The mother and brothers of Jesus (Lk 8:19-8:19)

“Then Jesus’ mother

And his brothers

Came to him.

But they could not reach him

Because of the crowd.”

 

Παρεγένετο δὲ πρὸς αὐτὸν ἡ μήτηρ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ οὐκ ἠδύναντο συντυχεῖν αὐτῷ διὰ τὸν ὄχλον.

 

Luke said that Jesus’ mother (ἡ μήτηρ) and his brothers (καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ) came to him (Παρεγένετο δὲ πρὸς αὐτὸν).  However, they could not reach him (καὶ οὐκ ἠδύναντο συντυχεῖν αὐτῷ) because of the crowd (διὰ τὸν ὄχλον).  Mark, chapter 3:31, and Matthew, chapter 12:46, have something similar.  Mark said that his mother and brothers came to see Jesus, but apparently, they could not reach him because of the crowd, so that they were standing outside.  Matthew said that while Jesus was still speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers were standing outside.  They wanted to speak to him.  This brings up all kinds of questions.  Who were these unnamed brothers?  To what extent was Jesus estranged from his family?  According to Matthew, Jesus had been near to John the Baptist and his early apostles Peter, Andrew, John, James and Matthew.  These brothers could be biological brothers, half-brothers from a first marriage of Joseph, or cousin relatives.  The Hebrew and Aramaic language did not have a distinctive word for cousins, so that the word “brother” was often used to mean more than a true biological brother.  However, the Greek language did have a specific word for cousins.  Just as today, people sometimes refer to others as brothers or sisters, when there is no biological link.  The traditional belief of Christians, even through the Reformation period, had been that Mary was a virgin, so that Jesus was her only divine son.  Thus, here the unnamed mother and the unnamed brothers of Jesus were outside wanting to speak to Jesus.  In Mark, chapter 6:3, and Matthew, chapter 13:55–56, there are explicit names for the brothers of Jesus.  They clearly were relatives of Jesus, but exactly how close a relative is not clear.  Do you know all your relatives?

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Herod will grant a wish (Mk 6:22-6:23)

“When the daughter

Of Herodias

Came in,

She danced.

She pleased Herod

And his guests.

The king said

To the girl.

‘Ask me

For whatever you wish!

I will give it!’

He solemnly swore

To her.

‘Whatever you ask me,

I will give you,

Even half of my kingdom.’”

 

καὶ εἰσελθούσης τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτῆς τῆς Ἡρῳδιάδος καὶ ὀρχησαμένης, ἤρεσεν τῷ Ἡρῴδῃ καὶ τοῖς συνανακειμένοις. ὁ δὲ βασιλεὺς εἶπεν τῷ κορασίῳ Αἴτησόν με ὃ ἐὰν θέλῃς, καὶ δώσω σοι·

καὶ ὤμοσεν αὐτῇ Ὅτι ἐάν με αἰτήσῃς δώσω σοι ἕως ἡμίσους τῆς βασιλείας μου.

 

Matthew, chapter 14:6-7, also has this story about the dancing daughter.  At this birthday party for King Herod, the daughter of Herodias came in (καὶ εἰσελθούσης τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτῆς τῆς Ἡρῳδιάδος).  She danced in the middle of this public celebration (καὶ ὀρχησαμένης).  Herodias’ daughter by her first marriage was called Salome or maybe even Herodias.  However, in this gospel story of Mark, she was unnamed.  She pleased Herod so much (ἤρεσεν τῷ Ἡρῴδῃ), as well as those reclining at the table with him (καὶ τοῖς συνανακειμένοις), that the king said to the girl (ὁ δὲ βασιλεὺς εἶπεν τῷ κορασίῳ) that whatever she wished or wanted (Αἴτησόν με ὃ ἐὰν θέλῃς), he would give it to her (καὶ δώσω σοι).  He even swore to her (καὶ ὤμοσεν αὐτῇ) with a solemn oath promise to give her (δώσω σοι) whatever she might request or ask (Ὅτι ἐάν με αἰτήσῃς), even up to half his kingdom (ἕως ἡμίσους τῆς βασιλείας μου).  Obviously, King Herod was a little rash here.

The family of Jesus (Mk 6:3-6:3)

“‘Is not this the carpenter,

The son of Mary,

The brother of James,

Joses,

Judas,

And Simon?

Are not his sisters

Here with us?’

They took offense

At Jesus.”

 

οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τέκτων, ὁ υἱὸς τῆς Μαρίας καὶ ἀδελφὸς Ἰακώβου καὶ Ἰωσῆτος καὶ Ἰούδα καὶ Σίμωνος; καὶ οὐκ εἰσὶν αἱ ἀδελφαὶ αὐτοῦ ὧδε πρὸς ἡμᾶς; καὶ ἐσκανδαλίζοντο ἐν αὐτῷ.

 

This story about the relatives of Jesus can be found in Matthew, chapter 13:55-56, while Luke does not go into this problem.  Mark said that the local people asked, whether Jesus was a carpenter (οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ῦ τέκτων), not a carpenter’s son as in Matthew?  A carpenter could also mean a builder or artisan.  However, Mark explicitly mentioned the name of Jesus’ mother, Mary (ὁ υἱὸς τῆς Μαρίας).  Were not his brothers there James, Joses, Simon, and Judas (καὶ ἀδελφὸς Ἰακώβου καὶ Ἰωσῆτος καὶ Ἰούδα καὶ Σίμωνος)?  There is a difference in one brother’s name mentioned by Matthew and Mark.  Could Joses be the same as Joseph with a simple letter mistake?  Were not all his sisters there with them also (καὶ οὐκ εἰσὶν αἱ ἀδελφαὶ αὐτοῦ ὧδε πρὸς ἡμᾶς)?  These relatives took offense or were scandalized by Jesus (καὶ ἐσκανδαλίζοντο ἐν αὐτῷ).  Once again there is the question of the brothers and sisters of Jesus.  These brothers and sisters could be biological brothers or sisters, half-brothers and half-sisters from a first marriage of Joseph, or kissing cousins or other close cousins of the family.  The Hebrew and Aramaic language did not have a distinctive word for cousins, so that the words “brother” and “sister” were often used to mean more than a biological brother.  Just as today, people sometimes refer to others as brothers or sisters, when there is no biological link.  However, the Greek language did have a word for cousins.  Half-brothers often refer to themselves as brothers or sisters today also.  The traditional belief of Christians, even though the Reformation period, has been that Mary was a virgin, so that Jesus was her only son.  Here there are explicit names for the brothers of Jesus, James, Joses, Simon, and Judas, who may have been leaders in the early Christian community but were never mentioned as disciples.  They clearly were relatives of Jesus, exactly how is not clear

 

Herod’s birthday party (Mt 14:6-14:8)

“But when Herod’s birthday came,

The daughter of Herodias danced

Before the company.

She pleased Herod.

Thus,

He promised

With an oath

To grant her

Whatever she might ask.

Prompted by her mother,

She said.

‘Give me the head

Of John the Baptist

Here on a platter.’”

 

γενεσίοις δὲ γενομένοις τοῦ Ἡρῴδου ὠρχήσατο ἡ θυγάτηρ τῆς Ἡρῳδιάδος ἐν τῷ μέσῳ καὶ ἤρεσεν τῷ Ἡρῴδῃ,

ὅθεν μεθ’ ὅρκου ὡμολόγησεν αὐτῇ δοῦναι ὃ ἐὰν αἰτήσηται.

ἡ δὲ προβιβασθεῖσα ὑπὸ τῆς μητρὸς αὐτῆς Δός μοι, φησίν, ὧδε ἐπὶ πίνακι τὴν κεφαλὴν Ἰωάνου τοῦ Βαπτιστοῦ.

 

This birthday party of Herod can be found in Mark, chapter 6:21-25, and here.  At the birthday celebration of Herod (γενεσίοις δὲ γενομένοις τοῦ Ἡρῴδου), the daughter of Herodias danced in the middle of this public celebration (ὠρχήσατο ἡ θυγάτηρ τῆς Ἡρῳδιάδος ἐν τῷ μέσῳ).  Herodias’ daughter by her first marriage was called Salome.  She pleased Herod so much (καὶ ἤρεσεν τῷ Ἡρῴδῃ), that he gave a solemn oath promise to grant her whatever she might request (ὅθεν μεθ’ ὅρκου ὡμολόγησεν αὐτῇ δοῦναι ὃ ἐὰν αἰτήσηται).  Urged on by her mother (ἡ δὲ προβιβασθεῖσα ὑπὸ τῆς μητρὸς αὐτῆς), Salome said that she wanted the head of John the Baptist to be brought there on a platter or a dish (Δός μοι, φησίν, ὧδε ἐπὶ πίνακι τὴν κεφαλὴν Ἰωάνου τοῦ Βαπτιστοῦ).  Obviously. Herod had made a rash solemn statement and his wife Herodias took advantage of that.

The family of Jesus (Mt 13:55-13:56)

“Is not this the carpenter’s son?

Is not his mother

Called Mary?

Are not his brothers

James,

Joseph,

Simon,

And Judas?

Are not all his sisters with us?

Where then did he

Get all this?’”

 

οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τοῦ τέκτονος υἱός; οὐχ ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ λέγεται Μαριὰμ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ Ἰάκωβος καὶ Ἰωσὴφ καὶ Σίμων καὶ Ἰούδας;

καὶ αἱ ἀδελφαὶ αὐτοῦ οὐχὶ πᾶσαι πρὸς ἡμᾶς εἰσιν; πόθεν οὖν τούτῳ ταῦτα πάντα;

 

This story about the relatives of Jesus can be found in Mark, chapter 6:3.  The local people asked, was he not this carpenter’s son (οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τοῦ τέκτονος υἱός)?  Matthew did not use the carpenter’s name, when in the prologue Joseph played a major role.  A carpenter could also mean a builder or artisan.  However, Matthew explicitly mentioned the name of Jesus’ mother, Mary, who played a minor role in the prologue.  Was not his mother called Mary (οὐχ ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ λέγεται Μαριὰμ)?  Were not his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas (καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ Ἰάκωβος καὶ Ἰωσὴφ καὶ Σίμων καὶ Ἰούδας)?  Were not all his sisters there with them also (καὶ αἱ ἀδελφαὶ αὐτοῦ οὐχὶ πᾶσαι πρὸς ἡμᾶς εἰσιν)?  Where then did he get all this  knowledge and power (πόθεν οὖν τούτῳ ταῦτα πάντα)?  Once again there is the question of the brothers and sisters of Jesus as mentioned earlier in chapter 12:46. These brothers and sisters could be biological brothers or sisters, half-brothers and half-sisters from a first marriage of Joseph, or kissing cousins or other close cousins of the family.  The Hebrew and Aramaic language did not have a distinctive word for cousins, so that the word “brother” and “sister” was often used to mean more than a biological brother.  Just as today, people sometimes refers to others as brothers or sisters, when there is no biological link.  Half-brothers often refer to themselves as brothers or sisters today also.  The traditional belief of Christians, even though the Reformation period, has been that Mary was a virgin, so that Jesus was her only son.  However, the Greek language did have a word for cousins.  Here there are explicit names for the brothers of Jesus, James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas, who may have been leaders in the early Christian community but were never mentioned as disciples.  They clearly were relatives of Jesus, exactly how is not clear