The scroll of Isaiah (Lk 4:17-4:17)

“The scroll

Of the prophet Isaiah

Was given to Jesus.

He unrolled

The scroll.

He found the place

Where it was written.”

 

καὶ ἐπεδόθη αὐτῷ βιβλίον τοῦ προφήτου Ἡσαΐου, καὶ ἀνοίξας τὸ βιβλίον εὗρεν τὸν τόπον οὗ ἦν γεγραμμένον

 

This is unique to Luke, who described in detail what was happening at a Sabbath service in Nazareth.  The question would be whether this small town could afford a synagogue or have a special scroll of the prophet Isaiah.  Luke said that a scroll of the prophet Isaiah (βιβλίον τοῦ προφήτου Ἡσαΐου) was given to Jesus (καὶ ἐπεδόθη αὐτῷ).  Although the Greek word for a book βιβλίον was used, it would have been extremely rare to have a book, since even today, the scroll is used more often.  Jesus then unrolled this scroll (καὶ ἀνοίξας τὸ βιβλίον), until he found the place where it was written (εὗρεν τὸν τόπον οὗ ἦν γεγραμμένον) about what he was looking for.  This would have been the common practice at a synagogue, but it certainly was not a book, but rather a scroll.

Do they pay the temple tax? (Mt 17:24-17:25)

“When they reached

Capernaum,

The collectors

Of the temple tax

Came to Peter.

They said.

‘Does your teacher

Not pay the tax?’

Peter said.

‘Yes!

He does!’”

 

Ἐλθόντων δὲ αὐτῶν εἰς Καφαρναοὺμ προσῆλθον οἱ τὰ δίδραχμα λαμβάνοντες τῷ Πέτρῳ καὶ εἶπαν Ὁ διδάσκαλος ὑμῶν οὐ τελεῖ δίδραχμα;

λέγει Ναί.

 

This section about the temple tax is unique to Matthew.  Jesus and his disciples had come back to Capernaum (Ἐλθόντων δὲ αὐτῶν εἰς Καφαρναοὺμ).  The collectors of the temple tax came to Peter (προσῆλθον οἱ τὰ δίδραχμα λαμβάνοντες τῷ Πέτρῳ).  Once again, this is an indication of Peter’s leadership.  They asked him if his teacher had paid the temple tax (καὶ εἶπαν Ὁ διδάσκαλος ὑμῶν οὐ τελεῖ δίδραχμα).  Peter responded that Jesus did pay the tax with a simple yes answer (λέγει Ναί).  What is this temple tax?  It actually was a half-shekel or “δίδραχμα – didrachma.”  All the Israelite males over the age of 20 had to pay this half-shekel tax to the Jerusalem temple, once a year, sometime in March around Passover time.  In Capernaum, there was no temple, just a synagogue.  However, this might have been a group that was collecting for the temple tax in Jerusalem for those who were not going to go to Jerusalem for the Passover.  The value of a shekel would have been around $5.00 USA, so that each male had to pay about $2.50, not a big deal for a once a year tax.  This incident probably made more sense in Jerusalem itself.