Deputy gives it to the High Priest, and the High Priest stands and receives the scroll from his hands. And he reads from the scroll the Torah portion beginning with the verse: “After the death” (Leviticus 16:1) and the portion beginning with the verse: “But on the tenth” (Leviticus 23:26), and furls the Torah scroll and places it on his bosom and says: More than what I have read before you is written here. The Torah portion beginning with the verse: “And on the tenth,” from the book of Numbers (29:7), he then reads by heart. And he recites after the reading the following eight blessings: Concerning the Torah: Who has given us the Torah of truth; and concerning the Temple service: Find favor in Your people Israel and accept the service in Your most holy House... for You alone do we serve with reverence; and concerning thanksgiving: We give thanks to You; and concerning pardon of iniquity: Pardon our iniquities on this Yom Kippur; and concerning the Temple in and of itself, which concludes: Blessed…Who chose the Temple; and concerning the Jewish People in and of itself, which concludes: Blessed…Who chose Israel; and concerning Jerusalem in and of itself, which concludes: Blessed…Who chose Jerusalem; and concerning the priests in and of themselves, which concludes: Blessed…Who chose the priests; and concerning the rest of the prayer, which concludes: Blessed…Who listens to prayer.

 Notes and References

"... For this study we want to investigate another primitive testimony preserved in the Third Gospel. Luke's story of Jesus in Nazareth (Lk. 4.16-30) is the oldest account of the Jewish custom to follow the public reading of the Torah in the synagogue with a reading from the Prophets (the Haftard). Apart from Luke's report (see Acts 13.14-15), the earliest Jewish reference to this practice is the third-century-CE compilation of oral traditions in the Mishna. The verbal presentation in Luke's account belies a haphazard report. Already the seventeenth-century Dutch scholar, Hugo Grotius, recog­nized the parallels between Jesus' actions (Lk. 4.16) and the synagogue caretaker in Tosefta Sukkah 'The caretaker of the synagogue stood to read in the Torah' (t.Suk 2.11). In recent years, Safrai has advanced the notion that the description that Jesus stood to read meant that he read first from the Torah ... The Evangelist assumed that his readers would have first-hand knowledge of Jewish customs. He thus felt no need to detail what was already understood - that Jesus stood to read first from the Torah, and only then to read from the prophet Isaiah. In addition, Safrai observed that Luke's account - in which Jesus alone is reported to read publicly - accords with other ancient witnesses (e.g. m.Sot. 7.7-8; m.Yoma 7.1; Josephus, Ant. 4.209; Philo, Prob. 81-82) ..."

Notley, R. Steven "Jesus' Jewish Hermeneutical Method in the Nazareth Synagogue" in Evans, Craig A. and H. Daniel Zacharias (eds.) Early Christian Literature and Intertextuality: Jesus' Jewish Hermeneutical Method in the Nazareth Synagogue (pp. 46-48) T&T Clark, 2009

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