This is an Addendum to Romans, Part 45.
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, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “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, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Originally I avoided this quotation because it wasn’t exactly the NET version of the Old Testament (Isaiah 61:1, 2 NET):
The spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon me, because the Lord has chosen me. He has commissioned me to encourage the poor, to help the brokenhearted, to decree the release of captives, and the freeing of prisoners, to announce the year when the Lord will show his favor…
Nor was it exactly the Septuagint:
|Jesus (NET)||Septuagint||NET (Parallel Greek Text)|
|The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.||πνεῦμα κυρίου ἐπ᾽ ἐμέ οὗ εἵνεκεν ἔχρισέν με εὐαγγελίσασθαι πτωχοῖς ἀπέσταλκέν με||πνεῦμα κυρίου ἐπ᾿ ἐμὲ οὗ εἵνεκεν ἔχρισεν με εὐαγγελίσασθαι πτωχοῖς,ἀπέσταλκεν με,|
|ἰάσασθαι τοὺς συντετριμμένους τῇ καρδίᾳ|
|He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and the regaining of sight to the blind,||κηρύξαι αἰχμαλώτοις ἄφεσιν καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν
|κηρύξαι αἰχμαλώτοις ἄφεσιν καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν,|
|to set free those who are oppressed,
Luke 4:18 (NET)
|ἀποστεῖλαι τεθραυσμένους ἐν ἀφέσει,
|to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Luke 4:19 (NET)
|καλέσαι ἐνιαυτὸν κυρίου δεκτὸν…
|κηρύξαι ἐνιαυτὸν κυρίου δεκτόν.
The first obvious difference: ἰάσασθαι τοὺς συντετριμμένους τῇ καρδίᾳ (he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted in the KJV) is missing from the Greek text of the NET.
The note in the NET reads: “The majority of mss, especially the later Byzantines, include the phrase ‘to heal the brokenhearted’ at this point (A Θ Ψ 0102 Ë1 Ï). The phrase is lacking in several weighty mss (א B D L W Ξ Ë13 33 579 700 892* pc lat sys co), including representatives from both the Alexandrian and Western text types. From the standpoint of external evidence, the omission of the phrase is more likely original. When internal evidence is considered, the shorter reading becomes almost certain. Scribes would be much more prone to add the phrase here to align the text with Isa 61:1, the source of the quotation, than to remove it from the original.”
The phrase was part of the received text (ἰὰσασθαι τοὺς συντετριμμένους τὴν καρδίαν) and included in the King James translation. Whether it should or should not be included matters very little to me (since I have access to both and a footnote detailing the reason it was removed), though it would be interesting if Jesus deliberately deleted it from his own reading.
The brokenhearted (συντετριμμένους τῇ καρδίᾳ) hearkens back to David’s Miserere (Psalm 51:17 NET):
The sacrifices God desires are a humble spirit – O God, a humble and repentant heart you will not reject.
The humble heart (broken, KJV) is καρδίαν συντετριμμένην in the Septuagint. Both συντετριμμένους and συντετριμμένην are forms of συντρίβω. If Jesus deliberately deleted this phrase from his quotation, I would take it to mean He did not want his mission to be seen as limited to those who brought the correct sacrifices, the humble spirit, the humble and repentant heart. In fact this is why we work hard and struggle, Paul wrote Timothy (1 Timothy 4:10 NET), because we have set our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all people (σωτὴρ πάντων ἀνθρώπων), especially of believers. But this, too, only creates arguments about who might remove the phrase and why.
The next obvious difference is that ἀποστεῖλαι τεθραυσμένους ἐν ἀφέσει (to set free those who are oppressed) is not in the Septuagint. I could accept that—to decree the release of captives, and the freeing of prisoners—may have seemed redundant to the Rabbis when translating Hebrew to Greek.
Finally, καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν (and the regaining of sight to the blind) is in Jesus’ quotation and the Septuagint but not in a contemporary translation of Hebrew. The Greek word τυφλοῖς (a form of τυφλός) is blind in English. When Moses complained that he was slow of speech and slow of tongue, The Lord said to him, “Who gave a mouth to man, or who makes a person mute or deaf or seeing or blind (Septuagint: τυφλόν, another form of τυφλός)? Is it not I, the Lord?” But in the law it was written (Leviticus 21:16-21 NET):
The Lord spoke to Moses: “Tell Aaron, ‘No man from your descendants throughout their generations who has a physical flaw is to approach to present the food of his God. Certainly no man who has a physical flaw is to approach: a blind (Septuagint: τυφλὸς, another form of τυφλός) man, or one who is lame, or one with a slit nose, or a limb too long, or a man who has had a broken leg or arm, or a hunchback, or a dwarf, or one with a spot in his eye, or a festering eruption, or a feverish rash, or a crushed testicle. No man from the descendants of Aaron the priest who has a physical flaw may step forward to present the Lord’s gifts; he has a physical flaw, so he must not step forward to present the food of his God.
But if you ignore the Lord your God and are not careful to keep all his commandments and statutes I am giving you today, then all these curses will come upon you in full force… One of those curses was to be like the blind: You will feel your way along at noon like the blind (Septuagint: τυφλὸς, another form of τυφλός) person does in darkness and you will not succeed in anything you do; you will be constantly oppressed and continually robbed, with no one to save you.
Did the Masoretes remove and the regaining of sight to the blind because they didn’t wish to be associated with the blind? But they left The Lord (yehôvâh; יהוה) gives sight to the blind (Septuagint: τυφλούς, another form of τυφλός). And, Look, your God (ʼĕlôhı̂ym; אלהיכם) comes to avenge! With divine retribution he comes to deliver you.” Then blind (Septuagint: τυφλῶν, another form of τυφλός) eyes will open…
This, too, still remains: I, the Lord (yehôvâh; יהוה), officially commission you; I take hold of your hand. I protect you and make you a covenant mediator for people, and a light to the nations, to open blind (Septuagint: τυφλῶν, another form of τυφλός) eyes, to release prisoners from dungeons, those who live in darkness from prisons. So was it removed simply because Jesus cured many people of diseases, sicknesses, and evil spirits, and granted sight to many who were blind (τυφλοῖς, a form of τυφλός) and claimed to fulfill that prophecy in the synagogue in Nazareth?
Joseph Gleason, “a priest at Christ the King Orthodox Mission in Omaha, Illinois,” blogged:
For thousands of years, ancient Hebrew was only written with consonants, no vowels. When reading these texts, they had to supply all of the vowels from memory, based on oral tradition. In Hebrew, just like modern languages, vowels can make a big difference. The change of a single vowel can radically change the meaning of a word….The most extensive change the Masoretes brought to the Hebrew text was the addition of vowel points. In an attempt to solidfy for all-time the “correct” readings of all the Hebrew Scriptures, the Masoretes added a series of dots to the text, identifying which vowel to use in any given location….
In the 2nd century A.D., hundreds of years before the time of the Masoretes, Justin Martyr investigated a number of Old Testament texts in various Jewish synagogues. He ultimately concluded that the Jews who had rejected Christ had also rejected the Septuagint, and were now tampering with the Hebrew Scriptures themselves… If Justin Martyr’s findings are correct, then it is likely that the Masoretes inherited a Hebrew textual tradition which had already been corrupted with an anti-Christian bias…. Simply by choosing one Hebrew text over another, they were able to subvert the Incarnation, the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, His healing of the blind, His crucifixion, and His salvation of the Gentiles. The Jewish scribes were able to edit Jesus out of many important passages, simply by rejecting one Hebrew text, and selecting (or editing) another text instead.
I would like to add, raised from infancy with the belief that Jesus was not, could not possibly be, the promised Messiah, and with no knowledge of deliberate textual corruptions, the Masoretes could have done this in good conscience. Joseph Gleason concluded:
It would seem that the Septuagint (LXX) translation is…a more faithful representation of the original Hebrew Scriptures. Perhaps that is why Jesus and the apostles frequently quoted from the Septuagint, and accorded it full authority as the inspired Word of God.
I’m not prepared to go that far. I was happy to find a corrective to my own conclusion that Jesus and Paul were such inept scholars they couldn’t even quote a passage of Scripture accurately. Clearly, the Septuagint I’m using was not what Jesus read in the synagogue in Nazareth. But He wasn’t reading from the Masoretic text either. Here is the comparison of the King James Version:
|The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
Luke 4:18, 19 (KJV)
|The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD…
Isaiah 61:1, 2a
Jesus’ quotation is much more agreeable with Isaiah 61 in the KJV. But if the “King James Version is the infallible Word of God” Jesus inserted and recovering of sight to the blind into the middle of his reading of Isaiah 61:1. Luke didn’t record anyone disputing it with Him at the time (Luke 4:20-29 KJV):
And [Jesus] closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?
And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.
And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.
But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;
But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.
And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.
Here is a comparison of the Septuagint and the Stephanus Textus Receptus:
|Jesus (KJV)||Septuagint||Stephanus Textus Receptus 1550|
|The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor;||πνεῦμα κυρίου ἐπ᾽ ἐμέ οὗ εἵνεκεν ἔχρισέν με εὐαγγελίσασθαι πτωχοῖς ἀπέσταλκέν με||Πνεῦμα κυρίου ἐπ’ ἐμέ οὗ ἕνεκεν ἔχρισέν με εὐαγγελίζεσθαι πτωχοῖς ἀπέσταλκέν με|
|he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted,||ἰάσασθαι τοὺς συντετριμμένους τῇ καρδίᾳ||ἰὰσασθαι τοὺς συντετριμμένους τὴν καρδίαν,|
|to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind,||κηρύξαι αἰχμαλώτοις ἄφεσιν καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν
|κηρύξαι αἰχμαλώτοις ἄφεσιν καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν|
|to set at liberty them that are bruised,
Luke 4:18 (KJV)
|ἀποστεῖλαι τεθραυσμένους ἐν ἀφέσει
|To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
Luke 4:19 (KJV)
|καλέσαι ἐνιαυτὸν κυρίου δεκτὸν…
|κηρύξαι ἐνιαυτὸν κυρίου δεκτόν
I notice that “the heart” in the Septuagint is τῇ καρδίᾳ and in the received text τὴν καρδίαν, but I don’t know enough Greek to make anything of it. And I don’t understand why Origen or Eusebius would delete the phrase ἀποστεῖλαι τεθραυσμένους ἐν ἀφέσει in a deliberate forgery.