Matthew 10:1-4

10.1 Καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος τοὺς δώδεκα μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν πνευμάτων ἀκαθάρτων ὥστε ἐκβάλλειν αὐτὰ καὶ θεραπεύων πᾶσαν νόσον καὶ πᾶσαν μαλακίαν.

10.2 Τῶν δὲ δώδεκα ἀποστόλων τὰ ὀνόματά ἐστιν ταῦτα· πρῶτος Σίμων ὁ λεγόμενος Πέτρος καὶ Ἀνδρέας ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ, καὶ Ἰάκωβος ὁ τοῦ Ζεβεδαίου καὶ Ἰωάννης ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ, 10.3 Φίλιππος καὶ Βαρθολομαῖος, Θωμᾶς καὶ Μαθθαῖος ὁ τελώνης, Ἰάκωβος ὁ τοῦ Ἁλφαίου καὶ Θαδδαῖος, 10.4 Σίμων ὁ Καναναῖος καὶ Ἰούδας ὁ Ἰσκαριώτης ὁ καὶ παραδοὺς αὐτόν.

10.1 And calling his twelve disciples, he gave them authority over unclean spirits in order to so that they might cast them out and to heal every sickness and weakness.

10.2 The names of the twelve apostles are as follows: first Simon, the one called Peter, and his brother Andrew, then James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John,  10.3 Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax-collector, James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus,  10.4 Simon the “Zealot” and Judas, from Kerioth, who also betrayed him.

Some Vocabulary
More vocabulary points for those interested parties:

  • προσκαλεσάμενος – I guessed the meaning well my first read through – “calling” – but was less than certain I was right. singular nominative aorist middle participle – to call to oneself, to bid to come.
  • δώδεκα – note that this is indeclinable. In this passage we see it in both the accusative and the genitive plurals.
  • ἀκαθάρτων – genitive plural – unclean, in either a moral or ceremonial sense.
  • ὥστε – particle – “so that”.
  • θεραπεύων – present active infinitive – to heal or cure, restore to a healthy condition.
  • ἀποστόλων – genitive plural – a delegate or messenger, the one sent with instructions or orders.
  • Καναναῖος – masculine nominative singular – a member of the “Zealot” party, near as I can tell (see below for comments).
  • Ἰσκαριώτης – masculine nominative singular – a guy from the town of Kerioth (see below for comments)
  • παραδοὺς – masculine nominative singular aorist active participle – to betray, to deliver over.

Comments
καὶ θεραπεύων πᾶσαν νόσον καὶ πᾶσαν μαλακίαν is a verbatim repetition of 9:35, which brings Jesus’ activity as indicative of the same work to be done by the disciples. And when doing this work, he turns around to call them not just “students”,  but “apostles” – trusted emissaries.

In the case of λεγόμενος, concerning Simon/Peter, I considered the use of parenthesis, as well as the use of the abbreviation “aka”, which would have given, “first Simon (aka Peter), and his brother…” I don’t see anything wrong with that, but in general think using abbreviations unnecessarily a bad practice (and text-speak does not improve on this fact). The use of parenthesis might have suggested to some that this phrase was not in the text, so I decided against it, though the placement of the article after Simon (Σίμων ὁ λεγόμενος Πέτρος) would argue in favor of  his “second” naming being parenthetical information.

I used “then” to translate the καί before Ἰάκωβος ὁ τοῦ Ζεβεδαίου, as I thought it sounded more natural following πρῶτος “first”. There is a previous καί before Ἀνδρέας, however this name is paired to Simon, the previously named brother, and to use “then” in that instance would likely require “and then/also”, and still sound less natural.

I have not seen a single translation that translates Ἰάκωβος “Jacob”, so I have not done so either, choosing “James” as is the norm. Also, I thought of changing the structure of Ἰάκωβος ὁ τοῦ Ζεβεδαίου καὶ Ἰωάννης ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ from “James, the son of Zebedee, and John his brother” to “James and John, the sons of Zebedee”. While I think that it is more natural sounding, and has much less punctuation difficulty, it does make certain assumptions that are not explicit in the text (the parentage of John), so I decided against it.

Of this passage, verse 4 is by the far the most difficult for translation due to  two words near the end, Καναναῖος (of the second Simon) and Ἰσκαριώτης (in connection with the infamous Judas). Not only are the words not clear, but there is also textual variation to complicate the matter.

Καναναῖος is replaced by Κανανίτης in Textus Receptus, which complicates an already difficult word. Thayer’s (which I can access for free), gives some discussion of the difficulty. It seems that though some suggest that the current rendering is itself a clerical mistake for what should have been Καναῖος, the more likely option is that this is a name for a group with an originally Aramaic name (from the root קַנָּא, “jealous”), given a typical Greek suffix for groups and sects – thus “Zealots”, a group insistent on seeing Israel free from outside domination or influence. This group was not very prominent at this time, but would gain notoriety with the upheavals that ended in the destruction of both Jerusalem and its temple.

Ἰσκαριώτης intends to be even more mysterious. A Reader’s Hebrew and Greek Bible (hereafter RHGB) does not even attempt to provide a proper gloss, offering only “Iscariot”. Very unsatisfactory at first glance. It is certainly anachronistic to treat this as a last name for Jesus’ betrayer, on par with considering “Christ” the last name of Jesus. My tongue-in-cheek query to friends on facebook resulted in a quick response, offering the standard theory, that Ἰσκαριώτης is a Hebrew transliteration (אִישׁ קִרְיָה) referring to inhabitants of Kerioth, people from Kerioth. Also possible is that it refers to being a “red-head” or an occupation as a fabric dyer, a Latin transliteration of another nationalistic group, or even a transliteration from an Aramaic word for “falsehood”. Obviously with such a rich array of possibilities, and no clear winners, I come away with two thoughts: 1) maybe it was wise of the editors of RHGB to not superficially gloss such an unclear word, and 2) we should not be dogmatic about our translation or understanding of this term.

For a much more detailed analysis and synthesis of the lists of the apostles (similar lists to Matthew 10:2-4 are found in Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:13-16 and Acts 1:13) see The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Volume 8 ) which deals with the synoptic gospels, specifically pp.236-240. I found it a very worthwhile resource.

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About George

I'm interested in theology, languages, translation and various sorts of fermentation.
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4 Responses to Matthew 10:1-4

  1. Pingback: ὥστε ἐκβάλλειν…καὶ θεραπεύων… | σφόδρα – exceedingly

  2. Pingback: ὥστε ἐκβάλλειν…καὶ θεραπεύων… | σφόδρα – exceedingly

  3. Pingback: Matthew 10:5-15 | σφόδρα – exceedingly

  4. Pingback: Matthew 10 meets Matthew 28. Ah! | σφόδρα – exceedingly

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